Most members of the TRF start the same way. They fancy having a go at riding dirt roads. They buy a bike. They realise they need to learn where to ride so they find the TRF on Google. That's where the fun begins.

In a little over a year Central Bristol TRF member Chris Baker has gone from a complete newbie to full on enthusiastic club 'doer'. We caught up with him to find out what 'getting out what you put in' actually looks like.

TRF:

Hi Chris. Thanks for talking to us. I came across your story via the excellent Central Bristol TRF website. It seems as though there is a good energy around riding Green Roads over your way?

Chris:

Yes there a good bunch down here. Its not just about Greenlaning. We tend to get stuck into all things two wheeled and off road. Last year alone i was a traveling marshall at an enduro, raced my 1st time card enduro (which almost killed me), entered a couple of rally’s and entered a horse event to help Wiltshire TRF, although the van broke down and we never made it. I had a go at riding trials bikes and learnt a hell of a lot about green roads. How to identify them on maps and after about 6 months started leading my own runs. And this was all through members of Central Bristol TRF.

TRF:

So you’re a fairly new member of the TRF but obviously you’re getting stuck in. How did you find the club in the first place?

Chris: 

I’ve been riding road bikes for while, I love to travel on two wheels and the great outdoors. I always wanted to have a go at trials bikes, I grew up on BMX and mountain bikes and the odd C90 in the old quarry’s where i used to live, but the problem was where to ride. Thats when i came across the TRF and green roads. I didn’t know anything about either. I went out and bought an old XR250 and signed up with the TRF just over a year ago.

I didn’t know what to expect. The club has some great characters and is laid back and friendly. I had potterd around on the bike not really knowing what i was doing, drowning my XR and almost myself in a swollen ford in the process (valuable lessons learned there!) until a newbies ride came up with Andy Howes as run leader. He took us up the Fosse Way and into the Cotswolds. Andy doesn't do things by half’s, We clocked up some 120 miles that day, I was knackered but totally hooked and buzzing for days from the new adventure I had just had.

TRF:

Has the TRF lived up to your expectations?

Chris:

I can honestly say that personally, joining the TRF has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. Every weekend is an adventure and i just cant wait to get out there and learn and see more. Although most of my time with the TRF this far has been local to my own club. I do keep an eye on what is going on nationally and all the great work that is going on. So yes I would say it has more than lived up to my expectations. Its not just about riding green lanes but being part of a big family where you can meet some of the best kinds of like minded people. And its always good fun.

TRF:

What’s the riding like over in Bristol? Have you got a good network of Green Roads?

Chris:

We are quite lucky down here. We have one of the highest concentrations of Green Roads in the country. Bristol is perfectly placed and surrounded by different areas all with very different types of lanes. The most local ones in Bath and north Somerset are unsealed rocky affairs between hedge rows. Some are quite technical but nothing too difficult.

To the north east we have the rolling hills of the Cotswolds. A great place to take newbies with its easy going flowing lanes.

East and South east we can ride over in to Wiltshire TRF's area and you have the vast open planes of the Marlborough Downs and Salisbury Plain with chalky lanes that can be lethal in the winter but have some fantastic panoramas.

Then if we really want a challenge we just hop over the Severn Bridge to the Wye valley. Its full of steep rocky knarly technical lanes, some of the hardest I know, but always a great day out and set in the lush green wooded valley that follows the river Wye. We spent a fair bit of time in the Wye last year helping Andy Howes work out the route for the final day of the Byways Tour which the club led.

And all of this can be ridden to from your own doorstep. So yeah we are pretty lucky.

TRF:

Great stuff Chris. Any advice for anyone out there thinking of joining the TRF?

Chris:

If you like motorbikes and adventure in the great outdoors, and getting away from all the hustle and bustle of modern life you will love the TRF.

Green lanes are one of those best kept secrets. You will be amazed at whats hidden away on your own doorstep.

Get stuck in, you will only get out what you put in.

Learn the knowledge that is available within your club. Maps of your local lanes, Bikes, riding skills ect.

Its great being lead on a ride out but if you can do it yourself and run lead you can go out whenever and wherever you want. And once you have this knowledge you can pass it on to the next generation of the TRF.

Most of all get on your bike as much as you can. The better you can ride the more you will enjoy it and this only comes with time on the bike.

Getting fit and fun at the same time? That should be a good enough reason to join the TRF as any.

On a side note. If any other TRF regions fancy a trip down south we would be more than happy to show you around. Be it a gentle day out in the Cotswolds or if you fancy a challenge in the Wye Valley. Just get in touch.


Central Bristol TRF are a very active club in the south west of England. If you are in the area and would like to connect check out their website.