Poll: Do You Have Any MTB Superstitions on Friday the 13th?

by | May 13, 2022

After breaking his chain straight out of the start gate, no curse could stop Aaron Gwin from winning the 2015 Leogang World Cup.

The number 13 was thought to be unlucky in Norse myths, where the trickster Loki was uninvited to a 12-person dinner party, arrived with vengeance as the 13th guest, and killed another god. So moody.

While the idea of Friday the 13th being unlucky is a more recent development, mountain bikers are a superstitious bunch. And it’s not just over-analytical racers turning their number 13 plates upside down. A few Pinkbike staff have their own superstitions. So how do we make our own luck?

The valve stems are lined up on both bikes, but which positioning avoids flat tires – valves with the hot patch or the brand logo?

Tom Bradshaw believes that if you add to the chance of flatting a tire if the sidewall logo is not lined up symmetrically with the valve stem. On the other hand, Brian Park has seen the over-prepared/under-prepared hex too many times; if you bring a rain jacket, it’s likely you won’t need it, or conversely, if you don’t bring one, the dark clouds will open up on you.

Do you install a new chain for race runs or roll with the “don’t fix what’s not broken approach”? Christina Chappetta never changes her brake pads on race day in fear of them not bedding in perfectly, which is perfectly acceptable. I’ve made the mistake in the past and swapped them out the night before only to find that there was too much fluid in the system. That left me melting with fluid levels and inadequate tools, ultimately souring my race.

Those superstitions aren’t too far from what some World Cup racers do on race day, or even in the start hut. Greg Minnaar once said in an interview that he takes his sweet time tying his shoes before a race run so the tension and length of the laces are identical, in hopes of avoiding any bad luck. Plus, there’s Troy Brosnan’s pre-race run pump up where he wildly shakes his hands. Joe Barnes was said to walk on one side of his bike at all costs in fear that he might get a flat tire – that’s next level.
Many freeriders implore their videographers to never say “one more take,” and the well-used phrase “two more, skip the last” is a way to avoid saying “last lap,” even though crashes are statistically more likely to happen on your first run. So, keep that in mind and be sure to abide by all of your superstitions on Friday the 13th. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that Whistler’s season opener was delayed from today to next week.

What MTB superstitions do you have?