July 2018 Wellness Champion

Pictured Above: Rachel Clarke testing out a new bike

This month’s Wellness Champion is Mountain Biking enthusiast, Rachel Clarke, from the Office of Research and Innovation Services (ORIS).

According to Wikipedia: mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain. Mountain Biking can generally be broken down into multiple categories: cross country, trail riding, all mountain (also referred to as "Enduro"), downhill, freeride and dirt jumping. However, the majority of mountain biking falls into the categories of Trail and Cross-Country riding styles.


Rachel has been participating in mountain biking activities for the past five years. What first attracted her to mountain biking was the adventure. She explained that she was seeking an adventure filled hobby and found that there is an adventure with every ride. Receiving her start as part of a physiotherapy recovery program the physiotherapist recommended that she cycle as part of her knee rehabilitation. She explained that it started with her cycling on the road as prescribed, and eventually, she ventured into the woods and discovered that it was far more thrilling than being on the road.

She explained that she did have some help, both professional and friendly, along the way. She strives to take a bike clinic every year. These clinics include topics such as body mechanic improvements and courses on emergency bike repair (flat tires, broken chains etc). When participating in her sport, she uses the following equipment: mountain bike, helmet, gloves and protective gear, if committing to a day of downhill mountain biking.

Rachel finds that cross-training in the winter (such as downhill skiing, CrossFit, etc.) really helps her stay in shape and active for when mountain biking season rolls around again. Stating that stationary bicycle training was not particularly helpful to her. Rachel recommends to fellow peers that are interested in getting started in mountain biking is to get a bike that fits you and to try it out. Rachel explained that if you want to get involved in mountain biking, but are unsure of where to start, to join a group ride! She said that it's the best way to get to know other riders in your area.

Rachel explained that this activity allows her to disconnect from everything else.  She explained that “mountain biking requires focus - it’s not like you’re given much of a choice either, what with all the roots and rocks and tight corners along the way. It’s all about being present in the here and now. Rolling with it. Going with the flow. Everything else, all the stuff life throws your way, is magically blurred out. And that’s the beauty of the ride." 

Please help us thank Rachel in sharing her experiences and advice in regard to mountain biking, as well as congratulate her on leading a healthy lifestyle!