Owen on his trials bike

Owen Fields is an energetic young moto and bike trials rider from Kentucky who has some serious skills. At the age of 11, Owen holds 2 Junior Vintage MotoTrial National Championships, 1 East Coast Youth Regional MotoTrial Championship, and Two North American Trials Championships – Youth and Sport classes. I first met him in 2022 at the 1st annual bike trials competition at the Arrowhead Bike Farm that Owen mentions in his interview. I was immediately impressed by Owen’s balance and bike control. Since then I’ve seen him ride twice at the North American Trials Championship – every time I see him he’s riding better than the last time!

Not only is it fun to watch Owen ride, but he and other youngsters like him are the future of the sport. It’s important to support and promote our young riders!

Owen on Strider – 3 years old

How long have you been riding bike trials?

I got my first trials bicycle when I was six. However, I was doing trials on every bike I had up until then. I was doing trials on my Strider bike when I was three – I hopped up on every rock and log between me and the end gate in the youth mototrial sections!

How did you discover bike trials and how did you get started?

Around 2015, when I was 3 years old, I got to go hang out with my Dad (Kevin Fields) a bit at his work, which just happened to be a mototrials import warehouse. There were always pro mototrials riders around or working there. Owners of the company at the time were Brad Baumert and Ryan Young. Ryan is a six-time US National MotoTrials Champion, and I got to hang out with him a lot.

Owen with Brad Baumert

I spent many summers at the warehouse during which I got to hang out and ride with many high level mototrials riders on a weekly basis – most importantly, Ryan, but I also got to hang out with Pat Smage (@pat_smage), David Roper (@davidroper_mtb), Josh Roper (@joshroper4), Nigel Parker (@nigelparker18), Karl Davis (@karldavisjr3), Sam Fastle (@odsb_fastle), and Mitchell Littlefield (@mitchell_littlefield), just to name a few.

Owen with Ryan Young

At the time, I didn’t really know who these people were – I just knew them as my friends, and my friends just happened to be amazing pro level mototrials riders. They would pick up one of the many things lying around the warehouse – scooters, bicycles, whacky bikes, unicycles, hoover boards, e-motobikes, and trials motorcycles – and they would do the most amazing tricks on them. To me, trials seemed very normal because I was surrounded by it, and I didn’t know any different.

Owen with David Roper

I got to spend a good four years hanging out at the warehouse, before ownership changed hands and the warehouse moved to a different state. During that time, I got to travel to several mototrials competitions and hang out in the pits with all my trials friends. I also started riding in the youth mototrials competitions on my Strider bicycle. I remember the mototrials riders would warm up before the competitions, and I was, of course, right out there with them on my Strider bike trying to do everything they were doing on their trials motorcycles. By the time I was 5, I was begging my parents for a trials bicycle. I got my first trials bicycle for Christmas in 2018 when I was six – it was an Onza MiniMaster.

Owen with Nigel Parker And Josh Roper

What’s the bike trials scene like near you? Are there other riders? Group rides? Comps

Pre-COVID, the local bike trials scene for me was great. I was riding with my friends at the warehouse on a weekly basis. However, after the warehouse moved away and COVID hit, I did most of my riding in the backyard by myself. With the exception of the occasional visit from passing-through mototrial friends, there was no one in the local area to ride with. I’m also an only child, and neither of my parents ride trials bicycles–so, at 7 years old, I had to start figuring it out on my own.

When COVID finally went away, my local mototrials club (Trials Incorporated) started ramping up their competitions again. I was never so excited to start going to the ten or so yearly mototrial competitions (in the surrounding tri-state area) because that meant seeing my bike trials friends again.

My favorite mototrials event of the season is the North American Trials Council (NATC) East Coast Youth and Women’s Regional MotoTrial Championship held each year at the Trials Training Center (TTC) in Sequatchie, Tennessee. Kids from all over the US come to that one, and we always have a pretty big group of kids (about 6 kids on average) that ride their trials bikes together every evening after the competition. TTC has a very nice practice area in the center of the camping area, and it is a great place for all the kids to meet up and ride our trials bicycles together. Another reason I love going to that event is I get see and ride with one of my best bike trials buddies, Matt Simpson (@mattsimpson125 and YouTube.com/@TrialsMatt_YT). He is a couple of years older than me and is an amazing bike trials rider. I love riding with him because he challenges me to do bigger things on my bike. I always leave TTC a better rider because I got to ride with Matt for three days.

