Sean Farrar, 2023 Elite North American Trials champ and brother Ian to his left (Photo Credit: Mike Cartier)

Sean Farrar earned the title of North American Trials champion in the elite class during the North American Trials Championship competition at the Bentonville Bike Fest in May, 2023. He hails from a family of trials riders including his older brother Ian and father Doug. Sean is definitely one to keep an eye on – I believe he’s on the precipice of making some real noise on the trials scene, both here in the US as well as overseas. Let’s give him our full support!

Tell us a little about yourself (brief background, your profession, etc.)

I’m Sean Farrar, I’m 19 years old, originally from Columbia TN, I currently live in Boulder CO, and I’m a sophomore at CU Boulder studying mechanical engineering. I’ve spent my whole life loving bikes, riding all different types, BMX, cross country, enduro, downhill, and obviously trials. I’m the current North American Trials Champion and 2X national trials champion.

How long have you been riding bike trials? What is your riding level (beginner, intermediate, expert, elite)?

I’ve been riding trials since I was about 5 years old, over the 14 years I’ve been riding I’ve worked my way up to the elite level.

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

My dad got me into it! He rode trials for years and pretty much as soon as I could ride a bike he was getting me to ride over little pallets and logs. So I really can’t remember a time when I didn’t ride trials.

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

Trials is trying to ride a bike over the hardest obstacles possible without putting your feet down. I often tell people it’s like parkour on a bike.

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

I ride pretty much strictly competition trials, I would love to do more street trials because I love the creativity of it. I ride mostly natural spots with rocks, but I will also ride on the CU college campus to work on power moves.

At times I wish I had a trials park to train at but I think not having trials parks in America is a blessing and a curse because I think that riding natural spots makes you more versatile as a rider and you can handle unique or awkward moves better; trials parks can be so “cookie cutter” were all the moves are perfectly set up and kind of boring. But all the competitions these days are in the trials park setting so it can be hard to get better at the type of riding required for competitions without any parks to train at.

These days I mainly ride alone; it can be tough for Ian and I to ride together when our school schedules don’t align, but when we can me, Ian and my dad will ride together. We also have a pretty good group in Colorado of about 15 guys, and we try to get together for rides as much as we can.

Photo credit: John Bradford

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

To be honest, trials is all I’ve ever known, can’t imagine my life without trials, I don’t feel right if I go too long without riding. I just love doing it and it’s my escape from all the work and stress of school. As for motivation, I don’t usually find myself needing motivation to ride, but I definitely need motivation for gym training. I recently started a gym training plan and I hate the gym but motivation for that just comes from wanting to reach the highest level of the sport.

What other styles of cycling do you do? How has trials helped you improve your skills in those other biking disciplines (and vice versa)?

I ride mountain bikes a lot and race enduro and downhill; trials has had a huge impact on my other riding. I think I progressed in MTB much quicker than most because I just had lots of advanced bike handling skills from trials.

You and your brother Ian both attend college at CU Boulder, and both race on the CU MTB team(s). What’s it like to compete together mountain biking? Do you ever have the opportunity to “evangelize” trials with your teammates or competitors and spectators during the MTB events?

Racing MTB is great; it’s my second love after trials. It’s always pretty competitive between me and Ian. We have thought about doing trials skills clinics with the rest of the team but we haven’t done much yet. But hope to do it in the future because the meshing of trials and MTB is so important.

How often do you ride trials? 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 really just ride as much as I can, it always depends based on school. Usually I can fit in 5 to 7 rides a week, sometimes less, sometimes more depending on how busy my week is with school. And as for my routine, anytime I ride I’m always having fun, but also trying to improve. I push myself to be better on pretty much every ride and I find that fun.

You and Ian both compete at the elite level. How do you train and prepare to ride at that level?

Mainly just riding as much as possible. Just recently I started a gym program just to try and improve my power. But just riding a lot and having fun is the most important thing.

Photo credit: John Bradford

How do you manage fear when doing new/bigger moves or lines?

Fear is something I definitely struggled with a lot. The way I deal with it is by trying to not overthink it and trying to develop good trust in your abilities. Usually, scary moves are moves that we are very capable of. I try to not stare at the move for hours psyching myself out.

How long had you been gunning for the title of North American trials champ at the elite level? What is the competition looking like for defending your title in 2024? Are you training for NATC any differently this year than in the past?

I had always dreamed about winning the NATC since I was a little kid. The 2021 NATC was my first riding in the elite class and I got 4th. I was way off winning but I realized that I could probably be close to winning in 3 or 4 years. The next year I came 2nd. I wouldn’t say I was close to winning but I wasn’t far off. And so it became my goal for 2023; I think ultimately I won it a lot sooner than I expected.

As for 2024, to be honest, I’m not thinking about the NATC too much, I’m much more focused on the UCI C1, for 2024. I want to become more competitive with the World Cup riders, and I’m training harder than I ever have in order to do that.

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

My goal long term is to become competitive on the world level and become one of the top riders in the world.

Any thoughts of competing at trials in Europe?

