I've wasted far too much of my time on mountain bike forums in the past. This piece is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of those who run them along with their frequenters. Remember kids, these forums are provided for free and the owners have had to sell their kidneys just to keep them going. Additionally, the proprietors are working hard to solve the middle east crisis and played a leading role in the Northern Ireland peace process. So play fair online.
Registering upon the forum with a first name or surname is strictly forbidden, all forum names must abide by the following convention:-
the name must divert the reader from the true physical nature and biking ability of the owner
the name should usually pass inference to a cycle component owned or coveted by the owner about which nobody cares. Additionally, the name may allude to the owner possessing mystical abilities or possibly refer to a third rate science fiction film from the seventies
the name must prove embarrassing when used in verbal introduction, ie. "Hello, you must be ‘WickerNuts'"
unfunny sexual connotations within names are encouraged, as is childish txt speak and Serbo-Croat
capitalisation of the first letter of names is strictly frowned upon
Where a user finds their name previously registered by another, they are instructed to operate without any sense of imagination whatsoever and simply replace characters with numerics that bare no reference to alphabetic lexicals whatsoever.
Forum users agree to be rigidly classified as follows:-
The Super Clique, membership attained by invitation only, currently closed to new members. The super clique is widely geographically dispersed with members appearing in small northern villages within walking distance of each other. Members are characterised by the ownership and public display of any item that is not currently owned by anybody else. They shall listen only to music that has an audience of one and shall habitually post and re-post reports of night rides that were clearly more exposed, epic and than any other ride. Super clique members have the final say on what is in and out and reserve the right to liberal use of the phrase "Just get out and ride"
Wannabe Clique, membership attained by posting in constant admiration and fawning of super clique members. Wannabe clique members must reinforce a super clique post with the statement that they entirely agree with the previous post but must not under any circumstances add any value to the post at all. Wannabe clique members are instructed to purchase every branded item within the forum shop and further to initiate every biking conversation with the phrase "Hi, I'm from the bike forum".
Disrupters, membership attained by failing the Wannabe Clique application process and thus seeking attention by actively disrupting the general karma and good "natured-ness" of the forum. Disrupters have a duty to post detrimental comments below that of a Wannabe Clique member and furthermore to habitually post that:-
the forum is not working as well as it should, and anyway is rubbish these days.
that magazine articles are boring or not to their taste
that they've had enough and are not coming back (posted bi-monthly)
Hangloosers, membership attained by the constant appeals for everybody to "chill", "calm down" or "go for a ride". The Hangloosers single most important duty is to inform all other forum users that cycling is the answer to any and every problem and so as cyclists we should all just get along. Hangloosers are instructed to litter their posts with annoying smilies that make no point whatsoever. In order to qualify as a Hanglooser it is important that you have no life outside of cycling, and specifically the forum, whatsoever.
Finbars, membership attained by introducing sexual references into as many threads as possible. Membership qualifications are simple as the requirement is to have undertaken at least 20 days of onanism per calendar month since puberty. Finbars are instructed to refrain from posting until after school hours and particularly whilst sober. Finbars are finally instructed to persist with the delusion that forum members find their posts remotely funny.
LookAtMes, membership attained by constant picture posting of quite unremarkable cycling photos showing them doing not very much at all. Sub membership of the LookAtMeByProxy group can be attained by meeting the aforementioned criteria with a picture of a piss boring fucking bike leant up against an instrument of seating.
ThePack, membership of ThePack is attained by holding back on each thread until the popular stance has become obvious. ThePack members are subsequently instructed to wade right in supporting the populist view. Support of Manchester United football club is mandatory.
GoodOleBoys, membership achieve by appearing to be a generally nice all round supportive helpful type whilst having a secret history or rape, axe murder and farm animal abuse.
Finally all forum members are reminded that only white, middle class, middle income, over 30, slightly overweight, male (or of male appearance) members are permitted. Applications from the young, attractive, interesting, diverse or slightly different will be tolerated but unlikely.
Every Friday, gay forum members must suppress their sexual instincts and post pictures of scantily clad females.
All forum users shall aspire to North Shore riding and respect those who practise.
Riding upon open trails is actively discouraged, forum members are instructed to steer clear of natural paths and only post comment concerning man made trails.
Any forum user who has competitive urges or seeks to improve fitness shall be vilified and instructed to enjoy the scenery and craic instead.
Riding in groups of less than 20 shall be met with a week's ban from forum posting. Failing to post a series of dull photoshopped photos of static riders after such a ride shall incur an additional 2 days ban.
