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Mountain Bike Tips

5 Mountain Biker Stereotypes: Help Set them Straight

Mountain Biker riding towards camera on narrow dirt trail through field of bright green grass

From an out­siders per­spec­tive, moun­tain bik­ing can seem intim­i­dat­ing, dan­ger­ous and not for the faint of heart.  Like any sport though, what you see in Red Bull videos and  YouTube stunt videos is not the real­i­ty of the sport that is enjoyed by the aver­age par­tic­i­pant.  If you’re new to the sport of moun­tain bik­ing or think­ing of hit­ting the trails, don’t be intim­i­dat­ed because of the stereo­types you hear. On the flip­side,  if you’re a  sea­soned moun­tain bik­er,  make it your duty to dis­pel moun­tain bik­ing stereo­types and cre­ate a wel­com­ing envi­ron­ment for newcomers. 

5 Mountain Biker Stereotypes

1. WE ARE OUTRAGEOUS THRILL SEEKERS

We do seek  ‘thrills’, but not in the way the media por­trays moun­tain bik­ers.  We take cal­cu­lat­ed risks based on our skill lev­el and we push our­selves just passed our com­fort zone.  For the major­i­ty of us,  ‘thrill seek­ing’  means chal­leng­ing our­selves every time we hit the trail, plan­ning hour-long, day-long or week­end-long moun­tain bike adven­tures, escap­ing to our local sin­gle­track trails to clear our minds from our busy lives or pon­der­ing life at amaz­ing view­points along the trail.  We’re not after heart-pump­ing, adren­a­line-induc­ing expe­ri­ences all the time.  Most of all, we appre­ci­ate moun­tain bik­ing as our pas­sion that con­nects us to our com­mu­ni­ty,  friends and the nat­ur­al world.  It’s our way to dis­con­nect and recharge. 

Person sitting still on their mountain bike at a mountain lookout with mountain valley in distance and blue sky overhead

2. WE “SHRED THE GNAR”

‘Shred the Gnar’ basi­cal­ly means to ride with ‘excep­tion­al speed, abil­i­ty, or enthu­si­asm, espe­cial­ly in dif­fi­cult ter­rain and con­di­tions.’  It’s usu­al­ly accom­pa­nied by  the word “bro” or “dude”… and NO,  that isn’t how most moun­tain bik­ers speak and it isn’t what all moun­tain bik­ers do when they ride.  The major­i­ty of us are not seek­ing the biggest gap jump we can find, nor are we search­ing for the ‘gnarli­est’ drops and skin­nies.  Most of us find glo­ry in the beau­ty of a flow trail that weaves through the trees, the chal­lenge of a climb­ing switch­back trail or con­quer­ing a rock garden. 

Two mountain bikers riding quickly through a winding forest trail

3. WE ARE A NUISANCE ON SHARED TRAILS 

In any sport, there are usu­al­ly a few bad apples that give it a bad name.  Rest assured,  the major­i­ty of moun­tain bik­ers are friend­ly, wel­com­ing and want to be good neigh­bors on shared trail sys­tems.  We want to pro­tect our for­est,  desert and moun­tain trails for the enjoy­ment of all users. We under­stand good trail eti­quette, we respect trail clo­sures, we prac­tice a ‘leave no trace’ phi­los­o­phy and we yield as required. 

Mountain Biker riding across gravel with red mountains behind them

4. WE ARE GEAR SNOBS 

The major­i­ty of moun­tain bik­ers don’t look like they just rode out of a Pink Bike video or dropped $500 on cloth­ing at Whistler moun­tain bike shops. You can ride in what­ev­er makes you com­fort­able. You don’t need the lat­est sweat-wick­ing fab­ric or trendy cycling shoes. Most impor­tant­ly,  make sure you have the gear that will keep you safe out on the trail — a moun­tain bik­ing spe­cif­ic hel­met,  a water bot­tle to stay hydrat­ed, plus a well-main­tained tuned up bike. 

Wear what­ev­er brings you joy…

Five men on bikes at the beach, wearing bright green thong bathing suits

5. WE ARE ALL “BROS”

Women are tak­ing over the moun­tain bike scene and new wom­en’s only clubs,  rides, events, and races are pop­ping up every­where.  The moun­tain bike com­mu­ni­ty wel­comes peo­ple all ages, gen­ders, and abil­i­ties.  It’s com­mon for local moun­tain bike clubs to hold begin­ner, inter­me­di­ate and advanced rid­ers, as well as skills clin­ics for kids and adults.  Don’t be intim­i­dat­ed, every­one rides togeth­er and learns together. 

Group of smiling men and women in mountain bike gear posing together for photo on a field with mountains in the baackground

To all the moun­tain bik­ers out there, remem­ber that you’re rep­re­sent­ing the sport and the moun­tain bik­ing com­mu­ni­ty when­ev­er you go for a ride.  Help crush these stereo­types and encour­age more peo­ple to enter the won­der­ful world of moun­tain biking!