The sport of mountain biking has different disciplines just like in skiing: Cross Country, Downhill , Slalom and Trials. The object in trials is to ride your bike up and over obstacles without putting your foot on the ground. Unlike BMX and Mountain Biking, Trials riding originated in Europe in the 70’s; the most important elements are balance, concentration, bike-and body control, as well as physical fitness. In a competition riders have to master several sections (courses), each of these sections is about 40 -100 feet long and contains rocks, logs, water-hazards, or even man-made obstacles such as old cars, pic-nic tables,… At each section is a judge or checker or scores that course. Each time a rider puts his foot down for support or crashes he gets a certain amount of points scored against him; the winner is the rider with the lowest score. There is only one rider at a time in a section; and nobody is allowed to practice the sections before, you can only walk the section or watch other riders at their attempt. A competition can have up to 10 different sections each of them has to be ridden 2-3 times, a whole competiton can take several hours, although the maximum riding time per section is limited to 2-3 minutes. There are several different classes for beginners, intermediate, expert, pro,… riders, the beginners have the easiest sections. There are two different types of bikes used in trials: The modified bikes which are special trials bikes with 20 inch wheels, a skid plate, really fat tires and with only one gear. The stock bikes are more less 26 inch mountain bikes with gears.
For more information contact your national bicycle federation or check the following web-sites:
Robin Coope’s Trials link page: http://www.phas.ubc.ca/~rcoope/biketrials/
Web-site with many useful links to trials related sites: http://www.trials.co.uk/wwwlinks/wwwlinks.html
Bike Trial info and cool web site from Japan: http://www.itadori-biketrial.com/
Bike Trials : bike trials web site with much info on trials products and more…