Do You Ride a Trials Bike? Consider Entering a Competition

Competitions are a fun way to test your trials capabilities and meet other trials riders. Even if you’re a beginner, there’s something there for you. I highly recommend giving it a shot if you’re a trials rider and you’ve never entered a trials competition.

Upcoming competitions:

Bike Trials Group Ride – Glacial Park – May 12, 2022

Thursday was sunny and warm – and finally not windy. Of course that meant the spring gnats were out in full force. We had another new rider join the squad, giving the loaner bike some needed attention. And after the recent encounter with a rock, Mike’s previous frame was retired, replaced by a completely new build this week.

Trials Biking Group Ride – Haley Farm – May 5, 2022

This week’s group ride happened to fall on Cinco de Mayo. While there were no post-ride Coronas (nobody brought beer), we did bleed Scott’s brakes with antifreeze in the parking lot after the ride. How many engineers does it take to bleed Scott’s brakes? Apparently it takes three. Sadly, we didn’t catch any of that riveting brake bleed action on video.

In addition to some of the normal crew, this week we also had someone new show up to give trials a shot, using his mountain bike. You don’t need a trials bike to get started. And trials skills will definitely improve your mountain biking.

Haley farm is a popular mountain biking trail, so we often have the opportunity to chat with mountain bikers when they see us crazy fools riding on rocks. We had a couple groups stop to chat this week, including some young riders (always great to see!).

Bike Trials Group Ride – Parker Memorial Park – April 28, 2022

This Thursday we were blessed with a gorgeous, sunny afternoon. It was absolutely perfect. Well… except for the gale force winds that made every line a struggle. As you can see, though, that didn’t stop the riding, including some pretty gnarly lines.

I even brought my bike this week – initially just to roll between spots. But, I ended up riding a handful of simple things so avoid tweaking my left arm, which doesn’t seem to want to recover from whatever tendon issues it has.

Bike Trials – The Skinny Experience

With respect to biking, a “skinny” is any narrow obstacles that you ride across. In this case, I use a ten foot 2×4 beam and ride down the narrow (1.5 inch wide) side.

With my arm injury failing to show any signs of healing, there isn’t much I can do on a bike since lunges, back wheel moves, and anything that jerks my arm makes my elbow hurt for days. That means that the few times I even get on the bike, I keep it as low impact as possible. A low skinny beam fits the bill since I can get on and off – including failed attempts – without any drama or stress on my arm.

For this edit, I thought it’d be interesting to show how riding a skinny looks from different angles. (Now that I think about it, I wish I had 1-2 shots from a higher angle… maybe one from a tripod or the roof of my pickup, and maybe one from a drone, if I had one…) I tried to show the full context with the wide shots, but I also wanted to show some tight close-ups as well as my perspective with a POV shot from the bike. Since I have only one GoPro, each shot is a separate run across the skinny. With the exception of the handful of fails at the end of the edit, I only show attempts for which I made a clean run completely across the skinny and square off the end – including the shots where you don’t see it (though you can hear the clunk of the bike rolling off the end). Yes, that means this edit took a while, since my success rate, while improving, isn’t great.

With respect to riding the skinny beam, I tried to approach slowly since that’s generally more difficult than just rolling onto it. I also tried stopping on the beam to briefly trackstand before riding off the end. That skill definitely still needs some work…

In addition to the visuals, I have to say that I love the visceral audio experience in edits like this one. In some clips you can hear cars passing on the street and maybe other sounds from the surrounding environment. More importantly, you can hear the buzz of the freehub, the tires rolling across the gravel, and the beam flexing and thumping.

T-shirt: Bashguardian – online bike trials magazine

Frame: 2020 Inspired Arcade (Inspired Bicycles)
Fork: Inspired Arcade
Handlebars: Inspired Arcade Riser
Grips: ODI Longneck V2.1 lock-on
Stem: Trialtech Sport, Forged, 90mm x 35°
Brakes: Hope Tech 3 Trial Zone disc, 180mm (front & rear)
Bottom Bracket: Inspired Arcade, External Bearing Euro
Cranks: Inspired Arcade
Pedals: Trialtech Race Platform
Rims: Spank SPIKE Race 33 Rims
Front Hub: Hope Pro 4
Rear Hub: Hope Pro 4 Trials / SS
Tires: Continental Danny MacAskill Air King (Rimpact foam core inserts)

Bike Trials Group Ride – Colonel Ledyard Park – April 21, 2022

This week we’re back again at Colonel Ledyard Park, but this time with a bigger crew: seven riders, if I counted correctly. It was a windy afternoon, but fortunately the breeze kept away the annoying gnats that always gravitate to your eyes, nose, and ears while you’re trying to ride.

Fortunately, this week I finally decided to add a DIY windscreen to my GoPro microphone (perfect timing!). Apparently it works because you can barely hear the wind in the video. I’ll be putting it to the test a bit more in the coming weeks; hopefully it significantly improves the audio.

Bike Trials Group Ride – Hidden Pond – April 14, 2022

Thursday’s forecast predicted rain; however, the rain held off until evening, yielding a surprisingly sunny, warm afternoon. We also had a pretty good rider turnout with skill levels ranging from beginner to expert. The group dynamic didn’t disappoint, with plenty of grab-assing, good-natured ribbing, and witty banter.

The group sessioned several different lines along the trails, yet barely scratched the surface of the number of good riding spots here. Mother Nature didn’t hold back on the boulders in this park.

The edit closes with a big old pile of outtakes. Make sure you have the audio turned up – some of the chatter is pretty hilarious.

Trials Biking Group Ride – Colonel Ledyard Park – April 5, 2022

Once again Thursday threatened rain, so the group ride was temporarily moved back to Tuesday… and back again to Colonel Ledyard Park. The weather was mild, sunny, and dry – perfect for a trials ride!

Last week was the Jim and Scott show; this week we had Ryan, Tony, and Jereme. Same park as last Thursday, but different lines, different skill levels, and different riding strengths and styles.

Trials Biking Group Ride – Double Header – March 29 & 31, 2022

Jim rolls up onto a slippery rock

This week’s group ride started on Tuesday with a break on Wednesday and finished on Thursday. Due to weather, work, injuries, and other logistical challenges, Jim and Scott were the only riders that showed up with their bikes on both days. Tuesday was absolutely beautiful, sunny, warm, and clear. Thursday was a completely different story with fog and rain all morning, but clearing somewhat to offer a windy, overcast afternoon. While the rain held off during the ride, the rocks (and everything else) were still pretty slippery.

Despite the meager turnout, we had a good time both days. Tony even showed up Thursday (with his rake, but no bike) to hang out with us so that he and I could cheer and jeer while Jim and Scott threw themselves at a variety of obstacles. Being on the trials bike is certainly my preference versus being sidelined with an injury, but the camaraderie we enjoy during the group rides really is the secret ingredient.

Testing Camera Mounts on My Trials Bike: Unique Video Perspectives

Since my arm injury seems to be actually getting worse lately, I can’t really ride ‘real’ trials lines and moves, so I’ve been trying to be more creative – both in my riding and my video production. Here’s a short video I made primarily to test a couple GoPro camera mounts as well as to see whether they give interesting camera angles to consider for future edits.

Despite the fact that I really didn’t do any big moves, I think the result was fairly interesting. Once I heal up and can ride ‘normally’ again, I’d like to try some of these angles on some bigger moves like gaps and drops on some rocks.

I made a YouTube version (below) and a shorter Instagram version (scroll down).