I rode Birkacre today and did 4 laps of a figure of 8 shaped circuit but what does this have to do with the future of mountain biking?
I’ll start with a short history lesson about Birkacre. In 1779 a cotton mill had been established here by Richard Arkwright and his associates. It used a water wheel to power the equipment which the Luddites objected to. Luddites believed that technology should be frozen so that the work of man’s hands was not taken over by machinery. A mob of around 8000 Luddites gathered and after 2 had been shot and one drowned they used the force of numbers to destroy the machinery and wheel.
Arkwright cancelled his lease on the mill and moved production to Derbyshire. So the actions of the mob had the opposite effect to that intended. Destroying jobs in the area and moving the work elsewhere.
I have 2 old MTBs but I’m in no way a mountain biking Luddite! I love the technology. The use of materials such as carbon fibre is very advanced in cycling compared to, for instance, motorcycling. But what will be the future?
I think the amount of suspension travel will probably stabalise at around the 200mm mark but bikes will assess the trail conditions under the wheels or even ahead and adjust their suspension electronically. This will mean that they can be pedalled like a bike with short travel suspension but absorb the big hits when they need to.
I didn’t even use all my 140/130mm of travel today since Birkacre is more slidey than rocky. There is a series of man made jumps but I didn’t ride them today. I first rode here in 1992 on a fully rigid bike and have always loved the area. There is plenty of good riding almost all around the pond in the picture at the top.