Thursday, January 11, 2007

Mountain biking snobbery

Got the new WMB mag in the post yesterday. Two guys wrote in to the letter sections regarding the snobbery of some mountain bikers. Six months ago I got back into mountain biking after a decade of inactivity and loving every minute of it, but have seen some attitude by other MTBers that makes me wish I didn't.

Most of the time whenever we bike on a trail, the other MTBers we meet are excellent and friendly people. Nothing pleases me more than having people say hello to you (something Londoners do not do enough). Even while cycling through Lydd, a nice little girl actually said "nice bike" to me. So have I met MTB snobs? Some of those at certain EvansCycles do qualify (I prefer to get kits from indie bike shops - the prices are the same anyway and they actually remember your name), but on actual trails, not all the time.

Yes I have seen snobbish MTBers before. The sort of people whom when you give a friendly hello, would not answer back. They are recogniseable. They ride the latest kit and spend £2000 on hardtails or £5000 on full sussers, but have no idea how to use them. They buy 6 inch full sussers to use in the city for commuting purposes. They would eye your £240 bike and scoff at it. Thankfully, 95% of all MTBers are alright. Even the long haired dude we met on the train from Seaford, with his £1500 Specialized Stumpy, is friendly enough to at least say "you gotta start somewhere".

As for bikes? I am pretty content with my cheap Giant. It's a burly and heavy bike, more suited for all-mountain terrain than cross country or singletrack. Do I wish for a better and lighter bike? Most definitely. When I can stomach up and afford a £1000 hardtail, I will get one. But as a sport, I don't care. Give me back my old cheap and creaky 1993 rigid steel Universal Fusion and I would still be happy.

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Anonymous said...

It's not just mountain bikers; what about the majority of BMW or 4x4 drivers? - Or worse still the drivers of those 4x4 BMW's! Why use indicators when you can randomly use any part of the road that you like? Why bother giving a polite wave to those who wait and give way?

The same scenario could also be applied to dog walking, meeting colleagues in the corridor at work or almost anything.

I guess it's the same whatever you do or wherever you go. Perhaps is a class thing.

I used to go to North Devon a lot. People who I'd never met would say hello to me in the street. Over the years that started to change as the townies started snapping up all the available property for weekend retreats, forcing the house prices out of reach of the locals. A real shame.

I'd rather be someone who says hello first and sometimes gets ignored than waiting for the other person to speak first. As you say, 95% of people are ok :)

Jon Choo said...

Class thing indeed. Which is shocking because outside of the scene, biking has never been considered to be a cool sport.