When riding in a group (of any size) the group leader (or the group as a collective) needs to identify the sled with the least amount of range. Why? Because you need to know where your â€œpoint of no returnâ€ is, or halfway point. When your sleds start to run out of gas, the fun ends and the real work begins.
Normally, a group leader will identify how his gas gauge stacks up against the sled (or rider) with the heavy throttle, and will estimate how far out they can go before needing to turn around. Often, having to head back into town or to a gas station takes you out of the prime riding and back into traffic, or a less desirable experience. Not having to waste time filling and worrying about gas makes for a far more enjoyable ride. This applies to trail riding and boondocking – trail riding, mileage per tank is far more consistent. When boondocking, it is often a matter of how much playing you’re doing than miles logged. Ever notice how it’s usually the same joker that runs out of gas first?
This is why we like to carry a couple of extra gallons on as many of our sleds as possible. If these couple of gallons can get you all the way back in if one sled runs out, all the better. The group leader will start to get very nervous when half of the extra reserve gas has been used and you’re still not back in yet.
Taken a step further, it is far easier to ride two-up back into town than it is to ride three per sled. We know. This means you never really want any more than one half of your sleds to run out of gas. This should be your absolute limit, it’s ours. In extreme cases when we get lost (not often, but it happens – like the time we were off the map south of McCall, Idaho – you guys who were with on that ride know who you are!)
Each rider needs to know how many gallons their sled takes when bone-dry. That way, you can follow the miles logged and gallons consumed and have a pretty good idea on each and every day what kind of range you will have as the first tank is being consumed. For example, you know your sled takes ten gallons after it ran out and stopped.
It’s not uncommon for us to have to tow a sled in on occasion, often several times per year, but we’re limit seekers; it’s our job, to a point. We need to determine the range of a sled compared to others. In this quest, we have learned to stretch our rides to the limit, and past. Experience has shown us that having more range is always a good thing, because having no gas left means the fun is over, the exploring needs to be stopped, the group must turn around. Bummer. No gas = no fun.