Are mountain bikes expensive? – Pique Magazine


The bikes are back with more and more trails opening up every week. Pemberton is in its element before the dusty eruption that comes with summer. The Whistler Mountain Bike Park – after a premature early opening attempt – is expected to start loading within a week from today. Kudos to all of these trail crews for moving yards of snow to prepare the Fitzsimmons area for the annual opening weekend migration of mountain bikers from all over the Pacific Northwest.

Another arrival is some long-awaited shipping containers, which means new bikes are coming this year. The industry is not yet out of the woods in the supply chain, but it is making progress on the long catch-up. So congratulations to everyone who wore shiny new frames this summer. You are either patient, lucky, diligently early in ordering your stuff, or a combination of the three.

No matter how much you paid for your bike, there are always more expenses waiting for you. Ripped tires, broken derailleurs, cracked rims, busted freewheels…these are just some of the inevitable fixes that await mountain bikers riding the Sea to Sky. Then there are all the luxury upgrades: shiny bars, stems, pedals and grips that personalize your bike and give you the pride of looking tougher than the other riders on the trail. Start getting into electronic shifting and carbon wheels and a bike under $10,000 can turn into a package under $15,000. And I won’t even start talking about high-end e-bikes.

Wherever you are on the expense spectrum or salary bracket, everything is relatively expensive. And having spent my fair share on mountain biking over the years, I get it. But what I don’t understand is how expenses are prioritized.

For example, take a destination mountain biker traveling to Whistler from California. Seeing and hearing about Whistler’s legendary trails and bike park, he rallies his buddies, buys a flight, stows his $8,000+ bike, and spends a few thousand dollars more on accommodations for the week. . While a few fancy dinners and after-patio sessions are considered essential vacation luxuries, the crew spends the week roaming the trail network, making sure they hit Dark’s must-see trails. Crystal and Lord of the Squirrels and get lost countless times trying to find the best uphill route or downhill connectors. For the price of one handlebar each, that crew could hire a qualified mountain bike guide to not only show them the most efficient way to ride the best trails, but also coach them on technique to get the most out of their $8,000 bikes. It’s amazing how many financially capable cyclists think that replacing their performance gear with more expensive gear will make them a better rider.

Now let’s look at an example of the Sea to Sky mountain biker. They live here and have enough friends who know where the back trails are that they don’t need a guide. They are skilled enough to ride almost anything they want without coaching (although coaching would probably make them faster). These riders may also have $8,000 bikes, but sometimes pay less through their connections and professional offer networks.

How many of these people won’t spend $60 on an annual trail association membership?

When I wrote about the joys of riding the A-Line last year, one commenter said “or you can just ride some great trails outside the park for free.” News flash: public trails are not free. You only have to read a few of the newsletter updates from Dan Raymond (WORCA’s leading trail builder) to realize that trails don’t maintain themselves. They require constant maintenance, especially after severe weather events such as the 2021 fall floods.

“Ah. But my friend knows the guy who built this rogue trail, and he doesn’t get any money from WORCA or Muni. Well, if you hike this trail regularly and know the team that built it has built, consider reaching out to see if you can help with the labor. Or buy beer from the builders. And if you see them working in the woods, stop and offer them to carry buckets of soil.

There are more than a few karma-rich runners who attend trail parties, volunteer for trail associations, or even dig their own trails. But for every one of those trail fairies, there are hundreds who don’t lift a finger, or worse, don’t even buy a trail pass. Don’t be one of them.

Vince Shuley would love to see the return of the WORCA Bike Swap, where he most enjoys volunteering his time to raise funds for the trails. For questions, comments or suggestions for The Outsider, email [email protected] or Instagram @whis_vince.


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