deniz merdano steve vanderhoek fox devinci spartan 1.jpg
Editorial

Humbled & Stumbled

Words Deniz Merdano
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Mar 16, 2022
Reading time

Did you know you can ride a lifetime on the Shore and never run out of challenges? Like proper, head scratching challenges that you will walk around, or over, and leave it for another, drier day. Those kinds of challenges.

Now think back 15-20 years and remember how many times you picked your bike up and walked parts of a trail? Some of it sure was challenging on those bikes and some of it was just simply unrideable. It was the norm!

The idea of a winding trail longer than a few hundred meters with flow and challenges has not been much of an accessible reality until about 6-7 years ago here on the North Shore. The trails here are full of stunts, and stunts-people. There are stunts that are not even on trails. Just a single monolith of a beast glaring at you from the dark, soaked forest.

There are people who seek, build, and execute these stunts on the daily. With the explosion of people taking up the sport, what once was a meeting ground of familiar faces is now full of strangers trying to make sense of the encrypted trail networks that span whole mountain ranges. The new generation of riders don't care about who built what trail. For them, trails existed for centuries and were merely adopted by us, the riders of iron horses. They may be there in the woods on the same breed of horses you and I gallop on, but with different ideas as to what to do with these paths of bliss in the forest.

The idea that everyone on the mountain has the same motivation as you do is absurd anyway. We can't even agree on whether pineapples belong on top of pizza (they always have and always will -Ed).

DSC01937-denizmerdano-dangerousdave-norcosight.jpg

North Shore Woodwork can be a real divider. You never know how much grip it lacks until you are on it and somehow it's almost always built to entertain high canopy riding forest cats.

I have a deeper connection with some trails. Let's call these My Trails. I have poured hours of sweat into building sections and maintaining some, on others I haven't lifted a finger, but still love riding on the regular. Either way, I get a deep, fulfilling bowl of emotional soup each time I get to spend time on My Trails. I know every rock, root, dip, and jump like the back of my hand and still have challenges left in them to come back for on the next ride.

Sometimes I forget where the rocks and fun lines are if I don't ride them often enough or somebody puts a ride-around into one of the sections that has a challenge threshold. Which all makes me circle back to the way we used to ride trails. Where we did stop, dismount and walked a section if it was out of our pay grade. We didn’t immediately seek an easier, alternate line to put in so that we could claim victory and rub it in the face of the builder. Hey, builders are people too, they can’t see all the best lines. Or maybe even get a little lazy during the build process since there is a shit ton of it to do.

But we don’t just come up with a new line and open up parts of the trail because it is convenient for us.

This kind of behaviour seems like a more contemporary one. The idea of a trail experience that reads like a story chapter is all fine and great. But as this is the Shore, there will be a challenge you don't always ride - or never ride at all - on some trails you enjoy. It would be silly to write the whole trail off because of one feature you can’t manage.

Chatting with folks who have gotten into riding recently, I see a pattern in the selection of trails they end up on. Most people will ride exclusively on the trails that don't have a feature they're forced to walk. As if he idea of skipping a challenge is showing weakness. And some, rather than altering their route to enjoy other, less challenging trails, will modify an existing one with a poorly constructed ride around.

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I may not be able to lay it flat like Caleb Holonko in reality, but in my head I do.

At the ripe age of 35 I decided I would get really good at jumping my bike. The Banshee Rune I had at the time with a Cane Creek DB Air shock didn't lend itself to a simplified process and I ended up breaking my left wrist. Twice. In a 6 week span. Gutted would be an understatement for how I felt with the whole experience. Disappointed and scared. I shied away from trails with jumps for a while. I avoided going to Whistler bike park for Pike's sake! The epicentre of all things mountain bike.

It wasn't until a couple of years ago with a half decent setup on a Trek Slash that I started getting cheap air again. I would test the waters on side hits and see if I could get back out there to enjoy all the trails the bike park offered. I wanted to follow friends down A-Line and Dirt Merchant. There was something still not right with the high seat tube of that Slash and my shorter legs just didn't provide enough articulation. Fast forward to the Forbidden Druid I started piloting with a 180mm dropper and a suspension platform that provided stability and confidence, and all of a sudden I could follow anyone down Dirt Merchant on a little bike that could.

I have been working heavily on my jumping game for the past year or so and have made immense mental and technical progress. I can now ride trails that once crippled me with anxiety and enjoy the half-second of airtime I get on some jumps, but most importantly, I can now visualize how a take off will feel before I even attempt it. I appreciate that skill I worked hard on.

My fear now is the atrophy that skill may experience If I don't ride enough jump trails. Will I lose some ability, or have I worked on them enough to retain some style on the moonbooter on A-line?

What do you think?

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Comments

TonyJ
TonyJ
5 months ago
+19 silverbansheebike Deniz Merdano thaaad Michael Klein Lynx . Pete Roggeman Metacomet Vik Banerjee Andrew Major Butch White gman3000 Justin White Allen Lloyd LWK NewGuy Peter Leeds Velocipedestrian meloroast Tim Coleman

As somebody who has spent a great deal of time maintaining trails, trying to keep existing older traditional lines, nothing irks me more than people creating a their own personal go around on a feature or section of trail. 

IF YOU CAN'T RIDE IT, WALK IT.

We have all abided by this rule for the last 30+ years. If you don't want to "walk it" then figure out how to ride it, this is how we improve and grow as riders. If that doesn't suit your needs, then just stay off that trail, otherwise you become  the problem.

I am on the dark side of 50 now and my abilities are regressing, but I will still go for a ride/walk down the hard trails with my 30 something friends, who can send everything. I have no shame in walking anything, it is where I am at in my life.

When I was 20'ish and learning how to ride on the shore, there were things I looked at and said, that is impossible, I will never ride that. Within a couple of years, almost all of those things were ticked off the list, because I improved, I watched better riders do them, then I challenged myself to make the first attempt. 

