Anna Beck articulates what everyone has been feeling for the last few months
It’s a sentiment that I think is echoed around communities in Australia and world-wide: a vague disgruntled foreboding related to the ongoing impacts of a global pandemic. Sure, I know we need these restrictions; we really do have to take this s^&* seriously. Yet at the same time I’m pretty sure it’s normal to feel a little boxed in and unhinged with this sense of perpetuity of the restrictions.
I know this may read like I’m a spoilt brat (like I haven’t heard that one before), my home state of Queensland has done really well to contain infections, and I am infinitely grateful I am not deep in the trendy, fashionable bowels of Melbourne, where restrictions have lead to the creations the verb ‘burbing’ where you just ride all around your suburb. Despite our state’s relative success, however, the risk of another explosion is always around the corner. Lurking like something under the Trap Door (if you know, congrats, we are old).
Tensions are high, sleep is low, caffeine consumption and caloric intake and (resultantly) weight has hit a possible all time peak with our new ‘WFH’ culture. As such, I think it’s time to have a really good rant. Here are some things that press my buttons far more effectively in the current climate than they ever have before.
One thing that gets my goat it is people who pass you, either coming towards you or in the same direction of travel, that stare fixedly straight ahead or at their computer and pretend you don’t exist. This is not the culture of mountain biking, or cycling in general. Are you socially anxious? Practice overcoming your fears maybe with a slight head nod or mild wave to begin with. When you’ve conquered that, the next step is moving the lips while pushing air from your lungs to form words to say ‘hi’. It costs nothing and will likely improve your day, and paint you into a much more favourable light than some unfriendly elitist flog.
Strava is a double edged sword; fostering connection in quite a disjointed world and pushing you to be faster. But there is a dark side. Have you ever headed out on a busy trail network at peak times on a weekend, and tried to go for a PB on a segment? Congrats, you may be a Stravasshole. If you’re cutting in new lines, mowing down families and other riders, or turning every social ride into a race in pursuit of a cup or KOM, then maybe consider dialling back your Strava use to non-peak times, and think about the needs of the group if social riding.
Lack of minority representation
This goes without saying; more women on bikes, more POC on bikes, more disabled athletes on bikes, more kids on bikes. More media coverage of these groups on bikes. Mountain biking has the ability to be an amazingly diverse and inclusive sport. Compare minority representation at track and field at an Olympic level to that of cycling and you’ll find an example of a very whitewashed sport… it’s up to promoters, leaders and all of us within the sport to change this. #encouragediversity
New industry standards
Nothing gets my goat like a forced upgrade with a new industry standard. We get it, 29” is great. Can we just, like, stop there? I know that innovation drives progress in the sport and I am all for that, but when each brand brings out a new BB or axle standard every year it's exhausting and I am over it. I just want milk that tastes like real milk.
Using new bike day to fill a deep emotional pandemic-sized void
I just put this in to punch myself in the face, basically.
Needing a holiday
I need a holiday. You need a holiday. Collectively, we all need a freaking holiday. Watopia and ‘Zwift Paris’ are really not hitting the spot anymore. Look…I am not being too precious. I don’t need to go on a month long trip to Europe under the guise of a ‘work related bicycle experience’ right now, I would totally settle for a week or so in New Zealand or even a trip to Maydena and Derby. Is that too much to ask?
Some of these are tongue in cheek, some aren’t, because i’m tired and mad. I am aware we are in this position because we have to be, but it’s totally normal to feel exhausted and at capacity, to the point where coffee doesn’t touch the sides anymore. Keep safe, and wear the mask.