Give Ontario Mountain Biking a Chance
The sport of Mountain biking is becoming increasingly popular in recent years and it is starting to generate more buzz in the area of casual outdoor sports and physical activities. When people think of mountain biking they obviously think of mountains… and because of this initial thought, they would jump to the conclusion that Ontario probably would not have a very good environment for this sport considering the lack of mountains, but I am hoping to change that common misconception of this sport in Ontario.
Mountain biking was started by adventure seeking people who were looking to explore new and unfamiliar terrain. Pioneers discovered that a bicycle was the most fun and efficient way to explore this new land. People are often turned off by mountain biking because they associate it with a dangerous and intense extreme sport, and I’m not going to say that this not true in some cases. There are many different levels and styles of mountain biking that can fit any persons experience or comfort level so there is no need to be nervous. By living in Ontario in particular we are not blessed with the breathtaking and intimidating mountains of British Columbia and Alberta but there are still lots of great opportunities for people to get introduced to the sport in a more conservative environment
Experience Does Not Matter!
One of the great things about Mountain biking in Ontario is the wide variety of terrain and trials that are accessible to ride. Whether it is your first time on a bike in the last 10 years or you are an experienced biker there are trails around this province varying in degrees of difficulty that fit all types of people.
For the more advanced thrill seeking people, there are downhill mountain biking parks at Blue Mountain which have jump sections as well as more intense and challenging marked trails, which require a gondola to access. For many people, Blue Mountain should not become a real consideration until they are very comfortable on their bike and to do so there are countless other networks of beginner and intermediate trails around the province that are easy to get to no matter where you live. Many of these trial networks are designed around the style of biking called cross-country which is limited in big elevation changes but takes you through different elements and helps you become more comfortable and build confidence. Pretty well every city that has a cross country ski club will have cross country bike trials developed as well.
There is an amazing smartphone app and website called Trailforks which is a platform that has mapped out biking trails uploaded by locals. This awesome tool allows people who are new to mountain biking and who do not have knowledge of trial networks to find local riding opportunities.
Multiple Benefits to Mountain Biking
Once the people of Ontario become educated and learn about all the benefits both mentally and physically that mountain biking offers I think that they will be excited to try out this awesome sport. By just getting out into the woods and discovery new places that you have never been before does a great deal for you mind. I find it extremely stress relieving to set aside some time and just go get lost in the woods without the distractions from our busy lives. You really get the opportunity to connect with your self as well as your riding buddies and it really improves the rest of your day. My favourite thing in the world is to ride my bike right when I get home from work or school because it lets me release my built up energy through the day.
Mountain biking also has incredible physical health benefits as it is a great way to exercise and improve cardio and balance/coordination. Many people including myself have a hard time running because it puts a lot of strain on my knee joints and legs. Mountain biking is great for this because it reduces the stress put on your joints and therefore you can get a fantastic work out without putting your body through unnecessary pain and discomfort. Riding a bike is a smoother motion so it is easier on your body and also by being in the woods you get different levels of intensity from climbing hills and flying down descents.
I hope that this post might encourage people living in Ontario to try to sport of mountain biking. There are many benefits associated with the activity and we are lucky enough to live in a place that has a growing community of avid bikers who have access to a vast network of varying trails and riding material!