There are many ways to look at what are the benefits of Mountain Biking. As a lot of people reading this, will come from a Triathlon background and ride road bikes I am going to look at it in the perspective of “Is mountain bike riding good for people who mainly spend most of their time on road bikes?” All of the benefits I talk about can also most definitely relate to just pure Mountain bike riders, or Off Road Triathletes.
- Mountain Bike Riding is excellent practice for pedaling technique. You cannot grind and stomp those gears like you can on a road bike. Mountain bikers are known for having extremely good pedaling technique. On the Mountain bike you will learn to spin those legs more and not grind heavy gears, as a lot of the time you don’t have the choice, but to spin.
- Mountain biking is excellent training for your power component of fitness. It contains lots of short explosive bursts. Short sharp bursts to get up short, sharp hills and also short, explosive bursts to maintain momentum, to get over a technical section. You will be amazed at how much this will improve your power and strength on the hills, on the road bike.
- When mountain biking you definitely use more core and upper body muscles. You have to keep those working from time to time and you will notice a difference in all sorts of disciplines, when you have a strong core.
- Mountain biking improves bike handling skills and excellent cornering techniques that can be transferred to the road bike. This will help you out riding in bunches and it will also help you in those triathlon races at the turn around points. You will be surprised how much time can be gained, by having good bike handling skills in a race.
- Mountain bike riding is a pleasant change of scenery. It is amazing what a little bit of time out in the bush, can do for the mind.
- No need to worry about traffic. Kangaroos are the main hazard to be careful of!
- No need to ride indoors when the weather turns miserable. Wind is never an issue on a mountain bike and a bit of rain and mud, makes it even more enjoyable. Once you head into the bush, the wind component leaves. For me, not jumping on the road bike on a windy day and hitting the mountain bike instead, makes for an enjoyable session, rather than a miserable session and just doing it because you have to.
- Mountain biking is generally considered to be very friendly and a more inviting social scene than road. The people you generally meet out on the trails, are super friendly and always happy to help, or lead you in the right direction, if necessary.
- You can get a good solid workout in in less than 2hrs that will leave you completely spent. A 2hr session, can be as good as 3hr session on the road bike.
- Unless you hit a tree or fall off a cliff, wiping out a mountain bike is usually harmless. You are usually surrounded by nice fernery, to make for a soft landing.
The list can go on. If you are new to mountain bike riding the best thing to do, is to go out and ride with people, who know how to ride. Following a smooth mountain bike riders line, will make a huge difference to your riding and you will improve a lot quicker, rather than just trying to go out on your own and just figure it out.
I am always happy to go for a ride in the bush, if anyone is keen. A social ride, practising skills, is always a lot of fun. Hope to see you all out on the trails sometime soon!