Top 10 ways to expand your biking horizons (and ride someone else's bikes)

Author: Phil West Posted: 30 Apr 2015

There are so many opportunities to do something on motorcycles away from the regular route, and if you can pay to do it on someone else's bike then even better. Here are out Top 10 things to try this year:

1. Lose your track cherry

Ron Haslam Race School

Ron Haslam leads the way on a Fireblade SP at a wet Donington Park

The UK’s leading on-track experience and race school is again based at Donington Park and offers a huge variety of courses, ranging from a first, basic skills try-out for kids as young as five on CRF50s, through On-Track Experiences (£195) for 12-year-olds up on CBR125/300s and CB500s; Half-day, on track Premier Experiences (£295) using CBR600RRs all the way up to the intensive Elite Experience (£395) aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade with one-to-one tuition. With all, helmet and all protective clothing provided. Led by the legendary Ron Haslam and his hugely experienced team and backed by Honda, no wonder this is the school novices, racers and even celebrities keep coming back to.

01332 883323

2. Become a superbike scientologist

 California Superbike School

1199, 899 or Monster 1200 to hire at the California Superbike School

More riding as science rather than day-out fun experience, CSS was founded by California Keith Code in 1980, today operates globally with UK dates at Silverstone, Brands and Cadwell and is reknown as, arguably, the most intense, scientific and, for some, life-changing, track tuition around. On the upside, everything is re-evaluated and covered, it’s a long day (7am-5pm) and your riding approach will almost certainly improve. On the down, four successive levels are necessary, there’s almost as much class as track time, sometimes it’s downright weird (eg an early exercise is lapping in one gear only) and, including their bike hire (Ducati Monster, 899 or 1299, at up to £355) can be quite pricey, with courses starting at £415.

(0)8700 671 061

3. Ride the bike of your dreams

Spyder Club

Sign up for a membership and there's plenty of bikes to choose from

Spyder Club offers its members access to a huge variety of different bikes via the fractional ownership model pioneered by supercar and classic car clubs. It’s also now developed to offer a variety of tours and events on its bikes, open to both members and non-members, ranging from week-long fly-rides to southern Spain to lapping the TT course in practice week with ex-racer Steve Parrish. Membership ranges from £1200 to £3240pa and operates on a points/days/mileage system whereby, for example, £1200 buys you 20points, 9 days and 1050miles to ‘spend’ on Spyder’s bike fleet. Points are deducted depending on bike time of week and season, but typically 2-5 points will get most bikes for three days midweek as a guide. Alternatively, ‘Trip Membership’ (£500) gets you access to the bikes on a rental basis. Bikes currently include: BMW K1600, S1000RR, R1200GS, R1200R, HP2 & RnineT, KTM Super Duke 1290 & 1290 Super Adventure, Ducati 1199, Streetfighter, Monster 1200 and Scrambler and Triumph Street Triple.

0845 2000 868

4. Discover adventure riding

Off Road Skills

What do you do if you get stuck riding up hill? BMW's Off Road School will train you

Paris-Dakar veteran Simon Pavey’s acclaimed Off Road Skills centre in south Wales, in association with BMW (and now Husqvarna as well), is long recognized as arguably the best introduction to off-road riding as well as offering four different levels of skills training and a variety of fully-inclusive off-road adventures. Based near Swansea on the fringe of the Brecon Beacons at the enormous, 4000-acre Walters Arena, Kiwi Pavey and his team offer four-different courses: Level 1 aimed at dirt novices and using BM’s G650GS, F700/800GS or R1200GS; a similar Level 1 course for women only; Level 2; Level 3, designed to enable adventure riders to take on any challenge and Level Enduro, aboard Husqvarnas aimed at developing endure riding skills. Simon has also now introduced an Adventure Travel Training course aimed at budding global travellers. All courses are two-day and cost £495 which includes everything except accommodation and riding kit. His off-road adventures, meanwhile range from two days in the Brecon Beacons (£569) to the five-day Pistes and Paradours (£2260, not including flights) or Australian Adventure (£2200, not inc. flights)

08000 131 282

5. Try trials

Inch Perfect Trials

Based in Lancashire see what trials riding is all about with the Inch Perfect Trials school

Fancy yourself as the next Dougie Lampkin? Or simply want to give trials a go to see if you like it. Inch Perfect offer trials experience days for everyone aged 9 years and upwards, no matter what ability. They supply the bike, along with all the gear: helmet, boots, pants and gloves. Based in the Ribble Valley 10 miles outside Clitheroe in Lancashire and with 70 acres to play with the day is run from 10am till 3pm, with a hot lunch served at 12:15pm all for just £125.

