Why 24tour?

Sam Nichols

"My earlier experiences of ‘proper’ bike riding take me back to my Barracuda Ghetto downhill/dirt jump bike and long summer days pushing it to the top of hills before pedalling hell for leather back down. Back then my bike handling skills left a lot to be desired but the thing that sticks in my head is that I continued to ride, not because I had dreams of being the next Steve Peat, but rather I continued riding because riding is fundamentally awesome. There was never a greater feeling than heading out in the morning with my friends and not returning until the late evening, hours upon hours of good old fashioned fun.

Fast forward a couple of years and I was introduced to trials by a certain Jon Granger (BikeGuernsey), known for his massive level of support for the online trials community ‘back in the day’. Jon’s style was always pure street; nobody could manual a Brisa B26D like that boy could and this style of trials appealed to me in abundance. The Barracuda Ghetto very quickly became a rudimentary trials bike and so my journey as a trials rider began.

As previously mentioned, bikes have always been about fun and trials was no exception. As soon as I’d learned to gap, tap and side hop I moved quickly onto learning manuals, 180’s and x-ups. After a brief affair with BMX I picked up the trials bike again and started trying to bridge the gap between the little bike and my 26” Revel; 360’s, wallrides and backwards manuals quickly found their way into my trials lines.

The summer of 2009 saw the birth of something pretty special. A group of riders from the UK existed; they were intent on keeping trials creative, experimental and above all else – fun. This spawned the 24tour and, due to my friendship with Jon, I found myself tagging along on what was to be the beginning of something quite special. I’ve only had the chance to attend two of the four tours but each of these has been something that I can only describe as awesome.

The interesting thing about a road trip is that it’s not just about the riding; it’s everything in between that makes the trip memorable. Most of us have the option to jump on a train or into the car and ride different cities at the weekend, so I don’t think that it’s much of a novelty riding unfamiliar terrain in that sense. Plus the fact that after a couple of 8 hour plus days riding, most of us are too crippled to ride as well as we’d like anyway! I’m very reluctant to use the word ‘banter’ because of the sickening overuse by the ‘LAD’ generation that seems to be plaguing the virtual world so instead I’ll say this; The best thing about road trips... Chaffing!

The little things make the tour. Things like dropping fruit from multi-storey car parks, hanging out the sunroof of a car and feeding Jon Stella whilst driving at speed, taking over the entire upper level of a random uninhabited student house, watching Ben Rowlands throw a Nerf really really far, Mark Westlake’s bowel movements, Ali C drunk, Joel Bennett on his constant life high, Luke Rainbird getting pretty f**king primeval with fire and large quantities of wooden furniture, Michael Simpsons car and The Clik Clik – Dunks, Luis Morais and his perma-stoned expression...

If you have never been on a road trip I highly recommend you get together with a group of like minded individuals and just make it happen. You really don’t know what you’re missing out on until you get out there and have an adventure of your own, I’ve probably forgotten more anecdotes than the average non-roadtripping rider will experience in their time riding.

Assuming you have made it this far through my ramblings I’d like to pose a question. Would you rather squeeze what little excitement you can from life by living through the eyes of others, forever watching web videos and reading blogs, forever imagining what could be if only you pulled your finger out and got things done? You’re friends probably want this experience as much as you do, go to the pub and talk about it, the best plans usually follow a couple of beers. Sure we all have money troubles, fuck it, enter the red.

Right now we’re in the depths of winter and everything sucks, but summer is just around the corner – so now is the time to plan."