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The Pinkbike Podcast: Why We Suck At Mountain Biking

May 12, 2023
by Henry Quinney  
photo
Art by Taj Mihelich

I'm not sure there is a mountain biker in the world who couldn't get better, and no matter where we are on our journey with it there is always improvement to be had. The internet is full of articles, videos and even podcasts telling you how to get better, but today we're asking the other question, why are we bad in the first place? What areas are we weakest at, and why do we think that is.





Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Subscribe to the podcast via your preferred service (Apple, Spotify, RSS, Megaphone, etc.), or visit the Pinkbike Podcast tag page for the complete list of episodes.


Bonus: We ended up spending a bunch of time talking about music in this podcast. As promised, here's a handful of the tracks we talked about, with a few other recommendations tossed in for good measure.




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106 Comments
  • 40 6
 Relative to what? To Greg Minnaar - sure, relative to the average guy/gal, I think most of use are pretty darn good.

There is a fine line between being great at something at feeling like it's your job - any serious racer can attest to this. I had a buddy say that the more you suck at something the more fun it is, everytime you go out it's exciting and an experience, taking sh!t to seriously is a great way to ruin any hobby!
  • 12 1
 Agreed on the 'thinking you suck' psychology but this literally just dropped & you could not have possibly listened to the entire episode so...would it be premature to say don't suck at prematurely commenting about a pod about possibly sucking that you probably didn't fully hear yet? Honest comment... I dunno what's here yet but I def'ly agree that thinking you suck at anything makes you suck and sucks the fun out.
  • 4 0
 100%! Imagine riding EZ Does It (fire road / green trail at Whistler) with someone who's never ridden a bike on dirt before. The pb commenter is definitely going to be bored but the other will be loving it.
  • 7 0
 True! I got into photography as a hobby in 2001. It became a job for me for about 20 years. Got into mountain biking because there was absolutely no way it would ever turn into a job.
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: If the header of the article doesn't jive with the content of the article (or the content of the podcast embedded in the article) then this is what you'd get. People comment under an article, which can be anything of the article. Could the the header, the bit of text or the podcast itself. Or the content of the comment section of course, which is now keeping us entertained Wink .
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Many many truths wise master. I've not listened yet but hope to soon and never, ever, ever will I suck until I"m forced to wear man-diapers and have my crack wiped by a hostile primary or hopsice care provider.
  • 6 0
 I agree fully with your buddy.

My DH race results stopped improving (despite lots of room for them to improve, it just didn't happen) and enjoyment faded.

I started riding Motocross and every gear change or corner yielded improvement over the last one. The learning curve from awful to merely below average was steep but rapid and super enjoyable!

The plus side is it also helped my pedal biking and gave me a reset when I was ready to come back.

I still suck but it's great fun. I look forward to listening to the podcast to find out why.
  • 3 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I skimmed it dude - but after listening to it fully, the point is valid.....the kids riding down the mountain doing cone drills in the rain is a good example...kids take stuff soo seriously these days, makes you think at what age those grom shredders are going to be burnt out.
  • 2 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I can see that the kids / cones thing could be too serious but its also like practice for any other sport which helps build strength, skill (etc.) so while surely forcing kids to do that daily / too much would be a dirge I dunno that this 'sucks' as something to do with regularity. I wish I'd had some practices like that as a kid vs. various ball sports which were fun sometimes but which I could care less about these days. I remember coaches throwing tantrums back then and even hitting kids and the parents who yell & scream and go wild about it...hopefully that's not a bike thing.

Anyone can take anything too seriously and speaking of - a high # of adults who bike, who drink, who are bound to certain TV shows or bands, who work too much to make money to not really even relax & enjoy life much. Its kinda relative in a sense. I dunno really, thinking out loud. Youre right tho - its just bikes whether adults or kids it should really just be about having a kickass time and also - learning about the bike (I can never take the last part too seriously, its mindblowingly fascinating)
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I just see the trend, parents getting obsessed (to your point, with stupid $hit) which feeds this cycle of kids doing it to the point where you see 5 year old doing backflips on their striders with their parents in the background promoting it. I think we just need to relax and not take life so seriously - I guess that is my perspective, I am 100% guilty of it (no kids, my personal life) and hate seeing young kids being drug into the cycle....harder, faster, gotta be the best....when the best time of my life was being mediocre at life, job and riding...
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Heard on all that & I gotta say having a kid - I don't push them at all for bikes , just let 'em ride & be a kid. I'm sure there are kids in that 'cones class' that are being pushed & others that wanted to take the class - these are also things that can be done at any time in life. I'm an "old" rider but am more skilled & faster / daring and riskiy now than I ever was when young and maybe I'm just lucky, but that's what I like doing...going fast AF. I still love learning new stuff (and sticking it to younger riders sometimes, just being competitive) but yeah - its just fun to get out & ride, not worry with all that & live it. Its just bikes.
  • 34 1
 Speak for yourself, nerds.
  • 1 0
 Slow nerds
  • 13 1
 Why we suck at mountain biking?

