Mountain biking, we are pleased to add, isn't just great fun and an ideal way to get your own thrills, but it can also be of significant benefit to others, driving whole new economies where there was previously little prospect.
Take for example the former mining and forestry center of Derby in Tasmania. A virtual ghost town of just 173 people just three years ago, it’s now an internationally renowned MTB hotspot that generates $23 million a year for the state.
And it's not just wealthy western countries. In La Paz, Bolivia, the biggest tourist attraction in town is riding a mountain bike down ‘the world’s most dangerous road’. There are now 30 different companies offering the tour and it’s a major source of wealth for the villages at the bottom. That’s a big deal for South America’s poorest country.
Or take the small Ecuadorian village of Telimbela, where locals cleared an old smuggling route through the jungle to create a trail. Today, the annual Mama Rumi Downhill race attracts hundreds of competitors and even more spectators. The money generated was responsible for the 2016 construction of a water system bringing drinking water into the centuries-old village for the first time. On MTB site Pinkbike, writer Lee Lau says it shows that “not only is mountain biking serious business, but mountain biking can change lives for the better.”
Andrew Fenton over at Adventure.com uncovers a treasure trove of possibilities.
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