I’ve been into cars ever since I was a child. My Dad used to take my brother and I to the Motor Show at Earls Court and I still remember staring for ages at two brand new Jaguars parked next to one another on their stand. It must have been the early 1990’s, and it was an XJR and an XJRS, both in black. I thought they were amazing looking things. Then my Dad got a Ford Capri 2.8 Laser, with its long bonnet and rakish looks, and it cemented his position as the coolest man I knew.
Interestingly, I’ve never been a particularly fast driver or made significant sacrifices to own fancy cars. I’ve just always appreciated the way that they can look, the technology that goes into them, and the rather romantic notion of driving long distances through magnificent scenery and the associated challenge of changing gear, accelerating and braking in an unbroken, seamless way.
What this means is that I tend to keep quite a close eye on the world of cars and motorsport, and when I came across this short film from the new DriveTribe channel I was struck by just how closely it describes the very best moments that I’ve had on a mountain bike. Some people may ride because they want to push themselves to their physical limits, others may want to find adventure, while others may want to beat their mates. All worthy reasons to get on a bicycle, but not my primary motivation. The presenter, Jethro Bovingdon, is driving a replica of a 1930s Bugatti racing car, but the transcription below probably comes closest to putting into words what I want from a mountain bike.
“You have to drive this car…You cannot stop concentrating for even a second. Otherwise it makes you feel clumsy…The whole car is alive with information. It’s got this lovely mixture between physicality and precision.
“It’s absolutely involving beyond belief. You couldn’t be more involved in any car ever. You are just fully immersed. And you have to be on your game – big time.
“To drive one of these on a road like this is tough. But I can see why these guys (the makers, Pur Sang) are absolutely obsessed with these cars and they describe it like crack cocaine for driving enthusiasts. And I get that because you want to come back for more, you want to get it right, you want to finesse it, you want to bully it, you want to feel that mixture of physicality and precision that you don’t get elsewhere (i.e. in other cars)…And you can do it at sane speeds. It feels like I’m doing about a million miles an hour now, but I’m probably doing about 40.
“I feel pleased and excited that you can find a car like this, that provides that challenge and that reward. And I think if you owned one you could drive it probably forever and still be learning about it, trying to master it. It’s intense and nutty and completely, completely immersive.
“I think this thing is awesome. Wow.”
It’s certainly not for everyone, and probably not even for anyone all of the time. But reading that just makes me want to build the perfect bike and use it to nail a fantastic piece of singletrack.