Fancy some muddy fun on two-wheels? Bikesure, the freethinking motorbike insurance broker, has compiled a guide to all things green laning.
What is green laning?
Green laning or trail riding is the recreational use of minor unsurfaced roads, public rights of way where vehicular rights exist. Trails vary in interest and challenges, but there are bound to be trails local to you. According to the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF), The Peak District, Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Exmoor are areas popular with trail riders.
Where can I ride?
The Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) is a national organisation that can provide information on where you can legally ride, research historical routes and a have code of conduct designed to promote responsible, safe and socially acceptable riding and use of the countryside.
What kind of bike do I need?
As all these routes are legally carriageways green laner bikes need to be road legal, including having number plates, silencers, tax, MOT and insurance.
Being lightweight is one of the most important characteristics of a green laner motorcycle so small capacity, basic bikes make sense. Other key factors are good ground clearance along with well-muffled exhausts. Simplicity and reliability are also good qualities for any trail bike.
The Suzuki DR-Z400 is an ideal green laner, with enough oomph to lift the front wheel over obstacles. It’s a reliable ride, which is easy to work on, service at home and parts are cheap. As MCN says, “Brilliantly competent dual-purpose motorcycle that’s as happy pottering through the gridlock as it is bouncing over a paddock”. Another, option is the Yamaha TT250R, geared towards the taller biker with a seat height of 895mm, although lowering links are now readily available.
Both have the all-important electric start. An electric start can make the difference between exhaustion and an enjoyable green laning experience as, you won’t have kick-start your bike over and over after offs, stops and stalls.
What kit do I need?
Having the right gear is essential for comfort, protection against the elements and injury, such as the long sleeved ForceField motocross armour from dirtbikebitz.com. Across the forums Sidi Motocross boots are a popular choice, as are Motocross helmets, for example these from sportsbikeshop.co.uk. With such a wide variety of Helmet options available you should be able to get one that fits well, is comfortable, prevents overheating or steaming up and provides a good field of vision.
For more advice, photos, videos and information the UK Green Laning Bikes Facebook page is a useful resource.
Still not decided? Want to give it a try before you shell out money on the gear? Companies like Trail Riding UK and Muddy Wheels offer a complete guided trail riding with bike and gear hire to give you a taster.