What I am seeing lately disturbs me. While this attitude definitely spans farther than cycling these days, it seems the polarizing extremes are out to kill something cool that we all enjoy once again…Strava.
Strava started out as an awesome idea that the industry was lacking. Let’s turn GPS routing into something you can not only track against yourself…but the other people you ride with and others in you area. Awesome! You mean to tell me that I can now track my own progress and have some fun with my friends at the same time? This is awesome. Sign me up.
Inevitably, as with anything else cool, the polarizing extremes are trying to tear down something that the masses enjoy without issue by having a complete lack of common sense. Yes, there are a small percentage of people that believe having the KOM is the end all be all in their little world. They will push you out of the way, run over a fellow cyclist and break laws just to get that KOM. It is obsessing their life and if they don’t have it…they are nothing. Ultimately, this is a group that most people do not want to be associated with, which…in turn…discourages use.
There are also those that are speaking out saying how stupid the service is. Anyone who uses it is not a true cyclist. Look at me…there are no computers on my bike and that makes me better than you. You are an idiot for even caring and I look down on you and your riding. This group tries to discourage you from using the service.
Then there is a third group…those that lack personal responsibility and look for someone to blame for bad situations. It is Strava’s fault that my loved one wrecked. They should pay. While I feel for the families effected and would never wish that on anyone, the transference of liability and personal responsibility is an attempt at claiming that Strava should be responsible for any wreck on a segment (there are two lawsuits pending against Strava currently). Just another “it’s not my fault…it is yours” situation that we are finding in the world today (thanks lawyers). This group wants to insinuate that Strava is dangerous and shouldn’t be allowed to operate.
However, there is a 4th, much larger group, that is a group of cyclists that truly enjoys the service and is able to use it with the spirit in which it was intended…responsibly. Somehow…the masses that are enjoying something cool…don’t have a voice.
A Call To Riders: Start Using Common Sense
I was reading an article recently where BBC interviewed Strava’s chief executive, Michael Horvath after a recent slew of pro and anti Strava articles that have been stripping through the web. What struck me as most important was the intentions Horvath had with Strava in the beginning.
“The impetus for the idea was thinking how do we recreate this when we aren’t connected to people anymore through our daily existence, when we are busy with work and family and everything is pulling us and taking us away from our life as an athlete,” he says. ”We want to create that feeling of that virtual connection to other athletes that are like us.”
“Our people are active,” he says. “I am sure that there are people in their families who say they are obsessed about cycling. But we are not making them more obsessive, what we are creating is a place for them to tell their story. They have these habits anyway and we’re giving them the place to present it in a way that’s meaningful to them.”
“We’re certainly not trying to polarise,” Mr Horvath says. ”We can communicate, ‘Don’t be that guy, use good judgment. Remember that there are other people on the trail.’ And I think we spread that message.”
“I spend no time looking where I stand on the leader boards – I look at how I am doing relative to my previous performances,” he says. ”You realise that there is always going to be somebody faster than you. Surely you weren’t thinking you were the fastest cyclist in your neighbourhood.
“So that maturation of the athlete on Strava is something I think that we’ll see more clearly.”
It seems like I am saying this a lot lately about different areas of life, but when did people lose all common sense? If I asked a road biker to jump on a mountain bike for the first time and do a container drop at Whistler…they would tell me I am insane. However, some of these same road bikers think it is a good idea not to help out a fellow rider, break road laws and endanger their own life (and others) just for a spot at the top in a race that doesn’t matter. It is the same on the mountain biking side of things as well.
What the industry really needs is a dose of common sense and a reality check. Cycling is a sport that is supposed to be enjoyed by all. It is not a method of proving how much better you are than someone else. While it is fun to compete between friends, that should not distract from the true reason we get on a bike…because it is fun. When you stop having fun or are taking away from other’s fun because of your complete lack of realizing what is going on around you…you are going against everything that makes cycling awesome.
At the same time, this doesn’t mean that just because a select few want to act like idiots that we should strip cycling of technology. Strava is a fun aspect of the sport when it is used correctly and not at the expense of others.
