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Dirt Jumping and MTB scene in Luxembourg – interview with Laurent Schumacher

Superman, Dudelange

Gosia: Laurent, you are active on the dirt jump and MTB scene in Luxembourg. While MTB is hugely popular, dirt jump seems to be less known and visible here. Tell us first what ‘dirt jump’ is.

Laurent: That’s right, the MTB scene here in Luxembourg is very widespread and it seems that the MTB scene keeps on growing.
Dirt Jump is easy to explain. The goal of Dirt Jump is to get airtime with your bike and do tricks in the air. It’s a bit like motocross freestyle but with a “special” mountain bike. You need just a ramp and a landing to begin. Normally, you have several jumps one after the other to jump more than one time in a line.
But for me Dirt Jump is also building jumps (big part of the game), hanging around with your mates at the spot and having a barbecue after a good session with all your homies.

How did you get into dirt jumping?

Before I started to ride Dirt Jump some friends and me were all day after school with our bikes on the road and we would jump from the sidewalk down or take a little wood block and a board to jump with our mountain bikes. And we always looked for places where we could jump down or get a little bit of airtime.

No foot can can, Senningerberg

We were all pumped and we decided to build something in the woods. After we built very small jumps we hit them with our mountain bikes. I think that was around 2005.

And then one time I saw some photos and videos from Canada and the USA on the internet where crazy guys built big jumps in the woods and rode them and performed tricks on the jumps and the first thing I did was to show this stuff to my friends.
We were all pumped and we decided to build something in the woods. After we built very small jumps we hit them with our mountain bikes. I think that was around 2005.

But the problem was that our bikes have not coped well with big impacts so we decided to buy bikes as in the videos and we started to build more big jumps from day to day.

And this passion to build big jumps and ride them with my friends, I haven’t lost it until now!

DJ park looks like a big deal: take-off and landing ramps, tabletops, log bridges. Do you have a good DJ park to train in Luxembourg?

Yes, for the moment we have 3 good Dirt Jump spots here in Luxembourg. In Senningerberg we have a very good spot with big jumps and also small jumps for beginners who are eager to start to ride Dirt Jump. We have also a good spot in Dudelange right next to the skatepark. And finally a secret spot in the Mosel region but this spot isn’t legal.

There exist also some pumptracks for example in “Bieles”  to make some laps and to train our fitness.

Superseater, Dudelange

It’s hard to convince the community to get a legal space to build Dirt Jumps because it looks a bit dangerous but in fact it isn’t more dangerous than other sports.
I know the sport is young and the people have to notice it and not think that Dirt Jumpers are crazy guys who want to die.

DJ looks spectacular and mind-blowing with all its tricks, stunts and all this aerobics. What jumps/tricks are you guys nailing these days?

These days we are shoveling a lot to get the spots fit after the winter. This is a lot of work but it makes a lot of fun to be there after the winter. In the winter it’s almost impossible to ride Dirt Jump because to hit all these jumps you need perfect conditions. I ride a lot of MTB in the offseason to stay fit and also plan what we can build next. As well we make some trips to the south of Europe, for example Barcelona where there is one of the best Dirt Jump spots in Europe.

Every winter we look for a hall to build at least one jump to manage our longing but it’s hard to find something.

This year we’ve already had some good sessions and it seems that some riders are planning big tricks for the season. For example, a double backflip that no one has done here in Luxembourg.

What’s the basic equipment you need to start DJ?

So you need first a Dirt Jump bike, these bikes have only necessary parts. That means one rear break and one gear, so it’s a single speed. It’s got a hardtail frame, normally with a 100mm fork. What is important is the safety gear: you need a helmet, knee and shin pads.

When it comes to ambition, you must not give up when things go wrong, you have to work hard to get the tricks you want to achieve. And of course you need a little motivation to build and repair the jumps.

Dislocated finger

DJ is not risk free. How many bones have you broken?

That’s right but which sport is risk free?
I just broke my elbow and my hand. And my middle finger was dislocated that was very funny and didn’t hurt. I think this makes good statistics for 10 years on the dirtbike.

How active is the DJ scene in Luxembourg? Do you guys enter competitions?

The Dirt Jump scene here in Luxembourg is small but very active, we ride as much as we can. I would say if the weather is good we ride all day. There are also a lot of BMXers who join us to ride our Dirt Jumps.
In Luxembourg, there is only one Dirt Jump competition. And this takes place during the Dudelange on Wheels festival. This festival is great because you have different extreme sports at the same place during one weekend: Dirt Jump, skateboard, BMX and inline.

And at the spot in Senningerberg there is a JAM session every year. Personally, I like this because you have no pressure and you ride as much as you want and everyone pushes each other to land some hard tricks. In a Jam you have nothing to lose, it’s about fun and that is my main reason to ride my bike.

No hand, no foot can can & 360, Senningerberg

How would you like to see the DJ scene grow in the near future? What are your aspirations?

Dirt Jumping is a young sport in Luxembourg and it’s hard to show the sport to a lot of people because we ride mostly part in the woods. This is one of the reasons why I began to film some stuff and publish it on the internet to present our sport to the people who don’t know it.

Some friends and me are planning a movable jump to go to some events to show Dirt Jump to a big crowd to draw attention to ourselves, but this is still in planning.

I want to see the scene with more younger riders and kids, there aren’t a lot of offsprings who join us. But we have to push the sport more and more to reach a big community and then the kids feel pleasure to ride with us. We have good spots to begin Dirt Jump and I want to see more younger kids. But I think this is in progress and over time we’ll see more Dirt Jumpers here in Luxembourg.

Besides DJ, you are also into MTB. What’s so thrilling about it and what’s your favorite trail in the country?

Backfilp, Dudelange

For me it all started with MTB when I was a kid. I’ve never stopped riding MTB. As I said in the winter I ride a lot of MTB. Here are plenty of nice trails. I like to ride in Schifflange and in the whole area as well as in the ”Mellerdal” near Beaufort. But one of my favorite trails is in the north of Luxembourg, to be exact near Diekirch. A super steep trail with fast turns, that is what I like on a MTB: to go fast.

You are also a skilled and keen video maker. What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I have 3 video projects in my head. First, I’m planning to make a Dirt Jump film about our secret spot. We’ve rebuilt this spot over the last months and I think this is an interesting project because this spot is unique. Currently, there is no video featuring the spot with the new features that we’ve built. All jumps in the line are different which means a lot of variety for riders. But you will see it in the future.

Second plan that I have for this year is to film some trail riding in the beautiful north of Luxemburg.

And finally, I have an idea that’s been on my mind over the last 3 years but I haven’t implemented it yet. I think I will deal with it this year. The idea is a MTB film in the city of Luxembourg: to ride all the little paths and stairs down to the ground in the center. I know all these paths and I think this is going to be a beautiful video.

And of course some Dirt Jump videos of our sessions.

Superman, Dudelange

Cycling makes me …  

complete, without cycling I can’t live!

 

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