two men mountain biking

To those who have never participated in mountain biking, it might be puzzling as to why people would voluntarily plummet down trails at high speeds. Ask any mountain biker, and they’ll probably tell you about the “thrill” or “feeling” they get while riding. Aside from being a great form of exercise, it’s difficult for some mountain bikers to explain quite why they do what they do. They will likely say it’s a “lifestyle” and for some, that is hard to understand. That’s why we’re here to tell you some history and why so many people invest a large amount of their time in this sport. Keep reading to learn more about the growth of mountain biking, and more!

History of Mountain Biking

red mountain bike

There has been some debate as to when people actually started mountain biking, but we’ll say around the 1970’s to keep it simple. Around this time, a group of teenagers called “The Larkspur Canyon Gang” began riding bikes down Mount Tamalpais, commonly known as Mt. Tam, in Marin County of Northern California. This was considered the birth of mountain biking and began to take off beyond the small group of friends.

As time went on, more and more groups were becoming involved in the sport, and people started considering the types of bikes they were riding on. Groups started playing around with different types of brakes, frames, and other components. As to who actually created the first mountain bike, most sources credit Joe Breeze. It is said that he created the first multi-purpose mountain bike in 1978. After this, it was only a matter of time before manufacturers starting pushing out mountain bikes for all to enjoy.

Fast forward and you’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of the greatness that is mountain biking. Planned weeks and months in advance, there is no shortage of individuals or groups that plan their whole lives around this sport. Always looking for the best bike, best equipment, and best trails, these athletes constantly need their MTB fix. Many will even plan trips and vacations around the best trails and parks that they can find. So, the next time you have a chance to talk to a mountain biker, ask about their lifestyle and you might be pleasantly surprised at some of the stories you’ll hear!

Investment in Trails

mountain biker sitting on trail

Now that you know a little history, you might be wondering where mountain bikers actually ride? Many trails have been built by the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA). They are a non-profit educational association whose goal is to create trail opportunities for mountain bikers worldwide. Formed in 1988, mountain bike clubs came together to fight trail closures. Ever since then, they have built over 5,000 trails across the United States. Looking forward, their goal in 2019 is to create more mountain biking opportunities that are close to home.

Bike Park Growth

mountain biker at park

Along with a large community of mountain bike lovers comes a large community of mountain bike PARK lovers. Ask any mountain biker what their favorite park is, and be prepared for a full blown conversation about which park is the best and why. Mountain bike parks have completely taken off since the start of the 21st century, although that is not when they started. Most parks began simply as roads that bikers took as an opportunity to ride. Many of these paths were located on what are now known as some of the best mountain biking destinations. Some that you might recognize are Whistler, Trestle at Winter Park, and Vail. Fun fact: all of these mountain biking destinations are also ski resorts! It is common for ski resorts to offer mountain biking in the summer after all the snow melts off the mountains.

Bike Tourism

mountain biker on trail

Mountain bike tourism is something that’s been happening for years, yet not many people are talking about it. Many also don’t understand that there are economic benefits that come along with bike tourism. Regions with a high number of bike tourists see an increase in their revenue because when mountain bikers visit, they tend to stay longer and spend more than other tourists. Some cities are even opening more businesses that cater to bikers! There is also an environmental impact associated with bike tourism. When mining and logging destroys terrains, there is an opportunity for it to be restored for mountain bikers to enjoy.

Is Mountain Biking Gaining Traction?

Within the last few years, road cyclists have been on the decline. What are they turning to? Yep, you guessed it. Mountain biking. If you're a road cyclist that's worried about sharing the road with cars, there is still something out there for you so you can continue pursuing your passion for riding! Mountain biking is definitely a different environment, but shares many qualities of road cycling. Plus, there are many benefits to mountain biking besides a great workout. You can enjoy the amazing views, it’s good for your heart, and it can serve as an escape from your daily routine.

Don't Forget Your Sunglasses

Before you hit the trails, make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses. New lens technology allows for better clarity and contrast leading to better vision. If you can see what's coming up, you can avoid obstacles and help prevent injury. If you are in the market for a new pair, we carry a large selection from top brands. We also specialize in Prescription Sunglasses and have certified opticians on hand to help you find the perfect lens. If you have any questions please Contact Us. Expect great service at SportRx.

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