Forest Trail Ride/Camping Weekend

Last weekend should have been the Northumbria TRF Forest Trail Ride. Unfortunately that got cancelled by the Forestry Commission due to the amount of water logged ground. We offered the attendees a trail riding weekend instead.

Friday night wasn’t promising with rain pouring down all night. The camping field drains really well but even that was covered in pools of standing water. Its times like this I appreciate having a decent tent. Saturday morning arrived and amazingly whilst everything was wet, it was not raining. I had a choice of leading a group of four other locals or taking some visitors out and opted for the locals. We set off and on the second trail, one of the members bikes stopped and wouldn’t start. We spent a while dismantling various bits of the bike, draining off the float bowl and ended up changing the plug. It started and seemed to be working again. At the next short trail, I reached the end and there was nobody following. I had seen them turn off for it. I headed back to find the bike had died again. We ended up arranging for him to get picked up and we continued with the route.

We soon ran into the another group who were basically doing a similar route. They’d given time to let us get ahead but the breakdown had set us back. We devised a plan to overtake them by filling up at a different fuel station and this went to plan and we overtook. We were also skipping some of the trails due to the amount of water and the likely bad ground conditions on them.

After a few more trails, I noticed on a road section that the bike was revving a lot more freely than the changes in speed would suggest. Either the wheel was slipping, or the clutch was. The next trail proved interesting with the bike not behaving as it should being hard to pull away, stalling and generally being snatchy. I also noticed the clutch cable had no slack in it, in fact being more like a banjo string. I stopped and checked the adjusters which were all maxed out, never a good sign.

I’ve had a complete clutch failure before and I vowed then that if I ever had signs of one again, I’d stop and head home whilst I still had drive. I therefore made my apologies to the group and headed back to the camping field on my own. I was back there by 1pm. Thankfully, because the group were locals, they could find their way to the lunch stop without me where they joined with group we were trying to stay ahead of. If I’d been leading the visitors there would have been a more significant problem.

The problem also meant that I was out of action for Sunday although with the light drizzle falling on Sunday morning, I wasn’t too upset about that. At least the problem should be a simple fix with a new set of clutch plates likely to resolve the problem. I did have a look at the clutch when I got back and the steels are in good condition with no notches on the clutch basket either.