Opinion: Does Your Riding Style Match Your Lifestyle?

Oct 29, 2019 at 16:18
by Mike Levy  
Mike Levy


I once had a friend try to convince me that I have a lot in common with koala bears who, he told me mid-smirk, love nothing more than enjoying some quiet alone-time and would far prefer to look at a tree than another koala. He went on to say something else about me and koala scent glands, but the gist was that it wouldn't hurt if I was a bit more social, a bit "friendlier,'' to use his exact words.

I didn't take his advice seriously because koalas aren't even bears, of course, and because I've never been very good at small talk. I do know a better way to get to know someone, though.

Without exchanging anything beyond first names and a few primal hoots or hollers you can end up feeling like you know a complete stranger pretty well after just an hour-long pedal. That time on the bike, however brief, can tell you a hell of a lot more about a person than you'll ever get from a clumsy, forced conversation.

Actually, when I think about it, could watching how someone rides their bike also be a glimpse into how they run the rest of their lives?


Forbidden Druid review
Mike K bang-on the right line and looking ahead, exactly like he's supposed to be doing.


There's this guy that I ride with sometimes who I'll refer to as ''M. Kazimer'' to keep his identity private, or maybe "Mike K'' to be even more discreet. Either way, this Mike K and I couldn't be more different in a lot of ways. While I often say too much, he'll only say what's needed in a more measured, efficient way. He's annoyingly responsible, too, never missing a work assignment or no-showing a meeting, while I find myself having to come up with excuses for both. Further evidence: His well-used, windowless Chevy cargo van never goes over the posted speed limit, no matter what said limit happens to be. At the same time, I don't think I've ever seen him be late for anything, and none of that adds up to me.

He's efficient, seems to make responsible decisions, and isn't one to ever fuss or showboat.

If you jumped in behind Mike K for a lap of the Whistler Bike Park, you'd find that he's both quick and near inch-perfect in his line selection. While I'm indifferent to what the rear-end is doing just so long as it mostly stays being the front-end, Kazimer rides as if it's all happening exactly as he planned it. Landings are greased without expletives, a tactic I hadn't thought of trying before, and I don't remember seeing him get too loose, be it in his ever-practical van or while on some questionable test bike. Don't mistake that purposeful style for him being overly careful, though, as Mike K possesses much more courage than I do these days.

If you did a few laps with Kazimer, you probably won't see any drama. Instead, it's calm, cool, and collected riding that, as far as I can tell, matches his usual off-bike demeanor.


Emil Johansson took 12th at his first rampage.
''I can do that.'' - Gary after watching Rampage. Not a good idea, dude.


At the other end of the 'is your life together' spectrum is my buddy, Gary, who, while currently not in prison or living under an overpass, is usually just a couple of bad decisions away from one or the other. Gary's life is more "interesting" than it should be, mostly because of his own doing, and while he's without a doubt one of my favourite humans, I don't even think that Gary could defend most of his decisions. Responsible? Yeah, I'm sure he's responsible for a bunch of minor crimes. Job experience? Getting fired from a few dozen gigs over the years means that he has plenty of different skills on his résumé. But for God's sake, please don't call any of the references. And why is Gary usually driving a different smashed-up car every other week that usually has clear plastic wrap for at least one window and usually doesn't start?

His entire life is questionable, irresponsible, and always seems to be on the edge of imploding. It sure looks like fun, though.

We met fifteen-ish years ago when Gary came into the shop I was working at to buy his first-ever mountain bike, a 200mm-travel downhill sled that, he later admitted, was only purchased to deliver drugs and because it looked ''super f*cking cool.'' A week later and he was riding with us, after I forced him to buy a helmet, and stomped a twenty-something-foot road gap like he'd been doing it is whole life. Without pads on. And he'd been airborne on a mountain bike only ten, maybe fifteen, times before sending that move that was at least three times as big as anything he'd hit previously.

A few weeks after greasing that step-down he ripped the entire front-end of his bike off when he came in about two-feet too low over a forty-foot gap jump that he probably didn't have any business hitting. Gary slid down the gravel landing on his chest while kicking himself in the back of the head in what's still the most beautiful scorpion I've ever seen, only to jump to his feet laughing like it was all a joke. You'd think crashes like that would knock the confidence out of him, but they never did and he's still riding above his pay grade to this day.

Gary clearly has a load of natural skill, but he's also one loose motherf*cker whose riding style would best be described as 'disaster pending.'

