Opinion: 5 Things You Might Be Doing Right

Jan 31, 2015 at 20:13
by Mike Levy  
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I guess I should preface this spiel by saying that just the fact that you're a mountain biker means you're doing a hell of a lot right already. After all, it takes a certain kind of person to think that pedalling a bicycle around in the forest is a good use of time, and you reading this likely means that you get out for a pedal fairly often. Let's not forget that cycling isn't exactly the easiest sport to get into, either, with most schools encouraging kids to play soccer, baseball, or football, and many even providing the gear required. Just imagine if you walked into your grade ten gym class to find thirty mountain bikes, helmets, gloves, and a stack of Clif Bars - there'd be a hell of a lot more mountain bikers out there, that's for sure. Regardless, here you are, in the minority of people who like to ride bikes in the bush, so you've already got life on lockdown. However, there are a few things that we could all do differently that might see you have even more fun, and I'm not talking about our eating habits, stretching, or any of the other ''GET FASTER IN FOUR WEEKS!'' filler stories that you see in fitness magazines.


Forgetting about all the new gear - Given that a big part of my job is to ride and write about the latest (and possibly the greatest, but not always) mountain bike gear out there, this is one that I often bomb at. I love anything that allows us to go further or faster, don't get me wrong, but the truth is that I'm always a bit jealous of the guys out there who pull a seven year-old bike out of the back of their car and then proceed to not only push my shit in both up and down the hill, but also be completely oblivious to whatever bike I'm on that hasn't even been released yet. This guy has no idea that I've got the latest super-wide carbon rims, or that 27.5'' is even a thing. He does know that the dropper post that he spent $500 on failed after only a few rides so he gave up on that junk, but not that single-ring drivetrains work anywhere besides on a downhill bike. Despite the fact that I may feel something move in my pants when I see a new carbon wonder-bike for the first time, I am truly jealous of this guy. To simply not care, and therefore to never need a gear-related excuse or have that consumer-driven desire to have the newest kit, is a thing of beauty, and he's a dude that is truly in it for the love of the game. He's also way ahead of me on the trail, which makes me feel a bit stupid as I'm breathing through my eyeballs trying to keep up with him on my 25lb, carbon fiber bike with six inches of travel and 27.5'' wheels.


Racing - Nothing is more humbling than trying to flex at a race and getting stepped on by a lot more riders than you thought would be ahead of you. No matter how mean you think you are on a downhill bike, or how quick you are on a cross-country whippet, there's always going to be someone faster than you (unless you're Nico, Anne-Caroline, Julien, or Nino, that is). But as important as the odd reality check can be, racing is really all about pushing yourself harder than you ever would when not between the tape. Barfing in your own mouth at the top of a climb as others ride away from you is clearly not a good feeling, and while it might feel like your body is in the late stages of shutting down on you, you will survive and be stronger for it. Plus, your next weekend epic won't hurt so much, that's for sure.


Going slower - You show up for a ride with the usual crew of buddies that you can make hurt, but you know that not every ride should be like that. Okay, maybe most should, but not all. The climbs turn into wheelie competitions, or better yet, to see who can get to the top the slowest without dabbing or going backwards - it's harder than it sounds. People fall over and look stupid. A strict no-pedalling rule is enforced on the way back down, and rather than scaring the shit out of yourself, you're finding new lines that are way more fun than bombing down the same old blue groove. No one breaks a sweat, but everyone cracks a lot of smiles. Relaxing and slowing down during a ride doesn't come naturally to every rider, though, as some of us have to really concentrate on not being a*sholes every time we're on the bike, but I think it's worth the effort. After all, easing up will allow you to recover, which means going faster later on, but it can also lead to you riding with some great people that you might otherwise never spend time with. Or maybe you'll catch a glimpse of that great view, wild animal, or a trail that you'd never spot had you not dialed it back from 10 to something like 4 or 5. And then the next day's ride turns into an all-out race up and down the hill, because that's what friends are for.


Not sharing every ride - If you go for a ride but don't share it, is it still a ride? Everyone has that one buddy who thinks they need to upload a photo of every single one of their rides to whatever annoying social media platform they use, or maybe to a bunch of different ones so as to make sure that everyone from their mom to their neighbour's dog groomer knows that they were out on the bike. I get it, the view was really amazing, you worked your balls off getting there, and you want to share your feat with people who will appreciate it. The thing is, though, that you don't need to do it every goddamn time you go for a ride. Seriously. Share the rides that count, of course, especially if you're lording it over your friends who were stuck at work or with their family, but don't cross that line that puts you in the same category as people who take photos of every single meal they eat. That's what you look like to people that don't ride, just so you know. And there comes a point when even your mom is going to want to ''unfriend'' you. You should climb up to that same amazing viewpoint and just sit there by yourself for fifteen minutes without taking a photo, and then shred the downhill so hard that the mountain is scared of you for years to come. Send that massive jump that you've been working up to because you want to, not because you need to upload the photos to Facebook to prove you did it. GPS the shit out of that 80km epic you linked together, but then select 'private' when you upload it to Strava because you wanted to bang it out like a boss, not because you wanted the kudos.


Riding by yourself - There are plenty of great reasons to not ride by yourself, with getting injured, dying in the bush, and having birds pick at your bones likely being near the top of the list, but I have to admit that I find it strange that some riders only go out with others. Sure, there's nothing wrong with only getting out on the trail for social reasons, but it's an odd thing in my mind to only ride in order to be a social butterfly. It's going too far to say that you're doing something wrong if you can't just enjoy it for yourself, by yourself, but I also feel like you should be able to have a great day on the bike without needing the company of others. I'm not talking about every ride, or even every tenth or twentieth ride, but there's something that simply feels great about packing up and heading out for some ''you time'', be it solo laps in the bike park with your headphones on, or an all-day back-country epic that, depending on the number of mechanicals you have, may or may not require a headlamp. You'll end up riding at the pace that you want to go at, taking the route you want to take, and stopping to eat, session or section of trail, or just take in the view, as often as you want. We may be a social bunch, but mountain biking isn't a team sport, which, for a lot of us, is the very reason that we picked up a bike in the first place.


