Mountain biking was my childhood. We spent every possible moment exploring the woods, trails, and city from two wheels. Everyday when we got home from school, we would get the gang together and figure out where we were riding. Some days it was urban riding, gapping stairs, riding wheelies, or having races through the traffic. Other days we would get lost in the woods building dirt jumps, log rides, or having Time Trail races. All of my friends were part of this “biker gang” and our lives revolved around mountain biking. When I think back on these glorious days I realize it was more than just an afternoon in the saddle, it was a chance to escape our parents and all adult supervision.
As we grew up friends started to go do other things, sports, clubs, etc and we spent less time mountain biking together. Fortunately for me I took a summer job that kept me mountain biking all summer long. Although it wasn’t exactly the pro mountain biker status I had always dreamed, I was getting paid to ride my bike. I spent many hot summer days trying to get kids to love mountain biking as much as I did. I got the opportunity to be part of mountain biking trips to West Virginia, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Colorado and Utah. When I wasn’t leading trips I was figuring out where the next mountain biking race was and how to get there. Unfortunately for me after so many summers of teaching mountain biking my love for the bike began to fade. When I was out biking, even outside of work, it still felt like work. At this point I decided to hang up the bike and find my next love.
For years friends would try to convince me to come riding with them, they would ask, how could you not want to go riding. No matter how much they pressured me I was never excited about the thought of going biking. Finally one afternoon I made a snap decision to buy a new bike, not just any bike, probably the nicest bike I have ever purchased. I had been out of the game for almost a decade and bikes had completely changed, bigger wheels, new frame materials, and advanced suspension. Luckily when the bike arrived I still remember a few things and after way too many hours I had an assembled mountain bike.
After my 10 year hiatus I was curious of my feelings on biking, especially since I had just spent a few thousand dollars new bike. Happily my time out of the saddle was the revitalization I needed to remind me why I spent so much of my childhood biking. Thankfully it was like I had never stopped riding. As soon as I clipped in everything felt natural, skills hadn’t been forgotten and it was like I hadn’t missed a day. One of the best things were all of the changes at my local biking spots. They have added skills parks, man made features, and additional trails to keep things new and fresh. Although I spend much more time riding solo and I am no longer trying to escape adult supervision, mountain biking is still my time away from everything. I put the phone on silent, pull the earbuds out and just enjoy listening to the sound of riding a bike, unless of course I need to snap that perfect “gram”.