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Daily Archives: March 19, 2013


Hold On There, Sparky… Mountain Biking Is ‘Better’ Than Road Cycling?

The search term of the week:  “why mountain biking is better than road biking”?

If mountain biking is better than cycling, that’s news by me.  The truth is, as far as I’m concerned, you cannot compare the two – they’re too different.  It’s like comparing Coke to Gatorade, they’re both technically “good” but for different reasons.  Being good at both, and enjoying each, mountain biking and cycling have their redemptive qualities.  Mountain biking on a single track is a better all around workout, of that I have no doubt.  On the other hand, if you like speed (as I do) you’ll be sorely disappointed when it comes to a single track – or worse, riding a mountain bike out on the road.  In fact, assuming that you’re relatively accomplished at mountain biking, go to your local bike shop and find out when the advanced ride is – then show up with your mountain bike and try to keep up for more than a half mile.  Good luck with that.  Cycling in a full pace-line (our Tuesday evening ride normally tops 25 cyclists) is an incredibly exhilarating way to get some fantastically fun miles in – it’s nothing short of awesome (if a little scary for noobs).

On the other hand, mountain biking – what the guys I hang with call ‘playing in the dirt’, is great fun as well.  Tailgating afterwards is pretty much the norm even if the actual ride is more of a solo venture.  Climbing up hills that you could hardly walk up, dodging wildlife, avoiding roots, rocks and trees…these are not to be missed.  I have one friend in particular that I ride with on the single tracks of southeastern Michigan and I’m here to, at 42, hitting jumps on a bike as I did three decades ago brings a smile to my face like few things, at least where clothing is a requirement.  Just thinking about it coming around the corner, as I watch the snow pelt the road outside, has me a little giddy.

So that’s pretty much the short of it.  Mountain biking isn’t better than cycling, it isn’t “worse” either.  The two are completely different disciplines and there is more than enough in each cyclist to thoroughly enjoy both – the only trick is affording all of the equipment – and don’t even get me started on that.