DSC04161-denizmerdano-darkside-lightside
EDITORIAL

Starting A Discussion Of Mountain Bike Culture

Words Andrew Major
Photos Deniz Merdano (unless noted)
Date Jan 9, 2023
Reading time

Polite Pomposity

Look at the hubris on this guy. Doesn't he know that significantly better writers have attempted to congeal some sense of shared circumstance out of our love of bicycles and riding them off-road? Did he think that maybe some of them even managed some sort of cycling culture coagulate without hiding behind alliteration, hyperbole, sarcasm, and upcycled mansplaining? It's probably true. There are hundreds of thousands of 'mountain bikers' playing Pan all over the world on endlessly variable terrain. I've ridden only a fraction of it. And that fraction has mainly consisted of the technical side of our favourite activity, with or without a forest canopy: the North Shore, Moab, Sedona, etc. In spite of that, I have some generalizations about my perspective of our kind to share with you.

I've been mulling this idea over since writing Survival Of The Fattest in March 2017. It's evolved from an 'explanation' of the culture of mountain biking for the uninitiated - riding for the non rider - to a discussion between my friends and me as we pedal up gravel forest roads to plunge down Shore single track. I'm a decidedly Tech-C rider in a sea of fragmented categorizations and it's in that ever-expanding mountain bike universe that I'm looking to say something about the glue that binds me to my fellow riders.

NSMB 2017 Mandrew Dave Smith

I ride in my own company most of all, but the social aspect of mountain biking still holds the greatest appeal. Photo: Dave Smith

DSC04821_denizmerdano_amajor.original

Riding with other folks keeps things fresh & fun. Whether it's a casual pedal or you're playing bumper cars pedaling up log rides.

I Am Because I Say I Am

As a cis-gendered WASP, it took me a long time to come to terms with the idea that the mountain bike community isn't a wonderful all-inviting reflection of society, or at least the part of society with enough treasure to surmount the financial barrier to entry. It was a long time ago now, but the first mountain bike course I took, as a teenager, was with a woman named Joan Jones. My terrifying first experience on a steep and janky trail was with my high school counselor, Tanya Gilchrist. I had my first ever endo right at the start of a trail called Elevator and she laughed at me - in a nice way. The first professional rider I met was Allison Sydor. So fast. The first good sales rep I met while working in a shop was former pro racer and lifetime shredder Elladee Brown. And the first amazing trail builder I met with their own signature style was Boundary Karen. All rad, confident women who obviously owned being mountain bikers.

I've had a lot of conversations since then. I'm not really qualified to say a lot more than that, but it's worth scrolling through what local riders Alex Sinanan and Sanesh Iyer have to say about their experiences. Listen to any woman who's been involved in trail building and what you hear may surprise you - or sadly, it may not. There is a lot of good work going on, however. For example, Judy at Colour The Trails is doing epic advocacy in the outdoor sports world, but the fact this is necessary dampens my image of our activity some.

I'd still say that the most commonly shared characteristic of mountain bikers everywhere is that they've claimed that mantel for themselves. You don't even need to own a bike. I've seen fully grown folks come back from their first time coasting down a green trail, on a borrowed rig, who were instantly hooked, and became riders on the spot. Of course, keep with it long enough and eventually you'll pay the entry fee - stitches, a break, etc. - but in the meantime, if you think you're a mountain biker, then you are one. And whatever that means to you is great.

DSC01992_denizmerdano_sanesh_denizmerdano 1.jpg

I want to acknowledge that mountain biking and our community are far from perfect. Thanks to folks like Sanesh Iyer for helping us do the work.

Alex Sinanan by Deniz Merdano7.jpg

I first rode bikes with Alex in 1997, which is also when I first learned that mountain biking discriminates against tall people. Jokes aside, thanks to Alex Sinanan for contributing to NSMB becoming better, too.

