Rad People Who Ride: Noah Bodman
15 October, 2013
Hailing from the Northeast, residing in the true West, and riding everywhere in between, Noah Bodman can't avoid mountain bikes. He lives and breathes them despite "growing up," attending grad school, and getting a real job all situated curiously close to perfect riding. Take a look at where Noah went to college and you see the same story unfold. My favorite memory of Noah dates back to when he somehow convinced campus security to allow him to completely take over a dirt lot adjacent to the sophomore dorms that was patiently awaiting funding for construction of a fancy, state-of-the-art science center. Within moments there were dirt jumps. Lots. So many and so impacted that it seemed impossible to keep lines straight and on a couple of occasions, he and his crew of dirt soldiers dug too deep and hit the coax lines that supplied Internet and TV to dorms. Having previously worked grounds crew and being quite obviously a master of smooth talking, Noah calmed down those with hot tempers, Cushmans, and tool belts and sure enough the jumps stayed. Public jumps in the middle of a college campus, remarkable really.
Now despite an advanced degree and real job, he's got a fleet of real dirt jumps in his backyard in Whitefish, Montana and he's also a contributing editor at Blister Gear Review - if you love riding, bikes, and trails, you really just can't escape it all despite what you end up deciding to do. Noah is an example of this, in the best way possible. Enjoy his fun responses and action packed photos, Noah is truly talented on a bike but so modest that you'd never realize it talking to him.
Name: Noah Bodman
Home Shop and City: Whitefish, Montana. Glacier Cyclery and Sportsmans Ski Haus are my go-to spots for gear.
Favorite WTB or Freedom product: No question – Silverado saddles. Those things and my ass get along nicely.
Or, favorite WTB or Freedom related memory (please elaborate): I was digging through a big pile of old tires in my garage the other day and came across a Velociraptor that was probably at least 10 years old. Possibly even from the 90’s. I used to love those things.
Favorite Ride: Geez, so many to choose from. I got to ride Khyber Pass in Whistler for the first time this year – that’s an awesome one. Porcupine Rim in Moab is always a contender. Hangover in Sedona is a blast, and Verboten in Fernie is super fun too. It’s tough to settle on a favorite though. Pretty much anything that goes downhill for a long time that has lots of roots and rocks. I’ll take tech over flow any day of the week.
Techy enough for you? Moab's Mushroom Drop at Bartlett Wash takes concentration and comfort in the air to get it right. Take a look at Noah's front wheel's proximity to those bomb holes - land in one of those and the party's over. Noah's not joking when he says he enjoys technical riding.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
My high school had these extracurricular programs that we’d get placed in, and somehow I ended up in the mountain biking one, despite the fact that I didn’t own a mountain bike and hadn’t ever really ridden one. I borrowed a Univega Alpina from a gracious family member who told me “that thing is built like a tank, you can’t break it.”
Challenge accepted. Tank like though it may have been, the Alpina didn’t fare well when pitted against a 14 year old with zero smoothness and a penchant for hucking to flat. I ended up working at bike shops to pay for the constant string of broken parts and all the shiny new pieces of metal that I wanted.
Summer bike shop gigs turned into full time bike shop gigs, which turned into some other bike industry jobs. Eventually, I caved and went to grad school, leaving the bike industry behind. But bikes are still the best way to stay sane, and lots of involvement with the local trail advocacy group makes sure I can get my bike fix (and makes sure the trails stay open!). Plus I’ve finally fulfilled my life long goal of having bike jumps in my backyard, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
Out the door and already tabled. Some people are lucky enough to have pump tracks in their backyards. Noah's got full blown dirt jumps.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
It depends. XC – tubeless. DH – tubes. Everything in between – still haven’t decided; I switch back and forth pretty frequently. I’m trying out the new Vigilantes to see if I can get the nice ride quality of tubeless without burping and tearing them all over the place (so far, so good).
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Post ride beers. I guess some tools and water and stuff like that are important too.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
It’s not really that crazy these days, but back when I had no idea what mountain biking was all about and I had friends showing me all of the movies of the day, I remember just being blown away. Like Hans Ray hoping around on a spool, and Fuzzy Hall decked out in Spandex tearing around on slickrock. That stuff was so cool. And then came Shaun Palmer riding the “Viper Trail.” Ho-lee Crap. That was more awesomeness than my little brain could handle.
I also went to the old Red Bull Rampage site last spring – I’d seen plenty of videos, but had never been there in person. Considering the new site is even bigger and more ridiculous than the old site, it’s pretty humbling looking at some of the old lines in there.
Noah riding Teton Pass. Trail riding for Noah means more time in the air than on the ground.
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
Competition is great and all, but ride because you want to ride, not because you’re trying to win something. Don’t force it.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
I’ve never been to El Segundo. I’ve also never lost my wallet (knock on wood). That seems weird – maybe this is revealing some deep seated character flaw. I’m too anal or something. I do have a knack for forgetting to close my tab at the bar though.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Flathead Fat Tires – Hit us up for ride recommendations or anything else bike related in northwest Montana. www.FlatheadFatTires.com
Blister Gear Review – I’m biased, but they’re the best gear reviews on the internet. www.blistergearreview.com