Thirty years on motorbikes and then you buy your first trail bike. It's like going back to school and then realising that you've just discovered the most fun you can have on two wheels. Ask new TRF member Mike O'Connor...

TRF:

Hi Mike. Great to catch you on a day you’re not off riding! What was it that swayed you into buying a Trail bike?

Mike:

I bought my first ever Trail bike just before Xmas 2016. I’ve been riding bikes (road) or over 30 years, and getting a trail bike was on my bucket list. So, in December I went out and bought a WR450. Take note - this isn’t the best bike for a newbie, as I found out on my first couple of rides (too powerful). Now I had the bike I just needed to figure out was where I could ride it.

TRF:

Trail riding has a way of capturing the imagination. What drew you to the TRF at this stage in your riding life?

Mike:

I recalled seeing adverts for the TRF at motorcycle shows and online so I thought they should be able to point me in the right direction. I paid my £45 subscription and became a member of the TRF and selected Herts as my local group. I was made aware of an Xmas charity ride taking place on the 27th of December. It was advertised as suitable for all levels of experience, so I applied for a place. I remember riding onto my first ever green lane and standing up on the foot pegs for the first time. All my years of motorcycling experience disappeared and I had no idea what was going on below me.

The bike was bouncing around like it had a life of its own. I was hooked. The surreal sight of all the Santa’s around me made it a day to remember. The amount of cheery waves from the public was something I’ll not forget - I now know how Santa really delivers your presents.

 
 

TRF:

So, you’re based in Herts but you’ve been riding all over the place. Have the TRF Events been a good way to get out and explore?

Mike:

I decided the best way to improve my riding was to grasp the nettle (sometimes literally), so I decided to get on as many local rides as I could. I quickly realised that Herts TRF are a very active group. I attended as many ride outs which were local to me. My 4th every ride in early January introduced me to a special kind of mud…

I then started to look at rides further afield from Herts so I booked myself on the numerous TRF organised events durning the year. I attended the; ICENI (Norfolk & Suffolk), Wessex Wander, Hereford, Hadrian's Wall (Northumbria), as well as rides in the Peak District, Wales, and two trips to in to central France. All of these rides provided different riding challenges from rocks to wet mud to slippery chalk, all of them having amazing scenery. 2016 has seen me do over 3000 miles on the green lanes and an upgrade of bike to a KTM 450exc.

TRF:

Getting on a trail bike for the first time can be a bit of a daunting experience. How did you find it? Any tips for other newbies?

Mike:

Northumberland Hadrian Adventure

Peak District

I’ve always wanted to ride a trail bike but never got round to getting one. I now wish I’d done it 30 years ago. If you are thinking about it I would suggest don’t hesitate and go and do it.

Hertfordshire

France
You can start out by buying cheap, both bike and protective gear, and then trade up if you get bitten by the bug. What hobby gives you a full day out on your bike, a proper workout, improves your riding skills all with having a great laugh, all for the price of a tank of fuel. Also, the places you can get too on the bike can not be matched by any other form of transport. Whats not to like?

TRF:

So, what’s next on the agenda? Looking forward to winter?

Mike:

The great thing about the trails bike and riding with the TRF is winter doesn’t get in the way. As long as you kit is warm and waterproof you just carry on. The bikes are actually very capable of handling icy conditions, you just need to be smooth and steady. I’d like to do some rides down in Devon & Cornwall as I’ve not ridden that part of the country yet.

Joining the TRF is the best return on £45 pound I’ve spent on motorcycling. I’ve not had a single day out on the trail bike that I’ve not enjoyed. There are many outdoor adventure activities, but you’d be hard pushed to find one as cheap or indeed as involving as riding Green Lanes. If you thinking about doing it, don’t wait, get a bike and give it a go. You’ll not regret it!

In March 2016 I also bought a brand new Ducati 1200. It was a bike I wanted for over 20 years. Unfortunately due to getting the Green Lane bug, I’ve I only managed to cover 240 miles on it in 2016.

TRF:

Fantastic stuff Mike. Keep it up!


The TRF has almost 5000 members across England and Wales. Joining the club is a great way to get into trail riding, learning the do's and don'ts and discovering a fantastic network of Green Roads.

Join Here.