Pinkbike Poll: Do You Even Off-Season, Bro?

Feb 23, 2017 at 9:52
by Paul Aston  
Are off-seasons a thing of the past? Maybe you've never needed an off-season anyway? I spent five years in the past passing the winter off the bike and on skis. Taking time off to recover, rebuild, restore and re-energize your body and mind used to be more common. Nowadays, twelve straight months of riding per year sounds perfect to me, and apparently, this applies to more and more riders and racers.


Pedro Ferreira Thomas Slavik and Bernard Kerr celebrates during Red Bull Valparaiso Cerro Abajo in Valparaiso Chile on February 19 2017 Nicolas Gantz Red Bull Content Pool P-20170220-00243 Usage for editorial use only Please go to www.redbullcontentpool.com for further information.
It's only February, but pro-racers are already pitting themselves against the clock - Valparaiso City Downhill


Let's take EWS racers for example. The season continues to lengthen; the final race was last October 2nd, the first of 2017 is on March 26th. Leaving nearly six months, six months off, easy! Not so fast. There are an increasing number of commitments in the post-race season: fun races, press camps and photoshoots for the riders to attend. DH racers don't get an easy ride either, with more urban and Southern Hemisphere events joining the calendar. Then, before they can shake a stick and have a few nights on the beers, Instagram begins its taunt, with competitors flowing gym selfies and hash-tagging winter training...and all this just weeks, if not days, after the final showdown.

New bikes and sponsor changes mean early-season testing becomes important, getting to grips with new machines before the first EWS takes place down-under, in New Zealand. For the majority of racers, this is no short hop; the 30-odd hour flight means many choose to make the most of it for a month beforehand. This four-week holiday is quickly donated to fulfill more photographic and film posing duties. There is also the draw to compete in a couple of pre-season races, just to be sure that there's enough speed and power on tap.


Zwift pics
Mike Levy goes virtual and rides the Zwift during the winter.
Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Staying in reality, Matt Wragg hits the mat in the off-season.


Most riders aren't racers, so let's look towards the masses. Central Europe's snow season has been dramatically shortened so far this winter. I was lucky enough to be riding dusty trails in Morzine and Les Gets throughout December and into the first week of January. Aside from the cool temperatures and the odd patch of black ice, conditions were better than nearly all of the summer season. Local riders were out in force, and many didn't seem concerned with the lack of snow.

I can't speak for the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, but in Europe, seemingly more and more riders shun ski-holidays or weekends, and are taking trips to the booming coastal riding regions in Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands and Madeira.

In the snowed-under areas, fat-bike enthusiast numbers appear to be growing. Scandinavians are out in force, along with North Americans and Canadians; even fat-specific bike 'trails' are starting to appear around the world. So for some, the off-season never arrives as they simply turn to bigger rubber and a different surface.


Do you have an off-season? I haven't this year, and it's been bloody fantastic.


Have you taken the time for an off-season?




129 Comments

  • + 82
 What the hell is "off-season"?
  • + 141
 as someone living on the tropics what the hell is a season?
  • + 85
 it's that time of the year when you get all stoney baloney, eat alot of pizza hut, try to justify picking up that beer mug lamp from the craigslist free section because it would look great next to your bob marley poster, and frequent mtb comment sections to complain about the price of an $800 rain jacket.
  • - 2
 BRO...
  • + 24
 When Pinkbike does reviews for rain jackets and calls them "winter clothing".
Sorry I'm bitter.
  • + 20
 Off-season is, when you add hot tee to your rum for warming up.
  • + 19
 so in normal season you just wake up with tealess rum?

