Dougie and Mark called in on their way to Spain for a week-long off road adventure called the “Mini Mondo” with Austin VINCE. Dougie was in his big van and it was full of bikes and we had a great couple of days riding the trails around here on a variety of bikes – from my little Scorpa Trials that I had only just purchased up to Doug’s big BMW G450X Enduro. He had also brought along two KTM Freerides – one 350 4T and one electric, plus Mark’s KTM 250 4T Enduro.

This visit marked a significant turning point for me as despite the fact that I live in a place surrounded by wonderful trails (which the other guys were very envious of), I had never done any off road motorbike riding. Although I have had many motorbikes over the years, including some pretty interesting ones, they have all been road bikes. My road bike at the time was a KTM Duke 2 – a 640cc single supermoto. This was my dream bike and I had wanted one for years, but in fact I hardly used it. The problem was that the bike was so capable that I found myself riding fast (too fast) in order to get to a level that I found interesting. This is clearly a dangerous practice on the road and as a result I tended to do very few rides. Trying the off road experience was a revelation because the same level of excitement and feeling close to the limit of what the bike and you are capable of happens at very low speed. I was sold, and so was the KTM shortly after Dougie’s visit. Off roading here we come!

I clearly needed to learn a lot of new skills and get plenty of practise if I was going to be able to even keep the other guys in sight on the trail. We talked about getting some training and we started planning to make a visit to Tricks In The Sticks in Kent for a day’s trials training. The other challenge on the horizon was a 3 day “enduro” event in Normandie in November which Mark and Doug had already signed up for.

Better get some leg protection…

Only been off roading 5 minutes and already picked up an injury – those footpegs have sharp edges. Need some proper boots / shin protectors.