Suffering With A Smile

The act of mountain biking is an assembled series of farcical accomplishments. The true exuberance of cleaning that teeter-totter, mastering a rooted climb, or sticking that sniper landing is set against the fact that you're an adult doing any of those things on a stupidly expensive bicycle in a forest. Who gives a shit? Other mountain bikers. But they're all in on the big silly joke too. Think of any time you've explained a friend's mountain bike injury to a non-rider. You reach the crescendo where they stack it into the ground and find your excitement met with a look that screams "this sounds stupid."

If you're not certain what I mean, show Jordie Lunn's Rough AF 3 to a random collection of bikers and non-bikers and listen for the distinct tonal difference between how the two groups say "OH F*CK" around the 50-second mark.

DSC09527-denizmerdano-clairebarian-andrewmajor (2).jpg

Low gear & grind. What goes down must come up. Learn to love to suffer and you'll be rewarded by being able to do it for longer and further.

At the same time that mountain biking is silly, it's also really hard. And that's the best thing about it. Insert your preferred version of a quote about how it doesn't get easier, you just go further & faster. Hitting the ground hurts, sometimes a lot. Lactic acid burns and the pain in your legs before you round the top of a climb is a strange brew of physical and mental trauma. You keep doing it, so clearly you love it more than you hate it. Riders enjoy working themselves to exhaustion. I love when I'm on a trip and everyone is whinging about their day 2, or day 3, or day whatever legs being sore. There's always a degree of triumph no matter how genuine the stiffness and discomfort.

You simply can't be weak sauce and ride mountain bikes. Or, as I tell my kid much more often than she likes to hear, "if you're going to be dumb, you've got to be tough."

Best Company.jpg

Injuries and mountain biking. It's when, not if. Photo: JacAttack

Mechanical Aptitude Acquisition

We all know people who shouldn't work on their own bikes. We all know people whose bikes need to be worked on. The two categories don't overlap as much as one might hope. Still, whether your personal experience and aptitude extend to overhauling suspension, adding a bit of sealant to your tubeless tires, or knowing that your bike is making an unhealthy noise, it is impossible to be a mountain biker and not acquire some level of mechanical aptitude. That is the ability to learn from other peoples' experiences - or your own - as the brains and motors behind your machine. To reason through what you're experiencing so that you can fix your bike, or explain it to the person who is going to fix your bike.

I've worked in shops and turned wrenches long enough to be consistently amazed at the general aptitude of folks who ride mountain bikes compared to other people I interact with in my life. I've regularly seen riders who've never tightened a bolt correctly identify where a creak is coming from on their bike, and why, and I've also seen people unable to conclude that their shopping cart won't move forward when they push on it because one of the wheels is jammed. If your brake is seized, or your rotor is so bent it won't pass through the caliper, you're going to fix it or get it fixed, or you won't be riding.

Now, you don't need to be a nerd to be a mountain biker. But I know that I have plenty of great company in people who were drawn to the activity by the blending of the physical and mental effort required to ride a bicycle on trails as well as the technical knowledge to maintain and tune the most beautiful machine ever created.

Suntour Fork Demo Program NSMB AndrewM (4)

Whatever your level of mechanical acumen or appreciation, pat yourself on the back for being a mile ahead of the general populace. Photo: Andrew Major

Responsibility

I love the dual personalities of mountain bikers when it comes to tools on the trail. The expectation is that everyone will carry what they need to get them out of a trailside jam but there's a ready willingness to share their pump, multitool, or experience to help out another rider in need. Diligently carry your own food and water, but when you're bonking at the halfway point on a ride, don't feel bad when a friend hands you their spare snack or bottle. There's a responsibility to look after yourself and also to look after your friends and fellow travelers.

Most of the riders I know are accountable to themselves. Their bike and protective equipment are in good working order and when they come to a section of trail that challenges their skills, bike, or confidence, they take a measure of conditions and the folks they are with. Commit or eat shit. If you don't see yourself riding out the bottom, don't drop in at the top. When stuff goes sideways either with an injury or a mechanical that ends a ride, it's the exception, not the rule and in those instances everyone carries water. Often even random riders rolling by will stop to help however they're needed.