229 Comments

  • 137 2
 Always a happier day when I am able to take an hour off and ride around the neighborhood on my 6 year old bike with 26" wheels. Life is better with bikes!
  • 31 1
 My bike is nine this year!
  • 12 0
 Second that, and all alone. That's how I like it !
  • 25 0
 Good article. Surprised me.
  • 15 1
 Five year old here, 26" and I just took it out for a neighborhood ride. Glad to know I'm not the only one Smile http://www.pinkbike.com/video/395354/
  • 12 2
 I have a hard tail that's just turned 10, transition vagrant, big, 26 inch, slack and strong, it fucking slays!!
  • 5 0
 Mine is 12 this ur 2003 specialized enduro love it!
  • 32 1
 My mate's got a 1996 GT Zaskar with Judy XC and a Pace RC200 with a Bomber Z2. They both get used too, and he's never heard of Pinkbike!
  • 3 0
 Mine is only 4 years old, but I'm sure there will be many more years of fun with it. Smile
  • 13 1
 I am on a 2008 socom (intense) that weights almost 45 pounds and pedal it to the top of my 2200 ft mountain almost every other day with my riding buddy......a 10 year old border collie who goes by the name switch! P.S. She rips the trail and cuts every corner, make's sam hills line's look elementry!
  • 4 0
 my winter bike is my old Santa cruz chameleon which is 15 this year and some of its parts are 16 years old, still just about going strong but my 10 year old handle bars snapped the other week.
  • 3 5
 agreed, i dont have half of mr Levy's talent for writting but i could have wrote that article
  • 4 0
 Still ridey 6 year old Gary fisher hifi at least 2-3 times a week. Do I wish I had a newer bike with better components? yes, but I've always ridden by the motto "run what you brought!" The bike doesn't matter, fun does.
  • 3 0
 My bike is pushing 1 year and 8 months, still a 26 inch and don't plan on changing that anytime soon
  • 2 0
 Giant reign 07 here. Love it to bits
  • 2 0
 My bike just turned 4 and I won't be changing until her back breaks. $1500 was stupid expensive but worth every penny
  • 12 6
 OK, YOU ALL NEED NEW BIKES ...
  • 4 0
 i dont need any more bikes, ive got everything covered and not one has wheels bigger than 26". i like 24" for jumping, i wonder if they will ever be fashionable again?
  • 2 0
 Love my 02 sinister ridge with cane creek ti spoke wheels from 1998
  • 4 0
 Yes! I love this! My little bro rides one of the super early GT i-Drives- an old roommate of mine found it in a dumpster. It was dark when he found it, and in the light decided to throw it away again. I replaced a rusty chain, freewheel and chainrings, cables/housing and it was perfect! I couldn't believe that all the rubber and brake pads were fresh! Judy XC and cane creek ad-10 i think... the little bro kills it on this bike!


I have even found an old Reynolds tubed Bianchi with Dura-Ace and sew ons that still held air on a city trash night too, I was just driving to my house when I see a bright red Bianchi sitting in a trash pile! People view so much as disposable these days, it's sad to see bikes discarded like that. I am always happy to ride those little forgotten machines and enjoy them like new!
  • 10 29
flag dyalnmtb508 (Feb 5, 2015 at 9:46) (Below Threshold)
 I just got the 2015 specialized endurooo! all of you can suck it on ur old bikes
  • 4 0
 My old girl is 12 and still shreds the bike parks, never has to stop mid runs and do the death grip jingle unlike a lot of these newbies...
  • 3 0
 Still riding my nearly 10 year old Kona Stinky. Picked it up for $700, best decision i ever made!
  • 2 0
 I have my Cannondale Über V for 8 months now. Love it! And the frame is 16 years old Smile
  • 5 0
 @gapos999 "you all need new bikes" , when you ride alone and can climb all and desend all with what we have its not a question of need as it is A WANT, and beleive me I would like a new bike, but if I dont know I'm slow as f*ck cuz I ride alone, then I dont know if I'm fast either.....a potentially 6000$ dollar aswer!
  • 1 0
 Mine is 3 year and was thinking to change it but I don't f..king care agout racing and almost all rides I do are for fun, so thanks for this post, I will not spend my hard earned money jajaja Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Picked up an 05 Santa Cruz VP Free this year! Such a fantastic bike!
  • 2 0
 Ugh I'm in France right now for the next few months and I am really starting to miss my bike now! hahaha
  • 1 0
 I still ride my 8 year old Felt Q720 35lbs. 26" hardtail 4 days a week. They don't even make the brakes on my bike anymore.
  • 2 0
 @Bird-man

Well said, personally I'd also extend that to my bike rides fine. Sure these new bikes may be better, however given I'd have to ditch my reign and spend £2000+ on new one, it begs the question is it £2000 better? If I was going from 0 maybe, from an already functioning bike, nah.
  • 5 0
 I like this game. My mountian bike is a 1995 Norco Sasquatch and I commute on a 1991 RM Blizzard in the winter and a 1998 Kona Fire Mountain in the summer. I love old chromo
  • 3 0
 Clearly there is a niche for a new website called Oldbike.com or something. I always drool when I see well maintained retro bikes from my childhood mags. I want to stop getting on the new product hype but it's difficult...
  • 1 0
 Contentment. ....im happy I have it
  • 3 0
 Still riding a 5 year old 26" XC bike and it's been to lots of different places, from Moab and Fruita, to Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, and northern Ontario. Love it do death, but my oldest son is growing into it, so that means a new bike for me and I could swear that new Yeti ASR winked at me...
  • 2 0
 I like it. I've got a corsair konig frame which is tiny, and a two year old son who is tiny. I've filed it down a bit so it can accept a 165 shock as opposed to 190. I reckon set up with a 165 shock, 80mm travel fork, 24" wheels, 35mm stem and short cranks he'll be able to ride it when he's six. That kind of recycling is much more appealing to me than selling it for a fraction of what I paid for it. I am going to buy a new bike at some point, it's just that every time I see one I like, something else gets released the following month and I want that instead. Now I'm just holding on to the cash for a carbon GT sanction, and a 170mm travel 350NCR Ti fork... both of which might never get released. It's a good way of saving money anyway.
  • 1 0
 I will say that going from a pre-2010 AM bike to a post-2010 is worth it though... it's enough of a difference to open up trails that you would have considered not worth the trouble with the old bike. Still ride my 1997 Cro-mo Hardrock, though.
  • 1 0
 98 Marin b17, replaced (battered) shock with a monarch, short stem, ghetto dropper (that works pretty well) and finally just managed to replace the v brakes with a new set of deores having manufactured a mount for the rear one. Rides really well, bit heavy at 15kg atm but hopefully ghetto tubeless and slx crank (replacing solid but heavy octalink alivio) should help that.
  • 1 0
 The year 2007 was the year of the mountain bike. As far as I'm concerned.
  • 1 0
 2001 Balfa BB7 with 2013 888. Shock revalved, ghetto procore, it rides like buttah! Just wish there was going to be an Ocup DH series this year!
  • 1 0
 Mine is only 4, but it's not in production anymore, and I've only seen one other haha
  • 99 0
 I know many people (including myself) like to listen to music(cranked up) while riding solo. But on my last ride my phone died and I took the headphones out and spent the rest of the ride listening to nothing but the wind in my ears and my tires on the dirt... that is one sound I will never get tired of. I think I'll start leaving the headphones at home now.
  • 64 2
 I find riding with headphones dangerous as u do not know what's happening around you.
  • 22 0
 i like to hear myself pant like a dog, haha!
  • 7 2
 I strap the phone on my arm to play music. Lets the deer know I'm coming, and lets the hunters know I'm not a deer. Still, that quiet is a beautiful thing too.
  • 13 1
 @Lurch-ECD you should still be able to understand the environment with earphones in. I can hear conversations and when passing people I can happily than k them and hear their reply, at the side even the wildlife is audible, they don't have to be cranked up to 11 constantly to enjoy.
I never ride without them anymore as music is a huge motivator for me as I ride 9 out of 10 times alone in the forest, but always alone on the road, 60 odd mile road rides with only traffic noise is tiring let me assure you.

Years ago when I started riding alone due to moving I used to get a bit spooked, nowadays and after years of doing it I refuse to worry about getting hurt or being alone on rides, this isn't ignorance, just my choice, I find I ride harder but safer when alone - strange but true.
  • 13 0
 Make sure to try night riding without headphones. Simply an awesome experience.
  • 15 1
 i cant ride listening to music, it freaks me out.
  • 3 0
 Like your style.
  • 4 2
 Trail noise or speakers. I dont like headphones
  • 17 2
 I really don't understand riding with music. Half the point of a ride for me is to hear the sounds of the trees moving, birds chirping, and the dirt shifting under my tyres.
  • 3 0
 I ride with music cause, it pumps me up and keeps me from over thinking stuff on the trail. I ride with only one headphone in, so I can hear the music and what's going on around me.
  • 8 1
 Biking isn't so bad to have head phones because your on a trail however I can't fucking stand skiers wearing them because they now have zero spacial recognition.
  • 11 0
 Music on the climb, wind and crunching dirt on the way down.
  • 3 0
 @WasatchEnduro

I whole-heartedly agree with this method! I have certain playlist for certain climbs that I do often and I can use the music to judge my pace; if I get to "Sleep forever" before I hit mid mountain intersection, I know I'm going to be late for work. But am always eager to take the one earphone out at the top so I can hear myself breathing, my bike moving, and also listen for any uphill traffic as I rally down.

@Levy

Awesome article that made me think a bit about how I ride.
  • 7 0
 Most of my mates ride with earphones. Annoys me. It's one of the best parts about riding my bike... being "un plugged". Try it.
  • 6 0
 last summer I was going around the local trail and I could hear music in the distance, I thought it was the weekend music festival warming up, I stopped for a few mins to have a chat, then as the music got louder a guy came riding past with a full size ghetto blaster strapped to his back at full volume, it was so funny I had to piss up a tree but at the same time I thought what a complete bell end he was.
  • 3 1
 Lol.. brill. I once saw a snowboarder who had stuck his speakers each end of his board and the hifi unit between his feet. Legend. Musta handled like shit. Some folk just gotta feel the music I guess.
  • 4 0
 I do podcasts nowadays. Probably a sign of aging.
  • 2 0
 What about? Presuming you don't mean music podcasts.
  • 3 0
 I also listen to podcasts, somehow it helps me pay less attention to the pain on the climbs. I typically take the headphones off for the downhills. Riding with speakers is rude, unless you are doing to stop hunters from shooting at you, which an orange jersey may also do. . .
  • 1 0
 I would agree its more for the uphills. I recently moved to a place thats significantly more flat then where I used to ride. So I find that it keeps me motivated to listen to something while I go out for a ride. Nowadays I listen mostly to RadioLab podcasts that can talk about anything and everything. Could be a deep dive into numbers, science or color. Its mostly done through stories, so it kind of grabs the attention. I always try to stop once during a ride and just enjoy the moment and scenery. My most recent video upload documents one of these rides, you should check it out. Pretty uneventful, but a good showcase of what it is for me to ride these days. Got to stay motivated.
  • 3 1
 I safe solution for playing music on a ride in my opinion is either a phone on the bike or on my arm. or a backpack with built in speakers.
  • 6 0
 I just sing to myself down the mountain... helps me get in the zone Wink
  • 2 0
 I find it takes me out of the zone and I end up focusing on the lyrics and not riding :/ could just be me but I've tried it with headphones and it just felt wrong
  • 4 0
 It is wrong. But its fun. So many things are.
  • 2 0
 @ tobius - funniest shite i've ever heard. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
  • 1 0
 @jmbrit I understand what ure saying and I used to ride with earphones myself. Like what some say, it's ok for the uphills but for downhills I'd rather stay safe and listen to my surroundings. U might not know there's another faster rider (or an animal) just right behind u. Still have my earphones in my bag though!
  • 5 1
 I loathe people that ride/hike/run with both eaephones in.

They cant hear me coming downhill and they wont get out of the way when i want to pass.

