Life in Dirt

Meet Luke Cryer, the stylish rider from Staffordshire who broke from a life of racing to build his own lines in the woods.

21 October 2022

There are rare moments when Luke Cryer isn’t covered in a layer of soil. Grime coats his young face, his messy blond mop, his lean frame. It suits him, giving him a timeless earthen glow. The rider from Stone is in his element. His life seems to revolve around dirt – both digging it and riding it.

Luke’s work as a digger blurs the line between tall-bermed pumptrack flow, steep-lipped sculpted doubles, and classic freeride lines that carve and twist through the woods. He’s a core rider with a skillset rooted in BMX. He’s been a racer too – a couple 4X World Championships medals dangle from the rearview mirror in his car, tangible evidence of his speed on the racetrack. There was a time when Luke defined success by his standing on a results sheet. But his personal definition of success has changed quite a bit since then.

“Success has changed for me over the years. It’s been many different things. It’s been winning races or getting on podiums at races, and now it’s the complete other end of the spectrum. Success is just doing something that you’re happy with. You’re carefree, couldn’t give a fuck – that’s success, when you’re doing something you’re really happy with.”

One gets the sense that Luke consciously chooses to forgo traditional notions of material success for his own mental health. After he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a pumptrack accident, Cryer had a long road to recovery. His return to riding was incremental. He spent much of his time deep in the woods, sculpting trails and dreaming about riding again. It all culminated in the completion of a section of trail he’d worked on for months.

“I was really down and feeling shit. It was just after my brain injury and I hadn’t been riding a bike. It was raining, it was snowing when I was digging it. It was ‘do the job to get the job done’. But then after, when it all works, the payoff is amazing. It feels fucking magical.”

The magic isn’t just the payoff – it’s the process. It’s what unites us as mountain bikers. The work that goes into building the perfect line, or fine-tuning your local trails, is about more than a ride. Keep digging.