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  1. #1
    mm9
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    How to Grow the Sport of Mountain Biking

    Just my humble opinion on the subject. I assume as riders we want more mountain bikers because we will have more clout in keeping trails open and opening new ones. The industry will sell more bikes, equipment and gear. Towns will increase revenue as the cater to the growing number of mountain bikers. People will become more fit because they have a passion to train and ride, which they can do almost anywhere.

    Currently - the sport of mtbiking is divided into different segments. The largest is probably cross country style riding and racing. At the other end of the spectrum is downhill. And, in between there are several sub segments such as bmx, dirt jumps, bike trials etc.

    The largest segment seems to appeal well to endurance type athletes and also those that want to use the sport for what endurance training offers - get fit, lose weight, overcome a tough challenge etc. The other end, downhill, bmx etc., appeals more the the extreme sport crowd. These segments have high injury rates, that's part of the reason why they are considered extreme.

    There is a very large segment of the population kind of in the middle. They aren't big endurance athletes and they don't want to take big injury risks. But, they want to do outdoor sports, be in nature and have fun, while getting some exercise. I think a good analogy is the downhill skiing and it's popularity among the outdoor sports masses. It's a blast and it pays to be in shape to do it. But, you don't have to be among those in the best shape to really enjoy it.

    To a large percentage of people, cross country mountain biking is seen more as getting exercise, more than having fun. Especially if you compare it to sports like downhill skiing. For this large group in the middle I think a new approach is needed in terms of goals, phrasing and offerings. This is key. If you talk and market to them as endurance athletes, you will turn a lot of them away. They might have tried a triathlon or a mountain biking trip. But they are really turned on by a ski trip, a snorkeling trip or something they consider "really fun". It's a mistake I see people in the mountain bike industry make - they appeal more to the endurance side, or in rare cases the extreme side. I'm not talking about selling hybrids to the bike path crowd here. I'm saying there is a whole new way to look at the sport as a low injury adrenaline sport - more downhill than up.

    Part of the answer is already being built - fast rolling, roller coaster style single track. Also, I believe the Super D format of racing and riding is part of reaching this group. 3 - 1 ratio of downhill vs. uphill terrain. Also, I suggest course design which might include a forest road to go uphill efficiently, but has miles of rolling, turning singletrack coming back down the ridge of the mountain. And continued uses of lifts and shuttles. We need more of this stuff and we need different marketing messages to those people that will most enjoy them.

    For decades, I only looked at mountain biking as exercise, and a "sufferfest" form at that. I just used it as training for other more adrenaline sports that I considered much more fun. Just recently, I've started riding again. Now with a new mindset. I love this new fast rolling single track. I can just go uphill at my own pace, taking in the scenery. Then bomb down the hills, savoring the turns. I love that feeling of standing up on the pedals in a balanced attack position, using gravity, momentum to smoothly flick through the turns. I feel like I've sliced through the hills like butter. I end with a huge grin, just like a great ski run.

    My other adrenaline sports buddies from various sports don't believe me when I tell them how much fun I'm having mtbiking. But, they've never experienced these modern trails in this way. I will convert a few soon.

    Comments?
    Last edited by mm9; 03-29-2011 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    If mountain biking grows, particularly in the extreme/DH/Freeride demographic, it'll only lead to more user conflicts and closed trails- unless that group is mostly confined to ski areas.

  3. #3
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    I don't think it will ever grow due to the fact that it is too much work for most people. Even the OP used to think of mtb as a sufferfest. Add to that the cost of a worthy bike, and you have a pretty stagnet population, which is fine by me.

  4. #4
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    The problems I see with the sport now are the same ones that happened to windsurfing- too much focus on the "extreme" end of things and too much focus on having the latest and greatest ($$$$) gear. The magazines are largely at fault for this- how many "family outings" do you see in the bike mags, and how many sub-$1000 comparisons do you see? Pretty much none. Windsurfing killed itself by continuously showing high-wind and big wave coverage, along with really expensive gear (to the point you would be snubbed on the beach if you happened to show up with last year's gear), and as a sport has been struggling to bring back the simple enjoyment of just playing in the water, regardless of low wind conditions, which is what most people have access to. Also, many trails are so rough that if you don't have a pretty decent bike, it can be pretty hard on the body. Just like ski areas, there should be multiple trails of varying difficulty that all lead back to the same place.

  5. #5
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by @dam
    If mountain biking grows, particularly in the extreme/DH/Freeride demographic, it'll only lead to more user conflicts and closed trails- unless that group is mostly confined to ski areas.
    I'm not suggesting growing the extreme segment. I'm suggesting that the meat of the market is in a segment that might be called downhill crosscountry (kind of like super D). And/or fast rolling singletrack, without a tremendous amount of climbing.

  6. #6
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Cool
    I don't think it will ever grow due to the fact that it is too much work for most people.
    I think this is the current "endurance oriented" model of thinking regarding the sport. Remember back during the origins of the sport when Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly and friends were bombing down Repack rd. The fun was going down a long downhill run with fat tires which offered better traction than other bikes at the time. Our emphasis today is all about getting in better shape, dealing with the pain, suffering the longest etc. Or the wild and dangerious Freeride side. I like that side, but it's too dangerous for my tastes. Lately, I've found that riding can just be fun!!! When you ride to have fun, it's amazing how much you look forard to it.

  7. #7
    AZ
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    I'm not suggesting growing the extreme segment. I'm suggesting that the meat of the market is in a segment that might be called downhill crosscountry (kind of like super D). And/or fast rolling singletrack, without a tremendous amount of climbing.



    You mean racing for lazy people. Whats wrong with what we already have? If you want to grow the sport, get promoters to lower fee's to race.

  8. #8
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    It's hard to say because when it comes to MTB the ratio of climb and descend would be about 3:1 or 4:1 because of the descending speed.

    I think the easier way to grow the sport is to produce more smaller neighborhood parks, short hill would be good.
    Pump track.
    small basic skill area like steps, 18"ledge, some berm corner, flat corner switch backs, a few steep loose climbs.
    nice slightly grade loop. Total up to about a mile.

    Then people can come out with their whatever bike and run 2-10 laps depending on the time they have. It would be a good way to get the feet wet with the sports 10 of these would be better than one big multi-use trail. I would imagine it would be easier to get permit and build as well as it would pretty much be street-side.

    More riders we added to the sport then more voice we'd have it would ultimately be easier to get more trails built or keep existing ones open.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    I'm not suggesting growing the extreme segment. I'm suggesting that the meat of the market is in a segment that might be called downhill crosscountry (kind of like super D). And/or fast rolling singletrack, without a tremendous amount of climbing.
    Well, unless you take a shuttle or lift, you'll have to climb just as many vertical feet as you descend. (IMO, it's more interesting to climb on singletrack than a boring dirt road). If people are shutteling on multi-use trails, they'll bring big bikes and it's prime for conflict.

    Yeah- swoopy flowy trails are fun. If you got 'em ride 'em You kind of have to ride whatever the trails around you are like though. I don't know that many people who ride to suffer- most of them do it for fun, even if it involves a bit of suffering here or there.

    "Phil's Wold" in Cortez CO might be a good example though of flowy trails like that, built specifically for bikes (no hikers, can only go in one direction). Very fun, but it's a big effort to build something like that. Also, there's still just as much up as down. No way around that without a chairlift or shuttle.

  10. #10
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    Cycling in general is not going to be a growth sport for two reasons. Women don't like to get hot and sweaty and playing in traffic is dangerous with people talking on cell phones.

    As for Mountain Biking, I can remeber when it was a novality to meet another mountain biker on the trail because their was so few of us. Personally I would very much okay if mountain biking went back to the few and elite and we were just left with the purists of the sport.

  11. #11
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    Yeah, I know it's kind of an oxymoron, but I'd rather see MORE trails and LESS riders.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by arkon11
    Yeah, I know it's kind of an oxymoron, but I'd rather see MORE trails and LESS riders.

  13. #13
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    The appeal of a bike is the freedom to roam and explore. Think about your life as a child, having a bike was probably liberating. You could get around the neighborhood, maybe explore new areas. You could cover a greater distance riding than you ever could while walking. The sport would need to capitalize on the feeling one gets from riding. That means dirt bike paths through forested areas, preferably with curves and maybe a bit of elevation change.

