How to Watch Mountain Bike Videos

Feb 17, 2016 at 8:55
by Ryan Leech  
When I was young - only a few VHS tape mountain bike movies came out per year.

Now Pinkbike users upload over 100 videos per day! The content being produced is simply incredible: high quality, inspiring locations, and breathtaking talent.

This article has none of that, no whoa factor. However, during this 3 minute read, I provide tasting notes that I hope will contribute to a more enriching and more mindful video viewing experience.

I often become desensitized and even hypnotized by the quantity of content online. A common story these days. Once our awareness is absorbed by the digital flow, internet algorithms are free to take charge and guide us. One video finishes and another is suggested or auto played in some apps. You are no longer choosing consciously, but rather being led by whatever is trending, which is based on others who may be unconsciously creating that momentum or on advertisers attempting to influence it. At this point are you holding your phone, or is your phone holding on to you?

Are you holding your phone or is your phone holding you

My roles vary in videos: pro-rider and coach, producer, and advertiser. No matter the role there is only one chance for me to catch a viewer's attention because the newsfeed keeps flowing. Intention is vital. For example, as a pro trials rider I have performed tricks when I was truly inspired and I have performed when it was the last thing I wanted to do. I have also taken sketchy risks due to various unacknowledged ego projects. Does the viewer pick up on these distinctions, at least at some level? In my experience they do. Which leads to the question: why are you watching the video? Do you even know? To be entertained or distract yourself? To be inspired to ride? To join in the comment thread community with opinions? To learn a technique? Or perhaps because a friend suggested you watch it?

I’m a huge fan of screen gazing. Our devices are truly magical. How can we not be enamored and even romanced by the riches of information now available? As we scour through this info-flow it's easy to begin oscillating in and out of consciousness, which creates a more frenetic pace of glass stroking as we hope to find the next vicarious but real dopamine hit. This creates a certain kind of mental-momentum such that, when we turn our attention away from the screen our minds are still reeling. For me, the symptoms show up most clearly when I attempt to a read a book (remember those things?). I feel the gravity from my phone, sitting there, waiting to tell me if I sold a course on my website or if my friends are having some awesome riding adventure. It can even draw me in if I wake up in the middle of the night. And that just doesn’t feel healthy!

It’s strange. Mindfulness is a huge trend. People are ‘waking up’ with greater presence, awareness, and big picture perspective-taking abilities, while at the same time we’re being ‘put to sleep’ by electronic entertainment. Are these necessary opposites, or is there an equivalence to obesity for the consumption of online content? We know we are what we eat, but are we not also what we consume digitally (digital cookies are everywhere!).

Now it is sometimes nice to lose yourself online, just like in a book, but wouldn’t it be even nicer to have a choice as to when we do that? The strength of your awareness muscles determines this. In other words how often are you able to catch yourself habitually opening, closing and re-opening the same pattern of apps and sites on your phone ad infinitum? When I catch myself in these patterns it’s always a WTF moment! It’s just not satisfying. It’s just like scarfing down an awesome cookie and realizing you forgot to taste it. That sucks! I want to taste the cookie (or watch the video) with curiosity and appreciation for those who made it, and what they went through to serve it to me. However, it’s one thing to say that we should savour the experience and another to put into practice.

My ability for a more fulfilling video viewing experience is linked to how the rest of my life is going and most certainly how often I’m getting out for mountain bike rides! Meditation has been a massively important tool for maintaining some semblance-of-self while surfing. A regular meditation practice means that my ‘oh I’m lost online right now’ muscles are strong.

Here’s another seemingly simple practice that I think may contribute to the quality of your video watching time. Try it! Press pause a few seconds into every video you watch online. While it’s paused check in with yourself: “oh here I am sitting here watching videos.” Then you can ask “why am I watching this video?”. Based on the answer you can decide whether or not to press play again. If you do, then I trust it will be a more enriching video viewing experience!

Ryan Leech is Pro Mountain Biker & Coach and creates high quality, comprehensive and effective online technical skill training programs for mountain bikers at such as the 30 Day Wheelie Challenge. He is sponsored by @shimano, @norcobicycles, Nutcase Helmets, @MarzocchiMTB and @RydersEyewear. He has performed thousands of bicycle stunt shows around the world including Cirque du Soleil and been featured in dozens of mountain bike films. He credits a dedicated yoga practice for a thriving and sustainable career as a pro-athlete and began teaching to share these benefits. As an avid explorer of human potential, he earned his certification as an Integral Master Coach™.

