Editor: We are so thrilled to be able to share with you a recent interview with street trials legend Martyn Ashton. Martyn has been an inspiration to so many riders over the years and has created some of the all time classic riding videos such as ‘Chainspotting’ and many more. We hope you enjoy .
What is you’re current trials bike set up.
MA: Currently riding an Inspired Hex which is fantastic. I have a new prototype Ashton street design on the way though.
How long have you been riding for?
MA: I’ve been riding professionally for just under 20-years. Before that started I had a pretty decent moto trials career that I enjoyed while it lasted. Soon as MTB really kicked off in the UK though (around 1990) it was all I wanted to be doing.
You have been riding for a long time, what has been the biggest change in the sport you have seen? (Apart from the bikes).
MA: Yeah the bikes and riding techniques have come-on a lot. That progression is exciting. I think Trials missed an opportunity in the mid-nineties to get some attention from big brands. Thanks to YouTube and great videos by Danny, Chris Akrigg and co the style of riding is getting more attention. That’s a good thing.
Where is your favourite place to ride?
MA: Don’t mind where really. It’s all about riding with the right people for me.
Who do you love to ride with?
MA: Hawziee & Chris are my favourite guys to ride with from back in the day – that is rare these days though as we all have tons on. Getting to ride with my son Alfie too.
Do you stay in touch with riders such as Martin Hawes and Eddie Tongue etc?
MA: Haha… Yeah of course. Mart is my greatest friend. I don’t see Edd to often but Chris talks with him all the time. ET could still give any rider on the scene a few things to think about. Really never seen such a talented rider as Edd.
You have been an inspiration to many, many people over the years, (me included) but who inspires you to get out on your bike?
MA: Thanks that’s very nice of you to say. I’ve got my favorites of course but like to think I’m inspired by any riding that catches my imagination. I was chatting with a young rider at one of the Animal Bike Tour shows a few weeks back. We had a great time talking about different lines to ride etc and afterwards I was as buzzed about riding as he was. Two way street and all that
In 2003 you suffered quite a serious injury, are you fully recovered now?
I’m in one piece, that’s good. It was one of those injuries that would never go away really. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t feel it. But… And it’s a big BUT. It could have been way worse man.
I learnt a lot about training and a lot about myself when I broke my back. Injuries are something most serious riders get to experience at some point, just part of the game and something that has to be overcome. Plenty of rider out there have taken much worse and come back strong.
What tricks are currently trying to master/improve on?
MA: Not sure I really think about a certain move at any one time. After my back injury I did focus on Flips but that was a payback thing. I’ve always loved trying to keep smooth and use moves that feel nice – if it feels good then it usually looks pretty cool too.
Do you dabble in any other sport besides Trails riding?
MA: Na not really. I enjoy watching any sport, especially motorcycles. Sport of any kind generally offers up great drama so anything is good. My interests outside bike riding are quite diverse. Really into web development and flying planes.
What’s in store for the future of Ashton Bikes, are you developing or testing any new products?
MA: Yeah we have a three bike range out later this year. Really excited about those bikes. They are street designs and look great.
You released a book last year; tell us a bit about it?
MA: It was something I wanted to do for a long time. I’m a bit of a book worm and have written tons of features for mags over the years. I’ve also written quite a few fiction pieces for myself but nothing too spectacular. When I got the book deal I was lucky enough to have Robin Kitchin work with me on the photography so it looks cool too. If you want to learn some bike skills then it’s a good call.
Editor: Martyns Book is available from Amazon: Mountain Biking Tricks and Techniques
You are lucky enough to ride a bike for a living in the Animal Bike Tour, but what do you do to chill out?
MA: Love to spend time with my Wife Lisa and son Alfie. I don’t really chill-out though. We are a very active family so there is always something happening. I really enjoy a weekend full of good restaurants, cinema, theatre, Mountains, Cities and the Sea.
What are the plans for the future?
MA: Umm? Not sure really… I really am enjoying the Animal Bike Tour as much as ever, it’s a great way to spend your summer. We have a great laugh on tour. So I’d like to keep my spot on there for a while longer. I’ve got some web development stuff to launch so that’s quite exciting and I’m looking forward to that. Also working on a video edit that should be quite good fun too.
What are you most proud of in your career?
MA: That’s a difficult question because I’ve had lots of amazing experiences. It would be easy to claim certain aspects of my career are down to skill or judgement, and so I could be ‘proud’ of them. However the truth is I’ve had tons of luck and things have worked out in a way that I never imagined.
If I’m proud of anything it’s that I’ve stayed hungry for it this long. I do believe that a key to success is enjoying the ride (literally in my case). So I try not to take anything for granted and enjoy what comes my way.
Finally Martyn is there any one you would like to thank?
MA: Absolutely. Over the years I’ve had some amazing support from Sponsors. The career I’ve got is only possible with support like that so massive thanks to Animal who have been incredible. Hugs and kisses go to my Animal Bike Tour team mates. I’d also like to mention the ongoing support from Vito Sport who look after a few MTB riders like Sam Pilgrim, Steve Peat, The Athertons and recently picked up Blake Samson too. It’s easy to forget how important the interest from sponsors like Animal and Mercedes is for our sports. So thanks for everything guys.
Lastly thanks for the chat and love the site. Really cool.
Editor: A huge thank you to Martyn Ashton for taking the time to answer these questions and fitting them around his hectic schedule. A big thank you also goes to Robin Kitchin who is the Animal Bike Tour manager who kindly provided me with all the photos for this interview, so all credit goes to him.