Lower Crippler NSMB AndrewM (4).jpg

Shout out to my friend Andy, part of a long heritage of trail builders spending more hours digging than riding. His work on Lower Crippler is what makes it my second favourite anywhere. Photo: Andrew Major

Trail maintenance, too. Most of the trails I've ridden were built and maintained by volunteers, or by volunteer-run associations using grants and donations to fund professional trail crews. It's true that not every rider lifts a shovel, buys a membership, or makes a donation. These are all easy things to get involved with though, so if you're feeling like your contribution has been underwhelming it's easy enough to make up for it. If you have a favourite trail, start by getting in touch with the builder and getting your name on their mule list. Even the most persnickety solo-building perfectionist needs grunts to carry material sometimes and the only thing better than riding your favourite trail is knowing you put some sweat into it.

Even if a lot of riders don't live by a no dig no ride philosophy, can you name a user group that puts as much energy into advocating for the right to volunteer time improving community-owned assets?

Pipeline Trail NSMB Andrew Major

Fresh wood and old rocky jank make Pipeline my favourite trail. Thank you for your hard work Ken et. al. and of course Greg & Slawek and all the Pipeline builders who came before. And thank you to everyone building and maintaining and advocating for trails everywhere. Photo: Andrew Major

Rolling

As I've been battering this around, some of my friends, who are even more cynical and sarcastic than I am, have congratulated me on putting in this grand effort to pump our collective tires with a January puff piece extraordinaire. Mountain bikers, yay!

Trying to capture some generalities about mountain biking and mountain bikers, like the activity itself, is hard and silly. But we're certainly more than individuals out doing our thing. I also think there's a community beyond what's convenient for marketing and that said community has a lot in common.

I suppose it's also possible that I'm romanticizing an activity that has been an important part of my identity for a long time, and projecting what I love about it onto everyone else pedaling their way through the woods. In which case, it's a dank, damp, dark, and dreary day in January. Enjoy.

Related Stories

Trending on NSMB

Comments

sanesh-iyer
Sanesh Iyer
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+16 Niels van Kampenhout mudhoney Andrew Major yardrec TristanC Cr4w Lu Kz Andy Eunson dhr999 Jeremy Hiebert Karl Fitzpatrick AlanB Charlie P-t Mammal vunugu Dr.Flow

I was allowed to go mountain biking on Fromme and snowboarding on Grouse sans adult, with a friend, before I was allowed to hang out at the mall without an adult. Because of the community (and ski patrollers). We were equipped with first aid kits, tools, and the requisite knowledge. And importantly, my parents knew that the people around would keep an eye on us. They trusted the system.

I'm very proud to sit on the other side of that now and be able to support new and young riders, most of the time. Though sometimes I withdraw from that karmic bank (thank you Deniz!). 

Stop. Help people fix themselves or their gear. Have a snack with a stranger. 

And... In the last years I've started to differentiate between active and passive therapy. MTB is one hell of a passive therapy. I am the best version of myself when I bike lots.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+12 Sanesh Iyer Velocipedestrian yardrec Adrian White Cr4w Andy Eunson Metacomet dhr999 Jeremy Hiebert Charlie P-t vunugu Dr.Flow

I came across a couple of teenagers with a mechanical on 7th last year (or it may have been the year before). 

Just a case of things coming loose and them not having the right combination of tools and knowledge - I had them sorted quickly.

The one kid’s parent had dropped them in the Fromme parking lot and was coming back in a few hours. They had a cellphone for proper emergencies. They had snacks. And it was understood if they needed help the community would help them. 

Pretty f***ing cool if you ask me - and clearly the system worked.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+3 Andrew Major Sanesh Iyer Jeremy Hiebert

I too came across a group of about 5 teenage boys about halfway down a long descent trail. Pretty deep in our local pedal network, too. Bikes strewn everywhere. I stopped because I thought they had a mechanical or injury.

