The future of mountain biking isn’t quite what you might think. Yes, there’s a competitive element with racing that will always be there in XCO, DH, Enduro and Marathons, but there’s a whole generation of ‘senders’ that are bringing the element of play back into focus. SHRED will focus on this generation with regular content under the themes of RACE, SEND and THRIVE.
By Sean Badenhorst
When does the flame of passion for riding mountain bikes first ignite? It’s different for everyone, but when you’re a kid or a teen, it usually ignites when you mix fun and fear – or overcoming fear. Having fun on a mountain bike is something that makes you feel good. So you want more of it – partly because you like the feeling and partly because of the possibilities and promise of more fun – every time you ride! Fear builds excitement and anticipation. Fear builds courage and commitment. The ability to face fear and conquer it, builds better bike riders.
THRIVE – Zandri Strydom leads by example
Fun doesn’t have time limits. When you’re young, you have time on your side and having fun is a priority. Mountain bikes are designed to deliver fun as often as they’re ridden. While the mountain biking in South Africa in its current state was largely built on races and events, the next generation of mountain bikers is more focused on having fun than being fast, driven more by pleasure than podiums. That’s not to say there isn’t a competitive segment among the young, there most certainly is. But it’s a less dominant segment than it used to be.
Unfortunately the South African cycling media is still heavily influenced by the market, which is largely focused on full-sus 29er marathon bikes and entry-level 29er hardtails. You can’t blame them/us, this is where the marketing and advertising spend is focussed.
RACE – Being competitive will always be in style
That’s where SHRED fits in.
We see the youngsters sacrificing a day’s riding to build their own gap jump or shape berms. We see the increasing number of jump lines steadily appearing adjacent to traditional trail descents. We see the Instagram videos that share the ‘steeze’. We see kids developing crazy skills on cheap 29er hardtails.
We see the veiled distress of youngsters that need a better bike but can’t get one because their parents can’t afford it. We see the frustration of ‘tweens’ who can’t find riding clothing that fits them because few brands cater for ‘tweens’ and few retailers consider this an important market segment…
SEND – Luke Moir finds the fun!
Photo by Craig Swart
We see the crazy talent being stifled because ‘fun bikes’ designed to send aren’t found on most shop floors. We see the young dreamers hustling to get wider bars or better flat pedals or new shoes. We see the disappointment when a bike breaks and there’s no spares in the country because it’s considered a ‘niche’ bike. We see young girls that have skills but no support system to nourish that. We see a fresh generation of mountain bikers not caring about tradition, but fearlessly, relentlessly seeking fun.
We see all this and we want to support it with a media platform that contains our own content to highlight the youngsters and their dreams and achievements, as well as youth -generated content – after all, they’re the experts on what they want and what they like…
If you have a formal business that focuses on supporting youth mountain biking in South Africa get in touch with us. If you have an informal way of supporting youth mountain biking in South Africa, get in touch with us. We want to tell your stories. And we want to tell the stories of the youngsters you support.
If you’re are a brand distributor that has youth-focussed products (gear, clothing, bikes etc), get in touch with us. We want you to succeed and have various options to help you reach your target market.
Follow SHRED (shred_sa) on Instagram and keep an eye on the TREAD Mountain Biking With Soul Facebook page and Twitter account for regular links to fresh SHRED content.
Direct all SHRED communication to Sean Badenhorst on email@example.com