Tell me what kind of bike you ride and I’ll tell you the kind of person you are

Not really. Different people ride different bikes for a variety of reasons. I can only speak for myself.

Any time I’m on my mountain bike, The Black Pearl, I’m reminded of the kind of person I am. I’m rigid. I’m Type A. A little obsessive compulsive. Strict. Analytical. Someone who likes plans, schedules, structured workouts, and numbers.

Riding Thunder, my road bike, fits perfectly into my identity. It’s stiff, like my upper lip. I cannot be stiff on The Black Pearl. When I am, I fall or ride unbearably slow. Riding a mountain bike over rocky, zippy terrain requires a certain level of flow. Something you don’t learn or really need on a road bike. Sure, you need to stay loose on the road bike, but you don’t ride a road bike like you ride a mountain bike.

Mountain bikes like freedom. They need freedom. Death gripping the handlebars or brakes of a mountain bike is not conducive to a fun mountain bike ride. The bike needs to move beneath you, over rocks, around berms. You have to be okay with letting the bike take you where it wants to go. You have to trust that your bike will roll over the rocks and boulders on the trail.

You can’t force it one way when it wants to go another. When you do, you usually eat it. Yesterday, I took out The Black Pearl to Bear Creek. As a rigid roadie, I feathered the brakes as I began a descent. My front tire bounced off a rock and threw me into the dirt. I wracked my knee against a rock and some sort of prickly thing tore up my leg. I didn’t fall because I was sending it.

I fell because I wasn’t staying loose. I wanted to control my bike too much, too hard. Embarrassed, I stood up and looked around, scanning the trails for any spectators. There was no one in sight, thankfully. I knew my mistake.

I had to let go and let the bike do its thing. I couldn’t keep trying to control it. Otherwise, I’d bite the dust again. For the remainder of the ride, I constantly reminded myself to stay loose. For someone who is a self-professed “control freak,” letting go of control is a struggle. It’s probably the biggest battle I face with myself and it won’t happen in one mountain bike ride.

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