It might have escaped your attention, but there’s an election in the USA. What does that have to do with you? You are a mountain biker, a free spirit, a shredder of gnar, and #VanLife needs no top down government. Smash the system, turn on tune in and drop out. No? Whatever your political views, voting does matter, and here are six totally contrived reasons why mountain bikers should vote in order for us to justify a listicle on a mountain bike website about how important it is for everyone to vote.
If you’re in the UK wondering what this has to do with you, why not encourage any American friends you have to get out there and vote? The outcome of the election will affect the country, the land and the trails that lots of us dream of visiting.
1. You need healthcare.
However you pay for it, you’re probably going to need some healthcare at some point. It might just be a spot of physio for a tender knee caused by too much pedalling, it might be a broken collar bone, or it could be a full on emergency airlift spinal smash horror crash. As mountain bikers we break ourselves in many different ways, and how you vote can affect the treatments that will be available to you, and how you pay for them.
2. You need to buy things
Even if you don’t have a large shed and an n+1 habit, something is going to break on your bike and need replacing. Probably a few days before an event for which you really need it. How much that new part is going to cost you will depend on all sorts of complicated factors like trade deals, currency values and inflation. The same applies to almost anything you buy, including all the boring essential things – which will influence how many cents and dollars you have left over to spend on the fun stuff, like bikes. They are fun, really, even if they do break.
3. You need workplace rights.
Whether you’re planning days off to go bike riding, worried about enforced days off after an accident, or wondering how you’re going to get that pay rise that’s going to pay for the next n+1, your rights at work matter. How you vote could affect your entitlement to holidays, sick pay, collective bargaining, or ability to fight dismissal when you call in ‘sick’ after a big weekend of riding. It’s governments that make these rules about Labor laws, so you should be involved in picking one.
4. You don’t want your only bike to be a fat bike
Whether you believe everything is warming up and we’re heading for a desert, or the next ice age is coming, either option is likely to have you reaching for a fat bike – sand tyres or ice spikes. With so many other tyre sizes to choose from, this would be a tragedy. Use your vote to influence environmental policy and prevent this from happening.
5. You want places to ride.
Where do you like to ride? Is it a bike park with built trails and a gondola? Is it a secret and wild corner of the desert? Wherever it is, access rights are determined by politicians. Do you want riders kept out of wilderness or welcomed in, want permits to be granted for construction of a new chairlift, or want to stop private interests keeping you off your favourite trail? Your vote influences all these outcomes.
6. You might have kids.
Whether you have kids of your own, or you’re the fun aunt or uncle who turns up with all the cool toys, you probably care about the country they’ll grow up in. Will they be able to safely ride their bikes in the street? Can they access trails? Will they grow up to have the opportunity to buy the bike of their dreams and ride all the trails they want to? Will they be able to afford a house that has space to store bikes? Will there be childcare for them so you can grab some downtime and hit the trails? Your vote helps decide the government policies that will affect all these things.
Well, if the sacrifice of your ancestors and these six reasons haven’t persuaded you to vote, we don’t know what will. But if you’re now all worked up in the name of democracy then please, get out there and vote. And don’t forget to tell your friends to vote too!