do you even cofee bro?
  • + 4
 i have to ride to keep the suck off me so yeah..pretty much have to go year round
  • + 3
 Is that when I put the full spikes on instead of the cut spikes... actually putting cut spikes back on tomorrow so it must be over..
  • + 10
 To me "off season" is the winter and I dig, build, and fix trails so the rest of the year we got awesome stuff to ride.
  • + 10
 @Gassymagee: Haha, yep, how about merino base layers, electric socks, bar mitts c/w heated grips . What about an article on "which ski helmet makes the best winter bike helmet?"
  • + 6
 @Gassymagee: Yo. Like here in FL, where there's two seasons; Summer and Christmas.
  • + 5
 No such thing here in San Diego. We have the current damp and tacky season, which will fade into the dry and dusty season in a few months.
  • + 13
 Ski season
  • + 3
 @aoneal I think they're talking about those couple of days we get each year when water randomly falls out of the sky.
  • + 7
 When I forget spices on my steak, that must be "off-season".
  • + 1
 It's the season when we put windbreakers on in BC.
  • + 1
 Piriformis syndrome hits like a wrecking ball.
  • + 4
 @skiwenric: Heated Grips would be killer. Electric socks too. Maybe pinkbike needs another contributor from somewhere colder to do cold weather reviews. Would love to see some glove options outside of whatever $1000 option 45nrth is selling.
  • + 2
 I'm having an "off season". Looking forward to next year.
  • + 2
 @Gassymagee: heated grips and socks are pretty easy to find, as for gloves unless it less than -10C I find a heat pack dropped in my barmitts.com keep the digits working. Carbon bars and brake levers don't suck the heat as much either. Always have a pair with me though in case things go pear shaped.
  • + 1
 @skiwenric: wow TIL that heated grips actually do exist.
  • + 1
 living in the mountains, it sucks riding when it's snowing imo
  • + 1
 @SztAmaas: Why is the rum gone?
  • + 27
 Generic comment about it being winter all year round in the UK Fab
  • + 5
 Since the UK is known worldwide as a wintery wonderland?
  • + 6
 @VwHarman: its also summer all year round.
  • + 4
 @Cefn: Weather is a state of mind. It is currently snowing outside. I am just thinking of which trails will get the least and will be heading there tomorrow.
  • + 4
 @VwHarman: this doesn't work with hurricanes
  • + 11
 We got two seasons, the wet season and the cold wet season.
  • - 1
 We don't have a winter here. We have about three weeks of chilly weather here each your and that's about it. Doesn't get cold doesn't get hot pretty much stays the same all year around. Showers, drizzle and a bit of sun. We have absolutely nothing to complain about.
  • + 1
 @fullbug: fair enough. Can't really change the way you think about those.
  • + 1
 @VwHarman: i wish it did. gulf state livin is brutal on our trail maintenance and building.
  • + 2
 There's winter in the UK? Since when? I thought you guys go straight from an eight month long fall to spring... ;-)
  • + 0
 @FuzzyL: yeah that's pretty much it. It's autumn / fall all year round mixed with two weeks of cold weather in January and two weeks of warm weather in June. Haha
  • + 2
 @Cefn: And we all eat crumpets and speak like Dick van Dyk!
  • + 20
 Off season = snowboard/snowmobile season. This year was even better now that I have a Timbersled snow bike.
  • + 4
 Previously I was focused on ski racing in the winter months with a little fat biking here and there, then I blew my knee apart. Now two winters later I've discovered the snowmobile and my winter home of Steamboat is an entirely new playground, beyond what I could have ever conceived. After riding a Timbersled the other weekend I now have one of those in my garage and am enjoying winter more than ever.

I like the break from two wheels. Keeps me hungry and excited for the change of seasons. Though if I was a salaried/contracted professional racer I think summer would have to become more of a priority. If I had to choose one season/sport... Summer was always a definite answer but becoming less so after discovering the snowmoto sports.
  • + 8
 Ski season*