    From there, one would need more "blue runs." These are more challenging trails, with longer climbs, more downhill, and some technical features, such as rocks, logs, small jumps(18") or less. Those trails would entertain most of the mountain biking community. They should be challenging, but safe enough to allow beginner riders to build their confidence.

    Mountain biking hasn't gone this way at all. Even the endurance/xc crowd is pushing more for technical/downhill/trials type riding. You see it all over in pictures on this board. Banked turns, wood rollers, riding logs, climbing down boulders, etc. Trails that were once considered the best XC trails are now looked at as being simple dirt paths, not worth riding. In some places, these trails have disappeared, Trails are rerouted not only to bypass tough features, but the experienced crowd is creating new tracks to make these trails more difficult, which is frowned upon in many areas. Then it turns into a blame game and people WITHIN the community begin arguing with one another.

    I understand that there are conflicts over trails in several areas, but if one really wants to grow the sports, shouldn't the MTB community be building trails to suit a multitude of users? What would be wrong with creating a bypass for the hard stuff and a separate line for the technical? I am sure that would anger a lot of the gnar crowd who prefer to keep the biking places to themselves. However, it would grow the sport and eventually mean more access for bikers the way there is for hikers. There are places like this out there and they should serve as a model for future trail access, instead of people advocating for trails that only suit their personal style of riding.

  14. #14
    Rod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Cool
    I don't think it will ever grow due to the fact that it is too much work for most people. Add to that the cost of a worthy bike, and you have a pretty stagnet population.
    I have to agree with this poster. Many people do not want to get up early in the morning in the summer and go out for a ride when it's cool. They think I'm insane to go out between 90-102 degree heat with high humidity.

    I think the key to making this sport grow is to make an easy trial system around city parks that have multiple entrances and exits that can be ridden on almost any bike. They can choose to ride as long or short as they want, the trails would be mostly smooth, but flowing so more advanced riders could enjoy it, and build this on an area with rolling hills.

    The more advanced riders could ride fast and the hills and make more advanced loops off the main trail. Everyone else could ride the main trail, get some exercise, and exit the loop whenever they're tired.
    There is not much choice between rotten apples.

  15. #15
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    Always thought of mtbing as fun. Road riding sometimes more for exercise than fun but still fun. Zooming the downside of the mountain on a roadbike doin 45+, Yahoo, but Hmmm....an interesting twist on a thread. Think that what's popular is more a sign of the times and mostly what the younger crowd spin into trend like, bmx, skateboards, snowboards, now it's pump tracks ss and fixies. When mtbing took off in the 90's was 1 of those times. Something different, fun. Once it had a chance to be more main stream the price of mtbs soared and the people who road them became more segregated because of that. Like road bikes it became more about googling over the lightest, latest and greatest, and less about cool, your bike's fixed, let's go have some fun. The xc crowd, the am crowd, dh, fr you get the point.
    In many areas the mtbing population would surely grow if there was more, better places to ride. That would take planning and interest so unless it falls back into style in a big way, or it magically becomes profitable to build riding areas, it's kind of a catch 22.
    My .02
    Last edited by theMeat; 03-29-2011 at 07:37 PM.
    Round and round we go

  16. #16
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    the sport has grown leaps and bounds guys. it has moments when XC is popular, then DH, then DH dies and FR comes in. then the dirt roadies in lycra come back.

    Compare MTB to 1991 or even 2001, its getting vastly more popular

  17. #17
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    I have never been one to promote the idea that mountain biking beginners should start on dirt. I have started hundreds of riders but always start them on the pave to build stamina shifting and breaking knowledge, a sense of preparation, sense of hydration and nutrition, proper clothing and safe practices.

    In our East Bay locale the next step, that of getting on dirt, is always a challenge because the grades are immediately so steep. Getting people passed that takes 100 hours of rehearsal to build the body and the mental attitudes needed to deal with that. In addition climbs right out-of-the-box mean that steep downs occur for riders of very limited skills.

    What I'm hearing in this thread is that certain kinds of trails should be more available and I can only agree. Yet as a longtime trails advocate I have to say, sure but how will we make these trails come about? I don't know if there is some sense in mountain bikers that they should just have trails provided for them like we have roads them schools and hospitals provided for us. Or that they just magically occur or we simply take over trails that horses and hikers used to dominate?

    Yet they have to come from somewhere and somebody. By and large I see the same faces over and over at trails advocacy meetings, trails building and maintenance sessions, manning information booths. And it is a pretty small pool of people. What I don't see is the rank and file mountain biker stepping forward to do anything, really. They would all rather ride their bikes. Who can argue with that? Riding bikes is what we are about. If we're not riding our bikes then what is the point of any of this?

    If it wasn't for MTBR most of the people who participate here would not know about petitions and surveys and meetings and local events concerning the mountain bike community. In fact I suggest that most people might not even care about those things if we didn't take the time to build an awareness of them here, amongst people who share the love of the sport.

    So it is all well and good to say that we need more of a certain kind of trail to grow the sport. But as long as people can hide behind keyboards or simply ride without contributing, there is no way to bind them to the effort of trail access and development. This is key to the present and future enjoyment of our sport, whether you want it to grow or not.

  18. #18
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    I was under the impression that it was/is growing quite a bit?? Just look at the beginners forum here, there are how many "help me pick my first bike" threads per week?

    I think, at least for the states, the emphasis should be on growing all forms of cycling instead of only mtbing so that more of the population begins to see it as a viable form of transport instead of something crazy people do.

  19. #19
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    Oh man—I could go on for PAGES on this topic! (Don't worry—I won't.)

    Whoever mentioned the extreme side of mountain biking being a negative (as far as growing the sport) was dead-on. And also dead-on about the industry promoting this. I'm also a whitewater paddler and it's the same in that sport.

    The extreme side of any sport is nothing more than a circus in my opinion—just a crazy sideshow that attracts people in the same way that YouTube videos attract people, but that's it.

    What sucks is that the media coverage of the extreme stuff is WAY out of proportion with the number of people who actually do extreme stuff—and the media beating it to death leads directly to the general public having the perception that mountain biking (or whitewater paddling) are for suicidal nuts.

    The real problem with sports like mountain biking is that the extreme/expert participants are almost always the loudest—meaning they tend to dominate the discourse. So you end up with a kind of unspoken expectation that anyone who gets into the sport must progressively ride harder and harder stuff to be a "real mountain biker." This of course is total BS.

    Again, I see the identical mentality in whitewater boating, hang gliding, and snowboarding (I do all these sports). They're all carbon copies of one another—just swap out the gear and "playing field."

    THE SOLUTION

    Start glamorizing "average" mountain bikers.

    Promote the concept that it's perfectly okay if you never want to go downhilling.

    Promote the idea that you can mountain bike anywhere—even on the street if you want.

    Promote the idea that people can be a "real mountain biker" even if they have no desire to push the limits or tackle progressively harder terrain.

    ---
    This is how to grow the sport—silence the macho, chest-beating, envelope-pushing, daredevil side of the sport and start showing average people having fun on average-to-easy terrain.

    Scott
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  20. #20
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ.MTNS
    You mean racing for lazy people. Whats wrong with what we already have?
    Azmtns: I think your quote represents the hard core endurance mindset I was talking about. I respect the heck out of those endurance athletes - such as marathon runners, Iron Man triathlon guys, Leadville 100 finishers etc. I don't think the alternatives are lazy though. Different people are built for different types of sports. It's why you have sprinters and long distance runners in the same sport - Track and Field.

    I have a big group of adventure buddies that I think represent this large untapped part of the market. We share some sports together and really enjoy each others comradarie. Most are in their 40's or 50's and into various adventure sports. Several in the group have interesting sports backgrounds: A former pro motorcross racer, competitive surfer, serious kite boarder, car rally racer, competitive downhill skiier, competitive water skiier, competitive kayakers, etc. Needless to say, it's a fun group. They are all into staying fit, adventure and the outdoors.

    As my interest in mountain biking has been growing lately, I've been talking it up when we get together. Almost all of them first tried it in the 80's. Some still use a mtnbike for fitness training. Very few have been on these modern trails. I hear a common theme from them: "Good exercise, but BORING as an adventure sport" My take is that they don't mind the knarly part -rocks, roots etc. But as one buddy put it - "I've tried it a few times. There you are suffering up a hill and you are going so damn slow - that's just boring" If I can get them out to some of these fast rolling trails on a decent bike, I think they will become hooked.

