One of the major issues with the sport of mountain biking today is that we have too many mountain bikes to choose from. That’s right, we have too many choices. One dogma that’s been ingrained into us in affluent Western cultures, seemingly from birth, is that more choices = more freedom, and more freedom = more happiness.

The problem is, this dogma is wrong.

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As I’ve observed my mutt’s excitement every time we go outside, I’ve wondered to myself, “why don’t we humans get this excited when we go outside?” We really should. Getting to leave the world of the sofa and shutting off the screens, we can at our own whim head out into the great, wide, natural world with all of the excitement and adventure that it has in store. The best part is that we don’t have to wait for our owner to decide that it’s time for a walk. We can–whenever we choose–leave the confines of civilization and adventure out into the great unknown.

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Over the past three years, I’ve been working to get more deeply involved in mountain bike advocacy on a local level. What I’ve found has surprised me. While it might seem mountain bike advocacy has to do with, you know, mountain biking trails, I’ve found that really, it boils down to attending a lot of meetings.

Read any number of business productivity books, from Tim Ferriss’s The 4-Hour Work Week to Cal Newport’s Deep Work, and one common theme that begins to emerge is a distaste for meetings. “Distaste” is putting it too lightly. In many ways, these business productivity gurus lay many of the world’s ills of wasted time, energy, distraction, and motivation at the feet of constant interruptions and unproductive meetings.

And yet.

And yet, if you want to get legal mountain bike trails built, you better get used to attending a lot of meetings.

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Mountain biking–and even cycling on the road, or doing other mountain sports–has always served as a vehicle for exploration, for seeing and experiencing new places, or old places in a different way. The thing that drives me to get out on my bike is to discover what’s around the next corner, around the next bend.

If you walk into my house in the evening unannounced, especially on a Friday night, don’t be surprised to find me in the living room, with maps spread across the floor. I might have my laptop open to a trail map. I’ll be envisioning daring routes, connecting roads, trails, and possibly animal paths in such an unconventional way that maybe, nobody has traveled just such a route before.

I’m planning my next big adventure, or the adventure after that.

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Uber Driver. Photo: Noel Tock via Flickr Creative Commons

I think that often, we expect too much out of our occupations. We expect them to be fulfilling and meaningful and to motivate us to be the best human beings possible… and then inevitably, our jobs don’t do that. It’s too much pressure to put on a place of work.

So we feel discontent, and maybe we start a side hustle, a second job that we think will eventually lead us to happiness and contentment.

You know what the problem is? Hustling takes time. A lot of time. I’m here to offer a different solution:

Quit your side hustle so you can ride more.

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