If you just want to feel good about yourself, go ride B-Line all day long, if you want to be a "mountain cyclist" then you  should challenge yourself. 

I try to scare myself every ride, even if just on a slippery root section, trying a rock face in the wet, or letting go of the brakes in a high speed or steeper line. These are the thrills that make mountain cycling what it is, exciting and challenging.

Reply

LWK
LWK
5 months ago
+3 Lynx . taprider Pete Roggeman meloroast Sandy James Oates

Everyone is different but >50y does not necessarily mean reduced abilities IMO. 

Fitness is harder every year.  Maybe the mental game and risk/benefit calculations shift.  But I've  approached my riding as a learning a craft the past 10y and while its a slow process I can do things now that I never could before.

maybe I just sucked really bad when I was younger and so improvement is still possible?  :*)

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+1 Justin White

Maybe it's the XC shoes, or maybe it's the bulky, cumbersome bikes.. nobody seems to want to puck the bike up over and around an obstacle..

Reply

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+2 shenzhe Deniz Merdano

Maybe all the riders seeing success with cyclocross-XCO crossover will help... I mean, carrying the bike over shit is like a core 'cross skill, gotta help with skipping hard features!

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
4 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 Justin White

#crossruinseverythingaroundme

Reply

syncro
Mark
5 months ago
+11 silverbansheebike Tommaso Gomez Deniz Merdano Lynx . Vik Banerjee Andrew Major Justin White goose8 Mic Velocipedestrian meloroast

I think a big part of what you're speaking to has been the gradual entitlementcation of society as a whole - people expect to do what they want when they want with no concern for how others may see things differently.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

I am observing this through a facebook group i follow that post photos of people parking on sidewalks out of laziness and entitlement.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
+10 LWK cheapondirt gman3000 Dogl0rd leon-forfar Andrew Major goose8 Mammal Velocipedestrian Nologo

I sympathize with the idea presented in the article, but what the heck do we expect? Climbing too unpleasant? Get an e-bike. Blue trails too chunky? Get a 170mm super enduro rig. At every turn our response to any personal challenge is to present an easier solution that requires less skill and less fitness...and pulling out a VISA card. To then expect people to suddenly man or woman up when it comes to riding tough lines or walking them is unrealistic.

As a culture/community/industry we are creating the new riders and molding the existing riders to be what we want. If we don't like the result we need to change the inputs to that process. If we don't want to change those inputs then STFU and accept the new reality.

At the moment suggesting people work harder and/or improve themselves vs. making the trail easier is met with a whole lot of criticism because that makes you an asshole elitist gatekeeper.

Reply

taprider
taprider
5 months ago
+3 Lynx . Vik Banerjee Mammal

"At the moment suggesting people work harder and/or improve themselves vs. making the trail easier is met with a whole lot of criticism because that makes you an asshole elitist gatekeeper."

I empathize with you on that

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Pepe

This reaction seems a bit over the top. Are you suggesting that Deniz's opinion is supposed to represent that of the entire mountain bike industry? If so, why? I can tell you that Deniz is no elitist gatekeeper.

And what's so wrong with suggesting that people get better at riding bikes, rather than making trails easier to ride (for the record, I'm specifically talking about existing trails getting modified so they are easier to ride)? Just because the wider culture and industry seem to promote "safe", wheels on the ground "flow" trails, doesn't mean we as individual riders can't have differing opinions.

I guess if you want opinion and commentary that more closely aligns with the industry at large, there's that other website.....

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
+5 Lynx . taprider goose8 Mammal Pete Roggeman

"This reaction seems a bit over the top...snipped for brevity..."

Ryan I am not sure if you are replying to my comment or not. I am not suggesting Deniz is an elitist gatekeeper. If you put a button in front of me that would erase e-bike tech from the earth along with Strava, flow trails, unofficial ride arounds I'd press it. If it also made people's first reaction to finding climbing hard trying an interval workout plan, first reaction to hard tech stopping and sessioning said feature and first reaction to trouble cornering was taking a coaching clinic I'd smash the button so hard it would shatter. I 100% support what Deniz is after, but....

What I am saying is we have a culture in mountain biking that is the opposite to what Deniz would like to see happen essentially pushing people in the direction of finding the easy way out of a tough situation. So if we actually want to see new and existing riders behave differently we need to change the culture in the larger MTB community. On one hand an individual rider, MTB media website, advocacy group or MTB company can say well I/we didn't make the whole culture do "X" or "Y" OTOH the culture of any group does result from the aggregate behaviour of the people/organizations in it. Some parts of the community have an outsized influence like a very well read MTB media channel, a very large bike company or very popular rider/racer.

We get the behaviour we as a community deserve. If we want to change that behaviour we as a community have to change how we communicate with each other, how we behave and how we market the business end of the sport.

My comment about being an elitist gatekeeper is an observation of the common reaction in our community when someone suggests that the sport should be hard and that the initial response to it being hard should be rider improvement not buying new gear or changing the trails.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
5 months ago
+2 goose8 Vik Banerjee

Ah, after re-reading your post, I think I see where you're coming from - you weren't attacking Deniz, but playing devil's advocate for new riders being influenced by industry trends.

Nuance and tone are often lost and/or hard to figure out on these forum boards! My apologies!

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
0

No problem. Given some of the responses I could certainly have done a better job expressing my point.

I am definitely not attacking Deniz personally. 

If we want to see the behaviour he describes change we as the MTB community have to communicate and behave differently. People aren't behaving in ways we don't like due to randomness or they are bad people. They are responding to what the overall community says and does. MTBing has a set of evolving cultural values and these values drive how people behave. Change the values and you'll change the behaviour.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+1 Ryan Walters goose8 Lynx .

I am encouraging riding around or walking down as much as possible. I am discouraging modifications to the structures or obstacles that can't be classified as maintenance.

I wish every body could afford $10K bikes and we could build an insane network of legal, blue trails on these mountains. But neither is possible...

until then..

