Due to the slow speeds and grading of sections, trials is quite safe. That is why we ride in t-shirts and open-face helmets.
Every competition or practice involves riding sections that are graded for the skill-level of the rider. There are three basic skill levels, though in some regions there are intermediate levels between them:
- Clubman: this is the entry level. The focus is on mastery of classic trials skills, like balance, tight turns and small obstacles that at no stage require absolute commitment (i.e. you can paddle over them if you need to). We also make sure that at no time is failure likely to lead to injury (i.e. no balancing near big drops, and no sharp branches one might fall on).
- Intermediate: a stepper level to help riders develop the skills to ride at expert level. Nominally, the intermediates ride the four easiest expert sections, and clubman lines on the remainder. In practice, the group might ride all the expert sections, but agree to skip the dangerous or too difficult obstacles.
- Expert: at this level, the rider is expected to have good balance, and to be able to turn very tightly by hopping the bike. Small splatters and bigger obstacles form part of their sections, along with easy drop-offs and slightly more risky situations.
- Master: At this level the splatters are big, drop-offs are more tricky, and the rider needs superb control to avoid a fall. However, we still make sure the sections are as safe as possible.