Serious question: Why do you do it?

Noodoo Posts: 214
edited September 2007 in Road beginners
'Afternoon folks.

Now I know this makes me look a complete and utter ar$£, but I want to ask:


I ride cross country MTB stuff and I do it for the fresh air, the open spaces, the scenery and the socialising.
I can't see what you guys gain from Road riding. You're on roads (ie civilisation), the traffic is scary, and you don't appear to ride in groups or talk to each other...

As I said, I know it makes me sound like a tw@, but it is a serious question that has been puzzling me for some time...

I can only think that the desire to ride the roads is for personal acheivement and an increase in fitness.
When I see guys hurtling past me on the road at 30mph, on a bike that weighs approximately the same as a Gnats pube, I obviously wish I could travel that fast, but from a 'What does he get out of it?' point of view, I just don't get it.

Once again, i'm not being arsey, i'm genuinely intrigued.


Saracen Mantra with Marzocchi MX Pro ETA\'s, 24-7 Silverstar pedals... and a map holder.


  • JustRidecp
    JustRidecp Posts: 302
    B roads.
    Real Ultimate Power

    "If I weren't a professional cyclist, I'd be a porn star" - Super Mario
  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Noodoo wrote:
    When I see guys hurtling past me on the road at 30mph, on a bike that weighs approximately the same as a Gnats pube, I obviously wish I could travel that fast, but from a 'What does he get out of it?' point of view, I just don't get it.

    Passing people on MTBs at 30mph for a start!!
  • Shadowduck
    Shadowduck Posts: 845
    For me it's a cheaper, less stressful, healthier, more enjoyable and more environmentally friendly way of getting about than driving.

    But I'd seldom hit 30mph on a bike (only at the end of a long downhill) and I suspect it wasn't people like me you were asking. :wink:
    Even if the voices aren't real, they have some very good ideas.
  • woody-som
    woody-som Posts: 1,001
    I enjoy it, and OK use A roads that are busy, but also some of the quiet B roads and country lanes. Even do these rides in a group with the bike club i belong to.

    Busy A roads are not that bad really, you only find them scary because you aren't use to them, or more than likely don't know how to ride on them safely - middle of the lane so cars can't push you into the side, unless the lane is wide enough for you and the car easily.
  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    The first and foremost motivation is being £300 a month better off than I was running a car.

    But theres a whole host of positives besides the extra money, for a start cycling a nice lightweight road bike as fast as your legs will take you is so much less stressfull than sitting in a car staring at the bumper infront of you.

    A nice road bike really is a joy to ride on tarmac, it simply feels great accelerating so fast under your own power the nimbleness of the machine they simply feel great to zip arouind on, the mechanical precision of them the smoothness of the gear change etc all helps. If you are used to mountain bikes youd be surprised how good a good road bike feels to ride on the tarmac.

    Traffic is all part of the fun manageing the cars around you and learning to control the road is very satisfying, theres a great deal of challenge in not shying away from a ton and a half of metal. A good road cyclist learns to control the traffic to maximise their safety and speed. It really does feel good to take control instead of being scared.

    Admiration, probably shouldnt say this but theres a good feeling when a guy 10 years younger than you whos into sports shakes his head in disbelief at the speed and distance you cover when he would use his car and take the same length of time. Especially whe they see you shoot past another cyclist :D

    Fitness, I really feel far fitter healthier and awake, I arrive at work with adrenalin pumping through my veins and heart rate up instead of still half asleep. I FEEL fitter now than I did at 18, it feels good!

    Passing other cyclists a guilty pleasure but yeah it feels good to shoot past other cyclists.

    Theres the personal challenge how fast can I do the run, how steep a hill can I climb its very much the cyclist vs the road.

    Scenery wise depends on where you live, I live in Devon theres plenty of greenery along the way. for the single guys cycling around busy areas the scereny maybe less green. But no less pleasing to the eye.
  • Bizzairly enough, I recently went on my first mtb outing a couple of months bike and really enjoyed it, and am worried about the hole it may burn in my pocket, but I digress. Anyway, I found it really strange the number of serious mtb ers that had never or would no longer ride on the road. I couldn't understand it, albeit a few seemed genuinly worried about the risk from traffic.

