Was Boy Scout Law Written by an Off-Roader?

Boy Scout Law governs the conduct of millions of upstanding young men around the world. It’s basically a condensed version of the longer Boy Scout Code of Ethics, which offers specific guidelines for Boy Scouts’ dress and behavior. Despite its brevity — it’s literally just a series of adjectives separated by commas — Boy Scout Law is a highly respected document for aspiring young gentlemen.

And it might as well have been written by an off-road enthusiast.

Seriously. Those “crazy” people on bikes and four-wheelers.

We’ve argued previously that motocross riders aren’t actually crazy or extreme, but that’s almost beside the point. When it comes to living by one’s better angels, upstanding off-road adherents like David DelCollo have plenty in common with Boy Scouts everywhere. Here’s how each of the tenets of Boy Scout Law apply to off-roading — and how you, too, can strive to be a better person on the track and trail.

Trustworthy: Well, this one’s no surprise. Safety demands that off-roaders must be trusted to do things the right way, at the right time, all the time — and they need to trust their fellow enthusiasts to do the same.

Loyal: Off-roaders are loyal to a fault: to their motorcycle brands, their favorite riders and their preferred courses, among much else.

Helpful: In a sport that’s not without its share of danger, off-roading enthusiasts have to be helpful. If you don’t help a fellow rider in a pinch, why should he turn around and help you?

Friendly: Off-roading is a social sport, even if some adherents are a bit rough around the edges. True enthusiasts are quick with a smile and even quicker with a grin.

Courteous: Ever heard of “share the road”? Well, out here it’s “share the trail.” And that’s no platitude.

Kind: Off-roaders are always quick to help out novice riders with useful pointers or friendly warnings. What goes around comes around.

Obedient: Safety regulations and posted signs. ‘Nuff said. What do you think off-roaders are, animals?

Cheerful: What’s more cheering than revving your engine past a crowd of appreciative onlookers (or, you know, on a deserted forest track)? It’s hard not to break into a smile out there.

Thrifty: Off-roading isn’t the cheapest hobby in the world. No matter your station in life, you need to be thrifty to make it pay.

Brave: If the idea of hopping on a four-wheeler or motorbike and gunning it into the woods doesn’t at least give you pause, you might want to rethink your priorities. Of course, the bravery on display at off-road facilities from coast to coast demonstrates that such hesitation is entirely surmountable.

Clean: Not so sure about this one, actually. If you’re serious about off-roading, you’d better be prepared to get dirty. Real dirty. In fact, some off-roaders would argue that the sport’s “cheerful” factor is directly proportional to the “dirty” factor (or inversely proportional to the “clean” factor, as it were).

Reverent: Off-roading is a privilege, not a right. Done properly, it can be a transcendent experience that elevates riders above the ordinary and provides new perspective on the natural world. Maybe that’s why off-roaders are a reverent bunch.

Which Scout value best describes your off-roading philosophy?