Neil Tunnicliffe, de ses débuts à Phoenix !

Neil Tunnicliffe, from the beginning.

Tuesday 15 May 2012
by Ben Swales
popularity : 28%

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Neil Tunnicliffe is undoubtedly one of the icons of street trials. He is one of a handful of riders who have made a name for themselves on the web through a series of TGS videos that have awed trials riders the world over and pushed the limits of our discipline further and further. Every move is pushed to the limits in these ever more impressive videos, earning Neil the respect of even the most dedicated competition purists. You could even go so far as to say that Neil and Co’s videos have influenced the development and amplification of certain modern trials competition techniques, such as the sidehop.

The Zoo / Echo rider recently released a new video to celebrate his partnership with new clothing company Phoenix. So who exactly are Phoenix? They’re a new clothing company, by riders for riders, who want to offer trials riders a brand with its own style and character, run by street rider Ian Johnstone, with whom many of you will be familiar, and with who we hope to have a chat about this new project soon.

PNG - 356.4 kb In the meantime, we’ll leave you to enjoy this impressive collection of clips fro Neil – check out his Phoenix shirt while you’re at it. Below is a look back over the career of this incredible rider, brought to you with the help of sports journalism student Jonathan Hooke.

The first Phoenix video

Neil’s first video promoting new sponsor Phoenix...

Interview... From the beginning to Phoenix

- Neil tells us about his career and plans in this interview by Jonathan Hooke, a third year Sports Journalism student at the University of Staffordshire.

From his beginnings in the sport to his inspirations, highlights, plans and visions, Neil tells all.

JPEG - 224.6 kb Trials riding is an activity that has generally slipped under the radar when you discuss sports in the United Kingdom, but Neil Tunnicliffe is part of a wave of British riders who are doing their best to change that perception. 26-year-old Tunnicliffe believes that the sport needs more publicity and exposure to make the public aware of the sheer talent and risk that goes into trials riding, as well as trying to get more and more people involved with the sport.

"It is a fantastic sport, but it needs more publicity. If they exposed more people to trials on the television more often, I think many people will catch on. I think the problem is simple, not many people really know about the sport, it possibly doesn’t get the attention and the funding and it subsequently suffers."

Whilst trials riding in itself is generally considered more of a ‘highlights package’ sport than many others, coverage particularly on television is extremely minimal, so many riders like Tunnicliffe have turned to the internet and personal websites to showcase their talents, through videos and images. Although the rise of Scottish trials cyclist Danny MacAskill – who has notched up 50 million hits on YouTube with his two videos ‘Inspired Bicycles’ and ‘Way Back Home’, as well as appearing on the Channel Four documentary ‘Concrete Circus’ – has made people more aware of the sport, trials riding is still a sport which relies on mostly self-generated income. For instance, Tunnicliffe left school to study bricklaying, and has had jobs working in the mental health sector and is now – when he isn’t sampling the delights of the British environment – is responsible for ground maintenance for the NHS.

Tunnicliffe – born in Derby – originally started trials cycling after being inspired by friends who had already taken up the sport: “I first got involved with street trials when I saw them riding up and a down a wall. I loved the creativity of it, so I started to try this on my normal mountain bike for a couple of months.” He was soon bitten by the riding bug and was soon splashing out on a better bike to start his journey in the world of trials riding, he continued: “I then decided to treat myself to a proper trials bike, which was a Pashley. I took the opportunity to ride every day after school, but I properly took up the sport at around 18 years old. When I first started to ride, I instantly knew this sport was for me.

JPEG - 215.2 kb After initially practising for four hours every night and 10 hours every weekend – which he now admits was damaging to himself, both physically and mentally – Tunnicliffe was spotted and subsequently sponsored by Chinese manufacturers Zoo/Echo, who still supply equipment to him to this day. He unveiled his website ( in 2006, which plays a vital role in presenting his many videos – including his two most recent releases, ‘Deliver Us’ and ‘No Problem’ – as well using it as a tool to connect with his fans. He also believes the web is a fantastic catalyst to get more and more people involved in the sport and to even progress himself. “The invention of YouTube has been great because everyone can see my videos, see other peoples videos and pick up tips and tricks themselves, to gain confidence and develop as riders. Also, in some cases you can get recognised, and that can lead to more opportunities and generally bigger and better things.” This consequently led to a clip of Tunnicliffe hopping from one postbox to another, appearing on the 2008 BBC One show ‘’, as well as MTV airing his footage, both of which Tunnicliffe describes as two of the biggest highs of his career.

Whilst Tunnicliffe is now an inspiration to many young riders, he was originally motivated to perform after witnessing the likes of Adam Burns and Danny Holroyd. “I used to love watching the Trialskings videos’’ he admits enthusiastically. ‘’Back in the day they were my biggest influences because each rider had their own style. They revolutionised the sport and I think they (the riders) were responsible for starting the craze.

But does he still get inspired by current riders nowadays? “I don’t really watch too many videos anymore” he explains bluntly. “There are however, a few very good riders out there. I will watch their videos and they genuinely make me want to go outside and ride, which is always a good sign. The top French and Spanish riders can be very, very interesting to study. JPEG - 258.1 kb

- Quelques mots de Neil Tunnicliffe sur son partenariat avec Phoenix

Neil nous dit quelques mots au sujet de ce nouveau partenariat, et sur cette nouvelle marque de vêtements de sport que nous avons découvert avec sa vidéo...

This new sponsor is actually a very good friend (rides trials also) who wants to bring out awesome stylish cloths as well as ride. The guy behind it is Ian Johnstone. At the moment the company is small but growing rapidly! Hopefully soon he will have plenty more items of cool clothing coming out to look forward to. The plan is just to carry on my own videos whilst he comes out here now and then and takes photos, HD videos etc. We’re also filming for two Videos at the moment! Plenty more to come!

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