Yes! I aim to start competing in Europe more in the next couple of years. In 2022 I would have really loved to go to World Champions because that was my last year in juniors, and after seeing the sections in videos, I think I would have done well but it just didn’t pan out. Then, this year in Bentonville some of the top riders from Europe were asking me if was going to worlds and telling me that I should. Personally, I didn’t think I was good enough to go to worlds this year, but encouragement from some of the best riders in the world is great motivation to get over to Europe in the next couple of years.

Photo Credit: Mike Cartier

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

My biggest influence in trials is probably Jack Carthy. I’ve always admired his work ethic and I think he just represents the maximum of what’s possible on a trials bike. I’ve always also really looked up to Jeff Anderson; he’s been at the top of the North American scene for so long and he’s given me lots of good advice and mentorship. And of course, my trials hero is my dad for teaching me everything I know and always being the best riding buddy.

What’s the bike trials scene like near you? How many other riders are there? Do you have regular group rides? Comps?

In Colorado we have a pretty good group of about 20 riders. We try to get together just about every other weekend, usually not all at once but we can usually get a decent group. And we’ve always talked about about putting on some comps but haven’t done any recently.

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

I think the North American Trials scene, while it might be small, is incredibly passionate. The scene is very tight-knit and a very positive, fun environment. That being said, I would really love to see trials grow in North America. And the more people we can get involved, the better.

Photo credit: John Bradford

What would you like to see happening in North America with respect to bike trials?

I think we just need more comps and fun group rides; like I said, the NAT community is so passionate and committed so I think even though we are very spread out, we will come together for comps. A few weeks ago Freddy Astrada put on a competition in Wisconsin and my dad and I drove 15 hours with Matt Meyer and Robbie Pfunder for the comp and there were lots of others like us who traveled a long way for that event. But I think the best thing about that competition was seeing all the NICA mountain bike kids who competed because Freddy gave them free admission. I think we need more connections with the MTB community to get more people into the sport.

Your family shows up at the Bentonville Bike Fest with a trailer full of trials bikes for people to try for free. Where did you get all the trials bikes? Have you done this at other events as well? What has been the most rewarding aspect of doing this? Any fun stories to share about people trying the bikes?

We just accumulated all the bikes from me and Ian riding all these years. All those bikes are just the bikes Ian and I used to ride. We have done some other events, for example, we used to help run a mountain bike summer camp back in Tennessee and we would always bring the trials bike for the kids to try out. But we would like to do it more at bike festivals when we do shows.

The most rewarding thing was probably Bentonville this year when we had a couple of people come to our tent, try a trials bike, and then sign up for the competition. That was super cool to see and hope that those people get more involved in trials and enjoy the sport.

It’s always funny to see people ride a trials bike for the first time, watching the awkwardness of even the most experienced riders or people trying to sit down on the bike. And the look on someone’s face when they’ve just realized how awkward a trials bike is is priceless.

You were doing trials demo shows with Dialed Action Sports this past summer. What do you like most about doing trials demos? Will you be doing shows again next season? How can people book you for a show?

I would say what I like most is just connecting with people at shows. It’s nice to connect with kids and people who enjoy the show. I will probably be doing shows with Dialed again next year, and Farrar Cycling is always doing shows. If you want to book us for a show you can go to or

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

My craziest story might be at the last NATS championship when I had a crash and ripped my brake hose out of my lever. I ended up having to ride my brother’s bike for the last 3 sections, in which I scored crucial points to take the win. Just kind of crazy that I won my first North American title on my brother’s bike.

Photo credit: John Bradford

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

Just try to have fun and find joy in the learning process. Trials is a sport where you fail a lot when just starting out, but in reality, I think the first year of doing trials is by far the hardest because you are starting from nothing; you have to learn the basics. But after that first year or two, you get to start building off of those basics and progression happens a lot faster.

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

You can find me on Instagram at @sean_farrar. I would really appreciate any support through that page; it helps me get more attention from companies.

Who is the one North American bike trials rider (any skills level) that you think I should interview?

I would love to hear from Jeff Anderson; like I said before he has been one of my biggest influences so I would love to hear his perspective on the NAT community. You can find him on Instagram at @jefftrials. I would also like to hear from Mike Friddell. He’s done so much for the North American Trials community and is really the leader of the NATS organization. You can find him on Instagram at @mikethebike_friddell.


Interview With Matt Meyer - This Is Bike Trials! · December 30, 2023 at 5:33 pm

[…] so I don’t miss any. Freddy Astrada, Aaron Lutze, Mike Steidley, Robbie Pfunder, Ross Winsor, Sean and Ian Farrar, Mike Friddell, Tom […]

Interview With Ian Farrar - This Is Bike Trials! · January 26, 2024 at 12:03 am

[…] You already picked my brother, Sean, for an interview so thanks for doing that. I think that my dad, Doug Farrar (IG: @doug_slug_farrar), has a lot of interesting stories that he could share based on his own experience in the bicycle and motorcycle world since he has been around the sport for a long time. Also, I think it would be great to interview Jeff Anderson (IG: @jefftrials) and hear a little more about his backstory and his experience riding NATS for so many years. […]

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