Noobies off my trails until they've earned their skills

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout Tjaard Breeuwer Lynx .

It’s not gatekeeping to suggest people work harder or improve themselves. It’s not gatekeeping to fight to keep hard features that only expert riders can tackle. It’s not gatekeeping to tell new riders that if they feel bad because they can’t ride a feature they can get bent.  

But it is absolutely gatekeeping to oppose making trails more accessible in ways that preserve gnarly features. If a ride around for a major feature can be built then it doesn’t hurt you one damn little bit for noobs to keep rolling, enjoy the forest and not almost die.  

There are the usual “reasons” this isn’t ok. “Trail builders didn’t intend for the trail to be like that” - well that’s just part of building legally on public land, sometimes you have to accept that the landowners (taxpayers) expect to be able to use their property. “Beginners never contribute to trail work” - see above. And you say that but… “The ridearounds are poorly built and won’t last” - I thought noobs never did trail work? So confused.  

Meanwhile there has to be a deeper reason. It’s popular to blame the ego of beginners for this trend, but it seems to me the experts have just as many hurt feelings. Does it bother you that they told their buddies they rode “___ trail” last weekend? Whether they know how much they skipped or not, you absolutely know what it took last time you went down the trail without skipping any features. And if that’s not enough then you might want to look inward.

Sorry to be a dick, and I get that it’s frustrating to have to fight to keep the best mountain biking in the world from being neutered by people too selfish to recognize the heritage of the sport they just took up. But the answer is to find ways to coexist with less skilled riders while maintaining the interesting features you personally want to ride. Not to turn this into a zero sum battle for resources within the community. Not to shake your fists at the masses screaming “get off my trail you pathetic noobs.”

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
+6 Deniz Merdano Ryan Walters Lynx . Metacomet PowellRiviera Justin White

I would agree that riders of various skill levels all deserve access to appropriate trails. That doesn't mean that riders of all skill levels deserve to be accommodated on every trail. If you can't ride technical features normal on a black diamond trail you don't deserve to make your own ride around or demand the builder make one for you.

You should ride trails appropriate to your skill level and work on your skills so you progress. When you are ready for the next level in trail difficulty go for it and if you need to session a feature or walk something you are not being treated poorly by the folks building/maintaining the trails.

I rode a trail yesterday that had a drop on it I didn't want to do tired and as night was falling. There was no ride around. I got off my bike walked down the feature. Got back on and kept rolling. I didn't get mad because they didn't make an accomodation for me and I was inconvenienced for a moment.

I know I'll walk a lot on a BC double black diamond trail. I'll either skip such a trail or be prepared to walk a bunch. I don't expect to be accomodated.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+4 Lynx . PowellRiviera Velocipedestrian Justin White

> I rode a trail yesterday that had a drop on it I didn't want to do tired and as night was falling. There was no ride around. I got off my bike walked down the feature. Got back on and kept rolling. I didn't get mad because they didn't make an accomodation for me and I was inconvenienced for a moment.

THIS!!! 100%!

Reply

blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer Justin White PowellRiviera

I think it would be healthy to forget the entitlement aspect for a moment.  Sure, it exists, and it’s gross.

But in an area where gnarly trails are being decommissioned to make way for green/blue flow trails, do you really think this is the hill to die on?  Once again, this is public land.  Sometimes you have to make accommodations for the public.  And if the ratio of hard to easy trails doesn’t match the ratio of good to bad riders, something’s going to have to give.  

The thing about entitled people is they don’t usually stop at asking nicely.  Sometimes you have to swallow your pride and meet in the middle to keep from losing everything.  It seems like you’re willing to risk all that you have over an idea.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
5 months ago
+1 Lynx .

Over the previous decade, there have been countless trails "sanitized" from the traditional North Shore technical/jank/stunt style that was once the foundation here. And this is specifically on public land managed by trail associations. There are many options for beginner to intermediate riders, but the quantity of sanctioned trails that are intended to challenge advanced riders have continued to dwindle. I fully understand the change in mountain biking demographic that's taken place, and the need to accommodate that, but the shift has been drastic and entitled attitudes are creeping up along with it. So that's some context about the local scene that's shaping Deniz's view. 

I'm interested what areas of the world you ride, and how the riding scene landscape is evolving there?

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0 Mammal Justin White

Ride arounds and letting people without the skill have/make them so they can say they rode "X" trail is not the answer, it's BS, has been and always will be, ride what's appropriate to your skill level, no matter if that trail has great views you can't get on a Blue.

As to why's it such an issue to allow ride arounds etc, because of the old adage, first you give an inch, then you give a mile, then you have no more.

Reply

mtbman99
mtbman99
5 months ago
+1 Mammal Lynx . Justin White

I have seen many examples of ride arounds put in for "safety" then it becomes the main line and then lastly the feature has been deemed unsafe and is decommissioned.

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

Then you need to get out there and ride and maintain the main line.

Reply

mtbman99
mtbman99
5 months ago
0

It is not easy to do in todays world of Land Use Agreements, paid maintenance crews, cycling organizations. You cannot just show up and start work on trails in certain areas.

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+1 utopic

What the hell is wrong with "letting them say they rode trail X"? You sound like an elitist asshole with that statement.

Even if they lie about hitting all the features, who the fk cares? They're only hurting themselves. Anyone with self-respect will admit they haven't hit everything, probably adding "yet" or "skipped it today because X". See Vik's statement from this morning that Deniz seconded.

Maybe the skipped thing was "smaller/easier" than the squirrel catcher but just didn't suit the rider's style. Like, they'll pull 10 foot wheelie drops all day, but don't like a certain 8 foot step up with a shit run up, so they take the b-line on that one feature. Implying they don't deserve to say they "rode the trail" (keeping in mind that unless they're a sociopath they're gonna admit they skipped the step up) is some of the lamest shit I've ever heard.

