ONE SPORT, MANY OPTIONS
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.