Not everyone is an athletic wizard or even well-suited for the sport. Here's my loose Rx:

- Ride at 80% on sketchy stuff, so I can be back another day injury-free. Immobility is a HUGE problem in older years.
- Take diet and sleep seriously–excess fatigue can be a recipe for crashing.
- Strength training too - both upper body and legs for downhill sections.
- Build a good low-intensity aerobic base in Z2, because mountain biking is Z3 and above. IE too intense.
  • 13 1
 Tragically Hip compared to Hootie and the blowfish! You have just declared war with Canada! Kaz you need to listen to tragically hip live album. Great pod guys, keep it up.
  • 6 0
 I'm going to refer this podcast to CBSA. Kaz'll never ride Whistler again.
  • 4 2
 As an American- I am WOUNDED. The Hip is amazing. If you don't enjoy them, you're uncultured swine.
  • 3 0
 To understand the Hip you need to understand Canada, or at least what we were.
  • 2 0
 @j-t-g: I'm all onboard Trudeau yeeting some VISAs. This is blasphemy.
  • 1 4
 tragically hip is such a fitting name because it's simply tragic how hip this band became in canada
  • 3 0
 That Hootie comment was the worst. Please help him.
  • 10 1
 Holy shit! The PB podcast... you guys OK? Thought you'd left the conversation. Being a jerk left aside - THANKS.

Its my fault for making the PB podcast the highlight of my week but - that's what' its been since covid hit. I'll even go back to & DL earlier episodes and stream those again w/ PB doesn't put one out for a couple weeks. This is 98.7% great stuff, even if you're wrong and suck at mountain biking...just keeping give us weekly pods, pleeeeeeeease?

Signed, The OCD PB Pod OG
  • 5 0
 Unfortunately I think you’re in for some heartbreak here, man. This is a Levy project, and we all saw how consistent the grim donut was lol.
No hate to Levy, man’s crazy busy I’m sure. He’s just got tendencies that shine through haha.
  • 4 0
 @grusty92: Yeah...ya know, that Levy intro is just unparalleled...I like Henry, Kaz and now the the new kid (name?) but the Levy intro is unbeatable. Still - I'll take it. 99% of my media-ingesting time is not video-compatable so the pods kill. Give it, bring it, gimme more.
  • 6 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Are you sure Mr. Levy still works for Pinkbike?
  • 4 0
 @suspended-flesh: Nobody knows and these guys aren't saying anything.
  • 2 0
 @suspended-flesh: Must be - he was ref'd in the pod, is still in the talk show vid, and is still shown as staff. Let the man take a vaycay...
  • 6 0
 Fully expected to not like this episode, and then to come here asking where TF Levy is.

But - one of my favourite episodes to date. Love the level of misc chat throughout it. Henry doing a really good job hosting and not just bitching about slope style the whole time.