Nope. They pulled over - halfway through a sweet descent - to help one of the group come up with a proper snapchat response to send to a girl he liked.

Some things don't change.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+2 Velocipedestrian MarcusBrody

So, did you help with the Snapchat response? Community first!

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

Fix a bike? I'm there. Help an injured rider? Sure. 

Help a teenager write a Snapchat response? I've been out of the game a long time there, I'm afraid.

Reply

silverbansheebike
silverbansheebike
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+6 Andrew Major taprider pedalhound Niels van Kampenhout Velocipedestrian Charlie P-t

I really like the idea that we claim this identity for ourselves! And I think that's one of the great things about unorganized sports, you are because you say you are, there's no try-outs or not making the cut. I guess in a way its a piece of inclusivity that we do have, even though classically lacking otherwise.

Great article, sent out to many friends!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+2 silverbansheebike Velocipedestrian

Thank you! 

I think your post nicely sums up one of the key reasons (plus nature and being a gear nerd) that mountain biking initially captivated me.

Reply

JVP
JVP
4 weeks ago
+5 Andrew Major BadNudes Jerry Willows Velocipedestrian Charlie P-t

All I can say is I love the welcoming world of mountain bike trail builders and maintainers. That community within our sport contains the best, most welcoming, stoke-filled people in the PNW. The people who show up to dig are just so warm and fun to be around. Even the "off-system" builders in my neck of the woods (WA state) have mostly shed their grumpy ways and joined in the good fight. 

There's a pretty big difference between the "just a rider" and the folks who come out to dig. There's so many people riding now that the average mountain biker has trended closer to being like the average person instead of the rugged weirdo of old. If you want that community and core feel, go out and join a handful of dig days. They're good people!

To frame it to fit into Andrew's article, we take care of our own resources and make things happen.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

Trail building certainly is, in general, more of a collaborative effort than it used to be - even the true lone wolf solo builders are often getting support in the form of insurance, materials, or the odd bit of extra carry-sh*t people power from local trail organizations. I think it's nice.

Reply

GiveitsomeWelly
Karl Fitzpatrick
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+5 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian Niels van Kampenhout yardrec vunugu

Repeating others again but riding solo is a great chance to start up non-awkward conversation with people out of doors.

That includes walkers, most of who have been positive despite a perceived wedge that seemed to be getting wedged between 'them' and 'us'.

This of course cycles (hurhur) back to the awesome mahi our mtbing advocacy groups have put into sharing trails where needed and separating the different user groups where possible. 

Great article Andrew. Thanks heaps!

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Thanks!

This winter I’d say 99% of the non-bike traffic I’ve come across has been people walking their dogs. Either way, to echo your point, nothing but the most friendly and positive interactions.

Reply

syncro
Mark
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+4 Jerry Willows Karl Fitzpatrick Velocipedestrian Mammal

If I could change anything about mtb culture it would be making trail maintenance/advocacy culture synonymous with riding culture. I'll even go so far to say that trail maintenance and advocacy should be held in higher, or at least equal regard to the riding we do. There are so many ways to contribute that there really is no excuse not to do something. When it comes to digging in the dirt, yeah it can be hard work, but I don't  think I've ever seen anyone leave a trail day feeling like they had a bad time.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Mark

couldn't upvote enough...  so many trails out there and so few maintainers.

Reply

TristanC
TristanC
4 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major Sandy James Oates yardrec

"If you're going to be dumb, you've got to be tough," is a motto I live by. It works outside of biking, too - when something goes wrong, something breaks, a situation doesn't go the way you wanted it to - it's a good time to swear quietly to yourself, take a deep breath, and go fix whatever needs fixing.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+6 Mammal DanL mudhoney yardrec TristanC Karl Fitzpatrick

100%. Though I find the further we are from the trail the less friendly a response I get to the statement when it comes to repeatedly dropping that phrase on my family.

Walking into furniture for example I can’t get past “if” before getting growled at.

