What I mean by the title of this post is that you shouldn’t let biking intimidate you. The friends I go biking with are all nerds. Science nerds, film nerds, computer nerds. You name it, we geek out over it. We aren’t really huge fitness guys. We were more likely to get picked last in gym class, honestly. That’s why I called this blog Whimps. Because if you met me in real life, it would probably be one of the first words you might think of to describe me. And yet I don’t let that stop me. I’m out there almost every weekend, riding the trails and enjoying myself. I couldn’t ask for more.
I’m telling you this not because I enjoy self-depreciation. I am telling you because there are probably some of you out there who want to go out there and try mountain biking but you keep talking yourself out of it. You might think you need to be more physically fit. Maybe but how is sitting there reading this blog helping your fitness goals? Maybe you are afraid of hurting yourself. That’s a legit concern. First, nobody’s forcing you to bike on the side of a mountain. There are plenty of flat or near flat locations for you to ride. And they sell pads and helmets. Perhaps there is a disability you think might be holding you back. That’s not really true, either. Even Disabled Sports USA agrees with me on this, people. You might need extra padding to protect old injuries or take other special precautions. I’ll leave that up to you, your doctor or physical therapist, or your parent/significant other. I promise you, though, if you can get a bike that is trail-worthy and you can operate it, you can do it. Sometimes the excuse is age.Maybe you think your child is too young. In that case, I recommend you buy two bikes and get out there with your kid and see how awesome it is for yourself. Remember, at some point, your kid is not going to want to do stuff with you anymore. If your presence is a condition on this one, they might actually accept it and you will remain the cool parent, for a little longer at least. That’s what I would do, at any rate.
It won’t be pretty at first. I’m not going to lie, there is a learning curve. Many people are under the mistaken assumption that riding a mountain bike is as easy as…well, riding a bike. And it is, but it isn’t. There is a lot more to it, with the different gears and terrain and all that. Don’t let it intimidate you. You don’t learn how to drive on a freeway, so don’t just go out on a trail and hope for the best. Give yourself the time to learn about your bike and how to ride it before you head anywhere with hills or rocks. Learn the different parts of your bike, what they are called and what they do. Learn how to take care of everything, what to oil and where to oil it, and how to do simple maintenance in case something goes wrong when you are out in the wilderness. Bike shops are a great place to learn stuff like this (be willing to pay for the time; it may not be necessary but it will definitely endear you to the employee), but the internet and books are OK if you don’t have access to a real bike shop or you are more of a DIYer.