If you’re not into mountain biking already, then the below benefits of this awesome outdoor sport will, hopefully, change your mind.
“Catch me if you can” my friend hollered, and took off down the gravel road.
As a city kid, I had never seen this much dirt before. Nor this amount of wide open spaces.
The hay fields stretched endlessly to each side of me, and the sun beat down on my red, sweaty face as I pedaled frantically after my friend on the mountain bike he had lent me.
Abruptly, he turned into a field and began racing down this barely visible truck path. I followed the grass scratching at my handlebars with grasshoppers scurrying out of my way.
It was bliss.
As an adult, I love off-road cycling, and spend as much time as I can, riding my bike through the fields and hills outside of town.
I also try to recruit my friends to ride with me. My loaner bike is always available for those who want to tear up some dirt.
Here’s the rationale I use when I try to persuade them.
Why Choose Mountain Biking?
Here are 6 reasons you should choose mountain biking over any other outdoor activity:
1. It’s Cheap
Road cycling is expensive. Boy-Howdy.
But you can get a cheap mountain bike for as little as $500. There are sites with a great selection of beginner mountain bikes from which to choose.
Aside from tennis, soccer, and basketball (the “ball” sports), there aren’t many sports you can get into that cheaply.
It’s years of fun for a small investment.
2. You Get In Shape. Fast.
Unlike a spin class, mountain biking is a full-body workout. When you leave the pavement, you are giving the rugged outdoors permission to slap you in the face with a bush.
And if you aren’t prepared, Mother Nature will get you prepared.
Arms, neck, back, abs… You are in for a full-body cardio session.
3. It’s Fun
There is no better way to recapture your childhood giddiness than splashing through mud and catching some air over a little berm.
It’s ok to laugh. You know your body could probably use a good laugh. It’s been a hell of a week. Let it out. Enjoy.
4. It Improves Your Reflexes
You never know when a tree is going to jump out at you. Or a rattlesnake. Or a rock.
Sitting behind the cubicle has made you soft. Last week your boss snuck up on you and almost saw you surfing Facebook instead of working.
Mountain biking gives you your edge. Your keenness.
Which comes in handy the next time the Domino’s delivery boy jumps out in front you during the 5:05 rush hour. Or you need to catch that little mutt of a dog as it tries to escape.
Reflexes are honed in the real world.
5. It Keeps You Grounded
Don’t get me wrong; this sport will whip your butt.
You’ll barely make it to the top of a “mountain,” and quickly understand that you aren’t as awesome as you think you are.
There will be days you are cold and wet.
Days where you get three flat tires and have to walk a mile back to the car.
But that is part of it. Real-world problem-solving. Bone-tired exhaustion.
It’s these experiences that bring us face to face with our humanity and keep us firmly in touch with who we are.
6. It Stirs Your Adrenaline
Our lives are so mundane. We get up, go to work, fight traffic, drink a beer, sleep, repeat.
Most of us go through the motions half-asleep (ever drive to work and not remember leaving the house?)
When you are mountain biking, you never know what to expect next. The drops, the turns, it is exciting and stimulating.
Your blood vessels dilate, and your senses are engaged. You feel alive.
It’s this rush, this addiction, that keeps us coming back, week after week.
It’s our way of breaking free from society’s mold and creating our unique path.
My one caveat is don’t forget that helmet. Protect the noggin, and get outside!
I’ve got to catch my friend. We’re about to bomb down the other side of this mountain.