While Gary started riding so he could Uber drugs all over town, another buddy of mine rides mostly for social reasons. Taylor is the antithesis of a koala bear, with friends all over the world and a kind of natural enthusiasm that most of us could only get from prescription meds. He'll happily chat up anyone, but not in the creepy way that happens when I try to do it, and I've watched him make life-long friends out of complete strangers in only minutes.

True to form, Taylor is almost always riding in the company of a friend or three, and he's always making chirps and whooping noises on the trail that I can only describe as 'happy sounds.' He's the kinda dude who calls just to see what's going on, which I've always found confusing. He doesn't feel like he absolutely has to reign as KOM master, either, or clear that scary drop, or leave it all out on the mountain. I'm too much of a caveman to understand that, but it's obviously working out for him as he's always stoked to be on the bike.

Lots of smiles all evening long.
The kind of social setting where you wouldn't see any koalas.

You're probably not going to cover a ton of ground if you rode with Taylor, but you'd have great conversations and likely make a new friend along the way.

I'm not sure what you'd think if you and I rode together, but I do know that it wouldn't hurt if I channeled a bit of Taylor's friendly vibes my way for both on and off-bike use. A bit of Mike K's common sense wouldn't hurt, either. You know, just to balance out the cup and a half of YOLO beans that I get from Gary.

How about you: If you compare the two, does your riding style match your lifestyle?


184 Comments

  • 128 2
 My lifestyle determines my death style
  • 32 1
 James Hetfield, is that you!?
  • 81 4
 I like the reference, but... ...We don't talk about St Anger
  • 42 1
 @DidNotSendIt: sorry, I can't hear you over the sound of banging trash cans!
  • 19 3
 @showmethemountains: I didn't know it was possible to make a drum kit sound as awful as that album.
  • 5 0
 @showmethemountains: Banging trash cans from the last stall of an empty public bathroom.
  • 17 1
 @DidNotSendIt:
Or anything past ...And Justice for All.
  • 10 1
 @benmcgill: 100% this, although to be fair, St. Anger is their most rhythmically complex post-Justice album, but sounds like shit because Lars decided to shut the snare off, and it sounds like they recorded in one bathroom, and put the mics 30ft away in another bathroom.
  • 3 0
 @showmethemountains: HAHA! I love Metallica but this is the best comment!
  • 2 0
 @m47h13u: this is front page material
  • 2 25
flag tomasinbc (Oct 31, 2019 at 20:14) (Below Threshold)
 What type of dentist reader shit is this dumb article
  • 4 0
 @m47h13u: brilliant - nice one chief, thanks
  • 1 0
 @m47h13u: thank you!????????
  • 1 0
 I ride my bike like a porn star evidently.
  • 1 0
 That is a sick line no matter what album it's on.
  • 76 0
 I very much liked this article.

As a counter-point:- How many people are drawn to 'action sports' like mountain biking *because* it offers (or allows expression of) something completely different to their usual lifestyle, rather than it being a reflection of your lifestyle?
  • 18 0
 Initially I would say I fit into that category. But since then mountain biking has shaped so much of my life that I’m more outgoing because of it
  • 3 0
 A very good counter point, can very easily see both sides to this
  • 55 2
 Ohh that's me! I'm super risk adverse IRL, but I'm drawn to downhill because I love the idea of being rad and cool and flopping my massive balls everywhere. So I jump on my bike, wrap myself in protective equipment, take some deep breathes, then toodle down blue tracks while braking in corners and riding around every feature because when reality hits I'm just as terrified of consequences on a bike as I am everywhere else.
  • 6 0
 Great comment. I grew up on an island in Alaska that had ZERO mountain bike trails. Although I grew up biking. Rampage got me into the freeride movement. I worked at a shop that had Rocky. Bought an RM7. It was urban stair hucks to flat until I cracked that frame. Somewhere in there I stumbled upon Disorder III. And the intro where Schley comes up from the hot tub with a dive mask on. Solidified my freeride DH desire. Never have gotten the results of Schley though. But gravity has shaped my life and made me who I am. I can't thank this sport enough. Incredible article, thank you
  • 8 0
 I like to consider my riding time as my own time on the flow zone. I work on IT, and like to think of myself as a very pragmatic person. However, when I'm riding, cooking or just getting laid the stuff just happens. As in I don't have to worry about rules, timing or courtesy. Stuff just happens and I'm one with my circumstances. I'm part and substance with my own life.

