‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’ For Mountain Bikers

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We’ve discussed it in the office and we don’t know what to call it, but we’re pretty sure you’ve heard ‘Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen’ by Baz Lurmann. Whether it’s a poem, a song, a meditation or a public service announcement, (it was originally a column by Mary Schmich in the Chicago Tribune) our reader Olly has rewritten it.

We enjoyed it so much we thought we’d share it with you. Thanks Olly.

You really should wear sunscreen.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’19.
Ride Bikes.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, riding bikes would be it.
The long term benefits of cycling have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your legs; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your legs until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much riding possibility lay before you and how fabulous your legs really looked…
Your legs are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about crashing too much; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to inflate tubeless tyres with a roadies mini pump
The real troubles in your biking life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every ride that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s bikes, don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours on the uplift.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy for others’ bikes;
Sometimes you’re ahead set,
Sometimes you’re behind latest tech.
The race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself and your bike

Remember the compliments you receive on your riding skills, forget the insults and laughter as you mince down a nadgery trail;
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old frames, throw away your old 26” wheels.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your
The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they should do with their gadgets, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t.

Get plenty of beer.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll buy an E-bike, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.
Your bike clothing choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s apart from Morvelos
Enjoy your upper body, Use it every way you can… Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it even if your arms are like two pieces of cotton,
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own…

Dance in bib shorts. even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions on the map, even if you don’t follow them.

Do NOT read Singletrack magazine, Chipps and Hannah will only make you feel ugly.

Brother and sister together we’ll make it through
Someday your MTB spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you’ve been to BPW, but I’ve been waiting to book there
For you.
And I’ll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can book a slot.
Everybody’s free.

Get to know your Local Bike Shop, you never know when they’ll be gone for good.

Be nice to your riding buddies;
They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you up that hill.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to ride the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in Todmorden once, but leave before it makes you hard;
Live in Merthyr Tydfil once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel to mountains

Accept certain inalienable truths, Sram and Shimano prices will rise, politicians will Philander, you too will get fit, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young groupset prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and riders respected the trail-building fairies.

Respect your trail-builders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you on an unsupported event.
Maybe you have a bike fund, Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your helmet hair, or by the time you’re 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose bike advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of biking nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off with GT85, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth on Gumtree

But trust me on the cycling…

(Brother and sister together we’ll make it through
Someday your MTB spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you’ve been to BPW, but I’ve been waiting to book there
For you. And I’ll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can find a slot.
Everybody’s free.)

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Travel to mountains.

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