Nathaniel Moore on his trials bike
Street trials rider Nathaniel Moore

Nathaniel Moore is a young up-and-coming street trials rider here in the US whose riding speaks for itself. With fewer than four years of trials riding under his belt, he’s already crushing it with some banger lines. In addition to his trials edits, he’s also posted some behind the scenes videos as well that show what goes into creating the polished edits – it’s a lot of work! Make sure you subscribe to his YouTube channel… though I’m getting ahead of things here…

I first met Nathaniel during the 2022 Bentonville Bike Fest, when he came over to our AirBnB to bleed his brakes. When he arrived with his yellow Inspired trials bike, I realized, “Hey wait a minute, I know this guy! I follow him on Instagram!” (Of course there was a lot of that happening at Bentonville!) I was already impressed with Nathaniel’s Instagram clips, but seeing him ride in person was even better. Just one example: Nathaniel had a pretty slick line on the wooden features in the trials practice area that actually appears his Street Trial 2022 edit.

It’s refreshing to see North American riders like Nathaniel going out there and “making some noise.” His enthusiasm and energy surrounding trials are hard to contain, as you’ll see in the interview below. This is great stuff!

Tell us a little about yourself (brief background, your profession, etc. How long have you been riding bike trials?

Hey! I’m Nathaniel Moore, from Durham, North Carolina but currently living in Blacksburg, Virginia for college! I’m a sophomore at Virginia Tech studying industrial design. After cross-country mountain bike racing for 5+ years in middle and high school, I got a street trials bike in March of 2020, so I’ve been riding specifically street trials for around 3 and a half years.

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

The first video I can remember seeing was Danny’s Imaginate, before I was into biking at all. I was blown away by it, and I remember excitedly showing my dad. For years afterwards, trials remained this out of reach sport that I didn’t really understand, and seemed limited to superhuman riders like Danny. However, around 2020 I decided I wanted to try street riding as a new hobby, and started discovering people like Ali Clarkson – I remember getting my dad to figure out how to call a UK phone number so that I could ask TartyBikes what the purpose of a street trials bike was! Haha

I was trying to decide between learning BMX and street trials for a while, and ultimately chose street trials without really knowing much about the techniques – I just thought BMX seemed too dangerous and high speed, and trials moves seemed more achievable for some reason with my limited mountain biking background. With what I know now, I definitely think it holds true that trials is generally more controlled and safer, and I consider that a huge benefit. I’m very proud to say that I’ve never had a concussion, broken a bone, or really had any huge injuries on my trials bike besides a few wrist sprains. I’m actually quite careful, contrary to what outsiders may think, and I believe it’s possible to get to a very high level without getting injured at all.

As for how I got started in street trials, I got an Inspired Flow from TartyBikes and began riding constantly and progressing pretty fast, somewhat due to having nothing else to do during the 2020 pandemic. I had maybe 5 pallets that I would rearrange in my driveway to learn basic tricks, and used tons of online resources such as to help understand techniques – as well as countless emails to TartyBikes about how to fix all my broken parts!

Nathaniel Moore doing a tire tap off a wall and across a patch of daffodils
Tire tap

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

When people ask me to explain bike trials, I try to explain the difference between competition/pure trials, street trials, and BMX – it’s sort of a spectrum. Competition riders focus on getting over obstacles and doing the biggest hops or longest gaps, whereas street BMX is about creative tricks. Street trials riders mix the comp style back wheel hopping with more “tricks” like 360s that aren’t actually useful for getting over an obstacle like in comp trials. It’s definitely a bit hard to explain because the lines blur so much, and most people think I’m riding a BMX bike anyways! Usually people know I do cool tricks and I leave it at that because it’s hard to explain all the differences.

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

I definitely lean towards the street trials/BMX side of things, but I love the huge range of styles a street trials bike offers. If I’ve been watching BMX videos, I might go out and manual around the skatepark, but if I was watching Charlie Rolls, I can go have hours of fun on some rocks. If I had a spot with rocks and logs near me, I would ride that a lot more, but street riding is far more accessible, plus it tends to look cooler on video.

I think there’s a difference with my riding from what you might call “flatland” street trials, which is a lot of footjamwhip and decade combos. I definitely respect this style a lot, but now that I’ve reached a level where I can jump off big walls, practicing in the driveway can get boring if I don’t have a specific goal, so I tend to focus on riding on obstacles. If I’m riding by myself, I can mess around on some curbs forever, but I also like the challenge of pushing past the fear for a more exposed line.

Do you prefer riding solo or in a group?

