Sunday, November 27, 2022

Why Mountain Biking is Best with Friends

Mountain biking is a blast, you get the benefit of cardio and strength training mixed with a dose of adrenalin and some fear.  But it is even better when you get to share it with friends.  I've been blessed for the last 20 years to ride with an excellent group of individuals that have blessed my life and become true friends. We are the "old men" of the OMMBC (Old Men Mountain Biking Club), but you don't get the official title of "Old Man" until you hit 50. 

It all started when my brother showed up at my house on Thanksgiving Day covered in mud riding a 2000 K2 ProFlex with a carbon Easton swing arm.  His first words to me were "you gotta try this!" From then on by the good grace of God, these amazing gentleman (and few ladies) were brought into my life resulting in a long consistent history of weekly night and Saturday morning rides year-round.

These friends were mostly found on the trail, then they brought others and while there have been a number of riders over the years (probably around 100+) there has been a core group of about 15 crazy die-hards that are up for anything.

After 20 years that equals about 1,000+ rides.  That is the beauty of living in the Oregon Willamette Valley, you can ride every day if you want.  I've got to spend a lot of time with these guys because we have hour long climbs up McCulloch Peak, Alsea Falls or Black Rock.  Or on long drives to Moab, Bend, Oak Ridge, McKenzie Trial, etc.  And when you do that, you get to know someone's "real" character.    

This is why mountain biking is better when you experience it with people you trust, enjoy being around and are people of character.  What that does is allow you to have shared memories of great trails, crashes, food, crazy rides, road trips, life experiences and lots and lots of laughter (without all the drama).  


The photos in this post are an example of that.  These are photos from just 2022, which include some of the next generation.  In 20 years of riding you see kids get born, grow up, graduate from school and event get married.  That is a lot of history (and a lot of stories).  

Now, there is obviously the safety side of riding with someone in case there is a mechanical or injury.  And we have had both.  There is always the need of a tool someone else has, or pump that is quicker to get than yours, or the tube you forgot. All given freely without a second thought (even if it is just a helping hand in getting a tire to seat).  But it is sharing a laugh, a smile or life venting session on a climb that better and a bond stronger.

Finally, if you ride a lot, you are going to ride alone, which I like to do.  I get to control the pace and just enjoy being outside, but it is a different experience when you are with someone.  Not better or worse, just different.  While I may not be the most articulate in expressing my feelings, I think you can see by the pictures the power of friendship around a united interest and how it makes that experience all the more special.  

I have also found the mountain biking community to be very accepting and inviting, which again sets it apart (even if you aren't an eBike fan or ride a single speed :-)).  So, go ride and do it with someone to make it even more enjoyable.  

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