Poll: Do You Have Any MTB Superstitions on Friday the 13th?

May 13, 2022
by Matt Beer  
Full tuck and carrying speed without a chain. Gwin went full beast on this track.
After breaking his chain straight out of the start gate, no curse could stop Aaron Gwin from winning the 2015 Leogang World Cup.


The number 13 was thought to be unlucky in Norse myths, where the trickster Loki was uninvited to a 12-person dinner party, arrived with vengeance as the 13th guest, and killed another god. So moody.

While the idea of Friday the 13th being unlucky is a more recent development, mountain bikers are a superstitious bunch. And it's not just over-analytical racers turning their number 13 plates upside down. A few Pinkbike staff have their own superstitions. So how do we make our own luck?


Take a close look at that rear tire... Ponder this Richie Rude flatted on stage 2 and finished roughly 36 seconds off pace. And came back over the course of the next 3 stages to win by about seven seconds. That is mental.

Taylor Vernon s Commencal Supreme
Jamie Edmondson s Trek Session
The valve stems are lined up on both bikes, but which positioning avoids flat tires - valves with the hot patch or the brand logo?


Tom Bradshaw believes that if you add to the chance of flatting a tire if the sidewall logo is not lined up symmetrically with the valve stem. On the other hand, Brian Park has seen the over-prepared/under-prepared hex too many times; if you bring a rain jacket, it’s likely you won’t need it, or conversely, if you don’t bring one, the dark clouds will open up on you.

Do you install a new chain for race runs or roll with the "don't fix what's not broken approach"? Christina Chappetta never changes her brake pads on race day in fear of them not bedding in perfectly, which is perfectly acceptable. I’ve made the mistake in the past and swapped them out the night before only to find that there was too much fluid in the system. That left me melting with fluid levels and inadequate tools, ultimately souring my race.

Greg Minnaar at home in Pietermaritzburg South Africa
Greg Minnaar about to tie his shoes 'just so' as to steer clear of any bad luck.

Those superstitions aren’t too far from what some World Cup racers do on race day, or even in the start hut. Greg Minnaar once said in an interview that he takes his sweet time tying his shoes before a race run so the tension and length of the laces are identical, in hopes of avoiding any bad luck. Plus, there’s Troy Brosnan’s pre-race run pump up where he wildly shakes his hands. Joe Barnes was said to walk on one side of his bike at all costs in fear that he might get a flat tire - that's next level.

Lucky number 13 for Finn Iles with a slick new paint job on his Demo.
Finn Iles wasn't superstitious at Leogang last year. He finished 14th without too much drama.

Many freeriders implore their videographers to never say "one more take," and the well-used phrase “two more, skip the last” is a way to avoid saying “last lap,” even though crashes are statistically more likely to happen on your first run. So, keep that in mind and be sure to abide by all of your superstitions on Friday the 13th. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that Whistler's season opener was delayed from today to next week.

Jumping skills required.


Do you have any MTB superstitions?




What MTB superstitions do you have?


121 Comments

  • 90 0
 Never say "one more _____" And don't name your bike Bonero.
  • 13 0
 Two more, skip the last
  • 9 0
 @rowdyhonzo: that's silly. Just say you're going again, no need to count at all whether from 2 or 1.
  • 2 3
 @rowdyhonzo: you’re still saying ‘last’ though. Seems like ‘two more, skip the first’ is the better option.
  • 5 1
 If you want to release your Urrun, don't get a Bonero
  • 13 0
 I watch "Friday Fails" on Monday, after my weekend rides.
  • 2 0
 @twonsarelli: how is that better? It means youre riding the last lap, instead of skipping it. Personally, I just keep going till i get to the bottom of one run and call it there, I know when another run is a bad idea.
  • 2 0
 @abzillah: You should watch it right before every ride to get all the crashing out of the way.
  • 1 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: I was just saying that if someone is worried about uttering the word ‘last’ they could sort of make the same statement without saying that word.
  • 1 0
 @twonsarelli: it's not saying it, it's the action itself. You can say it to yourself, think one more, last one, etc, it doesn't matter, it's the fact you know it's the last run before home time. Saying you'll do two more but skipping the last means you're not riding that last, exhausted run when you're thinking 'last jump, last berm, nearly done' etc.
  • 1 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: that’s fine. I was just suggesting that if someone feels the curse is speaking the word last, it can be avoided while still communicating clearly with the lads. Glad you’ve got a good system as well!
  • 1 0
 @noapathy: The more we think about something that we are trying to avoid, the more likely it will occur. Ignorance is a bliss.
  • 1 0
 @abzillah: I don't specifically try to avoid crashing, only the behavior that causes it. Funny how that leads to less crashes...
  • 1 0
 Never say last lap. #1 Rule
  • 55 0
 The "one last lap" is literally my only superstition in life. If we are doing anything risky I always pass on "last one".

