Praise Bike!

After he gets through some hard terrain, my friend Chris sometimes talks to his bike like it’s animate. “Good Bike! Well done, Bike.”

It makes sense to me because it isn’t the conscious mind that gets you through the gnar.

One of the challenges to mtbing is ignoring the ground under your front wheel, particularly when it’s gnarly ground. That’s where instinct says to look, but if you do, the next rock in line will throw you over the bars like a ju jitsu black belt. You have to be looking two seconds up the trail, planning and deciding your line, your gearing, your body position.

And then you have to trust your body and your bike to execute the plan because your eyes and mind are already two seconds up the trail from where your wheels are.

That two seconds after my conscious mind delegates all the functions that matter to my muscles or to some other part of my mind or to my bike fascinates me.

It’s the key to mtbing.

About swampyankeecyclist

I'm Andy Engel, just a middle-aged, middle-class guy from Roxbury, Connecticut. I've been married to my best friend since 1988, and we have two grown sons. I like riding bikes, and my biggest accomplishment is the 180K D2R2. I own 5 bikes but my go-to rides are a 2016 GT Grade gravel and commuter bike and a 2016 Specialized 650b hardtail mountain bike. Additionally, I have a 2000-something carbon-fiber Orbea road bike, a 1990-something Specialized Sirrus that's my old dirt and commuter bike and which now serves as a spare and a trainer bike, and a 1985 Ross Mount Hood MTB. All but the 650b have Brooks saddles. I work from home now, but used to commute 32 miles round trip to work by bike year round. I was a carpenter and still love building things, but regular paychecks, insurance, and vacation time lured me into journalism. I've written a couple of books on carpentry, and I've been an editor at Fine Homebuilding, Fine Woodworking, and Professional Deck Builder magazines. Currently, I manage construction events at the JLC Live and Remodeling Show trade shows. Additionally, my wife and I run Transylvania Guest House, an Airbnb. Find us on Instagram. Come stay with us and I'll show you some great cycling.
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