Reply

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
-2 Justin White utopic

Well then I'm an elitist asshole and you're one of the modern day enablers of lazy, selfish people giving out participation badges. As to what's wrong with it is, well let's see when they're interrupting everyone elses good time on the trail because they're getting off and walking pretty much every feature and blocking the trail or even at the base of some feature, dead centre, or when they do try to sneak in a ride and hit something that they can't avoid because they don't know the trail, don't have the skill and get seriously hurt, then it's the rest that pay for it, because you know they sure as shit aren't going to say it was their fault and they'll complain, or worse sue and then that trail will get closed or completely sanitized and maybe other trails also get similar treatment because the officials that be don't want to deal with that BS.

Reply

shenzhe
shenzhe
5 months ago
+1 Justin White

Given the frustration of someone who will "hit something that they can't avoid because they don't know the trail, don't have the skill and get seriously hurt". How do I improve? Every new-to-me trail is unknown to me, by definition. It's got colors to let me know it's difficulty, but there are plenty of "black" trails where I live that are really a dark blue trail at best. If I'm a solid blue looking to start on blacks, or a solid black looking to hit double blacks, all those trails will be trails I don't have the skill for and I won't know.

Maybe you're trying to suggest that people who should be on greens shouldn't try blacks+ because the skill gap is too large, but your post feels like your saying that no one should ride trails they're not good enough for, unless they know the trail, which they shouldn't because they're not good enough for it yet. That makes improving hard unless you just set up a trials course and jump track in your backyard and I don't have space for that.

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+1 utopic

Being willing to let other people (must be the selfish part...) practice and improve (the lazy part?) so they can eventually do it all (gotta get that parti badge!) and enjoy the same stoke... that's bad? Shit, I've been doing it all wrong!

You've never stopped and taken a couple few dozen run-ups to a big step-down? Never stopped to scope a sniper landing for a half-hour while your riding partners take a safety break because they know you're gonna waffle to-and-fro forever? Is that really any different than someone taking a sight-run and using the go-arounds or walking stuff in order to get a look at the whole trail before ripping a full pull?

Making trails accessible does not mean automatically supporting bad etiquette (standing in a landing, etc). Bad apples who are not willing to learn manners, bitching about nothings, and deflecting blame, will always exist. Making things unnecessarily difficult will not cure that, it only give those trolls more fuel. (Yes, I what I'm kinda doing here.)

Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Now Vik, most of the times we're on the same page, but on this I am totally on the other side of the fence, or at least don't appreciate being lumped in with the manufacturers/bike shops/industry looking for any way to make more and more $$$, or people looking to encourage new people to MTB with this BS, "here's everything on a silver plater" attitude, no need for hard work or the modern, lazzy ass, whatever you call them generation who doesn't like being told "NO, you can't just have, you have to work for it".

Most of this modern generation generally get seriously butt hurt when they come on a forum wondering why they can't keep up with their friend who they used to play "X" sport with and were on par with, but now they got an MTB and been riding for 6 months and their friend is smoking them, but has been riding for 2 years and you tell them it has nothing to do with the nice bike they have, that it's them and learn to MTFU and do the work, either on skill or fitness or both.

When I broke my knee cap completely in 1/2 back at the end of June 2019, everyone told me that now I had a "reason" to get an e-bike and in no uncertain terms I told them "Hell no", I will just do as I did when I started out MTBing so many years ago and start back slowly, ride a 1/4 mile, then 1/2 mile, then mile, 2, 3 and so on until I can go/get no further and be happy with that. Since then life hasn't been good with the knee, found out that I had been living with a serious fracture on that same knee for years and they tried to fix it when they did the surgery for the break, but it's never healed and so I've had some serious grief, but at no time did I consider any form of assistance. I rode a grand total of 11 times in 2021, less in 2020 and yet, with 5 rides under my belt in 2022 now, on the last ride with a group, I was the first up the big climb at the end by a good margin over guys riding 2-3 times a week because I didn't puss out, because I gritted my teeth and took the pain and put in the effort, every time I ride, despite the pain.

Just so you know, this is what my knee looks like now.

Reply

taprider
taprider
5 months ago
+2 Andy Eunson meloroast

Hey Lynx

When you ride by the CBC tower, do you hear Stephen Quinn from your knee?

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Hey Taprider, unfortunately I don't live in B.C., so no, don't hear Stephen Quinn :-D LOL

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+2 NewGuy Niels van Kampenhout

That is a gnarly looking knee! Looks like surgeon forgot his headphones in there.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Yeah it is, not 100% sure it was done "right", but it is what it is, when things pick up and I can afford it again, I'll maybe get a new opinion on it and maybe surgery to try and fix it. Right now though, not possible and with me finally figuring what seems to be a good repair on my Phantom, I want to ride and it's not feeling "so" bad, just needs a serious warm up and can't finish off the pedal stroke like I used to to get full power and have to try to use the right leg as my power leg.

This is what it looked like after I broke it, before surgery, cap was split about 1/4" apart :-\

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
0

Lynx I read your comment a few times and I don't see what we are not on the same page about? Sounds like we are saying the same thing in general terms...or I am still not appreciating something you are saying.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Vik, I guess what I was trying to say was please don't lump me in as part of the problem, enabling people, I am the polar opposite to that pretty much. So I guess yeah, I totally agree modern society just makes shit too easy and I don't want to be associated with that in anyway, shape or form :-) LOL

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Vikb
Vik Banerjee
5 months ago
0

For sure. That wasn't my intention.

Reply

shenzhe
shenzhe
5 months ago
0

This brings up a question for me. I started riding in the mid 90s on a rigid bike with 26" 2.0s/1.9s and tread that would be considered semi-slick by today's standards. I didn't ride the most challenging trails, nor was I a particularly talented rider (hasn't changed much). These days I'll ride things without trouble that I would have had to think hard about before, I'll miss a drop that on 26s would cause an OTB but on 29s I just roll down.

