Mountain biking, the bastard renegade of the cycling world, has a problem.
This thing we all do: rolling in woodlands and scrabbling up mountain sides to careen back down them, slipping round skinny hand cut corners in forests or hacking along trail centre gnar, is about far more than most mountain bike culture speaks of.
Mountain biking ain’t about head angles and gear ratios, it’s not about enduro pyjamas and carbon fibre. It’s not about laterally stiff, vertically compliant training sessions for the next race. Some folk like that stuff. Some folk like some of that stuff now and again. But this is about way more than that.
Mountain biking is scurrying for freedom into the wilds, it’s an escape attempt into the nothingness OUT THERE. It’s fucking wild howling spinning in circles and primitivist urges in the back country… It’s that primal shriek as you slide just fucking so around that corner, mud in your eyes and slashes on your arms from the brambles, gashes in your shins and snot slathering your face like the animal you are.
We are the Clandestine Clunker Club.
We are abandoning our gear, at least some of the time. We’re hacking back into the wilds, as raw as we can, chests splayed out by stupidly wide bars and fear distorting our faces as we skid like idiots on fire roads. We are pretending to be Alan Bonds, Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze. We’re making escape attempts.