Chucking around “You loser” as an insult throws us back to our school days and evenings spent hanging out on the streets. It seems amusing, and it’s quite nice to be able to pinpoint “some loser” every so often. A quick diss here and there, a throwaway comment, it gives you a brief moment of smug satisfaction that it isn’t you on the receiving end. Sometimes I still catch myself on the verge of uttering those very same words…
…but then I quickly reel myself back in: I’m no better than anyone else. I remind myself of just how fortunate we are (yep, I’m referring to you too) that we’re able to spend our (free) time shredding trails all over the world and philosophizing about bikes over a refreshing craft beer or a strong espresso. Riding unites us!
Or, at least, that’s what everyone says. But is it really the case? From comments in various forums, it seems that this seemingly tolerant scene is actually a hotbed of jealousy, fear, arrogance, and extreme ambition. Or is there another way to describe the hatred expressed in so many of these uncalled-for comments, ranging from “E-MTBers are shit, freeriders are lazy, roadies are gay, they’re all dopers…” and the list goes on. Is it because that primary school satisfaction gained from insulting someone still remains?
But the same applies today as it did back then: being cooler than the rest is what counts. The following tribes exist:
The Bike Park Shredder
Pick-up truck, sunglasses, 500ml energy drink, and a chunky bike – as a bike park shredder you definitely own a big ego, some big balls, and you’re giving off pure Arnie Schwarzenegger post-gym testosterone vibes. Any sympathy for mountain bikers flying up the mountain on electric wings with their e-bikes? Hell no, dirty cheaters!
The Enduro Rider
Clad in a trendy, sartorially sharp outfit and with a beer (or two) in hand, the enduro rider outlines his or her latest porno-worthy component they’ve discovered – that, or their new beard trim. The good life par excellence. Zero understanding for XC riders in offensively tight lycra. Seriously, why can’t they just ride in aesthetically acceptable gear?
Defined by their shaved legs and aerodynamic position, the road rider is on a mission to accumulate his yearly distance. The pro-worthy kit is making a statement: “If I didn’t have to work so much, I’d obviously be at the Tour de France.” No rolling in the mud like the mountain bikers, a café stop for a brief espresso is their reward.
And the E-MTBers? They’re just having a hell of a good time, enjoying nothing more than giving full gas on two wheels. And if they manage to piss off the rest of the tribes by overtaking them no-handed on steep climbs as the others attempt to dance their way up – well, it’s just water off a duck’s back.
Let’s be frank here: these stereotypes do little to sell the spirit of riding, nor do they do any favours for humanity – but they’ve probably crossed your mind at least once. Here’s another popular one: ‘The most expensive kit and they can’t even ride – what a noob!’
Inside our own heads, we’re each pretty cool, unique (obviously), and perhaps a little bit better than those around us. But does that have to be the case? Surely the most important thing is that we each enjoy riding our bikes – a concept that can’t be measured in money nor discipline choice. Happiness is your own personal satisfaction.
After trying all kinds of two-wheeled awesomeness and experiencing fairytale moments in each discipline, we’re in a fair place to say: “We’re all equal.” We share the same hobby, drink the same beers, hang out with our respective friends, and we each think we’re cool. Perhaps we are. Nothing is definite. It’s the same as believing we could have Pamela Anderson-style sex when we’re really more in the local, amateur league. So fuck the hate and live for every moment – that should make you happy. Avert your gaze from what others can (or can’t) do.
Consequently, ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine doesn’t stand for just one discipline of cycling – although the name could lead you to believe otherwise. It represents an attitude. In our minds, on the bike, and in our lives. If you want to come along for the ride, discovering and experiencing amazing things together, then you’re very welcome. After all, we’re all adults (especially us, now that we’ve launched Issue #018!).
If you consider yourself superior to others – with your skills, your expensive bike, or your matchless experiences – please just keep it to yourself. The stories we create are for our open-minded, respectful, and cool readers. You might feel compelled to discuss and criticize certain things (I’m sure they exist), so send us your feedback and get involved in discussions – keeping respect for others and for us, naturally. Let’s not pull each other into a battle of ideologies; let’s just love riding for riding’s sake, and appreciate that we’re part of a pretty lovely community.
On that note: share the love, don’t make war.
This article was originally published in ENDURO issue #18
Words: Robin Schmitt Photos: Robin Schmitt, Christoph Bayer, Klaus Kneist
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