I’ll never forget the day I stopped shaving. It was the same day that a quiet girl in my grade twelve art class surprised me with a portrait she had produced for me. It was a flattering sketch in all aspects aside from the awkward shading that engulfed my chin and cheeks and reached down onto my neck. Even on paper that stubble felt abrasive. I could have simply began shaving more often and the stubble would have been less visible, but inevitably it would always reappear. Immediately it became clear that I had a destiny to fulfill. So I put my razor back into the drawer and the skin on my chin became history.
After a short while lived with a sand paper chin, the hair on my face was beginning to take shape. I wasn’t certain about wearing a beard at first, but it really grew on me. And now after nearly six years of bearding have come and gone, I’ve realized my beard to be not only a highly fashionable accessory and permanent staple in my wardrobe, but also an incredibly functional piece of gear for mountain biking. In fact, I think everyone should start riding with a beard.
I never hit the trails without my beard, and I feel like it has really helped me grow as a rider. I'd recommend riding with a beard to anybody who would enjoy taking their mountain bike experience to the next level. Please read on to discover the many benefits you could enjoy if you were to take a shot at biking with a beard.1. The Ultimate Sense of Freedom
I have met many silly people in the world who dislike wearing a bicycle helmet while riding their bicycle. Rather than the feelings of safety and security experienced while wearing a helmet, they choose the feeling of the wind blowing through their hair and often describe it as "the ultimate sense of freedom.
" These people have obviously never felt the wind blowing through their beards. 2. Increased Safety While Riding Enduro
Since the recent inception of Enduro, mountain bike manufacturers have been presented with the difficult task of developing safety equipment that is lightweight and breathable for the ugliest of ups, yet safe and structurally sound for the most daring of downs. There are great options to maximize the coverage of your cross country helmet or minimize the bulkiness of your downhill helmet, but an ultimate middle-ground has been difficult to decipher.
With a beard, riders can safely enjoy enduro-ing with a perfect hybrid. An elite Australian road cyclist who has recently crossed over to enduro in Kamloops believes that his beard functions much to the same tune as d30 armour – the beard remains soft and flexible while in use, but the hairs erect and become rigid upon impact. Beards are very enduro.3.Immunity To Common MTB Superstitions
Many mountain bikers believe that once speaking the words “one more time
,” the forest hears their greedy call and answers with a deadly trap. Perhaps a large rock rolls into their line, a new root grows from a turn, or a wind gusts as they approach the arc of a sizeable air.
Any of these scenarios could result in utter catastrophe, but beardedness has allowed me the awareness to see such subtleties in the forest, and the clarity to shred confidently outside the confines of such silly superstitions that enslave my chilly cheeked friends.4.Respect From Wildlife
We’ve all seen the shocking videos of people being disrespected by wildlife; chased by Grizzly Bears or laid out by Antelopes. Although the topic has seen little research, one should assume that those poor victims were not riding their bikes while wearing beards. 5.Superior Sense Of Direction
In all my years of riding a bicycle and wearing a beard, I have never found myself legitimately lost. I often visit new places once and find the most efficient route to be engrained in my internal map for life. But if I ever did get lost, I have a beard. And so I would chop some wood, prepare a fire, and provide myself with shelter until the morning light.6.Increased Accuracy
Nearly everyone who rides a bicycle has been riddled with gauging speed over a stunt or wiggling between tight trees at some point in time. But ever since I started riding with a beard, I have forgotten about these obstacles entirely.
Beard hairs are embedded much deeper in the skin than other body hairs. They connect directly to nerves and muscular tissue that create a heightened sense of awareness. Much like a cat’s whiskers, beard hairs detect sudden changes in surroundings like speed and the distance between objects. I must admit it was a sensory overload initially, but now that I have familiarized myself with the information, I haven't cased a single jump or hit a single tree in as long as I can remember.7.Temperature Regulation
Just like your favourite merino wool products, beards provide warmth on the cold rides but keep you cool on the hot ones. 8.Seeing More Wildlife
This is not to claim that wearing a beard will make your eyesight better. Without a doubt, relentless bearding will create a slight fuzz around your peripherals. But if you find yourself in the wilderness and bearing a fierce buff, animals will realize you are not a threat and they will come out from their hiding. A friend of mine owns several acres of property with many bicycle trails and many bearded riders happen to go biking there. The wildlife has taken note and now treats his property as a safe haven. Just in his yard we have seen a Moose, a Northern Pigmy Owl, one hundred thousand Deer, an antisocial Alpaca, two Goats with anxiety issues, a great grey owl, Brad, some unidentified black winged beasts, a Fox and an Osprey. 9.Increased Attractiveness to Female MTB Riders
I’ve met a lot of guys who fantasize about shredding the gnar and finding a woman mesmerized by their skills and in love at first sight, right there on the trail. With a beard, that imaginary on trail hook up is entirely possible. Don’t believe me? 10.No Need For Strava
– When I go riding with my beard, I don't need a smartphone app to tell me I'm the king of the mountain.
Just in case the aforementioned benefits I've discovered still haven't convinced you to try going biking with a beard, I've collected testimonials from a few of my friends to aid in your decision making...
|I prefer to mountain bike with a beard for a variety of reasons, but my main motivations are practical in nature. A beard keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and prevents sunburns. It's science. You can't argue with science, unless you're a politician. - Morgan Taylor, Curator of Beards at NSMB.com|
|Now that the secret is out I can finally admit that before I had a beard I was a complete hack of a trail builder, and an even worse mountain biker. I bought into all the negative beard hype: that they increased aerodynamic drag, that they don't grant you bicycle wizard powers, that girls don't find them attractive. Finally mustering the nerve to let my beard grow I discovered just how wrong I had been. As it grew so did it's influence and I slowly realized that there is no going back, the benefits are too great to go without. Future trail location vision, wizard-like bicycle repair skills, +4 to crash avoidance, the list of benefits is endless and the beard grants it all effortlessly. - Bill Mclane, noted trail-building dirtbag and very manly-man|
|The beard is so much more than an unruly collection of hair follicles sprouting from the face and neck and chin. It is not the result of a broken face machete, nor is it caused by lazy grooming habits. A beard is a symbol. You've got to be willing to withstand the lean times, the awkward state between youthful peach fuzz and thick pelted maturity. A beard is a celebration of manliness. If you were lucky enough to be born with the gift of beard growing then you've inherited genes that have belonged to some of the finest explorers, athletes, musicians, lovers, artists, and scholars that the world has ever known. Beards are one third of the manliness triumvirate. If you can acquire a bike, and beer too? Well, that's living. - Scott Secco, Doesn't have a beard, but someday...|
|I love the way the earth softens beneath my bearded gaze. - Ron Penney|Well there you have it folks. Will you try mountain biking with a beard this season?
|Nothing turns me on more than a man with some fur on his face who also knows how to ride a bike. Or maybe I'm thinking about those bears in the circus who ride unicycles. Both are pretty impressive, but I'd much rather be on a trail with a grizzly looking man than a grizzly bear. - Diana Brucculieri, Extremely famous female mountain bike model and production coordinator at Anthill Films|
Banner image courtesy of Riff Stills
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