Mountain bike riding is a unique and beautiful sport. It combines the peacefulness of the forest with the thrill of the wind in your face. Whether it is done in the pursuit of fitness or for the sheer joy of the ride, cyclists all agree that time in the forest on a bike is hard to beat. In the case of downhill mountain biking, it can be an adrenaline pumping, heavy breathing thrill ride that is as exciting as skiing or snow boarding. But downhill mountain biking can also result in a crash or two. In fact, mountain bikers will often tell you that if they are not going over the handlebars at least once on a ride, they aren’t pushing the limits and testing themselves.
This mountain biker was enjoying a long stretch of single track through the beautiful Ganaraska Forest in Southern Ontario. The leaves have just started to turn and the temperatures are perfect for a ride through the trees. It’s a remote section of forest and the only sounds he hears are the birds, the scampering of the odd chipmunk, and the leaves on the low hanging branches as they brush against his helmet or bicycle. A GoPro mounted on his helmet provides us with a view of exactly what the rider sees as he barrels down the path, over logs, around sharp bends, and between tree trunks that barely allow his handlebars to pass. The trail twists and turns unpredictably and he is going as fast as he dares to, trying to avoid a collision with any of the trees around him.
As the cyclist rounds a bend and ducks under a fallen tree that is angled across the path, he is about to encounter a very sudden stop. A sharp stick and a small sapling lie across the trail and he cannot miss either. The stick strikes his front tire and the sapling tangles in his rear tire one after the other. The back wheel is stopped cold and the bike begins a complete skid that pitches the rider forward. We hear a grunt as he strikes the handlebars, launches over and rolls to his left, trying to avoid landing with a thud. Fortunately the sandy and mossy ground beside the trail is forgiving and he only has the wind knocked out of him. Eager to continue the ride, he tries to get back on the bike but finds the front tire is shredded and his ride is finished. But luckily, the walk back is also a peaceful and enjoyable experience too, because time in the forest on foot is also time well spent.