Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter

Obsessive Compulsive Cycling Disorder by Dave Barter

Author:Dave Barter [Barter, Dave]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: cycling non-fiction
Publisher: Phased Publications
Published: 2012-02-17T23:00:00+00:00

Chapter 17

To Grow A Mountain Biker

Any parent will tell you that it is a joy to watch a child develop from birth and go through a similar experience path to themselves. Well, I say “any” but I am sure there are a large number of exceptions to that rule, especially if the experience path is one of drugs, injury, depression or following Swindon Town football club. But that aside there is a hearty pleasure in leaning back with pipe in hand and reminiscing about when you were at that particular stage in life, what it felt like and the silly things you did.

It’s the same with cycling and I’m sure that many of my club brethren and sisthren have smiled knowingly as I wrestled with my first club run puncture whilst others hurled abuse. I now know that the proper practice is to hold up the deflated tyre so that the club captain can see it whilst maintaining a look of extreme incompetence. He will then step in and sort it in order to get the ride underway in a timely fashion.

I’ve mentioned my friend Peter earlier in this book. We met as road cyclists and Peter was a fully inducted member of the two wheels and tarmac club. After a few years of running a Bed and Breakfast in Sardinia, he began to see the potential for developing mountain biking in the region. There were no off-road access problems as we have in the UK and plenty of dusty, dry unridden track to explore. Peter decided to become a mountain biker.

Similar to me he started on the wrong bike wearing the wrong gear and riding the wrong way. On our first off-road ride together he had no suspension and strapped his sandwiches to a pannier rack on the rear of the bike. He wore full roadie lycra cycling gear and looked a tad nervous on even the slightest off-road incline. I cruelly filmed him mincing down a wide trail and added the Steptoe and Son soundtrack to the clip. Peter, however, remained un-phazed.

He’d caught the off-road bug and like the rest of us lived the evolutionary lifecycle of a mountain biker which begins with bike based upgrades and ends with “sessioning” difficult off-road problems in order to get them solved. These days Peter dresses like Steve Peat, rides a monster full suspension bike with a full faced helmet and full complement of pads. He pushes himself to ride faster and harder down increasingly difficult technical terrain and in 2012 authored a Sardinian mountain bike guide.

The last time we rode together the tables were turned as Peter took me down a series of steep angled switchbacks in the heart of Sardinia. This time it was me with the feet down and Peter who whooped round the corners and offered advice upon how they should be ridden properly. We had a great time though, just as we did the first ride out. Cycling’s like that. People change, get better, faster, fitter


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