WHY STRANGLE ALICE?
Wales has a reputation for inclement weather but over the many years that I have gone there to ride the trails it hasn’t been too wet at all. Not so this May Bank Holiday weekend, as the folk who were camping at the Touratech Travel Weekend will testify. Others had believed the forecast and stayed away but there were enough people who were either blindly optimistic or just too hardy to care. But for those who did ignore the conditions a good time seemed to be had.
My reason for being there was to join the Dawn to Dusk marshals. We were the designated guides for the off-road ride outs that are a popular part of the Travel Weekend experience.
Apart from our dirty services there were many other activities to tempt the riders who came all the way to Ystradynlais (Why Strangle Alice).
Guided Road Ride Outs along scenic routes, hopefully the clouds parted for those taking part.
Orienteering Routes. People were given the chance to test their navigation skills via a set of clues and coordinates.
Nick's How To demonstrations where Mr Nick Plumb used his 1200 GS to show people how to manoeuver a large adventure bike about and then invited them to have a go themselves. He also demonstrated the essential skill of wheelie-ing the fore mentioned GS at about 60 mph across a car park. This lesson went down particularly well.
Extreme Ride demonstration. The Motoxchange race team showed how to get their Husqvarnas over almost unbelievable obstacles in short races. Mr Plumb could not help himself and joined in the fray on his behemoth GS, putting some of the younger sponsored riders to shame.
Garmin were in attendance and were there to dispense help and advice as well as promote their latest products. We were given some of their latest helmet cams to try out up on the off-road site. The VIRM Elite seems to be a clever little gizmo. Apart from filming, it records the route and the files can then be transferred to your GPS so you can follow it again. It has plenty of other functions too but they went over my head. I dunno, heart rate, blood pressure, bank account details and so on.
Travel Talks Several speakers gave entertaining and informative talks. Regaling folk with tales of adventure travel with amusing and sometimes scary anecdotes. Llewelyn Pavey and Nick Plumb held a conversation on stage, talking about the Dakar Rally. Llel has just completed his first Dakar with his veteran rallyist Dad, Si Pavey. It was great to hear Pavey the Younger talking about his experiences, comparing the current race in South America to when the race was in Africa where Nick took part in four rallies. Llel has just started an online Adventure Magazine, http://www.brake-magazine.com/ check it out.
Music To finish off the weekend there was music from James Gray. He set up in the Touratech showroom so we were able to get a beer, listen to some good music and peruse the bargains……..
Of course I would have to say that the main attraction is the off-road riding experience up the road from Touratech at the Walters Arena. The unique facility that is used by BMW Off Road Skills, as well as several car manufacturers who test their newest vehicles. We take groups round the 4000 acre site on their own bikes, showing them where the Dawn to Dusk 24 Hour Enduro is held and often giving people their first off-road experience. For the more experienced Husqvarna were there to give people the opportunity to try their enduro machines around a marked out course.
All told, despite some inclement conditions, it was a busy fun weekend and judging by the number of people who came and thanked us for showing them round the mountainside, folk went home damp but happy.
Sunshine next year then is it?
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