United Kingdom: Welsh and Wonderful

United Kingdom: Welsh and Wonderful

As celebratory meals go, you can’t beat a big blowout at an Indian restaurant. Tonight, we are in the mood to celebrate. We’ve completed nearly 500 of fantastic riding in four days, motoring across some of the most beautiful landscapes in Great Britain. We’ve forded rivers, scrambled up rocky trails, and blasted along sweeping tarmac roads through the country’s most spectacular national parks. This has been one hell of a trip!

Maybe I should give a bit of context. Part of the problem of putting together a multi-day riding trip is the planning. Endless nights pouring over maps, searching for legal rights of way, calculating distances, working out the best places to go, where to stay, where to get fuel—it all takes time. And that’s exactly why the Trans Euro Trail (TET) has become so popular so quickly. Thanks to a small army of dedicated off-road fanatics, there’s now a ready-made route that can take you all over Britain and continental Europe with no more effort than deciding where to stop and how many days to ride. What’s not to like?

So, when my friend Matt suggested that we take on the U.K. TET it seemed like a fantastic plan. That is why we find ourselves meeting at a gas station in Chepstow on the north side of the Bristol Channel for the Welsh section of the TET. Our band is a small one to start with. Matt and I are joined by another mate, Chris, and we’re due to get some more company on the weekend. The weather is almost tropically warm—rare for a British summer and even rarer for Wales.

Motorcycle & Gear

2013 KTM 250 EXC

Helmet: LS2 Pioneer
Jacket: Alpinestars Venture-R
Pants:  Alpinestars Enduro
Gloves: Alpinestars MX Gloves
Boots: TCX 2.1 Motocross
Luggage: Oxford tail pack, Kriega hydration pack and backpack

For the bikes, we’ve all gone for the small trail bike route, rather than the adventure bike option. Matt is riding his SWM RS 300 RR and Chris is on a Honda CRF250X, which—although mechanically sound—is almost permanently dirty. I’m on my beloved 2013 KTM 250 EXC.

For luggage, there’s quite a range too. The EXC has little luggage-carrying capacity, so I’ve strapped on a tail pack for clothes, a Kriega rucksack for tools and drinks, and a front fender pack for two-stroke oil. Matt has gone for a military enduro look, with repurposed ammo bags, a large luggage roll on the rear of the seat, and an enormous rucksack. True to form, Chris’ luggage matches his Honda with a selection of repurposed cycle panniers, a thrift shop rucksack, and assorted baggage strapped onto his bike. Matched to his equally eclectic riding gear, he looks like he walked out of an explosion at the lost-and-found.