Jerry Bens, from Regina, Saskatchewan, has been riding since the early '90s. He got into the sport with his late cousin who lived in Calgary. “We used to go out sledding and ATVing in the mountains,” he said. “We did all kinds of backwoods activities.”
At the time, Bens rode his cousin’s ATV. It was in 2009, after his cousin passed away, that he bought his own 2009 Honda Rancher 420. “I was in my years where the kids had left the house,” he said. “My wife and I started doing our own activities. I always really enjoyed it, so I bought a quad and away we went.”
The Rancher’s first big ride was from Joffre, Alberta, to Top of the World Provincial Park for a memorial ride for his cousin. “After that I kept going.”
Now Bens rides a 2015 Honda Rubicon Deluxe, which he likes for its reliability. “It’s a comfortable ride and handles well,” he said. “The biggest thing about buying this bike is that it doesn’t have a belt like other ATVs.” Instead, his bike has a five-speed dual clutch transmission that Honda uses in their racing bikes. “I think that’s more reliable because I don’t have to worry about a belt breaking. With Hondas, I haven’t had problems on the trail compared to buddies riding other quads.”
A YouTube star
Bens puts about 1,500 kilometres on his quad each year. Many of those miles are recorded on his Quadding Sous YouTube channel. Bens started filming his quad trips with his friends who lived in Calgary. He would drive out from Regina to ride around the mountains, camping each night for a week. While everyone shared photos, he wanted a way to share his videos. He posted his videos to YouTube so his friends could have access to them.
One of the crew crossing Law Creek Bridge — Photo courtesy Jerry Bens
When Bens first started uploading his videos to his YouTube channel, he came across a community of other people posting similar riding recaps. “I thought that was really neat!” he said. “I decided that everyone else was sharing their experience, so I made mine public. The next thing I knew, I had 3,000 subscribers. It’s a lot of fun.”
His main goal is to make these videos for his friends as keepsakes of his trips. “My friends absolutely love it because they get to relive the trip,” he said. “And I’m blown away by the subscribers.” People from all over the world watch his rides, asking questions about his trail routes, the tires he likes best and the GPS units he uses. “I like talking about that stuff, and I’m a very chatty person,” Bens said.
Where Jerry rides
The terrain around Regina isn’t necessarily ideal for those who like to ride in the wild, so Bens drives about four hours to reach the forest. His favourite spots include Nisbet Provincial Forest, Delaronde Lake, the Capasin railbed, Narrow Hills Provincial Park and Candle Lake.
He will drive his camper out and rip around on his ATV from there. “We don’t like staying in campgrounds because it isn’t legal to drive your ATV in and out of the campgrounds,” he said. Instead, he and his friends backcountry camp, sometimes driving far enough north to hit the Canadian Shield. Other times they hang out around Saskatoon. You can check out his quad trips and routes on his YouTube channel.
The quads on the trail to Canwood Forest — Photo courtesy Jerry Bens
ATV: 2015 Honda Rubicon Deluxe
Bragging rights: 3,000 YouTube subscribers
Ride recommendation: Anywhere in Northern Saskatchewan