MENTIONS: @RyanLeech / @WAKIdesigns / @shimano / @norcobicycles / @MarzocchiMTB / @RydersEyewear


  • 319 22
 Too long didn't read Wink
  • 130 9
 I agree. The article was a bit wordy...if there was a video I would have watched most of it.
  • 14 8
 Literally lol'd! lol
  • 61 6
 You literally laughed out louded? Are you OK? Should I call an ambulance?
  • 9 4
 Mwah mah mwah mwah mwah
(Charlie Brown Parents)
  • 38 3
 When by Ryan Leech, it's always worth the read.
  • 11 4
 Thanks @cmacca, I actually drove myself to the hospital. In ICU now. Will keep you posted.

Ps. L'dol just doesnt roll off the keyboard. Razz
  • 9 0
 Over 100 video's a day....... how many of them are actually video's, apposed to someone filming and uploading their stanchions to see how 'cool' they work..... Or the rear shock in actuation with the linkage. I love pinkbike, I'm a regular...... but I also hate it
  • 4 2
 Sure thing @therealtylerdurden. Just want to make sure we're not losing any readers here.... Reading PB is serious business and should be treated as such.

  • 4 3
 He sounds like a right narcissist ! Lol'd
  • 8 0
 ldhbaker: +1. This was a great read, Mr. Leech - uncommonly insightful and philosophical, particularly for this website.
  • 3 6
 @Matt115lamb WELL SAID!!!!! self rightous crap spewed from a self indulgent!
  • 2 0
 Sois unos vagos.
  • 2 2
 @torero reading is for English professors
  • 1 0
 I always wondered how to spell that! Got any others?
  • 1 0
 The picture was a nice touch though
  • 80 4
 The video isn't loading for me
  • 37 6
 I came here for a video....was disappointed....
  • 18 3
 i was hoping for an nsmb style thing too
  • 18 4
 I'm with ya Ryan, it's all too easy to loose the present by getting sucked into the online world. I like to kid myself that because it's content I enjoy (bicycles) it's OK, but really, once you stop being present, it's no different to the Mrs watching hours of BS soap operas! (she doesn't really!)
Once you're in zombie mode you're not living life any more and you loose the chance to experience the magic of that moment, whether it be riding home at the end of the day, a conversation with a friend or watching the latest upload on pinkbike. If you're on it, pretty much every moment is awesome, if you're not, they all just blur together into a dull monotony. I think that's why riding down hills fast is so f@cking great, you gotta be on it, which means you don't miss the magic!
Looking forward to watching the next video now with some "new eyes" , thanks for the wake up call buddy!
  • 3 3
  • 2 3
 Ok, I read it again but still understand it in the same way; if you watch a video with interest and curiosity, i.e. being completely present, in the moment, then the video watching experience becomes something bigger and more rewarding than before. (Which is the same in everything we do). Content is generally so good now that the wow factor has kinda lost its wow which makes it very easy to become unconscious (or go into zombie mode as I say) and not get the most of of watching the video.
But maybe I have completely missed the point! How do you understand the article?
  • 2 0
 DICKY YOU'RE A DICK. Just as your NAME suggests!!!! RAWR!!!!
  • 1 0
 Thanks Dicky1080 - glad you found some value from the article.
  • 1 0
 TomWillDave I obviously have missed the point then! Why not explain it to me rather than insult me?
  • 12 3
 that took me 3:16.20 ...also watching videos is a necessity to me since I can't ride right now due to injury. I need PB to keep me sane
  • 10 2
 Nothing worse than watching hundreds of videos and not being able to ride. Your the true MVP
  • 4 1
 me too! videos and staring at my bikes. oh and petting my cat
  • 5 1
 Me three. Busted thumb. But I'm really looking forward to some really sick trail running tho Frown
  • 7 1
 Try running your normal rides, and do roller blade style tricks on the jumps. It won't make it any more fun, but will give other riders a laugh Smile
  • 7 1
 wish I could man, but a snapped neck really doesn't leave me with many options. But once I can run you can bet I'll be doing the steeziest zero footed cans Smile
  • 3 1
 @dropoffsticks: Jeez, man; that sucks big time. Sorry to hear it. Hope you heal up well and soon!
  • 12 2
 I watch videos to get hyped to ride!
  • 4 2
 i was hoping for an nsmb style thing too
  • 22 1
 shit wrong comment
  • 13 4
 Did not see the word beer in the first sentence or the last. Why not?
  • 4 3
 that's a must for me during the DHWC, I connect the pc to the tv with the 5.1, I seat on the best couch, crack a beer and as soon they start racing I get up and start yelling at the tv
  • 5 1
 Step 1: Press play

Step 2: Press mute button

Step 3: Move slider to where riding starts, usually 0:30-0:45

Step 4: Close if more than 7s of total slow-mo

Step 5: Close immediately if slow-mo roosts

Step 6: Enjoy peaceful contentment
  • 4 0
 1. Skip video and go straight to comments section

2. Form your opinion based on the comments you read

3. Watch video

4. Post a comment bashing/praising video based on opinion formed from comments
  • 3 2
 Here’s another seemingly simple practice that I think may contribute to the quality of your PINKBIKE time. Try it!

