The Appeal of Mountain Biking

Updated: Jan 31, 2018



Although mountain biking has good popularity, it still has significantly less participation than road cycling. To get where it should be, the growth our sport needs to continue. With bigger numbers comes a bigger market: more people buying more products, thereby driving prices down while increasing the research and development of new products. This makes it better for everyone involved. Not only this, but in big numbers, our collective voice yields more power with land managers and government agencies. We are far more likely to influence decisions regarding our access to trails. Lastly, more people riding equates to more people to ride with. Having plenty of friends involved in the sport is always a welcome thing.

Some may say that they don’t want to see their favorite riding place become too crowded. The fact is for most parks of significant size; the further you get from the trail head the less likely you are to see other riders. There is so much land out there that this sport could grow many times over and it still wouldn’t be a problem.


Granted, mountain biking isn’t for everyone, but it still has the ability to hook a lot of people. Who exactly would most likely want to give it a try? What types of people would want to throw their leg over a big wheeled bike and ride it through a forest? Due to its physical, athletic nature, it’s often someone that’s already leading an active life. Participants in any of the following activities are likely candidates. If you know anybody that fits these examples, try inviting them to go for a ride with you. Who know, you just might create a new mountain biker.


Road Bikers

Road bikers have the cardiovascular endurance for long rides and the leg strength and stamina for hill climbing. Both will be a great benefit, but mountain biking requires greater bike handling skills. They’ll find that the dynamic interaction between themselves and the bike is highly beneficial for coordination and balance. Many road cyclists have been curious to find out what they’re missing and have subsequently given mountain biking a try. It’s now common to find people that enjoy both types of cycling.


BMX

Participants of this sport enjoy racing and freestyle tricks. These skills will transfer very nicely over to mountain biking. Many great BMX riders have switched to downhill and freeride/slopestyle mountain biking and have ended up excelling in those disciplines of the sport. It’s a natural progression.


Hikers and Trail Runners

They’ve seen mountain bikers on the trails and there’s a good chance they’ve thought: “That looks like fun but it also looks like a lot of work.” Well, rolling down a trail is a lot of fun, and you’ll see more nature in a given amount of time, but how much work it involves all depends on how much hill climbing there is at the chosen trails.


Joggers and Runners

They typically have a high fitness level and good endurance. They’re used to pushing their

bodies harder to achieve goals. These are athletes that can definitely find benefits from cross training in different disciplines. On top of that, rolling along is a lot of fun.


Motocross

Moto riders will benefit from mountain biking by sharpening their bike handling skills while getting exercise. Both activities have similar characteristics and require similar strategies, but mountain biking will also improve leg strength and cardiovascular performance. This fact is recognized by professional motocross riders, most of who now train on mountain bikes.

Other Activities

Those who like outdoor recreational activities such as rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, kiteboarding, water skiing, wakeboarding, etc., will probably also enjoy mountain biking. They’re the type that enjoys being outdoors and away from the city, participating in activities that are fun and physical.


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Paul Molenberg lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has had a lifelong commitment to fitness and sport activities, including almost two decades of mountain biking a diverse range of trails throughout the United States and some of Canada. The coastal redwood trails of Northern California, Lake Tahoe’s epic rim trail, the slopes of Maui’s Mt. Haleakala, the downhill and cross-country trails in Park City, Utah, and the black diamond trails of North Carolina’s Pisgah Forest are just a few of the challenges Paul has taken on and conquered. He has now leveraged his experience to create a comprehensive book on the sport of mountain biking.

 

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