Owen with Matt Simpson

The year I turned 8, I competed in my first bike trial competition. It was the North American Trials (@northamericantrials) National Championship in Bentonville, Arkansas. Competition riding was never something I had considered before because there just wasn’t any competitions that we knew about. I really had a lot of fun in Bentonville because I was surrounded by people who love riding bicycles, and it didn’t matter what kind. And to top it off, I got to meet a whole new group of trials riders during the competition. A good trials friend of mine, David Roper, was there too. It was great to be able to ride my first bike trial competition with him. That weekend in Bentonville was first time I realized that bike trials is a unique sport that wasn’t as normal as I thought it was.

That same weekend, I met David Krut (@davidkrut) for the first time. He is a native Kentuckian, who now lives in West Virginia. In May of the following year, David and fellow trials rider, Travis Brown (@travelin.travis), hosted the first ever Arrowhead Bike Farm (@arrowheadbikefarm) trials event in Fayetteville, West Virginia. It is the closest trials competition near me, and they have hosted it for the the past two years now. I really enjoy going to the Arrowhead Bike Farm trials competition; they have fun trials games and the competition is always challenging. David and Travis have done a great job hosting this event, and I sure hope they continue hosting it for many more years to come. I think they have inspired other bike trials enthusiasts to host similar events in their local regions.

Presently, in Kentucky, there’s nearly no bike trials scene. I only know one other bike trials rider, and he lives too far away to ride with on a regular basis. When David Krut (@davidkrut) comes down from West Virginia, the three of us will usually meet up for a group ride in downtown Lexington. We manage to get together about three times a year. So, essentially, the three of us are the bike trials scene in Kentucky. There are no bike trial competitions here.

How would you define/describe “bike trials” in your own words to someone who never heard of it?

It is incredibly hard to explain what bike trials is to someone who has never seen it before. I’d rather have a video handy to show them. But if I had to explain it in words, I would explain it as figuring out the most effective way, on a bicycle, of going up and over obstacles without putting your foot down. I believe Fefo Astrada (@Greenfefo_FPV) may have described it best in his interview, when he defined it as “parkour on bikes.”

What type of bike trials riding do you prefer (style, obstacle types, moves, solo/group, etc.) and where do you like to ride?

It is hard to pick a style that I prefer most. I really enjoy both comp and street style riding. I do most of my riding on pallets, logs, and rocks, so I like those, but I would prefer riding in area with a lot of natural boulders and rocks. We don’t have a lot of that terrain where I live, so I always enjoy going to a place that does. My favorite place to ride is the Trials Training Center. They do have a lot of natural boulders and rocks that I love to ride on. I always prefer to ride in a group when I can – having others to ride with is a what keeps it fun.

Why do you ride bike trials? What keeps you motivated to keep riding?

I have a few reasons why I ride bike trials. It all started because it was something my mototrials friends did, and I wanted to hang out with them and do all the cool things they were doing on their bikes. Since I also compete in mototrials, bike trials is a great cross-training tool for me. I know that riding my bike improves my balance and makes me a better mototrials rider. And it has always been easier for me to pull out my bicycle to practice than the motorcycle, which, until recently, required my Dad’s help.

Competitions are a lot of fun too, and they definitely motivate me to want to progress to higher levels. I would love to compete in more bike trials competitions for that reason. It’s a wonderful feeling hearing my trials friends, my friends from Crankbrothers (@crankbrothers), and a large crowd cheering me on at the NAT bike trial national each year. I feel proud knowing that people appreciate my riding skills, and that is very motivating.

I also ride bike trials because I enjoy challenging myself to learn new things on my bike. I have a hard time stopping until I have accomplished my goal – I call this trials tenacity. It is such a rewarding feeling when I finally accomplish something after countless attempts.

I also ride bike trials because, here in the US, I am a stand-out in a very cool way. It certainly turns a lot of heads, and I love seeing people’s reactions when they see a 11-year-old kid doing big bike trials moves. This past year, I had the opportunity to make a guest appearance for the Moto Motion Freestyle Tour. My good friend, Brad Baumert, sent them a copy of my 4th grade talent show video, and Moto Motion asked me to make a guest appearance at their next show. Talk about an exciting and cool experience! I mean, how many ten-year-old kids get to experience something like that?

