My friend Tom Malecha (Filme Von Draussen on Vimeo, and editor of our Why We Ride and Life is Better on a Mountain Bike videos) released an amazing video yesterday, entitled '10 Things Every Mountain Biker Should Have Done'. It's a beautiful video, and you can check it out at the end of this blog post.
The video sparked a few of my own ideas about what mountain bikers 'should' do, so here is my own take on the list, entitled 10 Things Every Mountain Biker Should Do Before They Die.
Let us know what you think, and send us your additions and/or suggestions in the comments below!
Mike Brcic, founder/Chief Happiness Officer,
1. Introduce someone to mountain biking...
Share the joy of mountain biking with someone else this year. Better yet, shell out the $30-$40 and treat them to a free mountain bike rental and your patient guiding for the day.
2. ...And teach a kid to mountain bike
Better yet, make that 1st-time mountain biker a kid and introduce him/her to a lifetime of awesomeness.
3. Build or help maintain a trail
This one's not a 'should', more of a 'must': if you mountain bike, you have to give back by either building some trail or helping to maintain existing trail. Find your local trail advocacy or club (IMBA is a good place to start) and find out when their next trail maintenance day is.
4. Join IMBA
Speaking of IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association), why aren't you a member yet? Your membership helps keep mountain bike trails open!
5. Join a Mountain Bike Club
Mountain bike clubs offer so much: they're a great place to meet other mountain bikers; they're often advocates for keeping trails open; they're a liason with local landowners. Most clubs charge under $50/year to join. Singletracks.com has a great list of North American clubs.
6. Ride an 'epic'
(or several). An epic is one of those trails that takes you anywhere from 6 hours to all day to ride, and often takes you to remote places. You have to pack lots of water, lots of food, lots of tools, and even safety equipment like a satellite phone in case of emergencies. You finish the day totally and utterly spent and usually need at least a day to recover. Along the way you thought you might collapse, and maybe even questioned the nature of your existence, what the hell you're doing, and why you're on the planet. But after the pain is over, you'll remember that day forever and look back on it with nothing but fond memories (isn't it great how pain usually fades away in our memories?)
7. Ride one of the world's mountain bike 'meccas'
Whistler, Moab, Fruita, Les Gets, 7Stanes, Rotorua, Morzine, Crested Butte, etc... Go to one of those places that are famous for mountain biking to see what mountain bike culture looks like when it takes over! (this list is highly subjective, so feel free to suggest your own 'meccas' below).
8. Rescue someone else's ride
Next time you see someone pulled over on the side of the trail, take the time to stop and ask how they're doing and if they need any help. Your tube or chain breaker could save someone's day. Most of us are gracious enough to yell 'everything OK?' as we pass by in a blur, but a lot of people are too polite to ask for help! So stop and offer your help.
9. Ride in a developing country
Tom's #4, 'Ride in another country' is a great addition to the list, but we'd like to take it a step further and suggest you check out mountain biking in a developing country. I've had the pleasure of bringing mountain bike trips to places like Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Chile and Nepal, and I can tell you that riding in a place where mountain biking is still relatively unknown is a special joy. Everything feels new and uncharted, the adventure quotient is high, and everywhere you go people stop and want to know more about you, what you're riding, and what you're doing. Just remember to be an ambassador for the sport!
10. Sell One of Your Mountain Bikes
Seriously, do you need 7 mountain bikes? Sell one of them and do items #1 and #2 twenty times!
So... what do you think every mountain biker should do? Let us know in the comments below!
And without further ado, here's Tom's awesome video: