Association Of Peak Riding Business

The Association of Peak Trail Riding Businesses974

By Boyd Emmerich

The Association of Peak Trail Riding Businesses was formed in 2013. It is a group of businesses based in and around the Peak District National Park that benefits solely or partially from motorcycle trail riding. As of August 15th 2015 there are fifty three member businesses 

Following the ‘National Environment and Rural Communities Bill ‘NERC’ (Oct 2006), when ‘Roads Used as Public Paths’ were downgraded to ‘Restricted Byways’ the percentage of legal trails allowing use by motorised vehicles fell nationally from around 5% to 2%. In some areas of the country trail riding was wiped out. This resulted in better fairing areas like the Peak District, Wales, Salisbury Plain etc. becoming honey pots for motorised tourism.

Every year riders travel from all over the UK to experience the area bringing much needed revenue using hotels and guest houses, pubs and cafes, buying petrol, and repairing their machines using local motorcycle shops and mechanics. They also need guiding, training or even motorcycle hire. This substantial financial activity and employment is currently under threat.

Nationally it is estimated that there are around 10,000 trail riders riding either regularly or occasionally. The average spend to buy a bike, riding gear, get some training, run and service their machines, insure and tax them can be estimated at £5000. Those numbers run up to around £50,000,000. Obviously a great deal of tax is being generated as a result.

The Association is making every effort to get this message over to the government. So far we have been able to reach various ministers and are currently awaiting their responses.

We are always looking for other concerned businesses to join us and crucially we will be seeking to gain more support from the motorcycle industry. If the closures continue the off road motorcycle industry risk loosing a major segment of it’s business, which as trail riding tends to lead onto Enduro will damage that segment as well.  

A bit about Boyd.

Boyd Emmerich worked as an airline captain until 2001 when he retired early to start Overlander trail tours (OTT). He wanted a healthier life style and chose the Peak District with it’s fantastic rugged green lanes teaming with wildlife and stunning natural beauty.

Right from the outset Boyd recognised the need to operate in a sensitive but professional way in order to preserve the future of trail riding and have a low impact on the environment. For example every rider has to sign a declaration to abide by OTT’s code of conduct, no noisy exhaust silencers are permitted and no riding off-piste is allowed.

In 2013 with more and more lanes being closed he set up the ‘Association of Peak Trail Riding Businesses’, (see web page), a group of local businesses that benefit directly or partially from trail riding. Currently there are fourty four member businesses.

Boyd says:

“The route closure programme of our green lanes that appears to be underway in the Peak District is extremely worrying. At present there are only about 80 legal green lanes available in the area ranging from two hundred yards to a mile or two long. We expect several of these to be restricted by Traffic Regulation Orders in the next year. This will remove our rights to enjoy riding these carriageways that we have been enjoying for over one hundred years. It is an assault on the cultural heritage of motorcycling and an assault on our freedom.

More worrying is the damage this will have on the economy with less and less motorised tourists coming to the area. Nationally with the Peak district being one of the best remaining areas for green lanes in England, we could see major damage to the ‘off-road’ motorcycle industry as it becomes strangled by lack of opportunities for people to ride off tarmac. Trail riding is the entry level activity for other off-road sports such as Enduro or Rally Racing. Riders start on the green lanes before taking up more competitive sports. The motorcycle industry needs to wake up to this fact before they loose millions.

In my opinion this is our ‘Battle of Britain’ moment which is why we would welcome working in alliance ,( but not exclusively) with the Trail Riders Fellowship (TRF) we have formed the Association of Peak Trail Riders.”