Quad biking is an exciting sport which is gaining in popularity across the UK. Quad bikes are also known as ATVs (all-terrain vehicles) and usually have 4 wheels with tires that give excellent traction on rough surfaces. Quad biking can involve biking along muddy trails, through water, up and down hills, along valleys, through woods and across all types of terrain. This is a fast-growing adventure sport that combines the thrill of speed and biking with the pleasure of being outside, surrounded by nature.
Where Can You Go Quad Biking?
It is possible to quad bike all over the UK, with many clubs catering specifically for this growing pastime. There are also a number of operators who specialise in stag and hen weekends, offering quad biking experiences as a fun adventure package for the bride or groom-to-be and their friends! It is possible to hire quad bikes up and down the country, and to enjoy a session with a group or as an individual, whether alone or with an instructor, whatever your level of experience.
To find a club near you check out the club page on the ATV website.
Who Can Go Quad Biking?
Teenagers are increasingly choosing quad biking for a birthday trip. However, quad biking is not suitable for young children due to the maturity and size needed to operate the machines. Some clubs will allow under-16s to try quad biking but they will usually require an adult to sign a form to give their consent. People of all abilities can enjoy this sport as the bikes can be used for adventurous and advanced biking for experienced adults or for simple, easy biking on smaller bikes for kids.
A quad biking day out is also an extremely popular choice for corporate customers. Many business groups look to quad biking for a team building activity, as quad bike days can be a fun way to bond with work colleagues. For example, groups can split into teams and try racing against each other or completing an obstacle course on the bikes.
Quad Biking Clubs and Leagues
It is possible to go quad biking all over the UK, from quad biking venues in the centre of cities to quad biking experiences in rural locations. There are some clubs dedicated to providing quad biking experiences to regular customers, while there are also leagues you can join for bikers looking to add a competitive experience to their hobby.
Many clubs run days out and even weekends away to different locations across the country, with ideal quad biking surroundings, such as hills, valleys and off-road trails where bikers can hone their skills in a fun, new environment.
Equipment and Safety
For those looking to get into quad biking, the equipment you need is minimal, but safety equipment is a vital consideration. The bike is, of course, the first item you need, while other important accessories include a crash helmet, gloves and goggles, along with boots and protective clothing with long sleeves and full length trousers.
The safety kit is important because when driving at speed, you could come off the vehicle. Helmets are absolutely essential, as are goggles to protect your eyes, especially when riding in wooded areas.
The quad bike itself will cost from £3,000 to £9,000 for a new machine. Buying a bike second hand will reduce the overall cost but you can still expect to pay at least £1,000 for a good quality bike. It is important to make sure the quad bike is up to safety standards if buying second hand, so get some good experience of quad bikes first, or take someone with you who knows bikes well.
Unless you ride regularly or want to enter competitions, it is often best to simply hire a quad bike at a quad bike club. These machines have been checked for quality and safety. Always try before you buy, using the quad bikes that you can hire at the biking clubs as a guideline for the spec you need.
Quad Bikes on the Road
If a quad bike is to be used on the road in the UK, you must have a valid MOT certificate along with insurance, registration certificate, tax and B1 driver’s licence. However, most quad bikes are not suitable for road driving as they would not have a high enough spec or possess the right paperwork.
Under UK law, a vehicle is called a quad bike if it has 4 wheels and a mass of less than 550kg. Although fun and an increasingly popular activity for off-road, quad biking on the road can be dangerous and should only be attempted by people with thorough training, extensive experience in driving and all the necessary qualifications and papers.
Competitive Quad Biking
To enter competitions, the quad bike you ride should be lightweight and built for speed. The bikes you ride for training and for leisure are sturdier and built for strength and utility, while the bikes used for competition have a high power output and low centre of gravity, to enable fast cornering and strong acceleration.
The QRA - Quad Racing Association - is the UK’s governing body for competitive quad racing and has been organising events since 1992. There are also links with Motocross, which is another type of off-road biking that evolved from cycling trials competitions.
Motocross was the first type of off-road racing and quad biking sprang from this sport, along with enduro and quadcross, which are other forms of biking competition which involve completing challenges with obstacles against the clock.
Competing and Teaching
To get involved seriously with quad biking at a competitive level, you should join a club so you can benefit from training and coaching, while having the chance to practice your skills regularly with others of a similar standard. Professional quad bikers are those who compete at the highest level, with many amazing records being set by professionals in the sport.
Professional quad bikers have managed to create records such as fastest speed, longest jump and even longest side wheelie! If you get to a high standard in the sport, you could also choose to compete in events such as the British Quad Championship or become an instructor, to teach and coach other riders.
It is easy to get involved in quad biking in the UK. There are clubs available to join in most larger cities and for those without a bike, it is always possible to hire one. Clubs offer leagues and competitions to those interested in competing and taking their skills to a higher level. Day trips are also common and are a great way of trying out new terrain, among like-minded bike fans.
The first thing to do before getting involved in quad biking is to get yourself kitted out with the right gear. This means suitable protective clothing, along with a crash helmet, gloves and goggles. Before joining a club, why not try out a day at a quad biking centre, with family or friends as a fun experience, so you can see what types of terrain you like best.
Whether you are riding for fun, trying to find a new hobby, looking to enter competitions or even begin a new long-term career, this could be the start of an exciting journey into one of the fastest-growing adventure sports in the UK!