West Glos & Dean Forest
Motor Cycle Club

Celebrating 66 Years of Motor Cycling 1953 - 2019

Border100 - 16 November 2003

A 100 mile unsurfaced-road navigation competition. See Results..

What was it like? Read Vessey's report of his day out...Also some pic's too!

Below was the introduction to the event. And the inspiration was from the original Border100.

(Blank Road Book sheets to make your own)

Another new venture for the club, This event is aimed at anyone who enjoys trail riding or thinks they might. It is not a riding skills competition, (although you will benefit from having some), in the manner of Trials or Enduros. This is a navigational competition where riders must plot a route chosen from given information to visit various unsurfaced roads around Monmouthshire, West Glos and South Herefordshire. 

It is organised under a Navigational Scatter Rally Permit from the ACU. This means you will not need a competition licence or even need to be an affiliated member of the ACU.

Riders will be able to join in if they have a solo motorcycle that has some off-road capability. All the event is on the public highway and bikes must comply with all traffic regulations at all times.

We value your feedback on this event. please let us know if something puts you off entering, or if you would prefer it to be organised differently. border100@wgdfmcc.org.uk 

We aim to help those who are new to trail riding with some basic information here. You will find info about Map reading/Plotting routes/Methods of Carrying routes/Using a road book etc. below.

Map Reading

If you are interested in Trail riding then you will probably want to use the OS Explorer series maps. These are 1:25000 scale and show enough detail for field boundaries. These will give you tons more confidence when opening gates etc. The best help is always from the horses mouth so have a look at Ordnance Surveys own help. Click on TL and read on. For a complete lesson try their schools example.

For the purposes of the Border 100 event you will need to know at least 6 figure references but may benefit from the knowing about the significantly more accurate 12 figure ones used by GPS systems and which the organisers use to record where check points are and for identifying junctions.  It is also important that you understand the errors that can occur with these systems.

6 figure references give you a square of 100m x 100m which can be pretty big if there are a lot of features on the ground to pick from. 

12 figure references give you a square of 1m x 1m. That means whatever it is will be under your feet!  Here comes the catch... the 1:25000 explorer maps aren't that accurate but depending on the features can be pretty good for a 10m square. Consequently, you could almost ignore the last digit for metres other than to round up or down.  Hang on, there is one more catch yet!  How accurately were the values obtained? I hear you ask. If it was with a GPS then the result would depend on the signal strength due to equipment and conditions at the time.  If there are lots of trees about the signal could be off course 100m easily.  If the sky is clearly viewed then it could be 10m x 10m accuracy.  For our purposes most of the references will be within 10 square metres. Do your best, that is all we have done!

One thing that is very helpful is a romer. This is a card that has the scale along an edge to help mark exact references on the map. We hope to give you one to print and cut out from here soon. Come back and look again. If you have a good quality compass this may already be printed along the side.

Plotting Routes

We mean marking them on your map then joining the bits you want to visit. You could use pencil on your map or an over marker but remember you may be out in the rain so get a waterproof one. Get yourself a good overview of the places with pencil rings around the lanes, then look for the best routes to join them. 

Now you have the problem of how to write this down to use when you are on the bike. Here are some possibilities and consequences:

1. Use the map you just made marks on. could get wet! Have you got a plastic rambler style map case? Can you read info quickly? Saves a lot of effort and can always see alternative routes quickly.

2. Write out instructions. Can you see enough info on the map and will signs on the ground confirm your info or confuse? Great if you already know the area and all you think you need is a reminder.

3. Make yourself a road book. Many ways of doing this. Need to be sure of your route as deviations mean getting the map out as per 1. Easy to read while riding. you won't ride far past a turn if you watch your milometer. Can be created automatically using computer software.  Needs a good method of holding sheets. Put total cumulative mileage and section mileage down one side and draw diagram of junction and/or add text to say what to do. The diagrams are usually drawn as tulips. that is the bottom has a ball and the arrow veers off at an appropriate angle. Add notes such as phone box or woods etc. We have an explanation of how to read a road book.

4. Use GPS. If you already have one then you know how helpful they can be. Good use of this tool will speed navigation up.  Just a glance down at the screen will tell you how far to go and which direction. To make best use of them you need to have computer software to help generate a list of points to aim for. We use Touratech's TTQV software to plan routes, check routes, store details about the lanes and produce the road books automatically and thanks to Nick Plumb of Touratech for supporting this event. You need good rattle proof batteries or power from bike.

Methods of carrying route

Map case is the classic. buy from most outdoor shops. remember they will fly around in the wind and probably try to strangle you. They are cheap. They let small amounts of water in when you weren't expecting to fall in that stream. You could photocopy sections of your route and seal in sandwich bags inside the case or refold your OS map every 10 miles. You need to stop and free a hand to read things.

Tank Bag is a good method but may get in the way and get wet as above.  If any one knows of a well made small one with an A5 see-through top then I would like to know. You could read quickly with only a brief stop with the clutch in!

Road book holders take many forms and price ranges. Some of our more experienced (Okay, I mean old!) club members have made their own from household items. Imagine a Tupperware box with two plastic water pipes pushed through and some elastic bands to tension things! You can also buy perfect working examples as used by Paris Dakar riders. Try Touratech. Just in case you have never seen such a thing, it is basically two rollers that roll a toilet roll style list of instructions from one end to the other.