Believe it or not, mountain biking was one of the things that set this whole website in motion, along with the need to be useful so as to avoid “the darkness”. Once I found the right bike for me, it occurred to me that FM sufferers should really know about this! I was able to act like a normal person, get exercise, and get some positive endorphins going! It was glorious! I do not use exclamations lightly by the way.

So what’s the big deal? Well, 3 technologies really allowed me to do this in respect to my FM:

The first is the 29 inch tire. It rolls over things much easier and you get far less jarring sensations from it.

The second is the DW link or four bar style suspension. This allows you to have a full suspension that does not sap energy from the rider. This may seem minor, but for me and my FM, it was difference between wanting to ride and not wanting to ride at all. There are other technologies such as the Specialized brain, which also counteract the pedaling forces.

The third technology is Air suspension. It’s light, adjustable, and effective in making a very comfortable ride.

If it weren’t for those things, I seriously wouldn’t bother. I’ve ridden bikes with just one or all of these technologies missing, and it cut the amount of time I could ride by, and get this, 50-85%. This wouldn’t be true for a normal rider, but for an FM patient, it matters a lot.

I could go out for a ride on a really good bike ($600-$3000 MSRP) for a 20-40 minutes before I’ve had it and I start buzzing in pain. On a full air suspension 29er with a good 4 bar suspension, I rode for 6 hours and gave up from just being tired. I can’t tell you what an amazing feeling that was for me! If you have FM, then I’m sure you find this equally astounding. From not being able to climb a small set of stairs and getting around on a power wheelchair to being able to ride 20 miles was such a huge personal accomplishment. To have it not aggravate my FM was pretty much miraculous!

So what is the catch you ask? Expense. The bike I need in order to ride without aggravating my FM is $2300. The very idea of spending more than $200 for a bike used to make my eyes roll, yet I bought myself a race bike. Granted, it’s not the most expensive bike ever, one could spend 10k on a bike, but $2300 is still a lot of money for a bike.

Another disclaimer, I do not work in the bike industry nor do I have any ties to it whatsoever, other than meeting Carl Decker at the 2011 Downieville classic. That said, the bike I would recommend trying is the Giant Anthem X 29er. There are lots of great things about it, but what got me was the fact that I rode all day on it and didn’t hurt. There are other full suspension 29ers out there, and I have ridden a lot of them. I would still choose this model.

Additionally, Ergo grips are an important addition.

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