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Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures

Radar

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Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« on: June 16, 2018, 07:24:15 AM »
Adventure Ride 09/06/2018

In a couple of weeks’ time my old friends Andy and Steve are off on an epic biking trip in South America taking in Chile, Bolivia and Argentina. Riding BMW GS700s the route will be off tarmac for around 30% of its 2800 miles duration and at elevations of up to 4000 metres! To give figure that some perspective Ben Nevis, Britain's tallest peak, is a mere 1345 metres! Neither Andy or Steve are experienced off road riders, like myself they can count their number of days of trial riding on the finger of one hand! It seemed prudent then to get some more practice in before the big trip! This is where Rob Dixon of adventureRide.com comes in. He runs an off road experience based near Craven Arms in Shropshire and guides riders over the myriad of tracks and trials that crisscross the Welsh and Shropshire Marches. Rob is an interesting fellow as he has a number of two and four wheeled projects on the go at his base.


The Gas Gas Pampera 250...our mounts for the day await...

But I was a little worried about my ability to get aboard the Gas Gas 250 Pampera he uses for his 'expeditions'. I am a bit of stumpy and have the inside leg comparable with one of the Queen's Corgis! It was a bit of a stretch (literally!) for me to clamber aboard, but I could flat foot the 250 once my considerable bulk took its effect on the suspension! Rob let me off gate duty to lessen the amount I had to get on and off...suits me!

Once the others arrived we kitted up in the gear that is provided should you need it and Rob gave us a common sense and succinct briefing on how to deal with the trials, gates, hikers, mountain bikers and locals. Suitably briefed we set off with Steve, Andy and me on Gas Gas Pamperas and Toggsy on own his own, and somewhat venerable, Honda XR250. Rob had warned us about a slippy ford that came up fairly early on the trip and I was pleased when I negotiated that with no problems. I was slightly less pleased when I fell off barely 200m further up the trial on a relatively easy bit. Oh well, somebody had to be the first one to come off! We had left Edgton and skirted past the Walcott Hall estate (Clive of India's former residence), from there we went along forestry tracks towards Clun before heading across to Hopton Castle and across country towards Knighton for lunch. I did struggle on some of the deeper, muddier ruts, but I got through with only one step off and a slighter quicker tumble. Landings were always soft and the Gas Gas shrugged off my efforts to break it with contempt! As for the others they all took to the bank at least once, but it is all part of riding off road. Rob looked after us, helping us up where needed and giving words of encouragement. We worked our along a variety of tracks, some heavily grassed and deeply rutted, some more hard packed gravel and open. Through woodland and valleys that really make you appreciate that Shropshire really is England's undiscovered gem, the views in places are genuinely beautiful and as good as anywhere you will see in the UK. I was gaining confidence with every metre; standing up on the pegs and very much getting into it...on one long hard packed section Toggs and I got up to a decent lick and it really did feel great, a proper buzz.


Just like Boliva....?


Toggs had a small off riding his own Honda, and it was initially a little reluctant  to re-start, but it was soon underway and the game 28 year old Honda performed faultlessly all day

One last climb before we started the drop back down to Knighton into lunch. Andy's bike got up here no problem, but just as we hit the peak the bike started to lose a little power. Rather than risk it Rob swapped it out for his bike and he did the afternoon on a Husky 125. It was a good chance for a break and to appreciate the stunning valley that spread out before us while Rob sorted out the logistics of getting another bike to us. Toggs and Steve briefly tried out each other’s bikes too and Steve came away rather smitten with the Honda.


Andy...waiting for the replacement bike


I can think of worse places to wait around...the beautiful rolling hills and valleys of Shropshire, unspoiled and largely undiscovered....a hidden gem as the old saying goes


Perhaps the foremost off-road team in the midlands....


Toggs trying out the rather excellent Gas Gas....95kg and so easy to handle, the bike that is...


Steve enjoyed the Honda too


You can bring your own machine on these Adventure Ride days and Toggs was enjoying finding out what his Honda is capable of...

The final section before Knighton was very deeply rutted and it was better to ride up on the field edge alongside the track, once I found a way up out the ruts it sped up progress considerably! Knighton is typical border town, characterful and friendly and the cafe served a hearty and most welcome lunch. Rob is a regular in here with his customers and the cafe owner was enjoying telling his tales and exchanging banter with us all.


