When you flick through the photos of mountain biking on the internet, it all looks like big ramps, big jumps….big crashes. A sport only extraordinary talented riders could ever take on. But mountain biking is much much more than that. Let me explain why.
I was talking to an old mate recently and he reminded me of a few things that really got me thinking.
I thought I’d mention it with you here because it rams home what mountain biking is all about.
Anyway, my mate said (after we spoke about family and work): “Do you remember that ride when we…..and when we re-built that bike on the footpath out of spares in the boot…..and that ride test day…..”
That’s it, not that exciting is it ? But it really hit a note with me.
Anyway a favourite song of mine started playing inside my head: “It’s times like these you learn to live again…”
(for all those Foo Fighters fans out there, I can see you smiling there now.)
What I’m saying is; I’ve been fanatical about mountain bikes and all this amazing sport has to offer for a long time. A very long time
(Just bear with me…I’m getting to the point about you.)
Throughout my life I’ve ridden the emotional roller-coaster of exhaustion to exhilaration like most of you. From a life in the bush to years of study to white collar worker to finally succumbing to a debilitating chronic illness and a very long and slow recovery.
Along the way I’ve been lured to many sports even the rush and smell of 2-stroke trail bikes, only to finish a ride short waking to a paramedic staring into my eyes before being loaded into the waiting Westpac chopper…thank god for that chopper!
But that’s a story for another day.
In the end I’ve always come back to mountain biking.
So many different experiences…particularly thinking back to the start and all the struggles along the way.
So I can relate to anyone starting out… I can empathise with you and understand your situation and frustrations.
But don’t worry you don’t have to perform like the great Evil Kenevil to be a mountain biker…far from it?
Life is tough.
You work crazy hours to meet ridiculous deadlines.
You are always short on money, trying to make every family dollar go further and further.
You are constantly being judged by others
You are always feeling guilty for not doing “everything” well.
You ARE frustrated. Really frustrated!
But one thing you can’t ignore is taking care of yourself.
Exercise. Sleep. Diet. And…and your “Me time”
Believe me when I say I’ve learnt this the hard way.
Trying to get the “Balance” right
Family. Work. Friends. Work. Self. Work.
For me, that’s where mountain biking comes in.
But when you are starting out it all seems so hard, it’s just somethings else to get your head around.
And when you finally get to go for a ride –
My bikes too old, needs a service – tyres are flat and can’t get the gears to change.
I’m too unfit,
Need to master more skills.
Need to lose some weight
And you have no doubt dropped into your local bike shop or an online store only to be overwhelmed by choices.
Gear, accessories, clothing, and we haven’t started on bike’s yet.
I’ve been there too….17 years of testing, assessing and rejecting – what works and what doesn’t.
Imagine though if it could all be easy and every ride could be a great ride.
Easier said than done you might say…
As Mike Brcic, from Sacred Rides Mountain Bike Adventures says “A bad day on the mountain bike always beats a good day in the office” and I have to agree with him.
Where do you start?
Starting out can be overwhelming. You will need to know –
Are you fit and healthy to exercise,
How to choose the right bike – XC, Freeride, DH
How to choose the right gear – helmet, gloves, shoes, pedals, glasses, shorts, jersey, socks, drinking system, backpack, spare parts, tools, summer riding & winter riding.
How to prepare your bike for a ride
How to prepare your gear for a ride
What is good ride technique – peddling, position, climbing uphills, descending downhills, line selection, cornering, ruts, gravel, sand, mud, creeks, rocks, night riding
How to make repairs on the trails – flat tyres, gear shift, derailleurs
How to clean your bike – frame, chain, wheels. After wash lube and maintainence.
How to maintain your bike – program, frame, chain, forks, bolts, brakes (levers, cables, rotors) tyres, gears
What tools do I really need – tool kit, lubes, spares, bike stand
What is the best nutrition – during a ride and at home
How to train – stretching, on the bike, off the bike, gym
There you have it. I will show you how to do all these things in detail and more.
Mountain biking is not rocket science or you don’t need a degree, but advice from a good mate always helps. You do have to be disciplined for results, but the experience is life changing.
So keep in touch and get out on the trails.
About The Author
Like any sport, bicycling involves risk of injury and damage. By choosing to ride a bicycle, you assume the responsibility for that risk, so you need to know — and to practice — the rules of safe and responsible riding and of proper use and maintenance. Proper use and maintenance of your bicycle reduces risk of injury.