The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Damian Pothecary

As ever I have a whole new reason why I’ve not ridden my bike as much as I would have liked lately. And, as ever, I can’t really blame anyone for it other than myself. It seemed so very logical, if not even required, that a family of 5 with 3 young (one very young) children and busy lives clearly needed a little more complexity. Perfect answer? A puppy. Obviously. While I was expecting it to eat into my already…

After strenuously denying the need or value of a drop post for the last couple of years with an argument based entirely on a long history of not ever dropping my seat post my views recently took a change in direction. In isolation I still don’t see the benefits of the dropper, even having owned one now for some months, but in conjunction with the evolution of bike design, trends and even terrain is it now arguable that a dropper…

Being a mountain biker at forty offers rather more challenges than just terrain and skills. For me the sheer complexity of managing a corporate job, frequent and unavoidable travel, a tribe of children (seriously seems like they’re everywhere!), a busy working wife and a very energetic puppy mean that locating time to pedal is the toughest element of the sport for me. This means that when I do get a rare, selfish opportunity to dedicate time and travel to the…

Its still mighty damp round here, I know plenty of guys getting out on the trails but I have to say riding in seriously boggy conditions really doesn’t float my boat unless I absolutely have to. As I’ve mentioned before I believe that part of the responsibility of being a biker is trail maintenance and seriously wet natural trails can get badly damaged by heavy use. Add to the this the heavy toll in terms of maintenance time and cost…

It should be winter here in Gingerville. It should be all clear, crisp, frosty dawns. Breath steaming in the quiet morning air. The winter sun should be glinting off of frosted, firm winter trails like something from a chocolate box scene. It should. It most certainly isn’t but it should. No, Mr. J. Frost has obviously decided to take a sabbatical and mother nature has hastily replaced him with brothers Damp and Moist and their never ending supply of precipitation…

As I sit here mid holidays, belly straining under the volume of roasted delicacies and more than my share of merriment (if you catch my drift….) I find myself reflecting on the year behind us, inevitably thoughts turn to mountain biking and my plans for 2014. Of course 2014 will be the evolution of that I have learned in 2013 so (over a festive tipple) I pose the fundamental questions around exactly what I have learned, decided or stumbled upon…

Its always tricky being a mountain biker, talking about mountain biking whilst not having actually done any mountain biking. But this time there is a good solid, 30 year reason for the pedaling drought. And hard as it is I have to admit this time actively not riding has been the best thing. Hard tail? Full Suss? All Mountain? Erm, No mountain, no bike even. Armchair month for the win. So let me expand. For about 8 years, following a…

As a middle aged man (is 39 middle aged?) there is one thing that is harder than all other things. Harder than neurosurgery in boxing gloves, harder than eating sushi whilst watching a SAW movie. Admitting you are wrong. Oh yes, its true, we are genetically coded to avoid this outcome at all costs. We may sail pretty close to the wind. We may offer reasons why an alternate approach would have been preferable. We could suggest that if our…

For some time I have been blathering, some would say incoherently, about getting to the core of my riding. About stripping back the bling to uncover the boom. I’ve meandered around wheel sizes, levels of suspension and the relative ‘emotion’ of the sport. Following some deeply unscientific reasoning I made the not remotely spontaneous purchase of a new bike putting my money where my waffle was and laying down the bucks without the usual trail testing. This, dear readers is…

Over the years I have entered into a million conversations about upgrading my bike, the best, cleverest, shiniest, prettiest, cheapest, most expensive and of course coolest upgrades you can make to your mountain bike. Of course part of the charm of mountain biking generally is the conversation, in fact I think that the chat is one of the most positive elements of following any sport and as such its always important to keep your bucket list of dream upgrades polished…

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