When I'm out on the trails I'm frequently asked "how the hell do you ride downhill like that?". Some folks even scoot down as fast as they can so that they can check out my berm railin' and general insane style.
Being modest I've always kept the secret of my success under a meataphorical bushel but the time has come, dear friends, to share. By using the following tips you'll soon be able to 'Shred Like Ed'.
1) Bike set up How can you ride with flair with your bike improperly set up? A rhetorical question but a few hours of spanner time and you'll be ready to rock and you'll be ready to roll. So what you need to do is:
a) Fit a long, low, mean SOB of a stem. 150mm should do it, longer if possible and a hint of rise means you're a scaredy cat. Why the long stem you ask? Picture yourself on a canalboat cruise in the Black Country, one hand resting lazily on the tiller, briar pipe clenched in manly jaw, glass of single malt nestling in your bear like palm. It is this attitude you need to 'Shred Like Ed' and joining the Flat 150 Club will get you there, fast.
b) Forks should be rigid, preferably very stiff for direct steering response and laser like control. If things are sluggish you can always liven it up a bit with some short forks.
c) Saddle bar drop MUST be at least 6 inches. Anything less and the frame is too big or you are too short. Neither is good.
d) Cantis are a braking must and I recommend setting them up with old cables and outers which give extra damping to the brake lever return. If bored try ceramic rims in the wet.
2) Technique So we are set to rock. Good. Approach your descent (and I recommend you start on a school playing field). Stop at the top. Look down. Retreat to a quiet spot to plan your route. Visualise your success. Whatever you do, don't drop your seatpost (it can cause unsightly scratches). Approach the 'lip' again. Drop in.
Terrific, you're now downhilling. The beginners mistake is to rush to get it over with. Don't. This is a moment of self-actualisation so take time out to examine every nuance of the trail. If you are feeling like styling up then unclip (did I say SPDs are essential? They are), unweight the saddle and waggle your free leg to enhance the experience. If you want to take it to the next level you can balance your gentleman on the top tube (top tube cable routing is only for those wanting to get a little freaky) while lightly skimming the sole of you foot across the ground. Please note that this is a very advanced step.
Ok, you're nearing the end now and people are waiting for you to finish. You don't want them to feel small so, slowly, elegantly, like a ballerina rise back into the saddle and clip in with a light touch (in the forest, if an SPD clips in does it make a sound?). You will now arrive at the bottom serene and peaceful and the onlookers would not believe the breadth of your skill set, even if you told them. So don't, it's just your (and our) little secret.
Follow the above and you'll be able to 'Shred Like Ed', leave the ladies swooning and teenage boys thinking you are 'core to the core. But do not take the above advice lightly, such radical style must only be used by a talented rider with radical skills.