Adventure Bike Rider Festival: 'Glastonbury for motorcycles' plans unveiled

The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)
The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)

Bikers dreaming of pastures green - and riding off-road rather than dodging traffic jams in the city - are gearing up for the biggest UK bike festival of the year.

Dubbed the ‘Glastonbury for motorcycles’, the Adventure Bike Rider Festival has it all; skilled off-road instructors, 40 kilometres of exciting on-site riding trails for all abilities, a host of guest speakers at four different stages and expert advice from experienced travellers and riders.

Other attractions at Ragley Hall Estate from June 28 - 30 include leading motorcycle manufacturers showcasing their machinery - and offering test rides on more than 100 bikes - alongside 130 exhibitors selling the latest motorcycle gear, street food from 50 different vendors, eleven on-site bars, more than 20 live bands and on-site camping.

The organisers are even throwing yoga, breathwork and bike-specific fitness sessions into the mix.

Newbie riders are catered for too at the three-day extravaganza, with leading experts showing how to get started in the Phoenix Trails Off-Road Training Zone. Also on-hand with training and expertise will be the Sweet Lamb KTM Adventure Bike Experience, the Honda Adventure Centre, BMW Off Road Skills, Triumph Adventure Riding Experience, Yamaha Tenere Experience, while Dirt Rides will be offering taster courses to those without licences or those who have passed their CBT, offering all-comers the opportunity to begin their two-wheel journey.

Easy rider

There’s a range of trails on the Warwickshire estate for putting new-found - or even finely-honed - skills to the test. The Beginner’s Loop was designed along the lines of a green slope at a ski resort; it’s easy to ride with no nasty surprises, giving newcomers a chance to adjust to how they handle the loose stuff. This gentle trail takes riders on a short loop over grass and beside woodland and will be open exclusively to beginners, with rules in place to prevent ‘intimidating’ riding.

The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)
The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)

The Bridgestone Trail, meanwhile, winds its way for 30km through the rolling grounds of the Ragley Hall Estate. It’s designed to be big bike-friendly, and there are sections geared to all riding levels, from beginner to advanced. Snaking over open grassland and through tight wooded sections, there’s a series of craters for riders to enjoy.

Those after a tougher riding challenge can tackle the TRF trail, an on-site 8km-long route designed in collaboration with the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) and open to all road-legal motorcycles with off-road capable tyres.

Top speakers confirmed for the festival include eight-time New Zealand Enduro overall champion Chris Birch, ‘Jupiter’s Travels’ author Ted Simon, who set off around the world on a Triumph Tiger in 1973, Nick Sanders, who rode around the world in 19 days and four hours, off-road instructor and TV presenter Chris Northover and leading motorcycle travel writer Sam Manicom.

Quick tips

Other experts sharing their experience include ABR Festival founder Alun Davies, adventure rider and filmmaker Austin Vince, Patsy Quick - the first woman to complete the Dakar Rally - motorcycle explorer and writer Helen Lloyd, off-road daredevil and coach Tamsin Jones, as well as Dakar Rally finisher and photographer, Llewellyn Pavey. Rally-raid racer and adventurer Vanessa Ruck will take to the stage to share tips and advice.

The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)
The ABR Festival (James Bridle Photo)

A wide range of specialised motorcycle tour operators covering destinations including Europe, South America, Australia and the UK will be on hand at the festival, while Elspeth Beard, who became only the second British woman ever to complete a round-the-world tour, on her BMW R 60/6, will be speaking too.

Olly Crowie from Wrenchride will be passing on his expertise in a series of workshops covering buying advice, maintenance, trip preparation and more. The Machine Shop will also be hosting talks on the ‘Himalayan Masterclass Stage’, covering the art of motorcycle maintenance and trail-side repairs; essential knowledge for all would-be round-the-world riders.

Alun Davies, founder, Adventure Bike Rider Festival, said: “One of the highlights of the festival is seeing the pleasure and enjoyment guests experience when they meet their travel and adventure heroes. Having been inspired by Ted Simon’s book Jupiter’s Travels back in the 1970s, it’s fair to say that without Ted’s round the world riding exploits, there would not be an ABR Festival today. It’s a great privilege to be part of an event that inspires and encourages people to get more out of life.”

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