As Horvath also said in the interview…
“But as I get older, I am less interested about how fast I am going, I’m more interested about how much fun I am having. And so that again goes back to storytelling and the social aspect which is at the core of Strava – that connectedness to other athletes.”
Connecting with other riders and watching each other’s progress should be a fun and social aspect of cycling. Never before have we been able to connect with so many riders through social media outlets like forums, Facebook and services like Strava. The trick is to step back and realize that everything in life should be done with moderation and nothing is worth endangering yourself or others.
I also think that idiots that endanger the life of others should not deter us from using social outlets to connect with other riders. Just because a select few can’t follow the social rules of cycling, that does not mean that we need to go back to the days of no suspension, rotary phones and topography maps. That is just a gut reaction that once again hurts the masses that enjoy that aspect of cycling.
I know…the view of using something responsibly and asking people to have fun is not all that exciting. You are sitting here thinking…yeah…that is common sense, but if that is true…why has this even become an issue then?
After a really rough year on the bike (injury and personal), I am planning on using Strava as my indicator on my progress as I continue to try to get back into the shape I was before the wall hit. For me, that makes Strava invaluable as it is a tool that will ultimately help my journey back on the bike and keep me riding. Hopefully, someday soon, I will beat my own personal KOM’s and enjoy being back in the riding shape I am used to.
The extremes of either side of the argument are getting the bandwidth online right now. My recommendation is to give a voice to the large majority of users that enjoy the service. Keep using Strava as it was intended and share that experience with other riders that do the same. Ultimately, that is what keeps a service like Strava going and silences the small percentage that tries to ruin the experience for everyone else.
As I talked about in a previous article about me knee pain, I got into CrossFit over late fall/early winter to work on some muscles that were heavily underused in my biking. It turned out to be an awesome experience and I would highly recommend for everyone that is into mountain biking to at least incorporate some of the CrossFit principles into your cross training workouts. There are some very direct mountain biking benefits to this type of cross training. My technical climbing and descending has greatly improved, and my burst power used in those steep grunts is way better than ever. I’m able to finally understand what people mean by muscling my bike through rocks. I can pick up the tires over rocks and direct the back end of the bike where I want. It has enabled me to clear technical climbs that I used to walk, and I recently nailed a very technical what used to be a 50 minute climb in 32 minutes. That’s what I call improvement!
CrossFit in short is a training methodology that focuses on “functional movements”, which are basically things you could do in real life (well not me and you, but maybe firemen or policemen, I sit at a desk). You don’t do any isolation exercises like bicep curls. It has compound exercises, many of which are Olympic lifts that work not only your major muscle groups, but also all the stabilizer muscles. That is the key in my opinion, as it will not only make those major muscles stronger, you are also working out all the support muscles leading to less injuries. There is a new WOD (Workout Of the Day) each day, and those are switched up, so you and your muscles and never bored and plateau’d. Also, the competition aspect of CrossFit makes you work hard and really push yourself. Every workout has some competition aspect to it, whether it’s AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible in a defined time frame) or performing a pre-set number of rounds no matter how long it takes.
An example CrossFit homy gym. Mine isn’t that fancy.
Having said all this, CrossFit can be abused and since it’s easy to open a CrossFit gym, there are many bad ones to go along with the great ones out there. In my opinion, it’s very much worth the extra money to join a good, experienced CrossFit gym in the beginning to learn how to perform all the complex Olympic lifts and learn proper form. Without proper form, you WILL hurt yourself. Especially if you try to overdo it. I personally joined a great gym for 3 months and learned as much as I could. I went 4 days a week and tried to absorb all the knowledge. Now that the biking base training season has kicked in, I’ve built a little home garage gym, and I’ve scaled back my workouts to 2-3 days a week as part of my training plan (LW Coaching training plan review coming soon!) and don’t do as high of an intensity as I did before. I’m focusing on maintaining my strength and keeping all those support muscles happy but I don’t want to build a bunch more strength.
Have you tried CrossFit and if not, what kind of cross training do you do?
