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!
Wise Words come to you this week from Mr. Charlie Williams.
Charlie Williams is Welsh Gravity Enduro. Without him, the racing scene in Wales would be very different indeed. Champion of the Mash Up format and bringing National level downhill races back to south Wales, he’s certainly not one for sitting still. He’s pretty handy when on a bike too.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
Focussed, always pushing, everything is a race, bit of an arrogant twat when you first meet him but you’ll grow to like him, smiles a lot but can be as grumpy as hell.
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?
Shimano 12 speed, game changer for me as I now never want for a gear. Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bars, I now actually eat on rides rather than starve.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
I ride switch-foot.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
Spend 10 minutes a day every day doing track stands, wheelies and manuals and alternate which foot is forward.
Ignore “Run this tyre pressure”. Correct tyre pressure is the direct result of your weight versus tyre wall deflection plus just enough to avoid rim dinging.
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?
The Megavalanche 2014 (The muddy one), listen to my friend Mark White and fit the 26” spikes I had in the apartment rather than the dry set up I had…. To see a top 20 finish literally turn to shit was soul destroying. Besides that, riding half the course on rims was not my best decision but it sure beat walking down.
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?
Answering emails that I had already auto replied to, I just can’t let them go. The personal touch is everything in organising races.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
Pick a weakness in my riding and just single mindedly focus on that. I spent 10 minutes a day 5 days a week over lockdown just practicing manuals alternating which foot was forward, I now have to think about which is my “My best foot forward”
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
The silent efficiency of a road bike on a warm still evening and all you can hear are the tyres and wind.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Allowing battery changes at the EWS-E, it’s not in the nature what riding or racing ebikes is about.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Covid-19 has seen a massive increase in illegal trail building across the Uk and to put it bluntly this has to stop before someone gets seriously hurt or dies.
Diggers need to band together, form community trail advocacy groups and start conversing with landowners, FE, NRW. This is the ONLY way to get trails safely built and eventually adopted. People need to be educated in the consequences of illegal digging, how many have even heard of IMBA?
Moaning on social media that your trail you spent weeks building has been destroyed by the landowner, FE or NRW is just pointless. Putting a picture of yourself on social media with the berm or jump you just built is admission of guilt in the first order if someone gets hurt. Landowners are just protecting themselves.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Clive Forth, Finlay Paton, Rob Cooksley.
Keep tabs on Charlie’s adventures on his Instagram feed here.
You can catch all our previous Wise Words interviews with the likes of Sven Martin, Manon Carpenter, Ric McLaughlin and plenty more here.