The Scariest but Most Beautiful Thing I Have Ever Done

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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




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.

Join the Conversation

  1. Steph | says:

    Wow!! What incredible views! I want to do that, although I think my story would be the exact same as yours…just when i’m getting comfortable, it’s over! 🙂

  2. Amazing views. Shows it’s worth facing your fears sometimes!

  3. Andi of My Beautiful Adventures says:

    That looked like so much fun!!! I love that you wanted to keep on going? Next up? The Road of Death in Bolivia???? 😉

  4. Now, this is the sort of stuff that gets me excited – bike riding rewarded with breathtaking scenery, like you earned the view!

  5. Chrystal McKay says:

    Yay for facing those fears because those views are spectacular! Great way to spend a day for certain.

  6. Stephanie - The Travel Chica says:

    You continue to surprise me.

  7. That’s pretty ridiculous… and awesome! Why isn’t there sweet scenery like that in southern Ontario?

  8. A Cook Not Mad (Nat) says:

    Like so many scary things, once you start, you realize how much fun you’ve been missing. Good for you!

  9. haha that “we were done” comment – too funny! Looks like a crazy fun time

  10. 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!

  11. Janice MacLeod says:

    I love that you pulled your balls out of your purse and strapped them on. That takes HUGE GONADS. Way to go!

  12. Agness (@Agnesstramp) says:

    Amazing view. I like the mountains! I would be scare a little bit too, but I love biking and new challenges!

  13. 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 🙂

  14. Can we do that sometime? Or something similar.. or something else? Basically… wanna do something? lol

  15. Too freakin’ awesome, Aynge. I want to do that! 😀

  16. Wandertooth (Katie) 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 🙂

  17. Scott - Quirky Travel Guy says:

    This sounds so amazing. Every “biking down a mountain” story I’ve read so far has had a happy ending, so hopefully the fear is more of a mental thing rather than a true reflection of the number of people who actually fall over hillsides while biking.

  18. Good for you! And wow, what views!! Sounds amazing.

  19. I’ve had very little experience with mountain biking, but I seem to remember my hands hurting from squeezing the hand brakes the whole time.

  20. The Time-Crunched Traveler (Ellen) 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.

  21. Brendon Of Nerd Travels says:

    Sounds like an amazing experience. The views look stunning

  22. You’re a badass! I’m terrified of mountain biking!

  23. 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.

  24. Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog says:

    Looks like you had lot of fun. I would really love to do that. That view is breathtaking.

  25. Gerard ~ GQ trippin says:

    I know what you mean.. Gerard and I have had our fair share of biking with a view on this trip and we’re not that great on two wheelers. But biking with a view is always a great experience.. when I’m not too chicken to look up and enjoy the view of course. Glad you did it!

  26. I love a good bike ride but the heights would definitely scare me! What beautiful scenery though…

  27. I’m always worried about my lack of coordination with bike tours. Its not that Im not fit….Im just un-co!

  28. Micamyx|Senyorita says:

    Uh oh. Keep it up haha 😀

  29. Your disclaimer makes my life.

  30. That looks like a hell of a ride. Also – I love the idea of taking a bus to the top and cycling down. Sounds much easier!

  31. Cathy Sweeney 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.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It took me a while but once I was no longer afraid I really enjoyed it.

  32. Cam @ Traveling Canucks says:

    Wow – talk about kick ass views! That kinda tour is right up my alley 😉

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Totally up your alley, you need to take a trip South.

  33. 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.

    1. Ayngelina Author 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?

  34. So glad to hear you had fun on a bike. To me all the grunting to get uphill is rewarded with the fun, fast and hopefully picturesque descents.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It’s baby steps for me, a bus ride uphill for the thrill downhill.

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

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Perhaps Canadians are wimps?

      1. Ha ha, perhaps we are … at least at first. 🙂

  36. David @ Malaysia Asia says:

    Nice! Somehow I can never get cycling past 2 kilometers. I tried it here in Malaysia a couple of months ago, and I guess it will be the last time I attempt this.

    1. Ayngelina Author 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.

  37. Allegra - The Travel and Relocation Coach says:

    I would argue it was the most beautiful BECAUSE it was the most scary. I have found that to be true over and over again.

  38. That looks like an amazing time. What a rush!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      It was a blast. I highly recommend.

  39. Wooow, that’ sounds so scary and thrilling at the same time! I especially like that you only needed to bike downhill:D

  40. Chail ReSort says:

    Pretty Amazing blog! Cycling is all time fun-loving exercise, and yeah, riding for fun and adventure. It’s pretty cool and fearful while riding down to the hill…

  41. Zulian Fahry says:

    This is my first knowledge. in act confronting a challenge experiment result unforgettable memory, I think you will never try it again, you really lucky Mss Ayngelina

  42. Fearless action really creat amazing effort..

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