We find out why people mountain bike
15 June 2016
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Gerald de Kock: This is Old Mutual Live Mountain Biking, thanks for downloading, I’m Gerald de Kock. We’re at the KAP Sani2c which is about as good a place as any to do a little dipstick research on why people mountain bike. What is it about this sport that sees some 4 500 ride this three-day event? An event like the ABSA Cape Epic being sold out every year.
Just such a high demand on events and riding and just so popular. Let’s do a little research to find out why people mountain bike. There are riders sitting here, having ridden the day around the trails here. I’m going to start at this table and ask a question; why do you mountain bike?
Interviewee: It’s fantastic fun, it gets me out of the house.
GDK: And you?
I: I haven’t figured it out yet. It’s magnificent, just the experience of being outside. Being with my mates. Doing this stuff. There’s nothing better.
GDK: What’s so bad about being in the house?
I: You get moaned at occasionally.
GDK: Why do you ride?
I: Six years ago I got divorced and my mate convinced me to buy a mountain bike and that was the beginning of the end.
GDK: And the last one?
I: Why do I ride? Cause I love it. I love to suffer.
GDK: At least there’s one honest one amongst you all. Thanks guys. We’ve got various answers as to why we mountain bike. I’m coming across to a table over here where there are husbands and wives perhaps sitting and chatting, is that right?
GDK: I’ve had interesting comments from another table as to why people mountain bike. So I’m going to put this question to you two gentlemen. You’ve just got off your bikes, why do you mountain bike?
I: Out of pure enjoyment. I don’t know why I repeat it. It’s like child birth; you forget the pain when you do it. But you love the success afterwards.
GDK: I hope you’re not talking from experience, however, let’s move on over here.
I: I think it’s just about childhood fun. Because the bicycle and the boys together and outdoors. To me, that’s why I do it. You don’t have to be too athletic. You don’t have to be too sporty. But you can ride a bicycle. To me that’s the reason why so many can do it.
GDK: Table sitting here, a lot of post-ride rehydration going on at this tale. The question is, why do you ride a mountain bike?
I: For the absolute pleasure of getting away from the pressures of work.
I: Because I just like to watch him.
I: I am married!
GDK: You had time to think this one up now?
I: Gerald, just to be under the African sun, nothing better.
I: Mine is to live for the moment. I beat him for the first time in my life – today.
I: Great joy, great joy.
GDK: Do your wives ride at all?
I: Ja, we ride tandem together and we have quite a lot of fun with that, but mountain biking, no.
A family affair
GDK: Did you ride today sir?
I: Yes, we did.
GDK: Why do you ride a mountain bike?
I: Myself and my brother are doing it on a tandem.
GDK: What’s that about?
I: I actually have no idea! I’ll have to think about that a while.
GDK: Your brother is sitting diagonally opposite you, smiling like a Cheshire cat. He might have the answer here. Why is it that you ride a tandem mountain bike?
I: It’s for pleasure, it’s for fun.
GDK: Your brother didn’t have that answer; he wasn’t entire sure.
I: I don’t think so, because he just closes his eyes. He just goes with the flow.
GDK: Deep down, what is it about the sport?
I: It’s just fun, you can ride as an amateur, it’s lekker, do it as a family.
GDK: You’re the dad?
I: I’m the dad, last year we did it on the tandem and we thought we’ll come back.
GDK: You, what are you riding this time?
GDK: With whom?
I: My other son should have been here and we would have been on another tandem. But he’s writing exams, so I’m on my own.
GDK: Do you ride the mountain bike?
I: Just a little bit, but not like them. I’m doing the support, I’ve got a big bus and I’m doing the support.
GDK: Okay, we’ve had another family, guys, a serious discussion going on here. Why do you ride a mountain bike?
I: I’m not too sure anymore, I’m more the road guy. He’s the mountain biker, he dragged me into it.
GDK: How did you manage to do that?
I: My partner pulled out, unfortunately, so he got pulled into it. But I ride to get away from my wife.
I: I ride because I think it brings out the kid in me.
I: I ride because it’s healthier than cocaine!
Getting to ride in the most amazing places
I: Having a beer afterwards, that’s the best part. At least you’re not like the race snakes, in bed by 8:00. Where else do you get to ride beautiful places like the country that we have. On other people’s farms, without being shot, absolutely beautiful.
GDK: We do appreciate that privilege do we?
I: Yes, we do, definitely.
GDK: Can I eavesdrop?
GDK: Why do you mountain bike?
I: I just love getting out into the open farmlands and just seeing new places you’d never get to see.
I: He was a mountain biker, he was roadie, he had no rear shock for the bulk of the race. So I don’t know what he was doing, he was hanging on for dear life.
GDK: How many races do you do a year?
I: Stage races, probably three a year.
GDK: Are you competitive?
I: Not as much as my partner!
I: The racing is just about who pays the bar bill.
GDK: Who is paying today?
I: We’re sharing the bill at the moment!
GDK: You’ve just finished your ride, how was it?
I: Fine thanks.
GDK: Why do you mountain bike?
I: Cause I love it.
GDK: What is it about it that you love?
I: The pain.
Great to do it as a husband and wife team
GDK: So why do you mountain bike?
I: Cause it’s fun and it’s a de-stress and something nice to do with my husband.
GDK: I’ve talked to a lot of people and a lot of the men have said they do it to get away from home and the wife.
