If you have seen any of our videos or performances, you will notice that almost all of the obstacles are man-made. However, mountain bike trials, as a sport, originated from motor bike trials - which is almost entirely off road.
Riding natural / off road trials is very challenging, even for the most accomplished street rider. Instead of reliable 90 degree angles and regular surfaces, you are faced with logs, mud, water, rocks, thick grass, strange angles, odd take offs, and a variety of different techniques that are rarely used in street.
Instead of linking one or two moves together as you would in street riding, you must ride through the whole section in under 2 minutes, putting your feet down as few times as possible. This requires, stamina, accuracy and consistency. Street videos are often of spots that have been ridden time and time again, with several takes to get it just right. Each section will be fresh to you, making each moment a new one. There is very little room for error.
We know as well as anyone how much fun street riding is, but if you ride regularly, it can get a little stale, not to mention the problems with constant (usually unfounded) harassment and fines from Police. Natural gives way to a new challenge without these risks. Who cares how hard you hit a wooden log?
In natural trials, rather than counting inches, you count points - the number of times you put your feet down. Just like golf, the smaller the number, the better. If you want to know how these rules work - either for riding trials, or for becoming an observer, there is a video available here.
To take part in competions usually requires a valid ACU license, and a small fee on the day to be paid. Getting to competitions can often be tricky, so try and car pool to give less fortunate members an oppurtunity to take part.
Local to thinkbikes.com is the Essex Bike Trials Club, where we attend and often film or take photos. There are many clubs up and down the country and we would like to exhaust the list below - so if you would like your club listed here - please contact us.
Essex Bike Trials Club
The EBTC uses venues around the south of England, including Kent, Essex and Surrey, using the BMI rules. The club has around 180 members, with around 12 events run a year, including the final round of the British Championship. Their website, including full contact information is www.ebtc.net.
YMSA runs events all year round in Derbeyshire and surrounding areas, using UCI rules. They also run the London indoor event. Their website, including full contact information is www.ymsa-biketrials.co.uk.
Hampshire Bike Trials Club
The HBTC uses venues around Hampshire, with one held in East Dorset. 7 to 8 events are run a year. They currently have no website, so if you are interested in taking part, contact Terry Graves on 02380 643503.
NBTC-Scotland is the only trials club Scotland, using UCI rules. Events are run all year round, and details can be found on their website - www.nbtc-scotland.com.
Tyke Trial does competitions around the Yorkshire Dales, using UCI rules. Competitions run all year round and details can be found on their website - www.biketrialuk.co.uk/TykeTrial.htm.
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