The 3 Types of Riders you need in your life…

Frank Shamrock runs a training school and had a very successful run as a fighter before the letters UFC and MMA became synonymous, so he knows a few things about helping people improve. One of the quotes that Frank Shamrock had in The Fighter’s Mind shared a core tenet of his training system:

“It takes three people to make you the best person you can be – someone better than you, someone equal to you and someone less than you.”

While Frank was talking about improving as a fighter, I would argue that you need to apply that mindset to the trail as well. Here are the benefits to having these three riders in your life:

– Someone better than you: Social proof is a very powerful psychological tool and seeing someone else do something proves that, on some level, you can too. You need this rider to help show you what is possible and give you the insight about how to do it. We need someone to push us out of our comfort zone and inspire us to try something new if we want to continually grow as a rider. It is all too easy to avoid good riders to protect your ego but you need someone who can show you the next level of riding and help guide your progression.

–  Someone equal to you: This is your riding buddy, the guy that you know “if he can do it, so can I” in the least egotistical way possible. You need this rider to grow with and help give each other confidence as you both progress. However, this can also be the rider(s) you make an unconscious pact with to stop progressing – it can be all too easy to ride the same trails, the same way and with the same core group of riders for years with nobody making any real progress in the process.

– Someone less than you: Nothing makes you understand the art of mountain biking more than teaching it to a new rider. You need this rider to help you understand your art better and to give you a way to grow the sport. However, this is far more than just getting a friend or significant other to borrow a bike and come on a ride with you. Taking the time to instruct new riders on basic body position, braking, shifting and descending skills would go a long way in helping people enjoy riding more. Helping a rider figure out how to do something you know how to do is a gift to both of you.

So, I have to ask, how does your regular riding group stack up to this list? If you find that you tend to ride a lot with people who are equal to you (and most of us do), how can you seek out riders better than you and learn from them? How can you get involved with new riders to help them progress safely into the best sport on earth?

As the mountain bike community it is up to us to grow and progress our sport. Getting out of your comfort zone to grow as a rider and help others grow is the type of effort that we need more of.

-James Wilson-

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  1. Phil says:

    Great article. I totally agree. I’ve never of thought of it in that way, but I believe in what you’re saying is right. My regular ride buddies and I all seem to improve and push each over the course of the year at different rates but generally there never seems to be big leaps we all would like. It’s only when I ride with others, those who are more skilful than I then I learn a lot. I take that back to the boys and we make improvements. I’ve also found regular racing is also a great way to improve your skills. Particularly team based events like the 8, 12 and 24hr formats

    Reply • March 8 at 4:24 pm
  2. John K. says:

    Awesome post again James! I’m learning so much from this website.

    Fortunately I have all three types of riders in my life. But not until reading your post did I realize the value of all three types. Before, they were just my riding buddies. Now, they’re my teachers. What a cool perspective.

    The most addictive feeling in the world is when you watch an awesome rider flawlessly execute a move on the mountain bike that you thought impossible. I love having my self-imposed limitations raised and then spending the next two months trying to learn the move.

    Reply • March 9 at 3:20 pm
  3. Troy says:

    Spot-on. A new (to MTB) rider recently joined our little group. At the bottom of one slippery, Hawaiian-icy, steep little climb he said, “I don’t even know why I try.” I replied, “’cause someday you’ll make it!”. Damned if he didn’t clean it right then. Which is, unfortunately, a claim I can’t make on that particular day.

    Advancing as a rider really is about opening up your mind to what you’re capable of doing.

    Reply • March 9 at 6:09 pm
  4. Andre says:

    Really interesting, I’m reading the same book, and read this chapter on the train this morning.

    What are the chances?!!!

    The book is really worthwhile reading, particularly if you are doing any kind of racing.

    Reply • March 10 at 4:52 pm

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