For other life situations there’s always the dadtastic “you get what you get and you don’t get upset” and my other favourite “don’t give me problems, give me solutions.”

That last one, is a ‘favourite’ of everyone in my family (HAHAHA). The icy death stares are real?!?

Reply

Offrhodes42
Offrhodes42
4 weeks ago
+3 Andrew Major ElBrendo TristanC

Another quote I tell my kids and riding friends is "Safety first, then as dumb as you want to be". For the most part we all have jobs, families, life that takes a majority of our time. Making sure we get back to them is the objective.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+1 Lu Kz

Safety thinking from riding bleeding over into other activities - We bought my kid a really good hockey helmet for this reason. Yes, there’s a lot missing from our understanding of concussions but if you’re going to go hard protect your head as best as you can. Most hockey helmets kids wear haven’t really changed since I was a grom. 

Actually it’s funny how you can min-max that sport too. Investing in good skates, a good stick, and good helmet is like buying a more budget friendly bike and buying good rubber, a good fork, and… well… a good helmet. Funny how well you can perform relative to a mire expensive setup.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
4 weeks ago
+3 Niels van Kampenhout BadNudes silverbansheebike

When are you going to start touring with your "Min-Maxing Your Life" motivational speaker series?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+2 Lu Kz yardrec

Hahahaha. I could call it:

All The Bikes And None Of The Other Sh*t.

But no, jokes aside, it’s all about priorities and I don’t know how universal you can get with that stuff. One person’s min-max is another person’s max-min. I mean, the fact we let my kid play hockey (holy $$$$) is about as far from min-max as you can get. 

For example, my family lives in a small, and old, space so we can live in paradise. We maximize our North Shore and minimize our footprint. Lots of folks think we’re nuts for not moving out of the city. 

My wife owns a beautiful full-sized upright piano. It would cost more to replace than our car. There’s certainly nothing min-max about that? But it’s lovely and it’ll outlast either of us with proper care and maintenance.

.

It has been very neat to be part of a lot of min-max conversations about bike stuff with other riders though. 

Just reinstalled my wife’s Auron after a full re-and-re at SuspensionWerx. It feels awesome. A good reminder to keep an eye open for those values.

Reply

Joe_Dick
Adrian Bostock
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+3 mnihiser Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout

Way to keep it positive. It’s pretty easy at times to point out the issues with this sport. I was prepared to be upset. 😉

“I'd still say that the most commonly shared characteristic of mountain bikers everywhere is that they've claimed that mantel for themselves”

it’s is the truth. doing the thing, no matter how well, is the important part. 

these days mountain biking is a broad term. but there is a shared understanding of the activity. I will never ride the rampage course, but I can appreciate what it takes to do so, and I will never win an xc world cup (or any race for that matter) but I understand what it takes to do so.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

Cheers! I love mountain biking too much to let the issues overwhelm what's fantastic about it.

Reply

skooks
Skooks
4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout

Thanks Andrew, I enjoyed reading that.

I ride solo quite often, but riding with a group of people who share my passion is the best. 

I love that there are people of such different backgrounds, ages, genders, and personalities who all enjoy getting outside and playing in the woods on bikes.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+2 Mammal yardrec

Thank you.

.

Yes! I’ve been on many a group ride - and I’m sure this isn’t a unique feeling - where I look around at my fellow travellers and, in the best way, I’m on the island of misfit toys. Always have loved that about the mountain biking community.

Reply

SteveR
SteveR
4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout

Thanks for a good read! I often feel that I miss out on the community aspect of mountain bike culture, as I almost always ride solo, but a shared grin out on the trail or a "how was your ride?" back at the trailhead remind me that we are all in  this together. Where I really feel part of the greater community is on trail days, and not just the working on something together aspect, but in getting to know other riders.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+3 mudhoney Sanesh Iyer yardrec

I met a lot of my longest time riding friends throwing dirt and carrying stuff at trail days. 

