Congratulations: your new bike licence has just opened up a vast new world of excitement and opportunity. Here’s a few suggestions of what you can do next…
Go touring -
Or if you think ‘touring’ sounds a bit fuddy-duddy, how about you just go for a long ride instead? Or have an adventure? It’s all the same thing: using your bike for something other than commuting.
Every issue of RiDE has specific suggestions of good routes close to home and further afield, many of them also to be found on the Routes section of our website at www.ride.co.uk. But there really are no rules about this: just get on your bike with an open mind and a couple of days to call your own. For many, doing it with a like-minded mate more than doubles the pleasure.
If you want to try an organised trip, HC Travel (www.hctravel.com),
World of BMW (www.bmw-motorrad.co.uk/world-of-bmw) and MCi Tours (www.mcitours.com) do a variety of escorted trips.
Go on a trackday -
Some riders live for trackdays. Some do the odd one to let off some steam, or to explore their bike in a way you can’t on the road. Others aren’t so keen. But you won’t know which camp you fall into until you’ve tried a trackday for yourself.
The initial attraction isn’t obscure: you can go really fast without worrying about potholes, speed cameras and oncoming traffic. And
then you find that you’re more in tune with your bike, your riding technique is improving, your confidence increasing, and you’re
becoming both smoother and faster. Probably.
Bike magazine promotes trackdays strictly for road bikes, with no race bikes or trackday specials allowed, under the name Reclaim Our
Tracks (www.msvtrackdays.com). No Limits (nolimitstrackdays.com) and Focused Events (www.focusedevents.com) both organise a big
variety of trackdays in the UK and abroad, and can point you towards a day that’s suited to your location and level of ability.
Get some advanced training -
It’s a cliché but it’s true: it’s only after you’ve passed your test and done a few thousand miles that you learn to ride. Left to your own devices, you’ll probably make erratic progress at best. But get expert help and you’ll find you’re safer, smoother, more relaxed and having more fun.
There are many options for road riders – generally on the public road, but in some cases advanced road training is done on a circuit too.
Have a look at these to start with: www.circuitbasedtraining.co.uk, www.superbikeshcool.co.uk, www.absoluteridertraining.co.uk.
Hang out with other bikers -
For generations, certain cafés have been a natural meeting point for bikers, as well as an opportunity to thaw out. Not all biker meeting points are cafes, but cafes have the great advantage of always being there, so at least you can have a sarnie and a brew even if you’ve got the time or date of the meeting completely wrong. What makes a café a biker café? Decent grub, a parking area and a relaxed attitude to leaving wet riding gear strewn over the furniture are all important.
The biker café is like the full-blown version of the cameraderie you experience with the nod from the biker riding in the opposite direction, or the “nice bike, mate” you hear from the other side of the petrol pumps. It the most accepting, accessible, welcoming environment imaginable. Nobody cares what you do for a living or which team you support. You ride a bike and that’s enough.
Our favourites include the Ace in London, Squires in West Yorkshire, Wessons in East Sussex, the Green Welly in Perthshire, the Ponderosa on the Horseshoe Pass, Ryka’s on Box Hill, Jack’s Hill near Towcester…