It’s quite a common question for those of us that, unfortunately, aren't surrounded by bikers all day every day. I’ve been hearing it for years, and I expect I will continue to hear it for pretty much the rest of my life. Regardless of the cliché, however, it is a good question.
Why do I ride?
I ride for fun. Regardless of how frequently you ride, there’s no arguing that mountain biking is just plain old fun. Some people go skydiving, some people ride rollercoasters, and some people ride mountain bikes. Off-hand, I can think of maybe four things that are more exciting than riding (only two if we aren’t counting riding uphill), but I can’t think of anything that has more “fun” appeal. Ask yourself: would you rather be sitting at home playing a computer game, or bombing down a double black diamond? If you’re here reading, you probably agree with me that the latter choice is most definitely the better one. Even if I’m not out on trails, there are an awful lot of fun things to do with a mountain bike. Urban riding, as a matter of fact, is oftentimes scarier than trail riding. I’ve almost been hit by a deer twice in my life, but I think the number for cars is fast approaching triple digits. Also, let’s face it, there’s something pretty fun about showing off your ride to whoever happens to be outside at the time.
|This picture says an awful lot about me.|
Getting out on the trails is like being a little kid in a sandbox, only I can get dirtier. No one can tell me what to do! I can go wherever I want, however fast I want, using whichever route I want! I am fortunate enough to live in an area with an exceptional network of trails combined with an exceptional network of people to build and maintain them, so I quite frequently have new trails to explore and different directions to ride. The map that I have is rarely used – and even then, it’s four years old – so more often than not I wind up about as close to “lost in the wilderness” as one can get these days. There’s also a very primal feeling that comes from riding. When I’m out there, I get a very distinct feeling of “man versus nature”. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the “out in Nature” aspect of biking (as well as Nature herself) and I’m somewhat of an environmentalist, but there is something indefinably empowering about making it up that particular rock face, or down those damn root steps that always seem to be just a bit too slick.
I ride for me. Perhaps I am alone in thinking this, but I find that mountain biking is much more of a challenge against myself than it is against Nature. Yes, the rock faces are hard, and yes the roots are slippery. They don’t have any control over that though, do they? No, I think the most difficult part of riding is convincing myself that I actually can ride that face, or hit those steps. Usually I can talk myself into it, and most of the time it goes pretty well. Most of the time.
|On that ride, I learned why the trail is called "Birth Control".|
Have anything you want to share about why you ride? Leave me a comment!