It’s quite funny how things catch your eye or come up in conversation, and this is how this article came about on one of cycle trials young stars Josh McParland. Many items and ideas for articles come into the Trial Magazine office, and then I spotted one with the name McParland attached to it. As I already know Josh’s dad Tim, I thought it was time to catch up with this young cycle trials star.
What is your earliest recollection of cycle trials?
I got a Monty 202 cycle for Christmas in 2008 when I was just two years old, and I remember riding it around the living room as soon as I’d unwrapped it, and that was the start of many miles to come. I even remember going to the World Round in Ireland that year with my Monty, awesome.
When did you first start competing?
It was motorcycles first when I was four years old. I rode an electric one in a Yeadon & Guiseley trial near Bingley in 2010 and continued from there switching to a Gas Gas 50 in 2012 when I was six. I also rode my first cycle trial competition in April 2012 at Addingham Moorside and continued with both sports up until 2015.
Despite starting competing at such a young age, can you remember what or how you got into trials?
Ever since I remember I’ve been obsessed with cycles/motorcycles and even though I don’t remember it mum and dad told me that I tried to get out of my pushchair to get closer to the motorcycle that was pulling Santa’s sleigh through Silsden in Yorkshire! My dad also rode trials, so I am sure that had some impact too, although I didn’t need any encouragement. Dad says I was most content riding through flags and over obstacles as flat ground was boring.
One photo shows you on your Monty push bike at the Scottish Six Days back in 2008
Yes, I remember that year too, I thought I was one of the riders! I still have my Monty with the scrutineering paint on it would you believe.
How old were you and where was your first international competition?
I was seven years old, and it was the second round of the BIU World Championships in Odena, Catalunya. We missed the first round the week before in Spain as dad only decided at the last minute to have a trip abroad to see what it was all about.
I was so excited when mum and dad told me we were going to a World round!
I didn’t have any expectations or knowledge of foreign events or the riders as I’d never competed in one, but as I was British Champion at that time, I’d hoped I could at least not embarrass myself. I remember dad saying “We’re off to enjoy ourselves, not to compete for places. I know you can ride, but these lads are something else so anything better than last will be a gre`at result".
The trip didn’t start that well as we had to queue for two hours for the hire car. Once we got going, I was told I was navigating and was given directions to read that dad had printed off. All was going well until we took the wrong exit off a roundabout and had to re-join the main road. As we were doing this, we were hit by a car that was being driven by an old man. It shocked both of us as we were actually sat still at a junction, and the old man’s car carried on, out of control, up the road before hitting a barrier. Our car was going nowhere, it was quite badly damaged, but no one was hurt, and I learned some new words from dad.
Our friend Kevin Duke came to pick me up and take me to the event while dad went to pick up our second car, he gave me €10 for food and drink and off we went. Dad got sorted a couple of hours later and met us at the venue where I had bought myself a new t-shirt with the money dad gave me just to get over the day's trauma. I can still see his face!
How did you do in the Trial?
The trial itself went really well. I was coping very well with the sections and enjoying watching everyone ride, and despite the 30ºC heat, I felt good. Dad had reminded me that I would probably be last and not to be disappointed. 'Just do your best'. I went to look at the results board after the trial and saw that I had finished second — I was buzzing! Had dad relaxed me by trying to say not to worry? We were both thrilled with the result.
What has been your favourite trip or competition?
I don’t have a favourite country out of those I’ve competed in as they have all been amazing, and I’ve been so fortunate to visit so many, such as Spain, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Italy, France, Belgium, Sardinia, Denmark, Poland and Germany. Along the way, I’ve made so many great new friends and memories as well as sharing some trips with my good friends Adam Morewood and Charlie Rolls.
Where do you train/practice?
I practice mainly at Shipley Glen, mostly on my own as there is no one locally who competes in bike trials. I occasionally bump into Jack Carthy (World Champion) who always takes time to help.
Recently, I’ve spent quite a bit of time over in Colne, Lancashire at a man-made bike park that my dad is helping to construct, and this has helped me to practice certain skills needed for UCI events. I can’t wait until it’s finished. I also have a couple of places in Silsden that I’m fortunate to have permission to ride on too.
Are you interested in any other sports?
Yes, I enjoy playing football and rugby at school, but out of school I just want to ride bikes, any time and any place will do.
You’ve competed in cycle and motorcycle trials too. If you had to choose which one would it be?
I get asked this question many times because I’m one of the few riders who has done both at the same time. I love both and would be happy doing both again, but concentrating on one helps you focus and become better in that discipline. The answer has to be bike trials as that’s what I’m doing right now and enjoying it.
One day, sooner rather than later, I’d like to return to the motorcycle as I miss riding my Beta. It will be interesting to see if riding bike trials have helped me in any way for a return to motorcycles.
Who are your favourite Bike Trial riders?
Bike trials have such a great group of people all over Europe who enjoy riding with one another and sharing tips, but my favourite riders are the best of British. Jack Carthy, who has achieved so much at the age of 22, and two riders, which I’m proud to be friends and ride with regularly, are Charlie Rolls, who like Jack has a unique and dynamic riding style and Adam Morewood who I’ve practised with regularly. I admire Adam's dedication to bike trials.
You’ve had a good year so far becoming European Champion, British Champion and National Champion, have you any plans for the rest of the year?
Yes, all the above have been a target and as is usual in bike trials when you are in your last year of the age category you are expected to win. The European Championship win was very special and has driven me, even more, to give it my all at the UCI World Youth Games in Lazzate, Italy, and the BIU World Championship in Sardinia this August. I am so pleased that it has been so hot in the UK as it offered for some temperature conditioning ahead of the competitions.
Who is Josh McParland?
DOB: 24/01/06 (Age: 12). Riding Since: 2008 • Bike: ONNIT Mamba • Favourite Band: Oasis • Favourite Film: Kingsman • Favourite Food: Mums Spaghetti and Meatballs • Favourite Car: McLaren P1 • Favourite Colour: Red • Favourite Drink: Water • Favourite Shoes: Adidas • Favourite Magazine: Trial Magazine
British National Cup winner x 3; National Champion x 1; British Champion x 4; European Champion x 1; European Championship runnerup x 2; European Cup winner x 1; World BIU Championship runner-up.
It’s not just cycle trials.
109 Representing Team Great Britain.
With Adam Morewood, a regular practice partner and an inspiration to all cycle trials riders.
Britain’s got talent: Adam Morewood, Josh McParland and Charlie Rolls.
100% concentration is always given.
Josh has made many friends in the world of cycle trials from around the globe.
All dressed up with trials legend Sammy Miller.