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19 MIN READ TIME

THE RIGHT TO BE RAD

WORDS BY HANNAH

The day someone said to me ‘You’re fairly XC, aren’t you?’ felt like the biggest insult to my riding abilities possible. By extension, I was therefore ‘not rad’. Knowing that if you were to put me in an actual cross country race I would swiftly find myself at the back of the pack, the follow up ‘I mean, you can ride a long way, you’re pretty fit’ did nothing to soften the blow to my bruised ego. Riding a long way not very fast and on lightly bumpy trails is not, as far as I know, a marketable mountain biking niche (unless you carry a tent, in which case it’s Bikepacking).

‘Radness’ is definitely something I aspire to. Deliberate and stylish ‘hucking’, drifting round corners (intentionally), and the kicking up of dirt on demand for a photographer are all on the checklist of skills to be learned. Couple these with a goggles and some fluoro shorts and I might even be able to aspire to the ‘Enduro’ tag, but that seems a very long way off.

Given that not so long ago riding a bike was for me a form of transport, not a leisure activity - tick the Utility Cyclist box - perhaps I shouldn’t be too ashamed of my wheels-on-the-ground riding style. And really, I know I shouldn’t worry which niche I fit into, because really, that’s all marketing, and it’s actually all just riding bikes, right?

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About Singletrack

UK Adventure – Long Mynd: Barney goes in search of long singletrack descents too good to miss. International Adventure – Ecuador: Cass Gilbert goes bikepacking – stunning photography and adventure results. International Adventure – Los Angeles: Chipps seeks out that which is not concrete in the City of Angels. Crash Gallery – A fond look at some crash photos inspired by this issue’s cover. Classic Ride – Exmoor: Barney finds that steep hills and merciless gorse can hide a treasure trove of West Country singletrack. Grouptest: Trail SPD shoes are tested by the team. But do they pass the ‘pub’ test? Bike Test – The Second Coming: We test three second iterations of bikes from Orange, Santa Cruz and Singular. Is it a case of improvement through evolution, or a film sequel style flop? Grinder: A bucketful of shiny components, lovingly mixed with some springtime grit and exuberant riding before judgement. UK Adventure – Orienteering: Chipps tests out his map reading skills in the Dark Peak. Magic in the Margins of the Day: A change in circumstances leads Doug McDonald to discover the joy of dusk and and dawn riding.

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