Take a look at the bikes above. They seem to share very few things in common. One is a stripped down rigid bike, or as they say on the in Internets, “ridged.” The other is a very modern all-mountain bike, able to survive weekend trail rides and the worst downhill tracks imaginable.
What are they doing together? Why am I asking myself questions? They are together because they are both mountain bikes. I’m asking myself questions because it is a cheap and easy rhetorical device, utilized in this case because I’m already late with this column.
On a personal level, I love both these bikes, and understand why they exist. Maybe I’m just some kind of weird pansexual when it comes to bikes, or maybe there are just a lot of people who can’t see very far beyond their own front wheels.
Do you find yourself deriding other riders’ choice of bike? Do you look down your nose at old equipment? Do you often find yourself thinking that some new technology is ruining mountain biking? Do you like to complain that this sport is getting too expensive? Are you now asking yourself why I’m asking you questions?
It’s time to let this all go. Deep breaths, long exhales, get your damn chakras in line. All those thoughts are dead ends. Other riders’ bikes should have zero impact on your day. As for new technology ruining things? Where does that line of thought stop? Suspension? Gears? Pneumatic tires? You’ll be naked and walking if you head too far down that rabbit hole of Luddite-ism.
I’ve got no problems with people picking a station and getting off the train of technological progression, but admit its arbitrariness and move on. Next time you see a rider on a bike you don’t understand, and you feel that ugly anger and xenophobia bubbling up, take a look at the rider. Odds are the dude or lady is grinning.
It doesn’t seem to matter if the bike is a clapped out Trek 830, some guy Matt Chester-ing it through the woods on a fixed gear Franken-bike, or a $10k dream bike, riding is riding, and riding is good.
Right now, we have a huge range of mountain bikes available to us, from super basic single speeds to carbon fiber wonder machines. Ain’t no one telling you to ride one or the other. As someone who gets to ride more mountain bikes than 99 percent of the population, I’m only going to tell you to ride as many bikes as possible, as often as possible. This shit is fun. Don’t worry about everyone else. They’ll get by fine without your bad looks and grumbling about whatever it is you want to complain about.
Let the hate go, man. Or at least direct it toward something truly worthy of our distain: inline skaters. Those guys are the real numbskulls. ￼￼
Editor’s note: This rant originally appeared in Dirt Rag Issue #176. To make sure you’re reading all of our columnists, order a subscription today.