Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
Wise Words is where we’ll ask our short list of questions to a heap of influential, inspiring and outspoken people that we feel are driving the direction of mountain biking today. Some will make you think, some will make you laugh, some will be plain dumb, some will inspire you to better yourself and your riding. We hope!
This week’s Wise Words come from multi-tasker extraordiaire Hanna Jonsson.
According to our previous Wise Words candidate Nick Hamilton, Hanna Jonsson is a “Swedish import, bike and Ikea lover, incredibly articulate on the keyboard” currently residing in Sheffield. She works as a freelance content writer and as Red Bull Sweden’s Bike Channel Manager.”
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
Probably as someone who is up for a ride any day of the week, but preferably not before 11 am. Always talks about the weather (I think it’s a Swedish thing) and will most likely complain if it’s anything but sunny. But most importantly, always keen for a ride.
What thing or things have you bought in the last year that had the biggest effect on your life as a mountain biker / cyclist / person that works in the bike industry?
I never thought I’d say it, but a bum bag. When they became a thing a few years ago I told myself that I would never get one, but here I am, absolutely loving it. To be honest thought, I think it benefits my friends more than me. Most of them have the annoying habit of riding bag-less, so I tend to save them from mechanicals more often than myself. But hey, if I can provide something more than just constant weather reports I guess it’s a good thing?
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I have really good days riding, and then I have really bad days. One day I will be flying down a technical section feeling super confident, and the next day I could literally be walking down the same thing. That and the weather thing.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Ride with people who are faster than you. It’s inspiring and will most likely make you a better rider.
You don’t have to “go big or go home”, it’s totally okay to just “go around” it too. Ride at your level, push yourself, but don’t be stupid. There is always a next time, and working towards something and finally being able to hit a feature (without crashing your brains out) is totally worth the wait.
If you could go back and re-ride one day from your life so far, where/what/when/who would it be? Would you change anything?
I think it’ll have to be a weekend about two years ago at our “local” park, Järvsö Bike Park, in Sweden. We were 10 riding friends of all ages and different paths of life who’d rented a house together. All of us were just so excited all weekend long, giggling, laughing and talking non-stop for 48 hours.
We’d lap the park over and over and do big trains together down the different tracks. Then we’d drink wine, make dinner and talk even more in the evenings. I just remember being in a constant state of happiness. Oh, and I also got comfortable over a jump line that’d hunted me in my dreams for ages. That was a bonus.
What have you wasted the most time on in your life as a rider or bike industry career that you wished you’d given up years ago?
Self-doubt is a true time-waster. Self refection is good (and often necessary), but it’s easy to cross over to the dark side. Time is definitely better spent coming up with new fun bike-related ideas, rather than dwelling over if my last idea was good enough. Same goes for riding abilities.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I always lack motivation to get out and ride over winter so this year I decided it was time for a change. I needed to find motivation somewhere and putting on the standard “shredit” to watch didn’t do it (it just made me want to sit on the sofa under a big warm duvet and watch another one).
So I bought a gravel bike as a quick-and-easy way to get out without too much faff during lunch hour and I also started (occasionally) going down to the local skatepark for their bike nights. It worked. It kept me on two wheels during the week and once the weekend came along I felt strong, motivated and mega keen to get out on my MTB.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
The people I have met, and still meet, through the bike world. We’re all an odd bunch of grown up kids, and I love it.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Sexist commentators. During the last World Cup race of the 2018 in La Bresse I was watching the women’s XCO race from the sidelines when the commentator suddenly said “Do not let those pearls around her neck fool you, there is nothing girly about the way Jolanda Neff rides, she is absolute attacking on that bike”.
It blows my mind that someone feels it appropriate to say anything along those lines. If being a commentator and speaking in front of crowds is your job, you should definitely know better. And as a person, I’d hope you’d do too. We need to wipe sexist comments like that out of our language, sport, system and world. Period.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
See above. Let’s just all move into the future.
Oh, and as a little side note, I’d also like to see more Dual Slalom races pop up. It’s such a fun race discipline for all levels, abilities and different kind of riders.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Bérengère “Bibi” Boës. Mega friendly shredder and media squid who probably knows the French bike scene better than most.
Lina Skoglund, Swedish mega shredder, 2 time Masters DH World Champion and been working in and around the industry for ages.