Twenty years of biking has taught me this:
Keep your house in order. Learn how to maintain the trails you have. Sure, build new trail if you really need it but don’t forget to keep what you have tidy.
Learn to corner, it will make your life better.
Always reserve the right to maintain a skeptical attitude towards every trend or fashion. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
Strava is not the enemy. Neither is racing in general.
Those who wave flags don’t deserve one. Don’t isolate yourself or marginalize others anymore than we already are. Mountain biking is diverse, so celebrate rather than hate. It takes all sorts.
Travel won’t necessarily make you happier or a better person but it will challenge you, whether you want to be challenged or not.
Whether you’re five miles from home or on the other side of the world, as long as your wheels are turning you are traveling.
A bike will make you superhuman. You’ll be able to fly higher, move faster, conquer terrain that other’s won’t walk and you’ll see things and feel things that you couldn’t without a bike.
Building a community is more important than building an empire. The communities and individuals that dare imagine, build, and nourish are the ones that allow mountain biking to flourish.
Some of mountain biking’s true heroes aren’t the ones who appear on podiums, posters and videos, most of them are nearly unknown and certainly not celebrated. This is a shame, so look closer to home for the people who really should be your role models.
Backcountry is a relative term.You can find adventure in your own backyard.
The grass is always greener, but it doesn’t mean the grass at home sucks. The big name “meccas” are probably as good as everyone says, but some of the best riding is the biking you have.
Just because a trail is hard to get to, rare or remote doesn’t mean it’s the best. However, the adventure to get there will be.
Don’t go biking to go biking. Bike to energize myself, release some energy, look around, be with friends, and breathe. If you want to go biking to simply bike then stay at home and spin on rollers.
Racing, if you love it is worth loving back but it will often make you feel like you have been kicked in the heart.
Compare yourself against others, but never to the extent that you lessen others or yourself doing so.
Your bike will always be your greatest treasure so long as you realize its potential not it’s failings.
There’s always going to be a ‘better bike’ than yours. If there isn’t then wait five minutes and someone will try sell you one that is.
Don’t mistake the pointing finger for the moon at which you are pointing. Mountain biking is the means not the ends. It’s not about the task, but rather the process.
Mountain biking is one way to learn more about the within and the surround.
There is no right or wrong way of doing it.
Mountain biking will make you feel young again, but then it will flip you on your back and you’ll know what it feels to feel old.
(This piece originally appeared in Dirt Magazine #145)