I spent today waiting around for FedEx to bring my new bike. I’ve been so excited for it to arrive that I can’t seem to focus. The somewhat cynical comic I was going to draw comparing the progression of mountain bikes to that of cell phones stopped seeming funny to me. The undeniable fact is that I was stoked for new bike day and I couldn't wait for my new toy! This was slightly surprising to me.
A handful of years ago a back surgery decided that it was time for me to hang up my BMX career. That was the only kind of bike I had ever known and I didn’t imagine myself falling in love with bikes again. Mountain bikes have grown on me in a way I never expected. Bikes don’t consume every bit of my energy or thoughts anymore, but these big, springy bikes provide lots of ways to enjoy riding. In fact, it is all the different ways I can ride my mountain bike that makes it so fun.
Going down hills has been fun since the first time I ever stepped on to a bike. That has never changed in over 43 years of riding! Maybe I can’t session dirt jumps at the same level I used to be able to, but even laid back goofin’ off over the tabletop line is still fun to me. Being in the air is always a good feeling.
Ripping through trails and making motorcycle noises in my head never gets old! And some days I just want exercise so I climb hills and sweat. I’m not being creative with my riding during these times but it feels good to simply move.
I admit that on occasion my ugly ego from my younger days rears its head for a little scratch. I can still call back on those bike handling skills from days gone by to hold my own. On more introspective days I am completely content easing through the woods watching animals and looking at cool trees.
A really interesting side of mountain biking for me is that I can ride with normal people. People who don’t introduce themselves as a mountain biker the way I used to call myself a “BMXer” for so many years. There’s a huge variety of folks out on the trails who just enjoy riding bikes. Their skill level is irrelevant, though to be fair some are surprisingly good. They have lives outside of bikes but still love riding them. I love the funny groups I sometimes find myself in of people who might otherwise never intermingle.
Best of all, my bike can out run my computer. Some days I just need to get away from work, screens and my drawing board. A few minutes into a ride and all that “real world” stuff just melts away. Bikes have provided that service to me my entire life and I am grateful to them.
Next week I’ll probably be back to some slightly sarcastic comic theme or another but don't let the snark fool you, I love mountain bikes (and all the other kinds too)!