by Alain Hoffmann
Choosing your ways
The best you can do to make your life easier is to put it up on known tracks. If you know a special region you already have an idea of which ways may be passable.
But this is rare. In any case you need the best topographic maps you can get. In Europe you need 1:20.000 or 1:25.000 like the one at left.
Now you can prepare the road. You first look over the area you choose for places of special interest. This may be a castle you want to visit or a specially muddy track or a ford.
Now search for suitable tracks between those places. This may well be the most important part.
Places you should avoid:
Forests are always sensible places. It's much less likely you get problems on farm tracks than on forest tracks.
Villages. Avoid villages as much as possible. Especially in smaller villages and on seldom used roads you will attract attention. The worst are tracks which start or end in villages. If you must do this you should at all cost talk to the local authorities. I found it's in many cases absolutely no problem if you ask for permission. It may surprise you that towns aren't a problem. Just make sure you don't loose too much mud. And explain to everybody he has to clean lights and number plates.
Rivers. As tempting as it looks they make problems if there are more than a couple of cars crossing, You often find fishermen around those places. They usually tolerate only a limited number of intruders.
Single farms. Many greenlanes pass very close to single houses or farms, sometimes even through their forecourt. Preferably avoid those or if you can't ask for permission even if you are sure it's a public road.
How long should the roadbook be?
Through many years of experience I found the following maximum figures:
3-4 hours of normal tracks, in daylight = 30-40 km
Whole day, 7-8 hours, all in daylight = 60-80 km
3-4 hours at night, normal difficulties = 20-25 km
A full night on normal tracks =40-50 km
This is for unsurfaced roads. On tarmac you can double the distances. For heavy terrain you need 2-3x as much time. Of course it all depends on the average skill of the participants. The last ride we had went over 35 Km of extreme deep mud but all the drivers were skilled and had excellent mud tires so it only took 6-7 hours for most to do it.Page 1< Basics Page 3> Reconnaissance