Putting out the welcome mat for out-of-towners

By Sarah Hansing

Somewhere in Queensland (Bruce Dorman).

Somewhere Down Under (Bruce Dorman).

For all of the sort of smug satisfaction I have gotten from showing visiting friends the “locals only” side of things, I had the tables turned on me this past week.

I was treated to the Sydney “locals only” secret trail by a new friend.

Honestly, he had no real reason to do such a thing, or to be so cool about doing it. There was no bragging, no bravado. He didn’t try to rip my legs off, or show me just how much better he knew the lines, or how much faster he could go on the (super rad) super twisty single track.

He didn’t have to show me the secret way in, or the best way to get up-n-over the gate that may or may not have been on private property, and may or may not have wound through the Australian woods into some of the sickest, swoopiest, berm-iest mountain biking this side of the ocean.

But he did.

He was gracious and unassuming, checking to see that I wasn’t too far off the back or at least that I hadn’t died going off one of the narrow log rides (which I wouldn’t have probably gone on, had I not just been blindly following. It’s amazing what you can do when you’re just watching the right line and not worrying about the potential for gravity-induced accidents, isn’t it?)

I crashed once.

I laughed a lot.

I had a blast.

And I was extremely grateful to have been taken under the wing of a “local” who was kind enough to show me somewhere that I never could have found on my own.

The Narnia of Singletrack, so to speak, would’ve remained forever a secret wonderland were it not for the kindness of a local.

The lesson I learned?

I suppose it’s pretty obvious.

Making people feel welcome on your home turf is part of what mountain biking is all about. So be a good host. The dirt is for everyone, after all, and it’s even more fun when it’s shared.


​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.)