Taking to the Streets
The versatility of mountain biking is creating a steep rise in the population of our community. But unfortunately we don't all live in BC or Utah, and so, many riders are forced to find another place to practice their discipline. The strange thing is that for a growing number of riders, mountain biking is becoming less about the trails, the trees, and the outdoors, and more about the skateparks, the streets, and the concrete. As an Edmontonian, I know first hand the draw of these concrete forests, and while the rocks and roots will always be my first choice and my passion, a small part of me is being drawn towards this particular area of the sport.
Stuck dead center in the flatness that is the Edmonton landscape, a few friends of mine have recently been showing me the beauty of street riding. With strange bikes that look like the love-child of a mountain bike and a BMX, they flow through the ramps, rails, and boxes of skateparks busting out all the tricks they can for my film to capture. Foot-plants, transfers, hop-to-manuals, grindsÂ… They use the convenience of a local park to practice moves that will increase their control when they hit the forest floor.
With many talented riders, the borders between street riding and big-mountain riding are blurring. Tricks that used to be stuck in the city are now finding their way onto dirt. With wall-rides, hand-plants, tail-taps, 360s, can-cans, and many more being pulled out by riders on regular trails, dirt jumps, drops, and anything else you can imagine. Due to this rise in urban riding, many companies, both big and small are producing "mountain-biking" components made specifically for the streets! Apparently that's not enough, however, as you can now see a growing number of riders speccing their bikes with BMX componentry.
If you go and watch the riding, or even see videos with sections of this style of riding, you can't help but be drawn into the experience. Pushing the boundaries is what our sport is all about, so how can it be confined to the mountains?
Rider: Scott Thomas
Photo: Eric Beyer
Eric Beyer - TrailPeak Editor