Words: Christie FitzPatrick Photos: Trish Bromley
Christie is a skier, mountain biker and craft beer lover from Whistler, Canada. Having emigrated out west from England after university, she is very content spending her summers on bikes, winters on skis and snapping photos in the mountains.
1. Biking saves you money!
Apart from the initial cost of the bike (and there are plenty of inexpensive options), cycling is free fun! Forget the expensive gym membership and your gas-guzzling commute, and buy a mountain bike. There will be some maintenance costs along the way, but nothing compared to that of a vehicle. Biking is also an environmentally sustainable form of transport, and more cyclists mean fewer congestion-related carbon emissions. Score!
2. Mountain biking brings us closer to nature
I truly believe that mountain biking is one of the best ways to connect with nature and escape the chaos of everyday life. In the current political climate, riding out the aftershocks of a pandemic, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to disconnect from technology, news, and just live in the moment. Disconnection becomes significantly easier when you’re pedaling through forested singletrack, navigating roots, rocks, and other fun obstacles. When you’re mountain biking, you’re only focusing on your bike and the trail ahead.
3. Mountain biking is constantly challenging
Mountain biking is a sport filled with physical and metaphorical false summits. There are always new ledges to make it up, drops to conquer, and hills to climb faster. Every time you ride, you can set a new goal: make this drop, ride that skinny, get a Strava PR on your local climb. If you’re someone who enjoys a challenge, then mountain biking is the sport for you. Of course, the main goal should always be to have fun, but if you’re the competitive type – biking will open up a whole new world of challenges, obstacles and ambitions.
4. Mountain biking takes you to incredible places
Yes, I know, hiking and airplanes do too, but biking is way more fun. Once you reach your first peak on a mountain bike, you’ll look around and wish everyone you knew owned a bike. Where I live, the variety of terrain in the Sea to Sky corridor is mind-blowing. From the wet’n’wild North Shore to the high alpine Chilcotins wilderness, there are bike trails for all abilities to be discovered. From South America to Greenland, you can take mountain biking with you all over the world.
5. Mountain biking is a bonding experience
The mountain biking community is extensive, passionate, and it spans across the globe. There’s a certain magic that happens when people come together to ride bikes, the communal stoke is infectious and soon you’ll be asking yourself “I went how many years without riding a mountain bike?!” Mountain biking is rooted in camaraderie; it’s about being out with your friends and sharing stories, highlights and beers at the end of the day. Oh, and there’s some epic mountain bike festivals to attend to meet like minded dirt-lovers, like the global annual Crankworx festival.
6. Biking will get you in serious shape
Yep, biking is one hell of a workout, and it sure beats the treadmill! Heck, it’s so fun sometimes you forget how hard you’re exercising. The amazing thing about biking is that you don’t have to be an amazing endurance athlete to get into the sport. Choose from paved road ascents to technical climbs or backcountry roads, and progress to harder climbs as you improve. If you bike 3-4 days per week with a solid climb, your fitness levels will go through the roof.
7. Biking is good for your brain!
The physical benefits of cycling provide more than enough motivation to keep pedaling, but the cognitive benefits take the incentive to a new level. It’s no secret that cycling makes people happier, but it’s effects may go further than just an endorphin boost. Studies show that cycling can improve your brain’s cognition, functioning, and even its physical structure. Biking can help the brain to become more efficient by building neurons and growing the hippocampus. Whether you’re looking to improve your physique, help treat a disease or disorder, boost your brain’s functioning, or just smile a little more, there’s definitely a way that biking can benefit you.
So what are you waiting for?