Ho No No, it’s not Christmas yet: the week in mountain biking

It’s getting towards the end of the year now and all around the world bike websites are scrambling to get their Christmas gift guides together. You’ll be amazed by the amount of tat the bike world can produce.

Rather than falling into this neatly laid trap, we’re just going to power on, taking a sideways glance at the week that has gone. Who knows, maybe it will give you some Christmas gift ideas? 

Starting off with a zap, Chris Akrigg and GT gave us this brilliant video.

Once again proving he is one of the most skilful and creative riders out there, Akrigg not only makes riding uphill in a stream cool, but he also makes e-bikes look pretty darn amazing. Maybe it’s an e-bike for Christmas then? Hmmm.

A trip to New Zealand had been on the to-do list for a long time, and if I needed any more persuasion, George Brannigan has demonstrated that even winter out there is pretty great.

I have to admit I’m a little disappointed by the ‘Road Trip’ in the title, as there wasn’t much of a story to be found. Instead, to wet the whistle, I dug out this Free Radicals feature that is almost zero riding and all story, just for a bit of contrast. A New Zealand Trip is definitely on my Christmas list, once this pesky pandemic has had its fun.

Maybe it’s a bit irresponsible to be planting dreams of travelling to far-flung places to ride dusty trails and generally have fun. Covid-19 and climate change are just a few of the barriers to contend with, and why would you need to travel when you can ride glorious trails at home?

There’s nothing like the raw sound of pouring rain, is there? With most of the UK trails looking like this currently, I think I speak for many of us when I say that dry trails would be high on the Christmas list.

Holding fast in the UK, homegrown Welsh racer Cai Grocott has landed a ride on Nukeproof bikes. Having featured in the video below where he talks openly about the struggles he’s had, it’s cool to see all his hard work pay off. I’m still waiting for my riding contract to come through the post, maybe it’s on the advent calendar? (Side note: With this being the internet, it’s probably important to clarify there is no contract.)

Evidently, off the back of last week’s Bangers and Mash (unconfirmed), part-time EWS racer, part-time coffee roaster Shawn Neer has announced that he will be supporting Elliot Jackson’s Grow Cycling foundation through his coffee company, Traction Coffee. It’s great to see a small rider-owned company stepping up. This puts coffee on the top of the Christmas list. And, to accompany this announcement, included is a video where Shawn manages to change forks while riding. Incredible stuff.

On a less Christmassy note, Jack Reading has written an article for Singletrack about British Cycling and what he sees as a lack of commitment to downhill. Unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall, but the general gist of it is: that BC won’t give DH any support because it isn’t an Olympic sport. Now, I’m sure it’s a lot more complicated than any of us can imagine, but there definitely seems to be a case for a little bit more support. Britain is one of the most successful nations in downhill, winning the men’s World Championships and World Cup overall this year. Not only is BC being called out, but the UCI evidently has some questions to answer after this slightly worrying piece from the road world.

On that skinny-tyred note, EF Education First has always been one to throw the book out the window, and at the Giro D’Italia (the Tour de France of Italy) they rocked up in a kit that blew many people’s minds and landed them with a fine. This in-depth look at the race and the team is fantastic, and it really shows a completely different side to professional road cycling. 

I was a fan of the kit as soon as it was released but given it has all sold out and the resale price on eBay is through the roof, there’s not much hope of seeing any of it for Christmas. Palace x Rapha MTB kit, anyone?

Finally, you may have guessed if you’re a regular reader, but I want to go skiing. Ideally ski touring. The Faction Skis video below made the hankering even worse, so if anyone could quickly solve this pandemic and line me up a ski trip for Christmas, that would be great. Also, what’s more Christmassy than snow?

Phew, Christmas list done. Hold on tight until next time comrades.

— Harry Griffiths

Ed note: Talking of Christmas tat lists, here’s one we made earlier

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