Look Ahead

If I had to give just one piece of advice on how to ride a bike better it would be to look where you want to go.  The funky chicken is of course very important and we must never forget to stay loose but all these things don’t matter if we don’t remember to look where we want to go.

A decade ago Tracy and I had just taken delivery of a couple of second hand portacabins and were in the process of stripping them out and were attempting to transform them into something that resembled a cafe-on the budget of a creative remortgage on a one bedroom flat, a few second hand race bikes, and a healthy sprinkling of goodwill from family members.

In the same year Fort William was hosting the World Cup for the first time and Singletrack magazine was born and we were all still riding hardtails (first time around).

In just 8weeks we transformed the cabins into a habitable space and er well, played swingball and read Sunday papers praying for some customers to come in.  In the early days it was just Tracy and I and we learnt to do anything that we didn’t know how to-which was quite a lot-but we had plenty of time so that was fine.  Then it got a bit busier and we took Jim on.  He worked on the 12 hire bikes we had, out on the cafe decking, in the freezing cold and rain-he’s a man now and I like to think we moulded him a little (we didn’t break him anyway).  Next came Adam, from New Zealand, so super laid back he forgot to make the chocolate cakes with sugar-you won’t believe how awful they taste with no sugar.

So ten years on we still ride our hardtails but full suspension is bit comfier.  I’d like to think I’m a better rider-or maybe thats just the suspension, but ten years of always looking ahead has made me pretty good at reading the trail and if I’ve learnt anything its to expect the unexpected because that happens quite a lot when you ride a mountain bike.  A rock moves when you don’t expect it, a puddle might be a bit deeper, and the chain slips just when you don’t need it to-but keep looking where you want to go and there’s a good chance you might just get there.