What is Trail Riding?

“The responsible and sustainable exploration and enjoyment of the countryside on motorcycles using a mixture of sealed and unsealed roads also known as Green Roads”

The activity of riding unsealed roads brings a certain type of pleasure. The physicality of passing through the countryside, feeling the air, smelling the scents, enjoying an immersive experience with a sense of exploration and a limited level of challenge, all bring something unique to the activity. Think of it as rambling, mountain biking or horse riding – just on motorcycles!

The overriding prevalence of sealed roads in the UK has created the general misunderstanding that any highway, road, track, trail that is not sealed must therefore be a path. This is not the case. Across the world, unsealed roads vastly outnumber sealed roads, even in ‘developed’ countries such as Australia or Canada. In the UK, following the invention of tarmacadam, the sealed road network was rapidly developed in the early 20th century, but there remain thousands of miles of unsealed roads.

It’s worth clarifying that the vast majority of Green Roads were built for motorised traffic, having been created or improved after motorised road transport was invented, their development having been driven by successive legislation in the 19th century which sought for all roads to be built for motor vehicles.

A legislative framework has evolved around the network of roads and paths, and today the remaining unsealed roads in the UK are typically identified as ‘Byway Open to All Traffic’ or ‘Unclassified Country Road’. Such roads have histories centuries long and even when it comes to motorized vehicles using these roads there is a historical reference exceeding 100 years.

Low public awareness of Trail Riding, along with a confusing array of highway terms and poor signage can result in confusion when the public encounter a motorcycle on what they to perceive as a path. The limited network that motorcycles still have access to are roads – Green Roads. Trail riding is legal as are the bikes that are ridden – taxed, MOT and insured.

Trail Riding is a historic part of British culture that should be embraced and celebrated. It is non-competitive and should not be confused with “closed course” racing such as Motocross or Enduro. Those that ride illegally are not Trail Riders and we are as keen to stamp it out as everyone else.

So now you know what Trail Riding is, wave and smile next time you see us – you might even want to join in!

Ross Noble , Austin Vince and the TRF introduce Trail Riding

Join 9,000+ riders actively conserving Green Roads for all to enjoy today.

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