Trail Riding In Wales – Off-road Motorbikes

This had been recommended by some of my TRF friends. It was set up nearly three years ago by Rob Morris, former competitive motocrosser, rider extraordinaire. You can’t always judge a man by his ability to pull a wheelie but I find it is a fairly reliable guide! Rob is based in Llangollen, Wales and he leads groups on his KTM out into the fabulous Welsh countryside for absolutely cracking trail riding.

Sunday

My friend and I drove over from Leeds to join some other riders – Anne, Squid and Matt for a day with Rob. It turned out that I was the only one who didn’t race enduro. Ah well, back of the bunch as usual. Anne and Squid were riding KTM EXCs. Matt and Ed were on the Yamaha WR. I was trying out another bike from the AJP range, this time the PR4 200cc.

Rob has a fleet of bikes for hire

Mainly KTMs, but he will be replacing the AJP with the new Beta XTrainer. The engine is a detuned two-stroke enduro 300 RR. It is seen as a really good all-around dirt bike and has been well-reviewed in the motorcycling press. I would be very interested in giving that a try…

Trail riders in Wales

The weather was clear and sunny

The trails were dry and dusty. We set off in happy anticipation and I started to adapt to the PR4. Narrower, lighter and with harsher suspension than I am used to, it took me a while to settle down and feel comfortable. I also realised when I hit the first demanding trail that I had forgotten how to ride in the few weeks since I last rode! It was a sloppy, rocky descent. It usually ends badly when the delicate instrument system that is the handlebars becomes a rail to grimly cling onto.

The sorry side effect was that I had the accelerator in a death grip and was travelling faster and faster while flailing around to find the rear brake. I took a flyer over the bars and landed on the bank at the side of the lane. I got away with bruising and only mild swearing. The bike was unharmed. Rob calmly helped me while the rest of the group waited patiently at the bottom of the lane.

Trail riding in Wales

A tricky, rocky and wet climb

Followed which had all of us losing contact with our footpegs and flapping around. The next challenge was a climb with a series of rocky steps which bounced me all over the trail and finally into the banking. Although I didn’t come off, this was the point where I decided that trail riding is way too hard for me and it also hurts my knees! I should give it up.

Trail rider Hondahontas admiring the views

We had some lunch at a roadside café

I resolved not to be such a wimp. Anne was very encouraging and urged me to stick with it and look at different bikes. The afternoon trails led us over some superb high moors. There were plenty of other trail riders around, mostly on orange bikes! The rest of the day passed very pleasantly and without incident except when Anne, who rides like a demon, cross-rutted and flew off as the bike stopped abruptly. She got away with a twisted neck and moderate to severe swearing. She also hurt her jaw but as Rob drily remarked while she continued to complain “You haven’t hurt it that much…”

Another great day. Time spent riding off road is never wasted. Although it can be difficult…

Hondahontas

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