Christmas gift ideas for people who love ATVs

Thursday , November 30, 2017 - 12:00 AM

LYNN R. BLAMIRES, Standard-Examiner Columnist

There is nothing quite like the Christmas season. As soon as the clocks change and the days get shorter, Black Friday is upon us and we are in the full swing of the shopping holidays.

With it comes the angst of gift-giving. What does angst mean? Well, it is the opposite of calm and happiness. If you have an ATV rider on your list let me offer some ideas that might help.

A Tow Strap: Riding an ATV comes with the chance of breaking down in the backcountry. It is the reason that it is important to never ride alone. I have pulled people out of mud holes and I have pulled broken-down machines back to the staging area. A winch will work for pulling a machine out of a difficult spot, but a strap is better for towing. I have a 15-foot tow rope, but I would prefer the length to be 20 feet. If I am pulling someone, I want a greater margin of safety in case I have to stop quickly. A 20-foot tow strap costs about $30.

Jumper Cables: When ATVs first came on the market they all had backup starting systems. If the battery died there was a kick or a pull starter that would get you out of a pickle.

That was also when the engines were smaller. With the advent of engines in the 700 to 1,000 cc class, the pull starters became impractical. I carry a set of ATV jumper cables. They are not bulky like the cables used for starting a truck or car and run about $15.

Riding Jerseys: As a rule, ATVs don’t come with loud horns, so riders make up for that by wearing jerseys with loud colors. Don’t call it a shirt – it is a riding jersey and it is made to breathe.

They are also made to get attention. I have a friend from Arizona who wears old dress shirts on the trail. I haven’t converted him yet to the fun of wearing colorful jerseys while riding. A jersey will run about $20.

Cooling Bandanas: One of the least expensive ways to stay comfortably cool while riding is to wear a cooling bandana. These are worn around the neck and are embedded with crystal beads that are activated when soaked in water. The blood passing through your neck will cool down the rest of your body when wearing one of these. The cloth will stay cool for about four hours and is easily reactivated. The cost is about $5.

UTV Handhold: When riding in a UTV, an extra handhold is welcome. They attach anywhere on the roll cage, and while there is a built-in hand hold for the passenger’s right hand, a second one for the left hand is, well, handy. It will also make getting in and out of the UTV easier. They run about $20.

Low-Pressure Tire Gauge: One of the first things I do when preparing to go out on the trail is check the pressure in my ATV tires. A regular tire gauge is not sensitive enough — a low-pressure gauge is required. I run 7 lbs. in my ATV tires, but my UTV requires 11 lbs. in the front and 16 lbs. in the back tires. There are stick-type gauges, but a dial-type gauge is easier to read. When shopping for a dial gauge, make sure that it will measure up to 20 lbs. pressure. I have extra gauges because I am always losing them. A stick gauge costs about $5 while dial gauges are more expensive at $7-$15. 

Tire Repair Kit: I never go out on the trail without a way to fix a flat. A repair kit comes with a reamer to clean the hole and plunger to set the plug, along with a supply of plugs. A kit will cost about $10. You also need a way to inflate the flat once it fixed. A compact compressor can cost as little as $15.

When you go, take plenty of water, keep the rubber side down, and drop these hints for a Merry Christmas.

You can email Lynn Blamires at quadmanone@gmail.com.

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