As a father of a one year old son, this video is exactly what I hope to do sometime in the future. The pure joy of Dan’s son that is brought about by riding with his dad and going over jumps for the first time is infectious. It makes me look forward to the future while also reminding me to enjoy mountain biking exactly like this.
When you here “Dad! I did it!” for the first time, it really does take you back to the first time you did a stunt as a kid or even the last time you did one now. For me, this is what riding is really about at the end of the day…having fun on the bike. Enjoy.
Malcolm’s first Descent of the first ramp on Hellion at Highland Park (age 4 yrs). Thanks everyone for your encouragement and comments. Malcolm lives in Maine. We ride often at Highland Mtn Bike Park enjoying not only the incredible trails, but the supportive and friendly community and staff which Mark Hayes has created. Kudos to all of you there, and thanks for having us. Malcolm also participted in The Maine Youth Bike Race Seris (in Falmouth, ME) this past summer. It’s another wonderful place for kids to get together to ride and have fun. Thanks to Andrew Freye for organizing this event.
Malcs is indeed 4 years old and hopes that this video will encourage other kids and their caregivers to get out there and ride! Again, glad people are enjoying the video.
I was scrolling through my personal Facebook timeline this morning, when I came across an extremely happy looking picture of a little girl. The caption read…
What bicycling feels like…every single time!
I am not normally a sucker for social meme’s as I think they have gotten a little out of control (about 12 cycling related ones hit my timeline a day and that doesn’t even include the other themes), but this one really made me smile.
As much as some of us (me included) try to look tough on the bike, this is exactly what I feel like every time I am turning the cranks. While the outside looks serious and ready to tackle any obstacle, hill or downhill in my way, the inside is really just going WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!
Life is short…you can’t take it too seriously
There are very few things in life that give us that same sensation every time we partake in the activity. Cycling has always been one of them for me and it fills a direct need to remember what it is like to have fun and not to take life so seriously. When I have adequate saddle time, the little things in life seem to roll off easier and stress is better managed. I got my fun release that lets me restart for the day and focus on what is important.
During times of a lot of space between riding, I find myself getting too sensitive over the little things with my tolerances to getting angry and frustrated getting smaller. One day out on the bike…and those seem to get put back in check as got my fix.
Keeping us young both at heart and physically
Part of cycling also allows me to stay young at heart. You see older people all around you that get…well…old. There are even some younger people that get old too quickly purely because of inactivity.
I have watched cycling create 80 year old active kids. Something about it (including the health benefits) keeps your mind and body young much like the girl in the picture. I truly believe that cycling is the fountain of youth in modern day society. It keeps you active and keeps you having fun in your life. It reminds you how it feels to not have a care in the world and how to get excited about having fun.
To make things even better, the sport of cycling surrounds you with people who want to do the same thing.
Picking tires for xc racers and dh rigs is easy. Find the lightest or biggest tires for your ride and taylor them to the conditions you are riding in at the time. Other than that…ride it like you stole it. For recreational riders on trail bikes in the 130mm – 150mm travel range, life is not as easy. You want the grip of the heavy set from the DH rigs but you also want the low rolling resistance of the XC weight weenie tires.
So what are you supposed to run that will give you the best of both worlds?
The answer is a little bit easier than you would think, but you need to take into consideration what is actually happening with your bike while on the trail to make an informed decision that works.
How your bike works on the trail
When you ride a trail bike, you take it everywhere. From long climbs to long descents and pedaling rollers, the modern day trail bike is touted as the do-it-all option for riders looking to get out on the weekends. It has cemented itself as a great one bike option or the bike you grab when you just want to have a day of fun on the trail. Whether it is a 120mm travel 29er or a 150mm travel AM monster, the bike is not meant to be on the podium of an XC race or do big drops…it just works really well in almost all conditions.
When you ride your trail bike, there are certain fundamental things that are happening that allow it to do everything. The geometry is relaxed enough to give you stability on the downhills, but the bike is also efficient and light enough to sustain all day climbing. So how to we optimize both characteristics with your tire choice as it can be the #1 part that speeds you up or slows you down?