Although i do enjoy scaring the piss out of them by skidding behind them.
  • 1 0
 I love radio lab. I have a small pile of podcasts that i list to, sometimes on the way up, sometimes in the car on the way home. The thing is, music has the power to move me. Radiolab has the power to make me stop and think. Moving works better with a bike.
  • 1 0
 I'm actually with @bat-fastard here: I ride better humming or singing to myself than I do listening to music. When I'm making the music, the downbeats are always in rhythm with the trail.
  • 2 0
 If you like radio lab (it's my favorite podcast) also try "This american life"

Its very similar, but it's generally about a person with an interesting situation or issue.
  • 1 0
 So I've been told UtahBikeMike, definetly will check it out. Not while riding in front of you I hope.
  • 1 0
 I love the sound of my bike thrashing over dirty and rocks, its therapeutic
  • 3 0
 I use to listen to comedians when i rode, until i went OTB into some trees from laughing too hard....something about hearing a bunch of people laughing as you careen into a tree that makes it all the worse.
  • 48 0
 As someone who bikes alone 95% of the time, how does one go about finding new people to ride with? I run into people on the trails and chat with them here and there and maybe even finish the ride in a train of people, but I've yet to make any real biking buddies.

Anyone in Utah want to ride with me?!
  • 13 0
 I do the same thing, but at the end of the rides either me or the other person asks "wanna be Facebook friends and ride again later?" Or exchange phone numbers, I've made a few friends this way
  • 29 0
 Step 1: Go to lbs
Step 2: Start conversation
Step 3: Ask to join their shop rides
  • 43 1
 Race. Best way to find riding buddies at your skill level
  • 1 0
 @DarrenV totally agree
  • 5 0
 There are mixed opinions on Strava, but one thing it is really good for is keeping in touch with people you ride with and making future riding plans.
  • 3 0
 I am also in Utah and suffer the same problem. For a place with so many riders it is surprisingly hard to form a group. I have a weird schedule, but next time I am headed out for a ride I'll shoot you a message. I am thinking either eagle mountain or Lambert Park on Saturday around 8am. Lambert is supposed to be bone dry and eagle is getting there.
  • 3 0
 Man I'm dying to ride Utah! If you put me up for a weekend I'll be your riding buddy for life!
Seriously though, I just ask for #'s of the riders I click with on rides.
  • 10 0
 I'm the same way, but I think it has more to do with the fact that I love the flexibility of riding by myself. You can go long, cut it short, ride fast, slow, stop and breathe in the scenery... or just listen to podcasts and music. Enjoy!
  • 15 0
 Try putting beer in your Camelbak instead of water. Works for me.
  • 4 0
 I can relate. I moved to SLC over three years ago. I've got just a couple reliable riding buddies who also turned out to be good friends as well. I met them both doing the Enduro Cup race series. Even if you're not into racing it's loads of fun and a great way to meet people. And yeah, let's ride!
  • 2 1
 @Clamber:
Be glad to ride with you but I need to know your romantic interests first.

heh heh
  • 2 1
 Clamber, try this app;

www.wegodo.com/app

Puts you in contact with other riders in your general area, opinions on trails and the like. I've just downloaded it and haven't tried it yet but it looks to be pretty interesting for find new riders and ideas!
  • 1 0
 Isn't there any mtb clubs in your area? That's how I met new biking friends when I moved 250 km south to move with my future wife… Smile Also check Facebook pages of people riding around your place… there are more than you could imagine!
  • 3 0
 Sadly, Utah has a shortage of bike clubs. That might be changing though.
  • 3 0
 Try looking for a local mtb forum where you can discuss trails, arrange meets etc and if it doesn't exist try starting one up...I guarantee there are others like you nearby!....
  • 2 0
 I ride alone most of the time try to meet people to ride with but they seem to ignore my presence...
  • 1 0
 I'll be riding Eagle Mountain this weekend as well; now that it's starting to dry up.
  • 1 1
 @Clamber check out meetup.com. In the Denver area there are a couple active MTB groups and they post the levels of the ride. Mostly everyone is there to meet other like-minded mountain bikers.
  • 1 0
 Check out www.gociety.com. I've been on several group rides from them and it's always fun. Usually a post-ride beer is involved.
  • 4 0
 @Clamber - yeah, it is what it is. As life gets busier (work/family) I have less time to coordinate rides with others, same for my biking 'crew'. I frequently go early before work, always see people on the trails though (corner canyon, little cottonwood) unless I head higher up the canyon. Stop by a shop and hit as many different spots as you can. As kramerica said, sign up for a race or some races for fun. Just like in dating, put yourself out there (but don't appear desperate).
  • 3 0
 I'm always down to ride and am in the SLC area. Here is a meetup group that rides in the general area www.meetup.com/Salt-Lake-City-Mountain-Biking. We had a ride just this past Sunday on the BST.
  • 4 0
 I have timed and POVd myself riding the bike while listening to music and not listening to music. The best timing and best DH performance was while not listening. it was fun while listening but i wasnt going as fast. it might only be me.
  • 1 0
 Get invoved in your local biking comunity lbs, trail work, coaching, racing ect.
  • 3 0
 Your trail report on Lambert is accurate. I ride there most days for an hour before work at 8a.m. and would welcome some company. Watch for the Green Super Cash Loan Center vanSmile Hope to see you on the trail.
  • 2 0
 I'll get there. My wife and I plan to go again in the afternoon with the munchkins. Anyone who wants an excuse to introduce their kids to group rides this is your chance. Our girls are 5 and they ride pretty well on their little 16" clear hedghogs.
  • 3 0
 @clamber, I'll ride with Ya... Always nice to meet someone new to rock around with! Shoot me a message! @taletotell, you too! Meetup groups are nice, but not always as reliable or open... But I definitely second the racing idea, and the local bike park. Most of my riding friends I met at a race or the park, or a parking lot at the bottom of a trail or a shop. Lots of options!
  • 3 0
 @Clamber, @taletotell, and others in Utah, @ambatt knows how to get a hold of me. I'm in the SLC area and get out quite a bit with the weather a little bit warmer.
  • 1 0
 I wonder why more people don't use the facebook Utah downhillers page. Seems like mostly people just post their bikes for sale.
  • 2 0
 I've always wondered that too, but I don't use it mostly because no one sees the posts. There are a few FB groups (like the Utah Mountain Bike enthusiasts or cycling utah) that are good places to look, but there is a lack of cohesiveness here... I've mostly attributed it to the weird clique-ishness of Utah and the gossipy nonsense of it all, but the race scene is a good place to meet new friends.
  • 2 0
 I usually ride alone because i have small windows in my schedule i have to sqeeze in riding. Im usually lapping corner after work on wednesdays (with lights this time of year) and riding lambert or corner on sundays.

