Over a Beer: I Don’t Have to Justify the Time I Spend Mountain Biking

Trail: Jewel Pass, Canmore, AB. Rider: Ryan Kikauka. Photo: Greg Heil

Editor’s Note: “Over a Beer” is a regular column written by Greg Heil. While Greg is the Editor in Chief for Singletracks.com, any opinions expressed in this column are his alone and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Singletracks.com.

Mountain biking isn’t a means to an end. Its purpose is not to be a vehicle by which I make a living or achieve some other goal, it is the end goal in and of itself. Mountain biking isn’t a step in the journey, the journey is itself the destination. If the journey was to end, that would mean that the destination was not successfully reached. A conclusion would mean failure.

The question “why do you mountain bike?” presupposes that mountain biking is instrumental in achieving an end goal for you, like fitness or something of the sort. For me, fitness is a pleasant byproduct of riding my bikes in the mountains—a byproduct that I value, but one that is subordinate to the main goal nonetheless.

It always amuses me when I talk to friends who feel like they can only carve out the time to get away and mountain bike if they have some sort of excuse—that excuse is usually training for a race. Somehow, it’s easier for them to tell the world that they can’t participate in a social event or whatever it may be because they “have to train.”

I make no such excuses.

Rather, I ride my mountain bike because I enjoy riding it. Maybe then “happiness” is the answer to the question “why do you mountain bike?” but happiness seems to me to be the root answer to the majority of life’s questions, if we take the time to be honest with ourselves.

More to the point, I don’t feel like I need to create an extraneous excuse in order to justify my time on the mountain bike. I don’t need to be training for a race. I don’t need to be trying to lose weight or gain fitness. I don’t need to necessarily be socializing with a group of friends or filling some sort of obligation. I ride my bike because I like to ride it.

And that is enough.

Mountain biking is an intrinsic good because it is worthwhile all by itself.