Dougie my old mate from the UK is coming over next month en route to the Pyrenees to do some sort of week long off road motorbike adventure and is calling in to visit for a couple of days. However, he did mention that he will be bringing a van full of bikes and his mate Mark and suggested we could try a few of the trails around my area. Which is all well and good except that I didn’t have an off road bike and had never ridden a motorbike off road. He did say there would be plenty of bikes to go round but that didn’t help my confidence.

On the postive side I have been riding motorbikes on the road for years, although very little in recent times, and I have had quite a bit of experience on the local trails with a mountain bike.

I thought it would be a good idea to get an off road bike and get some practise in before he arrived. I decided to get a trails bike as these are great for learning the basic skills of slow speed balance, clutch and throttle control. To make them as light and manoeverable as possible they don’t have a seat – all the riding is done standing up. So I bought a second hand Scorpa SY250 – French made with a Yamaha 250 water cooled two stroke engine and a reputation for reliability.

That was the easy part – the tricky bit was learning the necessary skills to ride it by practising around the garden and nearby trails. Easier said than done and I did have a few offs, some of them on camera.

First crash

Not spent very much time on the Scorpa recently but trying to practise some techniques around the garden. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and this is taking time. My Figure of 8 turns have got slower, tighter and more controlled but look much the same in the video. Need to lean the bike into the turn more. The slow wheelie to lift the front over obstacles is still pretty pathetic. I need to override my inbuilt survival instinct that won’t let the front wheel come up very far. The spin turn is coming along, albeit on an up slope and with a pallet helper.

Next step was to get Alexander involved and try out some more difficult challenges…

Not a bad start but could really do with some proper training to move me up a level.