Clickbait sucks. Online misinformation is a serious problem. But April Fools’ Day pranks? Those can still be fun, especially when you’re among fun-loving friends.
Here are ten MTB-related prank ideas from the Singletracks team that you can use on your ride today, or any day really. In fact we’ve pulled many of these ourselves. Just remember, if something seems like it could become unsafe, it’s probably not worth the risk. There are plenty of other ways to get your lolz.
10. Heavy load, sweaty back. This classic Scout prank involves secretly adding sand to a friend’s Camelbak when they’re not looking. Better yet, add a little bit over time, during the ride, so they barely notice. The upshot is they’ll get in a hard workout! Potential pitfall: Avoid using sharp rocks since that could injure your friend in the event of a fall.
9. Weird controls. Depending on how particular your friend is about their cockpit setup, this can take a few different forms. For example, loosen and twist brake levers so they are facing vertically skyward. Asking “how do you ride like that?” will be enough to get them scratching their head in confusion. Potential pitfall: If said friend doesn’t notice and hops on the bike, be sure to clue them in before they head downhill.
8. Fake a fall. Grab a couple packets of ketchup at a fast food stop and bring it along on the ride. Get out ahead of the group a bit and set up your bike to look like you suffered a nasty fall, adding ketchup to an appendage for maximum effect. Potential pitfall: Your friends won’t care. Just kidding; if anything, give up the ruse before the first aid kit comes out!
7. New paint job. Grab some washable chalk paint at the store (the kind used to decorate windows), and give your friend’s bike a custom paint job before the ride. Potential pitfall: Even though it’s washable, there are still areas where the paint could do damage. Stick to front triangle tubes to reduce the risk of damage, plus that’s where it’ll be the most noticeable anyway. Bonus points for adding words to your artwork.
6. Where’d my bike go?! “Watch my bike for a second while I use the restroom.” As soon as the door closes, grab your friend’s bike and hide it. When they exit the facilities, make like you’re fiddling with your bike, oblivious to the fact that their bike has just been “stolen.” Potential pitfall: Make sure you are trained in CPR in the event of a heart attack.
5. Slip ‘n’ Slide. If your friend has a shiny saddle, a thin coat of chain lube can make things… interesting. Alternatively, a nice coat of black shoe polish on a black saddle or grips is good for a laugh. Potential pitfall: Save this one for the end of the ride, or for situations where you know your friend has an extra pair of shorts or gloves in case they need to change.
4. Watered down beer. Wait until your friend gets up from the campfire to take care of business, and pour out their open beer, replacing the liquid with LaCroix or a similarly MTB-approved bubbly water. Potential pitfall: Depending on how many they’ve already had — and whether you’re drinking Miller Lite or not — they may not even notice.
3. Road trip to Bentonville! Indiana. Ask a friend if they’d be down for a bike trip to a well-known destination like Bentonville or Bend. Let them get stoked, then clarify that you meant Bentonville, Indiana (a real place!) or Bend, South Dakota (also a sorta real — and real flat — place). Potential pitfall: Be prepared to actually take a trip with your friend when you’re both able to travel. Nobody likes a tease!
2. Lost my bike. This is a riff on #6, with a little bit of #8 thrown in. This trick works best on a bench-cut trail where there’s a steep drop to one side. Get out in front of the group, hide your ride, then frantically call out to the group, “My bike flew off the side! You gotta help me find it!” Potential pitfall: Someone might actually try to go find your bike and slide down the mountainside for real. Don’t let things go that far. Variation: take off your hydration pack and hide it. Ask everyone if they saw a pack back on the trail because yours must’ve flown off at some point.
1. Upgrade their ride. Are you always joking with your buddy about their creaky bottom bracket or noisy chain? Surprise them with the gift of a new BB, or a small bottle of super fancy lube. Potential pitfall: None. Everybody loves free stuff, and friendship is forever.