Sometimes it’s too easy to get blasé about bikes. It’s easy to prioritize the sofa over tuning your suspension, and pick a night with mates over clipping in and heading out on the same old boredom-inducing home trails in the cold. It’s easy to feel confined when you’re strapped for cash (just accept that those new wheels & rear shock are going to have wait a while), but what we should aim to do in life is remember what we know and what we’ve got – just like seven-year-old Lois. We’re hooked on his contagious childlike hunger for riding, and if there’s anyone that can deliver the panacea for your woes and remind you of what you’ve got, then it’s this pocket trail rocket.
Hi, I’m Lois! I am seven years old and I’m in year two at school. I like riding bikes, especially downhill. My second favourite hobby is football, but it is not as fun as it was when I was younger. It doesn’t have much action now. Luckily, my parents also really like riding. They even teach people how to do it properly. That’s why I spend so many hours on my Frechdax bike in the summer.
All beginnings are
I really remember my first bike. It was my older sister Leni’s old pink Puky balance bike. Leni also likes riding. She’s eleven. I didn’t care that I had a girls’ bike. I could still pull tricks that no other kids on our street could do. Then one day, Dad went to a flea market and came back with a blue bike for me. It had the same name on it as his. I thought it was really cool.
Where the cool kids jump
I mainly rode the blue bike from home to kindergarten. But then I got the Streamliner and I could really go off-road. It had suspension and disc brakes at the front, and I could just ride over every bump and stone and log on the path. Last summer we went to a big bike park with huge jumps where all the cool kids were riding. My hands always hurt on long downhills without a break, so they all said that I needed to change my brakes. Now I have disc brakes at the front and back and I can ride downhill without having to stop and rest. My favourite trail is the Teäre Line in Sölden. That’s in Austria. It’s like a rollercoaster for bikes. Before the new brakes I had to stop at least five or six times on the way down. I always shouted “Stop” so that Mum or Dad would stop too. I was sometimes scared that my fingers would not be able to hold the brakes any longer. But it’s good with the new brakes.
A little bike, big dreams, and a giant airbag.
My new bike is called Frechdax and it’s dead cool. It has proper good suspension! We went to visit Dad at a freeride camp in Livigno. We camped and I could get straight out of bed and ride my bike in the morning. There was an air bag and I wanted to jump on it straight away, but Mum didn’t want to let me. She gets scared sometimes and then she normally rings Dad and asks him if I can ride something or make a jump. She said I had to wait until Dad came with his group. That took a while. The run-up was insanely steep, but I had been watching how the others did it first. When Dad came, he showed me where to start from so that I could get enough speed to jump. Straight after the jump there’s a big gap before you hit the airbag. Dad gave me a sign when I should start pedaling. I was really excited when I started. It was amazing, and all of sudden I was in the air and Dad told me that I had to hold on tightly to the bars the whole time. That’s what I did. I was in the air for a really long time. I was so proud! Mum was so scared that she didn’t dare watch me. But I was fine.
Big sisters never change
Obviously I don’t always stay on the bike. Not long ago Dad took me on the Zache Line in Sölden for the first time, and that’s got two really steep downhills in it. I was a bit scared, and the worst thing about it was that my big sister wanted to show me how she could do it. She shows off a bit. But then Dad got in his turn and showed me where to look. Then I rode it and the second one too.
Then there was another jump that I’ve done before, so I kept riding and had a run-up, but I went up to it all sort of lopsided. I landed on the wood and fell on my side. I landed on a rock and tumbled into a blackberry bush; it was really stupid and my elbows hurt. I cried a bit. I think I was mainly disappointed in myself, so I didn’t really want to carry on. It wasn’t a hard jump, so I should have been able to do it. Mum gave me Jelly Babies and a drink and said, “Let’s have a break.” I even heard her say some rude words to Dad. She said I should never have jumped in the first place. But then she ate some Jelly Babies too and calmed down. We all started riding again. I know I can do it next time. I only get scared when it is steep. But if Dad is there then I ride everything. I love that Dad almost always lets me have a go at every bit of every trail. I hurt myself sometimes, but it is still really fun. Sometimes he says we have to go home because it’s tea-time, even when I really want to keep riding.
Mum also likes to do big rides with me, ones that have uphills too. Then I always think that maybe it’d be good to have more gears like my big sister. That’s why Mum and Dad put a tube on my bars and on the back of their bike. This is to help me when the uphills are really long. My sister has to ride on her own. But riding uphill sucks anyway.
The next goal
By my house there’s a skateboard park, and Mum and Dad let me go there on my own with my bike. You can do cool tricks, and my biggest dream is to learn to wheelie. My friend Ben already can, but he is older so he has had more time to practise. Now I go to BMX training, but it finishes when winter starts. They train you how to jump better, so maybe I can do a wheelie there soon.
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Words: Karen Eller / Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer