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?
Enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I’ve ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike.
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
Hands down, enrolling in the Intermediate/Advanced clinic was the best thing I've ever done to improve my speed and ability on the bike. I am so much faster on singletrack and through technical sections/jumps that even if people are more fit than me, I still keep up with them (and kind of love watching them do a lot more work than they need to). Richard and Kris are fantastic and break things down in a way that makes sense and is manageable. By the end of my first clinic, I was jumping off ledges and power climbing up sections that I couldn't drive a car up. You could buy a $5,000 carbon bike and do 10,000 ft rides every day, but you will get the best return on any investment you make in your riding by attending a Ninja Skills Clinic. ~ Regina J.
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park....
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
My 14 year old son and I (I'm 43) went to the Intermediate/advanced skills clinic at Malibu Creek State Park. We both race and ride at a very fast pace. Getting faster for us is about making sure our fundamentals are solid and we can continue to use those fundamentals to smooth out our flow to increase our skills and confidence. Richard has a way of breaking down all the information to make it very understandable and usable. My son and I have been to other skills classes before and knew what to expect, mostly. Richard was able to coach us to better form riding high speed flat corners! We brushed up on and cleaned up some less helpful habits. We really worked to understand the how and why behind some skills that we already had but didn't know we that we did. All in all we had a blast! Richard was fun and informative. Taylor was helping Richard out for the day. It was fun to watch her demo some skills at speed. Her input throughout the day was informative and light hearted. It was a fun day on the bike with some great people and coaching. This will not be our last Ninja training clinic! Thanks for everything Richard and Taylor! ~Eric Zubick
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding...
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
I have, like many cyclists, been riding bikes since childhood. Feeling like I hit a plateau in my technical riding skills (because I had), I began searching for a mountain bike skills camp. I wanted to attend a camp that would push me to be a better rider, but I needed it to be in a great location on actual trails. After a fair amount of searching, I decided that spending a weekend at a Ninja Mountain Bike Skills camp would be perfect. It didn't hurt that the camp was in Big Bear. The condensed review: It took only a few hours of trail riding with Richard and Daniel to drastically change my riding for the better. The long review: The camp was broken into morning and afternoon sessions, separated by an amazing lunch on each day. The morning sessions were, in general, based on technique and riding isolated technical features. The afternoon sessions functioned more like a capstone; we rode incredible trails, like Fall Line and Skyline, and put our newly-learned skills into action. Richard and Daniel were attentive to both the class as a whole as well as each individual. The pacing of each individual lesson (I'm a teacher, so I viewed each piece as a lesson) was wonderful. There were constant checks for understanding as well as incremental assessments of our skills on the bike. We were never once, all weekend, bogged down in repetition, nor were we rushed through a skill or concept. I was blown away by the sheer volume of skills that were taught in such an easy-to-grasp manner. Of course, we were not standing by our bikes the whole time listening to a lecture: we were actively riding while Daniel and Richard looked on with critical eyes. Richard was clear in his introduction...
G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area.
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know....
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills
Ninja Mountain Bike Skills is a warm and friendly environment to learn new skills and hone ones you already know. It's a non intimidating environment where mistakes are welcomed so corrections can be made. I own G2 Bike is Aliso Viejo and this clinic has been ran out of the Aliso Woods area and when I interviewed the clients they had all but great things to say. None arrogant instructors and easy to follow steps. The biggest bang for many was meeting new area riders at their skill level, gaining confidence, and getting the bike set up and fit properly. G2 Bike looks forward to many more of these clinics in this area. Thanks Richard for all you do for the MTB community! ~ AJ S.
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.