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  1. #1
    Shaman
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    What was your gateway drug (sport)?

    I started mountain biking because I grew riding BMX, then road (which was good exercise but wasn't much fun) and mountain bikes looked like an adult sized BMX bike (I am 6'3" and although there are much taller BMXers than me anyone over 6 foot looks pretty awkward on a BMX bike).

    I figured it would be fun like a BMX bike, able to jump, wheelie and ride on dirt but some what practical like a road bike. The first year or two I had the bike I had no idea what "real" mountain bike rides were like I was in school at ODU in Norfolk, VA and the biggest hill I had to climb was about 40 feet. An old abandoned land fill, I still remember the first time I made it to the top with stopping to catch my breath.

    So what sport, idea, reason got you to start mtbing?
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  2. #2
    Team NFI
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    Alpine ski racing... circa 1986

  3. #3
    Life is Good
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    For me, and probably a lot of folks, a bike was a means of escape when I was younger. I could hop on my bike (the first bike I remember taking on a trail was an old "Trailmaster" 20'' bike that my parents bought me at Hills Department store) and get away from the house/parents etc. I'd ride around the neighborhood with my buddies, go get food etc... eventually I found a small dirt trail that went down the hill to an old railroad grade which was now a rail-trail. I rode up and down the rail trail and that's when I got hooked. I eventually "upgraded" to a 26'' Huffy that had "shocks". As I got more and more into the sport, I started searching for new gear. I remember stumbling upon Rockshox forks at my LBS and so I saved up my money so I could put one on my Huffy. Once I finally had enough (I think I saved up like $150 for a RockShox Jett XC, this was probably around 1998 or so and I was about 13 years old), the tech at the LBS told me that there was no way I could fit that fork to my Huffy. So the $150 went towards a brand new bike. I eventually ended up spending $1k on a nice new hardtail and the rest is history.
    Get a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live. ~Mark Twain

  4. #4
    Candlestick Maker
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    I got into mountain biking as a result of crushing my road bike with my car, as a mode of transportation for myself, and as a diversion from competitive running...
    Last edited by baker; 02-15-2011 at 07:27 PM.
    baker

  5. #5
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    Rock Climbing: Used to travel all over to climb. Had a baby (now a senior in high school!) , traveling became difficult, needed something different to do, my brother was a mountain biker and so off I went. And the wonder! you can GO places instead of just up. You can go by yourself. You can go out your back door and don't need to drive to a crag.
    Mountain biking is still my sport of choice!
    The bike (besides my very first bike when I was a kid--a 10 speed that I rode all over the cow trails as well as roads) was a Trek Antelope --still have it. My daughter rides it.

  6. #6
    I like Squishy Bikes
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    a chick asked if I wanted to go Mountain Biking.
    How could I refuse?
    I did regret that cup of yogurt I had before the ride.
    SOMEBODYBUYMYBUICK!
    I was on a steel Trek 2 sizes too big, but I was Hooked!
    That was about 14 years ago.
    A dirty book is rarely dusty

  7. #7
    AZ
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    The dawn of BMX and a movie called On Any Sunday , both about the same time .

  8. #8
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    Rowing/crew...

    A bunch of teammates in college did it when they weren't rowing or drinking, so I joined in. That was 20 years ago...

  9. #9
    Stucco Bucket
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    knobby tires on a 12speed Murray for $199 at Price Club 1987.
    But BMX'ing Ive been doing and winning since 1978, So I guess that would be my first time in the dirt

  10. #10
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    basketball-til my knees gave out. had to find something to keep fit and stave off the dreaded "middle-age spread". been almost twenty years now

  11. #11
    Bro Mountainbiker
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    shreddin on a skateboard. I have put shortboarding behind me but I still longboard to get back to my roots.


    Skatin lead to BMX and then a couple years off the extreme then started mtn biking.
    Last edited by Sheepo5669; 02-15-2011 at 08:03 PM.
    Raised in a Chicken-Coop by Chickens

  12. #12
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    Tele Skiing (Tree skiing, mostly) + Road Biking = Mountain Biking

    I always found Road Biking to be a good workout, but boring. Road Biking is to Mountain Biking as Cross Country Skiing is to Downhill.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hollis
    a chick asked if I wanted to go Mountain Biking.
    How could I refuse?
    +1

    Had to buy a bike before we went.

    Now she's my wife (12 years)!

  14. #14
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    I was fat.
    :wq

  15. #15
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    Motocross of course! (hence "PureMX").


    I still ride MX but mountain biking has the majority of my attention lately. I get much of the speed, jumping and adrenaline fixes MX also has but in a "simplier" way. It must have something to do with two wheels too.

  16. #16
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    I agree with "I was Fat" LOL. I got my first mountain bike a JAmis Durango 3.0 in 2008 at 290lbs now im on a 2010 Fuel EX8 at about 190lbs.

  17. #17
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    Started riding BMX almost 20 years ago. Rode BMX every day religously for almost 15 years. I also had started running about 10 years ago. I always wanted to try mountain bikes when I rode BMX, but of course all my friends made fun of me for saying that. I then bought a road bike about 4 years ago. Barely rode it at all. 100 miles in 1 year. I then realized I should get the mountain bike I had wanted before. So I sold the road bike and bought a Specialized FSR XC Comp. I dont regret it at all, even though I do want to get another road bike.

  18. #18
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    Motocross for me as well. Broke my leg racing and was on crutches for 2 months. I figured mountain biking would be a good way to build my leg back up to strength and it has turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun! I am not sure it is any safer than motocross though!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gatorgrizz27
    Motocross for me as well. Broke my leg racing and was on crutches for 2 months. I figured mountain biking would be a good way to build my leg back up to strength and it has turned out to be a heck of a lot of fun! I am not sure it is any safer than motocross though!
    Yep. ACL surgery for me. Thigh muscles wasted away while knee was immobile.

    You are right, safer....hardly. I've gone over the bars way too many times. At least they were not bone breaking incidents.

  20. #20
    "Oldfart from Wayback"
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    I never needed a "gateway".

    I've been riding ST since ~ '68/ '69.

  21. #21
    Ride Like the Wind
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    My youngest memories of riding is of course the old trike and Big Wheel while living in my Grandparents spare house inbetween there house and my Great Grandparents house.This was up until 6 years old.After kindegarden my mom moved to a different part of town and I got a yellow banana seat bike and me and some freinds rode dirt trails and jumps that are still there to this day,that was 1974.Next came third grade and another part of town and different school where I discovered BMX so I took my paper route money and bought a blue centurion BMX race bike.Again,rode the dirt trails and jumps and around town with freinds.Broke the frame jumping with that race bike,took more money from paper route to buy a blue BMX mongoose and raced sparingly while doing alot of dirt jumping and freestyle tricks and riding dirt trails around the dirt jumps.At this same time,me and my brother were going on fishing trips with the grandparents here in the Colorado mountains.My Grandparents had his and her three speed schwinn bikes that we rode on the hiking trails,and I would bring my BMX mongoose once in awhile to ride the hiking trails at the lake.I too grew up physically to 6'2" and too big for BMX anymore like betterride.I didnt ride through jr. high school,and in high school was riding a univega raod bike back and forth to work until I bought my first vehicle which I crashed and went back to riding the bike back and forth to work.Got out of high school,didnt ride for awhile agian.Started to miss growing up and riding and wanted more out of riding since I didnt feel the BMX bike was quite the destiny but alas I gave the road bike another try and didnt feel the off road thing and bought another BMX bike to feel like I was riding off road.I was drawn to riding and couldnt quite get what I wanted,all along not knowing that mtn bike's had come down the pike,.Ended up getting a job where my brother worked doing gas fire places and ended up working in the mountains.Somwhere inbetween getting this job I realized mtn bikes had come down the pike,and working in Vail got to talking to a co worker that rode mtn bikes and at that point I just had to have a mtn bike.That was 10 years ago,since then I have realized through family pictures that my grandpa rode a bike to go fishing back in the late 20's early 30's when he was 10 to 12,before he kept bike's with him and my grandma to ride on there numerous fishing trips through the year's and feel that connection to my mtn riding.Another family pic of my great Grandpa was of him racing flat track motorcycles back in 1913 when they were still using schwinn bicycle frames for the motorcycles he rode.I also have a pic of my great great Grandpa and his brother that says they were Teddy Roosevelt's rough riders,still trying to track more info on that just to confirm full statis but feel a great connection to riding any which way you look at it...

