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Meet Tyriq, the Young Mountain Biker with Big Dreams for T&T

By Kaelanne Jordan

My introduction to Tyriq Springer, the fearless 15-year-old mountain biker, began with a heart-pounding video of him conquering the treacherous Paramin hills. As the exhilarating footage unfolded, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “Is he out of his mind?” Tyriq chuckled and replied, “Yeah, I get that a lot,” during a phone interview with The Catholic News.

Tyriq is the consecutive champion in the under-18 category for both the 2022 and 2023 May MTB Madness events held in Tobago. He was runner-up in the juvenile males category at the Mountain Bike Challenge Series fourth stage at Samaan Park, Chaguaramas in September. And to think, he has only been involved in mountain biking for the past three years.

Tyriq first got involved in biking after seeing an ad on Instagram for an upcoming triathlon. “And I wanted to try it,” he said. He rode on a bike donated to him from Eugene ‘Gene’ Samuel, a semi-retired track and road cyclist who first began cycling at 13 years and later represented T&T at four consecutive Summer Olympics.

Gene allowed him to keep the bike after the triathlon.

“I went trail riding with my family with the bike. It was not designed for trail riding, and I broke the rear axle.” The owner of a bike rental company in Chaguanas, Bike Hub, loaned Tyriq a bike for free “because they saw I had some skills, I was doing wheelies on the bike…I went riding with the owner, and that spiked my interest,” Tyriq said.

Trailblazing Passion

Tyriq is a member of the MTB Enduro nation. In the community, he is known as ‘Pencil’. “Before I got into riding, I was really skinny and I had a high-top afro, and it looked like an eraser,” he said.

He enjoys the trails at Breezy Hill, Chancellor; Macqueripe; Jump Line in Claxton Bay, and Victory Heights. His favourite is the Turbine Mountain Bike Trail in Chaguaramas. According to Tyriq, this area requires “a lot of skill” as it takes two hours to climb to the top.

Tyriq prefers enduro riding, which is a mixture of downhill, cross-country, and trail riding. Enduro can be described as an endurance test between the rider and the trail. His most memorable experience thus far is seeing one of his performances on the MYOB Instagram page. “It was overwhelming. I read all the comments. All my friends and family hyped me up. It was a bit to take in, but it was a good feeling,” he said.

Tyriq emphasised mountain biking has given him a sense of achievement and purpose. He dreams of representing the country at an international level at the Mountain Biking World Cup Tour.

He identified his role model as 19-year-old Canadian cyclist Jackson Goldstone. Goldstone, then 18 years, became the youngest-ever winner of the Red Bull Hardline, the world’s toughest downhill course. “My goal is to one day win that race,” Tyriq said.

Balancing Act

While he’s not aware of any upcoming competitions, Tyriq told The Catholic News he is eager to compete. For now, he continues to practise during the weekends. He’s a Form Four student at Diego Martin Central Secondary. He admits he struggles to balance schoolwork with his passion for mountain biking. “I need to focus more on my schoolwork,” he asserted.

He recalled the preparation required on competition day. He would consume a meal of omelettes, protein shakes, and do a lot of stretches. Protein bars, energy drinks, and water would sustain him during the competition. Most times, he rides for at least four to five hours. “That is not average for normal mountain bikers in Trinidad. The average is around two to three hours depending,” he said.

Photo source: @mtb_pencilz

Safety First

Safety is paramount. Tyriq’s equipment includes his helmet, goggles, knee pads, chest guard, and mountain bike pants, which inhibit scratches and injuries. He rides a full suspension Polygon Siskiu T7 bike. He spoke of an incident that occurred years ago while returning from Macqueripe Bay after finishing a trail.

“I forgot to put on my helmet, and I jumped over a barrier and fell and injured my face and bruised my arm. But it’s a learning experience. Now I know not to ride without my helmet,” he said.

A Mother’s Worry

Regarding injuries, he said he usually “shows off” his “battle scars” to his peers at school but hides them from his mother Keisha Hemville.

Commenting on her son’s involvement in mountain biking, Hemville said she is happy that he chose a sport he loves. She admits she was initially fearful because she knows it can be considered a dangerous activity. “So I pray every time I know he’s out there on that bike because I always feel I am a phone call away from bad news,” she said.

She told The Catholic News his injuries thus far have been minor cuts and bruises. “I try my best to stay calm and just take care of him the best I can,” she said. For Hemville, the most rewarding aspect is seeing how excited her son is and the passion he has for the sport. This, she said, gives her great joy and pleasure.

Her advice to parents whose children are interested in mountain biking or any other sport is simple: motivate your children, keep talking to them about safety because this is a dangerous sport. Pray, and encourage them to pray a lot. Help your children to strike a balance between education and their passion for mountain biking or any other sport.

A prayer for safety
We humbly come before you today with gratitude in our hearts for watching over and protecting our beloved Tyriq Springer. As he embarks on thrilling journeys through rugged terrains, we entrust him to your care.

Guardian of the trails, you have been a silent and steadfast companion on every ascent, every descent, and every twist and turn of Tyriq’s exhilarating path. You’ve whispered courage into his heart as he faced daunting obstacles, and you’ve guided him safely through challenging adventures.

Be his shield in moments of danger, his compass in times of uncertainty, and his comfort in times of doubt.

Guide his choices, instill wisdom in his decisions, and keep his spirit adventurous and strong. May Tyriq continue to find joy in the thrill of the ride and the beauty of the natural world.

May this prayer serve as a reminder of our gratitude and a request for your continued guidance and care.



Follow Tyriq Springer on Instagram at @mtb_pencilz