It seems like a common misconception in the non mountain biking community that all of mountain biking is what you see in Rampage, or in the North Shore videos. The honest truth is that, for most people, the ridiculous jumps and big 8 inch travel bikes won’t happen. Wikipedia claims (unsourced) that Cross Country riding sees the most participation of any MTB discipline, both in terms of recreational riding and racing.
Why is this important to you, the biker? Well, consider for a moment that you are not a biker. Put yourself in the shoes of that friend you’re always trying to convince to go riding. Now, if you’re that person, and your only experience with mountain biking happens to be Something like this (link), and stories of the war wounds your riding friends have gotten (let’s face it, we’ve all shared those), would you really be that likely to charge out on a ride?
As someone that rides in B.C., but frankly is terrified of half the stuff I see people doing, this is a pretty constant issue for me when I’m looking for people to ride with. In my experience, the “extreme” portrayal of mountain biking is probably the biggest issue with attracting new riders to the sport (sort of like when you see the roadies in full kits, riding in the 18” highway shoulder, and think to yourself “no way in hell could I ever do that”). So, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the message across to newer riders that NOT ALL MOUNTAIN BIKING IS SCARY!
The whole point of this post, and the video you can see below, is to show that you really don’t need to be hitting huge drops just because you’re on a mountain bike. What you’ll see below is what makes up pretty much all of my riding, even in BC (just a little ways South of where Mr. Secco shot the Vimeo video above).
So, again – though mountain biking can be super extreme (X-Treme, even!), not all of it is! I’ve ridden the machined downhill runs, and I’ve hit some (modest) jumps, but I still think the sort of riding you get on cross-country trails is the best. On the other hand, some of the guys I ride with have the exact opposite feelings!
Just keep in mind, the next time you’re trying to talk someone into riding with you, that some people have a very different idea of what exactly “mountain biking” means. Maybe instead of (realistically, in addition to) telling the story of your wicked wipeout, talk about the time your dog almost chased an eagle off the cliff, or that time an owl just about flew into you on the last straight stretch of the singletrack.