Chris Birch should need no introduction to Kiwi adventure or off-road riders. The man is an undisputed legend for good reason. With multiple NZ titles under his belt, winning Red Bull Romaniacs, a successful Dakar rally finish and a sweet gig as KTM's global adventure ambassador he certainly knows how to get the most out of two wheels when the going gets tough.
With the rider's of the world locked in their garages due to Covid-19, Birch has released his “Say No To Slow” series of adventure riding focussed coaching videos online allowing riders to improve their skills from the comfort of home.
The series has been in development for over a year and Birch says that Say No To Slow came about through demand from the community for a DVD style instructional video. The end result is jam-packed with useful tips that riders can practise at home as well as out on the road.
With over three hours of coaching comprising of 16 episodes covering everything from bike set-up to wheelies, foot position to bike recovery, there is little the KTM Adventure Ambassador has not touched on to share his considerable adventure riding knowledge.
With an easy-going format that reflects the personable nature of Birch, Say No To Slow feels more like you’re taking a course in person rather with the man rather than watching a slick instructional video. It’s the tiny hiccups while Birch is delivering his instructions that really give the series a laid back and friendly viewing experience - for the betterment of all.
Birch previously used YouTube to share his global adventures aboard KTMS as well as riding tips, but this time around he has decided to instead use the Vimeo on Demand platform.
“We use Vimeo on Demand to host the series because it was a big investment in time and money to get the series filmed and edited to a high standard, he says. “Using Vimeo on Demand allows us to charge for watching and downloading it. If we were to give it away on YouTube the ad revenue would not even cover the cost of filming the series let alone the hours and days of editing so it would not have been possible to make the videos or we would have had to do it a lot quicker and of a lower quality. My hope is that people don't mind paying a little if the value for money is high.”
On first viewing, the value is certainly there, especially when you factor in you “own” the film once you have paid the fee. That means you can not only watch it on the Vimeo platform as much as you like but can also download Say No to Slow in .mp4 format to save to your computer or tablet.
Birch already runs his own in-person rider training courses, but with the country in the midst of fighting Covid-19 Say No To Slow has landed at the perfect time to not only help us fight boredom but prepare those of us planning on heading out with the man himself.
“I hope that the video series will work well with the in-person coaching, Birch says. “If people coming to the courses have already watched the video we can push through a day faster and get even more information across and more improvement.”
Birch isn’t expecting everyone who watches the series to sign up for a day of coaching, however.
“Another reason for the video series is it will help riders that I can't get to. I get requests for schools from all over the planet, and often it's not possible for me to get to these countries. This video series will at least let me help those riders in some way. At the time of writing this, it's been purchased in seventy-nine countries, so that seems to be working.”
While he’s currently known for his work with KTM and their Adventure bikes – putting riders on enduro bikes to shame at times – if the Adventure series is a success Birch says he’ll look to expanding it to other off-road disciplines.
“I think dirt bike riders would get a lot out of watching the ADV series as at the end of the day it's riding motorcycles off-road and the techniques are very similar.”
Say No To Slow is available for purchase and download from Vimeo.com (vimeo.com/ondemand/saynotoslow/) for the bargain price of US $35, which is about $58. We reckon it is definitely money well spent.