ONE SPORT, MANY OP­TIONS

Australian Mountain Bike - - Editorial - WORDS: MIKE BLE­WITT PHOTO: STIRLING LORENCE

About a year ago I typed out my editorial for Is­sue #155, feel­ing at once con­vinced but also un­sure about the is­sue of AMB that we had put to­gether. I truly felt it was a great snap­shot of where our sport was, with the right stories about peo­ple, the right in­sights into new bikes, and com­men­tary that was fun and in­for­ma­tive.

We also had an E-bike re­view in there – the first of a few that we have pub­lished since then. I had writ­ten it my­self af­ter hav­ing a blast rid­ing the bike. I'd pre­vi­ously been on the fence, but af­ter spend­ing time rid­ing the bike with oth­ers, I could see ex­actly why e-MTBs were a part of moun­tain bik­ing. Still, I was un­sure of the re­ac­tion from all of you – our read­ers, the Aus­tralian moun­tain bik­ing public.

12 months on, we're putting the fin­ish­ing touches on a pretty killer is­sue. We've got in­sights from Jeff Ste­ber about why Aus­tralians have made the In­tense team, and their bikes, so kick arse. We've got lo­cal in­sights into the trails around Ho­bart and be­yond, and a re­cap of one of Aus­tralia's most pop­u­lar moun­tain bike events – Port to Port.

And we also have not one, but two e-MTB re­views, and a ded­i­cated trail fea­ture where most of the rid­ing was done on pedal-as­sisted bikes.

Like all the re­views we have pub­lished over the past 12 months, I ex­pect this will draw a va­ri­ety of feed­back. But un­like one year ago I feel more cer­tain on the po­si­tion of e-MTBs in Aus­tralia and around the world. I don't think any­one is in a po­si­tion to dic­tate what moun­tain bik­ing is and isn't. That’s a per­sonal opin­ion that varies mas­sively. Run­ning laps of a lift-as­sisted and groomed bike park with head­phones in my ears, down trails 3-4m wide isn't my idea of moun­tain bik­ing. But I don't mind if that's what oth­ers want it to be. Sim­i­larly, I like the phys­i­cal chal­lenge of get­ting my bike to high places, and in dif­fi­cult ter­rain. I en­joy the process and the re­ward, the self-doubt and the un­cer­tainty that comes with the phys­i­cal dif­fi­culty and the de­ci­sion mak­ing you need to un­der­take in some en­vi­ron­ments. That's what I like. But I don't ex­pect oth­ers to.

Moun­tain bik­ing is about fun, es­capism, ath­leti­cism, chal­lenges, so­cial needs, com­pe­ti­tion, be­ing out­side, fit­ness, travel, ad­ven­ture and more. But it isn't all those things to all peo­ple. For some peo­ple, e-MTBs will open up new doors to how they can ex­pe­ri­ence the skills and chal­lenges of moun­tain bik­ing, and for oth­ers it lets them push their bound­aries even fur­ther. But this goes be­yond e-MTBs and their pres­ence in Aus­tralia, and it is per­ti­nent to our sport in gen­eral. We're in it for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, but also the same one. We all love it – so just re­mem­ber that next time you're on the trail and you see some­one en­joy­ing it dif­fer­ently to you.

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