Wise Words is our 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 this week come to you from none other than Si Paton.
Most will know Si Paton as an event organiser, firstly for the NPS that then became the British Downhill Series, before moving into enduro and more recently, the Malverns Classic. He’s a rider and a racer at heart though. British gravity mountain bike racing would likely be unrecognisable without Si Paton.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
An idiot, still writing cheques that he can’t cash when riding his bike. Besides that, really organised.
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 big piece of paper and a marker pen, then wrote down my detailed wish list. This gave me some really great goals in life to aim towards.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
Before I ride I have to ‘Touch Wood’ before I put my helmet on and then afterwards. I also put my left trainer on before the right, same for my elbow pads and gloves.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
They should hear about picking up their litter and re-cycle it accordingly. They should ignore listening to gangsta rap songs.
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?
Belmont in Bristol with my brother Oliver a few years ago. That was the day I realised he was younger and better than me. Progression should never be halted or changed. I was happy to pass the baton over.
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?
Asking people to help dig and maintain the trails. It’s so frustrating knowing that if everyone donated one morning/afternoon a year we would literally be living in MTB heaven all around the World. Everyone should purchase a trail rake, wheelbarrow and a shovel/spade and learn how to build jumps with solely dirt, never logs or pieces of wood, they will only ever rot away.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
Swimming is a beautiful exercise, if you don’t go forward you sink and die. You have to learn to breathe in time/sequence and scoop the water and push it back, behind you so that you can keep moving forward. Additionally to that, plenty of motivational books/interviews/social media clips. As well as learning more about, the Power of Positivity, The Secret and the Laws of Attraction.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Jumping, down the local dirt jumps, no pedalling, just pumping and jumping, there really is no better feeling than completing a set of trails.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Nothing. Without history we can not learn from the past and improve the future.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
Volunteer, help other riders, race organisers, litter picking and trail building.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Scott Beaumont, he’s always got a lot to say.
You can keep tabs on Si’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.