Having said that, most people don't feel that buying a decent bike with modern geometry, proper rubber, a dropper, etc. is a crutch that should be avoided. Being underbiked vs. being overbiked is a thing that people discuss, but everyone used to be underbiked. We're safer now and I'd argue most of us are having as much or more fun than in those old days.

I actually agree with your argument Vik, but I'm trying to understand how I can rationally agree with that argument, but also agree with the premise that better (meat powered) bikes that make harder things easier are perfectly reasonable and shouldn't be shunned. The one thing I can think of is that my bike choice doesn't impede your bike choice, but if I ruin a feature that ruins it for everyone. Where I ride, most ride-arounds don't alter a feature or prevent it from existing so perhaps I'm misinterpreting that term, or maybe they're not as much a problem as altering features and otherwise changing the trail in a way that effects everyone, even if many people here seem to feel similarly about them.

Also, to Deniz's point, I wholeheartedly agree that there's no shame in walking things. There are plenty of things that I'll walk, even if I've been riding them consistently, simply because I'm too [tired | not feeling it | mentally focused on other things| etc.] and don't want to come home injured and go to work injured. I've got mouths to feed and bills to pay.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 shenzhe

Well Shenzhe, you're absolutely right, everyone was basically under-biked in the old days, bike's really didn't start "coming of age" I think until about the mid 2000s and then what I consider good in the early 2010s by forward thinking companies.

Having "decent" geo is one thing, but, I think you're over biking if you buying a "Trail" bike that has a HTA slacker than most Downhill bikes, and almost as much travel, to me that's a big red flag. I think that a 66-67 degree HTA for most riders, on most terrain is more than sufficient to make the bike safe and capable enough to make it down even gnarly stuff, IF, you have the skill and/or put in the work to acquire the skill. But people don't want to put in the work/take the time, they want to start MTBing now and ride the same stuff that the guy from work, who's been riding for years is riding and so they grab one of those "sweet" new "Trail" bikes with 150mm+ travel, 76> degree STA, <65 degree HTA, Reach someone 6" taller should be riding, with 2.6" super sticky rubber and off they go.

As to your comment above, I don't seem to be able to reply directly to it, so I'll just put my response here....Yes I was talking about people who aren't even close to having the skill/competence for the more advance trails trying to ride them, not someone almost there and looking to progress.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months, 4 weeks ago
0

"66-67 degree HTA for most riders, on most terrain is more than sufficient to make the bike safe and capable enough to make it down even gnarly stuff, IF, you have the skill and/or put in the work to acquire the skill." (emphasis mine)

Why wouldn't a new rider want more than just sufficient and capable? As they develop those skills, it will be nice to be able to use those skills many many times during a ride, thanks to a more forgiving bike that opens up more gnarly options on the trail and lets them push the boundaries with less risk, literally helps them put in the work you hold so dear.

Why are new riders so often expected to deal with getting beat up on twitchy short travel hardtails? They should be on those "sweet" new "Trail" bikes, they're so adaptable!

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mikesee
mikesee
5 months ago
+8 Pete Roggeman Lynx . Andrew Major goose8 cheapondirt PowellRiviera Tjaard Breeuwer meloroast

I used to live in the desert and could only visit the shore once -- at best -- per year.

Nothing can replace that hit of perspective -- of how hard/greasy/diabolical those trails are relative to most of the rest of the planet.

Then I'd go back home to the desert and in the ~week I was gone the best of our very few tech trails had been further neutered.

Which prompted me to write this:  https://lacemine29.blogspot.com/2017/11/preserving-moore.html?q=moore

We don't live there anymore.  The pace and direction of the change was heartbreaking to behold, and we had to leave while we still cared.

One hopes this fate never befalls the shore.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months ago
+1 cheapondirt

Really enjoyed that. You've got a great blog rolling, Mike.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months ago
+7 Deniz Merdano Karl Fitzpatrick kcy4130 Pete Roggeman Alex Hoinville Justin White goose8

I'm 32 and have set myself a goal to clear everything on Crank it Up this year. It's far removed from the moon booter, but airtime has always been scary for me. The fear is two-pronged. There's the visceral fear of falling and of pain, but then there's the conscious fear of injury affecting my ability to provide for my family.

This might sound dumb but I've been wondering if some time at a trampoline park would help my body get used to being in the air

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+6 cheapondirt blackhat Metacomet silverbansheebike NewGuy goose8

The biggest part of my progression with jumping has been the trampoline. I jumped on one everyday for 4 months with my 6 year old and my air-sense had improved immensely. Highly recommended!

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blackhat
blackhat
5 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Timer

Holy shit that’s a great idea if it works!  Family and training.  Can probably even do intervals on it for some fitness.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+3 Alex Hoinville cheapondirt NewGuy

An old bmx with forks, BB, and dropouts covered in bubble wrap on the trampoline is also amazing for learning in-air bike control

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doodersonmcbroseph
doodersonmcbroseph
5 months ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

Do you still ride flatland and if so can you still do all the same stuff? Feels weird to start losing stuff. I have lost so much bmx skill (park stuff, my minimal flatland skills left almost immediately all I can do is hang 5 now) that I never want to ride my bmx anymore because it's just a reminder now of how much worse I am now :(

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
0

Every freaking week I think about building up a flatland bike again. Even if it is to do hang 5s down the street to get coffee. 

Flatland is a different beast all together. It is riding bikes on the edge of physical impossibility all the time. I don't however miss hours spent in parking lots however..

CrazyLou
CrazyLou
5 months ago
0

No

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rolly
rolly
5 months ago
+3 cheapondirt Pete Roggeman Justin White

Take Ryan Leech's jump program (Google it). I think it is $20. It's so worth it. I really struggled with feeling comfortable in the air, but now I regularly pop off jumps.  And Crank it Up is one of my all time faves at Whistler. What a hoot.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
0

Crank it up is seriously fun trail! I make an effort to ride it couple of times a visit

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months ago
0

I keep getting shown ads for his programs. I might not be able to avoid it any longer haha. Good tip

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silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
5 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano cheapondirt

I've committed to getting into dirt jumping and hope that some of it will transfer... Hope to get somewhere with a foam pit

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+5 thaaad cheapondirt Alex Hoinville silverbansheebike goose8

Dirt jumping is so important. Even pump track sessions.

