Anyone who’s been part of the MTB community for any time quickly realises that broadly it splits into three easily understood groups. Now you might think I’m talking about the way marketing people like to think about mountain biking here, with their XC (Cross Country), Freeride (a bit grrr!) and Downhill (nutter!) distinctions; but I’m not.
I’m talking about the three different types of rider you can see on any off-road ride week in, week out just about anywhere in the world.
The mountain bike community splits into much simpler categories than XC, Freeride and Downhill. Simply put, in any group of riders you will have the Breezers, the Geezers and the Wheezers.
Breezers are the sort of rider for whom everything seems pretty easy. Maybe they’re the ultra-fit race bunnies who sneak out for quick rides when they know their buddies are sat in front of the telly. Or they could be the guys who grew up riding BMX and can pull a wheelie for 100 yards at a time, who can pop over logs and trail debris without having to think too much.
Breezers are the ones who have encyclopaedic knowledge of obscure bike related issues, particularly history, who can cobble together repairs at short notice with nothing but a multitool and a leather bootlace. They make things look easy.
Geezers ride for the fun of it and like to be ‘good enough’ to enjoy a ride. A geezer’s bike is always serviceable but it’s not always clean, they like to splash out on some bling occasionally but look for value for money.
A geezer is the sort of rider who can get up, over or down most things on their bike without too much worry and makes sure he’s fit enough to be able to do that. Banter is important to the geezer, who believes MTB riding and a pub lunch doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
A geezer is a rider who can be relied upon to be pretty self sufficient, who has enough spares to fix the obvious things and has enough snacks bars and water for impromptu stops.
Now don’t think that when I say wheezers I’m just talking about fitness. Sure, there’s always some riders who are recovering from illness, haven’t managed regular riding over the winter or just need to lose a few pounds. We’ve all been there at some time or another.
What I mean by wheezers though encompasses all the many ways a rider can lag behind – by not carrying any money for snacks (guilty as charged!), being short of water, not knowing how to repair something or perhaps not even having a pump for punctures. There’s just so much opportunity to waste your time or others on a ride!
By now it should be clear that not only do mountain bikers split into the Breezers, Geezers and Wheezers category but that you can inhabit more than one at a time. For example, I reckon I’m a trail repair Geezer (I get by), a bit of a Wheezer on the buying snacks and drinks front and a bit of a Geezer with Breezer ambitions in terms of riding.
What I’m trying to say is, no-one has every base covered so if you find yourself Wheezing at the back somewhere don’t worry. You’re probably having a bad week or are a Breezer at something else!
Just get out and ride!