  21. #21
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    I agree with the above post and think that many not so fit folk don't mtb long enough to enjoy it, and only long enough to get winded and tired.
    I also agree with Scott's post but must say that in today's day, with the media run a muck, and controlled, that mostly the weak minded are controlled by it. Unlike the founding fathers of mtbing who lit the spark, they were mavericks, free thinkers, doin their own thing, far from the main stream.
    So at the risk of sounding prejudice, let us recrute another group of weak minded followers like the Jehovah's Witnesses. Who decend upon a neighborhood in groups, and like door to door salesman, try to convert the weak minded. If we got them to ride mtbs, not only would it greatly increase their range, but think of the following those shinny new mtbs could get.
    Last edited by theMeat; 03-30-2011 at 08:22 AM.
    Round and round we go

  22. #22
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    OMG you guys are over thinking this, we are just riding bicycles. People become passionate about something and suddenly believe everyone in the world should be doing it.

  23. #23
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Oh man—I could go on for PAGES on this topic! (Don't worry—I won't.)

    Whoever mentioned the extreme side of mountain biking being a negative (as far as growing the sport) was dead-on. And also dead-on about the industry promoting this. I'm also a whitewater paddler and it's the same in that sport.

    The extreme side of any sport is nothing more than a circus in my opinion—just a crazy sideshow that attracts people in the same way that YouTube videos attract people, but that's it.

    What sucks is that the media coverage of the extreme stuff is WAY out of proportion with the number of people who actually do extreme stuff—and the media beating it to death leads directly to the general public having the perception that mountain biking (or whitewater paddling) are for suicidal nuts.

    The real problem with sports like mountain biking is that the extreme/expert participants are almost always the loudest—meaning they tend to dominate the discourse. So you end up with a kind of unspoken expectation that anyone who gets into the sport must progressively ride harder and harder stuff to be a "real mountain biker." This of course is total BS.

    Again, I see the identical mentality in whitewater boating, hang gliding, and snowboarding (I do all these sports). They're all carbon copies of one another—just swap out the gear and "playing field."

    THE SOLUTION

    Start glamorizing "average" mountain bikers.

    Promote the concept that it's perfectly okay if you never want to go downhilling.

    Promote the idea that you can mountain bike anywhere—even on the street if you want.

    Promote the idea that people can be a "real mountain biker" even if they have no desire to push the limits or tackle progressively harder terrain.

    ---
    This is how to grow the sport—silence the macho, chest-beating, envelope-pushing, daredevil side of the sport and start showing average people having fun on average-to-easy terrain.

    Scott
    Scott: I've seen your posts in other threads with similar themes and I like with what you have to say. For instance, my buddy who is a former pro motocross racer calls today's Supercross "Stupidcross" Says he'd never want his kids to race modern supercross. Has gone too extreme in his opinion. I think the macho extreme endurance guys have some of the same effect. There comes a point where at either extreme, there are too many people hurting themselves for life.

  24. #24
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saddle Up
    OMG you guys are over thinking this, we are just riding bicycles. People become passionate about something and suddenly believe everyone in the world should be doing it.
    Ha! Is this your quote? "Mission: To share our experience and to encourage and inspire others to use a bicycle as a form of year round recreation and transportation" Sounds like you are into this same idea. (Good site by the way)

  25. #25
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    I've been thinking about this thread. I guess I don't worry much about "growing the sport". I'm honestly not even sure what "the sport" is.

    I have friends who ride with me on a casual basis. They'll go biking with me a handful of times each season. Some will borrow my bikes, because they don't have their own. Are they mountain bikers? They don't race. The don't obsess. But they'll get out a few times each summer and have fun doing it.

    Last summer I helped a friend build two bikes with his sons. They live in the country. The kids ride the bikes. But again, they ride for fun. They don't race. Are they mountain bikers? I dunno. They are just two kids with cool bikes that they ride during summers.

    I probably do a lot of small things to promote biking, but they are more born from my own enthusiasm for something I enjoy doing than from a desire to grow the sport.

  26. #26
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    In order for Mtn Biking to grow the "snob" mentality of "Im ok with no more riders, has to leave, as does the "I am superior to you and you cannot keep up" mentality, Cyclists are by enlarge the biggest group of self centered Jrks I have yet encountered in any sport, really a shame, because it has so much to offer, but the division of 'what kind of rider are you and what do you ride" has to end.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    Scott: I've seen your posts in other threads with similar themes and I like with what you have to say. For instance, my buddy who is a former pro motocross racer calls today's Supercross "Stupidcross" Says he'd never want his kids to race modern supercross. Has gone too extreme in his opinion. I think the macho extreme endurance guys have some of the same effect. There comes a point where at either extreme, there are too many people hurting themselves for life.
    Thanks mm9. My posts often result in me getting flamed too, LOL. "Stupidcross" is hilarious!

    In whitewater, all the hype is about jumping waterfalls and running creeks so steep they're basically just a series of waterfalls. And in hang gliding, it's all about "speed gliding" (flying as fast as possible, as low to the ground as possible—STUPID) and aerobatics (doing complete loops in hang gliders—STUPID).

    Quote Originally Posted by JonathanGennick
    I have friends who ride with me on a casual basis. They'll go biking with me a handful of times each season. Some will borrow my bikes, because they don't have their own. Are they mountain bikers? They don't race. The don't obsess. But they'll get out a few times each summer and have fun doing it.

    Last summer I helped a friend build two bikes with his sons. They live in the country. The kids ride the bikes. But again, they ride for fun. They don't race. Are they mountain bikers? I dunno. They are just two kids with cool bikes that they ride during summers.
    This is a great description of how biking ought to be.

    I dunno...I know this will come across as sounding snobbish (and I don't mean it to be), but I've always thought people who seek Xtreme adrenaline highs are—generally speaking—unimaginative people who basically prefer not to think—regardless of how smart they are.

    I say this because it's actually really easy to risk your life. It doesn't take a bit of brains—just the guts to do it. What is harder, IMO, is to go out for an easy ride on a flat, meandering path, and turn it into an equally rewarding experience as downhilling at 50mph. Why? Because to make that flat, meandering ride a great experience requires using your mind—you have to observe, imagine, make mental associations, recall memories, etc—all of which take some intelligence.

    Hurling yourself down a mountain (or over a waterfall) are (again, in my opinion) dumb, brutish activities. They don't require any thought—only instinctive reaction.

    But sorry...I'm digressing now.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  28. #28
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    Those of you wishing for less riders or no more than now are shortsighted IMO. Not only do we gain more advocacy, it helps the market. More customers means the manufacturers offer more diversity, do more reasearch and development, and we all have more gear options in every type at every price point.

  29. #29
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    How to Grow the Sport

    Get your kid on a bike asap. I grew up next door to the owner of the LBS and I always had a good bike in working order. I lived on my bmx bike as a kid, it was part of my identity. Being around that kindled an intense interest in bicycles that survives to this day. Every time I buy a new one (or new parts), I feel like that kid all over again.

    I've never viewed MTBing as a sufferfest, just a nice scenic ride through the woods. Sometimes I want to exert a lot of energy because it feels good, sometimes I just want to relax and enjoy the view.

  30. #30
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    Dirt jump commuter lanes.

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    Honestly, to me MTB is about pushing yourself to see how far you can go, or how fast you can be on the downhill. To be a sport it has to be a competition. What you are talking about is making the activity of MTB bigger. Does anyone call hiking a sport? Does anyone call exercising a sport?

    I mountain bike because it is a challenge. The enourmous hill in front of me i see as a challenge not something that I have to climb up in order to have some fun. I don't want MTB to be easy and I certiantly don't want the "sport" to be full of lazy people.

    Like I said in another thread I think that AM bikes are the dumbest thing that has come out of the industry. They are good at nothing other than being slow. What can you do on an all mountain bike that you can't do on a XC bike? Look at some of the world cup courses. they are just as gnarly as any AM trail.

