Why I Gave Up Mountain Biking

It was the mid-1990s and mountain biking was super cool, or at least that's what my buddies and I thought. I worked overtime at my summer job to replace my 12-speed road bike with a shiny new mountain bike. It was a pretty sweet ride, but it didn't have shocks, something I didn't really need since I was living in central Iowa.

My buddies and I headed down to the dirt trails along the Des Moines River or near Saylorville Lake after school and on the weekends. We took sweet jumps. We rode fast over bumps, wiped out taking corners too fast and got ourselves covered in mud. It was a blast but, knowing what I know now, that wasn't mountain biking.

A couple years later, I moved from the suburbs of central Iowa to the mountains of Summit County, Colorado. I made the move because I wanted to snowboard as much as possible and to enjoy the freedom that comes with being 19. Admittedly, mountain biking was a bit of an afterthought but I brought the bike along in hopes of showing off my mad skills on the Colorado Trails.


Within a day or two of my arrival, my roommate and I decided to go for our first Colorado ride. We lived at the top of a huge hill with a road the wound back and forth like switchbacks. We knew there were some trails at the bottom of the hill so we hopped on our bikes and headed down the paved road. We quickly started to pick up some speed. Before long we going way too fast like 19-year-old boys tend to do. I started to slowly use my breaks as I began to fear for my life. That's when I watched my friend lose control on the curve ahead of me. He flew over his handlebars and rolled head-over-heels into the ditch.

With only a few scrapes and bruises, he was fine but we headed back home to wash out his wounds. A day or two later we took our bikes to an establish mountain biking area for what we believed would be our first taste of Colorado mountain biking. In true Colorado fashion, the trail went straight up. It only took me a few moments before I decided this wasn't going to be much fun.

By alternating between walking and biking, I was able to get up the trail. After I'd had enough, I decided to head back down. This would be fun, I thought. Barreling down the steep slopes but, this Iowa boy realized he didn't know the first thing about mountain biking.

Mountain Biking Photo by Jamie Przybysz

What we did along the river in Iowa was fun, it was a good workout and I always enjoyed it, but looking back, it wasn't mountain biking. Now that I know what mountain biking is, I'm not interested. I'll take snowboarding for my adrenaline fix and hiking or backpacking for my summer time outdoor time.

I didn't have the right equipment, probably wasn't on the best trail and didn't try that hard. I'm sure mountain biking is a lot of fun, but I knew right away it wasn't for me. Don't make the same mistakes I did, check out these tips: Mountain Biking Tips. Need more information: Why You Should Consider Mountain Biking.
Featured Image courtesy of Anthony DeLorenzon.

Shop Now:

Cycling Helmets
Bike Components
Mountain Bike Clothing

Andy Hawbaker
posted by
Andy Hawbaker
Andy is a hiker, backpacker, snowboarder and outdoor fanatic. When he isn't exploring the Rocky Mountains, burning marshmallows or scratching his dog behind the ear, he shares his experiences here on the Sierra Trading Post Blog.
Join the Conversation