Think about any sport or activity you like to play at. Think about the equipment you use for those activities. How many times have you heard another rider say “if only I could afford a better bike, I could ride faster.” Or, “if I could afford to upgrade my suspension, I could ride for a longer period of time.” Remember the old Nike ads, "it's gotta be the shoes." I tried the shoes, I still don't play basketball like Michael Jordan. The truth is, spending more money on your bike won’t necessarily make you a better rider. Sure, you might get more speed buying something lighter, or have less muscle fatigue when your suspension is “cushier”, but the reality is it isn’t enough to turn the average rider into Chris Birch.
So, what makes a good rider a great rider? Practice. Lots and lots of practice. Practice makes perfect, so they say. This is true for any sport or activity you may enjoy doing. You get better by repetition, which means practicing the same maneuvers over and over again. While you are practicing, you may notice that try as you might, there are just some “moves” you can’t get right. Or maybe you have all those moves down, but you just get too tired after being on your bike for an hour. You seem to have plateaued in your progression. Now what?
Sometimes, getting over the next hurdle requires trying something new. If you notice your stamina isn’t enough to go out on a prolonged ride, perhaps you need to do something to fix it. Maybe try as you might, you just can’t get that front tire up high enough to cross that log in the single track. While practice is the most important thing to do to get better at riding, the exercise you do outside of riding and your diet are also important. Perhaps instead of buying a lighter bike, hitting the free weights at the gym will help you maneuver that bike of yours like a pro. Or, if you have lived on the couch for most of the off-season, losing 10lbs might be all the help you need to go for a longer distance ride.
Whatever your riding challenge is, it can most likely be fixed via practice, exercise and healthy eating. There is no need to continually spend money to upgrade your bike. The person who spends the most money is not necessarily the best rider. Who is the best rider? Someone who has taken the time to work on their skills, while realizing the importance fitness has on their ability to ride. In short, a FitRider is the best rider.
Karl Tettmann, Co-Founder. Avid health and fitness coach who just loves to ride.