A little interview with the first lady of trials, Lois Morgan. Makes my manuals look utterly pathetic:
How big is bike trials in the UK? It still seems like quite a small, very specialist 'scene'.
The competition scene in the UK is quite small, compared to a few years ago. Whereas the street scene is growing all the time and is now pretty big.
You started quite young - what got you into it? Yes I had my first trials bike when I was four years old. My father rides motorbikes trials so we got to know the sport through the motorbike scene. We saw a bike trials demonstration at a round of the motorbike trials World Championship and my brother and I showed an interest so our parents bought us each a bike to have a go.
Honestly - is it all about good balance?! Balance is the key skill to the sport, you also need good strength and reactions to maintain control of the bike.
How often do you ride/ train? To maintain a high level of riding you need to train pretty much every day, even if it’s only for half an hour, and compete as often as possible. Time on the bike is very important to maintain your level and improve!
What inspires you to try new things? As there are not many trials riders in Wales I usually ride with my brother and he is one of my main inspirations as he’s really brave and ambitious and always trying new things. Also at the top competitions like the World Championships when you get chance to watch the top elite riders in the world it gives you that boast to go out and try some new moves.
How steep is the learning curve? How hard is it to become basically confident? It is a very hard sport to master; it can take years to get achieve a high level. Once you’ve mastered the basics however you can progress reasonably quickly.
Do you regularly try things in trials which freak you out? Do you have to, to progress? Yes it is a sport where you have to constantly challenge yourself and your courage to progress. It’s not a sport for the faint hearted.
What aspect of the sport do you enjoy most? For me personally I love the competitions. Training can be hard sometimes especially if you are pushing hard to improve. But training with friends and going on social rides is a really good laugh.
Would you say you are a particularly competitive person? Yes I think I am a very competitive person, I love the feeling of success and will try my hardest to achieve my goals, and I love to try and beat the boys.
Can you tell me a bit about the bike you use for trials? Components etc. I ride a 221ti (the model) Monty (the make) with 20 inch wheels. It is a Spanish bike. There is no suspension; therefore the tyres are quite fat with a low air pressure as they are the only suspension you have. As the sport is so physical it is vital for the bikes to be as light weight as possible, but still very strong. Therefore the frame and many of the components of my bike are made of aluminium as this is a light but strong material. There is no seat on the bike as when you are riding trials there is no need to sit down you are constantly stood up, so applying a seat to the bike would mean adding unnecessary weight. Many of the parts have holes drilled or punched out of them to lose weight off the bike, but not so much that they lose strength, for example the rims and the bash plate. The Bash plate is situated underneath the frame of the bike by the freewheel (front sprocket). This is used to land on when riding or jumping the bike up onto an obstacle (like a rock or log) it has ridges in it to increase grip. I run Hope hydraulic disk brakes (front and back), these supply the best brake for all weather conditions.
Any big injuries? Luckily I have never broken any bones, but I did put my hip out of place once in France whilst training a day before a World Championship round which meant I could not compete. I did start the event but collapsed with the pain in the first section.
What advice could you give to beginners? Firstly it is not vital to have an expensive top of the range bike, the most important thing is that the bike you ride is safe, set up correctly and all the parts such as the bikes are functioning well. Once you’ve got your bike you such start small as the basics are vital for you to progress well, this also allows you to build up your courage, the worst thing you can do is try something above your level and scare yourself. Watch videos of other riders as this will help you learn and inspire you. Riding with others if possible, will increase your enjoyment, help you improve as you can look out for each other and is a good laugh. The main advice I would have is to ride whatever you feel like riding, no matter how big or small and enjoy yourself. Because the happier and more relaxed you are the quicker you will progress.