It’s official, this is a Green RoadMarch 13, 2016
Red DirtApril 13, 2016
Light and nimble for the tricky stuff or big and comfy for the road miles? Everyone has an opinion and Herts TRF member Wil Linssen thinks he has the answer. Clue, it's not light and nimble...
Big bikes can take you round the world so why not use them for your local Green Roads? The TRF has made it easy to get out and see just what that beast in the garage is capable of.
I’ve been a member of the TRF for about about seven months now, but I don’t own an enduro bike. In fact I’ve never even ridden a bike with fewer than 500CCs. I’ve got an BMW F800GS: it’s 220kg of unbelievably versatile machinery that’s taken me all over the place.
Since I joined the TRF I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of other ADV bike riders who take their machines up and down the lanes, and they’ve led me about, and helped me up when I’ve fallen.
The first thing people usually say when we meet them on the lanes is "You’re idiots to be out here on those beasts!". We presume they actually mean to say ‘awesome’ not ‘idiots’, but we get their meaning.
I don’t own another bike, and this is my primary mode of transport: I commute on it, travel on it, and I holiday on it. It might be big, but these ADV bikes are incredibly capable, and in the right hands (not necessarily mine) they are formidable off the tarmac, too.
In my eyes there are a lot of really positive things about using an adventure bike with the TRF.
They’ll comfortably travel 200-300 miles without fuelling up. You can ride to another regional group’s ride, then ride home again after if you like. Who needs a van?!
You’d be amazed at their capability in the dirt, and once you realise what they’re capable of, your confidence shoots up, and you start having a lot of fun.
There is a lot of capacity for luggage, tools, cameras, lunch, or a kitchen sink.
People love seeing them on the lanes, or covered in mud afterwards: it’s a real conversation starter.
Of course we do drop them, but they’re a lot easier to pick up than people think, and they’re a lot tougher, too.
On one occasion I had to dive out of the way as 240kg of 1200GS cartwheeled down a Welsh hill towards me. When it got to the bottom, they picked it up, fired it up, and rode it straight back to the top.
In cycling, there’s a Rule that says ‘The correct number of bikes to own is n+1, where n = the number of bikes you currently own’. If it weren’t prohibitively expensive, I could see that being a thing with motorcycles, too. You want a bike that does well in the dirt; one that eats the miles on a European tour; one to whip through rush hour on the way to work. I’m happy to stick at 'n', since to my mind my bike does all of that perfectly.
We’ve also been harassing the dealers who sell the big bikes, and partnering up to run easy introductory rides (keep your eyes peeled in the Spring for more). We’re hoping to coax a few more riders off the Starbucks carpark, and into the dirt.
There are myriad events coming up either especially for, or inclusive of ADV bikes this year. We’ve recently started a Facebook group especially for the big bikes, where you can stay abreast, and join in rides, or there’s the TRF forum of course.
We’ve also just started to curate routes with the big bikes in mind, and you can search for them on ViewRanger with the shortcode ‘TRFADV’ (contributions welcome!)
The TRF is encouraging all trail riders to ask their local MP to stand up on their behalf in the debate over the future of Green Roads.
We've made it super quick and easy.
Click here to get involved and be part of the future of trail riding in the UK.