In the second part of our look at cycling eco systems we are starting with Mountain Biking communities, then onto BMX. We have had some great feedback so far. Let BikeRoar know where you fit in the vast scheme of all things cycling.
This is one of my personal domains. I started to change when I began road riding, seemingly transferring the "look" and attitude of a die hard roadie to the mountain trails. Skin tight lycra and shaved legs is the way. Bikes will be 29ers nowadays, usually hardtail or 100mm rear travel at most. These are the torpedos of the mountain bike community.
They truly are the road riders of the forest, with the "never stop for a break" attitude when riding. Nailing a technical climb has equal thrill to a speedy descent. These guys don't stop for pleasantries on the trail, and will churn past with hardly a flicker of acknowledgement. Too focused. Probably comes across as a bit aloof or arrogant...."this is serious training mate".
Ride with them and there is still time for a laugh, but behind the smile you can feel "I am going to tear your arms and legs from your body". Not a bunch for the faint of heart.
Trail riders, weekend warriors, MTB nerds
The opposite is the trail rider. This is the body, heart and soul of the mountain bike community and accounts for the majority of riders. Typically easy going, and like road riders, usually found in packs. These are the cyclists crowding the trail head car park on a weekend morning, and while you could call them 'weekend warriors' they have often been riding for 10-20 years and as a result can be strong and skilled on the bike.
In reality you could split this group into three camps: those who know everything about bikes, those who know nothing and those that just love the ride and couldn't care less as long as there is singletrack to ride. MTB nerds can be notoriously difficult, highly opinionated and experts of all things MTB. They can suck the life out of a "this was meant to be fun" ride. At the opposite end, the "know nothing" crowd are great because you always feel like a champion cyclist when riding with them. And as for all the others; well, if there is singletrack, all good!
Freeriders and gravity
The superstars of MTB. When Red Bull came along these guys were elevated to the heights of cycling fame. Fearless, tough, knee length baggy shorts and beer. These cyclists are as serious in their commitment to nailing a stupid drop, or pinning a downhill race track, as a roadie is in climbing Mont Ventoux (although probably a few more high fives and chest pumps etc.).
Typically friendly, though with the all too common "moth flying close to a flame" ego; a necessity if one is to generate the courage to pull off some pretty stupid stunts...but geez they look awesome on DVD!
For what is supposed to be a fun sport, I've always found BMX riders take themselves very seriously. I have worked with several ex-racers (state and national level) and even though older and retired, they are hard to milk for a laugh. It's like they are stuck in the starting gate from 5 years ago and forgot. My only explanation is that pro BMX is a competitive and cut throat world and the attitude sticks.
All that hard work and focus for, what is it, a 10 second run? Such a small picture...I think it does long term damage.
BMX is very popular where I live and at the shop we would get hordes of kids from about age 12-17 in the store, bikes dumped across the doorway blocking anyone else coming or going, and they would hang around and sit on the bikes and want to talk to you about BMX stuff, and you know what? I actually sort of liked them.
A most innocent gang. These are the riders from the skate parks and half pipes. They like to ride without brakes or any markings on their bikes, but rest assured they know good stuff when they see it.
The Original Retro
This leads to my favourites: the original retros. They were around in the eighties when BMX was invented and either still ride or have dreams of one day riding again. Regardless of current activity they are still BMX riders at heart.
The retro will gaze longingly at an anodized GT quadangle. They are still cool kids in older, wrinklier bodies and could probably rip it up flatland style given a chance.
This is just a handful of different styles of riding and groups within cycling. Let us know where you fit.