Local star makes world titles

Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.  ~Albert Einstein

Lachlan Sens puts his bike through its paces.

Lachlan Sens puts his bike through its paces. Photo: Samantha Allen

Where there is a high degree of difficulty, massive concentration on technique along with skill, ability and agility, mixed with heightened risk, challenge and thrills that has high ambitions and world class potential, it more than likely you will find a Sens family member.

Lachlan Sens some years ago after watching his father and Uncle Peter compete in local motorcycle trials riding took to bike trials riding. Over the 5 years of involvement Lachlan has reached the top in all the 4 divisional classes, Novice, Sport, Elite and Pro in the 20 inch wheel section (there is a 26 inch class as well).

Lachlan has come from good world class breeding with his uncle Noel Sens competing on the world stage of track cycling winning gold at World Titles and Para Olympic
Status.

Bike trials are a form of mountain biking derived from motorcycle trials. The rider negotiates man-made and natural obstacles without their feet touching the ground or hand touching obstacles. It originated in Spain and is said to have been invented by Ot Pi’s father (a world champion motorcycle trials rider) to develop the skills of his son who at the time was too small to handle a motor bike.

At the most basic level, trials riding can be summed up as Bicycle handling skills. It now
has a strong – though small – following, and can be seen worldwide. Skills taken from trials riding can be used practically on any bicycle for balance, for example controlled braking and, or balancing on the bike without putting a foot down (track stand) and the trials riders develop skills to the point of balancing or bounce on one wheel.

Trials bikes are often designed without regard for  attaching a seat. Competition riding does not require the rider to sit down and the omission of a seat allows for a lighter bike which interferes less with the body movements of the rider. Brakes must be more powerful than standard bicycle brakes in order to prevent the wheel from moving when hopping on uneven surfaces. Tyres and rims are wide allowing low pressures and increased contact and grip. Gear ratios are lower than on most bicycles in order to provide the power and quick acceleration needed to move the bike at the typically low speeds of trials riding. The handle bars are much wider maximising the pulling power to lift the bike up the obstacle course and maintain balance.

The general principle in a bike trials competition is to ride a number of pre-marked sections (usually 3 laps of 5 sections ), the winner being the rider with the fewest points at the end of the competition. The maximum number of points that can be obtained in each section is 5; the lowest (and best) score is 0 points or ‘clean’.

The most common way to gain a point is by putting a foot down within a section; for this reason points are sometimes known as ‘dabs’. Certain rules enforce the number of points gained within a section, for example, putting both feet down and or a hand will result in 5 points. Exceeding the time limit for the course will  result in  an additional point for every 15 seconds over the limit (UCI rules).

While the sport is not huge in Australia Lachlan has now been selected to represent Australia at the World Titles held in Canberra this coming September in the Junior U19 Men’s 20″ Class.  Lachlan was in Queensland last weekend competing in two rounds of the National Competition and was delighted with his first win in the Pro class on the first day. Lachlan came home with the overall
win for the weekend to his credit after also making a place in the top four on the second day of competition.

In watching Lachlan train recently it was like watching a deer leaping on and off a craggy ledge. What is characteristic of a deer is that its back legs with accurate precision land in the exact place it’s front legs made contact.  Lachlan bouncing on the back wheel launched from a stack of packing crates to a 44 gallon drum, some 1.5 metres away landing on the rear wheel and stopping onto of the drum like the bike was stuck with glue.  All this time the front wheel had not made contact with the surface.

Being road cycling orientated seeing Lachlan ride without his feet in any way clipped to the pedals made the feats of training seem all the more incredible of the developed upper body strength required. We wish Lachlan all the best in bring this great cycling community of Bendigo more recognition on the World circuit being a gold capital of cycling.

See you on the road or at the trials soon God willing.

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