All forum members accept that pikies are the lowest form of scum and a vigorous beating is too good for the likes of them. Forum users recognise that there is no endemic cause for bike theft and that the removal of an expensive gadget from a comfortable individual by a desperate youth on the poverty line has no explanation and should be punishable by death.
All posts to the forum must either conform to the "Tony Ben" posting guidelines of 1971 or have been personally vetted by Claire Short.
It is mandatory that each forum user post at least one supposedly funny or insightful personal experience per week. Other forum users are to feign interest in said topic and reinforce the illusion that we're all having a jolly good time.
Singlespeed ownership is mandatory, as is the inability to ride it up a gradient steeper than 15%.
Forum users are reminded that it is their duty to visit the forum at least 3 times per hour between the hours of 9am - 11pm seven days per week. In the event of lack of forum service, users are instructed to feel that a large portion of their life is missing.
Forum users must ensure that a "Favourite song/album/film/bike of all time" thread is reposted at least weekly. Forum users must avoid mainstream music/film tastes at all cost, the rule "If they haven't heard it, I win" shall be permanently front of mind.
Forum users are reminded of the youth policy. Basically, there aren't any, they're all too busy getting pissed and laid. Any forum member attesting to be below the age of 30 is either delusional or is a clever software "bot".
On holiday forum users are instructed to seek the nearest internet café and post that they are having a fantastic time on holiday. This is to be achieved at the expense of having a fantastic time on holiday.
Forum users are reminded that SSMM is the only event worth attending upon the calendar. Each member is instructed to piss themselves with exited anticipation and further to gloss over the dross of 24 hour circuit racing after the event. In the unlikely event of anything interesting happing at the aforestated event, forum users are instructed to post complaints about elite riders instead.
Forum members attending SSMM are further instructed to advertise their presence with comedy blow up dolls or novelty animal type things. It is important that such plans are giggled about in a slightly embarrassingly childish way before said event and even more important that the mascot have no real or innovative comedy value whatsoever. The comedy naming of SSMM teams must also be discussed in advance in order to ensure the continue flow of tumbleweed across the deserts of North America.
Male users of the forum accept that frequent cycling shrinks the knob and bollocks and hence are instructed to add a little bit of Sid James to each post in order to compensate.
Forum users are reminded that tired old jokes are always the best.
Forum users are to be supportive and giving at all times. We recognise that mountain biking is a pastime not a sport and should include everybody. That is until we've reached any degree of proficiency, at that point, fuck ‘em.."elite rider on the left".
Road bike riders are to be regarded with the utmost contempt. They are without exception boring, miserable, unskilled and missing the point. Forum users are instructed to shield their eyes from road riders by using the five large flaps of skin hanging from their waist. Forum users with lightweight Ti-hardtails are instructed to use their fifth chin if the waist section cannot be reached.
Forum users with children are instructed to blather on about how rewarding they are and what a great biking life they have with the kids. Those without children are instructed to raise a pint to them in the pub on Friday night and console themselves in the shagging of a fit bird/bloke followed by a good night's sleep.
Female forum users are instructed to be supportive and open to each other at all times. Female riders should never argue about their relative abilities and must agree to organise rides at the pace of the members at the painters at all times.
If a forum user is in anyway critical of the running of the forum or it's members then a quorum shall be formed to inform said user that if they "don't like it they can feck off".
Remember as a forum user, you ARE interesting, you DO have friends, now breath deeply and relax.
There will always be one idiot on the forum and if they're ignored they will go away. Hence forum users are instructed to spend more time replying to proactive posts then legitimate mountain bike questions.
The following abbreviations shall be used upon the forum:-
"lol" - I'm in such a hurry to read the next gripping post that I cannot spare the time to write "Laugh Out Loud"
"ygm" - I cannot speak properly or be arsed to pick up the phone. Also, I have few friends so it's important I advertise every possible communication publicly.
"rotflmao" - Quite simply I'm a twat.
"imho" - In all my years of bigotry
"igmc" - I might as well have been that ginger curly haired twat in the office from the Fast Show given how old this stupid fucking postscript is.
"lmfao" - I was bullied at school
";-)" - I'm posting this just in case anyone thought I am serious, which I am , but I need a get out clause in case anyone takes offence
":o" - I cannot convey emotions using the English language, I'm that shallow
"wtf" - I'm a bit scared Mummy might goolge for me swearing and give me a bit of a spanking
":~] " (or variations) - Sorry, but I'm more of a twat that the "rotflmao" dude.
";-p" - I'm a girl, even if I have a knob attached to me permanently
Singletrack Magazine published some of this article in issue 15, they forgot to ask and forgot to send me anything as compo. Slack bastards