The Front Tire On A Trail Bike
The front tire on your trail bike is your main source of grip and braking. When you go blasting into a turn or have to brake hard for obstacles, the front tire is what keeps your bike upright and brings you to a stop. The front tire is also the source of most “oh shit” saves in conjunction with the front suspension fork, so increased volume is always a goal as that increases the bikes ability to pull you out of hairy situations. The front tire’s cornering grip is also essential in preventing front end washouts that leave you performing a huge yard sale on the trail.
On the flip side of that equation, the front tire has very little to do with climbing other than weight on your bike. For this purpose, when we think of front tire choices, we think of the DH side of the equation.
How much grip and volume can we get on the front without attaching an overweight boat anchor to the front end of our bikes?
Luckily, the tire industry has caught up with the latest trends in biking and has released large volume, grip filled, lighter weight tires that are perfect for this application. These tires (while heavier than their narrower counterparts) provide the balance between volume, grip and weight that we really look for in a front tire for a trail bike. With widths typically in the 2.3 to 2.4 range, these tires will transform your bike into a DH monster without carrying around a DH tire.
The rear tire of your trail bike is what puts the power to the ground. The chainline is direct attached to the rear wheel that drives your bike forward, so the more tread and weight you have…the harder you are going to have to work to propel the bike in the forward direction.
Under braking, the rear tire is typically used as a momentum scrubber that often times locks up and skids. This makes some tread a good thing, but going overboard with a grippier tire does not pay the dividends like on the front. Also, your “oh shit” moments are greater aided by the stiffness and rear weight bias on the rear suspension. While the increased volume on the front saves you weight weight shifts forward, the rear is more stable and capable of handling big hits with ease.
When you take these into consideration, the rear tire lends itself towards a lighter, narrower and faster rolling setup to optimize efficiency. Depending on trail conditions, you might even want a really light, mid volume tire with a really low tread pattern (think hardpack trail conditions) so you really maximize the amount of power that is coming from your legs that reaches the ground. If the trail is rockier and more technical, look for a tire with increased sidewall protection to prevent flats. If you followed the same setup as your front tire, that efficiency could be lost. Tires for the rear typically range from 2.1 to 2.25 (2.35 sometimes depending on manufacturer) widths.
So what have we done here? We analyzed exactly how each end of the bike functions and optimized the tire selection to match that purpose. By doing this, we are able to increase efficiency while not losing the overall grip we are ultimately wanting out of a trail bike. Overall weight was also kept at a minimum without much sacrifice.
There are too many times we have seen 150mm trail bike setups with very small tires up front on big forks in an attempt to save weight when…in reality…the savings are trumped by the lack of grip. With the latest tire designs and technology, we are now able to bring that grip back without the weight issues due to how the front tire actually interacts with the bike and effects your ride.
A week ago yesterday, I headed out for our regular Tuesday night “Dirt and Taco’s” at our local mountain bike trail.
As part of the evenings festivities, we typically head back to a small DH/FR area and session for most of the night. We get in some great climbing while getting the added benefit of a big payoff on the way down. After about a dozen or so runs (the DH run only takes 43 seconds if you are pinning it), we finish out the XC loops and head to a great Mexican restaurant afterwards.
Last Tuesday, I decided I was going to go for broke. Thanks to Strava, we have a segment on the gully run of the downhill, so it is always a battle for the top spot. I held it for a long time but a friend of mine came back and dropped me by a second. It was time to drop the hammer and put down a hot run to reclaim the top spot.
The bike felt great on the climb up so I decided to make the first run of the day my Strava segment crusher. Those of you that have been riding for more than 5 minutes already know that the first or last run of the day is the last run you ever want to make a balls out timed hammer. I went against my better judgement and came manualing across the start line at full tilt ready to show everyone how incredibly awesome I am after my upload and subsequent post to Facebook that night.
The first turn hit and it was much looser than previous days. The hot days of Atlanta have settled in a grip was at a minimum. The front end of the bike completely left me and it was yard sale city. When the dust settled, I had a completely road rashed arm, chunk out of my hip, bruised up legs and a broken brake lever on the bike. My night was over before it even started and I officially had my first SIW (Strava Induced Wreck). I packed up my ego and headed home with mangled bike and body.