I'm always down to ride with a group, sometimes my wife will let me switch out wednesday for another weekday if i behave. (She works and kid stuff yaknow?)
  • 1 0
 @digitalsoul

Sweet. I would have never guessed there was a group like that. I feel like I'm in the stone age. Thanks for that though, I'm going to have to have to get in on some of that.
  • 3 0
 @ambatt. Sweet, thanks. I'll message you. Is there much ridable in PC right now? I was up there this weekend and it looks like all the low stuff was dry.

@WasatchEnduro @kramerica5000 I need some intel on some races. What are some fun ones? I was planning on doing the Canyons Enduro cup this year but I'll be in BC that week.

I'll hit you guys up here soon. I'm awaiting my new bike's arrival this week. I'm itching to get out and take advantage of this weather!
  • 2 0
 @Clamber: There's a ton rideable -- a bunch of the low PC trails are, as well as the majority of low-valley trails in SLC/Bountiful/Provo. Tons of really good riding right now.
  • 32 1
 I am a mountain biker Salute
  • 4 41
flag vhdh666 (Feb 4, 2015 at 23:59) (Below Threshold)
 you're only a mountain biker if you ride a 29er
  • 12 0
 I got your joke vhdh666. It was a joke, right?
  • 7 0
 As I've been riding for over 20 years, here's a few thoughts:

I ride alone 98% of the time, from small local loops, to way out in the middle of no where back country journeys when I am road tripping. I am very comfortable riding a few inches away from thousand foot drops, but when you ride alone, it's more about knowing your limitations and keeping it in your comfort zone. Yes there is a big potential for getting hurt and not having someone there to assist you, but I've always found the more people you go with, the more chance there is for something to go wrong. I enjoy riding alone as much as I do with buddies. MTB is like therapy for my soul, when you're alone you can go at your own pace, when you're with your buddies, that's the time to try new obstacles and race around, enjoy the company & social aspect of it.

26"-650B-29", old vs new equipment: I bought a 2014 carbon enduro, I made it a point to not get a bigger wheel, will the next new bike I buy, another 6 or 7 years in the future have bigger wheels, most likely! I still have my '07 enduro, 26" wheels, 2x9 drivetrain, and a healthy 35.25 lbs. The '07 still excels in a few areas over the '14 and there are areas where the '14 shines vs the '07. As for things like a 1x11 drivetrain, the new air shocks, dropper post, other goodies, after riding around on the new bike for the past few months, I'd love to get a 1x setup on the old bike and remove my coil shock, I know I can re-do the old bike and have another great fantastic setup that is the best of everything. That time will come, but what I am getting at is new things I was skeptical of at first, I ended up being really pleased with.
  • 4 0
 I do share a lot of rides, I also don't share a lot of rides. It's always great getting inquiries from people who are curious about mtb, or want to know about a new spot, or want to go and ride with you, ask you how you set up your bike, etc. Riding with music is something that I used to never do, however recently I started playing music on my iphone and have it zipped up in the top pocket of my camelback right by my head, no earphones. I don't have a preference for or against music on a ride, whatever I feel like that day.

My first MTB road trip a few years ago lasted 4 months, I mainly used online reviews to find trails to ride. Back in June, I did my next mtb road trip, 2 months this time, and I did all of my trail hunting through locals and the LBS. There's so many great resources available now, it's easy to find what you want to ride. Stop in to the local bike shop, ask them about the local trails, tell them what you are looking to ride, listen, most people are happy to boast about their local trails and often times they will recommend something that you might not have been expecting to ride and it turns out to be fantastic. I've actually met people along the trip on trails, rode with them, and then once I get to the area they live in later on during the trip, go ride with them there. I've made it a point to visit & ride with these people on subsequent trips after this as well!
  • 5 0
 Be a responsible rider, a lot of people still have an image of MTB'ers as destructive & out of control. Don't skid around the corners, dam that irritates me, you're not at the bike park, don't lock that back brake up okay there chief? Always yield to those dam horses, yeah it sucks, but hey, at least you didn't scare the animal and you didn't get kicked in the face and the person riding didn't get bucked off. Most walkers I run into are pleasant and generally stop to let you pass by because they realize you're going to be moving at a much quicker pace than them. We all know that downhill traffic is supposed to yield to uphill traffic, but we also know that 95% of the time we are going to yield to the guy coming downhill.

Try and help maintain your trails, pick up some trash you see along your ride, maybe spend a half hour with a hand saw clearing some downed limbs, all that little stuff helps out a lot. State parks are generally much more open to MTB than national parks. Don't go ride in areas designated wilderness areas, I know here in the states, all designated wilderness is off limits to MTB but it's perfectly fine for you to go ride around on a giant horse, trampling the trails leaving huge dumps everywhere which really sucks because you know as a responsible rider you won't cause anyway near as much damage as that animal. I think this may slowly change in time. Personally, I'd love to see something like a "responsible rider course" available through the forest service, complete the course, pay for a wilderness permit and be able to ride all those glorious trails. I'd gladly shell out 50 or 100 bucks for something like that.

MTB is just the greatest, I wish you all happy trails, ride on!
  • 2 0
 Thanks for sharing man. Good read. Regarding your old enduro. I was in a similar situation . In my case it was a trek fuel ex. Decided to sell the frame and i got myself a dj bike and assembled most of the left components to it...just for street thrashing, going to the university to the gym jumping sidewalks you know. My riding skills have improved a lot Since then.
  • 2 0
 @tobiusmaximum
yes it was y joke
I've been riding MTB for 28 years now
I had a Spec. Big hit with 24/26 inch wheels, lot's of 26in bikes
now I ride a 29er for XC and a 650b for Enduro
bought them, because I needed new bikes, not because of the newer, bigger wheelsize
and I still have a 26er for "bmx" and pumptrack
  • 26 0
 Mental and physical health is why I ride. Riding with s friend makes me a better rider. Racing makes me feel like a tiny fish in a giant pond. And taking the time to enjoy the view, whether at the top or along the climb while my lungs hurt, reminds me that there is so much more than the day to day grind.
  • 8 0
 Yeah buddy, you said it
  • 23 0
 Riding alone is one of the most therapeutic things I do. I'm not waiting on someone that's less fit than I am, and I'm not coughing my lungs up to keep up with the guy who's more fit than I am. It's very freeing. But shredding with your friends is fun too.
  • 27 12
 And don't forget to break out a bong.
  • 11 21
flag seraph (Feb 5, 2015 at 1:23) (Below Threshold)
 No.
  • 8 4
 u can keep it in ur empty waterbottle.i rode with a guy and he pulled one out on the summit.it was a treat.genius!
  • 6 1
 I usually pack a little blunt in my camelback. Great for when you find that perfect resting spot.
  • 10 0
 I ride alone 99% of the time and occasionally run into my brother or some other buddies depending on where I ride.
I really enjoy riding solo for the exact reasons stated, I also fear it for the reasons stated.
I have a few friends that only go out and ride when someone is willing and ready to go with them, and they ride maybe 2 times a month compared to my 3 times a week. It's crazy to me, but maybe they just don't have the same passion or drive that I do.

