10 signs that you're addicted to mountain biking

If these ring true then you know you've got a serious bike habit

For the most part, mountain biking is a great thing. You make loads of friends, stay healthy and get to explore the outdoors and have fun at the same time. However, there's a difference between just riding a mountain bike and being a full-blown mountain biker. If these 10 things describe you and your mates, there's a good chance you fall into the latter camp…

1. Your shins are always covered in scabs

Whether it’s from hitting pedals against them, getting scraped by branches, pummelled by rocks or whipped by bushes, your lower limbs are always either healing or freshly wounded. What’s more, you’re inordinately proud of this fact and enjoy flaunting your ruined shins, despite the fact you frequently wake up with the bedsheets stuck to your legs.

2. Your bike costs at least as much as your car

Careful putting it on the roof, you might damage the bike: careful putting it on the roof, you might damage the bike
Careful putting it on the roof, you might damage the bike: careful putting it on the roof, you might damage the bike

I mean, if you can afford a nice car then it means you can afford a really nice bike, right? Simple logic, that is. Seeing a fancy motor with a cheap bike on the roofrack just confuses – surely the primary purpose of any vehicle is to transport you and your shiny bike to the trails?

3. You have a collection of tyres for all conditions and every season

I think i'll use this tyre for the descent. it'll only take a moment to change: i think i'll use this tyre for the descent. it'll only take a moment to change
I think i'll use this tyre for the descent. it'll only take a moment to change: i think i'll use this tyre for the descent. it'll only take a moment to change

Each change of season poses a real challenge. Is it time to dig out the fast rolling summer tyres yet or should you keep your spiky intermediates on? Maybe you could keep those but move to the harder compound ones? Or how about one of those on the front and one of the other the rear? It takes so much time to decide on a rubber setup and then change the bloody things that you usually have to go for a shorter ride than originally intended.

4. You remember people by their bikes, not their names

Some riders who may or may not know each other's names: some riders who may or may not know each other's names
Some riders who may or may not know each other's names: some riders who may or may not know each other's names

“You know Steve?”

“Who?”

“What do you mean ‘who’? He’s been out on the regular night ride for the past three years! ”

“Nope, doesn’t ring a bell...”

“He’s got that blue Specialized Stumpjumper”

“Oh yeah! Him! Yeah, he’s a lovely guy. Went to his wedding last year, his wife rides too.”

5. You can tell who’s been riding your trails recently by the tracks 

It’s probably something to do with an ancient hunter-gatherer part of your brain, but you just can’t help yourself looking at tyre tracks and then trying to figure out who was going where and when. It’s best to stop short of going full Neanderthal and hunting down any unfamiliarly treaded interlopers though.

6. You can always find an excuse to justify a new bike part

So the boiler broken, the car is due a service soon and being fed with too much muddy clothing means the washing machine is making some very funny noises. It’s probably time to reign in the spending on bike parts, but the thing is that they’ve just released this new widget and it’s totally going to make a huge difference to how the bike rides and the old part is almost worn out anyway and the local shop will probably do you a bit of a deal and…

7. You’re at the local bike shop so much people think you work there

Why did you think i worked here again?: why did you think i worked here again?
Why did you think i worked here again?: why did you think i worked here again?

When you’re chatting with the staff about the latest kit after collecting some new bits and normal customers keep trying to buy things from you, it’s time to realise you should either start getting paid to be there or stop coming in so much. You know you can ride bikes as well as talking about them, right?

8. Your suntan starts at the wrists and ends just below your shoulders

Your neck is also very tanned, as are your knees. The rest of your body is basically like the flesh of one of those deep-sea creatures that dissolves when brought to the surface and exposed to light. By the end of summer you look like a weird patchwork blanket.

9. You have a box full of parts that are totally obsolete that you refuse to throw out

In all likelihood, the odds of bike manufacturers moving back to 1in threaded steerers on their forks and frames seems rather slim, but it’s probably best to hang onto that 120mm long quill stem, just in case. The same goes for the chainrings in obscure bolt circle diameters. Better safe than sorry, eh?

10. You view any new ‘standard’ or technology with intense suspicion

So they’re saying this new thing is better in every way? And it’s going to last much longer as well as being lighter and cheaper? You’re not convinced. Okay, so it turned out disc brakes were much better than V-brakes after all and that full suspension isn’t just a passing fad, but you’re still sore after you fell for the hype 20 years ago and bought a Girvin flexstem. Never forget, never forgive.

Did this ring a bell with you? Do you have any other symptoms? Let us know in the comments or on the BikeRadar Facebook page.

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, France
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Big days out that pack in the steep and technical
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, BMC Teamelite SE02 SLX
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Paris, France

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