Where the heck is Mike Levy? People have lives and we don’t own him, and he doesn’t owe us anything - but consider this a welfare check.
  • 1 0
 Yep the music chat really made it for me - as a Punk rock lover and skateboarder loved the vibes flowing in this one.
  • 5 0
 This resonates... I'm ten hours into learning how to do a proper steezy rolling manual, going out every day after work. After spending five years telling myself I was learning by trying to pull a couple at the end of a trail I've decided to go all in. It's a work in progress but the feeling of floating along for a while on the back wheel in incredible. Can't wait to get back out tomorrow....!
  • 2 0
 Cool! Are you trying on flat ground or a bit of a downhill?
  • 3 0
 @emptybe-er: slight downslope which really helps. it's a road that runs in front of some houses so I've spent lots of time looking like the village idiot, but I don't care any more, just want to keep rolling
  • 2 0
 I’m the village idiot right there with you, @HankHank! Went all in on learning to really manual about 6 months ago, and it has been so fun to see the progress, although I’m sure my neighbors think I’m bizarre
  • 2 0
 @HankHank: Yes it sure does help. It’s a funny learning curve, too. It took me months with almost no progress to keep the wheel off the ground for a few seconds, then I had that one that stayed up and after that it was on. Arms jerked straight and body still like an anchor, legs reacting and keeping the bike in the right spot. It’s such a fun bike/body separation exercise. Then bunnyhop to manual to start over again.
  • 6 0
 CAN WE START AGAIN? GO BACK TO WHAT IT MEANT BACK THEN! OPEN MINDS AND OPEN HEARTS, THE THINGS THAT SET US APART!
Sorry, just imagined myself a Bane show with that closing track on Kazimer's playlist.
  • 2 0
 Damn right! Was able to see Bane for the first time at Hellfest 2000, it was insane!
  • 1 0
 @Hundin: Looking at the lineup for Hellfest 2k. Epic. I think my friends may have driven to that from Chicagoland. Luckily i got to see a bunch of those bands throughout the midwest around that time, but Bane always has a place in my heart.
  • 1 0
 @lwkwafi: it was so epic and one of the best times I have had. Atmosphere was incredible. First day was canceled due to venue discrepancies, so a lot of bands on the list didn't play, but still a very memorable trip!
  • 4 0
 I love these podcasts! All the speakers seem real and seem to recognize that mountain biking is supposed to be fun and don't take it too seriously. For some reason I really love the podcast medium with this group. On why I suck... I'm 50 years old and can't force myself to progress on to bigger drops. I ride a HT and regularly hit ~1 meter drops on the trail, but bigger, especially isolated drops just get in my head. I live in Indiana, so there's not too many huge natural features. I plan to keep pushing my skills for as long as my body allows. Keep up the great work on the podcast.
  • 4 0
 @dariodigiulio and @mikekazimer coming in hot with the solid music takes #deathgrips, #pigspigspigspigspigspigspigs, #idles ! Y'all give #bothersband_pdx, #atomdriver, and of course some historical brutality from #baptistsband and #obliterations a listen.
  • 5 0
 Oh shit, music talk! Protomartyr and Pigs Pigs etc…. Are sick.

Oh shit, Shame too! Nice

Check out Tramhaus, you guys might be into it
  • 7 0
 The Matt beer race should be called PinkBike presents The Beer Run!
  • 2 0
 No doubt osees are one of the best live bands right now, saw them both nights in Melbourne in February.
Also saw monotronix do the band on crowds head at a 6-7 thousand attendee outdoor festival in Australia maybe 10 or so years ago.
gave pigs pigs pigs….. a listen today, good recommendation thanks
  • 2 0
 @Henry Quinney if you guys are into IDLES, you really should check out BAD SLAGS. Kinda like IDLES, but more aggressive in a slightly hostile drunk and/or high in public without your friends nearby kinda way. Also. Ty Segall.

Thank me later.
  • 2 0
 And SLAVES. Start with Already Dead.
  • 1 0
 Ty is an all time favorite!
  • 2 0
 Great podcast in many ways and definitely start including music recommendations! Loving the Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs mention, I checked out the recent KEXP performance, I'm loving it and recommending it to others, can't get enough of Big Rig! I would have likely never discovered them without listening to this Pinkbike Podcast! Looking forward to exploring some of the other music mentioned in the cast as well as in the comments.
  • 2 0
 @dariodigiulio @mikekazimer @henryquinney You should definitely get some coaching and talk about it. I've been riding for 30+ years and just attended a 2 day camp, mainly since my partner was going. I was pretty skeptical, but found it pretty helpful, mostly because I practiced skills rather than just going out and riding. A good coach can provide feedback that you can't get from just riding all the time.
  • 1 0
 I'm slow but love popping and playing with the trail.Friends sometimes dont like following me because I really like clearing stuff at the slowest speed I can which can cause them issues. Sure if its a jump that requires speed I'll go there .
  • 1 0
 We only "suck" at mountain biking because we can all have the means to see what eachother do. Way back when it was like "those kranked guys are nuts" now it's like "that dude is nuts, holy smokes is that little Jimmy from down the street?!"
  • 5 0
 Great pod. But where’s Levy?
  • 2 0
 100% correct about LOTR. Tolkien was an amazing linguist who could speak more real languages than the number of books most people have read (not including the ones he invented).
  • 2 0
 Saw Shame live recently and they were good, all those ‘softer’ studio recordings are played full tilt live.