The other thing I wanted to touch on is the fact that I have a really hard time riding slower, whenever it comes to decents. If it's a fun singletrack I always push my skill 100% and depending on the meals i consumed prior I'll decide on how far to push the cardio. Riding slow on climbs makes sense, but I never really get the same rush If I take a notch or two off of my speed. Almost crashing and yes, getting KOMs or PRs on Strava, feeling like you're on the ragged edge and late braking all make rides more thrilling.
  • 6 0
 Slower can be fun when you are just trying to steeze it up. Trying to get as sideways as possible off a hit, hitting a weird line just so you can hit a rock and catch a little extra air, or just flowing to a Cake song all can justify a slower run.
  • 3 0
 Almost every PR I have gotten on fast, winding, chunky, downhills has come after I have sat at the top and told myself "Forget going fast, just corner well, push the bike down and flow through the corners, get the hips out. Sure, pedal out of them as quick as you can and brake as late as you can, but just slow down and flow the corners, don't worry about speed." If I try and go fast I almost always lose the line at some point and end up have to come to a near complete stop. For me slower is smoother and smoother is faster many times.

The other pleasure of slower is trying new lines that might end up being faster in the end (or maybe just more fun) but that you wouldn't take if you are only worried about your best Strava time that run.
  • 9 0
 I ride alone too much. Odd schedule of being a dad has something to do with it. As a result I get lonely and find myself sharing too much: even the same old pic again and again. It is mostly because there is no one else to share it with in the moment.

Good article. Things to think about for sure.
  • 10 0
 Its great to read an article like this to remind you of the simple things in life. Great job Mike Levy!
  • 3 0
 Indeed, for sure!!!
  • 4 0
 Agreed, a lot of us know all of this already but there's no harm in being reminded! Thanks Mike
  • 9 0
 "there's always going to be someone faster than you (unless you're Nico, Anne-Caroline, Julien, or Nino, that is)" Yeah, sure...

Jared.
  • 8 1
 Got asked the other week by a fellow rider what the weird other cable coming off my bars were... it was the reverb - told him about it, he was a little stunned as he explained how he'd been planning to make one but yet seemed oblivious to their existence. He was riding a somewhat older stallion, but later that day he rode past me... he. was. fast.

still... I took solace in the fact that I had a dropper post and he did not Frown
  • 10 1
 Solo rides are fun. Rides with friends are funner.
  • 2 1
 so true
  • 2 0
 I ride alone most of the time during the week but can't wait for the week-end to have a group ride. Each one has his pros and cons, so I enjoy both for what they have to offer. As said, riding alone you can do whatever you want at the pace you want. On the other hand, riding with friends can help you do things you did not imagine/tried to do before but then, sometimes, you also have to wait for the group to gather and the bigger the gang, the slower you go… That said, I also enjoy the social aspect of it all… Often, the riders you don't ride with much because they are not as fast as you are the most interesting people off the bike. At least, that's what I've noted other the years, with a few exceptions.
  • 1 0
 not with your mates jim
  • 5 0
 I've got one group of riding buddies where on a given Saturday night we ride, stop to drink a beer and hang out, ride some more, fast, have another beer stop, etc... Super fun, and broke me out of the idea biking was a fitness only thing. Changed everything. Otherwise, I usually ride alone and not once have I ever posted about a ride, even the super epics. I am building a new bike because I can afford a Ferrari of bikes but not a Ferrari. The frame will be old fashioned aluminum. Because.
  • 5 0
 I ride alone in the rain near freezing in the dark at night and f...ing enjoy it - even when my derailleur brakes off when it is packed with mud at the top of the hardest climb. Then i have to take it off on the smallest helmet light setting, shorten the chain, faff with the magic link in the mud, cool out from having to stop, gloves soaked. The compromises of being a dad and having a job ; ) not always like that, sunny rides also. But I don't give up at least one ride a week no matter what, when, how ; )
  • 5 0
 "We may be a social bunch, but mountain biking isn't a team sport, which, for a lot of us, is the very reason that we picked up a bike in the first place." that is very true. I played basketball for 3 years, fu*kers always screwed the game, so I left. Best decision of my life.
  • 2 0
 Same here with soccer. I was great at it, but my teammates were slow learners and the planned fitness sucked.

Que the transition to mountian biking, where I am the sole factor in my performance (besides those fun mechanicals), and I choose my own fitness schedule.

Fitness only sucks if someone else is making you do it.
  • 7 2
 I get what he's saying with the not caring so much about the newer flashy bike models, but at the same time I do like having a bike which is A) lighter to ride, B) more capable and C) good to look at
  • 3 0
 I know its not safe, but if you're on trails where hikers and bikers are frequent and you aren't going off in the middle of nowhere i think biking alone isn't that bad. i almost always bike alone, its my time to just relax and have fun on the bike.
  • 6 0
 I ride alone over 95% of the time. I will push the descents, hit the jumps, and generally ride like an idiot. Still, the risk doesn't really register for me. I've been doing it for the last 4 years, just fine. I've done the group ride thing, and it's great, but it's also a compromise. Riders that are similar in both pace, and more importantly, riding style, are nearly non-existent here. I like riding solo, so no laments here.
  • 1 0
 yeah. true. it sucks but i ride with friends sometimes
  • 1 0
 I rode alone a lot and with the same reckless abandon you describe. Then I nailed a hidden rock, went down hard at speed; got a major concussion and broke my collarbone 3 miles from my truck...and it was getting dark.