So…instead of resting like I should, I decided to grab another bike and head out to Stanley Gap on Saturday for a ride we had planned for awhile. I wasn’t quite 100% yet obviously but what the hell…I wasn’t missing out on my favorite area to ride in GA. The day started off badly. An unknown mechanical wasted half of my energy up the first climb and I was quickly realizing that my body might not be ready for several thousand feet of elevation gain on the day.
I ended up cutting most of the ride short in preparation for the last downhill to try to at least salvage something out of the day. The last 7+ minute downhill finally came and again I was ready to hit it at full tilt. My legs were trashed but I was still managing to keep some speed down the hill and through the technical sections.
About 3/4 of the way down the hill…it happened…
Right calf cramp in an off camber, washed out corner, at speed. I hit the ground fast. When the dust finally settled on that wreck, I was left with a broken rear spoke and saddle but I appeared to be fine other than my glasses and helmet visor far away from me. Then I finally got home and realized that my elbow was sollen up and my face had bruises. Both sides of my body were beat but no hospital trips so that is a win (funny how we try to make wrecks positive…that means I can ride right?!)!
Now…with two broken bikes and some time off the bike…that 5 day stretch is leaving me feeling like I just went rounds with Tyson. For some odd reason, my brain is actually telling me it is ok to ride even though commonsense is stepping in with the reality that if I push myself now…the 3rd one is going to be a hospital trip.
Why do wrecks come in series?
For as long as I can remember riding (seriously riding since the early 90′s), my wrecks have always come in series. I’ll have months of worry free shredding to come across a week or several weeks of doing nothing but hitting the ground. Sometimes they are bad and end up in hospital visits. Other times it is just an annoying set of seemingly lost rhythm that can not be shaken. Either way, it ends up coming then going away with no real reason why.
Does the first wreck start a mental breakdown that causes the second? Is my body just not ready and I push it too hard? Is there an uncontrollable force in the biking world that creates this phenomenon? Have I lost “the force”?
At first, I thought it was just me, but if you ask riders across the world, they will tell you the same thing. Wrecks breed wrecks and it takes several solid, wreck free runs to get out of the cycle.
Whatever causes it, I am in the uphill battle of getting out of the rut and getting the focus to clean runs that keep the rubber side down. That might require me to slow down a bit which is my hardest hurdle in life. Either way…I have to quit hitting dirt.
For those of us in the southeast US, this week is a pivotal point in our year. Daylight savings time hit and that sparks the beginning of our true riding season. After work rides without lights are now a reality and the weather is about to get warmer. For every rider, it is the beginning of the best riding part of the year.
About this time, I always look back on the previous years riding and what I want to do differently in the coming season. Obviously for me, it is going to be to keep the back healthy. Core workouts and adjusting my riding style are going to play a big part of that if I want to ride pain free and the reality is that big drops to flat and hard tail/rigid bikes are probably out of the equation now. The really sad part about that is now the Wolfhound is going to be a wall decoration in the house…sad day indeed…
Other than trying to keep healthy, there are a few other things I have been thinking about a lot lately that I want to change in my 2012 riding season. Most of this thinking was sparked from a Facebook post I started a couple of weeks ago asking what one word describing mountain biking for our Facebook followers. The responses that came back were great so I made the image above and starting thinking about what riding was to me and how I was going to let that effect my riding season this year.
So here are my 3 goals for the 2012 riding season…
More solo rides – While part of the best aspects of riding is the social atmosphere, I really want to get in some more solo rides this year. Solo riding – for me – is more about my personal journey and it gives me a chance to clear my head, work on my own riding skills and enjoy the outdoors. While you can do all of this on group rides, when you are out by yourself with your bike…you can do it in a stress free environment where you do not feel like you are holding anyone up if you want to stop, session or enjoy the surroundings.
Take More Pictures and Video – As I alluded to in a previous post this week, there are not enough AM styled mountain biking videos and pictures. When we get out on the trail, we are so concerned with getting from point A to point B that we often forget to capture the experience. Videos and photos are not just for DH and FR mountain bikers. We just have to make a conscious effort to capture our experiences and share our own riding with people around the world.
