In the woods near Nottingham you may hear the distinctive sound of tyres buzzing a trail or carving a turn. There’s no sound quite likes it. Or you may find a someone in a Skatepark pulling tech moves. You won’t miss him with his trademark Full face and Vest. Now whilst out on the trail he grabs the big bike inside it’s the complete opposite end of the scale in the form of a BMX. Nothing new there you think…. Well in this case he use to use a Hardtail mtb. But now he pulls moves that would give the impression it’s what he has always done. In fact it’s only 6 months since he took up the 20″ rig. But that in itself isn’t the biggest challenge. So from Bombing trails to nailing rails we catch up with a man with a mission… Of course we have to ask….
Who are you?
Who are you?
My names Rob Welch, I’m 24 and I ride bikes!
Where are you from?
What do you do for a living?
I’m a full-time business student at the university of Lincoln, but I work odd hours as a bike mechanic at Creation Cycles in Radcliffe on Trent too.
Where do you ride?
I can mostly be found at my local trails in Nottingham! I spend a lot of time digging and riding there. There is always the occasional uplift at black mountain cycles center/ revolution bike park too!
Who do you ride with?
If I’m on the MTB then it’s any of local lot, they all know who they are haha. The bmx sessions tend to go down with Tom Justice.
Where is your favorite place to ride?
MTB; My local trails, for sure. I enjoy riding other places but going back to the local is always a good feeling!
Where would you like to ride that you haven’t yet?
I’d love to ride the Fest series, any of them! haha. Also Woodward!
What tunes do you like?
Mostly hip hop, but I enjoy most stuff. I Can’t deny that my iPod has Florence and The Machine on it haha.
Who do you admire?
Anybody who digs the trails as well as riding them….. haha.
If you can meet anyone past or present, who would it be?
Dave Mirra for sure.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
Well I’m already lightning quick, so superhuman speed is fairly redundant… haha. But seriously, I like the sounds of being able to talk to my dog.
It’s fair to say you have a fairly diverse riding style, from BMX to Freeride bike?
Haha, yeah you could say that. As a kid, we would just pedal around the local area going to either skate parks, street spots, trails… anything and everything we could find. As I got older I focused on hardtail MTB mostly in skate parks, I think it’s something a lot of the MTB community miss out on, riding real tech features that you find in skate parks teaches you so much bike control. I think the fact that I enjoy riding both BMX and freeride is merely the evolution of how I got into riding in the first place.
You seem to like pulling some pretty tech moves on the BMX?
Definitely! I’ve only rode Bmx for a half a year, a lot of the tech moves are all new to me thanks to pegs or a front brake, I’m enjoying figuring out the basics again.
You have done a few edits, too haven’t you?
Yeah!, me and Nico Turner have put out a fair few over the years.
Of course it’s not been an easy ride has it?
Yeah 2014 wasn’t an easy year for me, to have put everything into your riding to have it all put on pause was a tough one.
You’ve been diagnosed degeneration of the Patella?
From what I understand that’s pretty much Arthritis. In both legs?
Yeah that pretty much sums it up, it essentially means the cartilage on the inside of patella (knee cap’s) is no more. Kind of like running an engine with no oil.
How has that affected you both physically and mentally?
Physically its not to bad in my everyday “normal” life, but when it comes to a long riding session it hurts! Mentally it took a long time to get my head around, I had to accept that I wouldn’t be able to ride MTB skatepark like I used to. Which to me at the time was the end of the world……I’m an all or nothing type of person so the prospect of not being able to give my riding 100% didn’t add up. Getting into freeride really helped me find a happy place with my riding again.
Must be pretty tough some days?
Yeah I don’t let it hold me back though. I know people in much worse situations! With their knees and/or lives haha. I really don’t have it that bad.
How do you deal with it?
Knowing my limits, something that took many years of riding to develop. I have a good idea of what hurts and what doesn’t, and I value my health more than ever. It kind of triggered a health kick when picked up the injury, I’ve been hitting the gym hard for a couple years now trying to make the most of what my body is capable of.
You seem to be still shredding like no tomorrow despite your condition?
Haha yeah. That’s just my personality, I don’t doubt that my condition will deteriorate quicker for it. But I’m incapable of letting riding go until I have no choice. Kind of like a baby with a toy… you will have to take it from me haha.
Knowing what you know now, would you change what you have done?
100% no. The best times of my life have been through riding. The only thing I might have changed is widening my tunnel vision with MTB park. I definitely missed out on the whole freeride side of things, but hey I’m here now.
What would you advise for us all who ride?
Look after yourself and keep it fun.
Are you riding for anyone (Team/bike wise) or just for yourself?
Yeah, Team Creation cycles and its affiliated sponsors/ Burgtec.
What does the future hold for you?
Currently… a lot of studying!! 2 wheels for sure, it’s in my blood.
Any thanks or last thoughts.
A special thanks to Liam Dudley at Creation Cycles for the support over the years.