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NewGuy
NewGuy
5 months ago
+3 Konrad Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman

Air Rec is a good place to practice and get confidence! The airbag can look scary but it's a pretty good soft landing and a great spot to just 'send' and see what happens  (even landing failed backflips directly on your head is OK - ask me how I know!) . 

When I needed to work on my jumping / build some confidence in the air I ended up buying a dirt jump bike and going to Air Rec / Vanier a few times to build up the airmiles.

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Zowsch
Zowsch
5 months ago
0

I think that comfort hitting jumps at high speed is the most important thing. Speed plus the ability to maintain it through braking bumps and around berms will make it easier to clear all the jumps. 

Doing laps would be the best way to build up the familiarity and comfort level to get there. Pump tracks could definitely help to get the pumping down so you can build the speed without having to pedal too much. Dirt jumps too - to get used to the speed you need to clear a jump.

That said, I don't think a trampoline would help build that comfort since you are not flying at like 30-40 kph (which is faster than it seems when rolling into an 8 foot high ramp).

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4Runner1
4Runner1
5 months ago
+7 taprider Justin White NewGuy WyOh Metacomet Nologo meloroast

I love flow / jump trails as they draw the majority of riders away from the tech single track that I prefer.

The little air time I get these days is a result of natural features. 

Here in Nanaimo, I can climb up to the tech / gnar and perhaps not even see another rider. Meanwhile, the lower flow trails are busy with people braiding and skidding.

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silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
5 months ago
+5 Tommaso Gomez Deniz Merdano Lynx . Justin White Matt L.

The last section hits a bit too hard, as a banshee rune+cane creek DBAir rider, who needs to up his jumping game after a helmet breaking, neck injuring crash.

I like your take on ride-arounds, or rather walking sections of trail. The only shame should be in altering a trail to suit your ego, and not in walking down something. The shore's woodwork is half decent on foot anyway!

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+3 Pete Roggeman Lynx . silverbansheebike

The 2013 Rune was a wild beast to tame. Walked it down a few things for sure

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+1 silverbansheebike

Agree. Those who change trails just to claim they "made it down" (without acknowledging the alts), or just skip those hard trails altogether, they will always know they cheated. But if that really is less ego-bruising to them than ripping most of a hard trail and walking just one or two sections, there ain't much anyone else can do to change that.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+4 Deniz Merdano NewGuy Peter Leeds Cam McRae

Deniz, I CANNOT say enough what a great piece this is and it's exactly how I feel. It drives me absolutely INSANE how lazy, self centered and entitled the new crop of riders are.

I was a year younger than you when I first started MTBing, within a year I had moved from the P.O.S DB ReCoil to a Giant Trance and I finally hit a trail I'd been told about from friends who were riding in the 90s. "It's sweet" they said, "We used to ride it with only a few dabs" they said, so I expected something amazing, probably a bit over my skillset, but none the less, a fun challenge. Well boy was I wrong, the trail was only used a bit by locals in the area as a foot path to get about, was not cleared, had serious erosion, boggs etc and on my first attempt, if I rode 10% I'd say that was a lot, I spent most of my time walking, but not around trail braiding, but you know what, I had the best time. I even removed my bar ends off my massively wide 630mm bar it was so tight, but still the best time and all I could think when I was done was, " Wow, that trail was insane, can't believe I walked so much, man must I suck, I have long way to go with my skills, time to get to work".

I've been riding that trail since 2005, I brought it back to life and for years was the only person riding it and then in the late 2000s/early 2010s as more people came into the sport, more started riding it and I've had to deal with a lot of those new riders having that same entitled attitude of wanting to ride what is an essentially red/black trail, despite being beginners and some having no problem making it so they can ride it because, "No one could ride this, right" :madman:

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rolly
rolly
5 months ago
+4 Niels van Kampenhout Tjaard Breeuwer meloroast utopic

It seems I'm in the minority here, but I actually like ride arounds on features. It allows me to bring less experienced/skilled friends out on the same trails as me to help them with their progression.  There have also been times when I, or one of my buddies, has bit it and is a little gun-shy to finish the trail by riding around.

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NewGuy
NewGuy
5 months ago
+2 Lynx . Tjaard Breeuwer

I think the whole point of the article is bring the beginners and make them walk it!

Funnily enough, I often find the ride around's to be harder than the actual feature they are avoiding! On some of the more advanced trails the 'easy-outs' are janky, neglected, and harder to ride than the actual feature. More than once on the shore I've been ready to take the easy-out then end up just riding the feature as it look like the best option (but requiring more commitment).

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rolly
rolly
5 months ago
+2 Lynx . utopic

Having a beginner/intermediate walk something doesn't encourage them to ride it. Often it ends in frustration.

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NewGuy
NewGuy
5 months ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

Yea, so next time they'll just ride it because they realized walking is as dangerous and more annoying :)

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+1 meloroast

I love when old trails get adopted and are given a new flair. Making them flow better doesn't have to mean blueing up the trail rating.

Just yesterday, a couple of us "dumbed down" a popular trail that had erosion caused gnar. And overall, the trail is still challenging and consequential. Now with better flow between seriously challenging sections.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+3 Greg Bly Velocipedestrian meloroast

Deniz, if it's done by experienced people, who know what they're doing and they keep the general intent of the trail and fix stuff like erosion based problem areas, I have no problem with that, but when in-experienced riders come and "fix" trails that they "know no one else could possibly ride" and cut out roots, take out rocks, berm flat or off camber corners, that's a big NO-NO and pisses me off to no end.

