Try this amaz­ing taster day

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Contents - By Ru­pert Paul MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR @MCNNEWS mo­tor­cy­cle­news

‘You keep on be­ing as­ton­ished that you can do it’

There are few plea­sures in life greater than learn­ing how to ride a mo­tor­cy­cle bet­ter, and for me there are three ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve come back to again and again. They are (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der) the Yamaha Off Road Ex­pe­ri­ence in Wales; the Cham­pi­ons Flat Track School in Lin­colnshire; and this: Stu Day’s Tri­als Ex­pe­ri­ence in Stafford­shire.

It doesn’t mat­ter if you don’t know a tri­als bike from a flower pot. Stu has a gift for mak­ing things very, very sim­ple. Like all good in­struc­tors he is en­thu­si­as­tic, re­laxed, in­spir­ing and ex­cel­lent com­pany: “Road rid­ing? It’s pretty dan­ger­ous when you think about it. Road rac­ing? That’s death on a stick! But tri­als? No one has ever died in a tri­als cham­pi­onship!”

Once you’ve got your rid­ing gear you start, im­prob­a­bly enough, throw­ing shapes with a broom­stick. Why? be­cause it’s the fastest way to learn about the weight shifts you need to get a tri­als bike to do any­thing. It feels ridicu­lously ex­ag­ger­ated, but it isn’t. It helps to be bendy. Or just un­in­hib­ited.

This is not a day when knowl­edge is ham­mered into you. Rather, it creeps up on you while you are think­ing about some­thing else. The re­sult is you keep on be­ing as­ton­ished that you can do some­thing you thought you couldn’t. For ex­am­ple, zig-zag­ging along a lane go­ing from full left lock to full right. This is when pole-danc­ing with a broom­stick sud­denly makes sense. The bike is un­can­nily sta­ble, and the tyres dig in and grip. Not long af­ter you use the same tech­nique do­ing U-turns on a wet, grassy hill­side. Look, mum! I can do this!

The whole day keeps build­ing like that. By mid-af­ter­noon you’re rid­ing across a field of tus­socky grass and hid­den boul­ders, ne­go­ti­at­ing a rocky stream, or put­ter­ing over slip­pery roots on a steep slope with a reser­voir six feet be­low. You can­not stop smil­ing.

And, of course, you take home bags of new skills. And one thing’s for sure: you will never again dan­gle your legs as you ride up the ramp onto the Isle of Man TT ferry.

Where? Near Leek, Stafford­shire When? All year round What’s in­cluded? Bikes (you can try dif­fer­ent ones), rid­ing gear, ex­pert tu­ition Price £150, plus op­tional £25 dam­age waiver. Con­tact www.tri­als-school.co.uk

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