Q1. Which MTB trail got you through lockdown?
No specific trail, but I did do a lot of exploring and meandering with no particular destination on easier than normal trails, along with some urban riding, all around Sheffield and into the fringes of the Peak on both my Mountain bike and Gravel bike.
It was nice to see parts of the City that I don’t often go to and the extra miles did wonders for my fitness for the rest of the year.
Q2. How did MTBing become part of your life?
I’ve always played out in the woods on my bike since the days of owning a Raleigh Strika back in the late 70’s in Rotherham, but I got my first ‘mountain bike’ when I first started work in 1989. This was a Peugeot Puma which, with the benefit of hindsight, was little more than a heavy road frame with slightly fatter tyres and flat bars. I progressed onto my first ‘proper’ mountain bike, a Scott Boulder (still fully rigid) in 1991 and that was when I started going a bit further afield on more technical trails and realised I had found my passion. I have been riding consistently ever since then, and have been lucky that both kids have always been properly into riding, which makes weekends so much easier than they could have been if they had been into ‘Sportball’ or some other hideous pastime.
Q3. Where are you dreaming of riding in 2021?
Hopefully we will get back to Morzine and the Portes du Soleil region for our family holiday in 2021 and fingers crossed, I will still be able to keep up with my kids.
We have just got a dog too, so if I can’t keep up, I can always switch to dog walking.
Q4. Have you ridden more or less this year?
I have been working more or less the same as normal all the way through the Pandemic, but during the early part of the initial lockdown, when I was working from home, I rode a lot more than usual. Having a couple of hours a day extra, without the commute, coupled with the fabulous weather and very few other things to do/places to go, meant that heading out of the door straight after work, several times a week, rather than once or twice was much more feasible.
Q5. What would you like to see MTBing become in the next few years? How should it evolve?
I’d like to see more people out and about on bikes generally, whether on mountain bikes, road bikes or commuting. Hopefully the recent surge in bike purchases will mean that more families head for the hills to get their kicks, rather than sitting at home staring at screens getting fatter and becoming increasingly opinionated.
Mountain bike design has come so far in recent years that trail bikes are now capable of coping with pretty much anything you can throw at them. I’m personally not convinced that the continuing trend for ever longer, slacker and lower bikes is the way forward. Hopefully the industry will reign it in a bit and keep bikes playful, rather than concentrate on all out speed. Corners and steep tech are the fun bits in my book and very few of us need to be concerned with finding that extra tenth of a second when we’re playing out in the woods.
It would also be nice to see some more grass roots stuff for kids, funded by the bike industry. Most of the options out there currently seem to be simply about getting kids to be more active rather than getting them out into the woods to ride some technical trails and progress their skills. There are plenty of folk out there that are capable of offering this kind of skills progression training, but the cost of doing it privately is prohibitive for parents.