While you probably can’t imagine anything better than getting out on a ride right now, there’s a large chunk of the world’s population – particularly in America – who are likely to vehemently disagree. Once happy mountain bikers are reportedly spending more time than ever outside, although their experience has taken an odd turn. We’ve investigated this strange phenomenon – and almost got run over in the process.
This GPS data from a former mountain biker’s Strava could lead you to a number of conclusions:
- They lost something in the woods and are retracing their route (that weirdly takes them around the city too).
- They’ve discovered a new Strava segment that they’re desperate to nail and set the bar high.
- They’re drunk (but can they actually stay drunk for so long?).
- They’re crazy (Why else would be most of their rides be done at 3 am when regular people are asleep?).
- They’re either a trail runner or a wannabe parcour athlete (surely that’s why they’re off-route the whole time?).
The mystery was uncovered as our intern Valentin made a sweat-drenched and dejected return to the office after going AWOL in the workshop for several hours (strange seeing as no bikes needed attention). Apparently he’d wasted 50 Pokémon balls and still not found Pikachu…
Then the penny dropped: these poor humans were being held hostage by their own ambition. If these same humans would turn their hand as intensely to training as they have done to this new fad, we’d all be World Cup-standard athletes.
But instead of chasing podium spots, they’re running around with their smartphone and its app-based augmented reality. Forget the EWS, these addicts are mutely fixated on their screens, frantically recharging the phone via spare batteries in their re-purposed SWAT bib shorts crammed with energy bars and fluid to fuel them during hour-long Pokémon safaris.
Hollywood films depicting the end of the world with aliens and monster tsunamis are all a long way off the mark – likewise those that predict its downfall with Donald Trump and gun laws. In fact, it’s a Pokémon-addicted mankind that is heading towards the brink of the apocalypse if we’re to believe the latest reports from the USA: Corpses found; Police stations overrun with Pokémon hunters; Pokémon players robbed at gunpoint; massive traffic pile-ups; cheating with drones; cases of trespassing and much more. Experts are already predicting high mortality rates as former mountain bikers, that have traded riding bikes for playing Pokemon Go, put themselves at risk by not concentrating on their surroundings and unwittingly walking into the path of an oncoming train. Or worse: other members of the population who haven’t stepped foot inside a forest for years due to being so engrossed in their games consoles will now be traipsing all over mountain bike trails, causing huge crashes with unsuspecting mountain bikers. So doesn’t it make sense that mountain bikers and Pokémon hunters join forces to safeguard peace in the woods?
Even if these doomsday-style articles might not all be 100 % verified, the likelihood for more turmoil is pretty high. Let’s just hope that our addiction to mountain biking is stronger than the most talked-about app of the year: Pokémon Go.
According to reports, the Pokémon Go app has already been downloaded onto more than 5 % of all Android phones in the US alone in its first two days, and within 13 hours it raced to the top of the iOS charts – making it more popular than Tinder. And if those stats are shocking enough, more than 60 % of the users are accessing the app daily.
There are also rumours circulating about reigning German Enduro champion Fabian Scholz, reputedly observed in mid-flight on a Pokémon hunt. However according to rumours, he’s reticent to retire from elite competition; the travel on the international racing scene offers scope for much rarer Pokémons like Mewtu, Arktos, Zapdos and Lavados.
Reactions to Pokemon Go on the trails:
Yesterday I met a man who broke his collarbone because he was playing Pokemon GO while mountain biking.
— Will Newsom (@newsom_will) July 12, 2016
@DylanBuckingham Pokemon Go + Idiot walking on the mountain bike trail with phone in face + me speeding down said trail = bodies in the air!
— Brian McGuinness (@toonsesthecat) July 13, 2016
Mountain biking on some trails today and almost ran into multiple grown aged men lost in the woods playing Pokemon Go….
— Kaleb Castor (@KCastor95) July 11, 2016
E-MTB riders are modifying their bikes:
For safety reasons we’ve refrained from posting a link to the app. So please stay true to mountain biking! And save our jobs… although our intern is pushing for a new Pokémon Go magazine citing its broad appeal! Just take care when you’re out riding, and be prepared in the event of encountering a few zombie-esque trail users fixated on their smartphones, dreaming of catching them all.
Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Robin Schmitt, Valentin Rühl