    But then again I am just a lycra wearing dirt roadie so my opinion might not be valid with all of you real Mountain bikers.
    "Shut up legs!"- Jens Voigt

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Honestly, to me MTB is about pushing yourself to see how far you can go, or how fast you can be on the downhill. To be a sport it has to be a competition. What you are talking about is making the activity of MTB bigger. Does anyone call hiking a sport? Does anyone call exercising a sport?

    Yes, it's a sport and competition is healthy. I do believe in pushing myself, and learn better skills to be able to ride better, smoother. My question to you is how fast can you really go downhill on a multi-use trail, because if you push to your limit it would be way above the recommended speed, that would be a sure way to get the trail close. Most riders can easily blow the speed limit on the descends they just choose to be responsible.

    I mountain bike because it is a challenge. The enourmous hill in front of me i see as a challenge not something that I have to climb up in order to have some fun. I don't want MTB to be easy and I certiantly don't want the "sport" to be full of lazy people.

    You sure sound like an extreme already, there are trails that fit everyone's need. I started mountain biking because I needed the exercise and it beats a boring road ride or jogging. I'm sure a lot of people are like me it's an awesome sport you can travel at 2-3 mph and your heart beating out of your chest and still very exciting comparing to a 10mph climb on a road bike. If the available trails are too steep for beginners then how many are expected to stay on. How about family ride I'm not going to take my wife and kids to the trails I usually ride, but I can do other trails that the family can enjoy.

    Like I said in another thread I think that AM bikes are the dumbest thing that has come out of the industry. They are good at nothing other than being slow. What can you do on an all mountain bike that you can't do on a XC bike? Look at some of the world cup courses. they are just as gnarly as any AM trail.

    Yeah, that's why AM/trail bike category is the largest and the most competitive segment of the sport Which AM bike have you been on and think that they are good at nothing. Though you have touch on a good idea because I'd pay good money to see Peats or Hill doing a run on a Hardtail.

    DH race course are well groomed, and only feature a portion of the actual trail. Plus, the picture does not really represent how technical it actually is and those pros make them look easy it does not help either. Have you been to one? They are not as easy as tame or easy as you think, if they are none of the pros would be on the 38lbs DH bike they'd be on a 26lbs AM bike. If you are talking about other parts of the world then may be, for example Brian Lopes won a DH race in Asia using a 5.5" Ibis mojo among the field of riders on their full on DH race bike.


    But then again I am just a lycra wearing dirt roadie so my opinion might not be valid with all of you real Mountain bikers.

    Nice back hand

    That's what I think of your post.

  33. #33
    mm9
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    We are also discussing this topic on our local mtb forum. One guy posted the comments below.. It's about the FATS trail system in South Carolina which is designated as an IMBA Epic and the site of the 2010 IMBA World Summit was chosen to be near it. They use it as an example of making epic trail with what you have to work with in terms of land, even without the spectacular mountain and landscapes of some parts of the country.

    I think it makes part of the point for what we are discussing:

    "I've seen what FATS has done first hand. It has put a lot of people on bikes in the woods who had never given it a moments thought before. Bike shop owners tell me that at least once a week, a slightly out of shape person walks into the shop and ask to buy a bike to ride at FATS. Phil Cohen of Chain Reaction gave a presentation on this at the IMBA Summit in Augusta. It was one of the better presentations I've seen at these types of things and I've seen a lot of them.

    I think a majority of these riders tend to stay at FATS (insert your local flow trail here) in the first few years. I have heard this before (and it about made me throw up), "I don't like Modoc". Modoc is our classic MTB trail, or as classic as you can have below 600 above sea level. Only things that suck about Modoc is that it is an out/back and only 5.5 miles long. I think I explained to that person that if she only likes to ride at FATS, that there were a handful of trails for her to ride IN THE WORLD (this was a while ago, there are certainly more than this now) and that most trails are more like Modoc than FATS.

    But FATS is coming on 6 years old now. And as the trail matures, more of the "FATS riders" are maturing into MTBers. There are two guys over here in particular who have become somewhat heroes of mine. They are definitely friends of mine now and they both started riding MTBs at FATS. One of them flat out told me the first time I met him that he enjoyed the cardio aspects of the sport, but had no desire to "become a mtber" with skills. He was quite happy to ride around anything not smooth and didn't understand why we disliked the ride arounds (and tried to educate the riders who create them). That guy has changed his tune and did the third SCG TT. The other guy learned to ride at FATS, but by the time I met him was already seeking out more challenging rides and terrain. Pisgah and Snake are his two favorite places to go ride.

    Flow trails have their place. So do more technical trails. But from what I've seen, it is the flow trail that has put more people on bikes in the woods than the trails that we had for 20 years before we had a flow trail. Good or bad, this is the way I see it. And some of those riders who learned on flow trail (more and more each year) are moving away from the flow trail to the old school trails."

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel
    The problems I see with the sport now are the same ones that happened to windsurfing- too much focus on the "extreme" end of things and too much focus on having the latest and greatest ($$$$) gear. The magazines are largely at fault for this- how many "family outings" do you see in the bike mags, and how many sub-$1000 comparisons do you see? Pretty much none. Windsurfing killed itself by continuously showing high-wind and big wave coverage, along with really expensive gear (to the point you would be snubbed on the beach if you happened to show up with last year's gear), and as a sport has been struggling to bring back the simple enjoyment of just playing in the water, regardless of low wind conditions, which is what most people have access to. Also, many trails are so rough that if you don't have a pretty decent bike, it can be pretty hard on the body. Just like ski areas, there should be multiple trails of varying difficulty that all lead back to the same place.
    Kiteboarding killed windsurfing.

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    It would be a disaster to promote mountain biking here in the San Francisco Bay Area. There just aren't enough trails to go around. If you quadrupled the number of mountain bikers, you still wouldn't have enough clout to get any new trails. All you'd end up with are crowded trails. If that happened, I'd quit riding.

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    Kiting is just another "extreme" sport. It takes bigger water and more wind than what windsurfing does, and the focus (at least media-wise) is all about big air. This get back to the heart of the question- does the "extreme" image grow a sport or hinder it?

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Honestly, to me MTB is about pushing yourself to see how far you can go, or how fast you can be on the downhill. To be a sport it has to be a competition. What you are talking about is making the activity of MTB bigger. Does anyone call hiking a sport? Does anyone call exercising a sport?
    The definition of "sport" allows for non-competitive activities. You do bring an interesting aspect to the discussion though. For some of us, mountain biking = competition. For others it's the activity, or may the progression of one's skills over time.

    Growing the competition aspect of mountain biking is different from growing the activity itself. Which do we want to discuss?

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9
    Flow trails have their place. So do more technical trails. But from what I've seen, it is the flow trail that has put more people on bikes in the woods than the trails that we had for 20 years before we had a flow trail.
    The above is a good point. I have seen first-hand that too rough a trail will turn off a beginning rider and leave them with totally the wrong impression of what mountain biking can be.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Honestly, to me MTB is about pushing yourself to see how far you can go, or how fast you can be on the downhill. To be a sport it has to be a competition. What you are talking about is making the activity of MTB bigger. Does anyone call hiking a sport? Does anyone call exercising a sport?

    I mountain bike because it is a challenge. The enourmous hill in front of me i see as a challenge not something that I have to climb up in order to have some fun. I don't want MTB to be easy and I certiantly don't want the "sport" to be full of lazy people.

    Like I said in another thread I think that AM bikes are the dumbest thing that has come out of the industry. They are good at nothing other than being slow. What can you do on an all mountain bike that you can't do on a XC bike? Look at some of the world cup courses. they are just as gnarly as any AM trail.

    But then again I am just a lycra wearing dirt roadie so my opinion might not be valid with all of you real Mountain bikers.
    Oh brother, pat yourself on the back much?

    sport   /spɔrt, spoʊrt/ Show Spelled
    [spawrt, spohrt] Show IPA

    –noun
    1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
    2. a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
    3. diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
    .

    And yes, excercising is a competitive sport, sounds lik you would fit right in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNRTUEkD_tA

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by mm9

    "I've seen what FATS has done first hand. It has put a lot of people on bikes in the woods who had never given it a moments thought before. Bike shop owners tell me that at least once a week, a slightly out of shape person walks into the shop and ask to buy a bike to ride at FATS. Phil Cohen of Chain Reaction gave a presentation on this at the IMBA Summit in Augusta. It was one of the better presentations I've seen at these types of things and I've seen a lot of them.

