Trials riding is one of mountain biking’s most technical forms of riding. Fact is, trials riding is older than downhill. Being a UCI accepted discipline, trials riding has seen world championships for more than 30 years! Downhill world champs started years after! Trials masters like Hans Rey, Libor Karas, Ryan Leech, Jeff Lenosky, Von Williams to name a few put this style of riding on the screens over time.
The youtube generation of riders now have uber creative riders like Danny Mcaskill and Fabio Wibmer for inspiration. Their creative filmmaking and riding style has sparked new interest even among non cyclists towards the sport of trials riding.
In India currently, trials riding is followed by only a handful of riders. We caught up with a few of them to know more about the Indian trials riding scene.
Meet 21 year old Aakash Waghmare (a.k.a SkyTrials) from Maharashtra whose been hopping off walls since 2017
Name: Aakash Waghmare
Preferred riding discipline: Trials
Years Riding: 3 years
Current bike: Echo Mark IV
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FRMTB: How, when did trials riding catch your attention?
Aakash: I was in my 10th grade, during my exams when I saw on TV, concrete circus show – A guy on an orange bike riding a bike unlike I’d ever thought possible. It freaked my mind! Who rides a bicycle this way? Doing huge jumps, big drops that’s when Danny MacAskill caught my attention and I decided to one day ride like Danny Mac!
FRMTB: Who inspires you to ride? Athletes, that you look upto?
Aakash: Back in 2014, in my home town of Aurangabad in Maharashtra, where I lived, Internet cafes were not available. During my summer vacations I’d walk 8km everyday to a cyber cafe & download all the mountain bike videos and watch them the whole day once home. In a span of 2 years I started learning more about trials riding and saw Danny MacAskill’s old youtube videos, where he’s riding a proper trials bike. I then decided to buy a competition trials bike. A competition trials bike is an advantage, as it is lightweight and hence easy to learn trials techniques and compete in trials competitions. Once I was confident on my skills, I start to street trials riding.
Danny MacAskill, Kenny Belaey, Jack Carthy are legends & my idols who inspire me.
FRMTB: When you find a new line or set yourself a new trick goal, how do you go about it?
Aakash: I’m scared of heights and would crash during my early days of practicing. After a few months of practicing, I got better at higher drop offs.
Next it was the pedal up (bunny hop) that was difficult for me. It took me two to three months of daily practicing and watching slomo videos of other riders, multiple times to learn it’s technique.
For me, the rear wheel balancing too was tough. Around two to three months of daily sessions I got a hold of it. In trials riding, balancing on the rear wheel is crucial.
The multiple crashes, broken bike parts, daily failures, few injuries motivated me further. I kept practicing, put in a ton of efforts and finally improved on my chosen tricks.
FRMTB: What kind of issues do you face while sessioning at certain urban spots?
Aakash: Trials is a style of riding wherein if a person knows all the techniques, they could ride anywhere and everywhere. When I’m riding in my practice spots, people around ask things like, “Where is the seat?” It’s a trials bike, we don’t use a seat! Sometimes people are irritating because they do not understand this sport.
FRMTB: Where do you see the sport of trials riding in India, 5 years from now?
Aakash: In 5 years, I can see more Indian riders taking up Trials riding. We’d also have more audience for this discipline of mountain biking. I hope to qualify for international comps in 5 years and represent India on the world Trials riding stage.
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FRMTB: What keeps you occupied when you’re not riding?
Aakash: We have a family business of Tours and Travels, I work there.
FRMTB: Any shoutouts?
Aakash: Yes, a big shoutout to Freeridermag for their efforts in helping bring the Indian mountain biking scene onto a bigger platform. India needs such teams that genuinely promote mountain biking.