Mountain Biking and the Balance of Risk

With all the emotion surrounding the Coronavirus we’ve forgotten just how beautiful it is to mountain bike in Guatemala in May. After 6 months of drought the rains have come, the dust has been matted down, dry rivers have re-animated and the land is blooming.  The air is rich with new smells and evenings are filled with the the sound of raindrops on roofs and distant thunder that lulls us to sleep.

The earth has had a chance to rest. Here in Guatemala we find ourselves with the cleanest air in years and a new silence that lends us to introspection. A new rhythm of spring rains and queda en casa orders have given us a chance to see just how dynamic the climate in Guatemala can be both environmentally and politically.

Mountain Biking and the Balance of Risk

A thought that I have been having lately is how we, as adventure athletes balance risk. We practice activities that to most people seem dangerous, however we know that skill is a result of slow progression and training. What seems dangerous your first day on the bike, passes without a thought the next, and in this way we slowly push our comfort zones and find our wings to fly.

With all this talk lately about mortality and death rates, I think many people have become totally out of touch with risk in modern life, of driving their cars or eating poor food. They are quick to criticize outdoor activities as risky when studies show again and again that riding a bike is less dangerous than walking by distance.  Plus the health benefits of going outdoors and excising strongly outweigh its disadvantages.

As I sit here confined to my apartment I watch the birds outside. Flying at great speed towards a wall of trees only to stop mid air to land on a branch or an electrical wire. Its easy to criticize a person on a bike flying around at inhuman speed. The difference is that the experience and skill on a bicycle is attainable to everybody and with practice mountain biking doesn’t have to be a risky activity at all.

Now is the time to invest in our health and our change self-destructive habits. It is a time to focus our minds on solutions in an environment that is increasingly negative and toxic. Its a big world out there and will be waiting if and when our government decides to open it back up.

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