I guess that, with the development of the Internet from a middling bunch of computers on a network to a full-blown phenomenon of millions and millions of PCs and Macs all connected throughout the world, you can find anything you want online with just a smattering of keywords and Google (or Yahoo!, or MSN, or AOL, whichever you prefer.) I have been a Netizen for almost 6 years now; certainly not as old and experienced as the other veterans of the World Wide Web, maybe, but enough to have observed and experienced several of the significant developments and changes that the cyber world has gone through.
So why was I surprised when I found out that the sport of mountain biking has found a new home on the Internet? And not just a sport, but an entire, growing community and culture of pedaling enthusiasts that spans the globe. Going back to my self-imposed question, why was I surprised to see this? Probably because in my privately-held and biased opinion, I’ve always thought that freewheeling mountain bikers who spend their time going up and down hills riding their two-wheeled pedal machines wouldn’t have the time nor the inclination to build a place on the Web.
How wrong I was. Mountain biking is certainly getting more and more exposure on the Internet, and well-deserved exposure, I might add. As I said, I have discovered that there is already a booming population of closely-knit communities of mountain bikers in cyberspace. You can practically find hundreds of websites, blogs, and forums dedicated to the sport. A wide array of topics are being discussed and presented at length in these communities, from brake levers to bike trails. And of course, with the spurt of the e-commerce trend, it cannot be avoided that shops catering to the specialized needs of mountain bikers have sprouted online as well.
But is this a bad thing we’re talking about? Personally, I think not. The emergence of e-commerce has brought along with it an unsurpassed convenience and availability of products and services that your local bike shop will be hard-pressed to match. Unless, of course, your local bike shop has established an online presence as well. Enthusiasts and shoppers are greatly benefiting from the wide array of products that are readily available from virtually anywhere in the world, via the Internet. Whether you just want to find the best price for that crankset you need, or you’re looking for the ultimate mountain bike package, going online can be the best way to go.
You don’t have to be a technical wizard to enjoy online shopping for your bike gear. Most mountain bike websites, or cycling in general, usually feature helpful hints and tips to guide the less-than-expert shoppers make the most out of their website. Are you looking for a particular product? Or perhaps you just want to see all available products from your favorite manufacturer? Online stores usually allow you to search for any item you want using keywords. You can also find what you need by browsing the organized categories of items. Everything is arranged and laid out to enable shoppers to find and buy products faster and easier.
Syahrul Azlan Idris