I accept the fact that I’m not a “normal” mountain biker… Who knows, maybe I am? Let me explain…
I’m involved with my local club, but only through advocacy. I don’t race at all (well, okay, I’ll turn up once a year in a team of 6 or so to do a 24 hour enduro race, but it’s far more a case of camping in the proximity of a bike event than what anyone would refer to as “racing”).
I ride XC, on flat pedals.
I have a singlespeed, but it’s not a 29er (and I don’t sport silly facial hair).
I have a Brooks saddle, but I don’t ride a rigid fork.
My bike does have some light parts (steel frame, flat pedals, 500g Brooks saddle and steel coil sprung fork notwithstanding).
Pretty much the only reason I ride is for a reason most folks in mountain biking land seem to have forgotten completely. I’ll say it slowly in the hope that you will understand…
I ride a mountain bike to relax…
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy triumphing over a technical section as much as the next person, and if I can be quick and flowy it feels great, but basically, when I’m out on the bike, I don’t have to worry about all the other day to day dross that clutters my life.
Once you get involved in the “proper” mtb world, as with most sports, it all becomes “serious”.
This leaves me wondering if the families puttering about on their K-Mart clunkers haven’t actually got their heads screwed on more than the rest of us. Sure, their bikes may be heavy unreliable rubbish utterly unsuited to any place off the footpath, but if they’re together just enjoying the outdoors without a care in the world, aren’t they doing exactly the same thing that I still try to do, and doing the thing that most of the folks I know from the mtb world seem to have lost?
Go do it. Head out somewhere not for a race, not trying to beat your buddies, not trying to be fast, leave your heart rate monitor at home, stop to look at the plants, the animals, the clouds, the trees.
Go get out there just for the sake of getting out and go ride like you used to when you were a kid…
Or maybe it’s just me?