    I think a majority of these riders tend to stay at FATS (insert your local flow trail here) in the first few years. I have heard this before (and it about made me throw up), "I don't like Modoc". Modoc is our classic MTB trail, or as classic as you can have below 600 above sea level. Only things that suck about Modoc is that it is an out/back and only 5.5 miles long. I think I explained to that person that if she only likes to ride at FATS, that there were a handful of trails for her to ride IN THE WORLD (this was a while ago, there are certainly more than this now) and that most trails are more like Modoc than FATS.

    But FATS is coming on 6 years old now. And as the trail matures, more of the "FATS riders" are maturing into MTBers. There are two guys over here in particular who have become somewhat heroes of mine. They are definitely friends of mine now and they both started riding MTBs at FATS. One of them flat out told me the first time I met him that he enjoyed the cardio aspects of the sport, but had no desire to "become a mtber" with skills. He was quite happy to ride around anything not smooth and didn't understand why we disliked the ride arounds (and tried to educate the riders who create them). That guy has changed his tune and did the third SCG TT. The other guy learned to ride at FATS, but by the time I met him was already seeking out more challenging rides and terrain. Pisgah and Snake are his two favorite places to go ride.

    Flow trails have their place. So do more technical trails. But from what I've seen, it is the flow trail that has put more people on bikes in the woods than the trails that we had for 20 years before we had a flow trail. Good or bad, this is the way I see it. And some of those riders who learned on flow trail (more and more each year) are moving away from the flow trail to the old school trails."
    That's an awesome post that guy made mm9. I'm gonna hang on to that and possibly use it in the future when trying to get MTB access or develop any new trails.

    I don't have a problem with the Xtreme side of any sport...but I think it's idiotic how the media—and the people who consume that media—worship and glorify the Xtreme side of it. Much of it is ego driven—I don't give a sh*t what anyone says, most of the people at the bleeding edge of Xtreme are egomaniacs...all too willing to strut for the cameras. It gets REALLY old, and appeals mainly to the 12-21-year-old crowd.

    I frankly couldn't possibly care less how gnarly a trail/mountain/cliff the Xtreme guys can ride—all I care about is what I can ride.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  41. #41
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    No one wants to watch 40 minutes of you (Average Rider) trying climb a rutted hill in granny gear.
    No ones buying an Average Rider Jersey.

    Josh Bender was extreme. careless and looking for attention. What youre calling Extreme has sponsors, 4 days of training/week by athletes. You dont have to embrace the entire sport, but dont be a hater. The 12-21 crowd is spending a lot of money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I think it's idiotic how the media—and the people who consume that media—worship and glorify the Xtreme side of it. It gets REALLY old, and appeals mainly to the 12-21-year-old crowd.
    I disagree. I really enjoy seeing people riding stuff that I would never attempt, and I'm definitely not in the 12-21 crowd.

    And while I understand that some trail reconstruction/ improvement is necessary for erosion control, I feel the "flow" trail is the dumbing down of mountain biking. What's the matter with a little hike-a-bike? That's when you know you're really out there. When I want a 6% grade and smooth turns I grab my road bike.

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    Owl's right, the extreme stuff is just more marketable. Better suited as a spectator sport. I'd guess like surfing, skateboarding, BMX/freestyle, snowboarding, or any other X-games sort of thing the majority of people supporting the media frenzy will never actually participate in such extreme examples. Those 12-21 year olds will eat it up and succumb to some of the marketing, many of them may not even ever learn to do the sport to any degree past beginner but they are lured in by the awesomeness of it all.

    Surfing as an example. Lots do it, but the magazines and stuff are all filled with Tavarua, Jaws, Mavericks etc. As well as pro level competitions. The majority of surfers aren't going to ever see anything like that, which is part of why they want to see it. Pics of a guy carving a crumbly little shoulder on a grey day somewhere on the east coast isn't selling any trunks or sunglasses.

    Same thing in MTB. Even taking DH/FR out of the equation, most people would rather see XC action from the western states where there are striking views and wilderness. East coast singletrack is great in many places, but it doesn't translate as well to film. Even the best examples don't look like anything impressive to many non-riders.

    These market forces aren't going anywhere and there will always be kids to gobble up the newest gnar-gnar activity even though most of them and everyone else will never approach that stuff. It boils down to what's the most marketable first, all the other stuff like ego is secondary and not as much a reason for the lopsided focus.

  44. #44
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    As far as flow trails, I agree they are more likely to draw people into the sport and more likely to keep them interested. The riders who catch the bug on flowy stuff are going to eventually get strong enough to start seeking out other trail systems and find that technical terrain and extended climbing actually dominate most parks. And many will learn to love those aspects after all.

    Once again, more people getting hooked is good for LBS's, good for manufacturers and ultimately good for the rider as a consumer and trail user. I understand that many places have overcrowding issues but on average more riders are better for the sport as a whole.

    In reality the physical exertion required for riding is going to be a built in choke on how many people start riding. There will always be a certain contingent who will try it out, feel like they are about to die on every hill, and end up going back to watching TV, shopping, smoking and eating cheetos.

    Flow trails definitely help more than anything in getting new converts though. The only thing is, like in the South Carolina example, some people will never enjoy anything else. I fell in love with this sport at White Clay/Middle Run in Delaware then started seeking out more trails in the region. It was a pretty major shock at first that flowy buff single track was far from the norm, but now I love technical riding and climbing just as much as swoopy carving trails.

  45. #45
    mm9
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    Quote Originally Posted by cackalacky
    And while I understand that some trail reconstruction/ improvement is necessary for erosion control, I feel the "flow" trail is the dumbing down of mountain biking. What's the matter with a little hike-a-bike? That's when you know you're really out there. When I want a 6% grade and smooth turns I grab my road bike.
    I hear you and the others that prefer old school, non-groomed trails. I feel a similar way in the sport of snow skiing. I enjoy hiking a while with skis on my back to go find those untouched "powder pops" off the beaten path.

    I've been mountain biking since the beginning of the sport off and on. Heck we used to build a ton of local trails in the middle to late 60's/early 70's for our banana seat bikes with knobbies. We made creek jumps, gully runs etc. I think I could make a case that my buddies and I had a hand in inventing the sport. But, the the dirt bike revolution hit and most of us left our bicycles behind. Then, in the early 80's I got one of the first purpose built mountain bikes. I've been in and out of the sport since then. Even got a priviledge to ride some of the "Epic" trails out there: 401 in Crested Butte, Wheeler Pass trail above Breckenridge, Pinhoti and Bear Creek in Georgia, etc. Even attended a Fat Tire Festival in Crested Butte a few years ago. But, I never really developed a deep passion for the sport. It was more cross training for other things I liked better.

    I always wanted to like it though. I would continue to buy mountain biking magazines a few times a year. I liked the fact that it was quiet, no exhaust, cool towns, cool vibe, riders into health and fitness etc. But, the ride itself just never quite did it for me - Until just recently. A 29er for my birthday and several rides on these modern flow trails has started to ignite a passion I haven't felt since the early days on the banana seat bikes. I think a very real possiblity is that I'll ride enough just having fun, that my bike fitness will improve to the point that the old school trails are actually a lot of fun also. But, for now, I dream about a 15 - 20 mile continuous fast rolling, roller coaster!

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blurr
    Oh brother, pat yourself on the back much?

    sport   /spɔrt, spoʊrt/ Show Spelled
    [spawrt, spohrt] Show IPA

    –noun
    1. an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature, as racing, baseball, tennis, golf, bowling, wrestling, boxing, hunting, fishing, etc.
    2. a particular form of this, especially in the out of doors.
    3. diversion; recreation; pleasant pastime.
    .

    And yes, excercising is a competitive sport, sounds lik you would fit right in.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TNRTUEkD_tA
    Thats cool hate on something that you think is gay. You know what they say about homophobes right?

