Thursday, June 5, 2008
MTB: Fate's Cruel Hand Has Lifted
I went mountain biking for the first time in about twelve years on Monday. I hung those shoes up long ago because not only was I painfully inept on the technical stuff, but the fully rigid Nishiki Pinnacle I rode made the ride an unbearable mix of arthritic pain and smashed confidence. I also crashed and got dropped alot. Thus my love affair with all things road flowered with unfettered focus.
Anyway, the modern full suspension rig I borrowed for my return to the dirt cast aside all the doubts and inhibitions I held about off road riding. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and surprised myself with the fact that I kept the rubber side down (for the most part) and didn't limp out of the woods ten minutes after everyone else. Had I been riding rigid, like the days of old, I'd have surely suffered the same fate I had back in the bad old days.
In short, full suspension, for me, is the real thing. Some folks whine and smugly complain that suspended bikes are needlessly complex and don't hone handling skills to that "higher" level. Some insinuate rigid superiority through arguments of purity, zen, and simplicity of design. Nuts to that. While rigid bikes have their place, I don't see it as the solution to my needs.
Technology has won this argument. Resoundingly. Though the steady march of progress has certainly had its hand in numerous monstrosities over the years, some good has come of that pitter patter of boots on the ground. It has given me a very real appreciation for mountain biking that I had otherwise embarrassingly despised. And all is, once again, right with the world.