TL/DR: the Betteridge law of headlines apply here, my lifestyle doesn't match my riding style.
  • 8 0
 @southoftheborder: riding, cooking and getting laid for life my dude.
  • 2 1
 Hi, my name is oldejeans and I'm a Health and Safety Advisor.
  • 54 0
 *Helps self to another handful of eucalyptus leaves*
  • 6 0
 Koalas are going through a plague of chlamydia these days. Seriously, they’re absolutely rotten with the clap.

Poor koalas...
  • 21 0
 @BrambleLee: Chlamydia is not the clap. Gonorrhea is.

Crap, i've said too much
  • 13 0
 @BrambleLee:

Seems like a STD response...
  • 3 0
 @w0dge: Interesting, do you have a VD-o I could watch? Sorry, I don't mean to doubt you. Just people here can be such crabs.
  • 3 0
 @viccuus: Well, I'm not sure my video is suitable to post on a pubic forum...
  • 1 0
 @ridintrials: seems you've been riding more than just trials....
  • 43 2
 More articles like this please. This gets me stoked.
  • 33 0
 I suppose it's more of the inverse of my life. I have to be calm and nice to people at work, however little they deserve it, then I go home and care for a lady with alzheimers, more being always calm. So I ride alone, pedalling like a madman and screaming profanities at the cranks. If nothing else I will never get eaten by a bear.
  • 4 0
 "screaming profanities at the cranks"
I loudly exhaled air through my nose on that one, wonderful.

You Brits and your delishus grasp on the English language.
  • 32 1
 My body ages and breaks, yet I get new bikes that push what I can do. Still, after nearly 40-years of mountain biking, my body wants to be cautious - replacement parts for the body come at a greater expense than the pocketbook. I guess my lifestyle and riding style match more than I'd like to admit.
  • 12 0
 I'm in the same category as this fine gentleman.
You can call my riding style "controlled",but after all,my riding is about all I can control in my life.
  • 7 2
 Same here. Also, if i think about my kids just for a second, there's no freaking way that I'll try to clear that gap or drop that scares me. At least not in that and maybe next run.
  • 7 1
 Over the (many) years, I have become risk-averse. However, the saving grace is the technology. My Ripmo is so good that I ride tougher terrain now than ever.
  • 57 8
 @pakleni: be careful with being careful. Walking away carries its own risks, it undermines your self confidence. It takes practice to self examine the content of hesitation in your decision taking while riding. Hesitation takes time, which means distance covered by the bike while hesitating which line to ride, where to break. More importantly it impairs your reflexes and movements. You can’t move well when you are tense. Quitting potentially doable features will inevitably increase the wrong kind of anxiety. Almost Everything is attainable with correct practice in controlled environment.

It is important to realize what are you basing your decision on. If you quit because it “just looks dangerous”, it’s not good. A good rider can tell in details why certain feature is dangerous or perfectly doable. Ironically big jumps are often safer than small ones.

Whatever happens, whatever you try, imagine positive outcome. If you cannot see yourself landing “it” don’t do it.

Cheers!
  • 1 0
 @jacobyw: Exactly.The tech is so good now it is seductive.
  • 1 2
 @WAKIdesigns: I've lost many friends who were pushing their envelop. Yet there is no shame in dying doing what you love to do. Like anything worth accomplishing, it is good to study the problem and work out the logical decision. I've spent many days scouting desert hills for the lines and features. But every so often there are things I know will evade this lifetime. Every trail in the Red Bull Rampage for example. I do like your last two sentences; they sum everything, perfectly.

Cheers.
  • 2 0
 @nozes: This!
  • 6 0
 @Geochemistry: Crash can happen, to anyone anywhere, but probability of it is very low. Yes Cedric Gracia raptured his artery on a gravel road and almost died.

There is no denying that many horrific crashes happen when we hit features and trail segments we have no business hitting. If you try to go down 2nd and 3rd sector of Val Di Sole track while you can barely survive the first rock garden, or go to hit a 20ft gap while you can’t clear a double on a pump track then well, there is a high chance you will hurt yourself. But that is the obvious part.

The less obvious part is how our state of mind affects probability of success or failure. Riding in the state of either overconfidence or lowered confidence. You want to stay in between, although I would argue that the latter happens much more often. As I wrote before, lowered confidence influences judgment and motorics. It’s all a can of worms, but I am studying the subject a lot lately. The whole thing becomes even more important when we ride in a group, especially on an unknown trail. This is where playing roles of heroes, cowards and everything in between comes into play, greatly influencing our state of mind.