    For me some of the things you hinted at like personal fitness, challenge etc etc all hold true, and in the past, when it was an option it was my commuting transport. But like so many things, the only way to understand it is to do it yourself.
  • Hi,
    I've been using an MTB for years and I only recently purchased a road bike and after having a bike with a heavy steel frame and chunky tyres I find it a real pleasure to ride a racer on the road. It's an amazing feeling hitting nearly 40mph round a cycle track and to be honest I got a shock at the sheer power that I can generate on a light racing bike with thin tyres having become conditioned to slogging away on a mountain bike. I can really let rip on a road bike in a way which I could never achieve on my MTB and it's great fun.
  • pedalrog
    pedalrog Posts: 633
    I just like turning the pedals. It's good to whizz along (or just tootle along) and take in the scenery and smells along a pleasant lane. I also ride MTB's off road and enjoy it but prefer to ride on the road.
  • saif
    saif Posts: 100
    Apart from all of the above comments which I too agree with, I love the look of a road bike , its sleek and the rider looks smarter. On the questions of socialising , I do socialise whilst on the road, carefully though. Why can't you go on a more leisurely rides on the country roads , which are scenic. And then if you love the speed , you got to be on the road.
  • simon000
    simon000 Posts: 20
    For me, I was slightly pushed into it, I loved my MTB and used to go out on it as often as I could, due to injury physio told me that I need to give it up, as I have to keep my phys up I thought that I would try it on the road, and to be honest I love it, the feeling of hitting a smooth flat road, the sense of achivement when you hit the top of a hill and the thrill of going down the otherside of it flat out hitting 35/40 Mph. The scenery for me is ok instead of going through Salisbury Plain I just go around it now. I hate to say it but between, the two I prefer the road.
  • the driveway to the asylum was smooth and flat. :lol:

    Whilst I've never done MTB properly, for me, its the speed with the challenge of endurance. I prefer going up hills rather than down mountains.

    10TT 24:36 25TT: 57:59 50TT: 2:08:11, 100TT: 4:30:05 12hr 204.... unfinished business
  • There are the practical reasons: cost, fitness, convenience.

    There is the environmental benefit.

    There is the challenge, the sense of achievement

    There is the sense of freedom, not least in a society obsessed with tracking and recording every person's movements by car or tube

    And with other things, like rock climbing, swimming .... there is that zen feeling.
  • BrenD
    BrenD Posts: 260
    Give it a go & you might find out why.
  • ricadus
    ricadus Posts: 2,379
    Tea, scones & chat in Dulwich Picture gallery cafe after the Saturday morning ride.
  • on the road
    on the road Posts: 5,631
    You're on roads (ie civilisation), the traffic is scary, and you don't appear to ride in groups or talk to each other...
    Sometimes wo do ride in groups and chat, sometimes we don't. I ride on my own a lot because I like to be my own boss, and I like the feeling of speed. I could ask you the very same questions regarding off road riding.
    When I see guys hurtling past me on the road at 30mph, on a bike that weighs approximately the same as a Gnats pube, I obviously wish I could travel that fast, but from a 'What does he get out of it?
    Well I feel a personal achievement when I'm riding at 30mph on the roads and motorists are startled that anyone can ride that fast on a bike.

    And contrary to popular belief, it is possible to find country lanes that are totally empty, and roads that have great scenery. There are times when I'm riding down a country lane and I don't see another living soul for miles.

    I've never been in to MTB; I've always been a rodie. If you've never ridden on the roads then you are obviously going to be scared riding on the roads, but some of us have been riding on the roads for 30+ years and are used to it.
  • Noodoo
    Noodoo Posts: 214

    OK, thanks for all the answers folks. All thoroughly read and digested.

    I guess it's much more varied than the reasons for MTB riding.
    There seems to be a big old mix of Environmental, Cost, Fitness, Achievement, Fun, Physiotherapy and Social.

    Cool. cheers all!

    I think that covers it. I'll understand a bit better when I see you guys out and about now.


