Adventures for All

Mountain Biker Attitudes Could Use Some Work

Fountain Hills, McDowell Meltdown, 2011, MBAA

Racing with a smile.

A summer ride in Arizona – it’s usually like being roasted alive. But on this one, I had some nice cloud cover. It was cool, with a slight breeze. Nothing could bring me down.

Well, except for my mountain biking brethren and their exceptionally bad trail manners.

I cannot fathom why so many mountain bikers these days are so surly and self-centered on the trail. On this given Sunday, I encountered a few riders who didn’t realize that the uphill rider has the right of way. And there were a handful of others who couldn’t be bothered to return a greeting. Look, you always say hello to other trail users unless you’re panting too hard. End of story.

Maybe a lot has changed since I learned to be a mountain biker back in the early 90s. Notice what I said? “Learned to be a mountain biker” and “learned to mountain bike” are two different things.

I already had an idea of how to brake, shift, pedal and pick a line by the time I started riding with a classmate at Arizona State University. But he was more experienced, and took the lead. I noticed that he always rode with a smile. Most times, he’d stop to scratch a hiker’s dog between the ears. He’d always, always, always, greet other trail users – especially riders.

He never told me to do the same. He was just a good guy to ride with, and I figured that was part of his formula. I made it part of my formula, too. Make it part of your ride, and I promise the trails will be a better place.

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