Trail riding on a CRF250L in Wales
It had been a very dull and frustrating Saturday so, on an impulse, I decided to contact Trail Rides Wales to see if I could join a ride out. The company is based near Llanidloes and is run by Marianne and Colin Walford both of whom have many years’ experience around motorbikes. Luckily, they were heading out on Monday with a couple of riders from Southampton. All I had to do was book a B&B for Sunday night, trailer the Honda CRF250L and get myself over there.
I arrived in the tiny village in mid-Wales on the dark, wet Sunday night. It was great to see the sun the following morning and get a glimpse of the stunning countryside. The two riders from Southampton, Danny and Justin, were on KTMs while Colin was on a Yamaha WR250R to do the guiding. It was exciting to be setting off in new territory as the mist lifted and the whole day lay ahead.
Occasional glimpses of the coastline
The route took us along a variety of trails heading north with occasional glimpses of the coastline. We passed through woods, fields and moorland and since there was nothing too testing it was possible to relax and enjoy the fabulous views. Every so often, Danny’s KTM Exc gave a cough and lost a bit of power but it seemed to recover. The first trail we hit with any real technical challenge was Happy Valley near Machynnleth. After climbing a series of tight, steep bends over loose rocks, the trail flattened out.
Starter gear casing was full of water
Now it was the long, deep puddles that we had to contend with. Just ahead of me, Danny’s KTM stopped again but I rode on past as I didn’t want to interrupt my ‘flow’. It turned out that the KTM had had enough and its starter gear casing was full of water and bits of cra… stuff. Not the first time a KTM has had a starting problem it seems.
Danny and Justin had to return to the road and await rescue by Marianne in the van. They aimed to meet up with us later. That was really unlucky for them because the Happy Valley trail was far and away the best of the day. It continued for another 5 miles and offered ups and downs, loose rocks, off-camber slabby rocks, ruts and fords. Colin gave me some very useful riding tips on momentum and clutch control. I followed his lines and had an absolute blast. The sensation of the bike responding as I shifted the weight on the footpegs was superb. With a strong riding position, looking far ahead and having a confident approach, the Honda seemed to ‘float’ over the obstacles. It was this that left me on a high for the whole of the next day!
A cure for boredom
At Dolgellau, Colin and I stopped for lunch and we met the others, with Danny now on one of the hire bikes. We began to head back south although there was a long distance to cover. I managed an unscheduled dismount on a loose, rocky descent. “Only brake where you know you’ll have some grip” repeated Colin! Justin also came off on some muddy ruts but then he was testing how hard he could brake before he lost the front wheel! Apart from that it was an uneventful return journey. Darkness was closing in as we blasted along the final wide-open trails and made it back to the Trail Rides Wales base. We said our thank yous and goodbyes. The drive back to Leeds passed in a blur. What a great day. It had certainly cured the Saturday black dog and boredom.