Focus More on the Riding I Truly Love – My favorite rides are big climbs to big descents. Whether I am riding 10 miles that day or 30, I want those big descents and I don’t care how long the ride is. There was a time in my life where I enjoyed the pain. I would do XC races and ride past my limits physically to challenge myself and what I considered to be a long ride. These days things have changed for me mentally. I want to extract as much enjoyment out of every ride that I can and that kind of pain is not what I am looking for anymore. I’ll use the road bike to increase endurance so I can use the mountain bike as my release. There is nothing wrong with wanting to extend miles and race XC courses. There are riders that prefer that end of the riding spectrum and love every second of it. It just isn’t what I am into anymore and I need to stop stressing my riding and my mind trying to do those activities on the bike.
It is going to be a great year of riding and I am really looking forward to getting focused on making it a successful year. The 5.Spot is ready to roll and we will be reviewing some other great bikes and components as the year gets going. Hopefully you guys see a great 2012 riding season that is filled with dirt and road time while staying healthy.
Long story short…it’s on.
Are you ready for 2012? What are you going to do differently?
Thanks to products like the GoPro Hero and video on modern DSLR and micro 4/3′s cameras, it is easier than ever to capture the ride experience out on the trail, edit it and then share it with the world. What used to take thousands of dollars in fragile equipment can now be done with a couple hundred bucks and an average computer.
In the world of riding videos, life is great right now and it is just going to get better.
But, it seems that downhill, freeride and trials riders are the only ones taking full advantage of the new technologies. Every day, amateur video shooters are posting some incredible videos on Pinkbike.com and other mountain biking sites. While most of these videos do not have follow by elevated wire shots like you find in Seasons, they are incredibly well put together and entertaining.
So why do we not see more XC and AM focused mountain bike videos? I think there are 2 main reasons that can be fixed rather easily.
POV Shots Are Boring – Yes…if you stick a camera on top of your head, hit record and go riding…it is going to be a boring 10 minute video. Even on the most technical terrain, video flattens out what ever you are riding and the one camera angle is boring for viewers. The trick is to get multiple camera angles and have the help of your friends to get actual riding shots on the trail. When you bring these clips together in addition to the POV shots (look for alternative angles there as well like on the frame or fork), the video is a lot more interesting. POV shots in DH and FR are boring too if you haven’t noticed before.
XC and AM Riders Are Too Focused on Point A to Point B – Somewhere along the line, XC and AM riding got more concerned with reaching a destination or getting a certain amount of miles in rather than the journey it took to get there. What results is an atmosphere in group rides that is hard to take pictures and video. No one has time…we are on a mission to get to the end. I think we need to step back and enjoy the journey as much as the distance and challenge. Not only would we become better riders by sessioning and practicing, but that would open up the ability to take better pictures and videos of our rides.
To illustrate the point, the crew at Niner Bikes posted up a video they made on their Facebook page last week. This “After Work” video features two of their employees shredding a local trail on a Jet 9 and Jet 9 RDO. This video is very well put together and the shots are something that any rider could stage at their local trail.
Getting out after work. A ride during the golden hour on classic So. Cal trails with Niner’s Jet 9 and Jet 9 RDO.
“Hola Hola Bassa Nova” by Juanitos
Niner’s video is great because it shows that you do not have to be throwing massive whips like Thomas Vanderham to create an interesting and entertaining mountain bike video.
In this short clip for the Ellsworth Glimpse review, I actually shot everything alone by putting a GoPro on the frame and setting my DSLR on the ground in several places on the trail for a different point of view of the bike. What results is a more interesting watch due to the changing conditions.
My challenge to you guys is to make more video of your rides. Maybe there is a lot of great footage out there that just hasn’t been found yet (if so…pass it our way so we can feature it on the site), but we would like to see more exposure brought to other riding styles online. It can be done…we just need to do it…
Yesterday afternoon, I put together one of those social meme’s on mountain biking and how the world views us and how we see ourselves in our own minds. It caught on an as of this post less than 24 hours later, it has 146 likes and 67 shares on our Facebook page, so I figured we got it pretty close!
