Ruben Rivera

Taking a detour

As he steps into his quad, helmet on and hands gripping the gears, it’s clear that freshman Ruben Rivera knows a thing or two about wandering off the beaten path.

Rivera’s father’s step father introduced him to all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding. His first experience with the sport took place at the age of two when he sat in the back of his parents’ razor, a small, open car with thick wheels. Since then, Rivera has traveled to deserts such as Ocotillo Wells during school breaks to ride over pitted terrain.

“We’ll go to the desert and [have] everyone on their quads [four-wheelers] just to go out on big rides and have fun,” Rivera said. “When I was little, I really liked ATV riding, so I kept asking my parents if I could go. They started getting into it too, and it just became something we do.”

ATV riding started out as a hobby enjoyed occasionally by some members of Rivera’s family.  However, as its popularity grew, Rivera’s parents, grandparents and family friends joined him on his ATV trips.  These trips now allow Rivera to spend more time with them and bond over this shared passion.

“I’ve gotten closer to my dad’s step dad since I’ve started ATV.  When I was little, he would let me borrow his quad, and I’d talk to him about it,” Rivera said. “I just find it fun to spend time with everyone.”

As Rivera’s ATV skills advanced, he began riding solo in a quad while his parents remained on razors. He looks forward to continue improving and carry on the tradition because he enjoys how riding clears his mind and turns his focus on the obstacles directly before him.

“[ATV] does show something special about my family. I think it’s cool that my family’s willing to spend money and time to take us riding,” Rivera said. “[The sport] makes me feel like I’m having a good time because I’m doing something I love.”

By Tara Kulshrestha, Staff writer
Photo Courtesy of Ruben Rivera