Thinking about getting into mountain biking, but coming up with all sorts of reasons why you can’t? Or maybe you have a friend that is full of excuses for why they don’t want to try mountain biking? Here are 5 of the most common excuses (and my responses).
1. That bike costs how much!?
Yes, if I’m being honest, my mountain bike costs more than my car. But wait, hear me out! You don’t need to take out a loan and you don’t need to have a top end (or top price) bike to get started.
I recommend first time bike buyers start by investing in a quality bike frame with decent components and over time, upgrade to better components (wheels, tires, rotors, brakes). Or, consider buying a used bike. If you’re totally new to riding, demo a bike from your local shop to figure out what you do and don’t like before dropping the cash. You can find more Ninja tips on finding the right bike here.
2. I’m too out of shape. I can’t breathe!
Mountain biking is an entirely unique type of cardiovascular activity and it will take time for your body to adjust. Don’t worry – we’ve all been there and it gets easier! People of any fitness level can start mountain biking (really) and with a bit of patience and consistency, you’ll be surprised how quickly you’re pedaling up the mountain and holding down a conversation. Check your ego at the parking lot and give yourself permission to take it slow, rest when you need to, and push again when you feel up to it.
I recommend finding a short local trail that you can ride consistently. By riding the same stretch of trail, you can track your progress and celebrate your improvements!
3. I’m going to get hurt. Mountain biking is dangerous!
You don’t need to be throwing yourself down a rocky chute when you first start mountain biking. Mountain biking does NOT have to be scary! The best way to avoid injury? Take a skills clinic and ride within your limits. If you are riding with good form and a solid foundation of skills, you can gradually build up to more technical terrain without hurting yourself.
If you try to learn on your own without a good understanding of those foundational skills – How do my brakes work? What is the proper body positioning? Should I be seated or standing on the bike? How do I get over that stick on the trail? – you can easily get yourself in trouble. Working with a certified mountain bike instructor will help you to gain an understanding of these foundational skills, help you establish your riding limits and avoid unnecessary injuries.
4. I have no one to ride with!
There are so many easy solutions to this one. Here are a few:
- Show up to a Ninja skills clinic and make some new riding friends!
- Attend your local bike shop’s group ride.
- Join a local trail advocacy organization, riding club or team.
- My personal favorite, get out there and enjoy riding by yourself!
5. Mountain biking takes too much time.
You don’t have to be doing long, epic trail rides to get into mountain biking and you don’t have to ride 6 days a week to call yourself a mountain biker. Set a goal to ride your bike twice a week – one short weekday ride and one long(er) weekend ride.
Feeling good with 2 rides per week? Great, now start building in a weekday skills session in your driveway (checkout these 8 Moves to Master Anywhere) and/or hit the gym for a little strength training to give your pedal stroke more power!
Before long your love for mountain biking will blossom and you’ll quit your job, move into a van and start posting your ride videos to youtube! …or maybe you’ll just find it easy to make time for riding when it’s something that brings you joy.
Trying something new can be intimidating and changing up your routine is never easy, but it can be both fun and rewarding. Give yourself a chance to feel like a kid again, throw your excuses out the window, and hit the trail!