Freeride mountain biking is a discipline of mountain biking that has seen an upsurge in popularity in practitioners of the sport. It is closely related to the art of downhill mountain biking, where the goal is to make it down a section or hill as quickly as possible. In freeride, the goal is to make it through the course or section in the most stylish or technical way possible. In this way, it is comparable to other sports that include a freestyle subdivision, such as skateboarding, snowboarding, and skiing.
Freeride mountain biking has become a popular form of mountain biking all across the world, but it is recognized to have developed in Vancouver’s North Shore region of mountainous areas. The three mountains commonly associated with this type of riding are Mt. Seymour, Mt. Fromme, and Cypress Mountain. These areas are also popular skiing resorts in the winter months. The addition of man-made obstacles, which is unique to freeriding, began on these mountains. Some of these ski resorts have even started to equip their lifts with bike racks to better accommodate mountain bikers.
Although downhill riding and freeriding share many similarities of form, there are several key differences. The goal of downhill riding is purely functional, to get down the hill and past the obstacles as quickly as possible. Attaining this goal requires the skill to overcome many technical obstacles, drops, and sometimes man-made roadblocks. In freeriding, you find similar obstacles to downhill riding, but the goals is to be as stylish as possible as well as to just get past the obstacles, by doing tricks and adopting varied stances on the bike while in the air.
Connor Baldwin is a mountain bike enthusiast who enjoys heading out to the trails around his hometown of Vancouver, BC.