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Do we need two sports?

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited by Moderator)
This is a very long read but something that needs to be addressed.

Something that has come to my attention in the past couple of months is why mountain bikers and the sport in general doesn't get any respect from the general public?

I'm 15 and I'm going to my sophomore year of high school, so there is lots of judgy people all around me. Whenever I or one of my close friends mention that I mountain bike it is for some reason made fun of or not respected until I mention that fact that I also ride moto occasionally. Then people are like, "Oh that's actually cool." This really strikes me as strange because of the close similarity between mountain biking and motocross.

I noticed the same thing when me and my buddy go through drive thrus when we are riding. When you go through a fast food place on a mountain bike, I get no respect and even a bit of disrespect from the employees. However, when we go through a drive thru on motos, even electric surrons with mtb parts, they get mad respect from the cashier and even the guy or girl at the next window. In fact, lots of the terms that mountain bikers use are borrowed and/or derived from motocross. Case, roost, brap, whip are just a small portion of these. I have noticed that this is also the same thing for BMX. BMX somehow gets the respect it deserves and mountain biking doesn't. Same thing with moto. They are all extreme sports where there is a much increased chance of injury compared to sports like basketball, baseball, football and soccer (coming out of a basketball players mouth and with much respect to the other sports). They are sports that involve machines with two wheels and all of them are impressive in their own right, especially at the very pinnacle of each of them. There is an identity crisis and there's too many disciplines to be the same sport.

So my question to you guys is why do you think there is this gap in respect from the general public compared to other sports on two wheels?

Is it because people associate mountain biking with road biking and assume it is a bunch of assholes with spandex and power meters that cut off cars? Is it because most mountain bikers are assumed to be weird nature hippies?

I might piss people off but I am not with the crowd of people who have the outmost respect for our trails or the guy who respects the wilderness boundary. I like to roost, because it looks cool. I throw tables and whips on every lip I can pop of off and ride fast on the downhills. I'm not the guy with the safety vest and the mirror mounted to the bars. I'm the guy that blowing past hikers when they don't move. I'm not the rich guy with an sworks enduro be babied on greens and blues once a month. I build jumps on the side of the trail that get destroyed by forest service or hikers, and when they do, we build them right back up. It's not because I'm an asshole who hates nature. It's not because I have no respect for the trail. I just desire to have the most fun I can and the most freedom I can have.

Mountain biking needs an identity change that commands respect instead of being the hippie rich lame old man sport which it is right now. When I was first starting out, I was the definition of a joey. I rode around on my brand new specialized rockhopper with kneepads and a backpack and highlighter gloves and helmet. I tended to overestimate my ability and label my riding style as aggressive when it was soft. I really was the perfect example of the type of person who wasn't going to go into wilderness area or do anything against "nature," so I understand the people who think like this but it really doesn't make that much sense to be sensitive about that. It creates extra work for volunteers and forests service workers. But that's what they volunteered to do and that what the forest service workers are PAID to do. As someone who has built berms and jumps, I know what it's like to go out and see your work destroyed or damaged. But that's what is supposed to happen. If there is ruts in my berm from or jump from people riding in the wet, instead of getting mad and complaining online, I go, damn they were shredding. And I fix it because it's MY WORK that I signed up for by building it. It's not land scaping it's mountain biking damn it. This is the exactly the type of mentality that limits creativity and the growth of our sport.

Mountain biking is a sport without structure, just like moto and bmx. Of course, there is the racing side and commercial side of each, but that doesn't take away from the unstructured side like the industry does in mountain biking. We have all of these media companies and youtubers/sponsored riders saying not to roost or not to disrespect the trails or not to go in wilderness areas. You should donate to you mountain biking advocacy group in your area. Don't build where you're not allowed too! All of these do nots. All giving mountain biking this structure which seeks to lock people into the mold as a nature hippie mountain bike purist. Then, when a persons locked into this they want to make their riding more exciting and go out and buy new ****. When I walk into my local bike shop I see the reps trying to sell a middle aged lady an enduro or nomad with a 64 degree head angle and a 8k price tag. I don't see real people in the media. I see outlets having contrasting reviews on the same generation of the same bike with no changes in geo or suspension kinematics. I don't see youtubers as being real at all. They promote anything and everything to keep feeding themselves and the industry just like the rest of social media.

