What do these two videos have in common?
Two freehucker types, both on downhill bikes, both riding in and around Santa Cruz, CA.
Both riders are experiencing a recent Post Office diaspora (but only one of them had the nerve to actually say “Post Office RIP” in their video description), both are trying to look fast, and both of them aren’t.
Both videos have over 40,000 views, and both videos have received almost universal praise. Until now.
Here are some other things both those videos have in common: both videos sucked and if I have to watch another freehucker trying to look fast on a downhill bike the ROBOT APOCALYPSE will begin immediately. You’re not fast, and throwing your bike all over the place in a desperate attempt to show how much work you’re doing does not impress me.
I can’t tell whether all the excessive motion is either:
A) an authentic, honest, and unmodified outpouring of your limited bike skill, and this is actually what it looks like when you try to go fast, or
B) this is a blatant and cynical attempt to milk it for video, and by moving around erratically, squaring off turns, and throwing up dirt at every moment you’re trying to convince the viewer that you’re. Going. So. Fast.
Who knows? Maybe you protested over and over again to the corporate heads who demand you skid, freeride flick, and square off your way to millions of youtube views so they can line their pockets and light their cigars with the countless wads of cash that come flowing in every time they release another pander-to-the-masses freeride flick video. Maybe you said no so many times, maybe they were wearing you down and this is the one time you finally gave in to the corporate big wigs. Maybe the money was so big, or maybe your mom’s in the hospital and things have been so tight lately, and you’ve started a family of your own and you’re thinking of them now and maybe it was all too much and you couldn’t keep saying no forever.
Either way, my initial response is one of madness and pity.
Madness because the resultant riding that I have to suffer through in the name of quality web journalism pains not just my mind but also my soul. After every ISIS beheading or terrorist attack, journalists the world over are motivated by duty to watch these horrific videos through, start to finish. This is what it’s like a ROBOT HQ every time a freehucker posts a go-fast-DH-bike video.
Pity because if someone had just taken these kids to a few races they might have learned something. I weep for the future, and I can only imagine with hope what would happen if more freehuckers went to races and learned to ride a bike. I think back to the time Geoff Gulevich showed up to a NW Cup in Port Angeles and got smoked in the sport category. I bet that was a learning experience for Geoff. [Editor’s note: this Geoff Gulevich story is unconfirmed race lore. Readers, please contribute with any conflicting or supporting first-hand experience or knowledge).
I don’t like Ben Furbee as a person and I wish him all the worst things in life, but I drove down to Sea Otter with him and we’ve been riding together, and he comes to mind as a fantastic cyclist and counterpoint to the freehuckers. His riding is actually boring to watch because he has such good bike control:
I also think of Sam Hill and Loic Bruni, who are both so dialed on a bike they almost never look like they’re doing anything. Sam has been the darling of every dimly lit race fan for the last decade, but that’s because he always goes inside on turns. Whether or not he looks like he’s in complete control and whether or not his physical motions are measured and boring, if you go inside on loose turns the people will love you.
Sure his upper body was probably so relaxed in this turn that it looked more like a run to the corner store for milk than a pre-race World Cup practice run, but soft focus on the rider with his foot off and a foreground full of roost and BLAMMO! The sheeple eat it up.
Racing is good for you, and it’s good for the sport. Please race your bike. Racing will teach you many, many useful lessons that will serve you and your riding for the rest of your life, but if it teaches you nothing else, it will teach you humility.
When you show up to the start gate after a long winter of freeride flicking your way to internet stardom, you will learn exactly how fast you aren’t. I don’t know who you are as you read this, but I already know you suck at riding a bike. You don’t believe me or you think I’m just some arrogant prick, but please start racing so you can see that I’m right. Hey, guess what? I suck too, just ask anyone who reads this site or knows me personally.
Most working dads who show up to the NW Cup ride faster than either one of those goons from the freeride flick videos. Maybe after a thorough ass kicking at the races they’ll learn to brake a little earlier, relax, and let their tires roll through the turn. It’s called carrying speed. Try it some time, it’s great.
In a related story, anecdotal and scientific evidence indicates that kids who participate in multiple sports during high school develop a broader and deeper athletic skill set than those students who choose to specialize in one sport. In other words, racing as a kid will lead to better freehucking. Here’s an article which covers the scientific side of this story:
Don’t like reading? Here’s a quick graph from that article that captures the multisport demographics of Urban Meyers miraculous come-from-behind National Championship college football team that just about covers the anecdotal evidence: