Photo courtesy of BLM
One of the founding concepts of urban mountain biking is “ride to your ride”. That is, the ability to get to the trail via your bike. No need for you pack up your car and drive to the location you intend to ride.
This concept has many advantages. First, the selfish one, in that it gives you more time to ride if you don’t have to go very far. But from an ecological point of view, the reasons why ride to your ride is a positive start to stack up. Just under a third of greenhouse gases are from transportation. Private motor vehicles are the primary culprit. Every trip you don’t use a car is that much less greenhouse gasses that are killing penguins. Connected to this are the items used in your car moving, from the rubber in your tires, to the oil in your engine, the various coolants and fluids. All these impacts add up because, even with recycling, many of these items have long supply chains that require motor vehicle transportation themselves. Lastly, there is the infrastructure aspect. Fewer car trips require few roads that are smaller in size. Smaller roads allow for the type of development patterns that further lower man’s impact on the planet. These development patterns, sometimes called “old school” or “strong towns” also can pay for themselves through tax revenue and therefore give a city the ability to invest in more public services, including the purchase of lands for public use.
But is this concept just that? In practice, can it exist in the real world?
While perusing this site, you may have noted the term “urban mountain biking” used versus the term “urban off-road cycling”. Why is that?
The first thing that should be acknowledged is that neither term is perfect. Both have their pluses and minuses. Such is the way with terminology used in the sport of mountain biking. The term “mountain bike” makes no sense as there are plenty of places with fun mountain bike trails that have zero mountains. The types of mountain biking also use terms that are confusing. “Cross country”, “all mountain” and “downhill”. At some point, every type of bike does what these terms describe in some way.
“Off-road cycling” is a term that has recently gained some traction with land managers. The primary reason is that this term allows many types of cycling to fit under an umbrella term. The land manager can create a policy that covers everything to quarter acre pump track to 20-mile singletrack trail system. This honestly does have some merit from a land managers standpoint. One bucket for all the things that that involve bikes on dirt.
But there are some serious problems with the use of this term. Some are pretty obvious, some are not. They include:
Both of these are biking off of a road. But only one of them is "off road cycling" (Hint: its the right one.)
Because of these reasons, City MTB will use the term “urban mountain biking” when discussing bicycling wheels on dirt. Let’s acknowledge that it is imperfect and it doesn’t technically cover things like BMX tracks, cyclocross or adventure courses. However, it perfectly describes the largest type of wheels on dirt experience in the United States: mountain biking on singletrack trails.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.