Cover Story – Issue 34 – George French

Every week we’re going to be looking back at a previous Ride UK cover and find out a bit behind it. This week is G-Sport owner George French! George graced the cover of Issue 34 wallriding a dangerous bank to wall in Sheffield, England. Here is George’s story behind it…


I had to look at the cover date to remember how long ago this was, blimey over 10 years now, seems like… ummm well about that actually. The “photo shoot” (if that isnt too grand a term for a mate lying on his front with a very basic 35mm compact camera) was originally intended to get a shot for an advert. I was always up against it on the deadline so typically it would be a case of scrounging up a slide film and going out to do something from cold the day before deadline. Given this was the April/May issue, my guess is that we shot the picture in February but it was obviously pretty nice weather.

We had been eying up this wallride on the roundabout for a little while. As you drive into Sheffield from the M1 there is this massive roundabout with five lanes of traffic going round it and pedestrian and tram bridges running over the top. The wallride is under the tram bridge and we had done it from the bank, but the angle was very very mellow and it was hard to get more than a couple of feet up the wall. So I had made the worlds smallest flyoff to help. I still have the flyoff, and it is litterally seven inches high. So we rode down there, me, Ben White and Jon Harris (sketchy Jon) the guy who took the photo, carrying this flyoff. We placed the flyoff on the bank a good six feet from the wall and then headed back across the five lanes of traffic to wait for a gap.

The flyoff…

The way it worked (and still works today) was that there is a steeper bank on the otherside of the road with a platform at the top where you have a good view of the approaching traffic. It is a roundabout so it is all coming the same way, and there are traffic lights that create little gaps. So we waited for the lights to change and stop the traffic on the roundabout, then dropped into the bank, hacked accross the road as fast as possible, bunnyhopped up the curb, then onto the bank and the flyoff, then after the wallride as soon as you landed you had to slam the brakes on because traffic would be flying in from the side road onto the roundabout and trying to beat the rest of the lights…

So after a few practice runs Jon set himself up to take the photo, which meant lying on his belly in the bushes and from there he couldnt see us coming. So we had to shout. He asked us to shout “3, 2, 1, now” and shout “now” at the point we wanted him to take the shot… So in the photo I am just finishing shouting now, which explains why I look like I am working on a particularly stubborn stool…

The full photo of George’s wallride… Photo by Sketchy Jon

After we had got a few shots and it looked like the Police were circling (you always got advance notice because they could never get into the right lane to stop in time so had to do another lap of the roundabout) we started moving on. Our original plan had been to stash the flyoff in the bushes for future use, but as soon as we put it in there and headed off we saw two pikey kids going after it… so we took it home in the end. We always wanted to go back and prop up an entire row of the paving slabs (if you did one it would be obvious, but a whole row would be almost invisible) but we never did…. but it is still there if any of the Sheffield locals fancy some work?

When I sent the photo in for the advert, Mark phoned me up the next day to ask if they could have it for the cover instead…. I was over the moon.

– George French


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