Riding bikes isn't hard. In fact, it's kind of the opposite as far as recreational pursuits go. If you think about it, the challenge vs fun ratio is off the charts for bikes. I absolutely love the lack of logistics most bike riding involves. To get out on a bike, just make sure there's air in the tires, find a helmet, and go.
Sure, Steve Williams has an argument but riding doesn't have to be that hard. Even though we both love bikes and riding, we don't always agree with each other on BikeRadar because we're freethinking individuals and our situations differ.
The ease or difficulty of getting out on a real mountain bike ride is highly dependent on where you live. To just get out for a spin or to screw around, though? For the most part it's so simple. What other sport can you gear up for in the comfort of your house, start from your driveway and have an amazing time doing? Even without trails there's plenty of terrain wherever you are to goof around on.
In addition, today's mountain bikes are so good now. We're spoiled more than ever. Just think how capable bikes have become. XC bikes scoot up climbs better than ever, and instead of being terrifying on the downs, they're actually pretty fun.
Trail and all-mountain bikes have become true do-it-all crushers, moving beyond the marketing hype and lodging themselves firmly in reality. The terrain has to get seriously hacked out and sketchy for today's supremely multi-tasking trail bikes to get nervous.
Then there's enduro bikes. Terrain considered the range of big bikes only, accessed only by a shuttle or chairlift is easily within realm of these pedal-able machines.
Let's not forget tires. It used to be if I knew I was going out for an all day ride, I'd haul around two, even three spare tubes, plus a fully loaded patch kit. Tires were simply awful for a long time, but now, with tubeless and improved casings, I sneak out for rides sans tube occasionally.
I'm so appreciative of the ease of bike riding. There are very few conditions that prevent getting out. Riding can be done in all types of weather. It can be done any time of day (with lights, of course). And the location rarely matters since you can ride up hills, down hills, across the flats on pavement, dirt, grass, whatever. The variety is endless and there's little that can prevent it.
When I gear up for other activities, I find myself occasionally groaning at: how much gear is involved (rafting), how risky and life threatening it can be (climbing), how grumpy I get waiting in lift lines (skiing), how I'm injuring myself constantly (running) or how boring and slow it is (hiking). Riding bikes, even just dorking around in my driveway, is fun and entertaining.
Are mountain bikers hardcore like Steve Williams suggests? Yeah, sure, absolutely. Without a doubt, it can take some real commitment to be a serious mountain biker. But the sport is better than it's ever been thanks to giant upgrades in bikes and technology. It's hardly a fair fight in my eyes; bikes have spoiled me.