Jacob Baranski on Mountain Biking: Exercise, Nature, and Passion
By Jacob Baranski Founder Hartman Projects
It is important to have passions. A fulfilling life is one where a person is driven to see new places and try new activities. Passions can sustain a person through good times and bad. And a true passion of Jacob Baranski’s life is mountain biking.
A committed mountain biker, Jacob is intrigued and excited by the whole experience of the sport. He loves moving through landscapes, familiar and unfamiliar on his bike. It provides the sensation of discovery, even when there’s a well-worn trail before him. It feels like being an explorer, all while getting the best exercise a person can get.
Mountain bikers experience nature in a unique, breathtaking fashion. The sounds and smells of the countryside. The clean, crisp air that often seems too chilly at the beginning of a ride. Veteran bikers know how it will transform into a relieving cool down along the trail due to how much their body temperature will rise over the course of a rigorous trip.
There’re lots of little things to appreciate beyond just the ride. Jacob Baranski enjoys stopping under a tree to rest, and simply be isolated in the heart of nature. And he loves reaching the end of a trail, and feeling like the accomplishment has truly been earned.
Prep For Where You’re Going, and Who You’re Bringing
Mountain biking may not be the first thing that comes to mind as a family activity, but it can be fun for kids and adults. In Jacob Baranski’s experience, the most important part of planning a family trip is selecting a trail that’s right for the kids. He believes family treks should focus on day routes and short trails, not the long hours or multiple days some require.
Jacob’s family makes a few other basic accommodations when the kids come along. This includes selecting appropriate for their age and size, and regularly checking that they’re riding safely. Depending on how experienced they are, some children may need more frequent breaks for rest and snacks. Parents trying to foster a love of mountain biking should start with short, easy trips.
Luckily, there are quite a few choices across Quebec for both challenging and family-friendly treks. Prince Edward Island offers a number of looping, easygoing trails on red dirt that a younger rider with only a little experience can handle. New Brunswick offers some more technical tracks for those looking for a challenge.
The most important thing for Jacob Baranski is the shared experience. He really wants his kids to know how fun it is to speed down trails in places they’ve never been before, or get caught in a downpour on a warm summer day and still bike onward. For him, part of mountain biking is dealing with the unexpected, which is a skill every kid should have.
Location, Location, Location
Canada has such a wide range and variety of choices for serious mountain bikers that when asked for trip recommendations, Jacob Baranski is tempted to just say “British Columbia”. Always interested in traveling to new trails in new places, his favorites are as much about where he wants to go as where he’s been.
Anse à Beaufils in Percé, for example, has a particularly strenuous mountain trail with some 45 degree slopes. Difficult trails present a wonderful challenge, as to changes in elevation, steep angles, and difficult terrain confront riders with a multifaceted test of both physical and mental endurance.
For those families that are interested in more than just mountain biking on a trip, many of the parks on the Atlantic Coast of Canada have excellent hiking options as well. Jacob Baranski recommends the park at Gaspésie as an excellent option for non-biker members of the family, and for those bikers looking to mix things up.
And for any family that finds themselves near Gaspésie, Jacobs gives his strongest recommendation to visit Île-Bonaventure. It features a moderate-difficulty loop of around five miles that is less heavily trafficked than other popular hikes, and contains nature trails, bird watching, and a ferry that circles the island, allowing visitors to observe the sea seals, whales, and other sea life in the clear, cold water.
Jacob Baranski is serious about mountain biking as a passion and not just a pastime, and believes that anyone so committed to the sport should open themselves up to as wide a range of available treks and trails as possible. Many large and national parks offer longer-term options that are best trekked with a group of serious mountain bikers. Some of these trips require their own regime of exercise and preparatory routines to ensure bikers are ready for their rigors.
For a multi-day trip, trails like those found in the South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park are excellent choices. With over 200km of trails and spectacular mountain views, the park is very rugged. Trails aren’t regularly maintained and there isn’t much signage, so experienced riders are the best fit for such a place.
That there are plenty of ways to get into mountain biking. No one has been the madman rocketing down a bumpy hill to be a ‘real’ mountain biker. A more leisurely, family-friendly trail can be just as fun, and many parks allow families and visitors to rent bikes and other equipment for the day. However it’s done, it’s still fantastic exercise and a phenomenal way to experience nature. All of which makes mountain biking great.
Jacob Baranski is an entrepreneur, mountain biking enthusiast, and father to three amazing children. He is an avid traveler with professional interests in real estate and modern design.