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What’s happened to the British competitive scene?


Si whitby
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After another fantastic week at the London urban trials championships I was wondering why we have so few top level riders? Zero women on the world elite circuit! 

What do you think has killed the uk scene off?

24”/expensive parts/lack of GB funding for athletes?

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To be the cynic: modern society training peoples' minds to expect results at little to no effort.

Trials is difficult, there's no arguing against that, and the learning curve as a beginner is daunting.
People - especially the younger and more impressionable - are being pushed into expecting the moon on a stick just because they want it. Whether this is the rise of video games becoming immersive to the point that it's easy to delude yourself that you can actually do great things, social media providing instant gratification and distraction, or something else entirely, people just don't seem to enjoy the challenge any more.

I don't think it's just trials. I mostly ride in the streets rather than rocks and the number of skaters/BMXers/free-runners and even scooterers (a very new sport so would be expected to be more current) has dropped off markedly.

There seems to be an inclination toward fad-hopping too. Instead of finding something you like and committing to it as seemed to be the standard when I was a teenager, people now fall prey to marketing and do something for a few weeks until the next advertised craze comes along and they switch to that.

 

I definitely don't think street can be blamed for the lack of comp-style trials riders. Some existing riders have moved from comps to street, but the vast majority of street riders only ride because of seeing Danny Mac videos and so otherwise would have ridden BMX or not at all.
Trials just isn't popular, and I'm confident it's largely because of the difficulty. Yes, it might partially be the "uncool" image, and it the price of the bikes is a huge deterrent to new riders, but they seem secondary concerns.
With the number of bikes that get sold, if everyone who bought one saw the learning process through and kept at it, there'd be no shortage of riders. My experience is that someone will get a bike, ride it for a while until they realise it's actually pretty tough to learn, and then it gets left in the shed.

Funding athletes might help a bit, but it's a pipedream and it would only really help the people that don't actually need it.
For a scene, you need more riders, not necessarily better riders.
Giving aid to those that are already established riders is kind of pointless. I've been thinking this for years - I have some sponsors, and whilst their support is invaluable to me I'm really not the one that needs it. If my frame broke, I might struggle to replace it financially but I'd find a way because it's my passion. The people that need help are the ones who love it but can't afford to keep it up. People who want to push the envelope will, and arguably should only, do it because they love it rather than for financial gain. Look at the classic DH vs Footballer example. The more money that got put into football, the more corrupt it became. Rampage riders don't even get their flights, accommodation or even insurance for that single event paid for, but from the perspective of someone who is an outsider to both scenes they seem incomparable in terms of their ethos.
If the GB funding that would usually go as prize money for comp's or supporting elite riders could be redirected to hosting more TartyDays style events

Sorry that came out as a bit of a ramble(/essay). I didn't really take a moment to compose my thoughts before starting to type, but I think the argument is there if somewhat fragmented.
It's also worth noting that trials isn't "dead", just seriously diminished when comparing to 5-10 years ago (at which point it was already in decline).

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Spot on! And for the record I love a good ramble. I agree that it is a hard spot to master and that is probably one of the main causes.

Like you said peoples ability to commit to a sport and stick with it when the trends change is extremely difficult in an age where social media provide the next in thing at the touch of a button.

One thing I would like to see is British cycling helping the riders that qualify to represent our country at the World championships. Seeming that the UCI is half way through a 3 year deal to be hosted by China, means that very few of the UK riders eligiable to compete can afford the trip. The bursary handed out by BC wouldn’t even pay for a quarter of the flight costs. So like you said if there are younger guys and girls looking to push themselves further, and aspire to represent the country then generally they would never make it a realility.

Lets hope that it doesn’t decline to the point where people see it as tricks and stunts again rather than a disciplined sport.  

 

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7 minutes ago, Si whitby said:

Lets hope that it doesn’t decline to the point where people see it as tricks and stunts again rather than a disciplined sport.  

 

Why would that be a problem?  Competitions are expensive to enter, there are only a handful of National rounds a year now and not a huge amount of Club trials, they're not particularly well distributed around the country, etc. - why would promoting trials as being a fun activity that people can do anywhere be a bad thing?

EDIT:  For top level UK riders - Charlie Rolls and Adam Morewood are doing pretty well and are already winning international comps.  There's not the same number of top level riders as there are in the French and Spanish comp scenes but that's explained to an extent by the above.

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I forgot to point out it's worth remembering that whilst Britain might not have many riders up in the ranks, the ones that are are WELL up in the ranks. (Edit: sniped by Mark.)
It's a quantity thing, not the edges of the bell curve.

Edited by aener
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  • 3 weeks later...
On 8/6/2018 at 5:40 PM, aener said:

To be the cynic: modern society training peoples' minds to expect results at little to no effort.

Trials is difficult, there's no arguing against that, and the learning curve as a beginner is daunting.
People - especially the younger and more impressionable - are being pushed into expecting the moon on a stick just because they want it. Whether this is the rise of video games becoming immersive to the point that it's easy to delude yourself that you can actually do great things, social media providing instant gratification and distraction, or something else entirely, people just don't seem to enjoy the challenge any more.

I don't think it's just trials. I mostly ride in the streets rather than rocks and the number of skaters/BMXers/free-runners and even scooterers (a very new sport so would be expected to be more current) has dropped off markedly.

There seems to be an inclination toward fad-hopping too. Instead of finding something you like and committing to it as seemed to be the standard when I was a teenager, people now fall prey to marketing and do something for a few weeks until the next advertised craze comes along and they switch to that.

 

I definitely don't think street can be blamed for the lack of comp-style trials riders. Some existing riders have moved from comps to street, but the vast majority of street riders only ride because of seeing Danny Mac videos and so otherwise would have ridden BMX or not at all.
Trials just isn't popular, and I'm confident it's largely because of the difficulty. Yes, it might partially be the "uncool" image, and it the price of the bikes is a huge deterrent to new riders, but they seem secondary concerns.
With the number of bikes that get sold, if everyone who bought one saw the learning process through and kept at it, there'd be no shortage of riders. My experience is that someone will get a bike, ride it for a while until they realise it's actually pretty tough to learn, and then it gets left in the shed.

Funding athletes might help a bit, but it's a pipedream and it would only really help the people that don't actually need it.
For a scene, you need more riders, not necessarily better riders.
Giving aid to those that are already established riders is kind of pointless. I've been thinking this for years - I have some sponsors, and whilst their support is invaluable to me I'm really not the one that needs it. If my frame broke, I might struggle to replace it financially but I'd find a way because it's my passion. The people that need help are the ones who love it but can't afford to keep it up. People who want to push the envelope will, and arguably should only, do it because they love it rather than for financial gain. Look at the classic DH vs Footballer example. The more money that got put into football, the more corrupt it became. Rampage riders don't even get their flights, accommodation or even insurance for that single event paid for, but from the perspective of someone who is an outsider to both scenes they seem incomparable in terms of their ethos.
If the GB funding that would usually go as prize money for comp's or supporting elite riders could be redirected to hosting more TartyDays style events

Sorry that came out as a bit of a ramble(/essay). I didn't really take a moment to compose my thoughts before starting to type, but I think the argument is there if somewhat fragmented.
It's also worth noting that trials isn't "dead", just seriously diminished when comparing to 5-10 years ago (at which point it was already in decline).

Oh, it's that Spanish sociologist Santyago de Aener! ¡Bellísimo!

 

 

 

Printed that post and put it into frame.

Edited by NINJА
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