How do you manage fear when doing scary lines?

I follow my instincts. If my instincts tell me that I’m not ready for a big move, I’ll back off and work my way up to it by doing smaller, similar lines until my confidence gives me the green light. Even then, it can still be scary, but I always wear top-of-the-line safety equipment – MIPS helmet, shin guards, and a back protector – so I feel protected, which adds to my confidence.

Who are your bike trials ‘heroes’ and/or influences?

I am so grateful to have been surrounded by some great people over the past 8 years of my bike trials life. My biggest heros are my Dad, and my good friends, Ryan Young and Brad Baumert, because if it were’t for them, I would have never started riding trials. They gave me a front row seat to the world of trials here in the US, and they have supported me every step of the way. My biggest riding influencers were my bike trial friends who took the time to ride with me along the way: Pat Smage, David Roper, Josh Roper, Nigel Parker, Karl Davis, Sam Fastle, and Mitchell Littlefield. I appreciate all the times I got to ride and hang out with these guys. As far as influences from the media, I would have to say that I was heavily influenced by Danny Macaskill (@danny_macaskill) early on. I grew up watching his videos on YouTube. Now, I’m heavily influenced by Fabio Wibmer (@wibmerfabio). His background in trials has made him an incredible street trials rider, and his videos have inspired my love for street trials riding.

What are your perspectives on the trials biking scene in general and in the US in particular?

In general, the bike trials scene appears to be doing well in countries like Spain and Great Britain. I follow several kids my age on Instagram who ride bike trials in those countries, and both countries have a competition series, and a lot of bike trial schools, camps, and bike trial parks. We don’t have all those things here in the US. Not many people here even know what bike trials is, and it is hard to get people interested in something they haven’t seen or heard of before. So, I think having a competition series in the US would be a great start to exposing more people to bike trials and possibly recruit more riders. The riders are out there, just maybe not in large numbers – yet.

What would you like to see happening in the US with respect to bike trials.

I would like to see a US bike trial competition series, similar to the NATC mototrials national series. In addition to a competition series, I would like see more bike trial demos at large events/bicycle festivals and more designated bike trials riding areas – these would expose more people to bike trials. But more than anything, I want a bike trials school or camp for kids and adults. I would love to go to a bike trial school for a week!

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start bike trials or has just started?

A trials bike can be awkward and uncomfortable to ride, so I advise to first become comfortable riding a regular bike before transiting to a trials bike. You can learn plenty of basic trial moves and techniques on an any kind of bike. Once you are a confident on a regular bicycle, and you’re ready to get a trials bike, I’d say go find a good used trials bike (check out: pinkbike.com or webcyclery.com), some shin guards, and (while your waiting on your bike to be shipped to your house) watch all the SuperRiderTV (YouTube.com/@superridertv) YouTube videos by Aaron Lutze. Just know ahead of time that it will take time and a lot of practice before you start seeing progression, and that’s normal. Once you start getting the basics down, you can start combining techniques to learn bigger moves. And that’s when it starts to get really fun!

Any interesting / funny / crazy bike trials stories or experiences you can share

I rode my first bike, the Onza MiniMaster, for about three years before I got my next bike. It was so worn out. At one point, it was run over at a mototrials comp, bending the handlebars so bad my Dad had to replace them with one off my Oset e-mototrials bike to keep it going. The chain finally snapped, and I begged my Dad to order a new chain. He kept saying he would, but two weeks went by, and no new chain. Soon after, on my 9th birthday, I found out why Dad didn’t order that chain. That’s the day I got my second brand new trials bike – a Jitsie Varial. Mom and Dad told me that as long as I keep wearing out bikes and I keep my grades up in school, they would continue getting me a new bike when it was time. I wore the Jitsie out in about two years, and I’m on my third trials bike now.

Some day, I plan to hang the Onza on my wall, right next to my Strider bike.

How do people find you online? (i.e., YouTube, web, social media, etc.)

You can find me on Instagram @owenfieldstrials

What other US bike trials rider(s) should I interview here?

I think you should interview Arrowhead Bike Farm rider, David Krut. I would like to hear the story behind the first Arrowhead Bike Farm trials competition.

SOUND ON: Listen to those kids cheering!


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