    Any way I bet you don't have one tenth of the athleticism that those dudes have. But, really its okay we all know that you have something to prove on this internet forum. I posted what I believe, and the first definition says, what a sport is. I guess you could micro analyze what I said and flip it around to add a little hight to your pedestal. Oh, and I can see how you threw in the link implying that I am homosexual, that must really make you feel good about yourself. Cause after all you are like, the most awesome dude that has ever walked the earth, right? Or maybe you are so under confident that you need to post things on the internet implying that you are so much cooler than them. When in reality you wish you had the balls to be yourself, and who knows maybe enter an aerobic competition.

    Just speculating here.
    "Shut up legs!"- Jens Voigt

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_owl
    No one wants to watch 40 minutes of you (Average Rider) trying climb a rutted hill in granny gear.
    No ones buying an Average Rider Jersey.

    Josh Bender was extreme. careless and looking for attention. What youre calling Extreme has sponsors, 4 days of training/week by athletes. You dont have to embrace the entire sport, but dont be a hater. The 12-21 crowd is spending a lot of money.
    Okay—maybe I'm a minority, but I rarely "watch" mountain biking—I just do it. Meaning I get no enjoyment out of watching other people do it on YouTube, especially the Xtreme crowd.

    And you know what? I'd love to watch average riders out on the trail—because it would be something different—and I sure could relate to those riders a lot more than 20-something aggro-kids leaping off buildings.

    And I don't buy anyone's jersey—I ride in blank t-shirts! (I don't care to be a walking billboard...)

    -----
    When I started whitewater slalom racing back in the mid-80s, it was an awesome sport—precisely because it was unknown. Races happened out in the woods on remote stretches of whitewater rivers, and the racers themselves actually hung the slalom gates *and* took turns doing the gate judging.

    There was an incredibly organic, egalitarian spirit about it. Nobody was in it for the money because there wasn't a penny to be made anywhere. And I was training and racing with world champions, by the way—guys like Jon Lugbill and Davey Hearn—who were actually regular guys with full-time jobs.

    (As an aside, I roll my eyes at racers who whine about sponsorship these days when I knew athletes who led normal lives and worked full-time jobs AND were 5-time world champions. Kinda puts the guys today whining for sponsorship in perspective.)

    Anyway, back then, there were lots of local whitewater slalom races—citizen races—that anyone could enter. Everyone had a good time...and beginners could literally hang out with world champions.

    Then—in 1992—whitewater slalom became an Olympic sport again (it was in the Olympics once before, in 1972), and that RUINED it. I saw it happen before my eyes.

    All of a sudden, teenagers who were doing it for the fun of it suddenly became obsessed with making the U.S. team and winning medals and (yep) started whining about sponsorship. Races that were once open to everyone suddenly became selective and only U.S. team-caliber racers were allowed to enter. The US Canoe and Kayak Team—the sport's governing body—suddenly became jerks and started laying all kinds of rules and regulations on races.

    The number of local citizen races dropped dramatically because either they were too easy for the team-caliber racers (who were obsessed with going to the Olympics), or nobody wanted to put on a race because the governing body would step in and start throwing their weight around.

    Since 1992, whitewater slalom has been in every summer Olympics...and in my opinion, the sport has suffered even more because of one thing—TV.

    Slalom courses used to require some endurance. Races were 3 minutes and a half-mile long. But TV camera crews *****ed and whined about how hard they were to cover...so the governing body started making courses shorter and shorter...to the point where today the average race is under 90 seconds and is just a sprint from beginning to end.

    The ultimate end result of all of this (and I could see this happening in competitive mountain biking) was that artificial whitewater courses started being built to host races. The courses were designed for television cameras.

    Now, the sport has completely lost its roots in river running. Now it's all about television, sponsorships, Olympics, snotty elitist kids obsessed with medals, etc.

    -----
    I may sound like a grumpy old man, LOL...but I'm not. In fact, you may be shocked to hear that I actually built (spearheaded and managed the project) one of the country's first artificial whitewater courses. So I was right in the middle of all that change—and at one time I enthusiastically embraced it.

    Now, in hindsight, I think it's done more harm than good...and the number of paddlers involved in whitewater slalom racing in the U.S. is fewer than ever.

    Very sad.

    So the moral is: fame, fortune, Olympics, television, and sponsorships are NOT always good for a sport...and can actually HARM it in the long run.

    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. —Jim311

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    I don't have a problem with the Xtreme side of any sport..
    No offense intended, but your posts in this thread suggest otherwise.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Thats cool hate on something that you think is gay. You know what they say about homophobes right?
    they like women?

    Any way I bet you don't have one tenth of the athleticism that those dudes have.
    this is true I could never wear an outfit like that I dono how they get themselves into those things, are they painted on? Ya Im just not that athletic

    But, really its okay we all know that you have something to prove on this internet forum. I posted what I believe, and the first definition says, what a sport is. I guess you could micro analyze what I said and flip it around to add a little hight to your pedestal. Oh, and I can see how you threw in the link implying that I am homosexual, that must really make you feel good about yourself. Cause after all you are like, the most awesome dude that has ever walked the earth, right? Or maybe you are so under confident that you need to post things on the internet implying that you are so much cooler than them. When in reality you wish you had the balls to be yourself, and who knows maybe enter an aerobic competition.

    Just speculating here.
    OH its ok I dont need that kind of attention, are you saying you are going to do this though?

  50. #50
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    How to grow the sport of mtn biking? Free booze, pizza, and strippers. It's foolproof.

  51. #51
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    "Dust" Please don't take the bait of a well proven, legend in their own mind, troll, who twists the facts, and often contradicts themselves to feel right. There's nothing to prove that hasn't already been proven with out any outside help. Oh and PLEASE don't wear lycra when in public, please I'm beggin you. LOL, (joke), no really.
    Some people mtb for the challenge of climbing a steep hill, while others climb that same hill for the thrill of decending the other side. What's the difference? Or should I ask, does it matter? Is 1 right and 1 wrong? That is exactly what many on this thread are talking about in terms of mtbers being more divided. If i ride a dh than yea, your ht climbs better, so what. Let's ride the trails, help eachother when we get a flat, and work together to keep our trails going. If there's an animal turd on the trail, instead of coping an attitude, laying blame, and riding over it again on your way back, get a stick or ? and move it a few feet over. Think witha better attitude like that, the current mtbers will enjoy it more and it will be more inviting to noobs.
    Last edited by theMeat; 03-31-2011 at 02:11 PM.
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  52. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by evasive
    No offense intended, but your posts in this thread suggest otherwise.
    Not true—I clearly said I have a problem with the worship and glorification of the Xtreme side of the sport. I've got no truck with anyone wanting to ride off cliffs—have at it!

    I also said I don't think it takes much imagination or intelligence to ride off cliffs—just big cojones. And I stand by that statement.

    The thread's about growing the sport...and I don't think Xtreme riding helps one bit. (Just my opinion.)

    Scott
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  53. #53
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    Man I disagree, it takes quit a bit of planning for those guys to ride off of cliffs, probably a bit of stooopidity too but IM ok with watching it lets face it, peopl want to watch people do things they themslves would not.

    I like watching the extreme stuff, hell who wants to watch someone just cruising around? well if its done right yes, but as mentioned, there is a reason those guys get the sponsors, it sells.
    Now this guy could sell some rigids though, I actually used this video to help keep my riding partners son interested who was depressed he's on a rigid.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKt44SliEbw

  54. #54
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    Scott, I agree with your points. But the money is going to continue to dictate what gets the exposure much of the time. The thing is with MTB, at least the different disciplines are actually very separate. Different gear, differing skillsets, totally different type of trail set ups required between XC/AM and DH/FR. They aren't really in competition and DH/FR getting attention from the youth and TV camera doesn't impinge on the world of recreational XC.

    Your specific whitewater examples seem more about how exposure changes the nature of competitions which is universal. I don't see it as an issue so much. Most local MTB clubs host beginner days, skill clinics, intro to trail system rides. We still have a good bit of grassroots goodwill sorts of events, and still have the racing aspect going strong, so we maintain the best of both worlds despite the olympic and world cup aspects.

    I think the extreme side can in fact help grow the sport too. Even if they are only a small percentage of overall riders, they are flashy enough to help get attention and interest. A kid who idolizes the FR side of things based on something they saw on ESPN2 might then look up local mountain biking clubs and trails.

  55. #55
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    If it hadn't been for the extreme mountainbiking races televised during the nineties I might never have gotten interested in mountainbiking.

