A guest post from our very own Paul Elder. Inventory & Logistics Manager at Strider Sports International. Paul is the proud daddy of two rippin’ STRIDER Riders, a hunter, he recently finished his first Marathon in Fort Collins, CO. Colorado Marathon, and has been an avid Mountain Biker since he starting working here at Strider. (Turns out we have that effect on people!) To see Paul’s full bio on our Strider Staff Page click HERE.
They call me “Crash”.
I’m a guy who rides a mountain bike. Definitely not to be confused with an actual mountain biker.
The cuts, bruises, and localized swelling that cover my legs and arms after a ride seem to confirm I’m not exactly talented on two wheels. My Strider family certainly enjoys hearing about my latest escapades after a lunch ride, and my home family (wife, 4 year old, and 2 year old) suggest fairly regularly that I may be better suited to ride a STRIDER full time.
The good news is, I really am getting better at it! To clarify: getting better at crashing. You might think it’s as simple as falling off your bike, but there is sooo much more to wrecking than just falling over. Believe me – I’m a guy who literally crashed in the middle of the bike path, going less than one mile an hour (first day in clipless pedals). I’m managed to avoid “the big one” [hold on one second while I knock on every piece of wood in the room…ok, done] but every unplanned dismount from the bike has the potential to hurt.
From what I can tell, there are three main categories of crashes:
1) “I couldn’t get un-clipped”. These are really a bummer, and tend to have a recurring point of impact on the inside of your shins where where your bike consistently smashes you, because you are, you know, ‘stuck’. Most people learn pretty quickly how to un-clip…not this guy. I’m good for this type of wreck about every other ride, even if it’s just stopping for a rest. Nothing worse than confidently rolling up to the guys you are riding with, and then tipping over onto the ground.
2) “I Knew that Technical Portion was Beyond Me”. The machismo based argument is, you have to keep trying tough sections of trail in order to improve, and some day, you’ll make them. In the mean time, they’re probably gonna hurt. But at least you are moving fairly slow and the damage is generally short term.
3) “Didn’t See That Coming”. These are generally high speed, maybe going over the bars or having the bike wash out under you. I’ve mostly avoided these (knocking on wood again) because I’m not very fast. But I’ve definitely had a couple close calls. I think these are “karma crashes”; about the time you get a little confident and start messing around, Bang!, you go down like a rock.
Here’s the good news – every crash is an opportunity to GET BACK UP. It’s the best life lesson to learn: being successful at something, whether riding or in other parts of life, is as simple as getting up one more time than you were knocked down. It’s a lesson we get to see young STRIDER riders learning all the time. Our goal is to make learning to ride as safe and as fun as possible, and we believe the STRIDER does exactly that. But are kids going to wreck? Yup, they sure are; the same way they crashed when learning to crawl, the same way they crashed when learning to walk, and the same way they’ll crash some day in the future in some other way. It’s part of life.
So, when your little STRIDER rider tumbles of the bike, hold your breath, bite your tongue, and wait a second to see how they react. They might just surprise you by picking themselves up, dusting off, and getting back on the bike. And they’ll have gained new confidence in themselves that can’t be taught, it can only be learned.
And me? I’ll be the guy tangled up in his bike off the side of the trail. But don’t worry – I’ll be along shortly. And maybe one time after I get up, I’ll be able to say I’m a mountain biker.