But in general we humans are creatures which live and work in social environments that value responsibility, carefulness and measure. Then we mountain bikers value courage and strength on our rides. We have to be able to reconcile those and it is very, very hard. This process should not happen on the trail. In the very same way, the process of learning hitting big features should not happen on the trail. It should happen under deliberate practice in a much more controlled environment.

Putting my head in the right place before the ride and during the ride is of utmost importance to me. I am probing my mental capacity during the ride, how decisions to hit or not hitting something affect me.
  • 1 1
 @WAKIdesigns: You are the Pink BIke philosopher. I was one who put on a race in the late 80s and early 90s. We had plenty of crashes, some pretty horrific, but the only fatality was in the parking lot of Lajitas when a guy slipped in the gravel on his way to the spaghetti dinner. He hit his un-helmeted head on a rock and expired within the hour.

The old adages "If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again." and "Proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance." apply. But sometime "Hold my beer." is all you need to win. Or lose. As long as you've got a smile, it's all good.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns:
I couldn’t agree more. Some of my worst crashes have been from hesitation.
  • 3 0
 @mrosie: one of the most profound things i learned about myself this year after having ventured into a real bike park for the first time is that my instincts are far stronger and far more reliable than i ever realized. Meaning, there is a point where I need to just go for it and hit a jump or a gap, and allow my body and bike to react naturally without undue influence from the psyche. That way, I haven't become tense or anxious to the point of over or under reacting mid air. Which is a stark contrast to my daily work life where I am always analyzing every possible outcome before actually making a decision.
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: DUUUUUUDDDEEE I vibe with this. When I think about the wife and kids I always check up some speed.
  • 5 1
 @Asuhhdude: I learned to “pack them into my back pack”. Thinking about them is not helping me to achieve any biking goal. They are there, but in my imagination they are not waiting for me to get home and definitely not waiting for me at the side of hospital bed. Taking psychedelics is profound way of experiencing your feelings and how they affect your momentary mood/ mindset. But I personally never went really fast, it hasn’t happened more than 5 times in my life when I left my brain at the trail head saying all or nothing baby. I also learned that this doesn’t make me any faster, rather more prone to making mistakes coating time, speed and style. It is hard to tell what you are really backing away from.
  • 21 0
 Great article! I wish that my lifestyle could be closer to my riding style. I feel a lot more dialed on my bike than in my life! I guess that’s why I prefer to be out riding than doing anything else.
  • 2 0
 Yeah!
  • 22 0
 Clearly Levy had a article deadline he forgot about. Probably got this article out in the 10 minutes he had before the staff meeting. Bravo
  • 35 0
 It was 10 minutes late tbh
  • 25 0
 @mikelevy: I'm pretty sure this one is about a year and 10 minutes late.
  • 21 2
 44 year old stay at home dad with two kids that aren’t in school full time yet, with the matching spare tire dad bod gut. I ride as often as I can, there’s no training, no gym, no CrossFit, no other sport I do to keep me from burning out. I can show you the safe line, if you want to book it down a double black trail I’m not your guy. There is that one blue jump trail at Thunder Mountain that I’m legitimately pretty fast on, but that’s it. Mostly it just me and the trail dog riding by ourselves at our local trails not caring about anything other than being in the woods.
  • 8 0
 Actually that sounds pretty beautiful.
  • 3 0
 Keep riding your lines, pops.
  • 4 0
 No shame in rippin' some Gronk!
  • 15 0
 You know those times when the night is warm, you stop at the petrol station to put 20 and grab some snacks. . .... and you just go for a drive. . . . . . ..

... ... exactly the same approach on the bike. ... .. I go for a ride every single time.. . .. I steer the bike a certain way. . .. other times I let the bike do it’s thing.. ... no need to get faster, no need to get stylish.. . .. avoid cranking as much as crowded streets . .. ..

. . A tiny manual here, try not to crash there. .. ... . Some times a pilot... .some times a passenger. . .... . .but mostly, just cruising and having a good time. ...
  • 14 1
 I completely missed what you wrote and was mesmerized trying to find a pattern in all of the ellipses... .. .... . .....