If you aren't willing for 2 more, you probably don't have the gas for one more.
  • 11 0
 Same, that's exactly how it works
  • 3 0
 I crashed so many times on the last lap.. and I'm not the only one. Tomorrow we are planning to ride park in Fr and since a couple of guys have never been in lift assisted bike park I was just thinking how I have to explain them about the last lap
  • 2 0
 I've paid the price on this one. I Said it in Morzine many many years ago and did a Plenney run in the wet, wrecked myself on the last bridge and had to drive back to the UK the next day with a black bruise the size of a smaller dinner plate on my hip. NEVER AGAIN. If some one says it I won't ride the run.
  • 1 0
 Same. Ill keep riding, keep saying 'another?' etc, then I'll get to the bottom of a run and just say I'm done, I'll know I don't have another good one in me/I'd made silly mistakes and didn't want to push my luck further.
  • 2 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: I know the feeling.
Since I don't ride park more than 10-15 days a year, sometimes it's hard to say "I'm done", but actually you know when you're tired and if in last 2 or 3 laps you started to make more and more little mistakes eventually you will make a big one sooner than later
  • 2 0
 @pakleni: yup, adult life time constraints make riding a luxury rather than a lifestyle these days, I don't have as many runs in me as I used to before my arms and feet are complaining, id rather have good memories of the 6 runs I did do than the bad memories/recovery time of the 7th run I crashed on due to fatigue.
Another one is jumps, if I'm not feeling them that day I won't push myself to hit/send them, I'll hit the lines with tables and squash them before feeling uncomfortable getting in the air.
  • 44 0
 Right shoe in. Left shoe in. Laces on left shoe. Laces on right shoe. That is the correct order. I'm not superstitious but if I don't do it like this, everybody dies.
  • 6 0
 Safety first.
  • 3 0
 Left on and laced then the right . I put my jeans on the other day right leg 1st and fell over !
  • 5 0
 Thanks for keeping us all safe.
  • 1 0
 Comment deleted
  • 26 2
 Richie Rude still super-duper-stitious about "borrowing water bottles".
  • 10 0
 What could possibly go wrong???
  • 2 0
 @4thflowkage: okay that's what I would never say before a ride
  • 14 0
 The "one more run" is real. Not even a superstition. After a long session or a long ride you are tired and sore, so the pressure of doing "one more run" Is extremely likely to cause a crash. I can count at least 6 serious crashes among me and my friends
  • 2 0
 As one gets more and more tired, decisions become worse. So if you stick to a routine, you prepare yourself - take a break every 5 runs and leave out that last lap.
  • 2 0
 We’ll and also it’s going to be your last lap if you crash…
  • 1 0
 Remember being in a packed uplift van, a newbie to the group says "suppose this is last run then" Whole van, driver and all, errupts at him. 2 runs to be safe, not a single person questioned it afterwards.
  • 14 0
 I gotta take a dump before a ride. I fear the poop man will get me from the depths of the forest service out house Or I'll fall in like that lady did in Washington trying to repel down the hole either her dog leash as rope to fetch her phone
  • 3 2
 #metoo
  • 17 0
 Instead of saying "break a leg" I like to say "drop a chain"
  • 8 0
 I like this one.
  • 14 0
 “I’m not superstitious, but I am a little stitious.”
  • 4 0
 Thankfully someone got the reference
  • 5 0
 @lylerides: that’s what she said!
  • 12 0
 Never say “flat” before a race.

