When someone says “road bike” many people think of a skinny, serious looking guy in lycra flying past on an equally skinny-wheeled bike upsetting road users by hogging the lane or else parked up at a cafe flashing his shaved legs to everyone trying to enjoy a quiet weekend cappuccino.
Likewise when someone says “mountain biking” many people think of a long haired guy chugging energy drinks and wearing a full faced helmet pelting down a mountain side as fast as he can only missing trees by millimetres.
While these are stereotypical extremes of what is classified as a “cyclist” the vast majority of people thankfully fall somewhere in the middle. I consider myself both a mountain biker (having cycled the Munda Biddi as well as through numerous countries in South and Central America) and a road racer (having competed in numerous 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlons) but have never flashed my shaved legs at cafes or chugged energy drinks while riding downhill.
Since I am now in the business of guiding mountain bike tours I am obviously biased towards that genre in this article but if someone was to ask me whether road riding or mountain biking was better I would always answer mountain biking. Here’s why –
- The obvious: No Cars. From first hand experience I can honestly say that being hit by a car hurts. A lot. And riding anywhere where that is no longer a risk is a good thing.
- Mountain biking is better for your health: Not sharing the road with vehicles blowing exhaust fumes into your face is a lot better for your lungs. Removing the potential threat of being hit by these fume emitting vehicles is also better for your stress and anxiety levels and overall mental health.
- Nature: There’s nothing like the feeling of being surrounded by nature or having the ability to stop riding and hug a tree whenever the fancy takes. Mountain bike trails often take you to remote, peaceful places, where you can commune with nature, meditate, and enjoy the great outdoors. You rarely get such opportunities on a road bike.
- Fewer Type ‘A’s: Mountain biking seems to attract more laid-back people. Whenever I’ve gone out for a road ride, everyone is training for something and it quickly gets competitive. When I go mountain biking it’s all about enjoying good times with good friends.
- Mountain Biking has lots of Riding Styles to Choose From: Cross-Country, Trail Riding, All-Mountain (Enduro), Freeride, Downhill, Dirt Jumping. No matter who you are, there’s a type of mountain biking to suit your personality. Road riding has just the one style to choose from which is… you guessed it – riding on the road.
- Crashing on dirt hurts a lot less than on pavement. Ok, that might not be true as they both really hurt but at least I won’t be run over afterwards when I fall over on dirt.
- Mountain biking gives you a better workout: Riding on the road improves your cardiovascular fitness. Mountain biking requires much more dynamic fitness and incorporates many more muscle groups through the use of gear variety, bike structure and riding terrain.
If I’ve convinced you to try mountain biking consider one of our guided Munda Biddi tours. They are great fun and fully supported leaving you free to fully enjoy the above mentioned benefits and many more. For more information click here –