Standing in front of my bike with frost covered trees in the background.

I Started Mountain Biking and Didn’t Die

In 2022 I did a thing. I started mountain biking. And I didn’t die. (Whenever I go out, my wife tells me not to die.)

Instead I biked 239 miles, 37 separate times at 19 different places across 8 states. (And that’s just mountain biking, not counting my road biking.)

It was not without incident.

  • I managed to bruise my tailbone on my second ride out and couldn’t ride for three weeks. I had to sit on a donut. So I bought knee pads.
  • My brand new bike fell off my bike rack. Let’s not talk about how I didn’t notice right away and dragged it let’s not say how far.
  • How hard can a teeter totter be? I never found out, because I fell off the raised platform before I even got to the teeter totter.

But it was also incredible fun. I saw mountain rivers and fall colors, winter frost and waterfalls. The exercise kicked my butt, but it was fun so I didn’t care.

I’ve learned a lot. I’m still figuring out what features I can safely maneuver, and which are for the kids. Rocks and big drops are not for me, though small jumps, berms, and rollers are. As much as I love fall colors, fall leaves blanketing both the forest and the trail so they look the same are not cool.

Winter usually means hanging up the bike and setting up the dreaded indoor trainer. But so far I’ve made it out a few times in the near-zero cold, and I’m all for it. Figuring out conditions is hard—too soft and you’ll ruin the trail, not packed down and you’ll do the same. What I really need is a fat bike for winter fun, but buying one expensive bike a year is enough.

I’ve never paid so much attention to the weather, since rain today can mean no biking tomorrow.

At the end of 2022 and six months of a new sport, I’m excited I can still get into something new at 43, I can still find some physical activity that works for me.

See you on the trail.

Mountain bike leaning against a trail sign amid fall colors.

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