As populations become more and more urbanized, many people start to forget that the countryside exists. Those who have never left the city believe that the countryside is a kind of wasteland, inhabited by wolves and bears, and that the only people who would want to go there are misanthropes and other weirdos who can’t hack city life. They can’t understand why anyone would feel the need to go there, when the city has beautiful, large parks with plenty of benches, buskers, fountains and plastic animals.
As they grow older and more worldly, such folk begin to realize that their cities are merely tiny stains on the great outdoors. With time they start wondering how come some other people seem to be having all these great adventures in the wild, but it’s never occurred to them to even go there. How did they get into it? Do they go on organized tours? Do you need some kind of permit to go there?
You might not be one of those people, but if you drive to a gym or some kind of sports center to keep fit, you definitely share some of the mentality that they do. Even in the heart of the biggest cities, you’re only ever a couple hours from the countryside. In most towns and cities, it’s just a short bike ride away. And that’s why getting yourself a mountain bike is such a great idea.
It costs virtually nothing to maintain, there’s no gasoline to buy, you get to keep fit and experience a closeness to nature that you can never get in a car, even if you drive off road. Whether you live downtown or in the suburbs, a mountain bike gives you a great way to get out of the city. Just picture yourself flying past all those weekend vacationers, lining up for mile after mile trying to get to the airport or their in-laws’ house. You’ll be where you want to go in no time and it will be spectacular. A mountain bike isn’t just for mountains, even if you live in flattest Nebraska, you’ll find country lanes, trails and paths that you didn’t know existed, and each one of them presents a new adventure just waiting to be started. There are lots to choose from, so the best way to get informed about which one is best for you would be to do some reading up at a site such as http://www.cyclingplaza.com/choosing-right-mountain-bike/. And remember, if you don’t want to cycle out of the city, you can always buy a bike rack.
One of the less well-known sports, but one of the most enjoyable and best ways to get to know the countryside is orienteering. If you’re not familiar with it, orienteering on foot is a sport which requires both physical and mental strength. You need to be able to run over rough terrain, where there are no paths, and you will have to negotiate natural obstacles such as rivers, swamps, forests, cliffs and be aware of the flora and fauna around you – what looks like a tasty snack out there might be poisonous. And there might me animals there for whom you are the tasty snack. On top of all this, you need to find the track by use of a map, compass and your wits. Orienteering gives you a thrill and a sense of achievement that people who jog around parks with headphones in couldn’t even imagine.
Of course, the list of country sports is as long as you want it to be – there are new ones being invented every day. If you go to the gym and sit on a rowing machine for half an hour, watching other people’s blubber jiggling around and smelling their sweat and other odors, you should get yourself into a canoe or a kayak on a lake or some rapids and see what you’ve been missing out on. If you’ve been stuck in some warehouse, climbing up a wall and falling onto a safety net for the last few years, you should try scaling a cliff face and feel the exhilaration as you pull yourself to the top and look down at the drop which, had you fallen, would certainly have been the end of you.