Anytime I hear someone complaining about their riding buddies moving on to other things that’s my #1 suggestion for meeting other riders. 

.

I wonder if the NSMBA (and any trail org) could get a bunch of work done and raise some funds by hosting ‘singles’ trail days? Pay $25 to carry buckets of dirt in the rain - you’re never going to get a more honest one-time look at somebody than how they are after a few hours of labouring outdoors for the public good.

Reply

Larrabee
Larrabee
4 weeks ago
+4 Andrew Major Lu Kz Skooks Sanesh Iyer

Great plan:  “ wonder if the NSMBA (and any trail org) could get a bunch of work done and raise some funds by hosting ‘singles’ trail days? Pay $25 to carry buckets of dirt in the rain - you’re never going to get a more honest one-time look at somebody than how they are after a few hours of labouring outdoors for the public good.”

I’ve always maintained that prospective partners will find out if they’re truly compatible for decades if they do a 2-week canoe trip together. 

Great article. And a difficult subject to pin down with words. Thanks.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+2 DanL taprider

Thank you. I have a small catalogue of pieces like this that I've been trying to write for a while but which I've found very difficult, or intimidating. One of my goals this year is to try and put them out, so the fact I've not been eaten alive over this discussion has been nice.

Reply

skooks
Skooks
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

You are so right. First trip with my future wife was a week-long canoe trip. Our honeymoon was a 4-week remote river trip with 2 other dudes. We survived both, and are still together 30+ years later.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

I'd suggest a tandem bikepacking trip over canoeing? Same sentiment, but this is NSMB after all.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Canoeing is WAY better. The person who's more confident in what they're doing goes in the back and no one spends the whole experience staring at the sweaty back of the person in front of them. I've ridden on the back of enough tandems to know that there aren't enough fish in the sea that a divorcycle would have ever led me anywhere positive.

Reply

Flatted-again
Flatted-again
4 weeks ago
+2 4Runner1 Cr4w

I grew up surfing and generally saw that the rules of surfing etiquette were pretty well followed. After moving away from the ocean and taking up mountain biking, it's been a bit of a thorn in my side to see how riders (new and old) either don't believe in trail etiquette, don't agree with it, or act like it doesn't apply to them. Is this a trend everywhere as more riders take to the trails? If so, is there anything to do except exemplify good behavior?

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
4 weeks ago
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

From personal experience, all one can do is try to share knowledge in an encouraging way. I learned the ways of the knobby tire when the prime directive was “ride don’t slide”. Try that one out on a newer rider and they look at you as if you’re from another planet. After all, todays edits are full of sliding, skidding and blowing up berms. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across riders that don’t even grasp when to give way to an oncoming rider or group. Be patient. I’ve tried the abrupt, irritated soap box method of advisement, but that rarely goes well. :)

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
4 weeks ago
+2 4Runner1 GB

Last year I felt compelled to contact two of the local kids’ bike programs after my kid was nearly run down in (the same) obviously uphill section of a two-way green trail. 

They were really receptive about reminding their coaches that uphill traffic has the right of way unless otherwise posted. It’s anecdotal, but in future meetings on that trail and elsewhere we didn’t have another issue even seeing them often. The power of a friendly reminder?

I think it’s important to stay on top of these long held courtesies, especially with multi-use trails and non-rider traffic. Especially with the ever growing numbers of ever-quieter beyond-meat bikes out there going up-and-across trails so quickly. 

No one needs to be a trail cop, but I’ll absolutely, politely, tell folks if they pass too closely or alert them to my presence as the climber if I see them not yielding and most folks are receptive. 

I was having this conversation yesterday about how amazing it is riding this time of year. Despite the cold and wet a much higher percentage of trail users are friendly. Courtesy has the right of way and I often find everyone yields to everyone regardless of right of way - “after you” and “no, please, after you.”

I love it. 

On a busy Saturday in July I suppose there’s just too many people in the trails to have the same energy.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
4 weeks ago
+1 Andrew Major

Agreed. I often will yield as an opportunity to just say hello. Almost without fail, riders are quick to reciprocate with a smile.

