The following is loosely based on a well-known (in fact best-selling) story of heroes, villains and villains nailing heroes being to bits of wood. The original story also included tales of water, wine and the ability to translate one into the other (now known as a “CTC Strategic briefing”). Any resemblance to persons, living, dead, undead or likely to rise from the dead is entirely intended and anyone who finds this offensive should get out more.
1. The fruit of the union is not as important as a component upgrade
However, your female partner or spouse will never be persuaded on the merits of a Hope disc upgrade over clothes for the children. There is no harm in trying the following arguments:
-“It’s an engineering masterpiece”
-“My mate’s got one and he gets back in time to bath the kids”
-“It is the MTB equivalent of Viagra”
-“The baby boy can wear his sisters’ clothes”
You will be awarded 10 out of 10 for effort but minus several million for actual results.
2. Thou shalt not covert thy mates’ equipment
Realistically, you will covet you friends MTB regardless of what you own. There will be, at least, one piece of kit on your riding pals steed that for the sake of a 10 mm allan key and forsaking 5 years friendship, you would seamlessly transplant to your own mount whilst pleading ignorance in the face of all the evidence.
The most flagrant case would be following your full suss. colleague on your trusty rigid bike over a bridle path with craters deep enough to discover oil whilst praying for a very localised lightening strike.
3. Be thrifty and build your own bike
There are two types of MTB’r. The first believes that maintenance is a bunch of letters starting with “M” whilst the second studiously absorbs every and any technical article by a process of optimal osmosis. The “if it ain’t broken don’t fix it” biker can build up a second bike by stealth through careful moonlit collections of his friends cast-offs. To add a little zest to this activity, it is permissible to play “hangman” to determine the next component which will be dispatched to the un-favoured end of the garage.
4. Thou shalt denounce the charlatan Newton
Physics and geography (which is just physics slowed down and spaced out) do not apply to mountain biking. Whatever hit Newton on the head obviously displaced his theories of gravity et al. A three hour ride consists of two hours humping up various gradients, 30 minutes “resting” until the black spots disappear from your eyes, 10 minutes of buttock clenching singletrack and 20 minutes checking the map to determine where all the downhill went. Circular routes only make this process more taxing.
5. Seek the holy grail (You are only one upgrade from the perfect bike)
Only you can fully understand that the rambling collection of upgrades is in fact a long term strategy to producing the perfect MTB. In the face of all the empirical evidence that suggests that technique may play a larger part than, for example, x-lite bar ends are treated with contempt. The unbelievers (or “flat earthers”) will never understand the joy of replacing every component on your treasured possession. Once this process is complete, it is perfectly acceptable to discount the bike as “unsuitable” and start all over again.
6. Ignore Monitory values (Don’t ever worry about the cost of the bike)
Whatever the initial cost of the MTB, it will be DWARFED by the cost of your upgrades. The devil incarnate that is “marketing” will drive you towards a vicious circle of continuous spending. At lease Adam only had an apple (and an almost Naked Eve which makes you wonder) to tempt him whilst we are at the mercy of continuous and compelling advertising. A family holiday a year is a realistic metric assuming you have some will-power. Otherwise, leave home before they cut off the electricity and reclaim the furniture.
7. Cast out sinful behaviour (DIY starts and ends in the garage)
Your spouse or partner will never understand that, whilst you can happily spend a morning contently aligning your derailleur with a “b tension screw”, you will never have the time to put up a shelf. If you every find yourself leaving your garage with a power tool, slap yourself repeatedly with a rolling pin until the feeling subsides.
8. Thou shalt not shop (Saturdays are not for shopping)
Whilst it is permissible to browse for one hour in a bike shop on a wet Saturday morning, no more than one minute in a shoe shop is permitted. A discussion of the merits, or otherwise, of Easton alloy v Steel can wile away the time between crap weather and lunch but avoid the qualities or otherwise of whether a dress may (or may not) make your partners arse look like a solar eclipse.
TIP: How to answer a standard question “Does this dress make my bum look big” – “No, it’s all the chocolate that you eat” – quickly retire to bike shop.
9. Don’t believe the Hype (confidence is cyclical)
It has been statistically proven that the most likely phrase to follow “This is so easy, I don’t know what your problem is” is “AARRRGGGHHH”. MTBr’s are on the confidence knife edge between perfect performance and a night in A&E. However good you think you are, fate is waiting around the corner with a wet slippy rock and all your mates to laugh at you. Remember, everybody hates a smartarse.
10. Smite the unbelievers (or never chase roadies)
This is the action of the terminally stupid. Before attempting to hunt down Beelzebub in lycra, get a dictionary and look up “rolling resistance”, “frame weight” and “Drag co-efficient”. If you still feel the urge to smite the unbelievers (or at least engage them in some banal conversation), make sure you pick fat, tired or lost roadies. Be clear, the path to enlightenment is not through putting a stick through their spokes. Localised smiting is sure to follow.
Alex Leigh, January 2001.