The Opposite Pedal part 2 - Bike Magic

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The Opposite Pedal part 2


Words: Clive Forth

Click here for part 1.

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.

In the first piece I opened up by introducing the overall topic and Z word Zeitgeist, this time we drop down a stair in alphabet towers and rest our weary legs on the step Y.

Y is for Youth.

youth |yo͞oTH|

noun ( pl. youths |yo͞oTHs, yo͞oT͟Hz| )

[ in sing. ] the period between childhood and adult age: he had been a keen sportsman in his youth.

• the state or quality of being young, esp. as associated with vigor, freshness, or immaturity: she imagined her youth and beauty fading.

• an early stage in the development of something: this publishing sector is no longer in its youth.

ORIGIN Old English geoguth, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch jeugd,German Jugend,

Some of us will be looking back wondering where it went, others reading will be revelling in it, do we ride bikes to maintain or hold onto our youth?

Drop and jump with ease by maintaining flexibility.
Them yoofs

What about the youth of today? The bar gets raised in all areas of life and extreme sports are one area where bars have been raised a huge amount, younger riders inevitably look at the previous or elder generation for inspiration and guidance, rifting off their ideas and aspiring to their standards.

In mountain biking terms this means people ride faster over rougher and steeper ground, dropping and gapping bigger and bigger features in the process. Tricks become more complex and intricate and for the young ones it’s the norm. They have no pre-conceived ideas of the true nature of their undertakings, their bodies capable of taking the knocks and fixing fast.

With clear minds free from the day-to-day “did I lock the front door” and “do I need to pop into the supermarket on the way home from work” they are free to go about their business digging in the dirt and playing in the woods. It’s that care free spirit that many people cling onto through hobbies, past-times and sports, especially mountain biking.

You old git, or are you?

But how old do you really think you are? I bet the first thing that pops into your mind is your age on paper, right? Wrong, we are only ever several years old (bare with me here), cells reproduce and replenish, the longer taking up to ten years, unfortunately they do copy the pattern of the degenerating ones that lay in their place before them, none of you though are as old as you first may think.

Keep supple stay loose and rail those turns.
Moving on

Armed with this knowledge you’re one step closer to regaining that elixir of life and never ending youth, if you have less favourable habits your body will replicate this in its growth and development, this is the essence of training, developing memory through repetitive tasks in an effort to encourage new “growth”. If you break bad habits and replace them with good ones then you stand a better chance of having a youthful shell to house that eager and youthful mind.

I think that the big thing people neglect to do as the years pass by is preventative maintenance, we are a nation wrapped up in the process of cure over prevention. Who out there services their forks as often as the manufacturers recommend? Equally, our bodies need this servicing schedule kept up to date if we are to deal with the rigors of mountain biking. Just because something isn’t broken doesn’t mean to say we should not clear the cobwebs away.

There are various ways you can help keep young, diet and hydration being a very obvious one, walking to the store to get the groceries rather than drive, take up a class or two; yoga, palates, tai chi have all been proven to increase strength, power, mobility and longevity of life. I hasten to add this is not just aimed at the older generation, this is valuable information for the youths too, they can also benefit from this preventative maintenance advice. Why wait till its too late before you think, I wish I had?

Playing the long game

I know fashion often drives trends over function and its not perceived as “cool” to go to yoga aged 18, but ask yourself this: “what’s more ‘cool’, to age and be crippled from your youthful escapades in your mid life or to be ripping trails like a teenager when you’re 50?”

Life is a long process, play the long game, don’t poo poo the tribal elders because none of your mates are doing it, be different, be strong and live long, healthy and happy that you can still give the kids a run for their money.

Clive Forth. MTBSkills, Transition Bikes.

Follow Clive’s ramblings on twitter:


Eat well, service your body and your bike. [Editor’s note: Clive, who’s garage is this then?!]


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