Was there a hidden message?
  • 8 0
 @nvranka: it's morse code...I think he needs our help
  • 24 0
 This must be the guy Gary delivered drugs too.
  • 12 0
 I'm a hooligan on and off the bike, confirmed. I am the least like myself at work....but if I was my true self, I'd be unemployable.
  • 12 0
 At work: "Safety safety SAFETY". On bike: "FAAAAAAAAAAAAK safety"
  • 2 0
 Hats off to you sir!
  • 11 0
 'disaster pending' is my favorite riding style to watch.
  • 8 0
 I met a Gary or two when I wrenched on bikes in Whistler, back in the day. I bet they’re still there trying to convince this years crop of Aussies that he’s the man....
  • 12 0
 I got that buddy, he still bounces between employee housing and couch surfing in Summit County. We call him "Peter Pan", usually by mid-winter he's recruited a crew of younger, seasonal workers to be his "Lost Boys". Peter Pan never seems to age, despite now being in his 40s he still parties hard with his Lost Boyz Wink
  • 10 1
 Dylan Stark comes to mind. Someone should do an interview/lifestyle piece on that guy.
  • 4 0
 @endlessblockades: Perfect example
  • 2 0
 We must know the same guys I. summit. That place is never never land. I had to leave and now I feel older wish I was with the lost boys still ripping my dad bod. @chacou:
  • 3 0
 @endlessblockades: perhaps selling Dylan just a little bit short with this comment here. He is ridiculously skilled and has been riding at a very high level his entire life. One of the boldest riders out there, and undoubtedly held down by unwillingness to conform to a corporate acceptable persona. He is unapolagetically who he is, a kid who loves to ride big and party hard, and that's a great thing. Maybe just dig into his videos a bit more. You won't be disappointed and no doubt will be inspired to ride.
  • 1 0
 @MidnightFatty: You're preaching to the converted - I'm a big fan and been following him since he got on IG. He is waaaay above couch-surfer status and I think he deserves some more exposure/interview/article, etc.
  • 7 1
 Yeah, I think there's a correlation. I take more risks than the general populace whether I am riding in the woods, or walking down the street... but I think I'm still a pragmatist in both arenas: gotta have XTR pedals, but I think SLX brakes and drivetrains are good enough; re-lube chain as needed, but i'll never use clear frame decals to preserve the paint. When I'm off the bike, pretty much the same: I never want a car payment, and I wear black cycling socks to work.
  • 9 0
 I'm can be a terrible person, and I can be terrible at bikes. So yes.
  • 10 0
 Enjoyable read, thanks.
  • 8 1
 Mike. I want to make a frame with stashbox, and a water bottle convertible to a bong. Would Gary consider riding it and writing a review?
  • 3 0
 Um, I’ll review it
  • 3 0
 If Gary doesn't, I will!
  • 12 0
 Send it directly to me, please.
  • 2 0
 not for nothing... the waterbottle bong.... you might be on to something there
  • 1 0
 @Tajlucas - You know what to do... Salute
  • 5 2
 @ridintrials: in all honesty the dream scenario would be to integrate the bong into the frame. Over time it would develop scent of wisdom...
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns: integrated into a camelback. no need to stop.
  • 8 0
 @DDoc: why would you not stop to take a hit? Look at the landscape, calm yourself down, hug your friends, kiss your woman, share the herb... Loveduro
  • 1 0
 I wish I remembered the original quote about the Repack, but it went something like, "We toked all the way up the hill to get off on the downhill, and vice versa."

And for the comment below, the waterbottle bong was definitely a part of riding in the 80s. It was the only reason to have a cage on the bike, because a bottle full of water would bounce out, but the partially-filled bong would hang. Serus fanny flask and JANDD fanny packs with two bottle holders were the best. Cha Mon. (Ricky Cha www.wtb.com/blogs/wtb/14294205-throwback-thursdays-the-legend-of-ricky-cha )
  • 5 0
 multiple bikes = multiple personality disorder?
:/
mostly ride alone
constantly getting knocked back to square one by some financial fk up, crash, shit weather induced bike hiatus
though every now an then that perfect, amazing flowy gnarly progression session with good buds reminds me why I love this shit.

yep
  • 4 0
 Great article Mike....I've been riding since 82 and still sending it...I guess I just can't or will "grow up" when it comes to mountain biking...my wife asks me quite regularly." when are you going to hang with friends your own age?' I ride like I Iive life...everything is a calculated risk.Smile
  • 3 0
 My friends always think I am a sketchy and loose guy on the bike, but I like to call it calculated risk. I am kinda the same for non riding as well, just let it get loose and see where you end up, but always with enough margin so I dont end somewhere I defintly dont want to go.
  • 7 1
 I heard from a friend that after he bought an E-bike he warmed up to the idea of hiring high class escort(s).
  • 3 0
 After 15+ years of riding. I am half Mike k annoyingly responsible calm and calculated. And half Taylor good conversations laid back and doesn't cover the most miles. But oddly enough I am the same in life. Way to make us think deep levy it was a great read Smile
  • 3 0
 My riding style is "maybe I shouldn't....nah, might as well...f*ck! how'd I get away with that?"

