In addition to all the good-natured heckling, Tony also gave plenty of positive commentary

With thunderstorms threatening in the forecast, Dan, Scott, and I began our trials biking session in the woods. Tony and Jim soon arrived with beer (and no bikes) to heckle us. As you’d expect with this group, hilarity ensued. In fact, there was so much good material from this group ride, I was able to create a record four videos!

I was the first to arrive at Haley Farm for this group ride – to an empty parking lot. I was hoping other riders would show up, but wasn’t sure the weather would hold long enough to get in a full session of riding. Since nobody else was there yet, I used the opportunity to warm up and get a handful of clips of my own riding with some skinnies and rollups. In fact you can see the skinnies in the photo at the top of the page: one on the right above Tony’s head (where I discovered a nice little… surprise), and the other the fallen tree sloping up in the distant background behind the guy on the bike (me). I actually did better than expected on the skinny (tree) lying on the ground; the partially fallen tree leaning against another tree was a bit scary, so I only went a couple feet. (Later in the ride I nailed yet another skinny.) I was really happy with one particular rollup line, however, since I hadn’t really been able to do that one on previous rides. This time I was able ride it repeatedly and get different camera angles of the action – stuff you normally can’t do at a group ride (without being completely anti-social).

After probably 15 minutes of warming up, a couple cars appeared in the parking lot, and then Dan and Scott rolled up on their bikes a few minutes apart, making it a real “group” ride. I hadn’t seen Dan for a while, so it was cool to see him again. Scott “recruited” Dan to join the trials crew about a year a half ago; he first appeared in one of my videos in May 2022 on his mountain bike. He bought a trials bike last fall, though there have only been a handful of group rides that he and I are both able to attend.

After the three of us had spent a bit of time messing around on a few lines, Tony and Jim showed up… without their bikes. But they did happen to be carrying a cooler of beer. Upon arriving, they informed us there weren’t here to ride with us, they were here to heckle us while we rode. Normally when people show up to heckle you, they’re belligerent and combative and the situation is tense; however, when the “hecklers” are your friends and you have a crew like ours, it’s just the typical good natured silliness we expect at most group rides, though in a more concentrated form. In other words, nothing is meant to be (or taken as) mean and personal – it’s all about having fun together and not taking ourselves too seriously. The fact that we have such a vibe in the group is part of what makes it so special. In addition to the good-natured ribbing, there is also a group culture of encouragement, support, and coaching – we help each other and celebrate each other’s wins together.

There are a few aspects of this group ride to highlight that may or may not be reflected in the videos. The first is that we spent a huge portion of the ride focused on one line – the two-wheel gap line covered in the “drunken coaching” video. You can’t tell how much effort was spent on this line from watching the videos, since I’ve included only a few seconds of that line in the edits. Nobody wants to watch an hour of us repeatedly trying to do the same thing; there has to be some variety. The videos usually show the successful attempts (and some of the typically funny fails), but sometimes it takes a significant amount of time and effort to achieve success on a given line – if at all, as in this case.

As alluded to above – and pretty typical in the trials community from what I’ve experienced – our crew is quite encouraging to all trials riders, whether they’re in the crew or just visiting. It’s one of my favorite aspects of riding trials. We all know how difficult this sport is to learn and to do. Whether beginner or pro level rider, we’ve all had to struggle, and all push ourselves to keep reaching so that we can progress further – it’s a constant battle against ourselves physically and mentally. So when we ride together, there’s always a positive environment, even when we’re cutting up. We’re always encouraging each other. The more experienced riders often give coaching tips to the less experienced riders (sometimes vice-versa as well). And we always celebrate each other’s successes. This occurs during groups rides, as well as at competitions, which is atypical for a sport – while we all want to win, we also truly enjoy seeing other riders do well. Honestly, I’ve never experienced anything like this sport. Why am I going into all this? Because this behavior is not always reflected in the videos I create, though you can see some of it here and there. So this time, I decided to show a bit of what often happens “behind the scenes” during group rides. The “drunken coaching” video shows several of us giving tips and coaching to the others on how to do certain trials moves and conquer different specific lines. While this is not a true tutorial video by any means, it gives a glimpse into how we teach and support each other in our group, as well as what you’re likely to get from other trials groups as well.

Transitioning to the lighter side of the ride, at one point in the afternoon – as I was preparing to attempt a line that historically has challenged me – Jim tossed his empty beer can at the rock I was about to ride. That gave me an idea. I’ve seen other trials riders use their bikes to crush cans (e.g. Red Bull), so I figured I’d give it a shot. The idea was to ride up the sloped rock (typically my nemesis) to do a rear wheel drop onto the can, crushing it flat. Yeah. Easier said than done, apparently! Even from just a couple feet away, having that type of accuracy dropping from a lumpy rock is much harder than I expected. Of course after I did it, Tony wanted to give it a go… on my bike… and after he’d had a couple beers. There was too much material from that one silly line to include in the ride highlights; it really needed it’s own video. To see how it all went down, check out the “trials bike vs. beer can” video.

Finally, in addition to all the good stuff I got on video, there were a handful of things I missed, including some hilarious fails. In one prime example, Scott cleaned a longer line over a bunch of rocks for the first time ever – after only a handful of tries. I got all that on camera, following him from start to finish. As soon as he had finished, he jumped off his bike and I turned off the camera. In doing so, I missed one of Scott’s signature moves – he picked up his bike and tossed it into the woods (Scott’s bike toss can be celebration or frustration; it’s context-sensitive). The lesson: don’t rush to shut the camera off – keep it rolling!

All four of the videos from this session are included below. Make sure you have the sounds on for these to get the best entertainment. These are just as much about the commentary as the riding itself.

Note: We took all of our trash out of the woods with us, including the crushed cans. Wherever you ride, please take out whatever you brought in. Not only only is it the right thing to do, we want to make sure that the public sees bike trials and trials riders in a positive way.

Group ride highlights video
Some of the lines, moves, and silliness that didn’t make it into the group ride highlights video
Tony and I try to crush beer cans with my bike. It’s actually harder to do than I expected!
Despite having a beer or two before offering their coaching tips, Tony and Jim still offered some decent trials advice for 3 different moves: rear wheel balance, pedalups, and a 2-wheel gap line.


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