7 Reasons To Ride
7 Reasons To Ride
For those of you interested in joining an amazing sport, here are seven reasons you should start riding a bike today. For those of you who already ride, these tips may come as a friendly reminder of why we love this sport so much. So, without further ado, here are seven reasons to get out and ride your mountain bike.
1. GROW YOUR LIST OF RIDING BUDDIES
In today’s world, we are constantly inundated with social media, Zoom calls and other technologies that provide a false sense of connection with others. Want to know how I connect with my friends and family? We get together and ride! And before you say, “Well, yeah, he must have a bunch of fitness-junky friends,” I can assure you, that’s not the case. I enjoy smashing singletrack with my co-workers and friends just as much as pedaling a bike path with my 82-year-old grandfather. Almost anyone can ride a bike, and whether your ride is just down the street or to the top of a mountain, the connections you make during a bike ride will be more memorable than anything any social media app can offer.
2. BETTER UNDERSTAND MECHANICS
The fact is, our bikes are far from indestructible. Regular maintenance to keep our bikes working is just part of the sport. While our equipment requires more attention than a baseball bat or a basketball, it’s far less complex than the equipment required for many other sports, so don’t be intimidated about getting your hands dirty. No one will give you a hard time for not knowing how to adjust a rear derailleur or service a suspension fork. That said, every rider should pick up a few mechanical skills, even if it’s just simple tasks like oiling a chain or adjusting saddle height. If you ever need help, we’re here for you. Contact MBA with any questions, or drop by your local bike shop.
3. INCREASE YOUR FITNESS AND HEALTH
With gyms around the world closed due to the COVID pandemic, there has never been a better time to start an outdoor activity. Mountain biking can be as mellow as cruising a dirt path or as heart-pounding as trying to set a record time on a climb. Cycling has many benefits, such as increasing your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility, and reducing body fat. Best of all, unlike running, cycling is a low-impact exercise that can be continued later in life. You know what they say, a bike ride a day keeps the doctor away.
4. BUILD YOUR MENTAL TOUGHNESS
Riding a mountain bike creates mental toughness that you can carry throughout your life. I know that sounds a bit farfetched, but think about it for a second. If you can handle the pressure of navigating a black-diamond trail or launching off a jump for the first time, you can easily work up the courage to take risks elsewhere in your life.
Each time I lace up my shoes and strap on my helmet, I know there will be a barrier I’ll have to overcome. It may be a climb I’ve done hundreds of times, but I know it will still hurt, even when I’m at my best fitness level. The ability to overcome pain and sort through mental struggles is something almost every cyclist will gain. Mountain bikers quickly learn to quiet the pain they feel in their legs on a long ascent and shut down the fear they have when they charge down a rocky trail. Mental toughness is a gift cycling can offer anyone willing to work for it.
5. LEARN TO BE PATIENT
It’s easy to get lost in videos of pro riders making trails look effortless as they gracefully flow big jumps and float over technical trails, but what you don’t see are the years of practice that these riders commit to. When I ride my bike, I always try to improve the way I ride by practicing new skills. Even if I don’t master a new skill every ride, I don’t let that discourage me from learning. One goal I set for myself years ago was learning how to wheelie. I mean, come on, how cool is it to see a rider pedaling around the trails with just one wheel on the ground? That goal quickly turned into a two-year mission. I spent an hour, three days a week, practicing how to wheelie until I had it down. I felt so proud of myself for setting a goal and continually working towards it. It’s important to be patient as you practice new skills or work on your fitness. With consistent effort, anything is possible.
6. SHARE YOUR BATTLE WOUNDS
No one enjoys crashing, but everyone loves a good crash story. Riding a mountain bike is likely to give you a scar or two along the way. I have quite a few, and for each scar I have a story of how it got there. I personally don’t have any tattoos. I don’t have anything against them; they’re just not for me. However, my scars tell stories just like a tattoo. The scar on my abdomen is from when a branch reached out, grabbed my brake lever and tossed me to the ground. The scars on my knees tell stories about the times I left my knee pads in my truck thinking it was too hot or it would just be a mellow ride. If you push your limits on your bike, you’re going to get battle wounds, and with those scrapes, cuts and bruises come stories of excitement and adventure.
7. BECOME HAPPIER
There’s a quote that says, “It’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” I’m not sure who said it first, but I love the message behind it. I ride a mountain bike simply because it brings happiness into my life. The combination of being out in nature, listening to my tires roll and the high-adrenaline fun that comes from shredding singletrack puts me at ease and settles my thoughts for just a few moments. It’s like meditation for me—without having to sit in an uncomfortable position in complete silence. If you want to bring more happiness into your life, go out and buy yourself a mountain bike today.
Mountain Bike Action is a monthly magazine devoted to all things mountain biking (yes, that’s 12 times a year because we never take a month off of mountain biking). It has been around since 1986 and we’re still having fun.