Whenever I’m out and about riding the byways, there are thousands of options to ride bridleways and footpaths but unfortunately these are not allowed by motorised vehicle. Boo Hiss!
However, there are countless times when on byways that I find trails that are simply not marked on maps or are co located over public tracks that yearn to be explored.
Over the past few months, it is these trails that I have tended to ride and go explore. Not only because it is something new and I hope that it will take me to amazing places, but the notion that you simply are forbidden to ride trails whilst not doing any harm to anyone or anything is a bit alien to me.
Now I must temper this enthusiasm by stating that I’m not suggesting everyone abandon the byways and go seek out forbidden tracks, but simply to state there is ample opportunity to get off the beaten track especially in the summer months.
So today was a case in point. I headed along a byway close to where I live because it should have taken me close to the river and I thought I would be able to track it along to another village where I had planned to stop for a coffee and a delicious slice of carrot cake!
However the trail went cold within a mile or so, and whilst it was still enjoyable, it was too short lived for my liking. However it was a good exercise in get out there and seeing where it gets you.
I make lots of riding videos for my YouTube channel: Revelator Alf, but it would be easy to look at those videos and think that I picked perfect trails everyday and never put a foot wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Indeed I make as many duff videos as I do successful ones and many of the trails I find are nothing more than a quick spur to a dead end. Sometimes these are included in the published videos but many times they are not. I doubt many people would find my swearing and frustrations that endearing, but it does happen.
The point of this tale is to tell the whole story and not simply cover the highlights, albeit there are lots to consider.
After my failed attempt this morning I got onto another backroad from the opposite end and it turned out to be a cracking little ride too. Of course the glorious September sunshine helped enormously but nonetheless it was great to filter my way through riverside properties and over narrow bridges partially covered by Weeping Willow trees.
So then it was back to the main road and off to the cafe to eventually have a break. However no sooner had I ridden a half mile down the road did I notice a track that went off into the forests and hills…and considered it should be investigated.
This was the beginning of an unplanned adventure that took me deep into the woods with countless trails that were not marked but were no more than footpaths.
The problem being that the trail seemed to end in places but the maps didn’t really give me much information either. I knew I was faced with a network of footpaths, bridleways and byways, but they were all so close to each other and zig zagged over one another too, it was easy to get lost.
And so it came to be. I ended up picking countless trails that ended in dead ends. Up steep climbs and down descents. Across dry stream beds and tall, twisting and knotted tree roots. It was a bit of a challenge at one point to find a path out of there, but eventually I managed to find a trail that took in the right direction.
Eventually climbing to the top of the tree covered hill and then down the other side. The weather was amazing, the colours were breathtaking and I was getting rather hot beneath all of my biking gear too.
These are the kinds of rides I love to go on. Never quite sure if I’m in the right place. Avoiding the no go trails when I can but using them when necessary to get me out of a bind.
I often say to myself that I wish there was a change in the law so that motorcycles were allowed to ride bridleways. Not all year round and with tight restrictions so that horses could be kept safe etc. Because there are endless trails that go through stunning scenery and they are seldom used on a regular basis.
Of course you would have to ensure that riders were responsible and possibly there would need to be some kind of registration process to get a permit that would allow you o ride but also be able to identify you if there is a problem, but I feel there would be so many advantages to letting bikes ride tails if only in the summer months.
Anyway, suffice to say that my ride today was unprepared but was pretty awesome too. I met many trail blocks but that is what adventure riding is all about really. Just chugging along, feeling your way and seeing some truly great sights.
I shall be doing it again and again and again but time is running out before the winter sludge arrives so best I get in as many as I can now.
By the way, I never did have that coffee either. I eventually made it there but being a Monday, it was closed. Typical!