A while back a random Twitter conversation alerted me to the HubbUK meet. Anyone who does any kind of adventure biking should know and love Horizons Unlimited but I have to admit I’d forgotten all about the real life, in person bike meet happening 16th -18th June.

With work commitments and a dwindling pot of funds, Howard and I decided the least we should do is go along, test the bikes (on the longest ride I will do before departure), glean some snippets from veterans (who we knew would be there), and get some training. For an extra £35 the weekend pass also gave is access to 4 hours of off-road training with Dave Knight and Lee Walters.

Not the best of starts…

Gertrude didn’t want to go; she decided to protest by leaking and consuming copious amounts of oil. Not good. We didn’t have time to fix what was wrong so just had to go but with extra oil supplies. The bad start didn’t get much better…

  • I dropped her at a petrol station (oh how bloody embarrassing!). Because we lowered the suspension, the side stand is now too tall for the bike, with the added pannier weight on the back when I tilted her right to lift the stand, I just lost it.
  • Next the heavens opened (and stayed open pretty much for the duration)
  • Then her left indicator bulb blew. We went on a mission to find another (not something we packed for a short weekend in Wales!) and eventually about 2.5 hours later, we cleared Greater London. What a mission!

After leaving so late, having to stop regularly to check Gertrude’s oil and riding in the rain, eventually we admitted defeat, pulled into a B&B and preyed they had a bed. It was a short snooze before the early rise for the off road training.

Rider training at HUBBUK

Had to admit I didn’t know who Coach Stroud, Lee Walters or David Knight were before the event. Of course now I feel slightly privileged to have had so much time with them all.

We learnt the basics; position on the bike, standing, cornering, riding a ridge or gully. Then hit the real stuff – a training course full of mud and challenge by choice obstacles.

It was so hard and so fun all at the same time. I was exhausted and sweaty after just two rounds (dropping my bike is exhausting!) and Howard wasn’t much better. In fact, we agreed that when it came to the off road, I’d done better!

David and Lee were amazing instructors; if we had the time and money we’d both be signing up for a day on the Isle of Man with David or heading back to Wales with Lee, just for fun, not because we had to for the trip!