Reply

icullis
icullis
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+3 Mark mudhoney Sanesh Iyer

I've been riding for a long time and totally agree with sayings like "ride don't slide" etc.

But, I think uphill priority needs to be re-evaluated... same with two way green trails... an example for me is "For the kids" a green two way trail. But in reality, is it really "for the kids" or is it for uphill riders? If it is "for the kids" kids and green riders should  have priority regardless of the direction. 

If we don't prioritize green riders on green trails, we're continuing to build a network for advanced riders, just pretending that we are being inclusive of beginners and kids (green trails are just the way to get to advanced trails).

Reply

syncro
Mark
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Andy Eunson

Great post.

Trail signage is something that could be used to help this as signs can easily include direction of travel indicators or recommendations. If there are issues and people want to question it then with signs at least there is something official to point to. Notice boards at trail system entry points that include trail etiquette would be a big plus as well. I know this is easier said than done unfortunately, as the different land managers all need to be on the same page and the trail org's have limited authority in designating trails as two-way, climbing only, climbing primary, downhill only or downhill primary. 

Two way - yield to uphill riders
Climbing primary - yield to uphill riders
Downhill primary - yield to downhill riders

Reply

icullis
icullis
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

I agree, it's complicated and is a multipronged problem...

  1. There needs to be signs and notice boards... 
  2. There needs to be downhill primary trails for all skill levels
  3. We need to get all landowners on the same page

Can we actually rely on the landowners and government to do this...

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
0

Solid post. Courtesy always has the right of way in any situation and barring that I agree signage could be much improved. 

In the specific cases I mention we were in a tight section of Roadside Attraction with nowhere to pull over with a large group of riders coming down who had room to pullover so whether by climbing or by courtesy we had the right of way. 

Normally I don’t fuss too much, but in these cases I think it’s important that - absent signage stating otherwise - new riders of any age learn the standard is to yield to uphill riders. The logic behind this of course being it’s harder to restart.

———

I love the idea of downhill only green and blue trails.

Reply

craw
Cr4w
3 weeks, 6 days ago
+2 Mark Velocipedestrian

I think this has gotten worse over time. I don't remember it being like this in, say, 2005. But I think then we were all more exploratory, more independent minded and less entitled about our rights to access. A 16 year old on a $9000 bike probably doesn't have a very nuanced understanding of what was required to facilitate him being there.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 Cr4w

I know a fair few parents who dig with their kids, so I would argue that people of any age who’ve never worked on trails or behind the scenes don’t understand how much time went into them being there.

Reply

Ddean
Ddean
2 weeks, 6 days ago
+2 AlanB Andrew Major

And here is another shout out to Andy on Crippler. What a great dude and asset to the community. Asks for nothing. Delivers everything he has and without any complaints and with so much stoke in sometimes not the friendliest of conditions.

The biggest problem with the Shore is that there is only one Andy and only one Jerry and only one Stan and only one Mark and only one Kevin (actually there are two Kevins!) and only one S&L and only one.....and Im missing a hundred but its still too tiny a number for the number of riders there are poaching the siht out of everthing they come across in the woods.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 5 days ago
0

The craft in Andy’s latest masterpiece on lower-Lower Crippler, as with all his features, is beautiful. I love his take on classic North Shore jank as well. 

The trails here have character and characters, worth celebrating - I heartily agree.

Reply

AlanB
AlanB
2 weeks, 6 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

The people in the biking community are the best part of advocating for the sport. So much passion for the trails!

Reply

Gomphiasis
Gomphiasis
2 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

The sports culture is so connected to regular cultures. I'm researching the theme of multiculturalism here https://happyessays.com/free-essays/multiculturalism/ a lot and bike sports are often between the lines, especially if talking about the Netherlands. Here is a lot of info, maybe you guys are interested. Mountain bike culture is something new for me because I've never tried it in my life, but it was so interesting to read! Thanks for sharing, it inspired me to find some ways to try such a type of biking.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
2 weeks, 3 days ago
0

I haven't ridden there, but there's a strong mountain bike culture in France or across the pond, so you won't have to go far to get a proper taste. 