    Saracen Mantra with Marzocchi MX Pro ETA\'s, 24-7 Silverstar pedals... and a map holder.
  • nmcgann
    nmcgann Posts: 1,780
    I always wanted a MTB, but never got one. One reason is that reaching decent trails from where I live means driving and I'm just about green enough to try and avoid unnecessary motoring, another is that I hate cleaning my bikes :oops:

    "Because the cycling is pain. The cycling is soul crushing pain."
  • herbie12
    herbie12 Posts: 41
    Off road - Huge grins, adrenalin, enjoyment at being in the middle of nowhere, the challenge of clearing sections quicker / cleaner than I've done before etc, etc

    On road - Zen.

    I find mountain biking more of a laugh, but there is a certain sense of calmness from being on a good stretch of road with only your bike and your thoughts.

    Plus, I really like riding bikes and I've got a road outside my front door. It's half and hour by car before I can get to some decent trails. Way more convenient.
  • Mog Uk
    Mog Uk Posts: 964
    I ride both MTB and Road...

    I just love the whole 'cycling' scene in general. It doesn't matter to me if I'm on my daily commute, blasting down some forest trail, or cruising down a country lane on my road bike, so long as it's got 2 wheels I'm happy...
  • I don't dislike MTBing, I used to do a lot of it about 10 or so years ago.
    What put me off was the lack of decent trails on my doorstep, as it were, and the constant bloody cleaning and maintenance you have to do after every ride.

    As someone else said, theres a road right outside my front door. Nowadays I just love the feel of cruising along and spinning my pedals.
  • HungryCol
    HungryCol Posts: 532
    I've done some MTB'ing in Glentress in Scotland and find it enjoyale albeit a lot of stop, start, stop, start. I can appreciate MTB'ing but road bikes is where my heart is. I get a much better feeling of raw power on a road bike and there is an element of Zen on long cycles. The endurance of it and the capacity of your body to keep on going.

    (as heavy as a nats pube :lol: )
    Every winner has scars.
  • Smeggers
    Smeggers Posts: 1,019

    MTB's are tanks by comparisons.

    Think of it as a Land Rover vs a Porsche. You wouldnt race your Land Rover round Silverstone and you wouldnt take your Porsche to Coed-y-Brenin.
    <font size="1">Hickory Dickory Dock,
    A baby elephant ran up the clock,
    The clock is being repaired</font id="size1">
  • Eat My Dust
    Eat My Dust Posts: 3,965
    Smeggers wrote:

    MTB's are tanks by comparisons.

    Think of it as a Land Rover vs a Porsche. You wouldnt race your Land Rover round Silverstone and you wouldnt take your Porsche to Coed-y-Brenin.

    I'd be surprised if many Land Rovers had seen anything more than a bit of muck on the road!!!
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    For me I think its the fact thats its just pure athleticism. Its a great feeling when you're speeding along 'in the zone' with nothing to put the brakes on for. That makes it easier to do on your own because you can get lost in your own efforts, thoughts and environment. You get into a rhythym of your own that can last for hours and take you far away. Mtb does lend itself more to doing with a bunch of mates because of the nature of the riding but riding on the road in a group is great too though. Its very hard to beat the feeling of speeding along in someones slipstream then putting the hammer down a bit to cruise past them and take your turn at the front. You can get a real sense of teamwork plus the added speed and effortlessness is a real buzz. Days when theres a few of you cruising along at a good speed, chatting and eating up the miles, occasionally eyeing each other up before going balls out for a signpost sprint then challenging each other up the local climb are hard to beat. But then taking time out on your own to lose yourself are priceless too. And don't forget the descents, I've not had more fun on a bike that coming down off Alpe du huez. Hitting the mid 40's (some people here no doubt hit 50's or more) on the smoothest tarmac, overtaking cars, leaning into the hairpins and feeling invincible on tyres only 23mm wide.

    I surf too so am famililiar with the whole 'freeride' sports and I've got to say that quite often you hit sections of road that do feel like surfing. You're effortlessly pushing the pedals round but your flying along the road with almost no noise from the bike and just the wind in your ears. You look down at the computer and see your doing mid 20's mph but you feel like you could keep that speed up forever. Thats the kind of feeling that spreads a grin over your face and makes me whoop just like I do when I'm on a wave.

