The scariest but most beautiful thing I have ever done

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Bear Tooth Pass, Montana

As you may suspect I’m not much of a cyclist. I used to spin a lot but spinning is pretty much the opposite of riding a bike down a mountain. There is no pedaling just steering well and hopefully not dying.

The two aspects the Montana tourism board approached me about with trepidation was horseback riding and cycling down a mountain. It is like a dare. I cannot say no.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into and as the Beartooth Bike Tours bus started the climb up to 10,000 feet with all the switchbacks so did my anxiety. But as much as I am a pansy, I am also incredibly stubborn. I wasn’t prepares to wuss out and take the bus down the hill so I jumped on and headed down with the group.

 

bear tooth pass

 

Wow.

 

We don’t have this vast landscape in Eastern Canada and when I could take my attention off my white-knuckled grip I could not believe the view.

But could I trust these hand brakes? With shallow and hesitant breath I was one of the slowest in the group, certain I would wipe out on a turn. I could also not believe we were going so fast and I was happy I could not convert 20 miles per hour into kilometres.

 

Beartooth Bike Tours

montana biking

Beartooth Pass Ayngelina

Fortunately there were lots of stops for photos and history of  Montana’s past with colourful legends like The Sundance Kid.

And after each stop the fear started to leave and I was less afraid of going faster. I left the back of the group and started moving up closer to the head of the group, using the brakes less and less. I was right behind our tour guide.

Then something terrible happened.

 

We were done.

And when we pulled in to get back in the bus I was upset, I wanted to keep going. I had finally let go of my fear of dying and finally started having fun. I cemented my new-found bravery like so many others on the ceiling of the bus.

 

beartooth bike tours

I want to do it again.

 

 

Disclosure: I was a guest of Visit Montana but they did not request I write a favourable review; in fact they were worried I would chicken out and said I could ride back down the hill in the bus if I was too afraid to get on the bike.

Comments

  1. says

    I’m glad you conquered your fear! The way you were describing it and the first picture had me terrified but with the big, wide road it doesn’t seem that bad. Don’t you hate it when you ease into it and then it’s over? That’s what happened to me on the Edgewalk. Grr!

  2. says

    Very nice pics!
    I am also not very much of a cyclist, I bike to work and back home every day. But maybe I should consider doing downhill from the top of Black Forest Mountains here, although this would not be even half as spectacular as you describe here :)

  3. says

    I love that you admit your wussiness in such a public forum! It makes me feel better about my wussiness! We avoided the death road in Bolivia because, well, it has DEATH in its name (and also we met several people who required surgery after wiping out on it)! It’s good to scare yourself a bit sometimes, but sometimes it just seems foolish. So good for you for taking a risk, but also being a reasonable and cautious person :)
    Wandertooth (Katie) recently posted..Estonian is Awesome!

  4. says

    Good for you for trying this! I’m a road cyclist, but descending mountains definitely scares me. Glad you got a taste of how awesome cycling is — hopefully you’ll have a chance to do it again soon. I have found that I see the world totally differently from the seat of a bicycle. It always makes it seem so much more beautiful.
    The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) recently posted..How we find time to travel (and how you can, too!)

  5. says

    Cripes, it’s been awhile since I checked in with your blog. I suck.

    I used to bike ALL the time (didn’t have much choice where I grew up), but my first time back on a bike in 10 years was in Prague, when I did a city tour. Honestly, I think I’d prefer the mountain to traffic and cobblestone streets. Hahaha.

    AMAZING experience! Had NO idea Montana was so beautiful.
    Candice recently posted..Three-line book review: The Custodian of Paradise, by Wayne Johnston

  6. says

    Going down a steep hill on a bike can be a little scary. Don’t know if I’d want to try going down a mountain fast. Of course, if I got challenged, that would be another story. Nice that you ended up loving the experience.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Rauxa Seny Barcelona

  7. says

    I’m also terrified of riding bikes. When did helmets stop being cool? Especially in Asia? I was the only bicyclist wearing one there, but I was damn proud to represent those police officers who came to my elementary school so many years ago and said, “Don’t worry. Wearing a helmet is cool.” You’re welcome officer.
    Noah recently posted..Review: The Next Luxury Resort in Bali–Samabe

    • Ayngelina says

      They did make us wear helmets so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t die but I was worried about sliding out from under the bike on a switch back. Is road rash cool?

  8. Cheryl says

    How awesome! Looks stunning and its so great how you overcame your fears. I’d totally do this and be scared too.

    • Ayngelina says

      I used to spin all the time but it’s quite the opposite really, there is no fear of falling and you are mostly climbing up hill. But once I got over my fear I really enjoyed it.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge