Mountain Biking Sucks!

Dear Uncle Dave,

I love technical trails… Rocks, roots, wood features, all of it. Trail builders these days, especially in the States, seem to be moving toward smoother, flatter and wider “Flow Trails” that are almost boring to ride. Why do you think this is happening? What can we do to spread the gospel of gnarly tech trails?

A grumpy rider who doesn’t like change

Hi Dave,

The industry seems to be pushing 29ers like the are viable in technical and swift terrain but they just bounce or absorb the trail. I suppose some very talented riders could whip them around but for the average rider this isn’t the case. I have rode 29ers and I feel almost disconnected from the trail, it’s crazy how much 1.5 inches on a tire diameter can change the ride. Doesn’t this take away from the rider and make it less fun?  More appealing to less skillful riders?

Uncle Jesse

Dear Uncle Dave:

So it hit me last weekend as I was pushing my big, “unnecessary”, downhill bike to the top of my local trails. As I made my way up I get odd looks from people pedalling their dinky little 140mm travel, $6k bikes that they then ride the brakes of all the way down. The worst part is that my trails are getting either smoother or flatter or both.
My favourite trail was always one super rough, good ‘ol downhill trail with all the jumps and drops you could ever want.
Thanks to the wet, wet, wet as f*** winter, my previous trail has been pretty much ruined. As I complained to everyone, suggesting we should get to the trail and fix it, most said it wasn’t worth the time, as the trail “didn’t get enough traffic” (as if I wasn’t enough).
Why is it that these guys would rather ride some trails to match these “trail” bikes rather than get something with longer travel and have some real fun?
Is it just me or is freeride dead?

Freeride Lives

Dear Grunjessfree:

Oh man, do I hear you. Just the other day I was in a bike shop, looking at bikes. I saw this sweet 26-inch wheeled thing sitting in the corner. Aluminum framed, steep angles…an extra 5 pounds of weight on it. It was beautiful! I was, literally, pulling my wallet out of my pocket, getting ready to buy it, when, out of nowhere, the Industry burst in through the front door and forced me to buy this 29er that I didn’t even like! It was brutal. I wish they would stop doing that.

Soon after, I loaded the bike that I had just bought and hated onto my vehicle and drove to my local mountains, in search of the washed out creek bed that I call my favourite trail. And I was horrified to discover it was gone! I couldn’t even find it! Some scoundrel, maybe even the Industry, had taken that rock and skinny filled monstrosity and replaced it with a baby-bottomed smooth “flow trail” that required zero skill to navigate. They’d worked thousands of volunteered man hours for no reason other than to spoil my fun. I begrudgingly rode it and it provided me with absolutely no enjoyment whatsoever. And then, when I did finally find my favourite technical trail (it was off skulking in the woods, sad and lonely because nobody was riding it any longer) it wasn’t any fun either, because the bike made it too easy to ride. So we just sat down together and cried, the trail, my crappy bike and I. We kept getting interrupted by the hoots of laughter from all those idiots on big wheeled bikes having a miserable time on the flow trail next door. That made things even worse. So I quit mountain biking.

Since I no longer care, I think the three of you should get together and talk this over. If you just swapped a few things around amongst yourselves, you can probably solve all of your problems. Solve mountain biking, really. Nobody else seems to know what the hell they’re doing.*

Uncle Dave

*I really am sorry about this one. Honestly. I’m not that big of a jerk. I just want everybody to stop complaining that the trails are too easy/the bikes are too good/I don’t like it when other people do stuff that I don’t understand.

Uncle Dave’s Music Club

You can tell the weeks when I’ve written something and had to walk away at the last minute, can’t you? The first thing I wrote, quite literally, solved sexism. Just put it right to bed. But then a few people read it and their dramatic eye-rolling and sighing told me it could use a few subtle tweaks, here and there. So, in honour of that fine piece of un-aired literature dealing with one of societies greatest problems, I’m going to talk about my favourite ass-kicking female musician of the moment: Courtney Barnett. Hopefully you’ve heard of her? Maybe you saw her (oddly) nominated for the Best New Artist for 2016 Grammy (despite her first album coming out in 2011). Or perhaps you saw her performing on Saturday Night Live (never a great showcase for any musician). If not, well, here’s your chance to check her out.

I’ve got two songs for you today. The first one up, is Small Poppies. Which is merely “pretty great” as a recorded number. If you ever get a chance to see her live though, oh man. This song will melt your face off. She’s like the modern reincarnation of some sort of mullet clad, cock rock superstar, bending that guitar to her will while tearing the walls down with nothing but sound, all in a sort of low-key, aww-shucksy fashion. It seems impossible and it’s amazing.

Next is Depreston. This song just kind of digs into my soul. I was in New York this past January and I had a day or two on my own. I was wandering around by myself, experiencing the City, eating ramen and listening to music. I got to this song and I just kept hitting repeat. Repeat. Repeat. It was too perfect an encapsulation of wandering around a City by yourself that it deserved more than just one listen. Lonely. Clever. Sad. Uplifting. It’s a beautiful song that warrants attention.

Ouch! That was an OTB with no full face. The good news, Grunjessfree, is that you all get a prize. We’re going to give each of you a pair of our new wool blend socks because we know your pain. We’ve had the same thoughts but kept them mostly to ourselves. We also feel bad about laughing at the beating Uncle Dave laid on you. Sorry.

NSMB Socks - Darkside

Our fresh new socks are available in two colour combos; moss and charcoal or black and charcoal, with mandarine toes and heels.

At NSMB we love wool socks for riding all year round. It keeps you warm when wet, cool when it’s warm out (seriously), wicks moisture efficiently and doesn’t stink like synthetic fibers. Not just for wet or winter climates – you’ll appreciate these on long rides in hot weather, too.

Send us an email with your address and foot size and we’ll get you some sweet socks.

Our favourite thing about Uncle Dave? You never know what you’re going to get.

Trending on NSMB



Mountain Biking is an agglomeration of all sorts of people like any other. There are dumb pricks (you can recognize them by hearing them say that MTB is the best sport ever) and fantastic people (building trails, doing advocacy, helping out, riding hard) aaaaand a hell of a lot of regular folks. There are people who are cool about everything, numb (like me) aaaand a hell of a lot of whiny btches.

MTB is awesome and just like every other hobby, it sucks as hell. I wish people who don't agree with me and don't live by the same values like I do, just stay away from me. World's big enough.



just watched the CB video, Avant Gardner. so so good.



Yes. Almost included that one too. But didn't.



No Deer Hunter? Disappointed. I suppose I came back for a read.



Best music club yet Uncle Dave!



"I just want everybody to stop complaining that the trails are too easy/the bikes are too good/I don’t like it when other people do stuff that I don’t understand." Thank you.


I think Uncle Dave wins a prize this week. Three birds, one stone, clean deaths.



Was this even an article? WtF did I just read?



You feel bad? Imagine having to write it.


Welcome to Uncle Dave's little slice of paradise, JKD. Come back next Tuesday for the next installment.


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