It is bloody cold outside and this of course makes perfect sense because I am now on holiday for a week. I take it personally when I have time off and the weather goes tits up, honestly , what have I done to make the gods so pissed at me that they think -6°c (21°f) is a good idea, especially when at 60mph it means it feels like -19°c ( nearly -3°f ). Wind chill really is something you have to look out for on a bike because when you get cold reactions and thought processes really are affected. Of course you don’t have to ride a bike fast to have fun. I know this sounds like some radical, crazy thinking but it is true, honestly I know. Give me time to explain before you burn me at the stake for heresy.
Have any of you ever thought about trials riding?
If you are like me you probably think of trials riders as the train spotters of the motorcycle world, populated by older guys, with beer guts, wearing waxed cotton jackets and riding obscure bikes. I know, sounds cool, but it is not all glamour, trials riders are without doubt some of the most skilled riders out there and they have had to work hard to gain those skills. What the best of them can do with a bike seems to defy physics but luckily for us mere mortals, just like in all motorsport, there is a place for us.
It's not just about the sex appeal.
Enduro Trials are the place to start, a trial bike or small motocross bike is perfect and all you then have to do is find one to do. Ok learning a few skills would be a good idea to because what you have to do, generally is this….navigate along a route that might be on or off road until you reach special stage. You then attempt to ride the special stage without putting your feet down. Now, we are talking entry level here, so most will probably be things like very rocky tracks, riding up a river and exiting it on a slippery bank or riding up a slope covered in knotted tree roots, maybe a wet slope just to make it a bit more interesting. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Well each liaison stage and each special stage are fairly easy, taken singly, but string five or six together and it starts getting tougher, make it ten or twelve and you are seriously pushing yourself.
It's not where you ride it is how you ride it.
The trouble with this sport, just like any other, is that it is addictive, once you try it you will fancy another go because you are sure you could do it “clean” now you know what you are doing, and so suddenly there is another motorcycle based past time that is going to eat into your free time. It does however come with benefits, you get to ride places you normally would never think of trying, your throttle and other bike control skills will go through the roof and you’ll meet all sorts of strange and wonderful people obsessed with the best line up a rock strewn river bed!
Of course, if you have the skills of Tony Bou the world is your oyster
It might not sound glamorous, and it isn’t really, it doesn’t have the adrenaline surges of other motorsports but, clearing a stage gives you a satisfaction as profound as putting in a perfect lap at the track just quieter and less look at me…think of it as the Zen meditation of motorsport and go and be at one with your bike.