I’m not that crusty a rider, but when I started doing the Dark Peak around 1999/2000 I used to have a complex about riding the unfashionable and unnecessary precautions of flat pedals, wide bars, short stem and plus 80mm travel forks. How wussy? And taking a DH/Jump setup on an all-day ride - really!
Well, what goes-around-comes-around, as they say, and as I lined up at the start of the British Heart Foundation Dark Peak challenge, I couldn’t help but notice the prevalence of bars wide enough to fit a KTM Super-Duke and even the jey-boys were riding flats.
But all that knee-armour – really? On a 42 mile XC ride…and what’s all this ‘All-mountain’ nonsense…I know chaps who’ve been riding all-over mountains for years and to be honest, no amount of re-branding will take away the skill that attempting something nutty on an eye-ball rattling bike will give you…nor will ‘XC’ ever be fashionable, even if that’s all most of us really ever do…if we’re honest.
So long live big days out, skills over travel and flat pedals for XC.
Knee pads optional.