I’ve always believed that riding motorcycles, in whatever form should at the very least be enjoyable. Of course there are lots of occasions when that isn’t the case, such as in freezing temperatures and driving rain…but on the whole riding bikes gives you a sense of fun, adventure and freedom that is seldom found in other modes of transport.
For experienced riders may welcome inclement weather and dress appropriately for the conditions. The challenging conditions can still be ‘fun’ but most would agree that a bright day and dry roads would always be the first choice. However whilst dry conditions when going off road onto dirt tracks and byways to get your green laning fix might seem the logical step too, there is also great joy to be had in the sticky mud on a winter’s day…especially with knobbly tyres.
But…let’s not forget the fun element which is all important. As in yesterday when I spent most of the day on the dirt and managed to come across lots of routes that were dry farm tracks or hard compacted byways without any ruts. It was leisurely riding and not too technical either which allowed me to take in the scenery a lot more too.
This was the perfect type of riding, I thought, that would be suitable for anyone with little or no experience of riding off road. All the elements are there…dirt, tracks, countryside and isolation, forestry and open plains…but it would allow anyone with any bike and on any kind of tyre to access with relatively little fuss or risk.
Many people might like the thought of green laning until they actually do it, then find it was more of a challenge than they had bargained for. But the reality is that most negativity stems from choosing the wrong routes, going beyond the rider’s capability and experience and at the wrong time of year.
I always think that if I had to take my partner out on the back of the bike…would I go off road? Yes, but I would choose flat, compacted routes in dry conditions. Would I lead a tour of inexperienced riders onto green lanes just to give them the exposure? Yes, again mainly flat and compacted tracks in dry conditions to begin with. Would I take the rutted routes if I want an easy going ride into the countryside? Not really, and certainly not with inexperienced riders in tow.
You hear of horror stories of riders and pillions going on organised rides, whether on tarmac or dirt roads…and coming away not having enjoyed it and more crucially being put off from doing it again. So the key here is in the choices we make and the tours or routes taken.
Certainly for inexperienced off road riders or those lacking confidence, then choosing the least technical routes is the way to go…and preferably with some stunning scenery thrown in, will help too. Of course there are those riders that might come away thinking it was all too easy for them…but then that acts as a benchmark to try the more difficult tracks in the future.
I would always keep in mind that most riders do not own enduro bikes with knobbly tyres. They do not own all the MotoX clothing, pads and boots…so to encourage people to get into this kind of riding…they would normally start with their own road bikes, road going tyres and their normal riding gear…so it’s logical to give them an off road experience that can be accomplished by inexperienced dirt riders on road going bikes.
Riders should never forget the fun factor of riding off the tarmac and off the beaten track but be mindful that if the challenge becomes too much for the rider’s experience…then it can soon turn into an experience they’d sooner forget. Keep the riding simple, take the easy options and routes first, ride really slowly…to ensure the stability of the ride and to take in the scenery too and try not to do too much on the first outing out. Take lots of breaks and enjoy the overall experience first…perhaps even stop off halfway around and have a picnic. Whatever your fancy, enjoy it!