July 20 marks the 4th annual Ride MTB Day. It’s a great opportunity to get outside, ride with your friends and spin your legs on your mountain bike. Whether you’re brand new to the sport, looking to expand out of recreational riding or commuting, a seasoned rider or someone putting your legs over the saddle of a bike for the first time, Ride MTB day is for you.
The goal of the day is simply to get more people outside on mountain bikes. It’s easy to participate. All you need to do is get outside on your mountain bike either by yourself or with a few friends. When you do, be sure to hashtag #RideMTBDay to let your friends know that it’s a beautiful day to get out on a ride. Also check out RideMTBDay.com
For those of you who are curious about riding mountain bikes, but haven’t made the leap yet, we spoke with Dave Ahumada, a Ride MTB Day board member, about the sport.
Dave started mountain biking in the ‘80s as a way to ride when he wasn’t racing his road bike. “I didn’t have to stick to the streets and could ride my bike anywhere,” says Ahumada. “You get the same or better level of exercise as road riding while also getting to enjoy the natural setting of riding on the trails. And, there are no cars or stop lights to deal with.”
Whether you find yourself at a massive downhill park, expansive cross country trail system, or just on a sliver of dirt that runs through your local park, mountain biking gives you the ability to ride your bike while being surrounded by a natural landscape. You also have fewer people, moving cars, delivery vehicles, and busses than you do riding around town. This all makes it a great way to get exercise on those days when you aren’t commuting.
If you are intimidated by the prospect of mountain biking, or making the transition to riding off road, Ahumada gave us a few tips. “The best place to start is always at your local bike shop. It might be a little intimidating to walk in at first, but bike shop employees know better than anyone where the best places to ride are and will steer new riders to the areas better suited to beginner riding.” Local bike shops will also help you find the right gear and equipment, especially a bike. They’ll help let you know if your bike is capable of handling the trails, or if you need to upgrade something like your brakes or the entire bike.
Whereas on your commute your focus might be on getting from one place to another, mountain biking gives you an opportunity to focus on other things, like community building. “I’ve found that mountain bike riders tend to be helpful and welcoming,” says Ahumada. Many local shops also run classes or group rides to help you connect with like-minded people and improve your skills. When in doubt, Ahumada suggests turning to the internet as many local riding clubs have a Facebook or Instagram page where you can connect, see upcoming events, and get help with any questions you might have.
If you’ve been thinking about making the leap to mountain biking there is no day like today. Either get out there on the trails near you or head to a local bike shop to start the process, maybe even rent a bike for a day. Riding on a mountain bike will make you a better cyclist. It’ll improve your handling, stamina and bike control all while giving you an opportunity to exercise and enjoy the natural environment. So get out there and give a wave and a “Hey” to everyone else out on the trail on Ride MTB Day.