“Just send it” might be the most universally known words in the mountain biking universe. It’s a form of encouragement, a challenge, a dare from your buddies to hit the jump that you could never get. Everybody’s watching you from the bottom with excitement, as you sit on your bike atop the slope, contemplating if you’re really about to go through with this. You can’t back out now, what are they going to think of you? How badly are they going to judge you if you decide to quit and walk your bike down? It’s too late for second thoughts, you’re here to do this, right now. Just take a deep breath, set your feet, pick your line, and send it.

In the past, mountain biking was considered an extreme sport and only for those who dared to conquer it. Nowadays, it is far more popular and incredibly easy to get into, while still retaining those extreme sport aspects for the most advanced of riders. Mountain biking is not only fun, but very rewarding in terms of physical and psychological benefits. Mountain biking can greatly improve your physical and mental health, confidence, relationships with peers, and stress levels. So what are you waiting for?

“Mountain biking is a large part of how I maintain a healthy lifestyle through an extensive training regiment. A healthy lifestyle promotes better sleep and a healthier mindset towards my body-image. This should reflect in a sharper, more confident and overall happier personality,” said Dale Stone, a local record holder and mountain biking expert. Mountain biking boils down to exercise, and when you exercise your body releases those feel-good hormones called endorphins that bring the mood up and the stress down. Couple that with perfect conditions and a great group of friends, it’s hard not to be happy!

Finding a group of friends or family that you are comfortable with makes all the difference while riding. You don’t have to hide anything or fear of being judged, it’s just our group and the mountain. “Mountain biking has been amazing for me socially. I’ve met some of my lifelong best friends through the sport; people I would not have otherwise connected with through other aspects of my life. I love making a positive difference in people’s life, be that giving them a smile on the trails or motivating them to better themselves,” said Stone when asked about how mountain biking impacted the social aspects of his life. RedBull Rider Natalie Fraser had this to say about the mountain biking community: “The mountain biking community is second-to-none on this front, with a powerful online presence, social riding groups dotted around the country and a growing race scene. There’s always something to get involved in.” Becoming a part of a community can really help with eliminating the feeling of isolation.

Although mountain biking provides a great form of physical activity, self-confidence, and builds a strong relationship with friends, it can also be used to fuel the competitive and thrill-seeking side of  a person! “Many of my most cherished memories are out on bikes! I also happen to have a very competitive personality and having to walk around features or not being able to keep up with someone faster provides excellent motivation for self-improvement. I’m not looking to be the best person around, but the best I can reasonably be,” said Stone. “It is a great way to improve my fitness and benchmark my progress against previous efforts. It is also very rewarding to refine my skillset and accomplish things that I’ve been working towards for days or years. All of these factors have a positive, often tangible benefit to my mental health.”

Dale Stone concluded with “Mountain biking does really play a significant role in my mental health! It is a fantastic way to stay connected with my best friends and the local community.” Mountain biking has come a long way since the extreme sport, thrill seeking era. With the right group of friends, and abundance of trails for all skill levels, mountain biking is a great way to stay active, improve your confidence and mental health. So get out there and Send It!