My works style is "Maybe I should....nah, it'll be fine...f*ck! how why did the boss let me get away with that?."

One day I will retire, destitute and hope my kids support me but hopefully they'll just say "f*ck! How did dad let us get away with that?"
  • 3 0
 I think about this all the time. It’s like I have two personalities, a work/family and a bike personality. I am a wealth advisor, with many clients. I project a certain image, nice clothes that fit, more conservative with my investment philosophy. A very involved with family dad. But propose a bike trip, I’ll say yes, leave behind the family, go rip with the boys, scare myself, go faster than I should, and enjoy the feeling of “I shouldn’t ride that but f*uck it”. Man, I don’t know where I’d be in life without my bike side.
  • 2 0
 I find myself inch perfect by experience more than desire (design) after 25 years riding, I have to talk myself up to being reckless these days. But as I get older I find myself less sociable (Just being honest) so no whooping here ????
  • 1 0
 Hi Mat
  • 4 0
 I loved reading the comment section to see people’s take on this, super interesting to see a common theme kind of gain shape here
  • 2 0
 On the bike/off the bike I love to learn, but most importantly I like to take the time to get to know all the tiny details in between. This keeps me cool, calm and collected In most situations for both.
I do however have the crippling desire to live in the moment. This places me in over my head more often than I would like in my daily life. But on the bike? This keeps me in the fn zone.
I’d say my lifestyle/riding style are exactly the same however, the results are often wildly different!
  • 3 0
 Spend 10k to put together the perfect Big bike! 6k for a proper trail bike! All roll in a 3k Dodge Dakota! Still like getting rowdy at 56! Who needs to be responsible??? Works for me!
  • 2 0
 Holy shit that last picture had me double take hard... The Mountain Toad Brewery in Golden Colorado with Jessy Crock (local supreme artist and bike ripper) auctioning of some paintings. Great article btw. Love some op-ed everyone in awhile
  • 6 0
 That’s pretty good
  • 1 0
 Ehhh, while those examples in the article seem to match up perfectly, my group of riding peeps I would say its mix and match. For me, I'm OCD and yes I will try a technical climb over and over and over.....and over until I get it and tell everyone else to ride ahead. But then there's some quiet, soft spoken folks that hammer faster than 90% of the others on the trail and smash.
  • 4 0
 Good content. All of my Garys are getting jobs these days though. Is this growing up?
  • 3 0
 like a surfer that shreds in the ocean but has trouble in land, my riding style is much more refined and solid than my day to day life....
  • 1 0
 Well written and well-played. I would call this a very insightful and introspective expansion of the adage: “If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?” Sure you may be a bit prickly, Mr. Levy, but you know it, are aware of it, and wish to make the best of it, and dare I say- maybe even improve upon it? I have no doubt we would have a hell of a rip together and I’m sure we would get along just fine...
  • 1 0
 come to think of it they match pretty close, I just ride along with no solid plan and find out where the trail (also life) takes me. I also like to have fun and rarely think about how the decisions I make will impact my future. That's a problem for "future me" to worry about, current me just wants to send it.
  • 4 0
 Most koala's have Chlamydia. Just flagging it in case it's something else you have in common.
  • 5 0
 I mean, not anymore...
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Good to hear. If you ever want it back just let me know and I will post you a koala. Should be about $20 postage.
  • 4 0
 Personality is a better choice of words than lifestyle for describing their habits and riding style.
  • 1 0
 from the comments of people I ride with...I have no business riding that way,..for "my age. I will take risks and get pumped about it but always remember to float thru it. Off the bike I have the confidence to take on jobs my wife thinks is over my head...but I end up getting stoked about the challenge and just float thru it.
  • 2 0
 Umm, sure, I imagine most people as they mature will find the biking style matches their life style, but early on I’m less sure, I could see lesser skilled young riders going for broke because they don’t know any better.
  • 1 0
 We are a reflection of our lifestyles. At 55 pain is more painful, every little tweak of the body takes a year to heal. i'm contemplating backing it down. I don't want to go into preservation mode but I also don't want to break a wrist or scapula or collarbone like so many of my friends. I skipped whistler this year. Had the best riding of my life last year, biggest jumps of my life, don't think I should try to top it. hard decision.
  • 1 0
 Fun article.

I made a conscious decision to push past my comfort level one particular day on my MX bike (was already fairly fast, yet consistent) to try and go next level. Within 2 hours I was in the ICU and possibly never going to walk again.

