There comes a point in every biker’s life when, for one reason or another, it’s impossible to get out on the trail for weeks or months at a time. This could be due to work or family commitments, injury, inclement weather, or just plain burnout. Whatever the reason, it’s important to take that time away to rest, recover and reconnect, but that doesn’t mean you have to sit twiddling your thumbs until you’re ready to pick up a bike again. Whether you want to exercise your body, your mind, or both together, we have a few ideas for you. Read on to find out more.
If you’re missing the peace and quiet of a solitary trail ride, then running might just be the thing for you. Whether you have the opportunity to get out onto a running trail surrounded by nature or you’re confined to the streets and tracks nearer to home, once you start moving everything else will fall away and you can enjoy some solitary exercise in a slightly different form. As well as being something new to try and a way to stay fit, running can also help build your endurance levels which will come in handy when you get back out on the bike. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that, as a regular mountain biker, you can skip straight to an elite running level; build yourself up slowly but surely, and approach it as a totally new skill and fitness experience.
When recovering from an injury or giving your body a rest from exercise for a period, then you don’t have to give up on hobbies altogether. In fact, there are some great pastimes you can pick up that work on your mind instead. Gaming is one of the most popular activities in the world right now, ranging from console gaming to PC games to mobile games. Titles like Descenders, Lonely Mountains and Downhill Domination recreate the thrill of mountain biking on the screen, but if you’re looking for something totally different then there are plenty of alternative avenues to try. Ultra-modern battle royale games like Fortnite have taken the world by storm, but classics like 21, poker and chess are still going strong as well through online platforms like PokerStarsCasino and Chess.com. Whether you want to work on your logic skills or simply get involved with some good old fashioned shoot-‘em-up action, there’s a game out there for everyone.
As far as sports go, you’d be hard pressed to find two with as many differences as mountain biking and rock climbing. However, they can actually be more complementary than they seem to be at first glance. If you’re out of the saddle for a while, take a trip to your local climbing wall and see if you can’t work on that upper body strength and those problem-solving skills simultaneously. This work will ultimately stand you in good stead on a biking trail as you’ll find it easier to make snap decisions about your route, along with increased flexibility in your arms and torso. Great for taking on those rough downhill courses and any ambitious jumps. Slowing down to the meditative pace of rock climbing is a big change from charging along a mountain biking course as fast as is humanly possible, but you never know – you might enjoy it.
Speaking of slowing down, taking up a martial art practice can be a great all-rounder for mind, body, and soul. There has been a significant uptick in interest around martial arts once again since the success of Netflix’s new series of Cobra Kai. But, as the students learn in the TV smash hit, martial arts are not all about looking cool. Rather, learning a martial art discipline is about exactly that – disciplining yourself, your mind, and your body, and listening to instruction from somebody more knowledgeable than you. This introspective yet powerful hobby can bring real enrichment to the life of anybody, but especially athletes who are used to moving at 100 miles per hour at all times. Depending on the practice that you choose, it is also great for toning muscle, increasing flexibility, and improving reaction times.
This may seem like a bit of a wild card option at first but hey, if you’re happy on two wheels, then why not try four? Skateboarders need to be masters of confidence, balance and picking themselves back up after a fall. These are great life lessons to learn, that can also neatly be applied to mountain biking. Learning a new skill creates new pathways in the brain, making you quicker, stronger, and more connected to your body. Skateboarding is the perfect way to stay on the move whilst utilising completely new techniques and abilities. It also looks just as cool as mountain biking, if that’s your thing!