If you struggle with track stand or technical climbing or riding wheels or bunny hopping or doing anything tricky at all on your bike and you hate the people who make it look simple, then you might not want to google Mike Steidley or watch any of his videos.
You see, Mike Steidley is not only 13 time National Trials Champion, but he has been traveling the world entertaining crowds and basically making the impossible not only possible, but appear easy.
"Mike is not only a great bike rider," said Brad Waldron, Kali boss. "But, he's also a great entertainer."
We catch up with Steidley after his recent victory to talk bikes, family, training and history.
So you’ve just won your 13th National Trials Championship. Is 13 a lucky number for you?
Well actually, come to think of it, 12 and 14 are my lucky numbers.
We assume most people have heard of trials or at least think they have, can you give us the 10,000 foot view of what comprises a trials competition?
Trials basically looks like a MTB version of Mini Golf. Riders navigate super hard sections that are short in distance and try to use their skills to not put their feet down. As the bikes evolved it turned into what it is today with riders jumping highly tricked out bikes in order to allow them to deify gravity and hope for the lowest possible score.
Just to give people a little context it was 13 years ago when the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster took place, when the human genome was mapped and the Concorde took its final flight. Do you remember these events and how has the trials world changed over this span of time?
The trials world has changed significantly and I feel it is on par with what we are seeing across the board. On the World Cup level the riders.
You could buy a gallon of gas for $1.79 in 2003, were your trial bikes better or worse than they are now and how have the trials steeds changed over the last 13 years?
Well the bikes have have evolved tremendously, lighter weight and better geometry to allow the riders maximum maneuverability. The bikes allow the riders to tuck the bikes into their body and move them exactly where they want. Pair that with amazing tires that stick to anything and brakes that stop on a dime and you have what you need to give the rider the ability to concur anything they can mentally and physically come up with.
Did you imagine you would still be winning Trials competitions on that victorious day back in 2003?
I first started competing and riding in 1996 and it's been an amazing journey so far.
Do you remember your very first bike and can you tell us a little story about that ride?
I started on a basic mountain bike that I had hacked up to be a makeshift trials bike, I grinded teeth off a chain ring to make my own bash ring and would learn most of my tricks and stunts in the backyard practicing on old wooden pallets and such.
What did your friends and family think when you took up stunt/trials riding?
I'm blessed to have an amazingly supportive group of friends and family and everyone has always thought it was super cool that I stuck with it and followed my passion and dreams.
How often do you train specifically for Trials and do you ever just “go for a ride?”
My training is pretty focused when getting ready for a competition and I'm working a variety of routines and mix of training sessions to focus on specific things. That's also paired with a personal trainer and meal prep. In the fall when the year winds down my sessions are more of "just going for a ride" and mixing in some playtime on the Haro MTB's as well.
Morning bird or night owl?
Mix of both.
If you had friends coming over, would you cook for them or order in and what would the meal consist of?
It would probably be Uber Eats or New Haven Pizza.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Follow your goals and dreams and focus on health, happiness, accountability and following your passion.
The movie Chicago won the Oscar for best picture in 2003. What do you think holds up better, your North American Trials Championship or that movie?
I'm going to be silly and selfish and say I'd take my 13 titles over the movie.
Winning must be fun, but after this many years where do you find your motivation and what keeps the fire burning?
For me it's personal growth and accomplishment. I'm motivated by doing what I love day in and day out, inspiring others to follow their dreams and seeing how far I can push the level and reach my own goals.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? Would you use it for good or evil?
I would want to fly, more just for the fact that it looks amazingly fun.
If you weren’t running around the country doing stunt and crushing trials competitions what would you be doing?
Most likely heading up my video production company with a bit more energy and capturing footage of riders doing what they love.
What does a perfect day in Mike Steidley's life look like?
A perfect day starts with coffee and journal and I almost always work a half day from home and then after lunch will focus on training and riding. Some evenings are spent in the gym and others spent catching up on video edits but ideally a good day for me is riding at one of my spots out near the ocean and taking in the view.
Would you say Trials riding attracts a certain personality type?
I think trials attracts a few types, some are very methodical and structured, others simply just want to conquer obstacles. We also are seeing a new mix of hybrid from BMX and street mixed in with trials that's more of a social vibe. I think it really just depends.
Can you tell us about your current bicycle setup?
I'm riding a full custom Haro with special signature tires by Kenda. The bike is rounded out with Magura brakes, parts from Thompson, a super strong KMC chain and I go a bit crazy with ti bolts and keeping things light.
Are there any young riders coming into the sport behind you who have you worried for next years?
Trials is interesting in that it's 60% mental and 40% physical. That being said it's really anyone's game, at any given point. I try to focus on working on my skills and riding smart when it comes to competition time and then letting the rest simply fall into place.
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