Interview to TRA: «I never recorded videos trying to impress, I did it to be able to watch myself and to improve.
Trials-Riders.es has been waiting for a long time for this interview . A few days ago we could make an interview to someone who is a legend in trials without having ever won any title. TRA (Thomas Remvik Aasen) has earned that title of legend on his own merits. The Norwegian has been making videos of a spectacular level for years, not only in terms of piloting, but also in terms of editing and outstanding areas. One of those pilots who motivated, that made us go out and who created a trend. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we have done making it and once again, thanks so much fort that, TRA.
Hi TRA, first of all, we would like to say you thank you very much for your time and for this interview. We will start it with this question, why did you start on trials and when did you see this sport for first time?
I remember seeing a sign with trials and motorcycle on it , it wasnt until a year or so later we actually found this mototrials arena . I was 13 when i started with mototrials . I think i was around 15 when i first saw a VHS of “Ot Pi Bosco” video , when i saw this video i got immediatly hooked and i wanted to do the same. But i did not have a trials bike, they were expensive and hard to get (had to import from 1 dealer in norway). So i used my regular mtb bikes , which was shit but i enjoyed it. It wasnt until i was 18 that i got my first Biketrials bike , and at the age of 19 i quit mototrials and bought myself a 1100 koxx bike . But when i got myself a biketrials bike before quitting mototrials, everyone who watched me knew that this was my sport, mototrials did not come as naturally for me as biketrials did. Last years all i did was to ride the mototrials as a trials bike , rear wheel jumping etc, i was actually the best in Norway in terms of jumping abilitys, hehe.
Which was your goal on trials when you started?
In terms of goals in mototrials i never had any specific ones , i never thought i could be that good, i had issues with my own mentality in younger years. As for biketrials i already kindoff knew that i entered the sport too late, and i was literally the only guy riding biketrials in my area, so i could not learn from anyone . I was already the best rider in Norway the first year i was riding. But i always wanted to become one of the best, and compete at world level. But as time passed i realised this was not possible, i live in Norway , to travel to WC , to get sponsorships etc , it was mostly hopeless. And the main reason i did videos was not to impress “the world” , but it was 90% of the time my only training partner, as i had to watch myself riding and critique myself , and everyone needs to be pushed by someone, and this someone was my own camera. Which is why i called myself “the lonerider” .
Did you have idols? Who and why?
In the beginning it was ofcourse Ot Pi , as he was the world champion and did crazy drops . But later years it was the Coustellier brothers, as they seemed to have techniques that were better then anyone elses and i did all i could to replicate them, most notibly the touchup.
During a time you rode a 20”. Why did you decide to change the wheel?
My first bike was a 26” , and this is the size that fits me the best, this is better suited to my hybrid mototrials\biketrials style. When i went to 20” this was just because i wanted to test it, to me life is all about fun, especially because of the situation i was in, there wasnt really much use to “train only for competitions” , as this made no sense.
You had an amazing level on 20” and 26”. Why didn’t you race in world cups, etc.?
As i said in previous answer, the problem is where i lived and funding. Traveling to WC from Norway is very expensive, while i have always had alot of talents in different fields, money is something i never had much of . I was the lonerider stuck in Norway basically. Only time i got a chance to ride in a WC was when i was in Austria with Thomas Oehler , we traveled to Belgium, i had my UCI license and everything . But on my way there i had really bad pollen allergy, and then we lived with someone who had a dog, which im also allergic to, so i got really sick and riding made no sense.
What is the mean of trials for you?
Trials has been in my life since im 13 , that is 21 years , so it means alot to me, and alot of great memorys i have gotten from the years. But what means most to me is the people i have met throughout this time, i have been invited different places in the world and met riders i never knew , and they were all so nice to me, its like if you ride biketrials you are friends, thats great.
A lot of years on trials and your level is really high, you never go down, what is the secret?
I have had alot of struggles , either getting bored\annoyed with not beeing able to ride in world cups, no one to ride with, really bad weather(its norway), or breaking my wrist, i have been in casts on my wrist in something like 16 months all together . But during all this time i “visualise trials” , what has always been my strenght is how i approached biketrials . You can get so much better at any sport, just by visualising and thinking about techniques etc. Watching videos , frame by frame , of both yourself and others to really understand how you do techniques , and more importantly , WHY you do the techniques . Dont do a technique just because someone tells you, you must understand why you do the technique , be honest with yourself and film yourself , you can then clearly see your own mistakes and fix them !
You rode with 20, 26, trials, and trials-bmx. Which bike style is the best for you and why?