This is science not superstition.
  • 10 0
 I once got 666 on my number plate. I was so happy, others steered clear.
  • 3 0
 i once won a raffle with ticket#666
  • 7 0
 How could you expect anyone to admit to their superstitions when you make the answer option for not having them sound so much cooler XD
  • 9 0
 Pants before shoes
  • 5 1
 I love Friday the 13th cos I'm Metal as FK!¿
But,
karma has repaid me with a birthday badluck curse.. Car crashes, splitting with girls an two major bike crashes resulting in a week in hospital an months of recovery.. Among other shitluck B'day stories.
I'm typing this, recovering from two bruised black heels, Yuge black hematoma from knee to hip, smashed ribs and a broken dislocated wrist......
Life sucks wear a helmet
  • 2 1
 Oh I forgot to say, four years to the day since my last major B'day crash
  • 5 1
 Completely unrelated to MTB but 13 a fully natural number - a prime number and it represents strength, indivisibility, and originality. There are:

Naturally speaking - 13 weeks per season (temperate areas); 13 actual months a year between full moon (ie - the word "month" directly from from time between full moons or "moonth"; countless plant species with 13 veins (and as botanist I've check on this - too many to name); 13 segments on turtles backs - the list goes on

Societally speaking: 13 is a prime # and invisible by anything but 1 and itself; 13 is the 7th number of the Fibonacci sequence; 13 original US states & July 4 is purposefully 13 days after the summer solstice; #13 shown 13 times on the dollar bill. I'm not religious but Jesus / Disciples = 13 dudes. Original astrology was 13 signs because the Julian / Gregorian calendar didn't exist then

Realistically the only unlucky thing about 13 is that people don't actually know it's natural and human-made "lucky" origins.
  • 3 0
 'On the other hand, Brian Park has seen the over-prepared/under-prepared hex too many times; if you bring a rain jacket, it’s likely you won’t need it, or conversely, if you don’t bring one, the dark clouds will open up on you.'

Thats not a hex, or superstition, or luck, that's called Sods law. Damned if you do, Damned if you don't. Always happens. It's why I won't ride to a mates 5 minutes away without a helmet. And won't go offroad without knee pads.
  • 5 0
 I avoid bragging about how long it's been since my last flat tire. To postpone getting my next flat tire.
  • 19 13
 I save all my luck for the drive home after 6 beers
  • 2 0
 I try to avoid riding non Friday 13th but rode yesterday (Fri 13th) and forgot about it until mid way through the ride. I managed not to crash or have any mechanicals. Maybe I need to rethink my "No riding on Friday 13th".
  • 2 0
 ALWAYS discreetly scratch an new frame somewhere out of sight before riding. Gotta break that ‘New Bike Curse’. If you don’t you’re guaranteed to have a major crash where you & your bike get majorly messed up (often resulting in substantial recovery time & damage to the new bike worse than the required curse breaking scratch).
  • 5 0
 2 more laps, skip the last. Always right knee pad on first.
  • 1 0
 I'm left-handed...
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: did you not get the message? he said right knee first!!
  • 2 0
 @justinfoil: then your double cursed. Latin word for left handed is literally sinister.
  • 6 1
 There’s no such thing as luck
  • 3 0
 Socks. Merica socks=good luck. Trout socks=riding buddy breaking his hand, crashing, and getting a pinch flat with no spare tube.
  • 7 0
 Trout socks=priceless memories
  • 1 0
 I had a yellow pair of socks back in the day that were only for race days. Dunno why, that’s just how it was.
  • 1 0
 @Reno233: I raced in a black Guinness t-shirt for years. It REALLY worked sometimes.
  • 3 0
 Ironically luck had NOTHING to do with what happened at the origin of Friday 13th. The church did, but we won’t talk about that will we.
  • 2 0
 Superstitious pffft!! Yaa ok
There probably brainwashing us er something
Learning our every move
before ya know it we’ll be spending large sums of money,
On bike parts that’ll take months or even years to arrive
  • 4 0
 My superstition is I never watch Friday Fails before a ride. Usually checking that out sometime on saturday.
  • 4 0
 "Everything happens for a reason, sometimes the reason is you're stupid and make bad decisions."
-Marion G. Harmon
  • 1 0
 I only have 3:

- Always right side first when getting dressed to ride. Right leg into the pants first. Right arm into the jersey before the left. Right shoe on first. Right glove on first. And the bike is on my right as I get onto it. That way, in my head everything is alright.

- Never, ever say “one more run”. Always call it done at the bottom of the unspoken last run.

