By Amalia Kortright/ Staff Writer
Many people in the Chilton County Area know Dr. Matthew McCain as a family dentist. However,
McCain also has a unique interest few people in the area share: mountain biking.
“I started riding around 20 years ago. I had already gotten into skateboarding and regular cycling. I started seeing people on mountain bikes in the Pelham and Alabaster area, and I wanted to try it for myself. I jumped from activity to activity, but I always went back to mountain biking,”said McCain.
According to Eddie Freyer, league director of the Alabama Interscholastic Cycling League, there is a difference between mountain biking and regular cycling.
“Mountain biking is specifically defined as biking that is off-road and on a trail,” Freyer said.
According to Freyer, most people ride mountain bikes at local state parks.
“There are parks around the state with of Alabama that have a network of trails specifically for
mountain biking. The trails are typically single track, and they meander through the woods. They’re also wide enough for bikes, but not wide enough for vehicles.”
Because McCain is originally from Alabaster, he typically rides at Oak Mountain State Park, which has over 20 miles worth of mountain bike trails.
“I recommend Oak Mountain because they have top ratted trails and you’re guaranteed to meet people from all over the country,”said McCain.
Both McCain and Freyer also recommended that beginners stop by their local bicycle shop for more information on the sport.
“For the general public, the easiest way to begin mountain biking would be to go to a local bike shop.
Most local bike shops in Alabama have the tools needed to start and the resources for finding trails in your local area.”
The nearest bicycle shop to Chilton County is Cahaba Cycles, located in Pelham. According to McCain, Cahaba Cycles offers both mountain biking courses and mountain bikes that are available for rent.
“If you’re looking into mountain biking, I would not advise a beginner to rush out and buy a bike,”McCain said.“Don’t be afraid to rent a bike two or three times before deciding whether or notmountain biking is for you.”
According to BUMP, a nearby mountain biking association, bikes from local shops are better than those from mass merchandisers, because they are typically of a higher quality. Mass merchandisers are also unable to provide beginners with anyone that can fit them for the right model. While not many Chilton County residents are involved in mountain biking, McCain said that the overall mountain biking community is large in Alabama. Chilton County’s nearest official mountain
biking association is BUMP, which is short for the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers. They are based out of Birmingham and typically advocate for the sport, the creation of new bike trails and the maintenance of bike trails at local state parks. They also hold meetings about various mountain biking techniques and the upkeep of mountain bikes.