When I looked this question up a little while ago, I saw a single tracks article saying that mountain biking needs an identity change. I agree. Quote from singletracks.com, Mountain Biking Has an Identity Crisis... And it Affects Us All - Singletracks Mountain Bike News
But really and truly, one of the only tactics we have at our disposal to combat this wrongful association in the minds of outsiders is to create some sort of separation between the two versions of mountain biking. In my opinion, I think this means that we need new terminology. More than that, we almost need two new sports.

The sport of “mountain biking” encompasses so much: it encompasses the freeriders and the backcountry explorers discussed above. It includes dirt jumpers in skinny jeans. It includes fat bikers pedaling on snow in Alaska in the dead of winter. It includes the family of four going for a leisurely pedal on their local beginner-rated singletrack trail. It includes the group of tatted-up singlespeed hammerheads drinking whisky out of flasks as they seek to crush each other, body and soul, on their weekly group ride.
The next point in the singletracks article almost suggests that slashing a berm is somehow unethical. And here is where our sport begins to split in two. Singletracks states that the industry has a "brick wall of money," and that being an exception bicycle rider is somehow comparable to the way companies use advertisements that provoke a sexual response from the audience. How are those two even comparable?

So singletracks is telling us to act a certain way and to our bikes ride a certain way because to do otherwise is unethical and wrong, and ride our bikes this way because it is good. This really reflects on the whole bike industry. Notice how the industry is so quick to defend a certain side of mountain biking. The side that appeals to the wealthy and the willing to spend. The side that is less advanced. The side that makes lots of money on the expensive end of the spectrum. This has an effect on new riders, just like it did on me. These being the impression that I had of mountain biking led me to believe everything they said. Seeing my happiness skyrocket and seeing the benefits take hold and change my life made me trust everything that I said even more. I was convinced that I needed kneepads, gloves, a shammy. I learned everything about bikes on the mechanical side, but nothing about riding. Constantly thinking I had problems with my bike, I was always in the shop buying tools and components. This is exactly how they make their money.

We need to take our side of the sport into something that accurately represents those of us who strive for greatness. Those of us who have the desire to experience the most freedom we can possibly have through a bicycle. Us who are addicted to gravity and the intense sense of freedom that the progression provides us with. Not just those who are advanced in skill, but also those who are not advanced in skill, but have the desire to ascend to the highest level of mountain biking that they are capable of. The ones who loose sleep over not hitting that drop today. Those who are pushing the sport forward.
 

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I'm 15 and I'm going to my sophomore year of high school, so there is lots of judgy people all around me.
I think you answered your own question. When they all grow up, I don't think you'll have that issue. Speaking as an elder, the most common response I get when I say I mountain bike is something along the lines of, "if only I could do that...".
 

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Cycologist
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Only read the first few lines due to WALL OF TEXT

But from what I read, I'd say it's because you are 15. You and your peers have been able to ride bicycles as long as you can remember. But motor vehicles, society officially says you can't ride (at least on the road) until you are 16 so they are something new for you and the others and that means you're approaching adulthood which every kid wants to get to as fast as possible for some reason.
 
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change is good
Switchblade with a 38, 29+ rigid WaltWorks
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Well, there are jerky roadies, but also there are a holes on the trail. The fact is, basketball, football, baseball, track and soccer it that order gets the chicks. Unless you live in Colorado. It gets better, but why would someone drop so much coin on a bike, and risk the chance of injury riding dirty trails?


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Bicyclochondriac.
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I don’t understand what those poll response options mean, and there is no way I am climbing that wall of text to find out.
 