Here is the image for reference (if you click on it…you can get the full size image and share it where ever you want to).
These social illustrations and videos like the “Shit mountain bikers say” posted a couple of weeks ago, are hilarious because we get a chance to laugh at ourselves a little bit with those around us in the community.
While the point of these is to not really explain the images and let them do the talking themselves, I thought I would share where my head was while putting this together.
What my friends think I do: I just hang out with other guys in spandex and worry too much about stretching. I must look like Biker Fox on the trails.
What my parents think I do: They are still wondering how I get injured all the time when they picture riding a bike like that.
What society thinks I do: Let’s face it…if it has 2 wheels and cranks…it has to have something to do with Lance Armstrong.
What my wife thinks I do: How many of your wives think the post ride beer lasts longer than the ride?
What I think I do: I can ride as fast and fly as high as Thomas Vanderham.
What I really do: Stand around with friends and talk while holding a bike and riding it occasionally.
This photo has been floating around social media outlets for quite sometime now. It is from our friends over at Sacred Rides (awesome vacation rides for mountain bikers BTW) and it contains quotes from followers of their Facebook page on why they ride bikes.
For me, the best quote on the image is “to find out who I truly am”.
When I go out and ride, I enjoy the people I ride with, the trails we ride and the experience that mountain biking brings into my life. But, when I am on the bike…I am able to really reflect on who I am, who I want to be and what I am really capable of. It may sound weird (or not if you are like me), but I made the decision to ask my wife to marry me, start my business and make other life altering changes while riding.
My head is clearer, I accomplish things I never thought was possible and I release stress while transferring power from my legs to dirt. Through that interaction, I can apply that same theory to life off the trail and with more organization and clarity. With long periods off the bike, my mind starts to feel cloudy and confused. That release is gone and reality gets skewed. The act of riding is more to me than racking up a bike for the day. It is how I keep my mental health in check and reality grounded. My mind and body needs that relief and challenge. While I have found similar releases through motorsports, nothing really compares to the calmness and chaos of backwoods trails and roads.
Luckily for mountain bikers and other forms of cycling, this is a sport we can do well into older age. While we might have periods off the bike due to injury or life circumstances, it is always there waiting patiently for the next trip down the hill and it will always open up new possibilities personally and professionally.
A funny thing happened over the weekend. I posted a picture of the “view from my desk” that included four of the six bikes in my office racked up and everyone on Facebook seemed to share a similar story…keeping our bikes inside the house.
That got me to thinking.
Most of the comments were from single men or couples that rode together. So how does the married guy (or gal) get their bikes inside the house when the other member of the partnership does not share the same obsession? Here are some tips to get your bikes out of the cold garage and inside of your house.
Disclaimer: Bike198 takes no responsibility for any arguments, domestic disturbances, house repairs or injury to self or bikes through the use of these suggestions. Use at your own risk.
How To Get Your Bikes Inside The House
Here are some tips you can start implementing to get your bikes inside the house in 7 days or less.
Start With The Cleanest Bikes First – It is always easier to get a road bike or two in the house before you bring the muddy mountain bike through the kitchen. Try not to bite off more than you can chew at once. Start small and bring in the clean ones first.
Get A Good Looking Stand – Get a stand that looks pretty good in the house and keeps the bikes off the floor. The Ultimate stand we reviewed helped get my rides in the house by keeping things looking good and organized.
Make Your Bike A Work Of Art – Buy the craziest looking frames and parts to make your bike part of the ‘art’ inside the house. It is much easier to get a Wolfhound in the door than an 8000 Trek hard tail. Of course, this does mean you are going to have to spend more on bikes and parts…but which rider doesn’t want to do that?
Find A Place Where The Bikes “Fit” – Look around your house. Is there an area of the house that seems to be “almost made” for the bikes? Move the stand and bikes into the house and then show your other half how perfectly they fit there. Follow that up with the line, “It is almost like it was made for this.”
Bring In Friends for Backup – Post the picture on Facebook and bring over friends to back up your idea. Have them relay to your other half how great the bikes look in the house. You can also have them follow up with the “it is almost like” line but be careful and have them use their own words. This needs to look unplanned and random…not scripted.