01200 448130

6. Learn to wheelie

Wheelie School

Everybody wants to wheelie, right?

It’s the motorcycle stunt that all of us, secretly at least, want to master – but few actually can. Now YOU can, without risking your own bike or licence, in a safe, controlled, experienced was with the UK’s longest running wheelie school (11 years and counting) at Finmere Aerodrome, near Silverstone.

Whether novice or experienced, all are welcome and wheelies are guaranteed by the end of the day or you get a free return trip! The school’s specially-prepared Yamaha Fazer 600s are used fitted with the latest anti-flip technology with teaching designed to enable you to achieve a ‘balance point’ wheelie safely using the rear brake for control. The one-day course is £200 per person and covers any machine damage caused while learning but you need to bring your own riding gear.

07415 334347 or 01280 823224

7. Learn speedway

Speedway Ride n Slide Dayz

Learn how to ride a 125cc, 350cc or 500cc speedway bike

Ever fancied taking a 500cc bike with no brakes or gears, that can hit 0-60mph in less than 3 seconds and putting it through its paces?

Speedway Ride n Slide Dayz is the UK’s first ever touring all-inclusive speedway experience operator in the UK. All ability levels are catered for, all protective equipment provided along with bikes ranging from 125cc through 350cc up to the full 500cc speedway machines and the course is intended to give a full flavour of what speedway is all about from controlling the throttle, riding the track, learning to slide and experiencing gate starts. Speedway tracks nationwide are used ranging from Mildenhall to Purfleet, Leicester, Kings Lynn and more. £225.

01438 355009

8. Try trail riding, motocross and more…

Dave Thorpe Honda Off Road

Other manufacturers offer off-road schools including KTM and Kawasaki

When it comes to motocross there’s probably no more celebrated name in the UK than multiple world champ Dave Thorpe who’s now teamed up with Honda to create the Dave Thorpe Honda Off Road Centre in south Wales offering a variety of motocross and enduro days on Honda bikes and also a popular ‘Taster Day’ for everyone from novice through to expert riders looking for a varied off road, full day experience. Three disciplines are rolled into one day; motocross, enduro and trials aboard 2014 Hondas including CRF125 and 250 trailies to CRF250 and 450 MXers and even a Montesa trials bike. Full kit is also provided along with refreshments, certificate and expert tuition from four times British motocross champ Stephen Sword. The day begins with motocross, at lunch it’s time to sample trials before onto the trailies for a full afternoon of off road adventure. £209.

01884 266443 or 07734 943798

9. Go electric


Bike Social's Paul Taylor goes electric off-roading

E-Scape is the UK’s first, dedicated electric off-road riding centre designed to bring together a unique mix of technology, style and off-road fun in an easily accessible location in Cheshire. The aim is to introduce off-road riding to those who are completely new to the sport and provide high quality riding tuition so that riders get the most enjoyment out of these next-generation off-road bikes.  A training session is provided after which you get a membership card which qualifies you to book riding sessions of either 20mins (£33) or 35mins (£40) on one of the two tracks available. 6-12 year-olds can use OSET or Kuberg machines; 13-16 year-olds ride MMXs and adults KTM’s radical new Freeride-Es (although these are limited to 20min sessions only). Helmets, boots and goggle are provided.

03330 117233

10. Try dirt track

Short track UK

Peter Boast runs the school, he's the 2009 British & European Flattrack Champion don't you know.

Flat track, dirt track or short track racing, a mainstay of American bike racing, is recognised by many road race and GP champions as a vital part of their training. Even Valentino Rossi has his own track. Now this school is the first in the UK to let riders experience this sport hone their skills while having fun on dirt bikes around flat dirt ovals. Set up by Peter Boast (2009 British & European Flattrack Champion) he offers private sessions for two to four 2 people at a time at the TCR Training Ranch near Lincoln, the dirt oval where Sam and Alex Lowes and Guy Martin often train themselves. £150 buys  bikes, fuel, instruction and steel shoe (but bring your other gear) for the 10am to 4pm sessions.

01673 878426 or 07711 307306

Which do you fancy trying next?