Nowadays, we are really spoiled because there are various off-road sports. You’ve got the thrilling rally car, then BMX, and mountain biking. Though not as grand as rally car racing, mountain biking is still an enjoyable sport. In fact, mountain biking is very accessible to anyone, as long as they have a bicycle. But be warned, though, if you’re going to take mountain biking seriously, you probably need to toughen up and buy all the suitable items and equipment.
Mountain biking requires endurance, balance, and core strength. You also need to have a real mountain bike instead of the normal one. Although the term is “mountain biking,” you don’t really need to ride a bike on a mountain. Any off-road track will do the trick, and it will still be considered mountain biking.
Getting excited yet? Well, you should be! If you are eager to learn more, let’s check out some of the astonishing facts behind mountain biking.
1. Mountain Biking Became a Sport in the 70s, but it Started Out Since the late 1890s
Let’s get this fact straight, as many people still misunderstand the real history of mountain biking. Modern mountain biking was born in the 70s when Southern Californians modified their bikes and used them for racing on off-road tracks. Soon enough, races were held, and it became a national sports competition. However, the true history lies further backward.
The first mountain biking experience can be traced to the late 1890s, when riders from the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps modified their bikes, allowing them to ride on challenging terrains.
In August 1896, they rode from Montanna to the Yellowstone National Park and back. The trip was used as a testing method for the bicycles.
2. This is the First Ever Mountain Bike
During the early days of mountain biking, people needed to customize their bikes, which allowed them to ride across off-roads. However, Joe Breeze came to the rescue and released what was regarded as the first-ever mountain bike. In 1978, he introduced the Breezer Series I. It consisted of ten different mountain bikes that revolutionized the game.
The first Breezer bike turned out to be a success, as Joe Breeze himself used it for the Repack competition and won. Soon after that, other people started to follow his steps and built their own versions of mountain bikes, like Gary Fisher and Charlie Kelly.
3. The First Mountain Biking Olympics Games Were Held in 1996. There Were Only Two Categories Back Then
Although mountain biking rose up to be one of the most popular sports competitions globally, it just got the chance to be included at the Olympics Games in 1996.
In fact, in the Atlanta Olympics Games, there were just two categories for mountain biking: Men’s Cross Country and Women’s Cross Country. Bart Brentjens won the Men’s category, with Paola Pezzo claiming the honor for the Women’s Cross Country.
4. Birkebeiner is the Biggest Mountain Biking Event
Forget the Olympics because it is not the center stage for mountain biking. Instead, riders are really pumped up for the annual competition held in Norway called Birkebeiner. It is still regarded as the largest Mountain Biking event to date.
More than 17,000 bikers participate in the event and try to come up first by conquering the 94 km track every year. Professional and casual bikers are all free to join in the race. Try to register for the upcoming Birkebeiner Mountain Bike race if you have the time!
5. Most Mountain Bikers are Male
It might come as a surprise, but recent statistics showed us that mountain biking is more favorable for men. In fact, the latest Outdoor Participation Survey showed that the ratio of males outnumbered the females by 2 to 1!
Another study also released a report that strengthened the fact. According to a survey, 40% of male mountain bikers are professionals. On the other hand, only 20% of the female mountain bikers became pros. These facts further prove that women are still under-appreciated in the mountain biking world.
6. The Longest Distance Record According to Guinness
There are a lot of Guinness records related to mountain biking. The first record that we’re going to be discussing is the longest distance cycled for 48 hours. The honor fell to Adrian Ellul from Australia. He managed to cycle across McLennon Park from 9 to 11 October 2015 and covered 1,004.41 km, equivalent to 624.11 miles.
7. Longest Dirt to Dirt Bicycle Jump Record
We talked about the most significant distance covered on a mountain bike. But let’s discuss the bike’s vertical ability too. Cam Zink of the United States broke the record for the farthest dirt to dirt mountain bike jump this time. In 2014, he managed to take a leap of 119 feet and 9 inches. What an astonishing achievement!
8. Mountain Bike Speed Record Broken by Sylvester Stallone’s Stuntman
This is a feat that will be very hard to break. 56-year-old Eric Barone managed to break his own record of the fastest downhill record and got a top speed of 227.720 km/h or 141.498 miles per hour.
Previously, he managed a top speed of 223.3 km/h. For this daring record, Eric Barone used his own customized full-suspension bike. He also wore a special suit with an aero headcover to boost his speed and keep him safe.
9. Wil White, the Unofficial Mountain Bike High Jump Record Breaker
Having a go at this record is pretty wild. In fact, you must really be ready, both physically and mentally, to attempt a high jump on a mountain bike. Wil White has been preparing himself and is the current record holder for the highest mountain bike jump. Unfortunately, White’s record is unofficial, and the current verified record is held by Daryl Brown at 7.69 meters.
Wil White went to his social media and claimed that his jump reached the 7.92 meters mark, just slightly higher than Daryl’s. However, due to the lack of a third-party present, he can’t have the official title yet. Let’s hope that he can make this daring jump again, but this time, it’s in the Guinness book!
10. Mountain Biking can Easily Injure You if You’re Not Careful Enough
Any sports game will always pose an injury threat. When you play football, you can damage your knee. If you’re a volleyball player, having an injury on your fingers is typical. Mountain bikers are also prone to injuries. Fortunately, the injury risk rate is meager, clocking at 0.6%, or one in every 1000 hours of biking.
The most common injuries in biking are injuries in your shoulders, hand and wrists, and knee injuries. If you’re neglecting the need for a helmet, you can contract a concussion when you crash into something. Although mountain biking has its own risks, the mortality rate is not very high if you take all the precautions needed.
11. This is the Most Expensive Mountain Bike Ever
Mountain bikes can also be a collector’s item. When a company releases a unique edition bike in a limited quantity, you know that it will cost you a lot of money.
But when we’re talking about the most expensive mountain bike ever, we need to bow down to this majestic Aurumania Gold Bike Crystal Edition. It is a perfect bike that offers so much to its rider. However, the beauty lies in the design. You can see that the golds are real 24K gold!
12. The Munga, a Competition Dubbed as the “World’s Toughest Bike Race”, Offered 1 Million USD Prize Money!
When it was first announced, it took the world by surprise. But for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Munga, it is an event that features a single 1,000 Km race. It was created to promote mountain biking to a higher level. If you choose to participate in the race, you will be paired with a teammate. The victor will be awarded 1 million dollars! The annual competition was first held on the 3rd of December, 2014.
At first, people were skeptical about the prize money. There was a general feeling that mountain biking couldn’t afford to generate such a huge investment. However, it turns out to be doable. For this year’s Munga race, the prize money is currently set at around 90,000 USD.
13. Old (But Gold) Mountain Biker. Respect!
When you really think about it, age is just a number that shouldn’t limit you from the things that you love. Take Alf as an example. He just learned about mountain biking at the age of 70. He started mountain biking as a way to recover from his cancer. But now, he is more than 80 years old and still enjoying the sport!
Alf once said: “You don’t have to go mad. You just have to enjoy it”. Perhaps it’s a lesson for all of us. Sometimes, we watch crazy tricks on the television, and it can either encourage us or destroy our hope. However, you should never quit just because you think you’re not good enough. If you love it, continue to enjoy it!