By Sai Deshmukh:
“Jack and Jill went up the hill.” We all have grown up hearing this rhyme and it ends tragically with broken crown. This is what the image of hills is about. But what made Lance Armstrong go crazy driving in rickety mountains? What made him battle cancer and survive to win “TOUR DE FRANCE” on and on?
It was the adrenaline rush of mountain cycling. It’s cycling through rough rocky terrains. This sport requires all the tenacious qualities of a sportsman but, apart from that what you need is the sure shot daredevilry that prevails deep within the bones. “This is what keeps me alive”, quoted Lance Armstrong.
This sport gained momentum during the late 70s and early 80 s. But it was in the 1990s that manufacturers started producing special bikes called “ Mountain Bike”.
There is even an International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) now to preserve and create biking opportunities. Mountain biking can be performed almost anywhere – from a back yard to a gravel road. But the dangerous winding hills serve the best host. Though Indians are far behind their contemporary western sportsmen in terms of risk taking but the Himalayas do host a couple of such biking adventures. Ladakh, Garhwal, Himachal and the north eastern states are the bikers paradise.
Downhills, criss cross, four cross any style would do. All you need is a sturdy bike known as mountain bike (MTB/ATB) ie. Mountain terrain bike or all terrain bike, gloves, shoes some navigation tools and helmet! Bikers also carry a backpack with them containing food, water and first aid kits. The main problem faced by the bikers is the availability of suitable landscape for riding. Considerations need to be taken as the natural fauna of the forests should not be disturbed. IMBA has therefore set down certain rules to be followed and kept in mind while bikers enjoy their ride.
Some have criticized this sport for the level of risk but if you are looking to feel that fear flight syndrome, mountain biking is the sport you should look for. There may be a cautious call to dissuade you but at times you need to lose control and travel the rocky part… Right? The thrill you will get is beyond wildest imagination.