Trail Riders Fellowship

 

Motorcycle trail riders for route marking

We can mark your ride route, solve problems or report them to the Organisers, usefully explain about the ride to people we meet, check the route on ride days, respond to problems such as marker sabotage / vandalism, carry messages, find lost horse riders and horses, escort vets and farriers, locate injured riders and guide first aiders in and out, mark for different routes, remove all markers, and sort gates after the last horse rider. 

All subject to availability – book early!

Ride Organisers find that a whole group of tasks are taken care of by the trail riders.  Organisers also involve the trail riders so that they can raise safety to acceptable standards.
You may wish to ask other Organisers how they got on with the trail riders.

Contact Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) members preferably via www.trf.org.uk and the ‘groups’ page (only active in England and Wales).  Otherwise try the TRF’s National Equestrian Events Liaison Officer - Mark Holland: tel. 01989 565 249. 

In return for helping we ask for:

  •         acknowledgement, including website address and an entry in the event programme
  •          include “Trail Riders Fellowship” in the facilities section in your ride description in the handbook,
             please mention the TRF in your ride information sent out to entrants.  Many find it reassuring to know that the TRF will be helping
  •          an appreciation that motorcycle trail riders and horse riders are both minority groups and both face being marginalised
  •          you to correct peoples’ misunderstandings and speak up for us - with other rights of way (RoW) users, with those who try to limit our access,
             at your Local Access Forum, and also at public inquiries for byways
  •          an agreed donation mainly for byways research and conservation - remembering that our helpers are unpaid volunteers 

About the TRF:

TRF members explore byways (un-sealed roads with public vehicular rights, some wrongly signed as “bridleway” or “footpath” - we do not ride on bridleways)

  • for recreation (not competition) and to enjoy the countryside,
  • riding in small groups using road-legal (usually 'trail') motorcycles and
  • following the TRF Code of Conduct – riding with responsibility and consideration for others.

Note that all of the 120,000 miles of RoW are open to walkers, but only 29% are bridleways and a mere 3% are byways.  Foot traffic also has exclusive access to vast areas of ‘open access’. 

TRF members work and campaign to protect and extend the byway network by:

  • doing maintenance mainly to clear overgrowth and attend to neglected drainage systems
  • researching in the achives to support byway claims (‘Byway Open to All Traffic’ - vehicle, horse and foot traffic) on existing heritage highways.  Claims merely give these ways the protection of a present-day title, and they are then recorded usefully on Ordnance Survey maps for all to share
  • supporting responsible enjoyment by people riding motorcycles - helping to prevent the greatest threats of overgrowth, obstruction, rubbish dumping, neglect, encroachment, illegal ploughing out of the carriageway and destruction of bounding hedges or walls
  • pushing to improve funding for RoW, and encouraging recognition of the vital enthusiasm of the vehicle users and the importance of byways for disabled peoples’ access to the heart of the countryside
  • supporting existing and recent laws giving the Police powers to curb the irresponsible or simply ignorant minority who may ride illegally or cause problems
  • helping defra / Natural England and the Countryside Council for Wales to publicise access rights and responsibilities for all types of users
  • recognising the motives of those opposing our enjoyment of byways
  • campaigning for correct signposting to reduce confusion
  • helping defra to sort out the utter mess they have made of highway law.  There is much mis-information about ‘Restricted Byways’ - many actually remain legally open to people with mechanically propelled vehicles.  Byways are vital safe links in the fragmented bridleway network open to horse-riders
  • working with the motoring organisations’ Land & Access Recreation Association (LARA - www.laragb.org) and Tread Lightly UK (see UK and other countries’ websites) to increase understanding of the issues

Keen to have our help but uneasy about our enjoyment of byways?

  • Some problems may be due to motorcyclists typically getting a bad press, perhaps arising from:
  • residents/farmer/landowner groups opposing public access from the ‘top’ down by creating fear.
  • some foot user groups selfishly lobbying for their own interests and creating an unpleasant image of all others
  • the media feeding on propaganda from vested interest groups.  Why do photographs of  “4x4 abuse” show no vehicles, while a close look shows the chevron tyre tracks of tractors?  They don't let facts spoil a good story!
  • Highway Authorities caving in to prejudice and vested interest - little wonder few follow Government advice on managing byways 

We look forward to helping you and to having your support. 

Please refer throughout the year to the Endurance GB website for any up-dates on working with motorcycle trail riders.