Spending time with his family and quad bike

For many high school students, spending a relaxing afternoon playing video games, exercising or  hanging out with family and friends would be an ideal way to destress and bond with family or friends after a long week of school. However, for freshman Nathan Bonilla, video games are not his outlet of stress and family bonding, rather he quad rides over slippery mud or on sandy dunes.

Quad riding is a sport in which riders specialize in riding four wheel, off terrain vehicles. Riders ride through various different locations from beachy sands, shallow waters, streets to the dunes. Bonilla goes quad biking every few months to various locations, from far trips to the Sand dunes in Utah to much more local trips to the shallow beaches in California. During these trips, he spends hours outside with his family which allows him to ride for hundreds of miles. 

“Whenever I am not feeling so well [quad riding] relieves my mind and acts as a stress reliever that helps make me feel good,” Bonilla said. “It helps me get closer to my family, since we get to ride together and spend much more time together.”

Bonilla began quad riding over 12 years ago after learning basic riding skills that his dad had learned as a young adult. He does not often compete with other riders and rather, as he prefers utilizing the time spent to have fun and spend time with his family much more. While riding, Bonilla looks up to his dad as a main source of inspiration.

“[My dad and I] have a very close relationship because we would go riding all the time. My younger brothers also get to come with us so we all get to bond together while riding,” Bonilla said. “I look up to my dad because he is really good [at quad riding] and I enjoy learning newer, riskier and much more dangerous skills from him to make my quad riding journey much more successful”.

Doing well in school is equally as important as having fun on the quad bike. He often spends time during campouts or away from the quad bike during the day to finish his school work. 

“It’s important to finish all of my school work so that I can spend more time out on the field and relaxing,” Bonilla said.

Bonilla helps teach his two younger brothers how to ride a quad bike. He focuses on helping them maintain their balance, showing them when to speed up or slow down, riding in large sand dunes.

“While I was riding, my younger brothers would always watch me ride. I get to ride with them and laugh with them even when we crash,” Bonilla said. “When they got into it, we built a lot of memories that helped us bond and get closer together as siblings”. 

By Samuel Au, Feature editor
Photo courtesy of Nathan Bonilla