New Year, new riding experiences

As we look forward to another exciting year of adventures on two wheels, you might be searching for a new riding experience to try, or to improve your riding ability in 2019. But you don’t need to fork out for a new bike and all the kit, there’s an array of unique riding experiences available across the country to give you a taster of everything from off roading to flat track.

Off road, enduro, motocross, superbike schools, and flat track experiences are available for all abilities and offer more than just a fun day out. They provide training from expert instructors, and experienced national and world championship level riders to help you hone your all round riding skills. And in some cases you don’t even need a bike licence to take part.

OFF ROAD RIDING

Off road riding offers a completely different experience from riding on tarmac. Surfaces constantly change on a trail, and there’s a lot less grip on offer meaning bike control and body positioning is key. Learning off road skills doesn’t just improve your abilities while riding the dirty stuff, but enhances your road riding too.

BMW Off Road Skills

Held at one of the best off road riding location in the UK, Walters Arena Motorsport Complex in South Wales, the BMW Off Road Skills is run by renowned Dakar racer Simon Pavey and has been going since 2000. BMW Off Road Skills is backed by BMW Motorrad UK, meaning students are supplied with a bike from the GS range, BMW’s flagship adventure bikes, and have the choice of eight off road courses. The courses range from mastering the basics to advanced skills and maintaining your bike when adventure riding. Two, three and four day one-to-one training packages are also available if requested.   

As well as off road courses, BMW Off Road Skills offers off road adventures with qualified instructors in top locations around the world, including Portugal, Spain, Wales, Iceland and Australia. And if you want to scratch your competitive itch, enter the GS Trophy on the Spring Bank Holiday weekend for a mixture of off road and on road challenges. The riders with the most points will make it through to the final afternoon where they’ll compete for a place on Team UK at the international final.

Price: From £199

Yamaha Off Road Experience

The Yamaha Off Road Experience is run by enduro legend and former multiple British Enduro Champion Geraint Jones who started running enduro training schools back in the 1980s. Based near the Welsh town of Llanidloes, the Yamaha Off Road Experience offers something for everyone, from an off road ‘tryout’ experience for novices who want to experience what off road riding is like, to training for top level enduro riders who want to get the competitive edge.

There are two one-day off road courses, one for novice off road riders and a ‘Plus’ course for more experienced riders. Tuition is focused on the basic principles of riding, including body positioning, braking, cornering, and up hill and down hill riding. A variety of bikes from Yamaha’s range are used, including WR 450Fs, WR 250Fs, WR 250Rs, TT-R 230s and TT-R 125s.

For riders wanting to ride trails around thousands of acres of Welsh countryside, the Tenere Experience gives you the opportunity to cover a variety of rugged terrains and test the Yamaha Tenere’s off road abilities, as well as improving your own skills on a one or two day tour.

The team at Yamaha Off Road Experience also offer enduro training for regular riders through to national level competition riders which covers all aspects of enduro riding, from bike maintenance and preparation, to riding ruts, up hills, down hills, special tests, and  extreme man made sections. One-to-one and tailor made courses are also available on request.

Price: From £205 including bike and kit hire

Dave Thorpe Honda Off Road

Unlike BMW’s and Yamaha’s off road experiences, Dave Thorpe has Honda Off Road Centres at multiple locations across the UK, including South Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Bristol and a few more. The Centre’s General Manager, Dave Thorpe, is a motocross legend, with four world titles and six British titles to his name, and has run motocross teams at UK and Grand Prix level.

Dave and his team run enduro and motocross days for all abilities, as well as enduro competition training for serious riders who want to be more competitive racers. The enduro day is set in Exmoor National Park in Somerset, and doesn’t require riders to have a bike licence to take part. Riders are provided the latest Honda CRF250, protective clothing, expert tuition and even some lunch.

If you want to improve your motocross skills, you can make the most of the Centre’s motocross day all year round on a bike from Honda’s CRF range, with expert instructors picking up your strengths and weaknesses and showing you how to improve. The team still instruct during the winter too by using a state of the art indoor motocross arena in South Devon!

Price: From £225 including bike and kit hire

MOTOCROSS

If you’ve always wanted to have a go at motocross but don’t want to buy before you try, MX experience days could be exactly what you’re looking for. With the latest bikes, protective kit and expert instructors all for a fixed price, there’s no better way to get your first taster of motocross.

