Wise Words is our new interview series talking to some of mountain biking’s most switched on people.
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!
Katherine Moore is handing out the Wise Words this week.
While she might be new to mountain bikes, Katherine Moore has put more gravel miles through her legs than most of us combined. There’s also plenty of other things that she has up her sleeve including presenting at Global Cycling Network, starting her own gravel podcast, working as a Komoot editor, event host, guide and champion for women and diversity in cycling.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
Some sort of crayon explosion and annoyingly always chipper, except when hangry.
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?
A mountain bike. Honestly, it’s something that I’ve kinda been putting off for ages. I have to confess, I’m a roadie turned ‘gravel’ rider, and my friend and ex-colleague Doddy kept pestering me to get a MTB. I’d borrow them off mates every now and then and have a blast but never committed to getting one because of the cost and perceived upkeep hassle.
I finally talked one of these mates around to selling me his 5010 frame, shock and fork during lockdown, so I got a build project underway and have barely ridden anything else since. It’s great finally being able to hang out more with so many friends that I’ve made in the industry that are more MTB-focused, and it’s a part of the industry for me that’s purely about enjoyment rather than work.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
Unusual… that’s a hard one. I mean there’s plenty of bad habits. I keep on accidentally forgetting to unlock my shock on trails ‘cos it already feels so bouncy compared to rigid bikes.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
I don’t know what it is, but as a total MTB noob I’d love to hear it…
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?
Oosh, that’s hard. MTB-wise, I was on a trip in Colorado when my mate Adam who worked in the bike shop in Golden got me a Liv full sus and took me up to Buffalo Creek for a couple days. I’m sure if you know, you know.
It was all big rocks, scrub and patchy forests, and besides getting pretty psyched out about potential mountain lions, the riding was insane. Huge rock slabs and twisting trails that were accessible yet exhilarating for a beginner like me. It was gorgeous shorts and tees weather on the first day, and on the second it snowed.
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?
Trying to be something I’m not. Someone recently told me that I inspired them because I’m just an average rider, and that makes it totally relatable. Although I was doing some presenting when I was at GCN (Global Cycling Network), I was told I couldn’t apply for a full-time presenter role because I’m not an ex-pro. I understand that you get a certain amount of credibility for being known as a former professional, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good presenter. Just sayin’.
For ages I’ve aspired to be more than I am, faster, go further, more extreme, more impressive, but actually I really enjoy the more mediocre, more achievable stuff. I like having a laugh and still being able to go to the pub at the end of the day.
I’ve also learnt that wasting your energy on projects that don’t align with your beliefs/values is just that, a waste. As a freelancer I’m now able to choose and pitch for things that really get me going, like discussing the tricky subjects such as how we address diversity in cycling or how to manage your periods on the bike, rather than churning out the same-old that makes me feel like I’m not contributing anything truly meaningful.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
Great question, especially in the context of 2020… trying to be creative and inspired during a global pandemic sure ain’t easy, right? Trying something totally different or new seems to help, like getting into MTB during the last few months. Being a total noob at something again is actually really great fun and seeing improvements gives you a real kick.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
For me, it’s gotta be exploration. I think that’s why I love my gravel bike and converted rigid MTB so much, because you can ride so much and go pretty far in a single day, as well as carry everything you need to be self-supported. I’m constantly in awe of new places, and they certainly don’t have to be anywhere exotic either. I’m very patriotic in that I love going on holiday and riding in the UK.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
I mean Coronavirus has been pretty damaging for all the event organisers, guides and races across all disciplines but I can hardly argue that cycling has come out worst. Not just about 2019/20, but dangle mugs are a personal pet peeve.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Get the industry to recognise the importance of diversity in all forms of cycling, to invest in underrepresented groups and nurture young talent, so that everyone can eventually have role models that they can relate to at the highest level in the sport. But yeah, I get that’s gonna take a bit more than a year…
Who else should we ask these questions to?
I was gonna say the wonderful Aneela McKenna, but you beat me to it. I reckon Laura Bailey is a must though, and how about Saskia Dugon? Plus Martha Gill and Bex Barona are basically my idols right now.
Keep tabs on Katherine’s adventures on her Instagram feed here.
Read our interview with Katherine about the Unpaved Podcast here.
You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.