As for solo vs. group rides, I love both! When I get the rare opportunity to ride with another trials rider, it’s always motivating to watch how they approach obstacles, and I have had some great progression when I was with riders who were better than me! However, traditionally the majority of my riding has been during solo sessions, due to a lack of trials riders – and mountain bikers don’t enjoy riding on a single curb for hours the way I do. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it, but there’s a type of flow state that you get into on solo rides that just doesn’t happen when there’s someone talking to you or filming you. Some of my best memories on the bike are from 10 or even 11 pm at night, just trying tricks over and over on a curb with my headphones in – likely after a 3 or 4 hour ride, when you just feel connected to the bike! One thing I’ve consistently noticed is that I tend to progress more while riding alone – group rides can be more about socializing than learning a trick sometimes, and I think both types of rides are important to have – they kind of balance each other out. Riding is always a good way to clear my head!

I’ve been finding it harder to go out for long rides during college because I’m quite busy, and since I have a lot of tricks in my arsenal now, I do more “fun” rides where I hang out with friends and do my usual tricks. It helps get me outside when I know someone is already out there riding! But I’m always trying to make more time for those extended solo progression rides.

How often do you ride?

Back when I first started during COVID, I rode pretty much daily, nonstop. Once I started college, it definitely decreased, because there’s just so much more going on, and I miss getting home from high school and immediately going out for a driveway session! I wish I could ride daily, but it ends up being every other day or so, with better rides on weekends.

Nathaniel Moore does an endo drop from a stone wall
Endo drop

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

I ride bike trials for many reasons! It looks cool, it challenges me, it’s great outdoor exercise, and it’s super fun! Biking in general is a sport I have always found more enjoyable than other sports, and the way you get to creatively ride obstacles in the street is I think what I love about trials. It’s like an endless playground to challenge yourself. I also think trials is safer than a lot of other versions of biking, and I love that I can just step out the door and ride trials, instead of having to drive to the trails for mountain biking.
The more I do it, the more lines and opportunities open up, and it honestly just gets more fun the more tricks you have ready to do on any features. I really enjoy checking out new cities or college campuses on my bike now that I can ride over so many types of walls and rails! While I’m at a level where I can comfortably ride over a lot of obstacles, it always keeps me motivated to continue the endless journey of progression, so that I can flow over obstacles the way I see famous street trials riders do. When you learn a new trick, like one you saw in a Danny MacAskill video, it’s an awesome feeling of accomplishment, and it’s super cool to get closer to the riding style I admired in Imaginate as a kid. You can always progress more with street trials. There’s just so much to learn! You’ve got both BMX and pure trials to learn skills from!

One of the biggest things that motivates me is the worldwide street trials community. I’ll admit it’s hard to want to ride sometimes when there’s not often people near me to push my skills, but instead, people across the ocean do! I’ve competed with European riders in an “online game of bike” which was super good for progression, and watching all the European riders around my age on Instagram has inspired me throughout this whole journey. I’ve been talking with some of them for more than 3 years now, and consider some of them good friends who I hope to meet someday soon! We have given each other lots of advice and it’s honestly really neat to get to talk with people of different nationalities.

The internet is definitely where I get a lot of ideas and motivation. When I want to get inspired for a ride, some of my favorite things to do are watch a James Barton video or an old Sick Series video – those are just the best!

I draw a lot of inspiration from BMX and skate culture, with their focus on video parts. It’s such a unique part of the urban sports that you don’t see in mainstream sports, and there’s so much to learn about them. BMX videos can be super high production! I use video parts as a way to push my skills in terms of battling tricks that scare me and telling the story with filmmaking styles. They don’t have to be the highest production – in fact, amateur edits can be better because they show the athletes hanging out with their friends and having fun! Once you make one, I feel like there’s a whole new appreciation for other riders making video parts, especially in the high speed Instagram world. Video parts are for you to push your personal limits and compete against the previous version of yourself. I consider them the equivalent of a basketball game that ball players train for – in the street riding culture we train for video parts (and we get to do cool tricks no one has done before, which is more fun than basketball for me!)
Video parts feel like more of a physical proof of your achievements, and they’re a way to show what riding means to you. I imagine they’ll be really cool to show to people decades from now, and they help keep the very spread-out trials community motivated. I wish there were more people around me who enjoy video parts as much as me – I could talk about them all day!

Nathaniel Moore does a footjam whip in front of a stone building with daffodils in the foreground
Footjam whip

What sort of routine do you have for practice versus riding for fun versus making edits, etc. – how much time is dedicated to each?

