In many parts of the world, mountain biking is still a fringe activity, a sport with only a few die-hard participants who aren't worried about the strange looks they get when they pedal through town. In other locations, it's an integral part of the community, and you'll see everyone from small children to retirees out cruising around on the trails.
I was lucky enough to grow up in an area with a small but strong riding scene. There weren't many riders my age – I was definitely the dorky kid who got heckled for biking to high school – but those taunts didn't sting as much once I was safely inside the brick walls of my local shop, surrounded by a bunch of like-minded riders. It was like opening the door to a hidden realm, a grease-scented land where it was perfectly normal to talk for hours about spoke lacing patterns, or whether or not disc brakes would ever catch on. Local bike shops often serve as the hubs of a riding scene, a place to hang out, to get trail beta, and maybe even buy a thing or two.
Of course, it's the trails that really cause a scene to grow. Yes, there are plenty of zones out there with lots of riders and sub-par trails, but in an ideal world you'd have it all: world class trails and
friendly people to ride them with. As we all know, trails don't build themselves, so if you manage to find a spot that has good people building good trails, well, count yourself lucky.
A booming mountain bike scene isn't without its downsides, though. Crowded trails, overflowing parking lots – watching a spot increase in popularity can be a tough pill to swallow for riders that prefer their rides with a healthy dose of solitude. Social media has made it easier than ever to overshare, and fresh trails can turn into rutted out messes unless some Insta-restraint is exercised.
For this week's poll, take a moment to think about the mountain bike scene where you live. Have you found Valhalla, where the trails are perfect, the people are friendly, and drama is non-existent? Or on the other end of the spectrum, do you regularly find yourself wishing you had better trails to ride, and more people to ride with?