Words & Photography: Mikko Nieminen
I have found a great way to get into adventure riding. No pressure, no hardship, no drama – just a lovely, gentle and well-planned introduction to off-road fun.
As I was plodding along gentle trails, past rolling green hills, grazing cows and impeccable stately homes, I couldn’t help smiling. This was my idea of perfect off-roading – no speed demons whizzing past or impossibly difficult terrain to contend with, just the simple enjoyment of riding in the (relative) wild.
To be exact, I was riding in the lush surroundings of Trailquest’s 1200-acre training ground near Ledbury, Herefordshire. In the process, I was getting my first taste of the Royal Enfield Himalayan. The 411cc single-cylinder adventure bike is one of the most interesting recent entries into the market, and I was curious to see how it fared on UK trails.
As it turned out, the first five minutes would have been enough to get the feel for this easy-to-ride bike, but I didn’t tell the Trailquest boss Richard that in the fear that he might send me home early – I was having so much fun on the bike, I wanted a full day of plodding along Trailquest’s tracks and fields.
We started with a short road ride to get into the swing of things, then headed for a large grass field where we worked on the principles of riding off-road.
Even on a dry and sunny day it was surprising to find the grass wet and slippery – it was a perfect surface for learning how to accelerate, brake and turn when you’re away from the grippy comfort of Tarmac.
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