Monday, December 29, 2014

This Is Motherfucking Mountain Biking.

I wrote this in December of 2014, but after the recent lawsuit against a MTB instructor in the U.K. ended in the plaintiff being awarded £3M (despite eyewitness statements and the plaintiff's claims of experience), I figured that our world needs a bit of a reminder: MOUNTAIN BIKING IS A DANGEROUS SPORT. You may not like the 'tone' of this particular rant but in the words of Rhett Butler: "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." I'm sure someone will come along and remind me that the man injured is now paralyzed, at which point I'll direct them to the legions of MTB athletes who have been paralyzed while riding, but who didn't sue, and who continue to ride for the love of it. 

I'm caustic because, of all the bad things happening in the world, a few shitty people seem to be looking at mountain biking lawsuits like it's their cash cow. It is not. And if you cannot claim responsibility for your own failures, do not pick up a mountain bike. Life is hard, it will kill you, and MTB is even harder. It's that simple. 



Hey guys, guess what? You're never gonna believe it. 

Someone is suing a race organizer because they got hurt during the pre-ride of a Super D race course.Yup. You read that right. 

From the Oregonian Article: "Belair seeks up to $23,307 for past and future medical bills, and lost wages. She also seeks up to $250,000 for pain and suffering." REALLY?!

In my obstinate opinion, I'll say this very plainly: THIS IS MOTHERFUCKING MOUNTAIN BIKING. You're riding a bike. On the mountain. During something called a 'Super D' race. And you got hurt? Because of a log? On a PRE-RIDE?! Bitch, please. 

'Super D' comes from 'Super Downhill' meaning that it's a longer form of the ever-dangerous downhill racing. SURPRISE!

Everything that is wrong with mainstream America is infecting my soul right now, and this cute little lawsuit registers on my Rageometer right up there with trail sanitization and people who call my work and ask for a male bike technician. This makes me seriously angry. 

Why? Oh, I'll tell you why. 

First of all, this is bikes. Any and every activity that falls under 'bikes' will have inherent danger to it. After all, human, you're the moron balancing on a two-wheeled contraption hoping that science will keep you from breaking your stupid arm. THAT IS A BICYCLE. That is bikes (and yes, 'bikes' is grammatically incorrect.. Suck it). 

Secondly, this is not just bikes. This is MOUNTAIN BIKES. What happens in mountain bikes? Mountain bikes are ridden on mountains.

What do mountains have? Mountainous shit. Like rocks, logs, trees, water, bark, bugs, mud, wet, cliffs, bears and sometimes naked humans that think they're bears. That is mountain. Occasionally, mountain includes poison ivy, poisonous snakes, cactus, sharper rocks and coyotes. It kind of depends on the location of said mountain. So when we combine BIKES + MOUNTAIN, what happens? Usually, shit happens. Broken bones, hypothermia, snake bites, poison ivy, rock rash, dirt rash, cactus rash, sunburn, tree rash, pokes, prods and sometimes, all of the above. Trying to keep a two-wheeled machine upright is hard for some folks. Even harder is dodging all of the aforementioned hazards, both marked and unmarked. And even worse? Mix in some pride, some stupidity and some good old fashioned asshat-ness and you have mountain biking.

I love this goddamn sport. I love it so much that my face hurts when I ride, and I get all fiery inside when someone insults it or threatens it. I cry why people pull the rocks and roots out of my favorite trails, and I giggle when I go 'SPLOOOOOSH' through a massive mud puddle. I love racing, too. I love the craziness, the insanity, the unknown and the whole intensified mountain biking experience, and I love going fast. There's nothing quite like racing.

So here's what I propose:

Lady, if you don't like my sport and you're stupid enough to get hurt doing it and then try to SUE someone, get the fuck out.

No, but seriously. GET THE FUCK OFF OF MY LAWN.

I'm all about bringing more people into riding, racing and bikes (!), but if you come into our house and threaten to burn it down, karma has a major bitch slap coming for you. Don't slide, don't walk, don't trot away, just get the fuck out. Sell your fucking bike, get a refund on your race entries and go away. You're not a mountain biker. You're not one of us and you never will be, so stop trying.

Mountain bikers don't sue people when shit goes sideways. Mountain bikers don't sanitize the trail in an effort to make it easier. Mountain bikers don't get hurt and blame it on someone. We sack it up, try it again and heal. We move on. We admit fault, we fix ourselves up and we give it another go. We're mountain bikers playing bikes on mountains. Get it?

Whoops. Another 'oopsie'. Should I sue the rock? 

Sometimes, I land on my face. Don't sue. (Michael Darter photo credit)

Life (and MTB) is tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid and you overshoot stuff. (This is not a wheel failure. This is me crushing a wheel by hucking it to flat)

Photos are of me, the author, and my equipment -- just a few of my many UN-sued disasters on bikes.

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