From the Trail to the City with Ben Moore

...hunger for gnar...

For many professional athletes, the passion for sport and competition stems from the early days of childhood; Ben Moore is no exception. Having learnt to ride a bike in Upton Country Park at the age of four, Ben has competed in most off-road disciplines throughout his illustrious career. However, he's found his home amongst the crowded streets and narrow alleyways of urban downhill.

The journey to urban downhill began on wooded trails, homemade dirt jumps and, in Ben's case, with a BMX. A BMX bike is arguably one of the easiest types of bicycles to maintain, and the ease of access to riding is pretty vast, which suited child-like Ben perfectly. From the smaller 20" wheels of the BMX, Ben's curiosity and hunger for gnar drew him into the freeride scene. Seeking out features to session, and building a few himself, sending it as big as possible was at the forefront of Ben's riding while his passion for racing bubbled away at the trailside. Ben explains, "during my teen years, I was a lot more into freeride. I loved hitting big jumps and just playing around on my bike, learning new things. That was up until my 20s when I got a 'real' job in an office. Although, I was still racing as often as I could when time and training allowed me to."

Ben Moore Urban downhill race
Watch the first step!

Ben Moore urban down hill race
39 steps

Finding your flow

It wasn't until 2013 at a Red Bull Urban Downhill event in Plymouth where competitive racing really began to pick up the pace for Ben. Rocking up to his first urban downhill event and lining up alongside legendary riders such as Chris Smith, Ben felt a little out of his depth and didn't expect to secure a decent result. But with intermittent rain, a 540m course littered with steps, drops and jumps, Ben found his flow and laid it all out on the streets to claim the top spot on the podium. From this point on, it was quite literally, all downhill from there. Shortly after his win, Ben left his office job and maxed out his credit cards to get himself over to Mexico for another big urban downhill event. "There's bigger prize money in Urban Downhill because the level of exposure and marketing is a lot greater. Unlike a World Cup event where you have to travel to the mountains to spectate, with urban racing, more people will watch because it's on their doorstep," explains Ben.

Ben Moore urban downhill race
Pavé pace

Ben Moore urban downhill racing
Sending it into the cirrus

...rag your bike through a city...

When it comes to training for Urban Downhill racing, it isn't like you can rag your bike through a city centre at any given time. So for Ben, training consists of the usual gym workouts and riding sessions, but with more emphasis on sprints and jumps as these are the areas where most races are won and lost. However, the world is currently gripped by a global health crisis, which has resulted in stay-home measures being implemented across the UK. Typical daily routines have all gone out of the window for many of us, as Ben explains that his days are far more scattered now than before, "I try to create some order and routine to my day. I've put together a makeshift gym in the garden using some scaffolding. It's great! There aren't any distractions, and there's plenty of fresh air. My mileage on the bike has been going up too, but that's mostly due to safer riding."

Ben moore urban downhill racing, railing the wall
Wall street

Ben Moore urban downhill racing
Getting over the wall

As an early Christmas present from Orange Bikes, Ben got his new 2020 trail weapon, the Orange Switch 6. Kitted out with a Schwalbe Magic Mary on the front and a Hans Dampf on the rear. Sharing why he prefers this set-up, Ben says, "I've always loved Magic Marys. They have great grip, feel stable and are surprisingly reliable on the tarmac for urban racing, despite the tread."
With the 2020 race season on hold, you would think that stay-at-home athletes wouldn't be up to very much, but if you head over to Ben's Instagram page or YouTube channel, you can follow his lockdown lifestyle and see how he's staying in shape for when racing starts up again.

Ben Moore with his Orange Switch 6
Treading the boards

Words: Jess Strange - Velo Me | Images: @gargiulosports, @fotografiasport, @snborges, Red Bull, Ben Moore, Gantechgancheiras, @fotografiasport