Don’t Underestimate Me


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Manda Rasmussen-Clauson

Lately I have been pumping out some vague posts on my Instagram so I apologize if it has been driving you nuts. Well, I’m not all that sorry. It has been a hell of a week to keep silent, but I am ready to share!

Hmmm…what’s this new adventure? 

Back Story

About a year ago, Ox told me his dream of owning his own business. Naturally, I was intrigued and the entrepreneur came out in me. For sometime before we got together, he has always wanted to ride motorcycle for a living. He has always wanted to be his own boss (and I don’t blame him). As his woman, and a major type A, researching, planner – I worked with him over the past year devising a business and marketing plan. Mapped out his website and social media accounts… and with the wonderful work from Hannah (from Midwest Business Adventures) we now have….

Visit our website & social media accounts (FB @winteroakmotoadv & IG @wo_moto_adv)

WinterOak Moto Adventures

Our mission is to provide an off-road adventure through the trails of the third coast.  Our vision is to network and support local small businesses who share in the dream of no trace camping and respecting our natural surroundings.

So what does it take to ride with WinterOak Moto Adventures?

Simply put for those who do not ride, it takes a motorcycle that can go on and off road through some tough terrain. They are known as a dual-sport motorcycles. There are many different styles, brands and sizes of off road bikes. For Ox, he went with a 2001 BMW R1150 GS, and fell in love.

Being the Type A that I am, the research began! Ox has been riding motorcycle for a long time – on & off road. With all the plans, and not being able to do tours 2 up (meaning a rider and a passenger) – there was a decision to be made.

To Ride or Not to Ride?

As you can guess from my previous social media and blog posts – I opted to ride. No way was I going to be left behind to do all the business stuff. I work hard and play hard! However, during my research and learning there wasn’t much confidence in me. When asking for some thoughts and opinions from other riders, here are some of the comments I received:

Someone I came across early on in my research was Jocelin Snow. Not only is she a female rider, she is only 5’1″, rides a BMW R1250 GS and is the BMW Trophy Winner. I have been following her for sometime now on IG. Recently she posted the following image with a very helpful caption. However, the comment someone made with her reply was the most helpful in the most recent days!

Jocelin Snow

@feisty_3368 congratulations on your new bike!! You didn’t ask my opinion but I hope you don’t mind me sharing… I had a DRZ, great bikes! I have tried lowering bikes in the past, and what I found was that they feel heavier and they take more work and energy to ride. I think it throws off the geometry of the bike when the rake and trail change with the height adjustment. I also tried low seats in the past, which I also feel added to fatigue and cramping legs, especially when sitting. When I finally gave up on lowering bikes, things got easier.
Confidence is key. ☺️🤗

If you read my previous blog post How I’ve Spent My Quarantine from April, you will know that I have only been on a bike ONCE. I have been a passenger but until then, never a rider. All thanks to the collaboration between WinterOak Moto Adventures, NaturalTrek Travel & Midwest Business Adventures that has all changed….

Needless to say, I was more than thrilled to start learning how to ride! Absolutely terrified yet more excited than words can describe!

Learning to Ride

The day after my bike arrived Ox gave me my first REAL lesson. Instead of giving me the key and saying “go” we took this one micro step at a time. Because the bike is big (my shocks are factory set as low as they go), there is a learning curve I have to follow. The Instagram post Jocelin Snow has above was about “The Dog On a fire Hydrant.” Talking about that one leg is all it takes to hold up such a big bike.

Jocelin – I very much look forward to your Short Riders – Tall Bikes series on YouTube! Thank you for being such a great influence for new and female riders!

Manda Clauson

Her post is so important because it is where we started. I had to learn how to take the weight of the bike, find the balance and my tipping point. For about 45 minutes Ox had me run “drills” on balancing the bike both on and off of it. In addition, he had me practice mounting and dismounting it. Together, I found out the easiest and safest way to pull up the side kickstand as well as how to put it down, despite being vertically challenged. The first day my engine was never on.

Riding Day

The second day was a whole new ball game. More confident and comfortable, I started out with my “drills”. Ox, with more confidence than I said – “You ready? Let’s turn her on.” I about $#i+ myself.

Here we go.


Ox taught me how to start up my bike. And like any good man and father, he was right next to me as I started to ever so gently let go of the clutch. Right away, I killed the bike. Due to the front caliper slightly sticking and being on the grass, I needed to learn how to give it a little throttle at the same time. After an hour or so of attempting to going in a line, finding the release of the clutch, trying to feel the right about of throttle, and a few good drops – it was time for lunch.

During lunch, I watched a few videos on how to pick up my bike. Ox knew there were videos of women doing it. So I watched a few and he looked up the weight of my bike. Guess how much it weighs? Over 530 lbs!

That was intimidating as well. As shown above, someone said that they wouldn’t ride a bike they couldn’t pick up. Well, now for the real test. Get back on and the next time I fall – pick it up.

That is exactly what I did. Ox being the best man ever, was right there and I told him not to help. It was crazy that once I found “the spot” how smooth it was picking it up – ON MY OWN. He cheered me on the entire time. It was an amazing feeling! That afternoon for a few hours I only dropped my bike 4 times and picked it up on my own, each time.

Don’t Believe Me?

Check out the video Ox took. Sadly, he didn’t catch my fall but he recorded my pick up!

Bruised, Not Broken

Even though I was on grass and wearing a helmet (despite the 85 degree heat), I still was a little beat up from all the falls. Not to mention all the new ways I was using my muscles! Hope to have that 6 pack here soon…. JK.

However, don’t worry so much. BMW have opposed twin cylinders. In addition, most of the time out riding off road I will have my paneers (aka bags) on the sides with my lower crash bars to protect the engine. The nice touch to all of those is that with falling, it creates a narrow dome for my leg so it is not crushed. Not that it couldn’t be but it is less likely too.

Still Learning

Although, I am in the learning phase I am sooo excited to be doing this. I am determined to learn on this bike. I am not without the realization that it will take a lot of time and practice. Nor will I ever be a Jocelin Snow. But for what Ox and I want to do…I am motivated to go and enjoy the ride.

Thanks for reading! Until next time, rubber side down.

Manda Clauson

Manda Rasmussen-Clauson

Manda Rasmussen-Clauson

Despite working in many different industries, she has a true passion of doing anything outside. Homesteading is becoming Manda’s new reality, she has much to learn but is excited to do so.


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