Henry’s Waffle House: mountain biking becomes too easy
Lighter, faster, more efficient and more comfortable. These are just a few of the terms that could well be at the top of your wish list, even if you are considering a bike with over 150mm of travel and with capabilities not too far off from a downhill bike. In 2022, it’s potentially a very real prospect to want a bike that has electronic gears, tire valves that save you the tedious chore of using a pressure gauge to check pressure. If it’s not in a decimal place of pumped perfection, then you can hook it up to your gazillion dollar wall mounted electronic pump which will inflate it just like you drink your expensive coffee and stare wistfully into the distance and think to yourself that you do look like a fucking movie star. All this convenience and luxury without even mentioning the electric bike question.
E-bikes raise two main issues in mountain biking. The first, and most significant, is the rise of the term “analog bicycle” to describe a normal bicycle. Can anyone stop the world from turning? Because frankly I want to go down. In fact, I said it once in a video, and just like a teenager who wants to distance himself from the preteen cheerfulness he was once known for, I live in fear that one day the video will be shown to me and I also have to answer for my past life as a criminal that makes you cringe.
The second question, I suppose, could mean a lot to you, but to some it will no doubt be absolutely inconsequential. Are we trying to make mountain biking too easy?
The pleasure of riding a bike is to feel so many different things. Is trying to isolate a particular value from the full bandwidth of the feeling to the overall detriment of the experience? Is there too much sweetness? Too much sugar? Don’t we need salty once in a while too?
Of course, I would never say that the days when you’re soaked to the bone from a long climb and really consider peeing yourself just to feel a brief respite from the cold are anything but shit – but those shitty days are distill over time. become something like satisfaction. That being said, you are welcome to piss yourself on an e-bike. Anything works for you, and except for the electrical fire hazard, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with that. We live such pampered lives, and I’m not saying we should make them arbitrarily worse but it’s an interesting thought. Why do we need to have everything our way? Why are we all so precious? A little misery never hurt anyone.
I guess the idea of trying to make something easier is something that often comes to mind and to be transparent that’s one of the reasons I’ll never be sold on electric bicycles. That said, I still ride my 170mm travel bike which can get me up and down with ease. So really, who am I to say?
I could watch someone on an electric bike and think why should you try to facilitate climbs? That’s the point!. They are probably looking at my carbon fiber 29er with a 62.5 degree head angle thinking the exact same thing. “Why do you need all this travel?” »
If we look at road cycling, I personally subscribe to the belief that it’s a lazy sport. It’s about going as fast as possible with as little effort as possible, and that’s kind of respected as the sensible way to do things. It’s out there and, assuming you’re not some bearded influencer riding an awful bike on poorly maintained roads in the name of “freedom”, while subscribing to a very limited aesthetic, as a biker of road, you probably wouldn’t totally disagree with that.
To say it’s lazy is not to question someone’s motivation to get out, but rather the sport itself. No sane road cyclist would turn down saving 10 watts but, conversely, they are also here to push themselves hard and often focus on mastering their own bodies. Isn’t that counter-intuitive? Shouldn’t they all be on 25 kilo beach cruisers? Well no. Just because they want to be lazy doesn’t mean they want it to be easy.
I guess the reasons we ride mountain bikes are much more varied. Much is shared with road cycling – the outdoors, the smell of fresh air, the blank check to eat 15,000 Oreos without a shred of guilt, but there are differences too. Road cyclists might well boil down the desire to ride a bike to two or three main reasons while we ride mountain bikes for a myriad.
Maybe we want an easy life on the climbs, maybe we want to keep up with our friends, or maybe we just want more control and safety. Truth be told, this only scratches the surface of the plethora of different intentions and each individual’s motivation to ride a bike is both rich and varied. To look at someone is to not know him.
As I work my early morning shift guarding the door, I often have to remind myself that guessing really makes an ass out of you and me. After all, better and easier are just concepts we use to adapt our own ideas when it suits us.