We all start out in riding by imitating.
Monkey See Monkey Do. (to borrow the title of an old Hans Rey film)
That’s what we are for the most part, monkeys.
Almost all our abilities on our bikes, arise from imitation.
Typically, once you master what you’re imitating, then you’re in a position to add to it.
This goes for style just as much as technique.
An example from my career. I combined a variety of skills I’d imitated from many different pros, and the result was something unique, the Leech Loop, excerpt from my old instructional trials film, Mastering the Art of Trials.
Though it should more accurately be named ‘all the riders I imitated plus me loop’.
It’s standing on the shoulders of giants.
My portion is very very small. But someone needed to make that very very small contribution in order to keep this whole evolving and progressing machine running.
When you’re the first to do something, you’re making the unknown known, and there is an exciting/risky/scary energy that goes with that. As soon as you’ve broken new ground, others can imitate, and for them it won’t be quite as charged. The backflip on a mountain bike is now a stable and accessible skill for a wide range of people, not me, but maybe you, and certainly far-more-than-none which it used to be.
Many people don’t experience being that ‘one’ to evolve something. At least they don’t think they do; at least not in the fame inducing way; however we are all contributing to the evolution of mountain biking with every ride we take.
We don’t need to be a top pro to evolve the sport.
In fact, one of the most important ways to evolve our sport is to ride with presence and awareness, and in a way that is connected-to and inspiring our greater purposes and mission in life.
If we’re not first connected to that greater purpose and mission, then our energies may be misdirected and under-utilized. Keep in mind, an incredible purpose may just be to use riding to help discover what that purpose is; however that intention needs to set explicitly.
One of the yoga videos on RL Connection features a 20 minute flow where I ask you to do a couple sequences in silence, just imitating me rather than relying on my words. I also have a mental fitness practice designed to explore imitation & creation on your next ride.