The Mountain Bike Life

I may be treading into some dangerous territory here, but I’m just going to come out and say it. To me, a bike is a bike. Now, I’m not saying I don’t occasionally baby my bike (I do), nor am I saying that I don’t feel an attachment to my bike (again, I do – I tend to talk to it [fine, her] alarmingly frequently). What I mean, instead, is that as long as you have at least one wheel and somewhere to sit, you’re golden.

Road Bike is currently on the rack in my bedroom – I’m not brave enough to ride it on the road, now that it’s rainy season again.

Occasionally, you will run into the sort of person on the trails (paved or not, I’ve met them on my skinnies and on my knobbies) who, it seems, believes that they’re inherently more skilled and/or knowledgeable than you are, purely by virtue of them having a shinier ride. Personally, I cannot stand those people. I don’t know if it makes me more or less of a purist, but I’m of the opinion that as long as what you’re riding isn’t outright dangerous, there really isn’t any reason to be dismissive.

Critical Mass
Bikes are awesome, and they make people happy. No one cares how much they cost! Photo credit to Turkletom

I currently have what one could call a stable of bikes in my basement. The majority of them are mine, the majority of them are higher-end, and the majority of them are mountain bikes. That really doesn’t give me the right to look at someone riding a $200 Walmart bike and laugh, though – if anything, I appreciate someone riding something like that more than I do the guy out on his $6,000 custom titanium FS rig, because obviously the first guy loves the sport enough to keep at it regardless of how much heavier his frame might be. Possibly I feel this way because I started riding with other people in university, so I would not-infrequently be hitting black diamond trails on my Camber, along with one buddy on a Santa Cruz Bullit, and another on a fendered, skinny-tired, steel commuter. It certainly didn’t make things easier, and the subsequent upgrade was pretty exciting, but we were still out there, enjoying the hell out of our day. Isn’t that the whole point?

The upgrade!

So keep that in mind, the next time you head out to the trails. If you’re one of the “Old Guard” (meaning, one of those that’ve worked their asses off to afford something plush), consider giving one of the newbloods a couple minutes on your bike – you will simultaneously be letting them in on exactly why you spent a large portion of your net wealth on 20lbs of metal, and reaffirming to yourself exactly why you fell in love with the sport to begin with (plus, depending on what you trade for, it may help you rationalize the price tag).

Rider Profile: "Darb"
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