Check in with yourself: “oh here I am sitting here ON PINKBIKE.” Then you can ask “why am I DOING THIS?”. Based on the answer you can decide whether or not to DO IT AGAIN. If you do, then I trust it will be a more enriching experience!
  • 2 1
 watch videos on the big screen with Chromecast/Android TV - here is a Chrome extension for doing so with Pinkbike videos -
  • 2 1
 Or just use your xbox. Or just plug in an hdmi
  • 2 1
 you can't beat the convenience of casting..
  • 2 2
 Actually I am to lazy to watch videos. It might sound funny to some of you but my ADHD requires me to put a lot of effort into watch a full movie, even if it is only a few minutes. Reading (and writing comments) is more active so I don't lose interest so easily. Actually if Dirt Mag UK didn't go out of print, you wouldn't see me here this often Wink ! So usually I start reading the article, maybe even the comments before I decide whether I should bother watching. And even if I find out that I actually should, I often still don't. I'm that lazy! For instance I'm stiff as brick and really appreciate what Aby is doing with here yoga instructions. I just never managed to watch a full instruction. Instead go to my girlfriend, show her these pictures and ask for help. Yes, that lazy.

Then you have these quality videos that inspire to ride or are excellent after a ride. Obviously I'm not going to bother with a phone. I don't use these for browsing the internet, let alone for watching videos. I watch Pinkbike on the computer which doesn't even do these amazing pictures justice. Best would be the tv for videos really even though it hasn't been connected for well over a year now. So if I can have it on disc, why bother with a stream? So I recently received that Seasons 2 Blu Ray from the Pinkbike store. Only watched the Timo Pritzel bit so far (hoped to gets some tips on the yoga bit) but the rest is for when I finally get myself to put the tv in the living room and plug the cable in. Lazy yes, I know.
  • 5 3
 How to watch a mountain bike video on pinkbike:
Step 1: If it's political, skip it.
Step 2: Repeat step 1.
  • 2 2
 A lot of the time I watch videos to prep for a new trail I haven't ridden yet. In that way I know where the jumps are and how much speed I need, and also where the surprise sections are.
  • 1 2
 Yup, i do it to, especially now that i just moved. It helps to check out new spots before investing time and money getting to them only to be dissapoonted
  • 4 3
 A 3 minute article into a 20 second self promotion and sponsor advertisement. Very old school and very well done. You are a legend.
  • 3 2
 The reason I watch and create videos is to share a passion with others, learn new camera tricks, and to get inspired to ride. That's what the videos are about
  • 2 1
 Well put. I am a beginner compared to all of you so I learn a lot from the videos. I do however agree people should set a limit for themselves on screen time.
  • 3 2
 Videos now are so over produced they seem unreal to me. I loved the videos before GoPro because they seemed so much more authentic for lack of a better word.
  • 3 1
 People are living life through a screen, put the fucking iPhone down get out and actually do something
  • 3 1
 Is he not wearing pants or no shirt?
  • 2 1
 its simple, i only watch sam hill videos. i think i become a better rider every time.
  • 2 1
 Cool article, and great insight, these little time wasters are awesome but can be a detriment to us as well.
  • 3 1
 This RedBull Player....

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻
  • 2 1
 As much as I wanted to read this, I didn't but felt I should comment "back to work peeps, nothing to see here"
  • 2 1
 Man am I glad I don't have a smart phone and am able to turn off my nokia at night!
  • 1 1
 How to make VOD, Locations, Professional Rides, Professional video camera, Professhonal cameraman, Professional Editorman, Big Sponsor, Team
  • 3 2
 Need a Moroccan woodbine and some munchies to get into that
  • 4 3
 Too many words, never expected a tutorial for watching bike vids.
  • 2 1
 Shoulda made a video about watching videos,cause clearly I can't read
  • 2 1
 i watch it on my watch while i was biking
  • 2 1
 Great article. Many good points
  • 2 1
 You don't need to press pause when Tippie's there Smile
  • 3 3
 Hardly watch videos to be honest. Come for the write-ups and photos, generally don't have time to watch videos.
  • 4 3
 Ryan Leech knows how to ride and to write.

Who else can claim that?
  • 2 1
 He is a very good rider.
  • 2 1
 Not enough photos for me to read.
  • 3 2
 Where's the video?
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