KTM MX Experience

Former British and International motocross rider Barry Johnson is the Head Coach at the KTM MX Experience, with over 29 years’ instructor experience under his belt becoming a fully qualified A.C.U Motocross Coach in the mid 80s. So students are in solid hands.

The MX Experience is open to riders of all abilities and you don’t need a bike licence to take part. Whether you’re brand new to MX, or a seasoned rider, all participants get a full day of expert motocross tuition on KTM’s latest off road fleet, including the 125, 250, 350 and 450 SX-F, Freeride 350 and 250 EXC-F.  

Once Barry and the team take you through the basics of getting a geared bike to go and stop safely, tuition is given on the basic riding principles of body positioning, braking, cornering, and riding up hills and down hills.

Price: £185 including bike and kit hire

Lee Dunham Racing School

As you can probably guess, the Lee Dunham Racing School is run by Lee Dunham, multiple AMCA British and double IMBA European Champion. The School’s facility is near Dursley in Gloucestershire, and trains riders from the age of 4 upwards with no licence needed for people wanting to take part.

The School hosts a variety of packages, including a two-hour taster session, half and full day tuition for learning the MX basics, motocross training days for existing racers or regular MX riders, and the LDR race school, for serious motocross athletes wanting to become champions.

Price: From £80 including bike and kit hire

TRACK RIDING

You might have always wanted to ride on a race track like Donington Park, or have done your fair share of track days. Either way, track riding schools are a great way to learn track craft, bike control, and to enhance your riding abilities both on and off track.

Ron Haslam Race School

Racing runs in the Haslam family’s blood. Ron Haslam is a household racing name, with three world titles, four British titles and 500cc Grand Prix racing to his name during his career, and his son Leon is the current British Superbike Champion. But the Ron Haslam Race School isn’t just about teaching elite riders to go quicker on track, there’s five courses altogether to suit all levels of rider, with the courses being held at Donington Park circuit.

The Learn To Ride course is an afternoon session in the technical paddock at Donington and teaches complete novices the basics of riding. The On Track experience is a taster into riding performance motorcycles on track, with the Premier, Premier Plus and Elite packages offering more track action on higher spec Honda machinery and more technical tuition.

The bikes used range from course to course. The Learn To Ride course use either the Honda CBR125, CB300R or MSX125, the Premier and Premier Plus course use the Honda CBR650R and the Elite course use the CBR1000RR Fireblade, Honda’s flagship sports bike.

Price: From £60 including bike and kit hire

California Superbike School

Keith Code, nicknamed the ‘road racing guru’, founded the California Superbike School (CSS) in 1980 after years of professional racing and teaching young racers who went on to become national champions through a systematic teaching approach.

Following tried and tested teaching methods developed over decades, CSS offers students four levels to complete in order, one step at a time. Each level builds upon the last to give students the feeling of total bike control and confidence. Riders are able to use their own bikes, or hire a Ducati Panigale V4, Panigale 959 or the SuperSport S.

Level 1 addresses the six most common errors that riders make and why, Level 2 is a step-by-step guide to sharpen visual skills to solve problems faced through your eyes, Level 3 focuses on body positioning and how your body and bike can work together in harmony, and Level 4 asks each rider what they need to improve, and a bespoke training plan is designed for them to complete.

Price: From £419

FLAT TRACK

On top of being extremely fun, power sliding a bike on a loose surface teaches you bike control, feeling and body positioning. There’s a reason why Valentino Rossi has his own flat track ranch… Give it a go, you’ll walk away from the day having learnt loads and a huge smile.

Champions Flat Track School

The Champions Flat Track School is run by 2009 British and European flat track champion Peter Boast. Whether you’re a road or track rider just looking to get ‘loose’, or flat track racer looking to become more competitive, Peter and the team of expert coaches provide three levels of training to get the best out of everyone who attends.

The beginner Level 1 course is for novice riders who have no previous flat track experience, Level 2 is for riders who have mastered Level 1 and ride flat track at a rookie level, and Level 3 is aimed at experienced flat trackers, looking to refine their skills and find that extra something for race day. Included in the price of each course is expert instruction, and the supply of fully prepped flat track bikes. You will need to bring your own protective clothing though.

Price: From £129

So if upping your riding ability is one of your new year’s resolutions, make sure you try something new on two wheels in 2019.

 

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