ABR’s resident expert of all things two-wheeled answers your questions
My wife and I are in the very early stages of planning our own adventure. We’ve decided it has to involve European countries, so France, Spain and maybe Portugal. The basic plan is to source two lightweight trail bikes, not Enduro, and easy maintenance is high on the list. We’ll be carrying the bikes in a converted van that will also be our home for the duration with maybe the odd night of luxury in a hotel. The van is well on the way to being converted by myself, choice of bikes I’m open to suggestions. The idea is to park up and explore an area on the bikes, which would also include green laning in the UK. How do we find the trails that are legal to use?
Chris and Sue.
Hi Chris and Sue,
This sounds like a trip that many of us would like to have the opportunity to do! Let’s think about the choice of bikes first, two of the same model will make carrying spares and routine servicing so much easier. Honda XL125s are very reliable and are far better traillie than most give credit for. They will be at the upper end of the price range if you buy new, but there are plenty of good used models about.
There are of course similar models from the other big manufacturers. Have a look at local dealers then search the internet for user reviews, forums are so helpful here as the advice comes from actual owners. Some of the better Chinese manufacturers are now getting good reviews, it seems the quality issues have been addressed and are worthy alternatives to choose from.
When you have the bikes of choice at home get the spanners out and familiarise yourself with the servicing, this will give you an idea of what tools to carry and, if a breakdown happens, you’ll know where to start on a fix. The first thought that comes to mind in finding trails to explore is the Trans Euro Trail (TET). This is a collection of trails linking different countries, including the UK, through Europe.
There is a very good website with lots of information on this (www.transeurotrail.org). You don’t have to ride the whole trail, just pick the parts that appeal and explore those. If the trip works out, you can go back to explore the rest another time. Trail riding in France is so very different to the UK, it’s almost encouraged there.
Pick an area, find a local newsagent or outdoors type of shop and you’ll be able to find local maps that are very detailed. I once found a map that was for winter cross country skiers in the Alps. It was easy to follow with markings on the trails, so impossible to get lost! Get yourself onto our ABR forum (www.adventurebikerider.com/forum) and ask a few questions. We are a friendly bunch with lots of knowledge to help you in your quest. And when you return, post up a ride report to inspire others.