Bluffers guide to Trail Bike Rallies

Know all you need to know to get into Trail Bike Rallies

What are trail bike rallies?
Rallies are like organised trail rides with a competitive edge to them. Typically they're one-day events but some take place over weekends.

Where do they happpen?
Wales is a favourite location, but you'll also find them up north in Yorkshire too.

What's the riding like?
The terrain is by and large easy. Off-road rallies are made with big capacity dual-purpose bikes in mind. At the Cambrian Rally the course was made up of forestry logging tracks and small single-track trails.

How do you know where to go?
Via a road book, just like in car rallies. This is a succession of diagrammatic directions which you feed into a holder (essentially two rollers in a watertight box) mounted to the handlebars.

What's the competitive bit?
Through timed special tests, of which there may be two or three a day. Here the road book gives way to an arrowed course, on which you travel as fast (or as slow) as you please.

How long are they?
Rallies typically run some 120 miles per day, sometimes completed in one lap, sometimes a shorter, say
40-mile, course repeated.

Do I need a 950 Super Enduro?
Most rally entries are made up of road-legal trail and enduro bikes. An enduro bike will make the course easy to ride, almost ridiculously so, but will suit older riders and beginners well. So no, you don't have to strap yourself to a 950cc ACME rocket.

Must the bike be road legal?
Yes. While rallies are run mostly off-road (Forestry Commission land is favoured), frequently they involve some roadwork so road legality is a must.

What else do I need to know?
Expect to pay £80-£100 for an entry fee. Not cheap, but there's lots of land involved, and land access costs. You will also need an ACU licence, or you can buy a one-day licence each time for £15 a pop.

Where do I find out more?
The Big Bike Challenge - and the Welsh Trail Riders Association (WRTA),
the originators of trail bike rallies back in 1994 with the very first Cambrian Rally: