The bike trials "family" feel
by Stephen Maeder

This article was written in response to the post Do people want trials to go really big? by Paul Hempstead.

I think most people want bike trials to grow, just as long as it doesn’t lose the close “family” feeling.

Now, does the bike trials community feel like a family just because it’s relatively small? I think it’s much more than that. We feel a connection because we’ve all faced and overcome the same obstacles. Obstacles like the steep learning curve, finding bikes and parts, finding people to learn from… We’ve also shared similar experiences, like learning to trackstand and hop on the rear tire, competing in our first competition, fiving a section, having sore wrists/backs, smacking our pedal into our shin… These and many more obstacles and experiences test you over time – can you stick with it? Can you overcome it all and become a better rider in the process? These shared experiences connect us.

Your response to these experiences shape what you’ll become. In order to conquer the major obstacles and difficult experiences that all begginers face, you need to develop a good attitude towards learning bike trials. At the very least, you need to learn how to have fun when things are tough, to get determined to overcome something, and be humble enough to know you need someone else’s help. We share similar attitudes. This connects us as well.

Even more, our learning process connects us. We need others in order to learn bike trials. As iron sharpens iron, so one rider sharpens another. Isolated from other riders, our success is limited – it is only by the influence of others that we can rapidly progress. On top of this, many of us were introduced to the sport by someone who also taught us the basics. An ambassador for the sport. We’re friendly and generous to others in the “family” because we know how much we depend on others doing the same for us. We treat others the way we would like to be treated.

I think the fundamental reason the bike trials community has a “family” feeling is because we are all passionate about the same thing – riding bike trials! Without passion for bike trials, we wouldn’t have had the motivation and determination to make it this far. Those who don’t really have a passion, who don’t want to learn trials badly enough, can’t make it past the beginning stages and just give up. The only people that make it as bike trials riders are the passionate ones, so we’ve got a community of passionate people!

It’s for all these reasons (and more!) that the bike trials community is so vibrant and strong, even for it’s relatively small size. I hope you can see here that growing bigger in size shouldn’t negatively impact our community (unless, of course, we change the sport too much in an attempt to make it “mainstream,” which I think would be a tremendous error).

The truly important thing is that you make a positive impact on this sport. As long as you see yourself as an ambassador for the sport and encourage others to do the same, you will help the sport grow in a positive way. Share about bike trials, teach beginners, and get them connected with good resources like where they can grow and mature in their passion for bike trials! Go out and be ambassadors for bike trials! :-)

Count me in on wanting bike trials to be bigger and better!

Stephen Maeder
May 29, 2003

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