GO ON TRIALS
Try this amazing taster day
‘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