Mountain biking is amazing fun. It's tough, challenging, fast and greatt to do with your friends. We'll spend hours each day thinking about, and planning our next trail adventure - and talking about it to anyone who will listen. Although, nothing in this world is perfect...
Don't get us wrong, mountain biking is awesome, but there are some very annoying aspects of it which come with the territory.
What non-mountain bikers think you do
When you're huffing and puffing away on a climb and working hard to nail your descents, it can come as a back-hander when people assume you're a stunt master gapping canyons, or that mountain biking is just riding through grassy meadows.
Mountain biking can be broken down into many sub-disciplines. Educate them and take your non-riding buddies out for a spin so they can see what you really do.
Getting to the trails
To go mountain biking, you need to find the mountains and sometimes that involves a fair bit of travelling. What's worse is when you spend more time in the car than you do on your bike! Suckers for punishment that we are though, no two trails are the same and we must ride them all. Check out our Where To Ride MTB guides here for trail inspiration.
Climbing - and not the fun kind
You have to "earn your turns" as they say, and to earn the fun descents, you have to climb. How much a mountain biker hates to climb will come down to their bike, the terrain and the gradient... and the fact it can be really boring. Climbing is a great way to get fit, but often leaves us needing a serious water break when we get to the top.
Descents are over too soon
You climb for what feels like forever, only to have the fun descent over in a blink of an eye.
A puncture we can handle, albeit a bit of a nuisance, but more serious mechanical failures can ruin your whole ride. What's worse is when you're far from the car park or nearest centre, and there aren't enough cable ties in the world to help you.
"On the left"
Overtaking a slower rider on the trail is totally fine to do, so long as you're safe about it. There's trail etiquette to follow so that no accidents are caused, and everyone can had a good ride.
When approaching a rider, call out clearly in advance so they have time to find a safe spot to pull over. Don't sit on the rear wheel and intimidate them, that's not cool. It is annoying though when the slower rider makes it almost impossible to pass, even when there's good opportunities to.
Arm pump is a condition which affects the forearm muscles, and can cause a great deal of discomfort. The muscles swell in the forearms causing a lack of blood and oxygen to flow. This usually arises from heavy exertion, like going downhill over some seriously bumpy terrain and holding onto the bars for dear life. First thing to do is check that your cockpit is set up correctly.
Mud, bugs, grit and grime. If your eyes and mouth are open, something is going in which can often lead to a coughing fit, or franticly rubbing at your eyes on the side of the trail. Fortunately there are some pretty good sunglasses and goggles out there, but you'll have to remember to breathe through your nose a little more often!
Getting eaten alive
More so in the summer, or if you are lucky to ride overseas, but having your legs and arms nipped at by insects just leaves you with irritating bites to last all week.
A majority of us will love and respect the wildlife and natural beauty of mountain biking, it's a big reason why we ride so much. Although having a family of wild boar run out across a trail, is one of the most terrifying experiences I've ever had - if you ride at FoD, you know what I mean.
Wildlife can be squirrels, birds flying too low and even your own trail dog/cat companion who strafes into your line.
We all have that one trail nemesis, for me that's wet roots. I see them, I freeze up and my front wheel washes out. While technical features can be fun, and certainly not hated, you end up cursing yourself for not being able to clear them with ease, or confidence.
No one likes having an accident, or coming off their bike. It sucks. Hurting yourself can really put a damper on your ride, and more importantly, your confidence. Don't let the fear take over, fight back and get on the saddle.
Littering is the worst thing to see on a trail. It takes nothing to stuff your rubbish into your pockets, or bag and take it with you if there are no bins around. Littering doesn't just ruin your pretty mountain bike selfie, it's harmful to the wildlife and gives us mountain bikers a bad rep.
We have nothing against running, and those that do it, but if you decide to run on mountain bike trails, don't hog it all up and then curse at us when we want to get by.
You get them across all disciplines of riding, and sports. Bike snobs are out to one-up you at every opportunity. They will show off their over-spec'd bike that they barely ride to its potential, and they will comment on your less immaculate steed... which you ride like a beast.
Dollar dollar bills y'all
You have to pay for fuel, parking, uplift, kit and components. Mountain biking is one expensive sport and when you have the money and the kit, you then have to find the time to ride. You just can't win 'em all.
Never being ahead of the curve
The cycling industry is forever making things lighter, stronger and more awesome looking. It's hard to keep up with the trend, and your bank account certainly won't let you. Just as you've saved up for a new dropper post, a better one comes out - typical!
Car ride home
That muddy sweaty car ride home can't be over soon enough. Your poor car is caked in mud and grimr, your seats are damp and you're itching to get in for a hot shower. At least you get some downtime to reflect on an awesome day of riding you had.
It's on your clothing, it's clinging onto your skin and even when you remove your shoes and socks, you'll find mud has been tracked into your house. Best strip off at the front door and make a quick naked dash to the shower!
Operation: Clean up
This is usually the last thing you want to do when you get home, but in order to keep your bike running smoothly and prevent rust, cleaning your bike is super important. Give it a good shower as you would yourself. The same goes for our clothes and kit too, get it rinsed off and in the washing machine, pronto!
Not having enough time to ride more
The absolute worst thing about mountain biking, is not being able to ride enough!
While it sounds as if there's a lot of hate about mountain biking, all of these points are mere niggles in the grand scheme of the sport. All the high points monstrously outweigh the low points of riding, which is why we can't get enough.
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