I Launched a New Bike Trials Website!

Rebranded This Is Bike Trials! YouTube channel home page
I’ve re-branded and overhauled my YouTube channel

In part of my effort to re-brand my YouTube channel to focus exclusively on trials biking, I’ve also created a new website to support that new brand. Therefore, going forward, posts of trials videos will be on that website instead of here.

I’ve also re-branded my Instagram account (formerly @tichem, now @ThisIsBikeTrials).

Bike Trials Group Ride – Haley Farm – August 11, 2022

Man on a trials bike landing on rock with his rear wheel
Jereme attempting challenge line #2 using his DJ bike

Jereme recently built a dirt jump (DJ) bike to use for different biking purposes, including trials. We discovered this week that this particular build is not well suited for trials. Obviously the geometry isn’t the same as trials, but the hub, gearing, and tires are also not optimized for trials. Regardless, sometimes it’s cool just to try something different!

This week’s trials biking group ride was loosely defined by three(ish) challenges that we took turns at with varying levels of success.

The 2022 Bentonville Bike Fest was awesome!

Man on a competition trials bike (Alex Chiao) balances on his rear wheel on a tree stump, preparing to gap to another stump while two other men watch (Matt Meyer and Aaron Lutze).
Matt Meyer (left) and Aaron Lutze, a.k.a., “Super Rider” (right) watch Alex Chiao prepare for a gap in one of the expert sections during the 2022 North American Trials Championship

Despite being unable to compete in the North American Trials Championship at this year’s Bentonville Bike Fest due to an arm injury, I finally decided to travel out to Bentonville, AR anyway to vlog the event – primarily the trials riding. I have already created several videos, including a handful of shorts, and still expect to post a few more. Below are a selection of my video coverage of the event.

Overview of the Bentonville Bike Fest (Trials Rider’s Perspective)

If you’ve never been to the Bentonville Bike Fest, you might be wondering what it’s like. This video gives a brief overview of the 2022 Bike Fest from a trials rider’s perspective. Note that in addition to the trials events, there were plenty of other bike events and mountain biking, but I didn’t cover any of that since my focus was on trials. Special thanks to Aaron Lutze (Super Rider) for some of the clips used in this video!

North American Trials Championship

Again in 2022, the North American Trials Championship was held at the Bentonville Bike Fest on Saturday, June 18, 2022. This video contains highlights from the NATC portion of the event. The UCI elite men also competed the following day (see below). Special thanks to Aaron Lutze (Super Rider) for some of the clips used in this video!

UCI Trials Elite Men’s Competition

Here are the highlights from the UCI trials elite men’s competition at the 2022 Bentonville Bike Fest. This includes both the qualification round and the finals, which were both held on Sunday, June 19, 2022.

Other Fun Trials Videos

The UCI trials riders mixed with the North American riders throughout the day on Friday, practicing for Saturday’s competition. Here are a few UCI rider highlights during practice.

I’ve also posted a number of YouTube Shorts, which are available in my YouTube Shorts playlist.

2022 Trials and Tracks Competition at Arrowhead Bike Farm: The Overall Experience

As described in my last post, I recently traveled from Connecticut (CT) to the Arrowhead Bike Farm in Fayetteville, West Virginia (WV) to vlog their Trials and Tracks bike trials competition. My goal was to show what it’s like in general to travel to a trials competition – not only the actual riding, but the people, the vibe, and the overall experience. I also wanted to highlight this specific event, as it was the first trials biking competition hosted by David, Travis, and the Arrowhead Bike Farm. Hopefully my series of videos will encourage other riders to travel to a competition, or even host one of their own.

While the above goals focus on serving the trials community (and frankly, anyone else who might become interested in trials), I also had a personal goal to dive in and get some practice in developing other styles of video beyond just the trials riding edits. In other words, I’m learning how to tell an interesting story. Hopefully this latest experience will help prepare me for the next bike trip to the Bentonville Bike Fest in June 2022, which I also plan to vlog.

Part 1: Travel from CT to WV, meeting the hosts, and final setup

The first half of part 1 of the series provides a short glimpse into van life as we drive and camp overnight. The second half includes interviews with event hosts David and Travis, as well as some of the things that go into preparing for a trials competition.

Part 2: Competition day!

Part 2 in the series covers the final event preparations for the event, as well as the event itself. The event includes the trials riding, but also some additional events that I’ve highlighted. It also includes more interviews.

Part 3: Short scenic MTB ride, reflections on the event, and trip back to CT

In the third and final part, Tony and I take a brief mountain bike ride to a scenic overlook with a view of the New River Gorge Bridge before heading back to CT. We both provide commentary on the event – all positive!

2022 Trials and Tracks Competition at Arrowhead Bike Farm: Trials Competition Video

The Arrowhead Bike Farm located in Fayetteville, West Virginia hosted their first annual Trials and Tracks competition on May 21, 2022. I drove out from Connecticut with one of our local trials riders, Tony, to help with final setup of the sections, to share some of the nuances of running a competition based on (mostly Tony’s) experience in hosting trials competitions, and to vlog the whole thing (that was my primary function). Travis Brown and David Krut organized and ran the event (they also competed!), which included more than just a trials competition – for example, there were slow races, games of “foot down”, and pump track races as well.

The trials competition course consisted of 2 sections for each rider class (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced). The beginners rode each section 3 times; the intermediate and advanced participants rode theirs 2 times due to the number of riders and to stay on schedule with other events and the awards ceremony. The video highlights below include the best attempts at both sections for each of the participating riders in each of the classes, and include the awards highlights for the respective class at the end of each video.

I’ll post additional videos on my YouTube channel as well that cover the overall trip that conveys the entire experience and vibe, not just the trials riding. Keep an eye out for those. I’ll probably post them here as well.

Also, I wanted to give a shout out to ESI Grips, who donated grips via Tony to include in the competition prize packs.

Beginner Class Riders

Intermediate Class Riders

Advanced Class Riders

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)