Road Bikers vs. Mountain Bikers

mtbA couple of weeks ago, I mentioned a conversation we had while on a mountain bike ride. Another mountain biker had stopped to chat with us, and we talked for a good 15 minutes before he moved on.

“That’s why I like mountain bikers,” said my friend Maggie. “They’re more sociable than road bikers.”

Are they?

The club we’re in is a road biking club, although some of the members mountain bike, too. We never organize any mountain bike rides to supplement the road biking we do during the week. Some of the mountain bikers will put together an ad hoc ride among themselves, but there won’t be a general call to the membership to join a mountain bike ride.

Meanwhile, because of our weekly road bike rides, a large social circle has developed. Many of us see each other outside of riding activities, and many have developed close friendships.

But Maggie maintains that mountain bikers are friendlier. She’s gone so far as to say road bikers are “elitist.”

In her experience, mountain bikers are more willing to talk with new riders about the sport, more willing to offer advice and coaching, and generally nicer to be around.

I’ll echo her comment about them being more willing to share information. Earlier this year, I headed out to a trail I hadn’t used before. At the trailhead, I wasn’t sure which way to go.

I asked a mountain biker nearby. He looked like he had a lot of trail miles under his belt.

Instead of the expected, “That way,” and a point to the start, he told me of the protocols on that trail, what to watch for, and offered some encouragement.

Okay, so that shows that I’ve been lucky enough to meet some nice folks who happen to mountain bike.

As a group, though, are they more sociable? What do you think?



  1. says

    Well that certainly is the stereotype, isn’t it? But I suppose the stereotype, like all stereotypes, is based on a kernel of truth with plenty of exceptions to the rule.

  2. says

    I have not done the whole mountain biking thing (we have no mountains in this state), however, so I cannot compare. I would say that road bikers, due to the nature of their riding (peloton, group rides, etc), tend to be intimidating because of their skin-tight kits, their fancy-lookin’ bikes (sorry, mountain bikes don’t *appear* as expensive to a newbie), and because when they say they’re hosting a “no-drop chit chat ride” and then post photographs of buff dudes in kits who brag about “pushing the limits” and “hitting 20mph and more”, it’s really more about competition than helping the new guy stay on the last tire. That’s not very welcoming at all.

    I’ve avoided joining group rides for a variety of reasons (see above), until I hooked up with a group of women riders (who did intimidate me beause of their skin-tight kits, big strong legs, and fancy-lookin’ bikes). . . but they hold clinics for newbies (male and female) so others can learn in a safe, unjudging place how to ride in a peloton, in pace lines, etc. They also hold “training” rides so we can continue to work on those skills. . . :-) I LOVE my women’s riding group: SHECLISMO!

    I finally feel like I’m part of a community.

  3. says

    I agree with Steve, that’s the common stereotype, but many are the exceptions… I am currently part of a road biking team and I can assure you, I’ve only found welcoming and helpful people, always ready to teach me the secrets of road biking!

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