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Why don’t we all ride trials?

| Blog, Mountain Biking Uk | 24/11/2011 08:55am

Is the much-maligned discipline of trials a vital part of our mountain biking diet we’re missing out on?

Pic: Rob Rebholz To kick things off, I’m not going to try and take full credit for this blog. We got a letter from Trevor Franklin from Cardiff the other day and it was the realisation of something that I ¬†always sort of thought may just have been me. Right, here goes… Why don’t more people ride trials?!

Back when mountain biking was but a fledging Bambi of a sport perilously skating around the frozen pond of eighties/early nineties Britain, trials was a valued part of the diet. Races featured uphill, downhill and trials sections all melding together to recognise the best bike rider present on the day. Now though, trials has become somewhat of a dark art.

Embracing the immediacy and ability to self-publish offered by the internet it’s become virtually an underground movement with a substantial online community.

What I find odd about it is though, as a trail rider, surely I should be riding a trials bike now and again too? Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to hurdle whole stacks of pallets at once or side-hop over parked cars BUT surely a discipline which focuses on honing balance, control and general bike handling shouldn’t be as far off the average mountain bikers radar as it is?

Look at Chris Akrigg – as¬†polished and fearless a mountain bikers as this country has ever produced and he’s trials through and through. Recently though, his online edits have seen him take on bigger and bigger obstacles and flat-out descents aboard a trail bike.

I was up in Lee Quarry a couple of weeks ago with the British Olympic Development Squad and again, the point was hammered home. They weren’t tackling anything Akrigg sized but what they were doing was tackling little sections, hopping up on to rocks and just getting used to controlling their bike at low speeds. Indeed, head coach Phil Dixon rated it as an essential part of the athletes development – flat pedals, messing around on bikes.

Belting around the BMX track or otherwise thumping about on ‘hardcore’ hardtails has long been seen as a great way of improving your bike skills and as a beneficial alternative to trail/DH riding. Is it not then time that we started to re-embrace trials as an important part of how we set about going faster on our trail bikes?

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