Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, a love letter to mountain biking

A mountain biker on a trail in Southern Utah, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Bicycles Unlimited, St. George News

FEATURE — While recently looking through past articles, I realized that this is, I believe, the 30th time I have written something for St. George Health & Wellness Magazine, where this article was originally published.

Photo of an unspecified mountain bike trial in Washington County, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Jay Bartlett of Bicycles Unlimited, St. George News

It’s a milestone that got me thinking about all the miles that have passed under my tires during that time: the many hours spent with friends or alone exploring (or re-exploring) our little corner of the world; the whir of tires on hard-packed dirt grappling to keep traction; the buzz of freehubs relaxing on descents; the rhythm of breathing and the staccato of exertion; and the hoots and hollers of accomplishment.

I’ve ridden many miles since the first article – and improved my writing!

I’ve pushed myself to exhaustion on some rides and on others, spent most of my time sitting quietly, enjoying the views. I’ve gone on rides when the sizzling summer temps kept most (sane) people in air-conditioned comfort. I’ve bundled up for winter jaunts when the reasonable thing to do would be to sip tea by a fire. (You definitely want to do that after a cold ride!) Of course, there are those perfect, warm days when the air is like a soft blanket, the dirt is tacky and the legs are strong – days where there is just no other choice but to ride.

It’s a fantastic thing to find a recreation that so positively influences your life. I fall short of being the happiest person in the world, but it’s not an exaggeration to say that I’m almost always happy when I’m on my bike.

The bike takes me to amazing places. The bike teaches me to endure, to try harder and to get back on and try again. The bike helps me appreciate the world around me and often – especially when the riding is shared with friends – brings me joy and laughter.

Looking at mountain biking in its most basic form, it seems a bit silly taking a two-wheeled machine driven by a chain and pedaled by a human motor and riding it up and down mountains – or more likely for us, across a desert.

I mean, come on! Two wheels? Even if you know the physics, it’s still pretty impressive that a human being can adjust their mass over this machine into precise and constantly varying positions as to keep balance while riding across a log, pedaling up and over large rocks, or flying through a sweeping corner covered with rubble.

It goes beyond riding a simple machine around in the dirt. It can become a dance with gravity, a courtship with momentum, a flirtation with speed, and a…OK, I’m getting carried away. It’s time to wrap up this article, which is rapidly turning into a love letter to mountain biking.

In writing these pages, my hope is that you have been influenced to get out and explore some trails or to ride your bike even a little so you can feel some of the sensations that come with this amazing sport. Even if your preferred means of transport isn’t a mountain bike, keep in mind that every trail I’ve written about is open to hikers as well, so follow your nose to an adventure of your own.

Written by JAY BARTLETT of Bicycles Unlimited for St. George News.

This article was first published in St. George Health & Wellness magazine and updated for current publication.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •


Bicycles Unlimited has been Southern Utah’s bicycle leader since 1984, offering service, sales and rentals.

Bicycles Unlimited, St. George, Utah, Sept. 14, 2018 | File photo by Andrew Pinckney, St. George News

Bicycles Unlimited offers a complete line of road, triathlon, mountain, BMX, cruiser and many more types of bikes. They feature Cannondale, Cervelo and Trek Brands but also carry many other BMX and Cruiser brands. Their rates and attention to detail are unmatched.

Bicycles Unlimited | Address: 90 S. 100 East, St. George | Telephone: 435-673-4492 | Website | Facebook

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews


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