Cheers!

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

"We all know people who shouldn't work on their own bikes. We all know people whose bikes need to be worked on. The two categories don't overlap as much as one might hope. Still, [...] it is impossible to be a mountain biker and not acquire some level of mechanical aptitude.

Shouldn't that be "do overlap more than one might think"? Implying that many people who shouldn't do the work are also the ones that actually need the work... contrasted with the auto-didact factor that, for many people, is inherent in biking?

Or maybe I'm completely misreading it, or maybe reading way to much info it...?

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

Examples…

I was on a group ride years ago where one person’s brake rotors and calipers were obviously loose in the parking lot. Did a quick bolt check for them - solved a few issues - but the fork and shock were both cooked, tons of play in the frame, etc. Desperately needed to pay someone to fix it and given they didn’t notice, probably to have it checked regularly.

Ended up aborting the ride because another dude who “does all his own work” had so many mechanical issues that I ran out of time.

People who shouldn’t work on their own bikes. People who desperately need to have their bike worked on. Often not the same people in my experience.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

I'd argue the second dude fits into the first category as well, since his bike actually needed work, despite "doing all his own work". And the first rider fits the second category, too, since if they didn't notice all the loose stuff they probably "shouldn't work on their own bikes" even it desperately needed it.

But I get what you meant.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

" can you name a user group that puts as much energy into advocating for the right to volunteer time improving community-owned assets"

Outdoor Rink (ODR as the kids are calling it lately) and pond hockey players, maybe? It's not quite "no shovel no skate", but people will be out there real early clearing snow off the pond, or real late helping to build and/or flood the neighborhood backyard rink, so the ice exists and stays reasonably smooth.

Not trying to be contrary, mountain bikers are definitely one of the most energetic groups about building and maintaining things, but this is something I hold dear, and top of my mind since I just hit up the hardware store for more bar & chain oil for the small trail maintenance saw along with a replacement shovel to leave at the local pond since the last one finally snapped.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+1 yardrec

My daughter had the chance to play hockey on a proper little outdoor rink for the first time this winter. It was awesome.

We don’t get enough proper cold-and-dry to have uncovered and nature-cooled rinks in North Van but I could definitely see No Shovel, No Skate.

The town I was born in had a golf course that was largely volunteer maintained. So not claiming there aren’t other activities where folks sweat to play.

Mountain bikers maintaining the trails they ride (and many other groups use) does seem to be one of the universal attributes of the activity though.

Reply

wynnyk
wynnyk
3 weeks, 6 days ago
0

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 5 days ago
+4 yardrec taprider Lu Kz GB

This comment has been removed.

wynnyk
wynnyk
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

This comment has been removed.

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 Andrew Major

This comment has been removed.

wynnyk
wynnyk
3 weeks, 4 days ago
+1 GB

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 3 days ago
+1 wynnyk

This comment has been removed.

syncro
Mark
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Unfortunately it's telling that what should be one of the biggest conversations here over the past year has generated less than 50 comments.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Check back in two days.

Reply

syncro
Mark
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

Yeah that's fair, I've probably jumped the gun a bit.

Reply

AndrewMajor
Andrew Major
3 weeks, 4 days ago
0

I’ve had more personal correspondences, including a couple of nice in person chats, about this piece than anything I’ve written for NSMB since Man Specific Bikes. And for this piece it was all constructive. 

I can appreciate how - especially in this case - some folks who have constructive feedback, or straight up disagree with me, or want to tell a personal story related to something I wrote above, and etc. may not want to post publicly. For lots of reasons.

I should add that I’m not always timely, but I do appreciate feedback and personal stories and I try to answer emails and other messages. It’s great when people post comments for other folks to read and consider, but I’m open.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.