What Does Mountain Biking Smell Like?

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It’s an odd question isn’t it: What does mountain biking smell like?

But it’s a question that we’ve been pondering all day at Singletrack Towers, because we were asked it this morning. As you may or may not know, Issue #108 of Singletrack Magazine will be on its way to the printers this week (make sure you SUBSCRIBE HERE NOW to make sure you don’t miss out!), and as we furiously proof articles and caption photos in the office, our Lincolnshire-based printing company Warners Midlands, has come to us with quite a bizarre suggestion; the offer to add a fragrance to our front cover!

What does mountain biking smell like to you? Is it an earthy, muddy smell?

“Adding a fragrance to a front cover can have many benefits for the printed product regardless if it is a magazine, a catalogue or a brochure. The fragrance on the cover could make all the difference to differentiating your publication from your competitors. It engages a sense that digital media cannot and can provide opportunities to enhance your marketing activities.”

It might sound flat-out bonkers, but a scratch ‘n’ sniff front cover could very well become the edge we need against our competitors in this highly competitive publishing industry! In all seriousness though, the question did get us thinking as to what scent we would use for the Singletrack front cover. What aroma would encapsulate everything about mountain biking and the culture around it?

So the question is we ask to you, our readers is: what do you think smells like mountain biking?

Maybe it’s muddy and sodden boots after a hard day of trail digging?
Singletrack socks: good for all conditions. Picture: Jon Woodhouse
Or maybe it’s the combination of muddy shoes and sweaty socks all rolled into one powerful scent?
30 Days of Biking
What about that piercing smell that permeates the room when you finally take off your riding shoes after a long and wet day in the saddle?
Gore bibshorts 2
Maybe it’s a pair of wet bib shorts hanging to dry in the office?
First prize: a puppy!
Or the smell of wet trail dog!
Cow Forest Rider Trail
Cows. A regular sight on Yorkshire mountain bike trails, and a regular addition to the smell of mountain biking.
Assembly grease is used on each contact point of the bike. Attention to these details now will prevent problems when the pressure is on in the world cup pit.
One for the shop mechanics: fresh grease is definitely a mountain biking smell!
Or if you work in the Hope factory, then the smell of hot machined metal might strike you as a characteristic odour of mountain biking.
Or if you work in a factory, then the smell of hot machined metal might strike you as a characteristic odour of mountain biking.
Surely coffee has got to be in there too!
Singletrack 83: best with a coffee and a doughnut.
For us, the aroma of fresh magazine ink, hot espresso and cake lays the very foundation of what Singletrack Towers smells like.
Or maybe just straight-up cake on its own? As long as donuts are attached to said cake.
fresh goods friday live pub beer
Jaffa Cakes and freshly poured ale fit into the mountain biking aroma list for sure!
Or beer. Just beer perhaps.

So we’ve put out some of our ideas of what mountain biking smells like, but now we want to hear from you. If we could add a fragrance to the front cover of Singletrack Magazine, what odour(s) should it have? Let us know your suggestions below!

Comments (34)

    Surely it has to be that blast of hot pine needles smell that you get when you’re on holiday in the mountains? Mmm…

    Oh, and if riding in the Howgills…sheep sh*t

    +1 for GT85 but with notes of grotty gloves.

    Damn fine legs who’s ever they are….

    *takes feet off the table*

    Wild garlic and gt-85?

    ..actually, that might smell like hypoid oil.

    Sweat and mud and cut grass.

    Although to me it’s also the smell of A&E

    Got to be a hint of dog egg in the mix

    Cooling brake pads, fresh rubber and the scent of rain on warm summer moorland.

    That and a 2 day old chammy.

    Preferably not the boggy puddle I went through the other day. Stank of rank pestilence – which thinking about it would work well with the Daily Mail

    No idea but one thing I can say for certain is that none of the smells associated with mountain biking are socially acceptable…

    none of them are nice
    Sweat is what i mainly associate. Especially the commute home!!
    Never got the GT obsession either as a smell or as a useful product

    wet, musty mud… ahh the sweet sweet smell of calderdale. Love it so much i find myself rubbing my face in it.

    Victory? And smidge. Lots of smidge.

    GT85, warm rubber and mud

    Combine Lynx Africa with the aroma of midlife crisis (damp merino) and there you have it. The woods smell of woods if you’re off the bike.

    +1 for sun-warmed pine needles.

    +1 for GT85.
    Or new tyre smell.

    As long as it doesn’t smell like bull……

    It’s not April already is it?

    GT85, Freshly cut hay, wild garlic and and that elusive bluebell scent for a few glorious weeks.
    And for the last 5 years the incredible smell wet eucalypt woodland gives of after a storm.

    The eternal reek of damp wool….?

    Morning dew, with a under current/smell (sorry for the poor English) of last nights beer.

    Hawthorn blossom with an innertube air finish

    Pine needles or bracken.

    Probably nothing that you’d want to put on a scratch and sniff, if i’m honest. Stale sweat mixed with a sprinkling of cowshit, a frisson of skanky elbow pads; maybe a hint of spilled energy drink and at the moment, flowering heather.

    Just smells of pure joy and happiness

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