Not to get into a tiff with road cyclists or play a game of who’s best (because that would be so Type-A roadie, after all), but there are distinctive benefits to being a MTBer that other cyclists just don’t get to experience. In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why mountain biking is the best:
1. NO CARS
Sure, road cyclists pedal on some pretty picturesque, quiet roads. But here’s a surefire way to kill your buzz when your mind is wandering at mile-30 on said picturesque, quiet road: a Mac truck whizzing by or an obnoxious driver laying on the horn. MTBers can spend an entire ride not seeing another human being, let alone a vehicle — and the resulting peacefulness can’t be beat.
2. WIPEOUTS HURT LESS
Skin on dirt is a lot different than skin on pavement. Sure, if you take a gnarly fall, your injuries aren’t going to be fun no matter what kind of terrain you’re riding. But if you’re on a mountain bike, at least there’s a good chance you won’t be picking gravel out of multiple layers of skin for weeks.
3. YOU SPEAK A LANGUAGE ONLY OTHER MTBers UNDERSTAND
From berms and bunny hops to endos, enduros and off-cambers, there’s no shortage of lingo that only your mountain biking posse understands.
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4. YOU SEE THE WORLD THROUGH A GOPRO LENS
When you’re a mountain biker, every hill could be an epic slope to bomb down and every mountain peak has the potential for jumps to stomp. And you will go back — GoPro in tow — to ride and capture it all.
5. THE VIEWS
The other reason you see everything through a GoPro lens is because, well, mountain biking offers you some of the most incredible scenery you’ve ever witnessed. Snow-capped peaks for days. High-mountain trails through endless fields of wild flowers. Raw, unadulterated beauty — all for you, without a car in sight.
6. NO BIB SHORTS
As if Lycra wasn’t bad enough, bib shorts take it to the next level of unflattering by including suspenders instead of an elastic waistband. Yes, there’s a reason for this awful look: Elastic waist bands can cause chafing and pain after spending hours in a bent-over cycling position. Mountain bikers simply wear comfy, loose gear from the start, meaning there’s zero risk in getting caught by someone you know in one of those ridiculous bib-short get-ups.
7. FEWER TYPE-A PERSONALITIES
Of course, there are exceptions to this one. But, by and large, you’re probably going to meet a way more laid-back crew on single track trails than at the roadie 7 a.m. group-ride meetup.
8. YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO “EARN YOUR TURNS.”
To feel the joy of flying down a mountain, you have to climb. And climb. And climb some more. You may have to pop into your granny gear. You may even bonk and need a break on your way to the top. But bombing down that mountain feels so much sweeter thanks to the sweat that went into earning your ride down.
9. YOU COULD (HAPPILY) DEBATE WHEEL SIZE FOR HOURS
What’s the best wheel size for a mountain bike? The traditional 26-inch wheel? The 27.5-inch? The 29-inch? Only MTBers find joy in this fierce debate.
10. THE GRATITUDE
Unbeatable trails, riding with friends, the sweet, sweet taste of a mountain-town microbrew after a day of hard riding: As a mountain biker, you feel grateful for all of it every time you hit the trails.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT RIDE