Let’s face it, mountain biking doesn’t exactly enjoy the same level of exposure in mainstream media as, say, pro football or Kim Kardashian’s derriere. And what does get shown on TV and garners views on Youtube doesn’t exactly paint a very accurate picture of the sport either, which explains why there are so many misconceptions about mountain bikers and what we’re all about.
Next time you tell someone of the general population that you’re a mountain biker, here’s what’s likely going through their head (and in yours):
1. SO, YOU’RE A WANNABE DIRT BIKER?
Nope. Pretty sure if I wanted to be a dirt biker, I’d be dirt biking. Yes, I choose to pedal up a mountain. And don’t get me started on e-bikes.
2. YOU’RE LIKE A BMXER, BUT ON A FLASHY BIKE
Closer. But not quite.
3. DO YOU DO THIS THING CALLED THE TOUR DE FRANCE?
Ok, that’s actually kind of insulting.
4. YOU’RE A TOTAL NUTCASE
Everyone and their grandmother shared that video of Kelly McGarry backflipping a 72ft canyon gap. Yes, the likes of Kelly McGarry are absolutely nuts. Like, are-you-friggin-kidding-me kind of nuts. But let’s set the record straight: they represent 0.0000000001% of the mountain biking population. My riding buddies and I are perfectly content keeping the rubber side down, thank you very much.
5. YOU’RE BLOODY RECKLESS
I see where you’re coming from. You probably saw 127 Hours and figured every mountain biker is a careless adventure junkie with a dull knife and no helmet. Thanks a lot, James Franco. But in all seriousness, go through my Camelback before I head out for a ride – it’s packed full of snacks, tools, a water bladder, hydration tablets, spare parts, a first aid kit and a GPS. I’m better prepared than a Swiss boy scout.
6. YOU SAY ‘DUUUDE’ A LOT
7. YOU SAY ‘EH’ A LOT
Those are just Canadian mountain bikers. Those crazy canucks.
8. GIRLS DON’T RIDE THOUGH, RIGHT?
That’s the biggest pile of poo-poo and couldn’t be any further from the truth. Women mountain bikers are the fastest growing segment in the industry and show no signs of slowing down. Just check out blogs like mtb4her, brands like Juliana bicycles or hit up any hot local trail to see for yourself.
9. YOU RIDE CRAZY SH*T
That guy whose video you probably saw – that’s Danny Macaskill, and he just happens to have made a career out of doing crazy sh*t that by no means represents what the average mountain biker is even capable of conceiving. I enjoy a good challenge, but I know my limits. Front-flipping over a barb-wired fence? Yeah, no. Just no.
10. YOU DESTROY TRAILS
I can’t speak for all mountain bikers, but the ones I know (and I know quite a few) care a great deal about their trails. As a matter of fact, we play a big part in maintaining, improving and advocating for them. Thanks to the hard work of organizations like the IMBA, the deeply entrenched argument that my mountain bike is bad for our trails is losing ground. But we all have a role to play in dispelling this myth: when you throw a leg over a mountain bike, you become an ambassador for the sport. So act accordingly, will ya?==============
11. YOU’RE MEAN TO HIKERS
Perhaps, but only when horseback riders and unicorns are mean to me.
12. YOU LOOK LIKE THIS GUY:
Ok, that was taken back when cell phones were the size of a shoe box and you owned a pair of Air Jordan’s. I like to think I look more like this guy:
13. YOU KEEP TALKING ABOUT YOUR WHEEL SIZE
There may be some truth to that one.
14. YOU DRINK A LOT OF BEER.
I’d have to say that is absolutely not untrue.