- Before sending something big and/or scary touch wood. If no wood is available at the time (not very often in a forest), 2 light knocks on my head with my right fist does the trick.
  • 1 0
 I believe cameras cause crashes. If I even see someone with a go pro or phone recording I hit the brakes. I then make sure that I am a good distance away from them before I pick up the pace. Cameras=pain and embarrassment...
  • 4 0
 Every single person on every Friday fails was being filmed. Makes you think…
  • 3 0
 Nope, I was born on Friday the 13th
  • 8 0
 Happy birthday
  • 2 0
 Never say “I’ve never had that problem” or “they have worked for me just fine”
  • 3 0
 I had a great ride today without a thought for Friday the 13th.
  • 3 0
 As my sister says, "Luck is for losers".
  • 3 0
 Never let your mates film you riding. Guaranteed Friday Fails!
  • 1 0
 This is my lift ticket from yesterday www.pinkbike.com/photo/22575934 I'm not sure there is a superstition to cancel THAT
  • 1 0
 Not really for mtb. But when I was snowboarding all season I’d go home if I accidentally looked at the 13th tower. Except I didn’t because I never looked at it.
  • 3 0
 I have no superstitions…. They’re bad luck.
  • 2 0
 I haven't worn a matching pair of gloves for 20 years and i fear something will happen if i do.
  • 1 0
 Luck is just preparation meeting the rock at the bottom of that steep chute you still can't ride.
  • 7 0
 Missing Choice:

Superstition is for the weak of mind.
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: Why the wizard in your name then, you must believe in magic.
  • 5 0
 @Bomadics:I believe in mushrooms
  • 2 0
 @fabwizard: That's a good start, your bound to see through the matrix eventually!
  • 6 0
 @Bomadics: i have seen beyond the matrix.
  • 2 0
 Never say let go a last run, always let’s do another run.
  • 1 0
 I always air up my tires BEFORE putting on armor. If I don't, I'll get a flat.
  • 1 0
 Waiting for the superstitious user making alt accounts to keep the bottom 2 options at the same vote count.
  • 2 0
 Always tap new helmet on the ground before first use.
  • 1 0
 My wife is the opposite. Refuses to set her helmet on the ground because she thinks it'll lead to a crash.
  • 1 0
 Friday the 13th is my lucky day! The best surgery I ever had was on one. YMMV
  • 1 0
 that lobotomy still working well, eh?
  • 2 0
 Unless you're a Templar I don't think you have anything to worry about.
  • 2 0
 Don’t wash dust off the frame, it brings the rain!
  • 3 0
 I never knew this but would never wash dust off my bike probably because if it's dry enough in the UK to have dust there's probably a hose pipe ban and one of your neighbours is going to nark on you to the hose pipe police.
  • 1 0
 My sister is born on Friday 13th. Do I have to say how many more bikes I could had as a child?
  • 1 0
 No superstitions for the day, but for the love of biking, turn that #13 racing plate upside down!
  • 1 0
 Nor sure why bit I flick my left brake lever twice before starting down a trail.
  • 1 0
 To make sure it still works? Borderline practical, not superstitious.
  • 2 0
 what
  • 1 0
 Ritual over routine is what I say.
  • 1 0
 i assumed (air quotes) "second last run" was universal
  • 1 0
 I won't walk under ladders
  • 1 0
 I am superstitious about revealing my superstitions.
  • 1 0
 i went on a ride today and 2 of my friends crashed
  • 2 0
 You shouldn't have cut their brake lines if you didn't want them to crash
  • 2 0
 @js-likes-to-bike: u hve no sense of humor
  • 1 0
 @fabwizard: the ride ended at 6.66 miles
  • 1 0
 Nah, I'm not superstitious. I'm just a little stitious.
  • 1 0
 Not watching Friday Fails
  • 1 0
 I mean it’s my bday so it’s a lucky day hehe
  • 1 0
 Wore my fullface and kneepads today just to be safe Smile
  • 9 0
 Me too. Got some funny looks at work.
  • 1 0
 Always say "a few more", never "one more".
  • 1 0
 Never talk injuries while out riding.
  • 1 0
 I snapped my chain yesterday at fox testing....had a hugey
  • 1 0
 I don't.
  • 2 3
 Shoes before kneepads.





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