Of course we all love mountain biking, or we wouldn’t be here. It’s fun, exciting, and a fantastic way to meet new people. Even the things we love annoy us though, and there’s plenty of things about biking that we wish would go away. Here’s some of the most annoying things about mountain biking that every biker has to put up with.
1. What Your Friends Think You Do
As a mountain biker, you’ll be mastering many different disciplines. You may be looking to become faster than anyone else on the track, using all your strength to climb up that incline, or master that one tricky jump so you can land perfectly. Mountain biking takes a lot of skill, patience and good old fashioned practice.
However, your friends will have different ideas. If they don’t mountain bike themselves, they’ll think that you’re simply having a relaxing pedal through a grassy meadow. Alternatively, they may think that you’re just zipping around on the roads, getting from A to B
When you’re working hard to get to the top of your game, it can be galling to hear these things from your friends. They just don’t get what mountain biking really is, and unless they come and watch you in a competition, they may never get it. It’s a shame, but don’t let it get you down.
2. Getting A Flat
There’s nothing worse than realising your tyre’s gone flat. You have to stop, examine the tyre, and if it is flat, replace it. It’s a serious pain and the last thing you want when you’re making progress on a trail. Who wants to stop and fiddle about with a spare tyre, when everyone else is heading on without you? It’s even worse when you’re in a competition and the dreaded puncture happens.
If you have a spare on you, then it’s not so bad as you’ll be able to make the repair right away. However, if you don’t, or you’ve already used you’re spare, you’re in a tight spot. If you’re lucky, a friend will be able to lend you a spare and get back up and running. If not though, you may need to use the patch repair kit you (hopefully) have and pray.
3. Getting To The Trails In The First Place
Live near the mountains? Then you’re in luck. You’ll have trails right there on your doorstep, and you’ll be able to get out on your bike and onto a trail in no time at all. For the rest of us, it isn’t that easy. As a regular mountain biker, you’re going to have to get the bike on the car, then get behind the wheel yourself to get to a trail worth riding. Some days, you’ll feel like you spend more time in the car than actually on the bike itself.
So if you’re a mountain biker, you’re going to have to have a driving license and a good car too. That’s a lot of fuel you’ll be paying out for in order to get out on your bike. Add to that the cost of adding a bike rack to the car, and the costs to you are going to mount up. It’s seriously annoying.
4. Trail Etiquette
If you’re going to be on the trails, you need to have good trail etiquette. If you’re a slower rider, you need to be able to recognise this and leave enough room for other riders to overtake you. Even if you do this though, some bikers may sit right behind you and intimidate you, making it much harder to concentrate on what you’re doing. As well as this, it’s just plain rude.
It goes the other way too. If you’re the faster biker, it can be infuriating when you’re stuck behind a slow biker who won’t leave room for you to get around them. Who says they can take up the whole trail for themselves?
5. The Mud, Grit And Grime
No mountain biker is averse to a little dirt, but after a while it’s going to really wear on you. After a ride on a particularly muddy trail, you’re going to have to wash your bike, your clothes, and yourself. You can’t just strip off the muddy clothes and collapse on the sofa, as mud and dirt can do a real number on your bike. You’re going to need to wash everything down before you can even think about relaxing after a long ride.
As well as this, there’s the problem with dirt and gravel flying up at you as you ride. Yes, there are products such as cycling glasses and full face helmets that can help mitigate the damage, but it’s still annoying. Even if you wear all the gear, the odd piece of grit can fly into your mouth if you’re not careful. It’s not exactly pleasant.
6. The Insect Bites
This doesn’t happen in the winter months, when all the insects are dormant, but you’re going to have trouble once the weather gets warmer. Insects love to have a good munch on you are you’re riding, and it leaves you with itchy bumps that can feel as though they take an age to heal.
Because of this, you find yourself buying up insect repellent by the bucket load, just to keep the critters off you when you’re trying to enjoy yourself. Some people are lucky and don’t seem to be targeted by insects, but others are apparently a tasty meal to any bug in a 10 mile radius. You find a lot of your budget will go onto the insect repellent, and sometimes it still won’t work. As the warmer months are starting to roll around again, get ready to be scratching these itchy bites again soon.
Every biker has been there. They’ve caught a wet root on the trail and come off the bike, or performed a landing badly and injured themselves. It’s unpleasant at best and actually painful and debilitating at worst. If you take a particularly bad tumble, you could be off your bike for months at a time waiting for your injury to heal up.
It’s frustrating to have to wait to get back on your bike, even when you know if you don’t you can end up making things worse. If you came of the bike badly, you can even feel apprehensive about getting back on two wheels. It’s a reasonable fear, as what if it happens again? The only way around this fear is to push through it, and jump back on that bike when you’re ready. You’ve got to stare the fear down and do it anyway.
8. The ‘Bike Snobs’
You see these kinds of people in any sport, but they’re particularly grating in mountain biking. You’ll see them on the trails with their brand new, shiny bikes, that you know they aren’t using to their full potential. You can see they’ve dropped a lot of cash on their gear, yet they’re barely riding at all. Instead, they’re too busy taking selfies with their equipment rather than jumping on the bike and getting on the trail.
