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Dialing the wrong number
on 5 May 2008
There are countless thousands of people with mountain bikes looking for a book to help them ride trails more skilfully. Sadly, this is not it.
At the outset the authors declare they want to write a step-by-step guide to mountain biking. They not only fail to do that, they do so in language which excludes newcomers while making asides which are only likely to put off inexperienced riders altogether.
There are a few good tips - drop offs, bunny hops and "manuals"/wheelies are all well and coherently covered. But there's no real sense of progress, and the authors give the impression they would rather be talking to fellow racers than taking time with beginners or recreational riders looking to add a few skills to their repertoire.
It is all written in irritating mountain bike magazine jargon which serves only to irritate and obscure rather than illuminate. Everything is "dialed". Of course. The overall tone is that of a 13-year-old boy pulling wheelies in front of his house.
One can only guess at the authors' motivation for going into details about death, paralysis and broken limbs on the trail or racecourse. Bravado has its place, but not in a training manual. Then again, the main theme of the book does seem to be "whatever you do, don't use the brakes".