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7 Signs You Need a Break from MTB Riding

By Martin Atanasov

We are all addicted. There’s no shame in admitting it. The thrill of speeding down a narrow track, the excitement of clearing a feature for the first time, the adrenalin when you are mid-air after a jump. It all gives us such a rush that we simply can’t live without it anymore. 

However, this behaviour, though fun, is definitely not healthy. Well, not mentally, at least. It can affect your personal and professional life, and it can definitely ruin your relationships. It’s good to know when to stop. Here are 7 signs you need a break from MTB riding.

1.   You had one too many falls

Before deconstructing the mental issues of MTB fanatics, let’s get the obvious physical limitations out of the way. Your body needs rest. Even though MTB is not strictly related to massive amounts of pedalling, it’s pretty demanding. Actually, a technical downhill section will take a lot more energy than any climb, as it activates a lot more muscles. Typically, your back joins your hips in an effort to maintain balance and shift your weight. In addition, hands and breasts are activated when jumping and going through rough terrain, and finally, your entire body is stressed out during the ride down.

Regardless of your fitness or stamina, fatigue is something that inevitably takes hold of you. If you continue to push your body relentlessly, it will inevitably stop performing as well. Naturally, this will lead to an increase in falls and the risk of injuries. So instead of disregarding this obvious sign that you need a break, it’s best to take your body’s advice and take time off. If you don’t, your body will force you to do that with an injury.

2.   All you think about is biking

If we leave behind the obvious physical limitations of our body, we need to be able to notice some mental signs that we are way past a healthy obsession with riding the slopes. A very clear sign is constantly thinking about biking. You are looking at your work monitor, and you are thinking about where you can ride later. You go down some stairs and think about what line you would take with your bike. You see some construction sight and wonder if they will let you have some fun with your bike inside. If biking is all you think of, regardless of where you are, who you are with, and what you are doing, it’s time to take a break. The best way to get your attention away from riding the mountains is by reading a book or doing some work that requires your brain. This is the first step toward controlling your MTB riding obsession.

3.   You have no other hobbies anymore

Another sign you need to stop biking for a while is if you have no other hobbies. Of course, that’s actually a consequence of always thinking only about your bike and the next hill you’ll be descending. Still, most people have at least three hobbies, which they alter depending on various factors like free time, season, and more. However, if your only pastime is MTB riding, you must get yourself together. You can still give most of your time to bike riding, but you must have other passions, like chess, board games, dancing, reading, or anything else that comes to mind. Chances are, before you began your descent into biking madness, you had at least a few other hobbies. Try to remember the joy they brought you and try them once again. It will immensely improve your social life.

Is it time to take a little break for you? © Profimedia

4.   You ride for Strava, not for fun

Speaking of social life, ain’t Strava the best social media? Instead of showing off an artificial life, it only values your own achievements and lets your friends know how much you’ve improved your results. That might be, but Strava might become a trap you shouldn’t fall into. If you start going out for a ride only to show off in Strava, or if your entire ride is devoid of any joy if you haven’t beaten your last record, that’s a clear sign you have your priorities messed up. Having goals is fine. It’s actually great if you strive to improve, but that shouldn’t rule out having fun. The point of riding a bike is to enjoy it, to be thrilled about your day out, to love the wind, and to enjoy your surroundings and the company. If you start being more concerned about your Strava results than having fun, it’s best to have a break for a while and rethink why you started riding in the first place.

5.   You miss out on opportunities because of a ride

It’s essential to remember that riding your MTB is fun. It’s not an obligation, and it definitely shouldn’t be a top priority. So, if you miss out on professional or personal opportunities because of bike rides, it’s obvious you have a problem. The best way to deal with this is to leave your bike for a while and rethink your priorities. A good example is to weigh how much the bike ride gives you compared to the missed opportunity. If the missed opportunity would have granted you the funds to upgrade your gear or bike, then obviously, you made the wrong choice. Still, money is not everything, and if you start putting your bike rides in front of your family’s needs, then you should definitely quit while you still have a family. Ask yourself, have you ever missed an opportunity to spend time with your child because you desperately wanted to go out biking? If so, give your bike some rest and give your children a go.

6.   You are way too aggressive on the track.

Naturally, giving your family the attention they deserve doesn’t mean you should never go for a ride. However, when you are on track, you need to remember that you are there to enjoy the ride. Getting too aggressive is definitely not wise. Being constantly aggressive on the track might be a sign that you need to give your bike a break.

So, for example, if you constantly swear at slower riders or you throw a tantrum because you weren’t able to beat your previous record, that’s a sign of addiction, and you need to quit while you can. As you are well aware, MTB riders are a friendly bunch, so if you are mean to other riders or pedestrians, or you take them over way too close to passive-aggressively show them they are in your way, it’s best for everyone to just take a break from the track and not tarnish your name for no good reason.

7.   You start using cycling analogies in casual conversation

Finally, you must ensure your bike riding is not spilling into your everyday conversations. Using MTB slang on the track is one thing. But, using it in professional or everyday conversation is worrying, to say the least. So, for example, if you try to explain to your boss that your department will experience some fiscal troubles in the next quarter, it’s definitely not a good idea to say, “We’re gonna need some serious suspension to handle the upcoming fiscal drops and jumps in the next quarter.”

Or imagine you are flirting at a club, trying to hit on someone. Saying, “Hey there, gorgeous. You’re like a sleek carbon frame, all smooth lines and curves. Mind if I take you for a spin?” won’t have the effect you are hoping for. Well, you can try it. Who knows. Still, most probably, it will sabotage your chances. So, naturally, you need to take a break from biking and have some time away from the sport altogether. It will be highly beneficial to your mental health and social life.

Riding your MTB is meant to be fun. However, no obsession or addiction can ever be fun, so be aware of crossing that thin line that will ruin not only your fun but your entire life as well. Instead, keep your MTB a joyful hobby and nothing more. This way, you will definitely enjoy your time with your trusted two-wheeled steed.