When I think of bicycles, I think of neat paths and sun flowers or small towns, rolling hills and a packed picnic in the basket on the front. So, when my boyfriend took up mountain biking, I just watched and listened mostly in confusion. Not long after that, one of my besties decided to take it up as a hobby. Luckily for her, I’m able to impart some of my acquired knowledge, experience and tips on her.
(What? Watching in confusion is an experience).
Congratulations on your new hobby. As you know, this blog is all for new experiences so a blacks do swim high-five to you. I was rather surprised by your choice of activity my friend but never fear, the Oracle has been mountain biking for just over a year and I have compiled some tips for newbies based on my observations of him as well as the many conversations (read: Monologues) we’ve had. Here goes:
Dress for the occasion
Well, my friend I don’t think you will need too much help with this one. As you may no doubt understand, all the outdoor clothes you have now are absolutely not interchangeable (outfits never are). Those baggy shorts of yours, that t-shirt you wear while running…all wrong. It’s time to go shopping. You need new tops that won’t get drenched, shades to protect your eyes from flying debris (true story) and padded pants. Don’t knock the padded pants bud, your bum will be grateful and chaffing in some areas is not cute.
This next part is very important…You’re going to fall
It won’t just happen once. It will happen again and again and again. Judging from our conversation at lunch the other day, this has already happened to you. I noticed at the time, you had hidden away the scars and scratches. No girl, the appropriate response to all falls is to beat your chest and ROAR….Yes, even days after the event. The scars are your entry into the club, don’t hide them.
Get the right equipment
The Oracle has repeatedly emphasised that you must have the right equipment. This of course includes the bike, I know you did a lot of research on this before you bought it (the Oracle approves). Although it seems the research won’t end here. You’ll find yourself spending hours at the store making sure you’ve chosen the best tyre and sealant options. That’s all I got. (Hours of observing the Oracle in this regard have yielded no tangible results.)
If you don’t already know how to change tyres and tubes, you need to learn. The sealant tyre or tube that you bought is great because it helps prevent punctures. On the other hand, punctures are unavoidable. Got it? It will probably be clearer when you take the bike in for its regular service. Oh, you didn’t know [insert ‘The Brain’ laughter].
This is Serious
Every so often races are held that everyone can take part in. You sign up and have it out with other riders at an awesome location (great for us spectators too). Now bud, I know that like me, you really enjoy zhooshing things up with colours, tassels and decor at these kinds of events but please refrain from doing so. To quote the Oracle, “please don’t be embarrassing,” “this is a serious sport” and “my bike is not a toy.” On the upside, when you reach the finish line…Hat tip to the camera girl!
Soon you’ll be ringing me up to tell me how your bike is actually blah, blah, blah (Do not do this!)
Good luck bud, you’re in for a run ride.
Photos: Steve Pinnock