This video is from a trials event in Oregon City, Oregon hosted by the Columbia Observed Trials Association (COTA) held in October 2020.
I did not participate in this event but I wanted to share the video to help those readers not “in the know” to better understand the nature of trials riding.
The video is almost nine minutes long, possibly a bit much for some folks. I added a custom start time to the link so the video should start 5:05 minutes in with a group of novice riders (like myself) each having a turn through the same section.
Note whether a rider dabs (puts their foot down) or gets through the section “clean.” Starting at 5:05 minutes, the first rider lost momentum and dabs going around the tree, accumulating one point. The rider after cleaned the section. Remember, at the end of the day, the lower the score the better.
Watch the rider who dabs at 7:55 use the opportunity to pull the front wheel of the motorcycle into a more favorable position before lifting his foot. This is allowed and is a smart way to benefit from the lost point when necessary.
Look below the video for a review of how trials are scored.
The sport is technically called Observed Trials. In the video you can see the (apparent) observer standing near the start of the section (blue jeans and black vest). The observer is the official who scores your run through the section.
Our local group doesn’t use observers but uses “group check” instead. As it sounds, the group self organizes so each rider is scored by another rider in their group.
For my email followers, the video can be found here: https://youtu.be/f32kugKQmoM?t=305 if clicking on the image below doesn’t work.
From the Puget Sound Trialers Reference Sheet:
The goal is to ride a section without acquiring any points. This is called a CLEAN. Each time you put your foot down it is called a DAB. One, two, or three times are each counted as a single DAB. Once you have DABBED three times you can DAB as many times as you need to complete the section and you will only be scored as three DABs. The most points you can get in a section is five. Some ways to get a five are, if you stall your bike, put both legs on the same side of the bike, take one hand off the bars while you have a foot down, ride outside of the ribbon, cross your own line with both tires, have a handlebar hit the ground or miss a split in a section.