Now I take it a little easier when I am alone on the descents. A little bit. The wife thinks I am crazy, but she doesn't mountain bike, so she just doesn't get it I guess. I will never give up my solo rides.
  • 5 1
 Mike, your deliberations keep on proving that your worries about this BS are the problem, as is the BS itself. not enough focus on the ride, too much focus on drama, tech, and product. just ride, enjoy. simples
  • 7 0
 Not sharing every ride. mike your my hero....
  • 4 0
 i don't need to worry about most of these im too poor to afford the latest gear im still using a 10 year old frame 9 speed and 26" wheels, and i have no friends so always ride alone
  • 5 0
 Sometimes I wish more people did #1 and #3, how's the saying go, biking isn't serious business or something.
  • 5 0
 too much masturbation on latest gear etc!!! go and (share the) ride !
  • 3 0
 I ride alone 95% of the time as well with my trusty yeti dj as my XC, DH, DJ, and enduro bike and this article is right on the money ride whatever bike you have go out and ride and have some fun!
  • 2 0
 Number one is great, really. I still ride a 26" HT (I know I know, it's getting fat rims, don't judge me), and I don't see why people need a dropper. I also love number 5. When I ride by myself, it is great. I can go as fast or as slow as I want. Go as long or as short as i want. Take that new line, reclimb that hill just to go down it again, just be on a damn bike and take stock of my life.
  • 3 0
 I loved this comment but even more this comment. I ride a $500 HT and it feels great when I climb the hill just as well as the guy on the super bike. Being alone with no music, at your own pace on your own lines, stopping and looking out over the river with your own thoughts. It's amazing the pure joy two wheels a frame and mother nature can bring you
  • 1 0
 You two have it figured out. I listen to music in the truck ride to the spot only. Then I shrug off all the daily distractions and enjoy my time out riding in the dirt, no music.. just me, my favorite bike and nature.
  • 3 0
 With so many pointless articles out there, this one is refreshing and entertaining. What a great culture to be a part of. I don't know where I would be without my mountain bike.
  • 2 0
 1.) Guilty - but they're all so PRETTY!!!
2.) Guilty - was douchey on an all skill levels ride a week ago.
3.) Guilty - never raced.
4.) Not Guilty - "Social" media is mental asbestos. No one realizes yet how detrimental it really I s.
5.) Not Guilty - that all skills welcome group ride was the first time I've ridden with anyone in 10 months.
  • 1 0
 I ride 99% of the time alone and have done for about 15 years. Also my local spot is my own playground which I share with dog walkers, fortunately it's 1-2 miles from a major trail centre, the masses head there missing the good stuff, my stuff on the way. I'm not on strava so won't share it and reduce my alone time, I like it that way.

Occasionally i drop a picture on facebook and get 'Dude where's that!?' Luckily the draw of the trail centre keeps people driving by.
  • 1 0
 I agree with every point, especially the first and second as I still race on an ironhorse sunday, but uploading publically on Strava for my road rides is a must for me. My frauds see it and try to do that 60 mile loop faster, then I have to go faster next time. It's a great training aid.
  • 4 3
 Solo riding is great!! you can go up, down, left, right... faster, slower... stop, never stop... whatever you please to! riding with friends it´s great too but... there´s nothing like putting your phone with speaker on and riding while listening to SLIPKNOT!!
  • 3 0
 My bike will be 16 this year, I still ride in ragged old jeans and ripped gloves, by myself. lol. Just about time for a new ride though. Good article.
  • 2 0
 How do you keep your jeans out of your chainring? A bashguard?

I always cut the left side of my pant leg with the chainring when I ride with pants.
  • 1 0
 Bashguard, I ride in jeans all winter, never snag with the bash guard, but if those teeth are exposed, they will certainly tear up your pants!
  • 1 0
 Gotcha. Maybe I'll be able to save the left hem of my pants now!
  • 1 0
 Yup bashguard all the way!
  • 1 0
 I have a 2005 Cannondale Prophet and have made it a TODAY bike by putting Nokian Studded tyres on it. In Canada our trails become like a Crashed Ice Track from Red Bull. 26 wheels and 140mm suss is perfect for this. Use you old 26s for stuff like this and you will be thankful for ice storms LOL! Im serious! In the summer - yes - we have em, an Enduro 29 comp. Some talk of age? Im happy to be turning 58 this year!
  • 1 0
 I'm not sure I agree with Mike's view on riding by your self. I go out by myself on occasions, but find that i get bored pretty quick if there is no one to shred with, and end up just going home unsatisfied. seem to just enjoy my ride more if there is someone to share it with.
  • 1 0
 My first time riding solo was pretty scary but lately my solo rides have been a great way to scope out new lines, stop and check out features and learn how to approach them, and really slow down and appreciate the beauty of the North Shore. I love social riding but going out alone has been more helpful than I ever expected.
  • 1 0
 A couple comments on this:

Forgetting about new gear: I’m not obsessed with new gear, but every once in a while – like when my buddies all went out and bought new carbon Tall Boys last year – I find myself wishing I had that new toy, too. So I try to work on being content. Yeah, my bike’s 5 years old, but it’s still pretty nice. I’m still out here having a blast on it. That’s what it’s about. One day, I will have something newer, but until then, this is good enough.

Racing: Just not for me. But I competed in another individual sport in college, and I agree with all the stuff about the reality checks, and all the benefits of competition. It’s just that when it comes to mountain biking, that’s just not what it’s about for me.

Going slower: Yes! Sometimes I get so wrapped up in pushing myself, I forget it’s OK to just hang out with friends, or to slow down and just have fun. Everything does not have to be this seek-and-destroy mission.
Not sharing every ride: I rarely share rides on social media, but I do Strava every ride. Why? Because it’s for ME. I don’t care about King of the Mountain (too many pros around here anyway), but I do like to see my progress. Have I improved? Am I getting faster? How many miles have I ridden this year? Hell, even how many calories have I burned? It’s a personal measurement tool for me, not an ego thing.

