TRF:Hi Jim, great to meet you. You are in quite an exclusive club of trail riders who can say they have ridden Green Roads from John O'Groats to Lands End, or 'Tip to Toe' as you called your trip. How did it come about?
Jim:The idea of the trip actually evolved from watching a Vimeo of your own trip from Newcastle to London and back involving the TRF. 3 of us (Jim, Martin & Richie) started looking into the possibility of a John O’Groats to Lands End trip linking up as many green lanes as we could find.
Martin Chapman (CEO of Martins Motorcycles, Pool, Camborne, Cornwall) KTM 400EXC
Richie Carrington (Health & Officer) KTM 525 EXC
Jim Beech (myself - Teacher of Engineering, Design & Technology) KTM 500EXC 6 Days
Phil Harvey (Engineering Consultant) Kawasaki KLX 450 R
Graham Stephens (Transport Business) KTM 350 EXC
Greg Stephens KTM 350 EXC
Lawrence ‘Loz’ Ball – Support Vehicle Driver (Welder & Fabricator) Mercedes Sprinter Motorhome & Tow-A-Van.We are all members of the KTRC (Kernow Trial Riding Club) with Graham & Greg also being members of the TRF. We do regular rides, events and social nights in Cornwall but venture into Devon, Wales & as far as Erzberg within the year.
Team Orange get ready to hit the Green Road...
Travelling the length of the UK on Green Roads must be a massive logistical challenge. As far as I am aware there is no 'classic' route to follow. How did you go about planning where to ride?
Jim:The route planning took plenty of hours on Google maps, talking to folk who had done lots of UK riding and also friends who had competed in events in areas that we were planning on passing through, like the Welsh 2 Day.
TRF:How did the trip pan out? Was it as you expected?
Jim:The trip was amazing and went remarkably smoothly. We got close to running out of fuel once, only had 3 punctures despite using thick tubes and the Kawasaki went under water in a river crossing and required some minor fettling to get it back on song.
TRF:You must have seen some incredible parts of the country. Do you think using the trail bike helped you get to places that would otherwise be quite difficult to experience?
Jim:The bikes we used are our everyday road registered trail bikes. ‘Rock Oil’ offered us free lubricants, as their generous donation, so we dropped the oil and filters every other day but it was mint coming out and we could have done it every other two. Nothing else was done until we returned home. New pads and bearings lasted the distance – I even did the entire trip on one set of Mitas Military tyres.
A perfect Great British blend of hard work, rubbish weather and tea
TRF:I can imagine that reaching the 'Toe' of England must have been a bitter sweet feeling, great to have finished but sad to have to get off the bike. What would you say to anyone else who is thinking about doing this kind of trip in the future?
Jim:Reaching Lanner near Redruth and meeting up with loads of pals and local club riders for the last leg to Lands End was incredible but the welcome at the finish was even more of a surprise. Laurence, our Support Van Driver, ditched the van and rode with us for the final stretch. Loads more friends, family and folk who had been tracking us on social media down the UK turned up to welcome us home on a gloriously sunny Cornish day – along with Large Steak Philps Pasties to be washed down with a Cornish Tribute Ale. It was a real mixed sense of relief and great adventure coming to an end.
Was there ever a more hard won Cornish pasty?