A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article up at BikeRadar.com today. You can read an excerpt below, or click here to go to BikeRadar and read the whole thing.
As a road cyclist, you have no doubt asked yourself, from time to time, the following question:
“What would happen if I road my bike offroad?”
Well, the answer is quite simple. If you took your bike offroad, your brainpan would be shaken loose and your tires would explode, right before your rims crumpled in a heap.
But that may not have been the question you meant to ask. Maybe you meant to ask, “What would it be like to ride a mountain bike on these trails I sometimes see intersecting the pavement? Would it really be that much different?”
Yes, it would be different. Here are seven key tips and tricks to help you prepare for your grand offroad cycling transformation.
1. You must get a tattoo. Before you even begin thinking about shopping for a mountain bike, let alone taking your first mountain bike ride, you must get a rad tattoo. It’s the law. There are actual mountain bike police out monitoring the trails, and they are liable to ask you if you have a tattoo. If you don’t, they are authorized to give you one — of their choosing — on the spot.
Now, I’m certain that you are thinking, right this moment, “I’m pretty sure I saw a mountain biker without a tattoo, once.” I assure you: that mountain biker had a tattoo. It was just more discretely placed than most, probably because that biker still lives at home and is afraid his mom will find out.
So the question is, what should your tattoo be? Well, the mountain biking bylaws stipulate that a chainring must be one of the graphical elements, a mystical Asian glyph must be included, and there must be a whimsical third symbol: wings, a skull-and-crossbones, or a cloud are all good examples. I recommend a yin-yang symbol inside a chainring, peeking out from behind a cloud, as if it were the sun.
Feel free to make up your own story as to what this means.