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Going for a run down a waterslide with your bike is not fun. Here are some tips to staying upright on slippery creek beds.

With winter fast approaching you may start to notice the creek beds in your local riding area are getting wetter and wetter. And with the cooler weather those creek beds have less time to dry out meaning sometimes they have water on them all day and night. This can lead to a very slippery surface that can be like black ice for us dirtbike riders.

We asked ADB’s Enduro Editor Geoff Braico for some pointers on how he stayed upright through this slippery creek bed while racing a while back.

  1. Slow down!

If you try to hit a slippery creek bed with the same speed you’d hit a dry one you’re likely to hit the deck. Try knocking off 30% of your speed so you are in a little more control. If you hit a wet creek bed flat out and it has edges like this one the back-end could buck and step out sideways. But also remember, building speed once already in a slippery creek bed is also hard.

  1. Stand up

By standing up you can let the bike move around you as it slips and slides. Try and stay loose and don’t tighten up, gripping the handlebar too tight. Keep your chin over the handlebar and only apply small amounts of linear throttle. Hover over the clutch and brake in case you have to catch it.

  1. Stay agile

Bending your knees and your hips and moving around on the bike will help counter balance the bike if it suddenly slips. Do not lock your legs out and ride stiff, you will definitely crash.

  1. Get off your arse

This trick is best performed standing up. If you sit down your centre of gravity may be lower but you have no way of counter-balancing the bike when it decides to step out. If you simply can’t stand up, get ready to use your legs like skis.

  1. Remain composed

I see so many people panic in slippery creek beds because hitting rocks with your elbow or shoulder hurts and it can happen in half a second. Try not to panic if you are slipping all over the place, try to look ahead of your front wheel and focus on the areas where it is dry or you can get out. Look down at your own peril!

Front-end wash

The most common way to crash in a slippery creek bed is to wash the front end out. The other way to end up sliding down the creek like you’re at Wet ‘n’ Wild is with too much throttle.

Here are some tips to avoid either of those:

  • Weight the front – If you’re sitting over the arse of the bike in a slippery creek bed, you are sure to wash the front wheel. When standing, get as far forward as you can.
  • Avoid the front brake – If you can, try not to use the front brake as locking it up will wash the front wheel. Try to use the engine braking to slow down and if you have to brake be very light and use both front and back.
  • Easy boy – Try to run a tall gear so the bike isn’t revving as hard. This will not only be easier to control but will mean if you’re rear wheel gets light, it doesn’t spin up as quick.


With Geoff Braico and Mitch Lees





Trailriding or enduro racing


Start by approaching the creek very slowly and build your speed from there.


Bigger blokes will find their weight harder to counter balance


Don’t go too fast or you’re likely to need a new collarbone.


Surviving a slippery creek bed doesn’t look cool but you will save a heap of time and pain.