But many mountainbikers buy in to a product subscription by starting their riding. You need at least four bikes to cater for all those generated needs you read about in fancy penny-dreadful high-gloss magazines, plus all the latest clothing and riding gear paraphernalia. You need to buy a freerider, an enduro, a CC-bike, a fun hardtail, a 29", a 27,5" and whatnot in both hardtail and full suspension configurations. You need to ride in the Alps, in the USA, all the bikeparks and trailparks and urbanparks and skateparks and where and when and whatnot, meaning you have to spend a lot of money to even get started.
But it is about life, and freedom isn´t free. Meaning you either join the ratrace to consume and throw away and therefore have a job that burns you out (every second person in Germany suffers from psychological problems and mostly burn-out depression), meaning no freedom whatsoever just to achieve what you believe is freedom, or you go for it and rewild yourself meaning a hard life with plenty enemies and some really strange friends foraging for your food, working hard making things and ride your bike out into the woods as a vehicle to get more roots, fruit and mushrooms in one turn making for less hard work. For fun, too, for noone says you can´t have fun even when working hard.
This is where blacksmithing and mountainbiking coincides. It is not just a "hobby" in my book, but a method to actually shape your life even in this strange world. Want to go bushcrafting but have no money to buy all the fancy goods? F***ing make them! Can´t afford a fancy car or even the train ticked, but there´s a bike in your cellar sitting behind those garbage bags? F***ing pump up the tyres and USE! IT! Is your drivtrain skipping? REPAIR! IT! You ain´t fit enough? RIDE! Go to the grocery store, ride foraging, practice stunt riding, have fun, but simply pull the plug of this insane society by using your brain more instead of storing it at Big Brother´s place in the almighty web.
The same goes for blacksmithing. Can´t afford a fancy forge? Oh, please, give me a break, in Nepal they forge with a hole in the ground and a grocery plastic bag for a bellows. Ron Hood showed long time ago that you can make a forge even in the wilderness, and I made my first damascus with a hole in the ground and a vacuum cleaner.
Michael is a guy who understands this, and he attacks the fetish of some goofbrains by wearing a T-shirt like it was just that: A T-shirt.;-) I like that very much.
Freilichtmuseum Hagen. This is also where I got to know Volker and him in the first place, Volker working as a hand drill smith and Viktor doing a lot of blackmithing demos for the public. This is also where I got to know some other blacksmith readers of my blog may be acquainted with, Harald, whom I regard as an important tutor. A lot of my humble skills I learned by listening to him and forging with him. Now Viktor had taken this custom of planting strawberries with him when he left, and also planted those at the Bethaus. They still prosper in the lousy weather we currently have.
Suddenly I was alone, and while it was still raining and hailing cats, dogs, aand dinosaurs, I took a deep breath. In a rain break I managed to go up, close the restaurant and the museum and get me another coffee and a non-alcoholic beer (which I like to drink when forging, because it´s isotonic and does not consist out of sugars I cannot even pronounce). When I was about to pack up, it started to rain hard again, and I sat there on a stool with a hot coffee, and laughed, and laughed so hard I nearly spilled my java. So, caught under the shed`s roof with the floor slowly floating away, I simply took some ancient spring steel and forged myself a knife while waiting for the rain to cease.
All the while the rain and hail pounded down on the roof, I packed up, for it was getting dark. It was only when I put the forge back into the garage and had all the tools and gear packed into my backpack, that I realized I had a flat in the rear tire again. So it was unpacking the pack, for of course the spare tube was well down below, as was the tire pump.
I sighed, fixed the flat, closed the shop, straddled my steed and rode home through the rain. But when I was in the vicinity of Wetter, things cleared up and the stars came out piercingly bright. I was feeling content and I take pride into the fact that I live where many others can only just so survive. Maybe that I often sit with my arse in the mud, but then the stars shine brighter to me than they do to others. I am not successful, but passionate, and sometimes I have the feeling that I would not want to trade.
I feel alive, and that´s the best thing every living thing can say.