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Spring Is Here: Time to Get Your Off-Road Vehicle Out!

off-road vehicle

Spring is back earlier than expected this year. And that’s good news for all nature lovers and thrill seekers (except snowmobilers, of course)! Indeed, with the snow melting so quickly, we’ll be able to get our off-road vehicles out sooner than last year and enjoy the lush green landscapes and muddy trails. However, be sure to respect official trail closures and openings for those using federated trails. It’s all-important.

Let’s Start With the Basics

If you are like me, you can’t wait to enjoy driving your quad, your motorcycle, or your side-by-side on rough and varied terrains. Yes! I love the REAL quad, in REAL difficulty, with sometimes ugly and rocky trails! Whether it’s on a federated trail, in the mud, or in a rally, there are plenty of fun and excitement to be had with an off-road vehicle. The network of SEPAQ and zecs is vast enough for long-lasting fun too!

Now, let’s talk about the official opening dates of summer trails for clubs affiliated with the FQCQ. It is up to each club to decide on the closing date for thawing and the reopening afterwards when the trails are deemed practicable and safe. You can follow all of this on their respective Facebook pages or on the FQCQ website via the interactive map. It is usually quite reliable.

As a reminder, as mentioned on the FQCQ website: ’A trail pass and the sticker are mandatory on the trail. Any offending quad rider can, if desired, quickly obtain trail access passes via the online purchase page. However, this will not prevent them from receiving a fine ranging from $350 to $700. Any offender will also be expelled from the trails if they do not have a valid trail pass with them.’

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Let’s Go on an Adventure

Before embarking on an adventure, it is important to prepare your equipment well and respect some safety rules. Here are some tips to fully enjoy your off-road vehicle without risking damaging it, injuring yourself, or worse. I have already written a much more comprehensive article on the subject of laws and obligations in the past. You can read it by clicking here.

Check the Condition of Your Vehicle

Check the tires, brakes, suspension, lighting, etc. Do not hesitate to consult a professional if you have any doubts or need a check-up. A well-maintained off-road vehicle is a guarantee of performance and reliability. It only takes one loose bolt to make the difference between coming back home or not.

Choose a Route That Suits Your Level and Your Vehicle

Inform yourself about the weather conditions and the types of terrains you will encounter. Avoid protected or restricted areas. There are many websites and mobile apps that allow you to find circuits suited to your desires and abilities. The FQCQ website has a superb interactive map that can greatly help you. The iQuad mobile app as well.

Respect the Law and the Code as Well as the Rules of Civility

Do not drive too fast, do not make unnecessary noise, do not degrade the environment, do not hinder other users, etc. A responsible off-road vehicle driver is one who respects nature and others. By doing so, they contribute to preserving natural spaces and promoting dialogue with residents and authorities. It is much easier for clubs to negotiate passage rights afterwards.

Wear Protective Gear.

Equip yourself with a helmet, gloves, goggles, boots, etc. In case of a fall or accident, this can prevent serious injuries. Proper equipment also allows you to be more comfortable and confident on your vehicle. However, one should not be overconfident! There are different types of equipment depending on the type of vehicle and the type of driving you practise. A person on a motocross bike will not have the same equipment as a person on an ATV.

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Do Not Go Alone

Inform someone of your itinerary and your expected return time. Bring a charged mobile phone and a first aid kit. In case of any issues, you can call for help or attend to yourself. It is also more enjoyable and safer to ride in a group or with a partner. This way, you can share your experiences, tips, and emotions. I also bring along a small compressor and tire plugs for potential punctures. Personally, I sometimes even bring a spare tire. Food and water can also be a good idea.

By following these tips, you can make the most of your off-road vehicle and the return of spring. It is the perfect time to discover or rediscover the beauty of nature and the thrills of off-road driving. So, don’t wait any longer! Take your vehicle out of the garage and embark on an adventure!

The Various Off-Road Vehicles

But that’s not all! If you want to learn more about off-road vehicles, their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages, I invite you to read on in this article. I will present to you the different types of off-road vehicles that exist and that I am familiar with, their specificities, strengths, and weaknesses. I will also give you some tips for choosing the vehicle that best suits your needs and desires. This list only includes the “summer” vehicles that I own or have owned to remain honest. There is a wide variety of off-road vehicles that stand out for their size, power, manoeuvrability, comfort, price, etc.

The Quad (or ATV)

A quad is a four-wheeled vehicle that can accommodate one or two people. It is easy to drive and adapts to all types of terrain. It is ideal for beginners or individuals looking for a versatile and fun vehicle. There are quads of different engine sizes, ranging from 50 cc to 1000 cc. The price of a quad varies from $1,500 to $25,000 depending on the model and condition. If you add tracks to it, it can add at least an additional $5,000.

The Motorcycle

The motorcycle is a two-wheeled vehicle that can accommodate one or two people. It is faster and more agile than a quad, but also more demanding in terms of control and balance. It is ideal for individuals looking for a sporty and dynamic vehicle. There are motorcycles in different categories, such as motocross bikes, trial bikes, rally bikes, and enduro bikes. The price of a motorcycle varies from $1,000 to $30,000, depending on the model and condition. It should be noted that motorcycles are not accepted in all clubs in Quebec. Also, one must remember the issues related to insurance, like on May 1, 2023, when the off-road motorcycle federation (FQMHR) had to suspend sales due to an insurance problem.

Making the Right Choice of Tires for Your Quad

The Side-by-Side (or UTV)

It is a four-wheeled vehicle that can accommodate from two to six people. It is more comfortable and spacious than a quad or a motorcycle, but it is also heavier and bulkier. It is ideal for individuals looking for a more family-oriented off-road vehicle, often more robust. The performance of the new turbo engines makes the driving experience really exciting! CAUTION! The price of a side-by-side varies between $10,000 and $60,000, depending on the model and condition. Personally, this is my choice, but it’s a matter of taste.

In Conclusion

In the end, it is important to remember a few key points. Caution above all and at all times! Remember to respect the requirements of the law. Remain courteous and respectful of both the environment and the people who are out enjoying it. In short, if everyone does their part, we may possibly cross paths on the many trails of Quebec very soon.

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