Turns out i'm very good at riding to exactly my actual level and steadily improving it, but not over. That's how I ride my bike and live my life, exactly what I'm capable of with just enough caution to go home to my family at night.

One of my best buds hangs it out everyday of his life. He seemed untouchable for 20 years but it eventually bit him hard several times in a row and even him, the most talented athlete and bravest human being I've ever seen, has had to tone it back a good bit.
  • 1 0
 I run my own business, have always been very meticulous and have a lot of foresight. You could even call me cautious in my day to day life, but I always fly into any new trail blind like the fucking devil is chasing me and will never stop riding that way! Crashes and bails or not, its not as much of a buzz to me to join the slow n steady gang.
  • 1 0
 Great article and the comments are gold! Thanks @mikelevy!

I'm pushing 50 and pushing my limits on the bike doesn't work well for me anymore

Two kids, full-time job etc. etc mean that hospital stays and months-long recovery-times aren't fair to my family, so I keep it within limits and get my rush from watching my daughters progress faster than I ever did (or will) and working on stuff like cornering.

My lifestyle is similar, probably pretty boring to most folks, but it lets me do stuff like ride 200+ miles a week, get good at tele skiing and take my girls to the bike park from time to time. I'm a lucky guy.
  • 1 0
 My motorcycle friends call me Mayhem. Not sure what that says about me. I was pretty unappy, in my mid-20s, feeling like I was treading water. And then I got a motorcycle. And for one of the first times in my life, things just clicked. Going fast, on two wheels is....amazing. Ofcourse going fast without the skills to do it safely and under control means crashing. Quite a bit. I still have no idea how I never broke any bones or worse....but I just walked away with a bunch of gashes and little road rash. Took it to the track, started taking classes, started riding smoother, discovered the flow speed generated by smooth inputs. Started racing, got hooked on the rush.

And maybe this is a coincidence, but I doubt it...my life started coming together at the same time. I found a job in the city, moved out of my parents house into my own rowhouse, Met the girl who I would eventually marry. And honestly, I think the one progression gave me confidence in the other. Now I still crash once a while, and well....that's life, but they don't really call me Mayhem anymore. Though maybe my MTB buddies do Wink
  • 3 0
 That piece of writing reminded me of something Dan Koeppel would have written in Mountainbike. Very enjoyable, keep up the good work Smile
  • 1 0
 When I was younger I wanted to die from biking, I still kind of do, but I'm too old to carry it out. Also it's a pretty bad way to kill yourself. Overall, I keep it pretty tame, and safe. Probably what would have happened is I would have broke my back or something, and had a miserable life, so tame, and safe seems pretty good to me now. I've honestly come full circle to, "captain safety" nowadays, because the alternative is terrible, and looking back, I'm lucky to be where I am today. KEEP IT SAFE!
  • 1 0
 iIm a line cook in a busy breakfast/lunch restaurant and i constantly race the clock 40 hours a week. then i take that mentality to the trails after work and on my days off. I love racing, trying to beat my PRs on strava, getting a rush hitting a big gap or crushing big days leading my kitchen crew with precision and speed, but if i had as much talent in riding as i do cooking fast, i could probably swing a full sponsorship as a racer. i get you levy, i've made these parallels in my head many times before. might not apply accurately to everyone but it sure does to me.
  • 1 0
 My life is cheap and simple and that goes along with what bike I ride, where i ride and my riding style (not sure I have a style, I'm pretty bad on a bike).

I ride a hardtail, wear jeans, vans, t-shirt and a helmet. I don't have a car so my bike is used for transportation as well as pleasure. I only ride my local woods and a few local trails. And I always ride on my own as my mates aren't into bikes.

