July 13, 2015
About the Author: Louise Smith is an avid mountain biker, hiker and outdoor enthusiast. After a successful career in marketing, keynote speaking, writing and corporate training, she has semi-retired to a chalet ‘in the Ontario north.’ Currently, Louise provides wisdom and advice to over 50,000 followers on her Lessons of Life Facebook page.
I used to love road biking. Kilometre after kilometre after kilometre. I loved the rhythmic meditative flow of road riding, and slipping into ‘the zone’ for a few hours was my idea of a good time. Getting in my kilometres was a weekly priority.
Then something shifted. I started to cheat on my road bike. I picked up a decent used mountain bike to add some adventure into my riding, and much to my surprise I liked it. A lot.
In the beginning I felt bad. I would say all the right things to my road bike. I’d caress her as I passed her in the garage. I made all kinds of promises that I actually believed I’d keep. I tried. I really did. But in the end I didn’t keep those promises. I think she knew all along I’d moved on.
WITH APOLOGIES TO MY TRUSTED AND BEAUTIFUL SKINNY TIRE — HERE ARE THE TOP 7 REASONS I LEFT HER BEHIND:
1. THERE ARE NO CRAZY FARM DOGS ON THE TRAILS.
Yes there are bears — but they are predictable. Coyotes steer clear. Turkey’s startle you, but waddle away quickly. But those livestock-protecting farm dogs were unpredictable and I no longer had the desire to dirty my panties outrunning them.
2. NO SPANDEX.
Oh sure I looked hot in my roadie kit when I was younger, but my gosh, skin-tight anything on most 50 year olds looks ghastly. (With apologies to the hot 50 year olds that can still pull it off. You know who you are). Let’s just say baggies hide things, and I appreciate that.
3. NO CARS. NO TRUCKS. NO JERKS.
Well, at least not jerks behind steering wheels, racing past you and gunning for your back tire.
4. TREES ‘N’ DIRT.
There’s nothing that soothes the soul better than breathing fresh, clean, exhaust-free air. On a mountain bike you suck in that air deeply. Really deeply. A rip through nature rights you in a way you may not have previously realized you needed.
Sure there are some great road riding routes — some twisty, some hilly, some even hillier, but truth be told mountain biking gives you more bang for your adventure buck. Rock gardens, drops, gaps, roots, switchbacks ridges, the list goes on.
6. THE WORKOUTS.
There’s no zoning out on a mountain bike. Your head has to be in the game the entire time or quite frankly you could wind up dead. Don’t even get me started on the cardio workout. I’ve lost my lungs and legs a few times out there in the bush.
7. THE VIEWS.
There’s nothing like climbing up to the top of a mountain ridge and looking out into the country. Hectare after hectare of undeveloped, untouched, raw nature. There are no words to describe it, and no road in the world could duplicate it.