Volume 1: Issue 2
By: Indica, age 13, CO
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many team sports have been canceled because there is no way to safely play contact sports, such as soccer, football, basketball, and many others without putting yourself and others at risk.
However, mountain biking could be the exception, and here’s why:
First of all, mountain biking isn’t necessarily a team sport. You don’t need to shove other players or make contact with the same playing ball that multiple other kids have touched. You can easily train and practice alone; you don’t even need a mountain in some cases. For example, fine techniques and skills can be refined in everything from a skate park to a sidewalk curb.
Second, it is difficult not to social distance on a mountain bike. Being at least six feet apart is almost an unspoken rule, even without a pandemic. This enables basic safety precautions. If you’re riding on someone’s tail, and they wipe out, the chances of you avoiding the wreck and preventing a multiple-person wipe out are slim. It is easier to social distance on a mountain bike than it is off of one.
Thirdly, even with races being canceled, it is still easy to mountain bike. You just have to get on and start biking. You can bike in just about any weather, terrain, or temperature—that is, if you’re tough and committed enough.
I personally play a lot of sports, but mountain biking is one of the few that I’ve been able to continue. Soccer leagues in my town are closed, so I can’t play soccer. Because there are no soccer games, I can’t referee them like I usually do. COVID-19 canceled the end of ski season for me, and rock climbing (in a gym) isn’t really an option. Touching the same handholds as hundreds of other people? No thanks.
Mountain biking has continued to be a readily available sport for me, and I’ve never been as committed to it as I am now that I don’t have much else to do. My fitness has been better than ever thanks to the regular weekly biking I’ve been doing, and it is just an overall great activity to participate in.
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we view, play and engage with others in sport. Indica makes an excellent case for mountain biking in terms of a sport that people can engage in with relative ease in terms of physical distancing, while at the same time maintaining a level of competition that is comfortable for the individual’s level of expertise. Biking or cycling can also be enjoyed by adaptive athletes as well. of fitness in both a physical and mental sense. Perhaps now, more than ever, it is important to focus on the mental fitness aspect. The mere action of preparing to ride and stepping outside into the fresh air can be extremely therapeutic. And as Indica mentioned, the fact you can mountain bike in all types of weather certainly makes this sport activity appealing to many. Perhaps there are some who feel mountain biking to be intimidating or requiring some higher level of expertise. While I am certain that is true for the most elite riders, I feel Indica has also illustrated that mountain biking is an activity that can be enjoyed at many levels on various terrain while still offering the opportunity to distance as needed. This furthermore makes mountain biking a great activity to try in pandemic times.
Indica’s analysis of mountain biking is on target and illustrates many common themes in sport and life. Communication, commitment, and the ability to maintain active physical and mental fitness, especially in challenging times.
—Lori Okimura, Executive Board Member at Angel City Sports, Los Angeles, CA