Back to basics … back to SMILES

By Sarah Hansing

Mountain biking. It's damn straight something to smile about !!

Mountain biking. It’s damn straight something to smile about !!


And here we are again.

It seems like a terrible case of déjà vu, sometimes, really.

Get fit. Get stoked! Get injured.

Get *ahem* slightly (but seriously – let’s be realistic here. It’s WAAAYY more than “slightly”) unfit.  

Get bummed.  

Get avoidant about riding (cause getting back on the bike is gonna hurt, let there be no doubts about THAT).  

Get determined.  

Get BACK on the bike (even though you KNOW it’s gonna hurt).

Get a reality check.

Really REALLY dislike that reality check.  

And now comes the really really important parts: decide what to do about that reality check.

It’s kind of hard to separate action and consequence from mental fortitude, sometimes …  but it’s important to try. We can tend to blame ourselves instead of praise ourselves, curse ourselves instead of cheer ourselves on. As we progress as riders, our whole view can change. We can accidentally become jaded as we focus our energy towards bigger better faster stronger, instead of towards the wide eyed wonderment and stoke we had as fledgeling knobby-tired dirt dancers.

Taking a trip in the way-back machine isn’t a bad idea, regardless of if you’re in peak form and getting even better or if you’ve had your first  – or … you know … your third to seventeenth setback (not that I’m counting or anything).

Remember that you had to start somewhere.

And remembering your roots is a good thing. It’s a healthy thing.  

Back to basics. Back to smiles. Back to the trails.

I’m going to do my best to make “Have a good ride!” both a sincere salute to my mountain biking brethren AND a mantra for myself.

Enjoy the ride, and the rest will follow.


​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.)