    I only ever used to ride mtb but as a fan of the Tour de France I always wanted a road bike. When I did get one I cursed myself for waiting so long. Now I can step out of my front door and ride without having to get to somewhere suitable for the bike and I can ride on my own instead of having to rely on mates to be available.

    Wow. I feel like I want to go for a ride now and thats without even mentioning the pleasures of riding a beautiful sleek, smooth silent bike. Plus all the other great aspects people have made on this thread. I hope you understand it a bit better now Noodoo....road biking ain't no voodoo, its just as magic as what you do. :lol::lol:
  • mea00csf
    mea00csf Posts: 558
    well, i'm a mountain biker, my boyfriends a road biker, it was only a matter of time before the bieks in the garage doubled (at least doubled i should say!). We both now do both. Love mountain biking but there's no decent trails near me so road biking in the evening after work is a much better option, even if i'd rather be mountain biking, but i still really enjoy road biking and does help with the hills on the trails, it's all training!

    On the other hand, on a drizzley day when it's pouring down even the boyfriend admits he'd rather be on the trails than on the road, tho i think seecretly he's really getting to like mountain biking.

    hmmmm..... i think i've argued the wrong side of the argumnt there!! :lol: :oops:
  • Commuting in hilly areas simply isn't realistic on a full sus MTB (that's still a dirty weekend toy!) so I got a road bike...and the rest is history. I ride busy A roads, dual carriage ways and lovely scenic backway B roads and it's simply less stressful than driving to work, even though my current commute is (relatively) stress free and only 10 miles each way.

    I crave riding my road bike...on those days that I simply have to drive due to other commitments I look at my bike in the garage and can't wait to get home and get out on the roads.

    For some like myself it isn't the social aspect but the complete opposite, the solitude, the time to yourself with no-one but yourself and your whims to answer to. There's also the mental challenges of pushing yourself to new goals and targets with no-one to encourage or deride your efforts, but most of all it's about being out every day on my bike.
  • jonesy124
    jonesy124 Posts: 205
    because it gives me a flat tummy and tight @rs*

    And i feel like I have acheived something every time i get off the bike.
  • heavymental
    heavymental Posts: 2,076
    jonesy124 wrote:
    because it gives me a flat tummy and tight @rs*

    Growwwllllllllll :twisted:
  • Purity: The smoothness of the road, the efficiency of the mechanics, a feeling that the bike becomes part of you. The challenge is completely personal. The massive endorphin rush from pushing yourself hard for hours on end.

    Climbing: Alpe D'Huez, the Galibier, wherever, pushing your body to its absolute limit going up 10% inclines for an hour. When we tell people this they think we are mad, yet almost every roadie makes trips just to climb big hills. And though the descent is spoken about after the fact, it is the climb that you are there for, and that you will speak about in cafe stops as long as you ride.

    As for social riding, on our club trip to Majorca this year 20 of us were hurtling along a deserted back road at 25-30mph for about 20 mins, 2 abreast and no more then 2 or 3 feet between bikes. The road was super smooth with continual undulations. The experience was akin to a roller-coaster ride, but much more pleasurable as it was your own effort that was giving this amazing feeling. Try and borrow a road bike and head out with your local road club on a ride. When you are moving along in a bunch at high speed you will get the buzz and know why we do it.
  • Chris5150
    Chris5150 Posts: 107
    I ride both road & MTB...I work in an office all day and its great to get out. MTB is good fun, but if you want to talk about scenery I see far more of it on the road bike doing a 50 -80 miler around the quiet north yorks roads than I do on a MTB ride, stunning some of the views.
    Also do it for weight control & fitness, and feel 35 miles or so on a hilly road course does me more good than 20 miles off road for the same time spent.
    I generally bike alone, great meditational/thinkong time for me, dont really use it to socialise, see enough people at work/home/out in the pub.
    I do like cycling through villages, watching the cars go by...some how its niceer for us solosists rather than being in the middle of nowhere on some moorside!
    Also big point I can get on my roadbike at home, do any number of miles on a various number of routes immediatley. Full off road MTB of any distance generally means getting in the car to go off somewhere to do it...bit of a pain again for us soloists!
    Like I say though, I do both and enjoy both...its all good