Mountain Biking Takes Bike Riding To Another Level
Bike riding has come a long way since its inception in 1817. That’s when Baron Von Drais was cleaver enough to design what he called a walking machine to get around the Royal Gardens faster. He used his feet and two in-line wheels to get from one point to another. The front wheel was steerable when he mounted the wooden frame and pushed with his feet so this new method was referred to as glide walking. It was a short-lived fad that wasn’t practical since it could only be used in a garden or a well maintained park.
Pedals were added to the front wheels of bikes in 1865 and that model was called the “bone shaker” or velocipede (fast foot) since it was made entirely of wood with metal tires. That was a bone shaking combination in those days. Folks would ride them on the cobblestone streets so it was a short-lived fad as well.
Bike riding continued to evolve as men and women discovered they could travel faster on a bike and when they realized that bike riding made them healthier it became a sport. When mountain biking became popular in the 1970s it immediately too bike riding to another level. Some bike enthusiasts say it adds another dimension to this reality. The exact number of mountain bikers is unknown, but according to the American Council on Exercise there are millions of cyclists hitting mountain trails across the country and that’s only about twenty percent of all mountain bike riders.
Mountain bikers enjoy interaction with family and friends as well as the cardiovascular and fat burning qualities that riding off road offers them. Mountain biking is a demanding sport that requires good bike handling skills, endurance, and a healthy dose of self-confidence. It’s a sport where the rider bonds with the bike and nature.
The five popular categories of mountain biking are: downhill, freeride, cross country, street riding, and dirt jump. They all add an element of adventure to the sport as well as adequate dose of exercise to the riders daily routine. Mountain biking can be done anywhere. A country gravel road or a winding mountain two lane as well as the rider’s backyard are perfect locations for a bike with large round frame tubing, knobby tires, and some sort of heavy duty shock absorbers and suspension system.
The Benefits of Mountain Biking
Cycling has a number of mental and physical health benefits. The joy of riding under blue skies and on rough terrain adds an element of freedom to a world that can be restrictive at times. The cardiovascular workout, the muscle building qualities, and the fat burning effect of mountain biking has change the lives of thousands of bike riders. Avid mountain bikers enjoy a healthy lifestyle which includes a balanced diet, the proper amount of rest, and normal hormone levels so body organs work efficiently.
Some of the benefits of this healthy lifestyle include:
- A healthy interaction with family and friends. Some mountain bikers add a back seat for small children in order to bike as a family so rides become a bonding experience.
- Muscle mass development. Calf, quad, and glut muscles and the surrounding tendons are strengthened without adding load bearing stress to those muscle groups.
- Stored fat is burned once the heart rate increases. Riding at least forty-five minutes a day can burn fat stored in the cells around the waist, legs, and buttocks as well as in other cells around the body.
- Blood flow increases throughout the body as the lungs and the heart use more oxygen during a bike ride. Increasing blood flow helps eliminate the free radicals that attach themselves to the cells in vital organs and damage them.
- There is no load bearing pressure on the joints during a ride. Mountain biking reduces injuries and is used as therapy when muscles are injury during other stressful exercise routines.
- Mountain biking is a great vacation sport that increases hormone and endorphin production which enhances mental stability and emotional security.
The thrill and rush of getting out and being one with nautre on a bike is certainly a life changing experience.