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TristanC
TristanC
5 months ago
+2 Lynx . NewGuy

The other side of walking: in order to get good enough to ride it, you're going to have to ride it at some point. There are a couple features on my local trails that scared me for a long time, even once I was good enough to ride them. I make myself ride them every time, because otherwise I'm not going to get any better.

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pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
5 months ago
+3 Allen Lloyd NewGuy Andy Eunson

Also, sometimes walking a feature is more dangerous than riding it. In that case, lesser of two evils.

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cheapondirt
cheapondirt
5 months ago
+4 rolly shenzhe Timer meloroast

I feel torn about this: if walking down is unsafe, then a ride around might actually be a good idea for safety. Or a hike around? Or a rope tied to a tree for lowering bikes?? Because I agree we shouldn't feel entitled to always ride everything, but people shouldn't necessarily be punished with physical injury just for selecting a trail above their level.

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+6 Lynx . Deniz Merdano goose8 cheapondirt Velocipedestrian Rowdy

This is _the_ argument for squirrel catchers, filter features, whatever you want to call them. If you can't (or don't feel safe attempting to) even walk the filter, might be time to reevaluate attempting the trail at all, since it means you might be walking other things on the trail, and even that walking might be dangerous (relative to the filter).

If there is no filter or it isn't actually representative of the other features, well that's another issue.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
5 months ago
+2 taprider NewGuy

I don't ride in other countries or provinces . Is the North Shore gnar movement a local embracement of terrifyingly fantastic steep janky lines? 

Can we build some flow trails for the flow crowd. I believe the flow crowd is now the majority.  As long as the flow crowd stays off of janky gnarly trails all good. What if they want to progress? 

Have you been riding for decades ? Then those newbies need your support , your guidance. That's why I love this sport . The support from fellow riders. 

Ride arounds are a necessity in my opinion. Braids should and will be blocked off. 

Oddly I find modern bikes long , dead feeling , boring. Perfect for newbies on flow trails . I get it . 

Anyone remember the phrase DH trials ? Are you good at track stands ? Manuals ? Wheely drops ?  That's my joy. I'm definitely a minority.

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taprider
taprider
5 months ago
+2 Lynx . Andy Eunson

The problem is that there are few options for building completely new legal trails on the North Shore, so that to please all the new flow riders, dog walkers and selfie takers, the original trails are being poodle pathed or decommissioned to build an alternate machine built trail across them.

The original article comes across to me kind of weird. Deniz writes about people creating "ride arounds" on the North Shore, but then skips to jumping at Whistler.  On the North Shore, most of the ride arounds I see, are not to avoid jumps, but to avoid steep up or down "wheels on ground (or wood)" natural features, where like you say track stands, Manuals, Wheely drops are the skills that should be practiced.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+3 Mammal Tjaard Breeuwer meloroast

I agree with you on my disjointed thoughts about tech trails and jumping in whistler. 

What I was hoping to talk about was, it is OK to walk down or around stuff you don't want or can't ride. Much like me walking around jumps that were out of my skill set. Instead of making the jump smaller or casing them or complaining about their size, I worked on my skills on a more controlled environment.

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mammal
Mammal
5 months ago
+1 Deniz Merdano

I also found the article was not really well connected between those two thoughts.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Biggest thing lacking in most of the modern riders is slow speed ability, to either track stand, get their front wheel up doing <3 MPH, or heaven forbid, same <3 mph and a drop. When lockdown hit in 2020 and we weren't allowed to leave our properties, mine wasn't big enough to build any sort of track/features, so I spent my time practicing track stands and balance.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
0

Greg Bly, the problem is, all those in "majority" usually aren't the ones building or maintaining the trails, it's a small handful of dedicated riders, giving of their time, so WTF should the ones building/maintaining  the trails cater to those who contribute nothing but bitching and moaning over what they want.

There's already enough "easy" trails for riders to begin on and improve on pretty much anywhere you go, but "they" want it all like they want it, enduro rigs on manicured, bermed out, smooth trails so they can feel good about themselves for accomplishing pretty much nothing.

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Shoreloamer
Greg Bly
5 months ago
+1 Lynx .

Digger, Jerry, Pat , dozens more of experienced trail builders. The only people I trust to build properly. Thanks guys and woman trail builders. 

No newbies should not attempt trail maintenance. 

Build on public land? Then really you should consider every user group. Build , maintain to a level everyone can enjoy.  Build chicken routs around stunts. 

Old school gnar . Like upper Crippler .? Who took out the small diving board on the steep section.? Some one who rides the trail but that was too difficult for them. Gnar trails . Don't fix them , let them mature into unbelievably diifficult jank. Because that's my favorite challenge. Yes I'm sending  clear message to the people " fixing" the trail. 

There are no simple solutions. Impossible to please everyone.

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taprider
taprider
5 months ago
0

About 15 or more years ago I just about broke the old NSMB forum by starting a thread about "I love chunder". It went well over 10 pages before I was asked to remove it. The majority of people were yelling at me to STFU and grab a shovel, and only a few others were defending my fetish or informing others that I was already a trail builder.

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
+2 Alex Hoinville goose8

"they always have and always will"

This is the way.

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mike-wallace
Mike Wallace
5 months ago
+2 Deniz Merdano Mammal

Learning to jump on the shore trails is really difficult.  Just not enough repetition.  Whistler park bike on the other hand…  well it’s a magical place…

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
0

Mike, alot has changed since you left us for the love of dust and cheap beers... We need to show you some goodies.

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

That's what sessions are for! Find a nice jump and hike it a few times!

Kidding, but kinda not. Seriously though, strong agree on the park being best. There actually are a handful of legit jump lines around here with a half-dozen-ish hits in a row, but even a pedal sesh up and down those a few times (if you can clear everything to begin with) doesn't compare to the repetition of hitting the lift or shuttle and running laps all day on well maintained jump trails of the appropriate hue.

