It’s not the bike or even the terrain that matters, it’s just being there.
One of my favourite Tweets/Facebook Posts over the Xmas period was from www.sacredrides.com – a respected Canadian mtb tour operator – entitled ‘10 Reasons Why Mountain Biking is Better than Road Biking.’
The style was funny and pretty tongue in cheek – even if some of the reasons stated were slightly debatable. And it was rapidly shared around the MTB cyber-sphere.
At this stage it got even funnier. But no, not because it had been edited. Now it was the rather polarised comments added to the bottom of most of the posts that were amusing me. It was like reading a football forum on derby day*.
Now I’m not usually known for sitting on the fence. But on this particular issue, I plonk my padded shorts firmly between the two camps. And for two reasons.
The first is because I genuinely enjoy both. They are incredibly different, and I enjoy them for very different reasons, but I do them both regularly, and I get a lot from them.
The second reason is because they are so complementary.
Mountain bikers – ride a road bike hard, regularly, and you will improve – especially if you live in a hilly area and can really put some effort into those climbs.
Roadies – ride a mountain bike hard, regularly, and all but the very best will improve their bike handling skills and start descending faster and more in control.
There are no losers…
My own mountain biking has improved exponentially since I picked up my first road bike less than two years ago. I’m getting up climbs I would have walked, I have enough breath to use techie skills over obstacles that would have stopped me, and I’m also fresher to really rock and roll on the descents.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I’m enjoying it more too.
On the other side, I’ve become confident enough on skinny tyres to make the most of every fast descent – and on 23mm of rubber pumped to 100psi, that really does mean fast.
The irony is that in becoming a cyclist, as opposed to an mtber or a roadie, I’ve actually become better at both. And I whole-heartedly recommend a dose of the same for everyone. Give it a go; you’ll love it.
My final word though, goes to the author of the original piece.
Don’t worry Mike, roadies can wear bib shorts too 😉
*Note: turn of phrase – I don’t actually follow football