Are you adventurous, love the outdoors, and crave excitement? If you’re looking for fun this summer, mountain biking is the sport for you. Equipment can be bought or rented, but a good attitude is tantamount to having a full experience. All you need is the desire to challenge yourself, and the willingness to strike out into the unknown with confidence.
Canada is a terrific place to enjoy the sport, as it is home to a vibrant and booming culture of cyclists. All across the nation, hundreds of trails are open during the season for everyone from recreational to professional rides and all groups in between.
It makes a great activity while on vacation rather than treading the same well-worn paths as other tourists. Going from a passive spectator to an active participant in an activity raises the value of a voyage exponentially. Even with an average amount of athleticism, you can enjoy the lush scenery of the wilderness while powering along on a rig of your choice.
Most of all, in an age of excessive consumerism and unhealthy lifestyles, mountain biking returns focus to neglected and overlooked areas in our lives. Fitness isn’t something that people make the time for between busy lives tending to work, or family commitments. Yet cycling in general is an accessible activity that requires little skill to pursue.
Mountain bikes are comparable in price to a set of golf clubs, skis or a household workout machine. The difference here is that you won’t have to expend large mounts of money on lift tickets or green fees; nor will you be bored out of your mind while running through the same workouts over and over again.
The sport contains roughly five subcategories: cross-country, downhill, freeride, dirt-jumping, and bike trials. Cross-country (XC) is the most popular form of mountain biking, and it is even an Olympic event. It involves moderate terrain, with a mix between different types of track. Downhill is a competitive event fought against a ticking clock while navigating jumps and anything else in your way. Freeride is almost what it sounds like: no set course, rules, or anything else set in stone. There are similarities to downhill, except that freeride often involves many more man-made obstacles. Dirtjumping involves jumping over—you guessed it—mounds of dirt in an attempt to become airborne. Finally, the idea behind bike trials is that you navigate man-made and natural obstacles without your feet touching the ground. This tests your handling skills behind the wheel.
Forget the newsbytes that imply cycling is only open to superhuman specimens like Lance Armstrong—anyone can hit the trails, and everyone can venture out knowing that they belong. For those who want to test themselves with competitions, that road is open as well.
Finally, the best thing about mountain biking is that a mountain bike truly is an all-terrain-bicycle. You can take it on the street, on sidewalks, even in the most crowded urban spaces. Its versatility makes it one of the most useful and pragmatic items to own and operate.
Brian J. D’Souza, Trail Canada
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