We all hate punctures – but at least this time it wasn't raining too. Pic: Sam Flanagan

10 things every mountain biker hates

From flats to faffing, these are guaranteed to make your blood boil!

Us MTBers are always arguing about something. Being as diverse as the bikes we ride, we love to voice our opinions on everything from geometry to Gee Atherton, and full-face helmets to fatbikes. Just skim the comments under any YouTube video to see how heated things can get. But we reckon there are some things that unite us in hate and make every rider’s blood boil. Here’s a few of them…

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1 New bike blues

After days of deliberation and months of saving, the day has finally come. You’re like a proud parent on the first day of term as you prop your shiny new ride against the wall for a photo – but as you turn your back, the wind blows and it topples over. A big scratch on the top tube and your feet haven’t even touched the pedals yet. It’s enough to make you cry.

2 No lid, no skid
You made sandwiches the night before, packed spares for every scenario and hit the road at the crack of dawn. Two full hours into the drive, you realise you’ve forgotten THE essential – your helmet. Either that, or it’s your through-axle that’s still lying on the driveway.

3 Colonel Ga-faffy

There’s always that one mate who turns up for a ride, bike in bits and kit in disarray. After wasting an hour waiting for them to get ready, it turns out they’ve forgotten their lunch too. By the end of the day they’ve used up all your spares, eaten your snacks and worn your patience thin. You won’t be inviting them again.

4 A bad workman…

Aren’t modern bikes great? Every little detail and component is built for a specific purpose, right down to the bolts – 3mm, 5mm, T25 Torx, Phillips, there’s one for every application. Of course, when you’re out on a ride and need to tighten something up, it’ll be the one size your multi-tool doesn’t have.

5It’s just a five-minute job’

At least that’s what you thought when you started fitting a new gear cable. Two hours later, the whole bike’s in bits, you’re close to throwing it at the wall and you still can’t work out the internal routing.

Two hours in, fitting new cables doesn't seem like such an easy job any more. Pic: Jonny Ashelford
Several hours in, fitting new cables doesn’t seem such an easy job any more. Pic:
Jonny Ashelford

6 Up puncture alley without a tube

It’s Sod’s Law – flats always happen in the rain, at the furthest point from home and when you’ve forgotten to bring a spare tube. Even worse, deep down you know you’ve only got yourself to blame for being ill-prepared.

7 Please stand by

You’ve plucked up the courage to hit the gap that’s daunted you for months. Your mate’s positioned at the trailside with a camera and strict instructions. You shout down to them and drop in. Nailed it! “How does it look?” – “Oh, sorry mate, I forgot to press record.”

8 Busting a nut

Grunting up a steep climb, you’re giving it your all, heartbeat thumping in your ears and sweat pouring from your brow. The top’s finally in sight, but just as you’re feeling proud of your efforts, some smug prick cruises past, fresh as a daisy, and greets you with a cheery “hello!” – Damn you and your strong, youthful legs!

9 Pointless pads

Those smelly old knee pads have been causing you grief all day, itching like crazy and chafing you raw. “It’s worth it for the downhill,” you tell yourself. Except it isn’t. An unexpected over-the-bars and where are the pads now? Banging around your ankles. Don’t even think about putting pads back over those freshly-skinned knees for a least a week either.

10 Show up, blow up

You’ve trained like Rocky, you’re crazy fast in practice and excited about laying down a stormer in your race run. But as you kick the pedals hard off the line, your cranks spin, your knee hits the stem and you bend double over the bar as your chain snaps, ending up in a tangled heap on the ground.

Erm, Chris, we're pretty sure the wheels are supposed to be on the underside... Pic: Steve Behr
Our new boy Chris has a quick lie-down during his first shoot for the mag. Pic:
Steve Behr
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This article was originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of Mountain Biking UK (MBUK370).