Why buy an ATV?

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This weekend, I spent some time talking with Dan Sullivan, farmer and founder of the Richfield Springs Community Food Co-Op about his country culture journey, which is the epitome of escaping the big city to follow one’s passion. (Look for Dan’s story in an upcoming post here on the website!) He mentioned how resourceful and truly self-sufficient a person needs to be out here, where your neighbors – or mechanics – may be miles away. During one of Upstate New York’s infamous lake effect snowfalls, his snow blower broke. Rather than worry about it in the moment, he simply hooked a plow up to his tractor and got the job done.

Not everyone has the need for something as big as a tractor, though, and that’s why ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) are so useful. There are a ton of different sizes from a number of different manufacturers available, and they can be used for everything from general recreation to hauling small loads to plowing snow. BoostATV.com lists 46 different uses for an ATV!

Owning an ATV includes maintaining it.

There are important things to consider before investing in an ATV, however, with the first and foremost being price. Think of a four-wheeler as a smaller vehicle; put in the same amount of research and effort as you would before buying a new car or truck. What features do you need for your ATV? Would it be worth it to buy new, or should you find a used model? Some new ATVs can be as much as $10,000, so take your time to find the right one to spend your hard-earned money on. If you opt to purchase used, consider taking a small engine repair course or an ATV-specific repair course so you know how to fix issues that may arise.

Safety is also a critical consideration. The ATV Safety Institute has a goal of promoting the safe and responsible use of ATVs, thereby reducing accidents and injuries that may result from improper ATV operation by the rider. They list their “Golden Rules” as the following:

  • Always wear a DOT-compliant helmet, goggles, long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.
  • Never ride on paved roads except to cross when done safely and permitted by law.
  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV, and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people.
  • Ride an ATV that’s right for the age of the operator.
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys.
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed.
  • Take a hands-on ATV RiderCourseSM and the free online e-course on their website.

(Some states have their own requirements for ATV operation; make sure to check what your locality requires.)

Used properly, an ATV can become your best friend on your farmstead. Just make sure you know what your best friend needs.

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