You’d better believe they want to tell you about your ride too. It may not be the most expensive or the best, but it’s yours. They’ll ignore the fact that you can ride like a pro with your equipment, and tell you all about why your bike is inferior, and why you should buy a bike like theirs. In cases like these, it’s usually best to let them talk and show them what you can achieve on your ‘inferior’ bike. Actions speak louder than words, after all.
9. Not Being Able To Bike Enough
One of the worst things about being a biker is that you just don’t have the time to be out on your bike all the time. Work, family, and other responsibilities take you away from your bike more often than you’d like. How many times have you sat staring out of the window at school or work, wondering whether you can sneak away and get a few miles in on your bike before anyone notices.
It’s a sad fact of life that sometimes your hobbies have to take a back seat to your life. Maybe you’ve got a large project at work, or a new baby that needs a lot of care. Whatever it is, sometimes you just won’t be able to get out there and your bike will be sitting neglected for weeks at a time. It sucks, but soon you’ll be able to ride again, it just takes patience.
10. The Climbs And Descents
Climbs and descents are some of the most regular obstacles you’ll face when you’re out mountain biking. They take some practice and skill to master, and no two hills are the same. If you’re practicing for a competition, you’re going to have to get out there on the track to really get a feel for it for yourself.
Climbs can be a killer when you’re just starting out. They’re hard on you and your bike, and you’ll expend a lot of energy getting up there. It’s a great way to get fit, but let’s be honest, it’s boring making that climb. You’ll definitely need that water break once you get to the top.
The descents are amazing, but let’s be honest, they’re over way too soon. It feels as though you put in all this work into the climb, but the fun is over in the blink of an eye. There are bike parks that have lifts that take you to the top of the hill, but there may not be one near you. It’s a whole lot of work for not a lot of reward.
11. Wildlife In Your Path
There’s nothing quite like seeing animals in the wild. In fact, it’s one of the best parts of mountain biking on trails. The problem is though that these animals aren’t always as mindful of you as you are of them. They’ll happily wander right into the path of your bike, startling you and making you have to stop mid flow to let them cross. If they show up out of nowhere, you’re even at risk of an injury as you stop suddenly.
This isn’t just restricted to wild animals, either. Some bikers like to bring their dogs with them, and most of the time this can be a lot of fun. Dogs love to run along with their owners, so much so that you can even buy equipment for them so they can keep up with you. However, every now and then a dog will wander too close to your wheels. This means you’ve got to stop quickly to avoid tangling them up in your spokes. It can be annoying if it happens too often!
Any good biker knows that if they want their trails to last them for a long time, they’ve got to take care of them. That’s why many of them these days have facilities such as litter bins dotted along them, so you can dispose of your litter when you need to. Good bikers, if they can’t find a litter bin, will hang onto their litter until they get home. After all, it doesn’t take any extra effort and it keeps the trail in good condition for the riders to come after them.
However, it seems that not every biker is on the same page. How many times have you been out on your favourite trail and seen a bunch of litter left over from someone’s pit stop? It’s even more aggravating when it’s left in sight of a litter bin. Sure, you can pick it up yourself and stow it away for disposal later, but why you should you have to do that?
Litter can cause damage to the environment around it, and even cause harm to animals that live in the area. As such, it’s upsetting when you see it on your travels.
13. Trail Runners
Now, we’re not saying all trail runners are bad. Running is an excellent sport, and plenty of people really love getting involved with it. Running on trails is a great and safe way of getting fit, so lots of runners like to do it. That means that we need to share the space with them when we’re out on our bikes.
Most of the time this is fine, but sometimes you’ll end up having to get past trail runners who seem to be taking up the whole trail. How can they need so much space when it’s just them on the track? It’s kind of amazing to see it, until you need to get past them.
14. Trying To Keep Up With The Trends
As with all sports, there are always new advancements made in mountain biking. As a biker yourself, it can feel impossible to try and keep up. You see a dropper post you like the look of, and it’s not cheap. You save up and save up for it, and then when you have enough cash… a better one comes out. Typical.
It’s certainly frustrating when this happens, as it feels as though you’ll never be ahead of the curve. How can you keep up with the advancements in mountain biking if they’re always one step ahead of you? This leads into the next point…
Oh man, the costs. If you’re just starting out as a mountain biker, then you’re going to have so much work ahead of you. After all, you’re going to need some serious cash to invest in the bike, protective gear, and all the other equipment you’re going to need. Many people never get started at all, because they’re too worried about how much it’s going to cost them.
Even if you’re an established biker, you’re still going to be dropping money at an alarming rate on your hobby. That starter bike is eventually going to need to be swapped out for a newer, more advanced model. You’re going to need to travel to and from trails, and fuel isn’t cheap. Even additions and enhancements, such as the aforementioned dropper post, are going to set you back if you want them.
Of course, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be a mountain biker. You can be frugal with some pieces of kit, and shopping around is always a good idea. However, you can’t avoid the fact that you are going to need to keep shelling out a lot of money to keep yourself on wheels. It’s a fact of life for many bikers, and they trade off the money they invest with the fact that they’re doing something they love. After all, if you’re having fun it’s worth the money, right?
There you have it! These are the 15 things that all bikers will hate about their favourite sport. As much as you love tackling those mountain trails, there’s always going to be something niggling at you.