I try not to plan too much and just ride what I feel like riding, as much as I can make time for. When I’m not working on an edit, I’ll ride around street spots for fun, either with the goal of working on a new trick and “sessioning” one feature, or just flowing around and keeping my skills fresh. Often, even if I don’t have a set goal, I’ll end up making up some sort of new line on an old spot. I also get ideas for challenging tricks to film while I’m riding around, and have a long list going on my phone that I look at if I can’t decide what to ride! If I’m riding with a friend, I’ll often try to challenge myself to get a cool trick on video. “Getting a clip” feels productive to me, and I tend to do more risky lines when it’s being filmed.
When I am working on an edit, I try to work on it as much as I can, or whatever works with the filmer’s schedule. It can be stressful when there’s someone filming me, so I might practice a line before actually going out with a filmer. I tend to keep adding more and more to my video parts until I’m satisfied that they’re showing my best, so sometimes filming lasts a while! Especially because just one trick for an edit takes hours. I actually have struggled with pushing my limits too much and just getting frustrated that I can’t commit to any tricks on a filming day, so I’ve been working on remembering to always have fun with biking.

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

I was lucky in my hometown in North Carolina to have a small group of riders, with maybe 4 guys who had street trials bikes, and a guy named Craig Wright who has been riding trials for 30+ years! There were also some more advanced street riders in other parts of NC that I was able to meet up with a few times! Since coming to college, I’ve been sticking with MTB and BMX riders, as there is only one other guy in the area who has a street trials bike. As always with my experience, the desire to progress typically comes from within, because at my current level, there’s not many riders near me to challenge me in street trials.

How do you manage fear when doing scary lines?

I’m extremely calculated and rarely just “send” things. I wish I could, but I just can’t force myself to do most scary lines to be honest! I can get frustrated if I stare a scary line for too long. Instead, I always try to find a way to work up to the trick I’m trying to do. If I want to gap between two railings that are 6 ft off the ground, I’ll do it on the part that’s at ground level first, and literally work my way up by a foot each time. It’s an extremely mental game, but for some reason I have to work my way up to things even if I know logically I can do them. I also think about ways to get out of a crash, what is most likely to go wrong, and I even practice bailing on purpose! I’ve actually gone so far as to build a wooden replica of a street spot in my driveway, which gave me the confidence to try it for real – that was for the intro railride line from my Street Trial 2022 video.

I am super careful, so I don’t have crashes that often – bails are a different story. Luckily I seem to have pretty good reflexes for when I do crash, but I hate being injured so much that I don’t like to count on them!

Nathaniel Moore prepares to do a massive rear wheel drop
Massive drop

What are your personal goals with respect to trials (near-term and long-term)?

For now, I want to make more edits and try to grow on YouTube when I have time to put into it. I also would like to perform in a trials show and see if I like it! If anyone’s looking for a rider, let me know. In the long term, I think my goal is just to keep riding and improving bike control! Maybe when I get older, I’ll switch to riding mountain bikes more often, but I think I’ll always enjoy playing around in the parking lot. I also have a lot of places in the world I want to travel to for riding.

Where do you see yourself in a few years with trials/street trials? Do you hope to turn it into a full-time career?

I would love to turn street trials into a career; however, I also don’t want to turn my passion into a job that gets tiring, or stressful because I can’t make money from it! I don’t know if doing trials shows full time is what I really want to do for years, and making it big on the internet is hard to do, but that would be awesome. I have hundreds of ideas that I would love to make happen for MacAskill-style internet videos, but don’t have all the resources yet, so you can support me on social media if you want to help me work towards that! It would of course be the dream to travel the world riding my bike and really bring some of my visions to life! In the meantime, I am planning to try some shows and continue with my college education so that I have options for wherever my life goes.

Who are your bike trials ‘heroes’ and/or influences? Favorite trials video(s)?

There’s no way I can list all of my favorite riders and videos, but these are some of the top of my head – there’s honestly too many influences to name! Danny, Ali, Joacim, Thom Triboulat, Fabio, TRA, James Barton, and so many underrated riders like Romain Formont, Drew Fortner, Clement Moreno… I have multiple YouTube playlists filled with these video parts, and I think all the riders will already know the famous viral trials videos, so I won’t name those!

I really like a lot of slightly older trials videos, because they just have a different feel to them, and it was before fast Instagram videos took over the video parts. Of course there’s the legendary 2009 Danny video, but also there’s some really cool Triboulat brothers (RTB), TRA (noEscape and Back to 2001, Back to 2012), and many other videos that I stumble across from that time. They’re so inspiring and really define what street trials means to me! Euan Beaden’s Gold on the Ceiling and Fabio’s old videos like Street Trial 2012 from when they were my age were some that I watched countless times, and those really helped give me something to work towards to try to match my progression with theirs – when I was filming for Street Trial 2022, I pushed myself to ride at the level they rode at when they were my age! Also, you might realize the title was a nod to those older videos by Danny and Fabio! I definitely try to watch videos by riders who are at the same skill level as me or slightly above, because those can be really inspiring.

