Mountain biking. Perhaps this extreme sport is one of the most evolved recreational activities to date. Looking back when bicycles were invented for the sole purpose of being a transportation tool, biking has now grown to become a multipurpose activity that anyone who’s able can participate and enjoy.
Traversing the high ground with a mountain bike is an amazing hobby in itself, but did you know that mountain biking has got some facts you know nothing about? Fortunately, we have here a list of things you didn’t know about your beloved sport.
MOUNTAIN BIKES WERE JUST A TRANSPORTATION TOOL
As previously mentioned, bikes were invented mainly as people’s transportation tools, just like cars. But as they say, there is no limit to what people can imagine and create. People thought of manufacturing mountain bikes with the same goal in mind, but this time, for traversing rough terrains. Off-road bikes began to emerge during the 1890s, beginning as heavy and slow-moving vehicles. Today, we see a massive evolution of mountain bikes from being just a transportation tool to a very popular off-road recreational activity. The sophisticated gearing, wheels, shock, and braking systems, in addition to the well-thought-out geometry and aerodynamics of mountain bikes, will attest to that.
ORIGIN OF MOUNTAIN BIKING AS AN EXTREME SPORT
Mountain biking as an extreme sport dates back to the 1970s in California, USA. Most mountain biking enthusiasts would agree that the sport began at the highest peak in Marin Hills, Mount Tamalpais, when five people, namely, Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, Keith Bontrager, Charlie Cunningham, and Tom Ritchie road their then improvised mountain bikes up from the high ground down the hill. These people were later recognized as the founding fathers of the sport and were able to make further improvements to their mountain bikes.
MOUNTAIN BIKES WERE ONLY MEANT TO GO DOWNHILL
Yep, you read that right. Even in the first attempts to make mountain biking some sort of an extreme sport, bikes were ridden only from the top going down the steep terrain, which means that bikers never road their bikes uphill and had to carry their mountain bikes up to the starting point then ride them down the hill. In the present day, mountain bikes are designed so that we can make ride them both ways. Going uphill can be tough at times, but we know it’s not real mountain biking without the thrill and challenge, right?
MOUNTAIN BIKING COMES IN MANY FORMS
It is no surprise that an awesome sport like mountain biking can have different forms and variations. Mountain biking comes in many disciplines and sporting events like cross country, endurance, extreme, free ride, and winter downhill. Why the different forms, you ask? Well, people thought that mountain biking could be enjoyed in such many ways and be participated in by different individuals with varying levels of physical prowess.
MOUNTAIN BIKING KNOWS NO AGE LIMIT
The fun part about mountain biking is that it does not discourage young and adult bikers whose passion for adventure and thrill remains unquenched despite its being an extreme sport. As a matter of fact, an Australian boy named Sam Hill became the youngest rider to ever conquer a mountain biking world championship at the tender age of 16. Fred Schmidt, another biker who competed and clinched national championships, started his biking career at the age of 60 when someone gifted him a bike. This just goes to show that it is not too early nor too late to begin riding because certainly, mountain biking knows no age limit.
MOUNTAIN BIKING SPORTING EVENTS
As a world-renowned sport, mountain biking sports events have been taking place in almost every part of the world, and for a mountain bike fan, some of them are not quite easy to miss.
- The Trans-Himalayan Bike Race features the world’s most elevated mountain bike race held in the Tibetan part of Mount Everest, which is the highest peak of the world. The captivating view at the top of the world at an altitude of 17,160 ft. is enough to take the biker’s breath away – literally and figuratively.
- The Birkebeinerrittet (the Birkebeiner cycling race) in Norway hosts the largest mountain bike race event in terms of the number of participants – hosting 10,000 to 15,000 contestants every year.
- The Tour Divide is a yearly mountain bike riding event that follows the 2,745-mile (4,418 km) Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, traversing the length of the Rocky Mountains starting from Canada up to the Mexican border. It is evidently, the longest bike race event in the world.