  • + 3
 yeah, man boarding more than I usually bike, its sad hahaha
  • + 1
 @larr: agreed, you can def find happy on a pair of skiis as well.
  • + 2
 Off season = mountain biking for me. Skiing is my true love.
  • + 2
 @piman: yeah, how is the skiing at Boston mills brandywine been this year?
  • + 11
 My seasons used to be snowboard season and mountain bike season. Fortunately, I figured out they overlap. This year when there's no new snow, I grab the bike. When the snow falls, I reach for the board. Its hard living, but I manage.
  • + 1
 Ditto
  • + 11
 the PNW drought let me ride year around for 3-4 years straight. Now the snow has returned with vengeance. Forced time off this year. But the trails get a good needed reset and the bikes get some R&R
  • + 1
 Where in the PNW are you? Im in the Seattle area and ive been getting a few short rides each month so far.
  • + 1
 @jojotherider1977: I'm right on the CA/OR border at 4,000 ft elevation. Trails have been locked up with several feet of snow since November. Nearest rideable trail is over an hour away. Which even that got about a foot of snow a couple days ago.
  • + 9
 Off season does not exist in Southern California
  • + 1
 Yep, I hear you. First road crit, St. Valentine's Day massacre, Feb 14th (or the weekend of) and the road season is on. Then summer road racing, track cycling and mountain bike riding (not so much racing for me anymore). The cyclocross in the fall, nationals in January... not much offseason.
  • + 4
 In Melbourne, it's reasonably dry all year, sure we have wet weeks but it never snows, so is it even an off season? To be honest a lot of athletes and riders and anyone what plays sport have the summer off as training can't be done when you're hungover, but then there's a bunch of races too. I don't know but there never seem to be a proper off season when it's dead on the trails.
  • + 2
 In qld off season is summer, it's too damn hot
  • + 1
 @ctd07: Thats two of us from melbourne....its always too hot in QLD!
  • + 3
 For those of us in snowy climes, there's a great write-up of a Kona Wozo fatbike on NSMB that captures why fat bikes are not stupid, only stupid fun. Rent, don't buy, and let the ache of your smile muscles after the ride determine if you need one.
  • + 2
 I got myself a plus tired hardtail and I can vouch for snowbiking being stupid good fun.
  • + 2
 Even here in Vancouver where we had a tonne of snow this year (unusual in lower areas) we were out riding in force. Nothing like drifting down your favourite trails in the snow! There were a couple of weekends where it was too deep/fresh but the majority were fine on certain parts on the shore.
  • + 2
 Working as a paid trail builder, its a welcome break from riding in the winter to surf and train and rebuild all of the imbalances that occur from smashing trail and just ride a little here and there when the mood strikes. Then in March i start frothing and riding as much as possible till late fall and repeat.
  • + 2
 I used to have "No Offseason" when I lived in Southern California, except for during and after rains waiting for trail to dry.
Here in Idaho it's forced - and I can't afford yet another bike/Fat bike.
So I workout with kettle bells, dumbbells, body weight, including HIIT and some intensive stretching, road rides when possible and Mtb when the trails are clear, looking forward to spring!
  • + 2
 i don't even ride in the on season ,too busy posting photos and videos of the one off rides i do to social media to make people think im really rad ,the rest of the time i sit on the sofa writing comments on here making out that im some kind of mtb guru with an unparalled depth of knowledge.
  • + 2
 PB plus badge coming your way dude.
  • + 2
 I imagine for most of the broduro PB crowd this caused a problem. Actually admitting to yourself you don't race, and therefore have no off season, is one step away from admitting that super slack 170mm "enduro" bike that pedals up hill like a bag of spanners in the garage is too much bike for you and your local trails Hahaha
  • + 1
 Well, it surely depends on how much you ride during the season.

