What is the TRF ?
The Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) is the UK’s largest organisation for Trail Riding. It was started in 1970 by a group of concerned motorcyclists to resist the (often illegal) pressures that threatened their continuing legitimate use of our old green lanes.
The TRF has become a national organisation for all who are interested in green lanes and the vehicular rights which permit the use of such roads for motorcycling.
In their legitimate use of green lanes, all members are required to ride to a code of conduct designed to promote a responsible and socially acceptable recreational use of the countryside over public roads on road-legal machines.
What is Trail Riding ?
Trail Riding is the recreational use of Green Lanes by motorcycle. Of course, we ride only on those routes which we are legally entitled to use. Trail riders do not use bridleways (unless we can prove a higher right exists) only other rights of way such as byways and we prefer to avoid tarmac surfaces where possible.
Because all these routes are legally Carriageways we make sure that our machines are legal too, with number plates, silencers, tax and insurance, just like any other road machine. The only difference is that our models are usually chosen for lightness and simplicity, and kitted out for rough going rather than motorway use.
What are Green Lanes ?
“Green lanes” is the name applied to minor unsurfaced roads, an often neglected part of our network of routes. When first invented over 100 years ago, all motorcycles and cars had to drive on roads with unsealed surfaces. There are green lanes all over Britain – some are historical transit routes, others might have just been lanes to the mill or the pub. Many are very old and evidence of their use as public carriageways can be found in historical documents.
TRF members research on the ground and into the archives to identify old roads and hidden rights of way. The legal protections (against ploughing, tipping and other abuses) apply to all carriageways and such protection is enhanced through TRF members recording and using the carriageways.
When making use of them, the TRF encourages members to carry out liaison with statutory and environmental bodies, landowners and user groups to ensure that the TRF contributes to the co-operative use of the countryside.
Where can I ride ?
On legal carriageways only. Some parts of the country have more trails than others, some have more interesting or challenging trails than others, but as long as you are willing to travel up to 20-30 miles to find your local trails then there are bound to be some near you, wherever you are.
The Peak District, Wales, the Yorkshire Dales and Exmoor are areas of particular interest to trail riders, although the popularity of some of these areas with other countryside users means that use of such trails may be less straightforward than other less popular areas.
What bike to use ?
A ‘learner-restricted’ trail bike is often competent enough with a light rider; a 500+cc trail bike may be fine on hard rocky tracks, but it will be more difficult to handle on the varying surfaces encountered.
The best trail bikes have long travel suspension, good ground clearance along with well-muffled exhausts so that they may travel unobtrusively over vehicular rights of way that are often impassable to other vehicles. Simplicity and reliability are also good qualities for any trail bike.
Above all your bike should be as quiet as possible. The vast majority of other country users are tolerant of quiet, sensibly- ridden bikes sharing appropriate Rights of Way. One noisy, thoughtless rider can do untold damage to the image of the overwhelming majority of responsible riders. Sensible throttle use can keep most motorcycles exhaust noise down to an acceptable limit.
Green lanes are subject to the same laws as all roads – the bike must be fully road-legal. Any trail rider must:
* have a valid motorcycle rider’s licence;
* display a current road vehicle licence (tax disc);
* have a valid MoT certificate of road-worthiness;
* have valid standard road-use insurance for the motorcycle;
* wear a helmet.