Clive Forth’s Opposite Pedal: U is for Understanding. - Bike Magic

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Clive Forth’s Opposite Pedal: U is for Understanding.

U is for Understanding

Welcome to The Opposite Pedal, the ramblings of a man who’s spent too many hours alone on the trail. Z – A mumblings on mountain biking life and language. This week we slither through the u-bend like a turd on its travels to the alphabet blender, continuing the Zeitgeist theme looking at Understanding,

understanding |ˌəndərˈstandiNG|


  • the ability to understand something; comprehension:
  • the power of abstract thought; intellect:
  • an individual’s perception or judgment of a situation: 
  • sympathetic awareness or tolerance: 
  • an informal or unspoken agreement or arrangement: 

They say knowledge is power, I think this quote is often misinterpreted, the power referred to may not regard govern and rule of others but power to change things within one’s own life experiences. I’m not sure this can end in the result of one or a group of individuals using the knowledge of self to collaborate and form institutions to rule but let’s try our best to avoid the conspiracy twist on this well-known saying.

Get to know your bike and its component parts for one…

What I’m referring to is gaining a deeper understanding of a specific subject matter, now this could be the internals of your forks or a part of your body. By developing an understanding of how things work, you are in a better position to work with them and improve.

For mountain bikers the improvement we are looking for is performance based. Our bodies need to be up to the task – in order to go faster you need to be able to react faster and deal with larger impacts and load. Endurance riders need to go farther and be hugely efficient, the demands on body and bike for other disciplines will require shorter, faster, stronger delivery of increased power and strength.

Understand the trail grading system and choose the route to suit.

When it comes to the bike we need our set-up tuned in and working at its optimum to carry us into remote areas and back safely, even if you’re riding downhill and street you still rely upon that marvellous piece of technology working at its best to do what you want it to do.

To improve our situation we have to take responsibility; developing our knowledge and understanding will lead to improvements in performance, increased speed and efficiency on the bike and the ability to recover from injury will come from gaining a deeper understanding of the subject.

Harness the power of knowledge and you may be able to harness the power of lightning. Errr…

Our modern world is full of wonderful distractions pulling you here, there and everywhere, magnetic rocks and trees pull you off line and flashing bright adverts obscuring your view. Be strict as you troll through the sh#t and focus on the task in hand! Avoid the distractions and use the amazing resources at hand to help improve your understanding and riding experience.

There are many naysayers and pub professionals out there, so be wary of false prophets; what works for one man or woman may not work for you. Do your research, don’t be shy of asking questions and remember you have a voice use it! They used to say it took 10,000 hours to master a subject; this is where the seven-year apprenticeship came from to become a ‘master craftsman’.

Having an understanding of the weather can help you dress appropriately for rides and avoid a soggy bottom. Have I made a point or is this just one of my random rambles? Until next time folks!

We now live in a rapidly changing world so you can probably add a few more thousand hours on to that! With all that additional research in mind I’ll let you get on with it, till next time folks, keep it upright and stay safe.

Clive Forth. MTBSkills, Transition Bikes.

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