Biased mountain bikers don’t like to hear that road cycling can vastly improve their fitness with constant effort; and some fanatical roadies are not even prepared to consider riding on dirt unless they have to. As big fans of all bicycle moves we prefer not to choose, but here are 5 reasons to give mountain biking a chance if you haven’t:
Mountain bike tracks enjoy textured terrain, so there tend to be lots of wiggles, turns, falls and rises among trees and narrow spaces. As a result it does not get as cold as it can on a road bike because you don’t move as fast and you are often sheltered from the open air. Riding like this on a cold day in winter doesn’t demand fanatical commitment, and actually it doesn’t get as warm as it is out in the open during summer either.
In nature Tar roads are constructed to allow lots of people to travel efficiently. We all use this, but on a bicycle it means you are not often alone or even safe unless you are enjoying a race with road closure. Mountain bike tracks focus on terrain rather than destinations, so they often find peaceful places where you can be more relaxed and commune with nature … not even miles out of the city! This can offer a different view of the world and some welcome distractions, even if you are not obsessed with flowers, birds, water, trees and the sky.
Work your body
Riding on the road can improve your cardiovascular fitness as you spin at high cadences for some time, but this does not occur as often in off-road rides. While it shares the non-load bearing, body saving benefits of cycling, mountain biking requires more dynamic fitness. Quick bursts up short, steep rises demand balance and power; while frequent sit-stand moves to negotiate drop-offs and leans on turns to maneuver the bike works more muscle groups, including your upper body and core. Even if you don’t often manage to ride different mountain bike tracks, you can push yourself to ride them more quickly. In addition – wind, water and traffic on sand means there are always some changes (subtle or extreme) in the terrain to surprise you.
Clear your head
Road riding nearly always includes some racing that means you can’t think about anything other than pushing your body over its limit, but mountain biking can be even more demanding in a healthy way. Riding a technical mountain biking track requires fairly intense concentration and trying to keep calm so you don’t screw up. That means you can’t worry about things that pressurize you in the rest of your life. With that pressure out of your head for a while, you might actually come up with better solutions for some of your problems.
Mountain biking can be fierce and technical, but even club and group rides are often more relaxed social adventures. Particularly if you choose some calmer tracks or just ride at a comfortable pace, this permits fitness distractions and entertainment with family youngsters, grandparents and friends you might not want to take out on the road.
You’ve got no excuse not to get out there! Enter the Telkom 947 Mountain Bike Challenge TODAY and experience it all for yourself!