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Professional Crastinator
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This is a very long read but something that needs to be addressed.
Something that has come to my attention in the past couple of months is why mountain bikers and the sport in general doesn't get any respect from the general public? I'm 15 and I'm going to my sophomore year of high school, so there is lots of judgy people all around me. Whenever I or one of my close friends mention that I mountain bike it is for some reason made fun of or not respected until I mention that fact that I also ride moto occasionally. Then people are like, "Oh that's actually cool." This really strikes me as strange because of the close similarity between mountain biking and motocross. I noticed the same thing when me and my buddy go through drive thrus when we are riding. When you go through a fast food place on a mountain bike, I get no respect and even a bit of disrespect from the employees. However, when we go through a drive thru on motos, even electric surrons with mtb parts, they get mad respect from the cashier and even the guy or girl at the next window. In fact, lots of the terms that mountain bikers use are borrowed and/or derived from motocross. Case, roost, brap, whip are just a small portion of these. I have noticed that this is also the same thing for BMX. BMX somehow gets the respect it deserves and mountain biking doesn't. Same thing with moto. They are all extreme sports where there is a much increased chance of injury compared to sports like basketball, baseball, football and soccer (coming out of a basketball players mouth and with much respect to the other sports). They are sports that involve machines with two wheels and all of them are impressive in their own right, especially at the very pinnacle of each of them. There is an identity crisis and there's too many disciplines to be the same sport. So my question to you guys is why do you think there is this gap in respect from the general public compared to other sports on two wheels. Is it because people associate mountain biking with road biking and assume it is a bunch of assholes with spandex and power meters that cut off cars? Is it because most mountain bikers are assumed to be weird nature hippies? I might piss people off but I am not with the crowd of people who have the outmost respect for our trails or the guy who respects the wilderness boundary. I like to roost, because it looks cool. I throw tables and whips on every lip I can pop of off and ride fast on the downhills. I'm not the guy with the safety vest and the mirror mounted to the bars. I'm the guy that blowing past hikers when they don't move. I'm not the rich guy with an sworks enduro be babied on greens and blues once a month. I build jumps on the side of the trail that get destroyed by forest service or hikers, and when they do, we build them right back up. It's not because I'm an asshole who hates nature. It's not because I have no respect for the trail. I just desire to have the most fun I can and the most freedom I can have. Mountain biking needs an identity change that commands respect instead of being the hippie rich lame old man sport which it is right now. When I was first starting out, I was the definition of a joey. I rode around on my brand new specialized rockhopper with kneepads and a backpack and highlighter gloves and helmet. I tended to overestimate my ability and label my riding style as aggressive when it was soft. I really was the perfect example of the type of person who wasn't going to go into wilderness area or do anything against "nature," so I understand the people who think like this but it really doesn't make that much sense to be sensitive about that. It creates extra work for volunteers and forests service workers. But that's what they volunteered to do and that what the forest service workers are PAID to do. As someone who has built berms and jumps, I know what it's like to go out and see your work destroyed or damaged. But that's what is supposed to happen. If their is ruts in my berm from or jump from people riding in the wet, instead of getting mad and complaining online, I go, damn they were shredding. And I fix it because it's MY WORK that I signed up for by building it. It's not land scaping it's mountain biking damn it. This is the exactly the type of mentality that limits creativity and the growth of our sport. Mountain biking is a sport without structure, just like moto and bmx. Of course, there is the racing side and commercial side of each, but that doesn't take away from the unstructured side like the industry does in mountain biking. We have all of these media companies and youtubers/sponsored riders saying not to roost or not to disrespect the trails or not to go in wilderness areas. You should donate to you mountain biking advocacy group in your area. Don't build where you're not allowed too! All of these do nots. All giving mountain biking this structure which seeks to lock people into the mold as a nature hippie mountain bike purist. Then, when a persons locked into this they want to make their riding more exciting and go out and buy new ****. When I walk into my local bike shop I see the reps trying to sell a middle aged lady an enduro or nomad with a 64 degree head angle and a 8k price tag. I don't see real people in the media. I see outlets having contrasting reviews on the same generation of the same bike with no changes in geo or suspension kinematics. I don't see youtubers as being real at all. They promote anything and everything to keep feeding themselves and the industry just like the rest of social media. When I looked this question up a little while ago, I saw a single tracks article saying that mountain biking needs an identity change. I agree.
Quote from singletracks.com, Mountain Biking Has an Identity Crisis... And it Affects Us All - Singletracks Mountain Bike News
But really and truly, one of the only tactics we have at our disposal to combat this wrongful association in the minds of outsiders is to create some sort of separation between the two versions of mountain biking. In my opinion, I think this means that we need new terminology. More than that, we almost need two new sports.

The sport of “mountain biking” encompasses so much: it encompasses the freeriders and the backcountry explorers discussed above. It includes dirt jumpers in skinny jeans. It includes fat bikers pedaling on snow in Alaska in the dead of winter. It includes the family of four going for a leisurely pedal on their local beginner-rated singletrack trail. It includes the group of tatted-up singlespeed hammerheads drinking whisky out of flasks as they seek to crush each other, body and soul, on their weekly group ride.

The next point in the singletracks article almost suggests that slashing a berm is somehow unethical. And here is where our sport begins to split in two. Singletracks states that the industry has a "brick wall of money," and that being an exception bicycle rider is somehow comparable to the way companies use advertisements that provoke a sexual response from the audience. How are those two even comparable? So singletracks is telling us to act a certain way and to our bikes ride a certain way because to do otherwise is unethical and wrong, and ride our bikes this way because it is good. This really reflects on the whole bike industry. Notice how the industry is so quick to defend a certain side of mountain biking. The side that appeals to the wealthy and the willing to spend. The side that is less advanced. The side that makes lots of money on the expensive end of the spectrum. This has an effect on new riders, just like it did on me. These being the impression that I had of mountain biking led me to believe everything they said. Seeing my happiness skyrocket and seeing the benefits take hold and change my life made me trust everything that I said even more. I was convinced that I needed kneepads, gloves, a shammy. I learned everything about bikes on the mechanical side, but nothing about riding. Constantly thinking I had problems with my bike, I was always in the shop buying tools and components. This is exactly how they make their money.
We need to take our side of the sport into something that accurately represents those of us who strive for greatness. Those of us who have the desire to experience the most freedom we can possibly have through a bicycle. Us who are addicted to gravity and the intense sense of freedom that the progression provides us with. Not just those who are advanced in skill, but also those who are not advanced in skill, but have the desire to ascend to the highest level of mountain biking that they are capable of. The ones who loose sleep over not hitting that drop today. Those who are pushing the sport forward.
I think from your perspective - your actual location - you have a limited view of the MTB world. If you are able to venture out to unfamiliar places and different trails, you will see that things are done differently in different places. While there is a certain structure, as you say, some kind of "structure" is necessary. If you go back to the origins of MTBing, it was a tolerable amount of structure and standards applied to bikes, gear, and especially trail building that created some legitimacy; sorta got everyone going in the same direction.
If you are seeking "respect" from non-riders (don't bother), consider that the girl at the drive-thru doesn't know jack about motos, yet she's all impressed. That's not respect. The same tactic is used to get little kids into the back of a non-descript white van.

-F
 

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Ibis Ripley V4
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You're 15 and looking to "command respect"?

Why don't you try to earn respect first?

You know, by not trying so hard to "look cool". It's the person screaming for respect that rightfully never gets any.

The little of your rant that was possible to read was loaded in disrespect and flat out spoiled brat nonsense towards others, don't be shocked when nobody sends respect back your way.
 

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I'm 15

I build jumps on the side of the trail that get destroyed by forest service or hikers, and when they do, we build them right back up.

It creates extra work for volunteers and forests service workers. But that's what they volunteered to do and that what the forest service workers are PAID to do.

If their is ruts in my berm from or jump from people riding in the wet, instead of getting mad and complaining online, I go, damn they were shredding.
In an effort to skim the OP and avoid getting a headache, the above was my take away. If you are altering trails and/or riding them when they are wet or possibly when they are closed; from my standpoint this will definitely NOT help in the getting respect camp.
 

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thecentralscrutinizer
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Whomever told you mtb'ing was going to get you respect is an "A"-hole. Go do something that is worthy of gaining someone's respect.
 
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