If you are lucky to be on the bike once a week, it's probably OK to skip the off- season altogether. But if you ride a lot during the season, it is usually a good idea to give your body at least a few weeks of rest and/or lower intensity riding.
  • + 1
 I Live in Ireland the only difference in the seasons are the rain get warmer! you might take a week or 3 off at the end of the season for the sake of chilling out, lay back into the training after that, ive done over 200km off road so far this year,

Id recommend the race face agent shorts and Altura Meyhem jacket as most of the spins I've done have needed the wet gear (funny that on the edge of the atlantic in Janauary/february)
  • + 1
 I enjoy the break from the local trails and loathe spinning (I try, but man it just sucks). I enjoy Winter activities and spend a few months ice fishing, snowboarding, skating and eating ice cream before getting the bike out again for Spring gravel grinds and some cross training to get back into riding shape.
  • + 1
 Well I brought the Fatty just to make biking year round, and thus JINXED winter! It snowed, we had a great base, got 2 good rides in and then 75 FREAKIN DEGREES IN UPSTATE NY MID WINTER??? I stayed on the Fatty but certainly didn't need to.
  • + 3
 my off-season is the summer...when the mosquitos are out en-masse and the temperatures rise to 90*+...

still, i ride in the summer...i just sweat 1000x more.
  • + 6
 Exaclt. Clothes off-season.
  • + 1
 A few years back, I was riding only once in a while in winter when I could not stay motivated enough to spin inside. 3 years ago I started riding all year long and last fall I even bought a fat bike. I didn't even touched my spinning bike this winter and have been riding 7h and more per week outside! Smile
  • + 3
 I ride in the winter, less than in the summer, cos it's an effort. But I've never stopped over winter and never will.
  • + 3
 Winter riding is mostly commuting to work on the cross bike. Keeps me in shape though. 20km of spinning the crank per day.
  • + 1
 studded tires on the cx rig ftw.
  • + 2
 Next person to say they can't understand Ratboy or what's off season should be smacked over the head with sock full of diarrhoea
  • + 2
 Or says they ride 'moto'
  • + 1
 I remember an old add in a magazin. Bearclaw was on the chairlift with his speci bighit besides some skiers. Text: there is no off season. Hahah i rode more than ever this wintrr and i do not regret it. It was siiick
  • + 1
 Winter is when I take the gears off the hardtail and ride singlespeed for two months. And waterproof socks. I can't remember life before waterproof socks tough. Game changer.
  • + 1
 Always ridden during the winter, can't beat a bit of riding in the mud. This winter I stepped it up a notch so I could do some enduro races this year, basically more cardio in the gym and more distance on the bike.
  • + 2
 Bike, snow, skate....pick one, depending on the weather. Used have surfing in the mix when I lived on the coast. Off season doesn't mean anything.
  • + 1
 Of season? Haha, I don't even get an off day! Have to figure out how to divide my summer between MTB, lax, Nordic training, and xc running.
  • + 1
 what is nordic training?
  • + 1
 @JoseBravo: Training for xc ski racing.
  • + 1
 @Nordicskier1: I thought it was some kind of viking training, like rowing and pillaging villages
  • + 1
 for a month or so in Denver there is a forced off season unless you want to drive to 20 Plus hours or ride in 30-degree goodness in NM. Surfs up!
  • + 1
 ski season in park city, i lower the pressure in my tires and go for a ride on the bike path when cold and sunny but its not enough...
  • + 1
 first time in years, because of the snow in N. Van, I did not ride for 1+ months, first and last time, I hope. Go ski! I'll ride
  • + 1
 Do you even lift? I hide in the gym until that first embarrassing spring ride when I realize how detrimental a couple of months off the bike can be. Some climbs be rough bro!
  • + 1
 The Only off season i get is when the snow is 4 feet deep and you cant ride. and when thats the case i still use my trainer. So do i take a off season eh not really.
  • + 1
 I use the winter off season to focus on other things, like weights and flexibility, but I still ride when possible/trails are clear/it's above 20F.
  • + 2
 Being in Alberta some days will have -30c days. I ride my fat bike and my trainer during the winter.
  • + 2
 I would love a "I slow down in the winter but I dont stop" option
  • + 1
 Skiing and winter sports are my passion since i was 7, grew up in the mountains region so bike is my alternative
  • + 1
 Over here we can ride 350 days a year Smile
The only two seasons i know is:
Duck-season / Rabit-season
  • + 1
 Shit. Take a look at the SX/National(outdoors) schedule, then tell me these riders still have it tough
  • + 1
 winter = fat biking and skiing. Expect for the couple of weeks of below -30, then it's off season training.
  • + 3
 Off season?
  • + 2
 I live slap bang in the middle of England. The weather goes from average, to crappy, and back to average, all in one day. Every day. It is off season all year here.
  • + 1
 "Staying in reality, Matt Wragg hits the mat in the off-season." - and his ebike.
  • + 2
 Crested Butte has two seasons. Winter and the 4th of July. ....
  • + 1
 It's Feb 24 and 77 degrees fahrenheit here, somewhere in the Southeast USA. So no, I don't even off season, bro.
  • + 1
 100 + degrees outside = perfect lets ride. Raining and muddy like hell = perfect lets ride. what's the problem, just ride.
  • + 2
 socal...we are a perpetual desert...until this year that is
  • + 2
 There is no reason to have an off season in Texas
  • + 1
 Same in South FL. Days are just a little shorter so there's some night ride opportunity during the work week in the winter. Otherwise it's business as usual.
  • + 1
 Funny that the majority of the riders comment that they ride year round. The trails seem pretty empty.
  • + 3
 Toronto Winters Suck.
  • + 1
 So do western NY winters
  • + 12
 I think you can take the winters part right out of that comment...
  • + 2
 @VwHarman: pretty much
  • + 1
 @JayTucc: least you guys have a couple of mountains nearby.
  • + 1
 @JesseE: your hockey team is at least trending in the right direction though. Us? Not so much...
  • + 1
 I agree but studs or FATbike and it makes it hurt less...unless you mean,stuck in the city!
  • + 1
 I love it! A conversation between 2 Canadians regarding biking offseason quickly results in a friendly exchange about hockey. Go Blues!!!
  • + 2
 @ryan83: We are a good bunch. Here's to spring guys!
  • + 1
 we put the fenders on and just go for it.
  • + 1
 No off-season in Australia!
  • + 1
 Only getting downvoted by PB broduro crowd
  • + 0
 Dust Season and Mud Season (this year anyway) - we ride unsponsored year-round.
  • + 1
 I get a job at a ski resort and shred the white stuff for a few months.
  • + 1
 stupid snow in canada gets me off the bike for a few months
  • + 1
 F***ing exams had me stuck inside for a whole month
  • + 1
 My excuse is the snow and the roads salt!
  • + 0
 Probably the only good thing that comes with that chinese invention called "global warming" is the all year round riding...
  • + 1
 Welcome to Britain....where every season is off season
  • + 1
 cut back during Cedar Season
  • + 0
 Let me just check my strava, 650km this week.. I guess its not my off season.
  • - 1
 Anyone with an off-season is simply a hobbyist. There's nothing wrong with that but, in that case, it's should not even be considered a "season".
  • + 1
 off season=dig season
  • + 2
 But all my local trails are under 5ft of snow! Unless you mean dig the snow off them... I have enough trouble keeping my driveway clear haha
  • + 1
 @kevin267: hehe fair comment. recent years have brought significantly less snow locally so i take advantage.
  • + 0
 off season is when the Ebike hit it up

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2017. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv56 0.085015
Mobile Version of Website