Known worldwide as the father of mountain biking, Gary Fisher is a passionate advocate of the sport, which he says is much safer that other sporting activities such as soccer or fuel sports like motor racing.

On his maiden tour to India, Fisher says the country has probably one of the best natural habitats in the world to tempt the youth to “bomb down” off-road mountain trails.

“With mountain biking, the original reaction is like, are you crazy, that sounds insane. But with the advent of trek bikes which are practical and easy to ride the scenario has changed,” says Fisher who launched a premium bike by Firefox during his visit here.

While Firefox Bikes says it targets selling 3000 bikes per year of this collection, Fisher believes the sport has immense scope of exploration and appears to be popular in the corporate market as well.

“There are huge chances of one being hurt while playing soccer when a player hits the ball with his head but with the advent of new technology bikes mountain biking is comparatively safer,” he says.

Fisher who was a racer himself before he got into modifying bikes to be fit for mountain biking, wishes to see a comeback of cross country racing and high school racing.

“The sport is growing like crazy in all parts of the world. However with the kind of experiences I have had so far in India I believe mountain biking here is no less than an infection spreading in marvellous way,” he says.

Recalling his journey from a boy passionate about biking in childhood to being acknowledged as the father of Mountain Biking, Fisher says, “It was in the 1960s when youth rebelled in college campuses all over US and I got banned from racing in California because my hair was too long!”

“As the regular road bikes and cruisers were totally unsuited for such off-road treatment, I decided to put my creativity into modifying these bikes which helped me landing a place in world of mountain bikers,” he adds.

Combining his creativity with the manufacturing and marketing capabilities of the market leaders in the segment, Fisher believes that with the technology and designs of mountain bikes available in the market, people’s interest in the sport has increased.

“With the kind of trekking bikes we have today, they climb faster and make an average rider feel like he is a handling god, but what makes mountain biking more exciting is group rides,” he says adding, “You can join mountain biking clubs club and group rides these days. It’s a nice concept because one learns faster while riding with people who are a little better than them.”

However, Fisher believes that all those who still go by the popular notion that mountain biking is unsafe and requires huge expertise in certain skills should explore the sport more and not refrain themselves from hopping onto bikes to ride down the hills.

“Mountain biking is not just about giving yourself a challenge but also chance to enjoy nature and adrenaline rush with the roller coaster rides” says Gary.

(This article was published on November 9, 2012)
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