    If it hadn't been for FATS I probably never would have been able to get my husband interested in mountainbiking.

    I think there really is something in this sport for everyone and I think that's part of the appeal. And as long as that appeal remains broad and diverse this sport will continue to grow. Just my 2 cents worth.
    I'm enjoying my childhood way too much to ever give it up.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat
    "Some people mtb for the challenge of climbing a steep hill, while others climb that same hill for the thrill of decending the other side. What's the difference? Or should I ask, does it matter? Is 1 right and 1 wrong? That is exactly what many on this thread are talking about in terms of mtbers being more divided. If i ride a dh than yea, your ht climbs better, so what. Let's ride the trails, help eachother when we get a flat, and work together to keep our trails going. If there's an animal turd on the trail, instead of coping an attitude, laying blame, and riding over it again on your way back, get a stick or ? and move it a few feet over. Think witha better attitude like that, the current mtbers will enjoy it more and it will be more inviting to noobs.
    Good post.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Not true—I clearly said I have a problem with the worship and glorification of the Xtreme side of the sport. I've got no truck with anyone wanting to ride off cliffs—have at it!

    I also said I don't think it takes much imagination or intelligence to ride off cliffs—just big cojones. And I stand by that statement.

    The thread's about growing the sport...and I don't think Xtreme riding helps one bit. (Just my opinion.)

    Scott
    As others pointed out, the way average people ride mountain bikes won't show in any advertisements outside real estate or vacation destinations. Any media devoted to any sport or hobby is going to focus on the attention grabbing side that is beyond the ability or reach of much of their readership: skiing, whitewater, cars, you name it. Even a magazine like Backpacker frequently devotes pages to trips that their average reader would never be able to do.

    I'm not an extreme anything, but I think your assessment of people you deem extreme is blinkered and patronizing. I'd sounds like a lot of that is colored by your whitewater experience.

    While you chided me about the thread topic, you did write half a page about how the adrenaline kids ruined whitewater slalom. While participation in this event may have suffered, the sport of paddling seems to be doing just fine. I'd guess it's probably even grown since then.

    John Fry's The History of Modern Skiing offers a pretty interesting parallel to how a more mature sport has changed across generations, tracking cultural shifts, changes in style, equipment, etc.

    People get into a sport like mountain biking for many different reasons. A lot of kids are drawn to the sport by the more attention-grabbing pictures or films, and ultimately a sport lives or dies by whether kids take it up. Plus, those kids won't be gravity rippers forever- as they get older they'll be trial riders, too. Access to trails and places to ride is probably the biggest hindrance to adoption of the sport, frankly. Developing more places where more people can conveniently ride is the best way to grow mountain biking.

  58. #58
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    @evasive—Okay, I admit I've been too harsh on the Xtreme crowd. But my opinions aren't out of the blue—since the early 1980s, I've been deeply involved in whitewater paddling, snowboarding, hang gliding, motorcycling, and (most recently) mountain biking.

    One of the things I tend to do—almost subconsciously—is look for parallels between these sports...and in every one of those sports, I've seen the identical Xtreme mentality—along with some of the negative aspects of it I talked about earlier.

    My opinions are ultimately rooted in the belief (which is almost like a religion for me) that people—especially in the U.S., and I include myself in this statement—too often tend to be obsessed with bigger/better/faster/higher/braver/stronger/more beautiful/hipper/cooler/etc. It's a part of our national character that many people think is great...but I think is largely behind the fact that the USA is NOT "Number One" any more in the world.

    I just think people need to chill out and be happy with what they have...and/or try to see more value in what they have...instead of constantly striving to one-up everybody else. To me, one-upmanship is a big part of the Xtreme mindset—if it weren't, then the Xtreme mindset wouldn't exist IMO.

    But sorry—I'm digressing again.

    Going back to my first post in this thread, I think that *if* we want to grow the sport, the best way to do it is to basically make it cool to be average.

    And if you think "What's cool about average?" I'd say "It's all in your mindset."

    Scott
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  59. #59
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    The only average mtb riders I want to watch ride a trail are those who are also appearing in the hot mountain biker chick passion thread.

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    I just don't care. If you love riding, you will get creative with riding spots.

    When I was kid growing up in Santa Cruz, Ca. - there were NO freestyle BMX'ers except my friend and I. No Dew Tour, no skateparks (well, there was Derby Park) and there was only the two of us. Nobody in our town was doing it except us, all the other kids were either surfing or skating.

    We got creative - we invented our own tricks and found interesting things to do with urban obstacles. We rode because we loved it and really never even considered ways "to grow the sport". We weren't out recruiting, nor were we filling out petitions to get parks opened. We did with what we had and it f'ing ROCKED.

    Plain and simple: I love riding. I don't care if the sport grows or doesn't. I'm going to ride regardless. What's more important? Being a cyclist? Or being part of a group called "cyclists"?

    I'm a rider - don't need to be part of a group or feel the need to be part of some cycling fraternity. The sport can be long dead, and I will still be pedalling around - doesn't matter what type of bike.

    BTW, I still jump curbs, bunnyhop piles of leaves, clear stairs, do rock-walks and other things on my cyclocross bike AND my mountain bikes... shoot, I'll drop into a skatepark and jump out of the bowl while wearing lycra - all while riding home from my XC rides.

    Stop putting yourselves in boxes, people. Ramp up the jawn.

  61. #61
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    In my opinion, you don't grow mountain biking through racing.

    People tend to get into racing after they have gotten the bug for mountain bike. And then a good percentage of those people who eventually got into racing tire of it, but often keep riding.
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  62. #62
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    The NorCal High School racing league, and now the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, introduce high school athletes to mountain biking with racing as the carrot. Just like any athletic endeavor things can be taken to the extreme but the extremes in this case all occur on a racecourse. The most extreme riders tend to end up on the podium. There is however an 85% slice of the population which will never see a podium. Few of these racers will continue racing after high school. However what you get are smart, courteous, powerful, and highly skilled riders who are now out on your trails riding building and maintaining. They cause fewer problems by virtue of their training. They are superior at trail sharing.

    So I think in this case you can grow mountain biking through racing. In 2002 there were 60 racers. In 2011 the same League has 550 racers with another couple hundred in SoCal another couple hundred in Colorado and Leagues just starting in Washington, soon to come in Minnesota and Texas.

    Advertising will always sell the sizzle as opposed to steak. The peak of a jump, railing of burmed turn, four guys across, hurtling downhill in full armor, are all just the highlights of a small aspect of the sport. I was talking to a public-relations person a few months ago and was telling her about the league and how in enriching it was for even the most modest riders. Do you know what she said? "There's no story there, you have to sell the winning!” As much as I hate to admit it, and for as strongly as I feel for all of those other riders, she's right. No one wants to hear about also-rans. No one wants to hear about the average rider. It may find some following in a human interest sort of story but for a steady diet of mountain biking it's the pinnacle that gets the attention.

    So, just as the ride is before us may have been attracted by the glitter and found their own reality, the advertising is not going to change and it will continue to work as it is. However, what is critical to the growing of this sport is in generating support systems for new riders which appreciate their new and developing skills. Unfortunately, that means training. Adults do not like to be trained. They most often see guidance as restriction, discipline as excessively onerous. It's a shame because in that direction comes real power and skill and smarts.

    In addition to working with developing teen athletes I have also worked with teens from challenging lifestyles who have only an occasional opportunity to ride. I usually pick one rider, as we ride 1:1, and ride at his shoulder for three hours, up down and sideways, shifting, breaking, weighting, drinking, understanding how to conserve energy and how to reach down deep. At the end of the day, almost without fail, they go to their school leader or patrol person and glow with what they've learned. The knowledge is there and you can either learned by trial and error or seek out organizations that can help you get there.