Make Up Maintenance Problems – If your wife or husband does not know much about bikes, you can always make up maintenance issues that justify getting the bikes in the house. “Honey, if I leave them in the garage, the fork oil will freeze and dry up the seals. You don’t want to have to spend more money on a new $1,000 fork do you?” But…use this one carefully. If your significant other has friends that ride, it could backfire quickly as she tells them how great she is for letting you put them inside and then they explain that your maintenance excuse is a bunch of BS.
Play Dumb and Bribe – Move your bikes in during the middle of the night. When you wake up in the morning and she asks why the bikes are in the house, politely explain that they have been there for a long time…how did you not notice? You must be too stressed. At that point, hand her the massage you bought her.
Make Life More Difficult in the Garage – This one is dangerous but known to work. If you can make your garage more cluttered and harder for her to get in and out of her car, you can slide in the “maybe we should just move the bikes inside so there is more room to move around in here” move. Be forewarned…you could lose your garage spot in the process if you both park inside.
Illustrate Alternate Uses – Bikes in the house can also be used as coat racks and other more productive means than just decoration. Be sure to highlight that feature.
And there you have it…the top tips to getting your bikes inside the house and out of that cold garage. Are there any other ways you have gotten your bikes inside the house?
Today’s article started with a simple question on our Bike198 Facebook page, what is your favorite post ride beer? What resulted is one of the most commented updates the Facebook page has ever received. While there were several Fat Tire mentions, everyone had their own favorite brew to bring to the trail head for that post ride liquid enjoyment.
Mountain Bikers and Beer
The relationship between mountain biking and beer is not a new revelation. Ever since the conception of putting over-sized tires on forest service roads, mountain bikers have been enjoying a beverage after rides. It has almost become as much of a staple in the industry as gears on bikes. You go kill yourself on the trail, then come back to the cars with a swig of your favorite brew. It is tradition in our industry.
While road bikers share our love of the hops, they typically do not congregate after rides in the parking lot (or at least that is how it is in our area), so the post ride ritual is not performed. The act of post ride consumption with other obsessed dirt go’ers is reserved for those with the love of fat tires (bmx and DJ crews are included in this bunch).
Side Effect: Beer Is Actually A Recovery Drink?
While I am willing to bet that no one is drinking a beer post ride as a real recovery drink, but there was a recent study done by researchers at the Technical University of Munich proving that non-alcoholic beer actually aided in the recovery of marathon runners. According to the study (nytimes link), consumption of 1-1.5 L/day non-alcoholic beer for three weeks before and two weeks after marathon competition reduces post-race inflammation and URTI incidence and those same men in the blind test were sick less with better overall immune system health.
Apparently, the beer allowed the marathon runners to recover quicker and train more due to the decreased inflammation and better overall health.
Just how nonalcoholic beer eases the ravages of strenuous marathon training and racing is still being investigated. But, said Dr. Scherr, it almost certainly involves the beverage’s rich bouquet of polyphenols, chemical substances found in many plants that, among other things, “suppress viral replication” and “influence the innate immune system positively,” all beneficial for fighting off a cold.
Alcoholic beer happens to be drenched in polyphenols, too — “even more than nonalcoholic beer,” Dr. Scherr said — but has the signal disadvantage of being alcoholic. “We do not know whether the side effects of alcoholic beer would cancel out the positive effects caused by the polyphenols,” he wrote. “Furthermore, it is not possible to drink one to one and a half liters of alcoholic beer per day, especially not during strenuous training.” We all knew that, right?
Now, I have to imagine through life experience that there is a law of diminishing returns on this. I have never known an overweight alcoholic to be a great marathon runner, but it does bring interesting light into what the ingredients of a beer outside of the alcohol and calories do to the human body.
At the very least, your body gets some calories right after your ride and you have the excuse to hang around the cars recollecting mountain bike stories that could be as young as 5 minutes ago and as old as years past. The post ride beer will forever be a part of the ride experience even if you do not personally partake in the ritual. It is engrained in mountain biking.