Riding by yourself: I see a lot of other riders here ride alone most of the time. I’m in the same boat. I just love riding more than most of my friends, even the ones who ride. If I waited around for them (or for my and my more hardcore friends’ schedule to match up), I’d ride about a tenth of what I do. I have met people on the trails, etc. That’s always fun. And I only ride alone on well-trafficked trails, so while I might technically be alone, someone will generally be 15 minutes behind me.
  • 1 0
 5 other signs your doing things right:
1. You've actually picked up a shovel at some point this year and put in your share.
2. The only "latest mtb news' that matters to you is the status of the local (and not local) trails.
3. You've met and sessioned with new riding buddies this year.
4. You skipped shooting your sick new edit on those jumps that aren't yours to f*ck with.
5. You completely disregarded every Mike Levy Article. (Don't worry Mike, I found I agreed with most of this piece at least!)
  • 1 0
 I totally agree with you there, although I have to admit, that I'm that strava guy, sharing all the shit... sometimes I don't strava and sometimes I don't take pictures, but very seldom... sorry. Wink
  • 4 0
 Man I ride alone all the time, its kinda soothing
  • 1 0
 Love solo rides and do it all the time. On my last one I crashed harder than I ever have ( nose over at 39km/h) and had to call my wife to fetch me. That's the exception luckily and I would never stop...
  • 3 0
 I ride mostly on my own too. I use a Garmin 510 to send my position to my wife via my phone, so that if I do something stupid out on the trail, at least she'll know where to direct the helicopter.
  • 3 0
 Poor Mike Levy, sacrificing so much by riding those carbon wonders all year round... You're my hero.
  • 4 0
 I would LOVE to upgrade to a 7 year old bike!
  • 1 1
 "Everyone has that one buddy who thinks they need to upload a photo of every single one of their rides to whatever annoying social media platform they use, or maybe to a bunch of different ones so as to make sure that everyone from their mom to their neighbour's dog groomer knows that they were out on the bike"

Really?! O.o There are losers out there that do this? Fvck off, you're pullin' my nuts. Like just a ride? Like an XC ride? Like one that's not even part of some lame vacation? Nah no one does that. I'd have to see it to believe it. :/
  • 1 0
 I think Mike missed a point: give something back. Coaching a junior, volunteering at a race or building some trail. When you see there are two sides to the sport it opens up your whole perspective on riding.
  • 2 0
 Great idea for an article. Thanks for backing up my solo rides. Still need to get a race under my belt.
  • 2 0
 what are you waiting for Gemma? my riding started with racing strangely enough.

you might be pleasantly surprised - too many don't race as there is a stigma attached to it (I am not saying that's you but many I know avoided it for non-quantified reason and then realised after entering their 1st ust how much fun it is), NO race I have ever been to anywhere across Europe has been anything other than a good experience.

get involved :-) your riding will improve so quickly, you get so much visual and oral exposure to how faster/more experienced riders tackle and approach objects/trails etc, very rewarding
  • 1 0
 I prefer solo loco, it's my escape sans inevitable man hammer fest. I put on the buds and climb at my own speed. Watching you try to keep up to the pack is pure gold.
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who found that the phrase "push my shit in" conjured up some pretty disturbing images?
  • 4 0
 seen Training day with Denzel Washington? push my shit in refers to something very specific imo hahahahaa
  • 2 0
 Sometimes Mike we hate in others the things we despise in ourselves. Writing is a great form of therapy. Keep it up.
  • 3 0
 Great article! Mike Levy you´re reading my mind!!!
  • 2 0
 I break new bikes.hence why im gonna try knolly now.if a knolly don't work ill stick with my 2010 and 2011 bikes.
  • 1 0
 Great read! Love how you put your thoughts on paper; couldn't agree more with what is said.
RIDE FOR YOURSELF, FREE YOUR MINDS!
  • 1 0
 My dirtjumper is a 2008, so it's 7 years old and my DH is 2009, so it's 6. Still keeping up with everyone on the new bikes so no reason to upgrade yet Razz
  • 1 0
 1. Didnt strava 2. Didnt wear day glo (unless pm ride w/tarmac) 3. Walked bike in/out of ent/exits, off-map trails 4. Brought beer 5. Thanked the trail ferries
  • 1 0
 I´m thankfull every day for having mtb in my life, and i will be riding alone or with my buddies foreverWink
great article as always Mike!!
  • 1 0
 i can follow all the Right Things except that"Forgetting about all the new gear"
  • 2 0
 yeah... I do that... mountain biking thing, its pretty freekin sick.
  • 1 0
 Being poor and the epitome of socially inept, I can vouch for the first and last points. A nice read.
  • 2 0
 Two points that we have in common then, I'm still rocking an '06 Specialized Demo haha.
  • 2 0
 damn my bike is 5 this year!
  • 3 0
 26" is the new black.
  • 2 1
 2004 specialized bighit still going strong (26" seat stays) easily another 10 years left in it :-)
  • 2 0
 Nice elaboration on "just go ride your bike."
  • 2 0
 I never got my grade ten Frown
  • 1 0
 If there was such a thing as The Mountain Bike Bible this would be a chapter. Nailed It!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for stating the obvious Mike. Actually, I mean it, sometimes we all need a good reminder like this one.
  • 1 0
 "as some of us have to really concentrate on not being a*sholes every time we're on the bike".... hahahah sooo true!
  • 1 0
 I ride with my 2 border collies nearly always - I don't need anyone or anything else. simple shit.
  • 1 0
 I enjoy Mike Levy's writing way more than RC's writing. Great article, just ride what ya got and have fun doing it!!
  • 1 0
 New or old just get out and ride and have fun that's what it's all about!!..
  • 1 0
 Levy kicking some ass again
  • 4 4
 Great article and great points made. But man there really isn't any need to drop Goddamn's in a mountain biking article.
  • 7 2
 But you're fine with having your shit pushed in. Of course.
  • 2 0
 He's probably a bible basher... or being sarcastic.
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy telling it like it is tup
  • 1 0
 Now I will never sell my 1994 GT All Terra Timberland.
  • 1 0
 I love riding solo, I ride solo 95% of the time.
  • 1 0
 Great article. Enjoyed the read.
  • 1 0
 shred bikes, smoke bowls, drink beers, shred bikes, imbibe the soul of mtb
  • 1 0
 Drink from the tit of the mtb gods
  • 1 0
 your best article yet by far
  • 1 0
 nice article Smile
  • 1 0
 Right on!
  • 1 0
 Praise the mtb gods
  • 1 0
 Great write up
  • 1 4
 trying to form a raceteam with my buddies has made me abit of a sell out and media specialist... i really wish i didnt have to tho :p
  • 2 4
 But I do want the kudos.
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