A biking tour can be a great way to add to your #ride5000miles total, experiencing new places and roads often with friends. But instead of cramming everything you’ll need onto a bike and setting off into the unknown, a dedicated band of riders is challenging the usual touring stereotype by heading off on bikes under 125cc.
Founded in 2012, the ‘Northern Ningers’ are a bunch of small-capacity bike fans who take part in tours all over Europe on either mopeds or ‘monkey’ bikes.
"It all started when a number of us did a charity event from Redcar to Whitehaven on old mopeds," 52-year-old Malcolm Wright told MCN. "We had a right laugh and thought there was more to it than just doing charity runs.
"The ‘ning’ name comes from the sound the bikes make, as they’re often two-strokes," he continues. "We’re not a club, just a Facebook group of friends that have a common interest and attitude."
Malcolm started the group in 2017 with a few friends. It has since grown to over 500 members. He’s gone on to buy four Puch Maxis, one Puch Free Spirit, a 1962 Lambretta Li 125 and a 140cc monkey bike.
Each year the group holds a ‘European Adventure’ tour, the first being a trip to Arnhem in Holland and back. That was followed by a ride to Ypres in Belgium for the WW1 centenary.
This year’s trip was a little closer to home: a three-day trip around the Lake District, which attracted over 40 riders from across Europe. A 35-mile trip to Haweswater was followed by two 70-mile rides over the following two days.
"We had only two breakdowns all weekend," Malcolm adds. "It’s only a real breakdown if you need to get the bike recovered on a van. If you can get the bike going again, it’s just a ‘technical interlude.’" Power really isn’t everything in the pursuit of riding happiness.
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