In Knighton for lunch, the bikes get together to talk about us while we have lunch...'Is your rider any good?' Mine fell off twice...


Friendly staff, great food...well earned break was most welcome

Suitably re-fuelled, us rather than the bikes, from Knighton we headed up along the impressive man made defensive earth work Offa's Dyke...often referred to as England's Hadrian's Wall that stretches the full length of the Welsh/English border. It is a hell of an achievement and a testament to the power the ancient English King had over his people in order to muster the resources to construct something of this nature in the 8th century!  It felt good to be seeing in from this perspective on a bike.







Then it was over to the Kerry Ridgeway, an ancient drover's route used to take cattle from Wales to the English markets.  The trails and tracks Rob had selected for us had provided a challenge, and given Andy and Steve the feel for off road riding again ahead of their trip. He will tailor your day to suit your skills and experience and tells me there are several days’ worth of riding in the area without recovering your steps. Late on there was one section of relatively innocent looking long grass, but it was damp and both Andy and I nearly came a cropper on this section. Steve however came storming along this section, subsequently got crossed up between two ridges and did the full 'Superman' over the bars of the Gas Gas, before completing his fall with a series of rolls! He won most spectacular ‘off’ of the day with ease!


Up on the pegs!


Bit of mud plugging...


I loved the Gas Gas, a perfect bike for a day like this....


Rob on puncture repair duty...Andy again...

We dropped down into Bishops Castle to fuel up and then made our way back to base along some of the local roads. Throughout the day it had been nothing but an absolute joy, I had grown rather fond of my little Gas Gas and was sad to hand it back to Rob.


We are all cooler than Steve McQueen...On any Sunday...Shropshire style...and it was a Saturday...but you know what I mean!

If you fancy a day of riding in some of the most stunning countryside in company with a knowledgeable guide then I heartily recommend Rob at Adventure Ride.   

http://www.adventureride.co.uk/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/Adventureridecouk-617846031586596/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Offa%27s_Dyke

http://www.shropshiresgreatoutdoors.co.uk/route/kerry-ridgeway-2/

https://www.facebook.com/JDs-CAFE-740271589329026/
« Last Edit: June 16, 2018, 07:27:50 AM by Radar »



Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 10:36:51 AM »
Great report, Radar!!   

It was a hidden rut (though more like a tram-line) that caught me out at speed - though I did cross up ruts earlier in the muddy section, launching myself up the bank for a pre-crash training somersault...    ::)  8)

Radar

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Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2018, 10:11:04 PM »
Great report, Radar!!   

It was a hidden rut (though more like a tram-line) that caught me out at speed - though I did cross up ruts earlier in the muddy section, launching myself up the bank for a pre-crash training somersault...    ::)  8)

Cheers, it was a fabulous day out, really enjoyed myself

Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2018, 01:17:02 AM »
Dirty bikes are so much fun! :) Great write up mate! :)

Radar

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Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2018, 10:11:38 PM »
Dirty bikes are so much fun! :) Great write up mate! :)

They really are, I will be venturing off road again at some point.

Radar

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Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2018, 10:15:55 PM »
Great report, Radar!!   

It was a hidden rut (though more like a tram-line) that caught me out at speed - though I did cross up ruts earlier in the muddy section, launching myself up the bank for a pre-crash training somersault...    ::)  8)

Cheers, it was a fabulous day out, really enjoyed myself


Wish I had seen your 'off'....you certainly do them with a certain sense of style and panache!

Re: Green Lane Riding in Shropshire....review and pictures
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2018, 12:12:22 AM »
Wish I had seen your 'off'....you certainly do them with a certain sense of style and panache!
[/quote]

I do seem to have perfected the 'parachute roll' style of falling off when off-road, whatever the speed. It does mean that I always end up on my feet, even when I've got turf jammed into my helmet ventilation   ::)

During my first 'off' I noticed, midway through the first somersault, that my water bottle had launched itself out of my rucksack pouch - I managed to grab it as I rolled past during the second somersault so ended up with it in my hand. Bob was following: he asked if I'd been drinking from it while swapping ruts  ;D. I had to explain that even with two hands on the bars I'm not particularly good on mud....     8)
« Last Edit: June 18, 2018, 12:13:54 AM by elessimo »