A personal reflection on “what’s in” and “what’s out” from Ninja’s Captain of Global Development
Regardless of whether you are celebrating 2020 as the start of a new decade, or just another new year, January seems like a great time to reflect, am I right?
This month I’ve been reflecting back on my progress as a mountain biker. I can’t help but laugh thinking about the spandex outfits I used to wear (I was a recovering triathlete), my too-tight clipless shoes and the rigid seat post on my entry level mountain bike. Here I am in 2020 and I can’t imagine riding without a dropper post, my bike is worth more than my car, and I don’t hesitate to wear my baggy riding gear out in public. All this nostalgic reflection got me thinking about the riding trends from the past decade.
I decided to ask my fellow instructors for their trend predictions, thinking a trends list would make for a fun article. So I sent out an email and asked
“What trends are on their way out? And what trends are on their way in?”
Well, I didn’t end up with the list I was expecting. Let me explain.
Responses to my inquiry started rolling in and they were what you would expect if you’ve kept up with the latest bikes and apparel for sale at your local shop…
“Goodbye spandex, hello ‘casual wear’.”
“Goodbye fixed seat posts, hello dropper posts.”
“Goodbye 26” wheels, hello 29ers.”
“Goodbye clipless, hello flat pedals.”
And then a very intelligent someone (looking at you, Eric) chimed in with this….
“Goodbye exclusivity. Goodbye alienating people because they don’t ride what you think is trendy.
Hello inclusivity. Hello creating a culture around mountain biking that welcomes any and all regardless of their bike, gear or ability.”
It hit me. I realized that publishing a list of “what’s old” and “what’s trendy” goes against what we stand for here at Ninja. Sure, as riders we all have our own personal preferences for tire size, pedals, apparel and trail features. But at the same time, as mountain bike advocates, we all want MORE people riding bikes and more people enjoying the great outdoors. You don’t need to have a fancy new bike, tip-top fitness or the latest clothes to be a mountain biker. You just need a mountain bike in good, working order. And a helmet.
Want to enjoy the sport of mountain biking in a no pressure, judgement free environment? Come ride with a Ninja. Want to improve your skills and riding confidence? Ride with a Ninja. And sure, if you want a recommendation for comfortable riding gear or a great bike, ask a Ninja what they like. I’ve never met a Ninja that doesn’t like talking about their favorite gear.
For this next decade, let’s all get out there and be a different type of trendsetter. Let’s introduce new friends to the sport. Let’s donate old gear to good causes. Let’s volunteer to build and maintain trails. Let’s help out local youth riding teams. Let’s strike up a conversation with the guy/gal standing alone at the local trail alliance meeting and make them feel welcome.
If you’ll let me, I’d like to revise the questions I posed to my fellow riders. Take 2…
What if mountain biking culture focused for the next 10 years on making the sport more inclusive and more accessible?
What if we focused our energy on being better stewards of our trails?
What if mountain biking culture sought to build bridges with fellow trail users and surrounding communities?
I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo!
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I participated in the beginner skill clinic at Malibu Creek last Saturday, because I'm truly a beginner who couldn't stop falling down during each mtb ride. The class was small and super fun...and the instructors (Richard and Kris) were informative and dynamic. The clinic was small enough for each member to practice each learned skill and receive immediate feedback. I learned many new skills on that day and felt much more confident with my bike-body connection. I felt so confident that I recently signed up for the Catalina MTB Gran Fondo...the 55 mile route! Woohooo!! The next day, as I was road biking (training for the Solvang Double Century), I dodged a bullet on the Snake/Mulholland by applying my learned mtb skills--a long towing truck went over almost half of our lane on a blind turn as we were descending. Instead of fixating on the truck, I remembered the importance of looking for a clear path and keeping my eyes on where I want to go....Now I understand what people meant when they said that mtb will help improve my road riding skills too! I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn, and I look forward to the next clinic! ~ Uyen N.
I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails.
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I just rode on my local trails today after taking the Ninja clinic in Sedona. I was so happy I could transfer what I learned in Sedona to my own trails. There is one drop and one off camber downhill section I never have had the courage or skill to ride until today. It was so fun to ride them and not get off and walk. Richard La China and Courtney Cowan were fantastic instructors. Not only did I up my technical skills in Sedona it was also a ton of fun! ~Patty Elliott
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
Took the mini clinic on jumping skills because I can't resist the urge to get in the air even though I always knew I didn't really understand the mechanics of it, so it was a kind of "huck and hope" affair. The result was that I didn't land about 1 in 5 attempts. The clinic with Aaron was great! He explained the mechanics of how the bike is handled coming into, through and out of the jump and starts with individual small skills progressing step by step in a very manageable way (even for me, and I started this stuff at 45 and I'm not very coordinated). What I feel sets Aaron apart is his ability to communicate his explanations and demonstrate movements in a way that makes them easy to learn even for someone with little experience. He is also very patient and encouraging, which helps when one is starting out and struggling a little with some movements. I definitely intend to do more clinics with Ninja MBS. I feel like it will save me a lot of time and frustration as well as possibly a lot of money in medical bills! ~Jill M.
I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys.
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I recently attended one of the Intermediate/Advanced Efficiency and Flow clinics. Even though I have been riding for many years I learned a lot from this clinic. The techniques covered ranged from reviewing basic skills such as basic body position to practicing more advanced techniques like switchbacks, bunny hops, and cornering. I was able to recognize, get instruction, and practice some skills where I was weak and instantly improve them. Even skills I thought I was pretty good at I was able to pick up useful tips. I also realized that deliberate skills practice is not something I incorporate into my riding, but now that I understand what I should be doing I will make sure to add this in! After taking the course my comfort on the bike has improved and I am more aware of my body position and movement of the bike. I would encourage anyone of any ability to take a class with these guys. The instructors are knowledgeable and easy to work with. There is a lot of one on one help and they will make sure you understand the skills being taught and are able to perform them successfully. Plus the clinic was lots of fun! I highly recommend and hope to work with these guys again soon. ~ Michelle A.
We are a group of passionate, dirt-loving, community oriented, world-class mountain bike skills instructors committed to helping you reach your personal riding goals through clinics and camps. We are excited to work with riders of all ability levels and share the joy (STOKE) of mountain biking.