After getting my first bike, I literally couldn’t wait to get to riding off-road. Unfortunately, finding off-road tracks in the UK is usually a little more difficult than anticipated. That said, it wasn’t impossible, and after spending some time on it, I finally came across the best off-roading routes.
When exploring this area, you may find yourself asking questions like “Is off-roading legal in the UK? do you need special insurance? What’s the page restrictions?” you know the rest. Let’s dig into it now!
|What's In This Guide?|
How to find places to ride off-road?
Finding the right places for off-road rides might seem difficult; but as I mentioned already, it’s difficult but not impossible. The simplest way to find routes for your off-roading trip is by joining the local group for Trail Riders Fellowship.
Currently, the membership will cost you around £56.50 and your finds will be used in protecting these off-roading trails. The members of these local groups are extremely warm, and they will guide you through the entire process even if you’re a newbie.
The Fellowship was created for protecting the roads in England and Wales. They were also used for promoting these trails and preventing the possibility of a ban.
The Trail Riders Fellowship is operated via a strong network of the local groups based in Wales and English. They organize trail rides once a week. When you join this group, you will be with like-minded individuals who will take you through the beautiful lanes and guide you about the places you can and cannot go.
Most of the members have adventure bikes and they are always willing to assist new riders in learning better about the trails. You can find more details about this group on this page (www.trf.org.uk).
Essential gear that you’ll need to ride off-road
Off-roading is certainly an excellent hobby. It’ll take up your time and acquaint you with the lesser-known beauties of your country. However, your off-roading trip is incomplete (and unsafe) when you don’t have the right gear. So, in this section, we will discuss the gears you absolutely need for your trip.
Heres the essentials in a list;
- Full face helmet
- Recover Kit
- LED flashlight
- Body Armour
- Knee pads
A list of gear r that you’ll need for off-road riding
This is one of the most essential tools as it will protect the most important organ of your body, e.g. the brain. Unless you have a quality helmet, you can easily fall prey to fatality.
2. Recovery Kit:
This is one of the tools you will absolutely need for your off-roading trip. You should store the recovery kit within the convenient reach of the driver’s seat of your vehicle. This way, you’ll have the kit every time you need it. (Just in case you break down or have an accident)
3. LED Light:
Traversing your trail will take up plenty of time. That is why it is important to be prepared when you’re getting out after the evenings. A quality LED light will allow you to check what you’re doing. So, whether you need recovery or a quick repair- you’ll always know where to reach.
These are yet another essential item as they’ll protect your entire leg including the foot and the ankle. When you head for an off-roading tour, your foot is subjected to plenty of potential injuries. With a good set of riding boots in place, your issues will be conveniently addressed.
5. Body Armor:
If you’re looking to be completely protected during your tour, it is best to wear body armour. If the armour is too hot for you, get padded shirts or bodysuits. This way, if you face an injury, the damage will be substantially less. While getting the bodysuit, try to settle with something that protects your shoulders and spine.
You should also consider elbow protection. Remember, a majority of the nerves through your hands go through the ulnar nerve. This ulnar nerve is completely exposed at the side of your elbow. So, if the hit is big enough, you can easily lose all control and sensation.
6. Knee Pads:
While certain riding trousers offer to pad around the knees, they aren’t good enough for protecting the essential joints of your body. That is why you should invest in quality knee-pads and knee braces.
The contemporary off-road gloves offer a great feel. However, they do not always protect you from abrasion. Although they might work while you’re trailing along with the mud, they aren’t as good when the road is full of gravels and stones. You can switch them with summer weight road gloves. They are available in leather and offer solid protection during the winter.
If you are off-roading during the winters, it is always better to wear a set of inner gloves. These nifty little gears prevent the inversion of lining when you finally get rid of the gloves. They also do not get smelly as easily.
What is Green laning and how does it relate to off-road biking?
Green laning is a mild and almost non-technical form of off-roading. The process is simple: all you need to do is drive everywhere that doesn’t contain properly made, paved roads. The most common green lanes include your forest trails, country roads, and any other road that is being repaired.
Driving on these trails is called ‘green laning’ as most of these paths are dotted with dense vegetation. Most individuals enjoy this type of laning due to the kind of adventure they offer. The scenery is equally good and the damage to your vehicle is minimum.
While green laning seems like an attractive option, it has a terrible reputation for damaging the environment. If you aren’t careful enough while driving across the trails, you can easily hurt the plant life, tear up the paths that are operated for horseback and cycling, and also end up eroding the ground.
That is why it is important to be well-aware of the laws of your off-roading trail. Additionally, also avoid doing any irrelevant damage to the environment around you. The impact can be minimized when you drive slowly and are aware of the spots where your tires fall.
Most people who enjoy off-roading are naturally fond of green laning. This is because the process doesn’t involve much vehicle modification. What’s more, you also do not need a special tire for enjoying the trip. That said, it’s important to get a powerful bike as you might encounter rocks, gravels, and hilly areas. In addition to normal motor-bikes, green laning is also perfect for cars and dirt bikes.
While off-roading on a green lane, your biggest threat will be holes and big ditches. When you approach a ditch, try doing it at an angle, instead of going head-on.
This way, you will cross it with one tire at a time and the three other tires will be on a solid surface where they have plenty of traction. When you directly approach any obstacle, both the front-tires will end up losing traction almost simultaneously. The result: you’ll slip.
Is Green laning legal in the UK?
Green Lanes are public properties that are maintained by the local Highway Authority. The general public can use and operate them. These routes, however, are subject to the local bylaws of the area. Being an off-road trail, drivers using these roads require their driving license, MOT and insurance.
Note that although the area doesn’t have any legal rights, people using motor vehicles should make way for cycles and passersby. Green lanes are deemed a shared use’ route and common decency is applicable here. One should follow a proper and sensible approach to ensure that the users using these routes are truly enjoying them.
Can You Drive a car on Green Lanes?
Yes, you can certainly use your car on a green lane. However, as I previously mentioned, you need to be extremely decent while commuting on these routes. Make way for passersby, horses, and bicycles as you ride in these areas. This will prevent disruptions and ensure that your drive is smooth.
How to find Green Lanes on a map?
If you’re looking to find green lanes near you, get a copy of the OS map that covers the area you’re looking to visit. The keys denote the symbols that are suitable for the kind of way you need for your preferred transportation. Since every right of way isn’t properly accessible at the road, it is important to plan your journey thoroughly before embarking on it.
Note that certain maps have different scales and they usually denote differing symbols for identifying similar routes. You can also check www.bywaymap.com. Here, you will find a list of off roads and green lanes accessible on your bike.
Their site will also inform you about the rules of these various green lanes. That way, you’ll be fully equipt with the knowledge that you need to start green laning.
Now that you have a clear idea about the best off-roading routes in the UK, what are you waiting for? Get your motorbike out and set off for a green-lane tour like you always looked forward to.