You finally find the mountain bike for you and it seems perfect and flawless. You stare at it constantly… you stroke it, ride it and love it. You dive into mountain biking knowing the risks, but you do it anyway because it feels so right.

The first of many rides are amazing. Adrenalin rushing, blood pumping with eyes wide and peeled to the trail. Riding can induce heavy breathing, sweating, moaning, crying and whooping.

Crashes might shake you up and your first wounds will take you by surprise and frustrate you. Mountain biking will test your limits and have you questioning your sanity as you either choose to give up, or continue and persevere.

With a few new dings and exposed imperfections, you find your bike is still rad down to the core. You realize you must understand each other and connect on a deeper level to mitigate crashes and minimize scars.

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Long, steep climbs can hurt. The legs burn more than usual and pain won’t let you hide. You contemplate giving up. If you push through and persevere, you reap the rewards that are only sanctioned through real effort and unprecedented patience.

Over time you might think about playing the field and sampling different bikes. Enticed by new and shinier parts. Bigger wheels might suck you in. (Ok, let’s be real, most mountain bikers ARE enticed by shiny new stuff and many times they DO go for the latest, lightest model. Many of them ride multiple bikes, replace bikes and add more to their collection.)

But in the end, the bike you choose is YOUR bike and you have a fathomless trust that runs deep… touching your body and soul.

You learn how to give your bike what it needs to get through obstacles along the way. And in exchange, your bike gives you what you need: Freedom, fitness, friendships, beauty, passion and above all, it makes you happy.

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By Lindsey Vories – RIDE BIKES. BE HAPPY.