Ovlov is my recommendation, I’d never heard of them until a few months ago and think they are good.
  • 1 0
 What a good podcast! I would have loved an even longer discussion. The squad seems to be gelling so well and the discussions were pretty interesting, even when going off-topic. Just wanted to give you a thumbs up and keep up the good work!
  • 1 0
 Henry = C3PO; Kaz = Eliot from ET; Dario = Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times) and Levy IS - ET... fitting for him w/ his ufo conspiracies

THANKS PB, one of the best casts in a long time, conversational, fully relatable & spiraling into music at the end... one a week and Im happy AF
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer I'm not a tragically hip fan by any means, but that band has done great things as human beings - things that two yanks and a brit would not be privy to.

But anyways it seems like you guys are scrounging for content... So if you and your gang are just going to snipe at me from from behind the mic, might as well have me on the pod and we can air out all the dirty laundry. People want grit, and this podcast is about as hard hitting as a kitten batting at a feather. I'd love the opportunity to have a frank discussion with y'all, and perhaps make you second guess the 'big' mtb corporate-nutswinging feeding trough where PB and its editors fill their bellies.
  • 1 0
 Why do I personally suck at MTB.

IM About 30 kilos overweight with a fkd right knee

49 years old and hadn't ridden for about 30 until last year and now I have the fear Smile

My bike isn't particularly good either.

Other than that I'm fine!!
  • 4 0
 Send the mail you got, brother and enjoy the ride!
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh:

I damaged said fkd knee on Christmas eve and haven't been able to ride since. Smile

Starting back next Monday. Fingers crossed!!
  • 3 0
 That was good. Enjoyed it. Please recommend music. I’m stuck in the 1980’s.
  • 2 0
 Flock of seagulls
  • 6 0
 Joy Division
  • 2 0
 The Chameleons
  • 5 0
 Juicy J
  • 3 0
 Death Grips
  • 4 0
 The Tragically Hip
  • 2 0
 I'm fiending for more music from Better Lovers. They're like if Dillinger Escape Plan was as raw as KEN Mode. Not sure if that's your forte but they're single is damn good.
  • 3 0
 Great ep, I loved the tunes and movies/book talks. Start a side-pod for music similar to the F1 stuff!

P.s. Viagra Boys
  • 1 0
 Oh trust me I'm a fan
  • 4 1
 Question: why don’t bike companies display their geo chart at sag instead of static?
  • 2 0
 Because they wouldn't all use the same sag and people run different sag. Static makes the measurement consistent. The same can be said for every other measurement too on a geo chart.
  • 1 0
 Go read Gnar Country - it is about park skiing but it really resonates for those of us over 40....https://www.gnarcountry.com/
  • 3 0
 Yoann coaches the Pinkbike team? I’d watch that.
  • 3 3
 I’m just in it for the overpriced upgrades that won’t yield any return on my performance, same reason my wife has fake titties
  • 1 0
 For those who like PIGSx7, check out another project of them called Blown Out.
  • 1 0
 Ride dirt bikes but can’t whip it or wheelie. Ride bikes and can’t manual. Love it.
  • 1 0
 Put on of those new fangled foot high stems on your ebike and you’ll be the best.
  • 1 0
 This was cool, the podcast doesn't always need to be exclusively about bikes!
  • 1 0
 Cyclist question... Why do you ride ?
  • 4 0
 Because one day we won't be able to. In my experience, it's a privilege and a blessing to be able to ride any time any day and for fun. Good times don't last but you can always keep making them
  • 8 0
 A scary man comes into my home every day with a gun and tells me to.
  • 1 0
 Why do we breath?
Rhetoric question
Smile
  • 1 0
 I like fast
  • 2 0
 realy good thank you
  • 1 0
 Agree with LOTR, disagree with Tragically Hip
  • 2 1
 Is mike levy still alive??
  • 1 0
 the aliens have him now
  • 1 0
 @threesixtykickflip: Maby he escaped outside
  • 1 0
 when Im on my Nomad Im 18 again. Screw you
  • 2 2
 I have a whole new appreciation for Kaz now that I know he sees The Tragically Hip as complete dogshit music too.
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer it's not law to like Tragically Hip, but not far off. That makes me a rebel because I can't stand them.
  • 1 0
 Better Lovers - 30 Under 13
  • 1 0
 Its just biking, you just do it
  • 1 0
 The Tragically Hip are not the best. 2 or 3 out of 10.
  • 1 0
 Coach for Pinkbike, yes please. Ben could provide some remote help
  • 4 4
 Daria, please like, stop saying like, like?!
  • 2 1
 Seriously. Tough to listen to.
  • 1 1
 Everyone has filler words, you're just used to some so you don't notice them anymore.
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