Recently, I’ve been watching a lot of James Barton, because as I’ve gotten better I’ve realized how genius his style is. But honestly I need some video recommendations, because it’s getting harder to find new ones! Please send me some edits if you have some rare ones! Seth Stevens also made his first video part recently which I absolutely loved, since he’s a rider that’s somewhat near me in NC, and has always been a big inspiration for me!

I also watch a lot of BMX video parts, because there’s not enough street trials video parts! Dennis Enarson, Trey Jones, and so many more – they are really on another level with their filming and production, and I really admire that and try to learn from it. I’ve watched so many hours of street trials and other biking videos, and it definitely helps me think of more possibilities for tricks when my creativity is running low! All the media has just condensed to become a library in my brain.

If you could ride for a day with anyone, who would that be (and why)?

I’m not sure if I can pick just one! Maybe Fabio because he seems like a funny guy, and I’d obviously learn a lot. But what I would really prefer is a European ride with all the online riders my age that I’ve been talking to for years! It would probably blow my mind to see so many incredible riders, when I’ve only ever seen a small number of street trials bikes in my life. Some of the events like Fabio’s Under My Wings weekend looked incredible, but unfortunately weren’t available to me as a USA rider. I would absolutely love to go to the Barcelona street trials group ride, which might be the biggest street trials group ride I’ve heard of, in the place with possibly the greatest street spots, but unfortunately it conflicts with my college schedule! I’m sure one day I’ll meet all those European riders, but for now it’s a mostly solo adventure!

Nathaniel Moore does a big gap on his trials bike, atop a huge boulder
Big boulder gap

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

It’s obviously small and spread out, but we have some really good people pushing the sport that I’m thankful for! I think most people don’t know much about trials, and the learning curve and price of bikes keeps them to other types of biking like BMX and MTB. To be honest, it was lucky that I got a trials bike during COVID and had so much spare time to practice, because if I started from scratch right now, I would definitely struggle with progression due to not riding daily. I don’t expect trials to ever become a massive sport like basketball, and I like that it’s a rare, sort of “circus stunt” style sport – it’s an impressive talent to learn and stand out! However, it would be good to have more than just a few riders within a 4 hour drive… I think more and more resources like This Is Bike Trials! are what we need to educate more people. Hopefully more mountain bikers will become interested through bigger news sites like Pinkbike.
I’m trying to do my part by documenting my journey online to hopefully get others into the sport!

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

The Bentonville Bike Fest is awesome, and hopefully we can have more events like that! I think I’d like to see more coverage of trials by mountain bike communities, and more video parts by street riders in the US – I’m talking to whoever’s reading this! I found out about and learned trials from basically only online resources, so hopefully expanding that will inspire more kids.

Personally, I wish there were more street group rides; there was a big “East coast ride” a few months before I bought my first trials bike, and unfortunately since then riders have moved away and it’s hard to arrange riding.

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

Stick with it – that’s where most people get stuck! Try to devote time to riding as often as you can. Trials is how I clear my head outside, so let it become that break from work for you too! Before you know it, you’ll be addicted, and it doesn’t take many years to become proficient! Just focus on enjoying the small progression at first and not doing tricks that are too big for you – injuries will only hinder the progression.
Try something new all the time. Try something that scares you every ride. If you’re stuck learning a trick, try thinking logically about it and changing something each time so that you don’t get stuck in muscle memory of doing the trick incorrectly hundreds of times.

Even if you aren’t learning any specific tricks, riding your bike as much as possible is the only way to build style and overall control.

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

YouTube (@nathaniel__moore) is for edits, Instagram (@nathaniel__moore) is for more casual riding clips! I’m also trying to make other types of videos for YouTube, so check it out if you can! I don’t like to ask for followers but they do actually help me get more opportunities for a career.

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

It would be cool to see one with Craig Wright – he’s the rider from my hometown who has been in the scene for much longer than I’ve been alive!

My internet friend for over 3 years, as we both started learning street trials at the same time, Todd Cook, who I will meet in person hopefully one day soon! He’s really inspiring, showing that you don’t have to learn trials as a teenager, and helps the USA community in lots of ways.

I would probably most like to see one with Drew “BigHops” Fortner. An absolutely incredible rider who has landed frontflip variations not even MacAskill has done, he’s got to be one of the most underrated street trials riders in the world. I love his style of raw power… I wish he rode more nowadays though!

One of Nathaniel’s latest edits… it does not disappoint!

1 Comment

Interview With Travis Gardner - This Is Bike Trials! · November 18, 2023 at 8:24 am

[…] first two that come to mind are Nathaniel Moore & Seth Stevens. Young up and coming guys who still have plenty of time to develop what […]

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