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Tjaardbreeuwer
Tjaard Breeuwer
5 months ago
+2 Niels van Kampenhout Justin White

If possible, the best solution is that when you build the trail, you also put in properly built ride arounds.

Our small, local bikepark built a new trail last summer. It includes both tech features and big gap jumps. I was very glad for the ride arounds:

  1. They allowed me to ride a new trail, even though I was not riding the most difficult parts of it,  I still enjoyed not having to lap the same 5 old trails.
  2. They allowed me to check out the bigger features, and decide which ones I would hit on the next lap, or keep in mind for future rides, if my skills improved.
  3. They kept the lips/landings of the big jumps in shape, and I wasn’t blocking someone riding those feature by walking them.

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mtbman99
mtbman99
5 months ago
+1 Lynx .

Spot on if you cant ride it walk it and I have been doing it for years. One of my favorite trails has a move in it that is only ridable by me if I am mentally and physically on if not I am walking it. 

Paid trail crews and liability questions have really changed a lot of trails in the last few years for my trail network.

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earleb
earle.b
5 months ago
+1 Alex Hoinville

Last time in the WBP I finally cleared the Moon Booter on A-Line. It had been just out of my jumping grasp for years. I could never seem to let go of the brakes just enough to clear it, usually a slight back tire kiss on the transition. Not enough of a case for it it to buck me, but enough that I knew I wasn't clearing it. 

Two full seasons with no WBP and no real jumping I hope I have not regressed and lost it.

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NewGuy
NewGuy
5 months ago
+1 Tjaard Breeuwer

The problem with the Moon Booter is that it just keeps getting bigger! 

I finally cleared it at the end of last season but I had a few years where I'd start a new season 'ready to clear it' only to find out it was even bigger and just beyond my reach yet again!

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
+1 NewGuy

Huge!

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earleb
earle.b
5 months ago
+1 NewGuy

Yep. Same goes for the upgraded bigger stuff on Dirt Merchant. It and my skills were just at the same level before the bigger upgrades. I don't think it's any harder...just bigger, so gotta wrap my head around it. We'll see how that goes this summer.

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denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
5 months ago
0

I don't know if it's the skill to jump that will be lost or the courage to stay off the brakes after the big berm coming into the moonbooter...I think latter

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alex-hoinville
Alex Hoinville
5 months ago
+1 Lynx .

I'm somewhat glad I learned to mountain bike somewhere with almost exclusively flat rolling xc trails. That meant that, because it was the shore type tech trails jumps and side hits riding that excited me, I had to go out and find interesting lines. Whether that be doubling up roots and slashing corners on the xc trails, finding walls stairs and landscaping boulders to ride down, jump off or hop up, or building my own back yard trail with steep tight switchbacks so I could learn endo turns. It meant that I could (or had to) go find a "feature" that was exactly what I needed to progress and learn skills. Once I moved somewhere with legit downhill trails I had all the skills I needed to navigate that, with lower crash consequences from learning. The landscaping around my college campus and local mall was my skills park (and riding away from mall cops was some cardio training lol).

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 shenzhe

Side note here and know I'm probably in the minority, but anyone want to do a piece of the insanity that is bike sizing these days? Just saw a YT video by Dusty Betty, she's all of 5'4" and just moved from a SM to M Ripmo V2 with 460mm REACH and she's telling people it's a good size for people her height, WTF, that bike has a reach right around the lower side of what I like in a good all around Trail bike and I'm 6'2". Meanwhile BKXC/Brian has just moved from a L to M V2 and liking it a lot better and he's 5'10"ish.

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taprider
taprider
5 months ago
0

Lots of EWS Enduro racers are down-sizing, because it's faster.

What I see is lots of riders with bikes so long and bars so wide that they have reduced ability for body english, and although, they are centered (kind of trapped there) they have problems with tight slow speed turns and riding natural trails vs flow trails

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

I also wonder how some of the smaller statured riders with giant bars can manage to get any bike-body separation. Gwin just did a good video about leaning the bike but staying on top of it, and that requires a reasonable range of motion in moving the bars side to side, which seems lacking on some bike-body combos you see out there.

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just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

Different ride styles. Some people like to be "in" the bike and some people like to be "on" the bike a bit more. Also, if she's running a smaller bar width and teeny stem, that reduces the effect of reach a bit, where Brian might like a wider bar that pulls him forward too much on a bigger reach.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
-1 Justin White

Well maybe if you stop ASSu^ing so as to try and be argumentative and actually checked, you'd find that she bought the stock XT build and is riding it as is with a 40mm stem and min 750 wide bar, Brian runs a 32mm stem and 760 bar.

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just6979
Justin White
4 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 utopic

I "argued" basically that "every situation is different", which is pretty much unequivocally true, and just gave one example of "maybe this is a potential difference". Apologies for upsetting your argument that other people are on the "wrong" bike.

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heckler
Sven Luebke
5 months ago
+1 Lynx .

https://www.trailforks.com/report/1807835/

I tried to solicit a similar discussion on Pangor, only got one reply from a one-time rider of the trail.

Since then, I've built solid fences and mocking signage.  Seems to have worked, was down it yesterday and didn't see errant tracks.

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YungSquab
Tommaso Gomez
5 months ago
0

This comment has been removed.

just6979
Justin White
5 months ago
0

I think it stays with you. Just the fact that you're thinking about it, and have tried and made the progression in the past, well, to use the punniest/worst (or is it the best?) possible metaphor, it's like riding a bike.

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Lynx
Lynx .
5 months ago
+1 Justin White

Hey man, that sayings not so bad, I've used it quite a few times recently with people now getting back onto an MTB :-) LOL

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Stegosaurus
Justin Kuhn
3 months, 1 week ago
0

I think the ride arounds are good. I like to still ride the gnar with my pops but he doesn't want to do the stunts anymore so a ride around helps with keeping the flow of the ride rather than having to walk a bunch of stuff. 

I think black trails with double black optionals is a great way to have sanctioned trails.

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