Off-season is Jibb season
The constant cycle of seasons throughout the year brings with it such diversity in riding. Summer generally always becomes the focus of the riding year, with many of us crafting big plans, chasing dream destinations and clocking up as much descending as possible. While it’s always a blast, it can often be pretty full throttle and a busy time that can sometimes seem like it passes in the blink of an eye.
Outside of that on-season, the pace of riding changes a little, the focus returns to more local riding spots and with it, brings a different expectation and excitement.
The off-season, categorised by colder weather, wetter trails and shorter days, tends to bring with it rides that have much less expectation than their fantastical summer counterparts. You’re actually pretty happy to stay more local for the weekend and get out for shorter rides. That lack of expectation often makes these off-season rides more enjoyable.
After a busy summer, with lots of work and riding, everyone at RAAW looks forward to the riding in this off-season. Every Tuesday afternoon we down tools and get out into the woods for a company ride. The sandy nature of the local trails means that they’re nothing short of an absolute hoot to ride when the weather is wetter. And with where RAAW is situated, we don’t need to travel far at the weekends either to have a blast.
The Vosges region of France is simply built for off-season riding. The weather stays mild from autumn, through winter and into spring, there’s little to no snow and the number of riding spots to choose from is off the charts. Packing the van up with bikes, coffee and pasta is a recipe for a cracking day out.
Unanimously we all go and grab the same bike for these off-season rides - the Jibb. When the pace is a little slower and muddier, the Jibb is the bike that adds a bit of fun when you’re not taking things too seriously.
We park our vans up on one particular ride and set up base. A good cup of coffee starts the day of right and warms us all up ready for a pedal out to the first trails. The colours in the woods get a boost from a bit of sun poking through the clouds, making it a beautiful day. The first section of trail is so fresh that we’re quickly pushing back up for another slice of fun. The soil is dreamy and a couple of strategic ruts provide everything we need for a little session, cheering each other on as we try to rail the slippery corners faster and faster.
After an hour of pedalling it starts to get a bit cold and the sloppy conditions make it pretty tiring. So it’s back to the van and time to rustle up some lunch. During the work week, each person handles lunch on one of the days. This makes the cooking standard pretty high and the van food at the weekends is a bit of a contrast. It’s usually just heaps of pasta, but no less enjoyable and gets our fuel tanks full again.
Back on our bikes, we head out for a few more trails and wiggles in the muddy woods before the light starts to fade and it’s time to call it a day. We haven’t come close to the amount of descending, speed or the size of jumps that we’d see in summer. But just maybe, we’ve had a better time, and drive home with a grin plastered on our faces and a muddy Jibb in the back of the van.
The Jibb has the soul of a Jack Russell. Say muddy turns to it and it’s dancing around in the garage chasing its tail. It beckons you to pull, push and simply work your bike around the corners and undulations on the trail. It’s always got your back, no matter the level of stupidity you want to engage in. But without fail, and in all of those levels, it’s just plain fun. The Jibb is a mountain bike for all seasons, but for us, it’s the first bike we go for in the off-season. It’s not the off-season, it’s Jibb season.