A Thrilling Trail


A Thrilling Trail

PHOTOGRAPHY sam kroepsch
>> Michael Discombe

There’s something about the combination of bicycles and dirt that never fails to capture the imagination of young men.

The simple satisfaction of pursuing nothing more than to conquer the next jump or trail for which the greatest reward is attaining that ability. There’s just nothing better.

Michael Discombe was just thirteen years old when he was invited to the Pewsey Vale trails on a single-speed dirt jumper bike, on a 40 degree day.

Despite the conditions, the experience led to him purchasing an entry level hardtail.

At 23 years old, Michael has now reached a competitive level and is racing against the best riders in the state. Two years ago, he even raced in the Cannonball at Thredbo.

As opposed to straight downhill, which involves racing one stage all day, Michael favours enduro, which is comprised of numerous tracks in a circuit, making it more fitness orientated.

Michael’s biggest achievement to date is placing fourth in The Elite gravity enduro in Anstey Hill.

“Competing against the top guys boosted my confidence a bit,” Michael says.

Of the SA trails, Michael believes Fox Creek is best, with our own Pewsey Vale now following closely behind.

Not so long ago, Pewsey Vale was a secret among local riders, until an outsider discovered the trails and uploaded them onto an app called trail forks.

Along with endless riders, the forestry’s also became aware of their location.

Though instead of closing them down and destroying the rider’s hard work, the officials decided to make something out of it.

A bloke from Destination Trails has since met with Michael to assess the environmental impact of the bikes and to investigate the location’s potential to host future state events.

This official, has teamed up with Michael and his mates to ensure the trails are sustainable, marked with difficulty levels and granted Michael free rein to design and build new trails throughout the forest.

“I just love it, being out there with no one around, just doing what I want. It’s freedom.”

- Michael Discombe

This is a sport that offers something for everyone, from scenic rides through the forest to racing through narrow trails with long-distant jumps and high drop-offs.

“I just love it,” Michael beams. “Out there with no one around, just doing what I want. It’s freedom.”

For those wishing to become competitive, this sport will require regular training and annual bike upgrades.

The sponsored teams out there will all have the latest equipment, making their bikes lighter and faster.

To stand any chance against them your setup must remain current.

Although some beginners have been fortunate to find a second-hand downhill for $3,000, a decent bike that will last a number of years and be competitive will set you back around $13,000.

Michael currently rides a Pivot Mach 6 dual suspension bike, which is a 27.5 inch full carbon bike that weighs only 13.5 kg and one of the best bikes on the market.

Although Michael believes he is on par with the other riders, he still feels he would benefit from more strength.

To compete at a higher level would require two hours of training on the bike a day, with some additional time spent in the gym for strength.

However, Michael still enjoys a lifestyle on the weekends and is more than happy to sacrifice a bit if fitness for other pleasures.

“I don’t take myself too seriously,” Michael smiles. “The social aspect is my favourite part. And I like the beers afterwards.”

Besides riding, Michael enjoys camping, fishing, drinking coffee and four-wheel-driving.

In the future, Michael means to spend a couple months training and competing on the Maydena trails in Tasmania.

Following that, the snowy mountains, Thredbo, Falls Creek, Bulla and New Zealand are on his list.

However, recently the challenge of setting aside the time required for training has forced Michael’s riding aspirations aside.

“Vintage is always right in the middle of everything,” Michael explains. “The best holiday season and the best riding time.”

While he has been flat out working, other riders are training and gaining an advantage.

To gain more flexibility of time, Michael has directed his knowledge of high-end bikes into establishing a premium bicycle repair and maintenance business called Disco’s Bike Shed.

Michael prides himself on perfection and offers many services on all types of bicycles, from minor repairs to high-end servicing.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of adjustments that are required when dialling in bikes to suit individual rider styles,” Michael explains.

At Disco’s Bike Shed, Michael also offers coaching, bike hire, and all means of general advice.

Michael has also recognised a market for bicycle clothing that riders can wear to lunch with non-cycling friends; fitness apparel that is light weight and breathable, but with a casual look.

In response, Michael has established a clothing brand named ‘Geared Edge’ that, in the new year, will offer desirable clothing to riders.

Q&A with Disco

When did you start riding?

When I was 13!

How old are you now?


What’s your favourite riding style?


What bike are you currently riding?

A 29” Pivot Mach 6 Trail/enduro dual suspension bike, full carbon.

Any current riding aspirations?

To train to the next level of fitness and compete in Tasmania.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Placing fourth in the Elite at the Gesa pedal fest enduro in Anstey Hill.

What’s your favourite local trail?

My favourite track in Pewsey Vale is probably The Shiny Disco Balls, which was named after me.

This one links onto another one called The Smiling Freckle which is a nice long run.

Have you hit many trees?

I’ve only ever hit one tree, somehow.

What do you enjoy most about the sport?

The social aspect, the speed and the beers.

What music do you enjoy?

Heavy Metal.

Many people are moving to E-bikes, have you considered the change?

To train to the next level of fitness and compete in Tasmania.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

No! They’re ruining the social rides because they just race ahead.

Don’t get me wrong, they’re great to ride, but I won’t be getting one, at least until I’m older.

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