The transition from cyclist to cult leader can be a surprisingly easy one if you’re not careful.
A group of nearly 20 riders unwittingly joined our congregation last week. It was a mixed group with mostly regulars, a few newbies and a couple of riders who had sipped the cool aid a few times before.
The ride has been sold as a steady one around the local hilly trails to give the newbies a taster of ‘proper mountain biking’. We planned to do a 20 mile loop around both sides of the valley taking in some of Derbyshire’s finest ups, flats and downs. Around 3,000ft climbing and loads of fun on the downhill.
The initial sales pitch had obviously worked. We had a group of 20ish riders in train heading up the first climb of the day. I always enjoy introducing new people to the sport and always hope that they enjoy it. So we made sure to keep the pace steady as not to put anyone off.
The first climb was a slog but everyone made it up reasonably easy and were looking forward to the descent. We had been trying to explain the descents of the day as we climbed up the first hill. This is the point where we drew up these amazing images of an adrenaline fuelled rollercoaster of a trail and hope that it got the new riders excited about pointing it downhill. I was like one of the cool priests who conjures up sexy images of the afterlife by playing acoustic pop songs.
After rattling down the first descent, splashing through puddles and hopping off rocks I was pretty happy. A great descent down a muddy but fun trail. The regulars seemed to enjoy it too. The trails aren’t in their full spring majesticness but they are still riding well. This surely would be the point were the newbies end their 30 day trial period and fill out a direct debit order for mountain bike awesomeness.
Unfortuantely it wasnt to be. They weren’t overhwhelmed with the joy of a proper mountain bike descent. Maybe we had over sold it? Maybe they dont know what is good for them? Or, more than likely, we are not as rad and awesome as we would like to think? I had specifically reserved 40 mins in the days shedule at this point for some baptising with GT45 holy oil, but they just were not buying into it.
My faith in mountain biking had been shaken. I fully expected to jumping in the air, doing high fives and planning the next ride at this point. It wasnt to be however. I didn’t want them to enjoy it anyway…