So in summary, my life is simple and so is my riding style.
  • 4 0
 Barely in balance. Yeah, guess that's accurate.
  • 4 0
 My riding style *is* my life style.
  • 4 0
 I prefer long hard rides. So, I guess it's not like me at all.
  • 1 0
 Mike, If we ever ride together, it will be hard to tell what is the most akward. My line choice, your line choice or the death silence and eyebrows movement when we’re supposed to have a conversation.
  • 2 0
 I began riding bikes 45 years ago. I'm a slave to it. Can't live without. It's the longest relationship I have ever held. And I'm never gonna break up with it.
  • 2 0
 Totally unrelated, but I can't remember the last time there were (for now) no below-threshold comments. Nice work @mikelevy .
  • 1 0
 My riding style perfectly matches my lifestyle. Kareless, I don't give a crap what line I take so long as I get to the bottom (even if it is in a stretcher), and I'm always in the "what's the worst that can happen" mindset.
  • 1 0
 With some MTB trailheads looking like college tailgate parties on weekends these days, it's no wonder the koala bear population has dwindled. Social media has made too many Gary's.
  • 2 0
 Thank you, Mr. Levy, for another great and entertaining read that kept me engaged and focused long enough to allow my cereal to get soggy.
  • 2 0
 my therapist says that everyone that rides downhill is secretly suicidal and self destructive and would probably be a cutter if they weren't riding bikes.
  • 2 0
 Your therapist sounds like road biking scum
  • 1 0
 I often get to hear: "How can it be so that you are so calm, but have such reckless hobbies?". So I'm pretty shy and cautious person normally, but then I tend to ride quite aggressively. Go figure...
  • 3 0
 Great article! More of this please!
  • 2 0
 I like the sound of this Gary fella! You should send him on the hotlap.....
  • 2 0
 A bit sloppy, don’t try too hard but do pretty well....in life and on bike
  • 1 0
 Being able to track stand and aim at a chute like the guys do at rampage feels so good. Just the chute is like 30 times smaller but yet enough to get me busted.
  • 3 0
 First article I've added to my favorites.
  • 2 0
 Very enjoyed that one! I let my riding do the talking, as I am not good at talking.
  • 1 0
 Busy. Multiple distractions. Not a lot of skill and a metric fuckload of making shit up. Plus not a lot of time on the actual bike... I'd have to say, yes...yes it does.
  • 1 0
 "I don't always want to take the fastest line, sometimes I want to say take the dumbest line." - @mikelevy (and also my lifestyle)
  • 1 0
 Personally, yes, my riding style does match my life style;
Take calculated risks but never disregard experience and gut feeling.
Wow, thought provoking article!
  • 2 0
 Great article! Really resonates. My riding very much reflects my lifestyle!
  • 1 0
 Hmm... I ride a long travel single speed hardtail, badly, and still don't know what I want to be when I grow up (I'm nearly 45...) So I win £5?
  • 3 0
 This is the best comment section of any Pinkbike article.
  • 1 0
 I take way more risks in my lifestyle than in my riding style...but I like to think I'm calculated in both.
  • 1 0
 i never knew how to ride well and i never knew how to live well so seems about right
  • 3 0
 What about drop bears?
  • 2 0
 I think you need more gold teeth. I'd ride with you.
  • 2 0
 Agreed.
  • 2 0
 Yes, I typically ride alone.
  • 2 0
 live and ride boring and lame? check.
  • 2 0
 I am awkward on and off the bike
  • 2 0
 Better to burn out then fade away
  • 2 2
 burning out and fading away are the same goddamn thing. friggin' Neil Young

the song should have been "better to blow up then fade away"
  • 3 1
 This is an awesome and thought provoking article.
  • 2 0
 Im bipolar. Off camber root sections tends to become messy..
  • 1 0
 "The kind of social setting where you wouldn't see any koalas"
Just Mountain Toads, get a beer there if in Golden.
  • 3 0
 Another good one Mike!
  • 1 0
 To answer the question - yes, it does.
  • 1 0
 Loose and just about holding on? Yes.
  • 1 0
 Yes, Yes i am sketchy on the bike and off...
  • 1 0
 I'm here for a good time, not for a long time. .....yeah right.
  • 3 0
 I'm here for both.
  • 1 0
 yes, a bit erratic and sometimes more controlled.
  • 4 2
 Who cares, just enjoy
  • 1 0
 This article is a masterpiece.
  • 1 0
 yes, i ride pretty shit...
  • 1 0
 Who's riding as sharp as a surgeon, or clean as a dentist?
  • 2 0
 Yes 100#!!
  • 1 0
 My riding buddies: their lives are shit and they ride like shit.
  • 1 0
 Damn i feel like a gary...
  • 1 0
 I ride awesome and my life is awesome, so yeah.
  • 1 0
 Ride quick and happy to send.... Crash on simple stuff.
  • 2 0
 great read!!
  • 1 0
 My lifestyle is one of a fugitive, and that's how I ride.
  • 1 0
 Gotta say, I'm much smoother on my bike then my life..
  • 1 0
 That was great. I hope to meet Gary one day.. he sounds like a good time.
  • 1 0
 Out of control and a second away from a massive crash. You got me there
  • 2 0
 What about Randy?
  • 1 0
 Yes ????!
  • 1 0
 Yep and good work Levy!
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