I: No, we do it to spend time together and get out and beautiful scenery and have fun, I think that’s the main thing.
GDK: So it’s all peace and harmony out there?
I: Peace and harmony so far.
GDK: It clearly works, enjoy the rest of the ride.
I: Thank you very much, we will do.
GDK: How was your ride?
I: It was amazing, tough, but amazing.
Why Andrew Hill earns a living on his bike
GDK: Why do you mountain bike?
I: It’s a great adventure, I suppose you do work during the day and you do an adventure over the weekends.
I: I think the is the quintessential mountain bikers race. You’ve got to come here with the idea of getting on the fat bike, it’s like a religious experience. You arrive here, it’s a whole bunch of people with the same idea, the same following, the same passion about life and on the bike. So why do you mountain bike? I think this is one of the reasons why you mountain bike.
GDK: You also do it fast and a lot don’t you? How many races would you do a year?
I: I was actually looking at that, I think it comes down to racing days in the year. You don’t look at, not necessarily, cause stage races are one race. But you’re thinking about how many days, nine days a race here, another four days, five days here. By the time you get to mid-year, you’ve already done almost 40 days of racing, as a pro. It can end up being 60 days of racing and that’s just flat out.
GDK: And you still love it?
I: You do, it’s a passion, I love it and I think I’d rather be on the bike or in the office or sitting behind a computer.
GDK: Andrew Hill, thank you very much for talking. Andrew Hill happens to earn a living out of this sport, so he is a pro. He rides a lot of mountain bike events and that’s why he does 40-60-80 days of riding. A few more riders, we’re going to have a quick chat to, just to find out why they mountain bike. Hello sir, why do you ride your mountain bike?
I: Gerald I think it’s the challenge. Us South Africans really look to challenging events. It’s all part of a life balance and a lifestyle. It’s something that I really seek to fulfil in my life anyway.
GDK: Why do you ride a mountain bike?
I: I have no idea, canoeing is far easier, you put down and float down the river, this is hard work!
The grub on stage races is pretty decent
GDK: The ice creams aren’t bad here.
I: I actually can’t believe it, this is my first mountain bike race ever and I can’t believe how good this is. I’ve had about 800 of those cookies and this is my third ice cream.
I: Why do I ride the mountain bike? Well, I’ve always ridden a bicycle, bicycles a rite of passage. I think you’ve just got to keep following through.
GDK: The food is pretty good as well.
I: Very nice, it’s worth the ride, just the food to get here.
GDK: Some ride for the food, some ride for the exercise, why do you ride?
I: For the fun of it, just to be out, it’s lovely riding, it’s lovely seeing stuff you never see, although I followed him most of the day. So I saw most of his behind the whole day. But there was sometimes when he let me look at different things. Just to be out and enjoy it and see nature and then the food at the end of the day.
I: I love it, just to get out of the house.
GDK: Why do you ride?
I: It’s a pleasure just being out here.
I: Otherwise I need to stay at home!
GDK: It gets you out together.
I: Ja, otherwise I’m going to miss out.
For love and freedom
I: Just doing it for the fun. I think there’s a fundamental difference between road riding and mountain biking. When you road ride, it’s like a more strategic thing. But when you mountain bike, you don’t think about work, you don’t think about anything. But going around the tree, dodging stuff, it’s like you completely get away from work. Crap and things that you have to worry about. That’s one of the big things.
I think also mountain biking, it’s like an all over exercise. My shoulders are sore, my calves, so it’s calves to shoulders. Then I think the other big reason for me, is you go to places that you cannot go to under any other circumstances.
I did one where, I don’t know, I would never have gone to Groot Marico. I went there and it was cool and we had potjie and all sorts of stuff, so experiences here. But you ride on people’s land that you could never go on and I think that’s one of the best things.
I: It’s the freedom of; I love the downhills, I love the trees, I just love it.
GDK: How many races would you do a year?
I: Lots, 15-20-25, I really enjoy it, it’s been in my blood for 15 years.
GDK: Do you have a family?
I: Yes, I’ve got a wife and a six-year-old.
GDK: How does that play out?
I: Obviously races like this, it’s a bit more logistically harder. But the rest of them, they come along.
I: I think you have to have an off-season because cycling takes a lot of time. You can’t have that every Saturday and Sunday, you’re tired. You know, you’ve got to have an off-season, I think that’s important. I think if you can involve your family in it as well. Which you can do through this travel element of it. But also just, the next ride I’m going to do with my wife.
GDK: You’re sitting very quietly, you’ve heard all the answers, what’s yours?
I: It’s a good question because I ask myself that every time I get on the bike. It obviously hurts, but for me, it’s like the social side. You can see a nice group of friends, you get your families involved. You come out to these types of events, you go to places you’d never normally go to. You see places you wouldn’t normally see.
On a day like today when you’re riding those trails, often during the course of the ride; I just kept thinking, this is why I ride my bike. That feeling kept coming back. I’m having fun on my bike and that’s all it’s about. It’s about having fun on the bike.
GDK: There you go, we’ve got all the answers from a lot of people. A lot of different answers about why people ride their mountain bikes. But I think the one thing that pervades all of it is that everyone has fun doing it. Ultimately that’s what it’s about, is having fun on your mountain bike. If you’re out there and you are not riding a mountain bike, have some fun and ride a mountain bike. Thanks for downloading another edition of our Old Mutual Live Mountain Bike podcast, until next time, cheers.