No matter how much I love to ride my mountain bike into the wilderness there are always some risks associated with it. There are some pros and cons to everything you do. We as humans often tend to focus on all the good things associated with something while turning a blind eye to the cons. Let’s go through some of the cons that are associated with mountain biking and how it can affect you or someone around you. Some of these downsides can be through personal experiences, so one of these downsides may or may not be true for you.
The 8 Main Downsides of mountain biking:
- Exposure to Wilderness
- Low visibility
- Bike Thieves
- Limited Trails
Mountain biking effect on Health
Mountain biking is healthy but there are several reasons that would make you think the other way. Mountain biking is fun but it’s one of the high-risk activities that pose serious risks to health. Careless and less focused riders are one of many reasons that most mountain bikers end up in terrible accidents that result in broken collar bones, Ligament injuries, concussions, and even death.
Mountain bike tracks are designed to be more fun rather than safer, considering they are designed to give you a much-needed adrenaline rush. Prolong riding sessions result in joint and knee pain. Intense biking sessions and high-impact use of knees often turn into chronic painful knees that result in multiple surgeries later in life.
In certain circumstances, Mountain biking also causes erectile dysfunction in males as the saddle puts constant stress on the area between genitals and anus called the perineum. These stress damage nerves and cause fertility issues later in life. Mountain bike saddles slow the blood flow to this region, resulting in decreased oxygen supply to genitals that promote erectile dysfunction. In many cases, ED (erectile dysfunction) caused by biking tends to be temporary but it’s best to always consult your health care professional, in case you wanted to know more about risks with biking or if you start showing any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Mountain biking is Expensive
When it comes to expenses, maintaining a mountain bike is very costly, it is to mention that bikes themselves are not cheap because good quality mountain bikes can cost anywhere from 2500$ up to 6000$. You can’t ride your bike safely if it’s just you and your bike, is it? You need a bike helmet, a set of shin guards, a good light set, Biking Boots, glasses, elbow pads, padded gloves, padded shorts, neck brace, etc. All these gears cost quite a sum, adding up the total. Not to mention the custom accessories that are necessary for good mountain biking experiences such as quality suspensions, clipless pedals, bike covers, comfortable saddles, handlebars, and mudguards. Multi-tool Kits for your mountain bikes are quite expensive, which are also a must-buy considering you would do small repairs at home which otherwise gets more exorbitant. when You take your bike to your mechanic for quarterly (at least) maintenance or replacement of various other bike parts such as bike chains, brake rotors, derailleur hangers, braking pads, chain, hub bearings, bottom bracket, fork seals, and bike tires, all these items end up making you regret the decision of owning a mountain bike because of the prices.
Mountain bike trails are often located hours distance away from your home, driving to this remote location daily, fuel expenses would easily add up to half of your total monthly savings. Its important to mention that even though there are no fuel costs associated with riding a bike itself but still operating a mountain bike gets expensive when you take notice of all the costs that come with it.
Effects of mountain biking on Environment:
Mountain biking is damaging to the environment in many ways. Most of us are ignorant about how our activities, unintentionally result in the degradation of the very environment and this planet we all live on.
Mountain biking results in the loss of vegetation in remote areas which leads to the destruction of the native plantation and results in the growth of invasive plants that hurt the habitat of that region. Intense mountain biking also results in soil compaction in those areas, which decreases the absorption abilities of soil and results in water runoffs to other areas that don’t need it this much leading to other serious issues. Compact soil also hinders the ability of plants to effectively grow which slows the plant’s overall growth, because of oxygen deficiency. Most mountain bikes instead of getting recycled or reused end up in the same landfills that are polluting our planet. Most of the bikers often carry single use-plastic bottles that end up choking wildlife in those areas. Some of the bikes with carbon fiber frames are also damaging as the process is very energy-intensive. For lubrication used for chains in mountain bikes, most the brands have Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) present in their products which is proven by experts to be damaging to wildlife.
Bike tires and tubes are the second biggest cause of pollution. Most of these tires and tubes are designed this way that they are very hard to recycle, because of this most of these tubes end up in landfills and rivers in the form of nano-plastic fibers.
Exposure to Wilderness:
No matter how much we as mountain bikers love to go on adventures into the wilderness. Some of those areas we end up visiting are season sensitive. Human activities in those regions damage the planation and their natural pollination process which harm the native surrounding plants. Not only the native plantation but wildlife also gets affected by these activities. In mountain biking sessions, you can easily startle a wild animal, which gets very close and often results in animal fleeing which is energy-intensive especially in winter months when food sources are already scarce. Frequent exposure to wild animals also increases the chances of their aggression that result in serious accidents.
In intense riding sessions, sometimes small creatures unintentionally get in our way and get killed as result. Instances as such harm the local population of these creatures which then starts to disturb the ecological balance of nature.
Bike Theft problems
Mountain bikes tend to be more expensive than normal bikes you see on the streets, you know the reason why that is, it’s the pricing. It’s because of these reasons mountain bikes have become the prime target of thieves. The numbers of bikes that get stolen each year are only on the rise because of the few security features installed on the bikes. Thieves can easily assess the prices of these bikes because of their unique functions which are visible to naked eyes. Only 5-6% of bikes that get stolen end up being recovered by local police. It’s because of these reasons owning a bike gets very risky and maintaining one is not cheap, especially in urban areas. You can try locking your bike with premium locks but a thief carrying a few simple tools can easily steal parts of your bike and sell them in the market for a lucrative price. If you own a bike, it becomes a hassle as you can’t go anywhere without leaving your mountain bike at home. Risk can be minimized if you buy mountain bike covers, that comes with a built-in strapping mechanism that keeps the bike firm at its place but then they also come at premium prices.
Mountain bike Trails are also few in number, it’s because of the large distances between them that it gets very troublesome to get to these distant locations. Few available trails in some areas then result in more off-trail biking activities that are most damaging to the environment when it comes to mountain bikes.
Bike maintanance and storing is cumpsory and it can be expensive
Mountain bikes require a workshop or sufficient space in a garage where you can store your bike and perform daily inspections when required. Less storage will result in you storing your bike outside. Storing your bike outsides leaves it to the mercy of bad weather and thieves. Bad weather conditions can easily damage your bike and after a few weeks, rust will start to form inside the bike that then resulting in costly repairs. At night mountain bikes are more prone to thieves especially when you are storing it outside, rather than in a controlled environment (your home). In some of the high humidity areas, even storing your bike in your Gurage is costly. High humidity can start to rust chains in your mountain bike, that’s why you would be required to purchase a good dehumidifier to keep the Gurage dry enough for your bike. Dehumidifiers consume tons of energy that gets very expensive in the long run.
It’s because of these reasons getting a mountain bike can be tiresome. After knowing both pros and cons of mountain biking, you can make more informed purchase decisions in the future. Happy riding!