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 comes at you from Sian A’Hern.
Your current Elite Australian National Champion, Elite World Cup podium botherer, former Junior World Cup overall winner, as well as a certified S&C and skills coach. When she’s not going faster on a bike, she’s helping others do the same.
Photos by Rick Schubert.
How would your closest riding buddies describe you to someone who has never met you?
I’ve been told lots that I bring lots of energy and positive vibes when I’m around and that I always encourage others.
I really get a great satisfaction from making others happy and bringing good vibes to the people around me.
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’d say the biggest change in my life would be working with a psychologist, the last year has been full of pretty big changes in my life and my psychologist has played such a huge part in my success over the last 6 months, my head space and my positive outlook on life.
Another wonderful change for this year is joining the YT MOB, my first ever factory team and I am so grateful to have such an amazing bunch of people in my corner supporting me and giving me the opportunity to chase my dreams and encourage me to be myself.
What unusual habits do you have as a bike rider?
This is a funny one, we all definitely have so many strange things we do as mountain bikers, but a few of the things that I do are…
All of my clothes, kit and items always have to match and colour coordinate. My socks, shoes, gloves and googles are a big one…
Like most athletes I have plenty of superstitions. I won’t go into too much detail but the classic one for me is having to put my left then right socks on, knee pads and all that jazz… all just part of it.
What piece of advice do you think every mountain bike rider should hear? And what piece should they ignore?
I’d like to say, enjoy the process and have fun riding your bike. Regardless of the level you are I think it’s so important to remember why you began riding bikes in the first place.
Not quite advice to ignore but people should not care so much about what other people think and care more about what makes themselves happy, do things that they want to do and being their true self.
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?
Ahh I’ve had some pretty epic days and trips with awesome people but winning National Champs this year was pretty epic, first race on the YT MOB and honestly couldn’t have been a better start to a season. I’m so excited for the rest of this year and I’m looking forward to lots of learning and good times with the best crew.
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?
I honestly wouldn’t change anything in my past, all my jobs, injuries and all the lessons both good and bad that I’ve learnt have made me into the person I am today and created a pretty awesome story to tell.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling or lacking inspiration?
I just take things back to fun, take the pressure away or try something new and exciting. Sometimes different disciplines within mountain biking are great for adding another element into the mix and I love doing gym work to complement my riding.
I guess for me I am very self motivated and tend to be able to drag myself out to train unless I’m sick or need a rest.
What single and specific thing about riding bicycles do you gain the most happiness from?
Bikes have had such a positive impact in my life, the feeling of riding a trail faster, winning a race, laps with good mates and just being out riding no matter what bike or trails, it always seems to put a smile on my face.
What single thing would you like to erase from cycling history from the last year?
Oh gosh, I honestly don’t know. Guess it’s tricky, things happen and maybe things out of our control so I don’t feel the need to look back and want to change anything.
What single thing would you like to make happen in the cycling world in the next year?
I would ultimately love for mountain biking, specifically downhill and enduro to become more well-known in the general population and have more exposure and opportunities for us within the sport. We do some pretty cool stuff and would be so awesome to get recognition for that.
Who else should we ask these questions to?
Ah on the spot… I’m not sure… All of us mountain bikers probably have a cool story to tell. I’m sure any of us racers or riders would be rad to hear from.
You can keep tabs on Sian’s adventures on her 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.