This question has been lying dormant in the UK mtb press for a while now and it worries
I’m not sure why exactly but it worries me.
People like going on fairground rides because their lives don’t contain enough risk.
We eat safe food in our safe houses, drive safely, and we want something more risky
than eating from the local take-away.
There is also the human ‘Fight or Flight’ response to stress. We used to either run
away or stand and fight when faced with a stressful situation, but by restraining
yourself and not having a fight with your boss you are denying yourself the adrenalin
fix you need to cope best with the situation.
Now anyone that gives that as the main reason why they ride is taking the piss, but
why do people ride?
Because god spoke to them and told them to do it? – Unlikely
It seems that God only tells people to plant bombs nowadays, or at least the only
people who reckon they’ve spoken to God are claiming diminished responsibility.
Because it’s fashionable? – Now this gets right on my tits.
Ride for all sorts of reasons – whatever they are, but if you are a human being with
a brain then you have the gift of independent thought. So use it to think about what
you want, if your friends then take the piss and think you’ve gone all weird just
because you’re doing your own thing, then great friends they were.
Society places enough demands on us without you falling victim to fashion as well.
There’s all sorts of reasons for it, for the getting away from it all, for the self
indulgent sake of it, because I spent so much bloody money on the bike that I may
as well ride the godforsaken thing (which is the same as ‘to get away from nagging
wife / hubby / partner…’), but I ride because I’m a romantic.
I can forget for a moment that the world is dominated by irrational people who scare
me with their political motives (or sheer lack of any insight whatsoever), I can
forget about that work commitment that’s overdue, and I can concentrate on which
line to take, how late I can brake, which way that dog is going to go, and just generally
watch the countryside and the way the day unfolds around me.
So why does it worry me? Perhaps the magazines don’t care about why people ride anymore.
Are they just after your money? Or do they actually care that people get the most
out of the sport?
By exploring why people ride they may find out what the average mountain biker cares
about, they may learn how to write better articles, (or actually start WRITING articles),
that are more relevant to more people.
Beginners have different needs from experienced riders and I can’t see that the press
satisfies either of them. The problem is that beginners don’t know enough to complain
knowledgeably, and experienced people know it all already (in a language that baffles
I was told after a year of mtb’ing that after oiling your chain you have to remove
the oil that hasn’t soaked in to prevent your drivetrain becoming a sticky mess.
I only learned which tools I need to carry with me the hard way. Who tells people
this? Should the magazines? Or should bikes be sold with this information stuck to
the top tube? – One for the magazines to campaign over.
I suppose that after 5 years of mtb’ing and after buying a top bike I’ve moved into
an un-pidgeon-hole-able category.
I’ve got the experience to know what I like, and I don’t care much for fashion (surprise!).
A magazine might not be able to satisfy what I want any more, but there’s a lot of
people out there who can benefit from our knowledge gained the hard way.