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Chapter 1: Introduction to Off-roading

Snapshot: Here is the first chapter in a series about Offroading

The countryside? It is an entirely different class of people who actually take time off from their urban lifestyle to enjoy it. They tear through whatever comes their way, unstoppable, these men and machine sweat blood and fuel. This is only on special few days though, the rest of the time, they spend their time on the roads.

Offroaders come in all shapes and sizes. With paunches, beards, clean shaven, lean, muscular, four wheeled and two wheeled. Yes, I am eqating man and machine here. They toil equally to achieve one goal, make it worthwhile for the driver and the driven, and also a spectacular show for the onlookers.

There are various terrains to challenge you, and different types of vehicles to take them on. The different terrains with varying degrees of difficulty are:

1. Mud trails.

The most messy of the offroading trails are these. The objective with this type of a trail is to frive through them as far and as fast as possible. Without getting stuck, of course. It needs specialized tyres which dig deeper into the clay or mud to reach to the hard surface below. 

2. Cross country.

This is the type of trail where all kinds of terrains are covered. This is usually through uninhabited lands in places such as Africa where vast lands are covered. This includes terrains such as jungle trails, rocky trails and mud trails. 

3. Jungle trails.

This type of trail is through forests, dense forests, light forests, rainforests, etc. This is typically challenging because it is through lots of uncharted lands. Previously used trails don't work for everyone because the vegetation may grow back, trees may fall and block trails, or even may be so narrow that not all cars can pass through.

4. Rock trails.

These are trails which are through lots of rocks and boulders. It is very challenging because there are very limited routes one can take and needs to be precise about what 'line' they follow through the trail. The suspension needs to be tuned in a very particular way to be able to handle a lot of stress and torsion based on the angles that the car has to move on.

5. Sand dunes.

Taking on the desert is the ultimate dream for a large proportion of the offroading enthusiasts. Modifications to the tyres are recommended, with reduced tyre pressure and wider, deeper treads to be able to get one's way through the sand dunes. Tatees is climbing the face (also known as the slipface) of the sand dune. These may be a hundred meters or higher.

The vehicles used for this purpose are Sports Utility Vehicles, Offroading motorcycles and All Terrain Vehicles. Most of the SUVs and ATVs are four wheel drive and have special suspension and tyres to be able to handle various terrains. The motorcycles are stripped down to achieve the minimum weight and maximum power-to-weight ratio. 

The moto that should be followed while driving, whether on-road or off-road is 'Safety First'. To ensure that, properly engineered parts should be used and modifications to any part of the car or bike should be performed by trained professionals. Improperly manufactured parts and bad modification can lead to risks, and can put people in and outside the car in danger. To ensure the safety of others, and for damage control there are a few things that everyone should keep. Here is a list of things that you should keep with you when you go offroading.

1. Full gas tank
2. Tow cable
3. Spare set of tyres
4. Portable air compressor
5. Navigational aids
6. First aid kit
7. Means of communication

Some of the other useful things that an offroader could carry along with them to make it wasier to get out of sticky situations:

1. High lift jack
2. Shovel
3. Spare tanks
4. Fire Extinguisher

Keep an eye out on this space to know more about offroading.

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