Fat Tire Tuesday: Don’t Be a Jerk

A mountain biking addict reflects on sharing the stoke with the rest of the class

Tempting to hoard hero dirt and sublime flow. Photo by Bruce Dorman.

Tempting to hoard hero dirt and sublime flow. Photo by Bruce Dorman.

Hey! did you guys know that we can be jerks?

And did you know that we don’t have to be?

It’s true. And this past weekend I was reminded of my own “locals only” inclination to be an asshat sometimes.

The interesting thing is that I’m not even from Santa Cruz, in the born-and raised sense of the world. Sure, I’ve been here for going on 3 years now and within that time have found a cycling community I feel like I belong to, a family of people I belong to, and a place to call home. Complete with jerk-face (but adorable little white cat). But by no means am I an honest to goodness, really and truly local.

And many of us aren’t.

So, when I find myself grumbling over crowded trails on the weekends or during an event that brings mountain bikers from all over the county, country, and world to our area…

I am being a jerk.

When I complain about a full parking lot at Demo Forest which inconveniences me and upsets my plans to have the forest and the glory of nature to myself and my friends…

I am being a jerk.

And when I roll my eyes and huff and puff after someone stops me on the trail to ask directions because they are turned around and basically lost in the woods on their bike…

I am being a jerk.

This past weekend I was reminded of these things, and I wasn’t super proud of myself. It was when I came upon several groups of riders, that were obviously not “locals.” There were men and women whooping and hollering and laughing. Different words and different accents declared their love for “our” sweet, sweet singletrack. And I suspect most, if not all of them were here doing due diligence, either by racing or manning the vendor booths at Sea Otter this past week – which a lot of us had the pleasure to experience.

Some of us are fortunate to live in a destination location. A location known for its dirt, and its flow. And we are lucky to live where we live. That doesn’t mean we should hoard it for ourselves, and grumble like little kids that have to share our candy with the rest of the class. Because as mountain bikers, we are all of the same tribe. Which is super cool. More exposure tends to help more trails get built, and more people on bikes. What could be better than that?

So, let’s try to not be jerks.

Let’s try to share our smiles, our candy and our stoke with the rest of the class. Because y’know? We really aren’t jerks. We’re mountain bikers.


​Fat Tire Tuesday columnist Sarah Hansing has been slinging wrenches as a pro bike mechanic for 15 years (with the exception of a one year stint working for Trek Bicycles in Wisconsin.) Epicenter Cycling scooped her up as their lead mechanic and the shop’s crew plans to ​keep her forever. Sarah loves riding singlet​rack, wrenching on bikes, and hanging out with her jerk-face but adorable cat Harlan. (Who is a jerk.)

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1 Comment

  1. Jim D

    Mt biking has become a very popular sport with sometimes huge groups of riders, I was on an obscure trail once, when a rider came around a turn and yelled out , “fifteen more!”
    That’s the way it is out there. However I’ve noticed that sometimes there’s a lack of trail etiquette, on occasion I’ve been climbing on a narrow trail that’s well known as a 2 way trail and a group will come down and force me into pulling off the trail to let them by, otherwise I’d risk a head on collision. This sort of behavior degrades the mtb experience and culture for all of us as the vast majority of us have to climb as well as fly downhill. I might add if a rider is climbing and the trail is wide enough move over and let the downhill riders come by. A little consideration for others can make things better for everyone.


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