Riding with newbies can be a great way to see views through fresh eyes, reinvigorate well ridden trails and remind yourself of why you love riding. It’s also a great way to squash your ego.
Proper mountain biking can be viewed among the converted as a noble crusade. One where you need wits, strength, and legs of steel to conquer the landscape and make mighty mother nature look more like crying little girl nature. Only the strong, and enduro specific need apply. When a plucky beginner makes the bold decision of joining your crusade you must initiate them, give them sage advice, and ensure them that they will struggle but ultimately triumph. The reality is, it ain’t as hard as we think. A confident beginner with decent fitness will more than likely be no more than 20 seconds behind the battle-hardened weekend warrior when you pull up to the gate. Take this on board, spread the word and encourage more people to give a go because riding with beginners might not be good for your ego but it is good for your riding experience.
Our usual (non-violent) bike gang is a ten-strong group of experienced riders who are all pretty confident and regular riders. So our last outing for a 15-mile loop of the Peak district wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. The ride started out in Hope after a bit of parking spot safari, we suited up and started the first climb up the Roman Road to Hope cross. The first climb of the day is always a struggle, if you add grim weather to the mix it makes mustering up motivation a challenge. However, riding up the climbs at a slightly steadier pace, pointing out hills in the distance where we will eventually end up and telling stories of other rides in the area really takes away the drudgery.
After arriving at the top of the climb it’s time to give the newbies the motivational war rallies. We read them their last rights, told them how ‘gnarly’ the descent was and then shot off and hoped to see them on the other side. When explaining the descent we inevitably remembered previous rides and how much fun we’ve had on the bikes.
The reinvigoration process was completed when we pulled up at the bottom, saw the excited faces of the new riders and all took a bite of the communal adrenaline sandwich. Even the metaphorical crusts were tasty.
So next time you feel a bit uninspired and need a change from the same old rides you should invite a beginner. It’ll help inject a bit of modesty to your group but it’ll also help you experience the regular route through newly implanted eyeballs.