A hybrid between mototrials and biketrials . I want to do all the biketrials techniques, but i also want to do big jumps etc . So actually my “perfect” bike has never been made, i have tried street bikes , but they are too much BMX like . 24” trials is the closest i have ridden to my “style” , but the wheels is a bit small . I want a shorter 26” that i can do everything with.
You are an idol and a big inspiration for a lot of people (for us too). What do you feel when you know that a lot of people start on this sport or they get motivation for you and your videos?
I think its great ! it really is one of the main reasons that i have myself continued in this sport, knowing that what i do someone appreciates makes me continue . It is very humbling and it is something that i can be proud of, and knowing how i got into trials, how much difficulties i have had , where i lived etc, and still beeing remembered is great for me. And especially since i was never able to get to the high level and riding world cups as i wanted, i still got very respected from my videos .
I have followed most of it , but it aint until recent years the coverage has been better . Today biketrials is abit too much “pogostick” , its all about hopping on rear wheel, gaps and hooks. But its damn fun even tho i would like to see more big jumps personally 😉 . Also some are mad that its now beeing made into this unnatural obstacles on a flat field, but the point is to get the sport into the public, which is something biketrials has to do as a sport, we cant expect anyone to go down into the woods to watch a competition. Even tho pure biketrials lives and breaths in the woods or by the sea on the rocks.
In all the time you rode, what changes do you highlight on trials style?
Pogostick 😉 I remember that i spent so many hours training touchops (where you smack frontwheel into obstacle to go higher) , and this technique is the most amazing technique that is in biketrials, but today you barely dont need it at all , you either sidehop,gap or do normal pedalup. And with the higher BB it is so easy to jump on rear wheel all the time, so why do anything else? In early years it was hard to jump on rear wheel, so you often preferred to ride over a obstacle mototrials style instead of jumping over it 😉
Do you prefer natural sections or street sections and why?
Natural rocks , they are the best ! street gets boring really fast , there are so few lines in street. But on the rocks there are million upon millions of different lines to do , so much better !
How much do you train now and how do you do it?
I train now .. nothing, i dont even have a biketrials bike today . Abit more then 12 months ago i got an injury in my neck , it was constant pain, i could not sit without resting my neck for more then 5 minutes . And because of this i ended up with selling all my bikes and trying not to think of biketrials or training at all . I tried to not think of biketrials as this was just too sad for me. And now about a year later i still have some issues but i have plans on getting back onto a bike this year ! 🙂 It is going to be very hard, but im sure i can do some riding again. I am planning a video with 2 other norwegian riders , this video will be very different but very entertaining i hope !But before my injury i was riding maybe .. twice a week perhaps ? not much, i have a life, a job and family to think of .
What is the best thing you have lived with trials?
Hmm .. it is probably ..hmm difficult to answer. It is probably my first time to England riding with Danny smith, wayne mohamet etc. This was my first time going to meet other riders and having fun ! It is so great to ride with people who were equally good as i was in some things or better at some things, trials friends. To people who dont want to ride with others , your idiots. Enjoy your biketrials friends, your lucky, thee are many who almost always have to ride alone.
What is the worst thing?
My wrist problems, it feels so bad to get to a really high level, and then a wrist stops all your progress and you have to start all over again. And then you got to high level again, and same thing happens. And my wrist breaks was NEVER because i did some big drop or something stupid, it was always small things, like chain snapping and i literally fell on the ground . That sucks, last time i operated i had to take a bit from my hip and put in wrist, then have a metal bar in my wrist for 10 months! Fun fact, i rode once for 2 months with broken wrist, because doctor was stupid, that was not good. It was painful, but i really wanted to ride ! Actually the chain snapped because some KOXX employee did a bad job at putting together a chain , and it snapped almost instantly on a new bike, ouch 🙁 ALWAYS PUT ON YOUR OWN CHAIN 😉
And its because if these wrist problems the later years i was using the wrist guards, after i got them, no problems again =)
Thank you very much TRA for your time, we have been following your videos since many years and you are one legend for us.
Hey thank you ! i hope i have some years in me left, but my age is getting hold of me finally so we will see at which capacity i will still be able to ride for the years to come !
I would like to train people in biketrials , but in norway the community is just not large enough :\ I always pick the wrong things to do, always too difficult and always no money in it 😉 haha fun tho !
I would also like to thank my sponsor the last years ECHO , i started with ECHO sponsors, and will end with ECHO sponsorship . One of my biggest regret was to ever leave ECHO. Now the owner of ECHO is a really nice guy who does his best at what he can do, and he continues to make great products at lower price, and i think biketrials had been even smaller today had it not been for ECHOBIKES , atleast in Norway most riders ride echo, because its the best buy you can do, great price, and does the job really well =) Huang from ECHO is just a really nice guy !
(Photos provided by TRA)