  63. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat
    "Dust" Please don't take the bait of a well proven, legend in their own mind, troll, who twists the facts, and often contradicts themselves to feel right. There's nothing to prove that hasn't already been proven with out any outside help. Oh and PLEASE don't wear lycra when in public, please I'm beggin you. LOL, (joke), no really.
    Some people mtb for the challenge of climbing a steep hill, while others climb that same hill for the thrill of decending the other side. What's the difference? Or should I ask, does it matter? Is 1 right and 1 wrong? That is exactly what many on this thread are talking about in terms of mtbers being more divided. If i ride a dh than yea, your ht climbs better, so what. Let's ride the trails, help eachother when we get a flat, and work together to keep our trails going. If there's an animal turd on the trail, instead of coping an attitude, laying blame, and riding over it again on your way back, get a stick or ? and move it a few feet over. Think witha better attitude like that, the current mtbers will enjoy it more and it will be more inviting to noobs.
    I have a BMI of something like 3%, I look just fine in lycra. yea, sure some of the bigger guys might not look so good in it but at least they are more comfortable than you fools that don't have the balls to wear cycling clothing, and insist that sweating your nuts of in baggies is so much "cooler"

    The anti division thing is bologna. Like you said yourself I like riding XC you like riding DH we are divided. Acting all buddy buddy isn't going to change the fact that the two sports are completely different from each other. One is basically gravity driven motocross while the other is pretty much just road racing on dirt.

    I stand by my argument that AM is not a sport it is an activity.

    To grow the "sport" (as in competition) of MTB, whether it be XC or DH, you need to get kids involved plain and simple. End of discussion.
    "Shut up legs!"- Jens Voigt

  64. #64
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    OK so I shouldn't act all buddy buddy to anyone not in my group/class, and you think that lycra looks "just fine" on low fat males but you're not into the fat ones.
    Got it.
    You also talked about sweaty nuts, and I'm starting to sense an ego problem.
    I also call BS on 3% bmi and hope. for your sake, that you just don't know what you're talking about but if true, you should really get more informed, drink more fluids, and eat more.
    Just sayin'
    Last edited by theMeat; 03-31-2011 at 06:41 PM.
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  65. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    I have a BMI of something like 3%, I look just fine in lycra. yea, sure some of the bigger guys might not look so good in it but at least they are more comfortable than you fools that don't have the balls to wear cycling clothing, and insist that sweating your nuts of in baggies is so much "cooler"

    The anti division thing is bologna. Like you said yourself I like riding XC you like riding DH we are divided. Acting all buddy buddy isn't going to change the fact that the two sports are completely different from each other. One is basically gravity driven motocross while the other is pretty much just road racing on dirt.

    I stand by my argument that AM is not a sport it is an activity.

    To grow the "sport" (as in competition) of MTB, whether it be XC or DH, you need to get kids involved plain and simple. End of discussion.
    HMMMM!!
    if you have 3% BMI you are in serious trouble, if you are 6" you gotta weight 22lbs.

    You've never argue that AM is a sport??? MTB is a sport may be "over mountain". There's nothing wrong with people take it up as a hobby either.

    I know you are a roadie it's not easy, but "can we all get along"

  66. #66
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    Buy a second mountain bike. You can then loan the first one to someone who hasn't ridden and take them on an easy, sweet trail.
    agmtb

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    Well all of you are cooler than me so i am just going to eat myself into obesity so i can join you in baggies and 5 inch bikes. then I will be cool and have all of you to validate my opinions cause if we are all overweight lazy and wearing baggies the world will be a better place.
    "Shut up legs!"- Jens Voigt

  68. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by abegold
    Buy a second mountain bike. You can then loan the first one to someone who hasn't ridden and take them on an easy, sweet trail.



    Or off some sweet jumps.

  69. #69
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    So now mtbr's are fools, lazy and obese? Really know what to say on a mtb forum hah. You're wrong again to assume I'm over weight. I cycle and workout regularly, watch what I eat, and have a 6 pack showing most of the year. I don't know my bmi because I'm just not that vein, but have some friends that compete in body building who get absolutely shreded for competition and barely get down to 3%. So I say you're a liar, 11 years old, very sick, or just aren't too well informed. Especially since anyone who's knowledgeable enough, and would take the time and effort to achieve that bmi would also know that your physical ability/energy level will suffer when at such a low body fat. Guess when you're such a superman, who wore tights also btw, that doesn't effect you, but it does for us mortals.
    AM is the stupidest thing ever? Wow, All I can think of is those thousands of foolish, lazy people that pedal around those useless, heavy bikes that have no idea. They should've talked to you before they bought a bike they could afford, from just about any bike manufacturer out there. Could a whole class of mtbing really be wrong while you're right? Man your good.
    If anyone is coming across like they're cooler it's you, or maybe your pants are too tight and cutting off the circulation to your brain. Just a thought.
    I'm not lacking any confidence or balls, just don't feel it necessary to show them to the public. My choice, I know. It is obvious that you're proud of and are willing to fight for your right to wear tights so no worries, I'm not against men wearing tights, just wish I didn't have to see them, no matter how trim they think they are. I'll get over it. Just one of the down sides of mtbing, like turds on the trail, and people like you.
    Think your attitude towards more or better mtbing s@cks and you make it more clear to everyone why our sport is going in this direction.
    I apologize to everyone for my being partially guilty in this troll fest but come on really. Ahh, feel better, as I'm sure so do some of you.
    Done now.
    Last edited by theMeat; 04-02-2011 at 05:15 PM.
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  70. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Honestly, to me MTB is about pushing yourself to see how far you can go, or how fast you can be on the downhill. To be a sport it has to be a competition. What you are talking about is making the activity of MTB bigger. Does anyone call hiking a sport? Does anyone call exercising a sport?

    I mountain bike because it is a challenge. The enourmous hill in front of me i see as a challenge not something that I have to climb up in order to have some fun. I don't want MTB to be easy and I certiantly don't want the "sport" to be full of lazy people.

    Like I said in another thread I think that AM bikes are the dumbest thing that has come out of the industry. They are good at nothing other than being slow. What can you do on an all mountain bike that you can't do on a XC bike? Look at some of the world cup courses. they are just as gnarly as any AM trail.

    But then again I am just a lycra wearing dirt roadie so my opinion might not be valid with all of you real Mountain bikers.

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Well all of you are cooler than me so i am just going to eat myself into obesity so i can join you in baggies and 5 inch bikes. then I will be cool and have all of you to validate my opinions cause if we are all overweight lazy and wearing baggies the world will be a better place.
    Lycra doesn't lie.

  72. #72
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    Some have suggested "making average riding seem fun". My 21 y/o son and I have been emailing mtb videos back and forth. (I appreciate the ability to do that) His passion for the sport is growing also. A lot of these videos are almost all extreme riding that most of us either won't or can't do. I get bored after a while of watching cliff drops and giant jumps because it's not something I'm going to go do myself. Here's a great one we found that shows a lot a fast flowing trails that most of us would do ourselves. Of course it also shows some incredible jumps and riding expertise that is out of my league. But, there are plenty of doable trail sections in the video that just make me want to go ride!

    <iframe title="YouTube video player" width="480" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/v3nkzjACUG4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by dust3313
    Well all of you are cooler than me so i am just going to eat myself into obesity so i can join you in baggies and 5 inch bikes. then I will be cool and have all of you to validate my opinions cause if we are all overweight lazy and wearing baggies the world will be a better place.
    All kidding on your sexual preference of men in spandex asside. I would have to say that calling anyone out MTB regardless of the type as "lazy'" is not very well thought out.

    Hell IM 5'9 220, I am muscular but I also have a belly, I outweigh the guys I ride with by 60lbs on average, none of them would call me lazy on any level, do you listen to this song while you peddle by chance?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYws8biwOYc

  74. #74
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    Dang, I was hoping to hear more about how awesome that one guy was in virtually every extreme sport before it was officially extreme. Oh well, there is always some good cyber-slacking on here somewhere.

  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone
    Whoever mentioned the extreme side of mountain biking being a negative (as far as growing the sport) was dead-on.
    100% agree. From what I saw in the media, 'mountain biking' terrified me. Those guys are NUTS (I thought)!

    Then I got into road biking. I started reading Fat Cyclist and watching some of his ride videos. They didn't look too terrifying. Actually kind of fun. That gave me the nerve to show up to a late-season mountain bike ride my club held for beginners, and I had a great time! It wasn't crazy. There was no need to risk serious injury.

    I'm still quite a novice on the trails, but I have a great time out there. I like to call it 'cross country' biking when I'm trying to lure someone else into giving it a try. That sounds a lot less intimidating than 'mountain biking'.

  76. #76
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    Welcome to the site and the sport.
    Round and round we go

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