  22. #22
    On wuss patrol
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    Many poisons

    Did some bmx as a kid and had a road bike that ceased to move when I got my driver's license.

    Did some motorized sport stuff on motos and snow machines in the '70s and '80s.

    Used cheap mountain bikes to access non-motorized hunting areas in the '80s and '90s

    Rode paved bike paths in resorts on summer vacations, towing my kids in trailers and on Trail-A-Bikes. Occasionally hit a dirt ride. Kids grew into their own bikes.

    All just kind of dabbling.

    Got sorta serious about mtbing in summer 2009.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  23. #23
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    I got in to MTBing one day when I realized I was squatting to pee. I was living with 5 women (wife and four daughters) and drowning in estrogen, I needed to re-establish my manhood with a heavy dose of testosterone pumping physical exertion. That same day I walked into a bike shop and the rest is history, I've been MTBing for ten years now and I love it. On a side note re-establishing my manhood went pretty well until the first time I got passed like I was a part of the scenery by a woman on a full rigid SS. Now I just ride cause it's fun.
    Happy Trails
    Jolly

  24. #24
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    Well, I mountain biked in the mid-late 90's, stopped once I got my license because my social life was more important and I stopped hanging around with my friends who also biked. In college I started going to the gym, running and after college I picked tennis back up (played from age 5). A knee injury caused me to have to back off a bit on anything high-impact on my knees. The doctor told me taking up biking would be great, so I jumped back in full force. Now it's become a bigger part of my life than anything I've been involved in prior.

  25. #25
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    BMX back in the late 70's and early 80's. I was riding some river bottom ATV trails in the mid 90's before I knew there was single track. I switch to black label and little road riding till I bought a 2007 GF X-Cal for gravel and was handed a crewd trail map for center trail just an hour away in Des Moines IA. HOOKED! Bought a 2009 Rumble Fish and gave it a good thrashing at Winter Park, to much fun! The most recent reason my wife was a little upset with me was when I took her to a LBS shop to pick up a set winter riding tires. The fact they were hooked to a Salsa Mukluk was left out till she seen me walk out with it to strap it to the truck.

  26. #26
    That's damn yankee to you
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    Sex.

    Yeah I did it to get laid and now I'm addicted.

    To mountain biking. Not sex.
    Quote Originally Posted by Impy
    You know....... whatever bike they are riding, assure them its the biggest bike of any guy you have ever ridden with.

  27. #27
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    Skiing of any kind. My Dad worked in Snow Avalanche Research and I tagged along whenever possible. If you have passion for outdoor activities then mountain biking is a natural.

  28. #28
    turtles make me hot
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    As a kid, my first bike was a dept store banana seat thing. As soon as I figured out how to wrench on it, I did things to make it look more "off road". I rode a Honda 50 Mini Trail in the woods in Maine on family vacations, so off road was in my blood.
    I was already too tall for 20" BMX bikes when they started to become popular, so I got a Fuji Sports 12 and rode everywhere on it. Seriously. Everywhere.
    One day, I went into the mom and pop bike shop where I got all my stuff and there was a big Ross poster on the wall with a picture of a guy riding what was the new for that year Ross Mountain bike in a stream. I thought "Holy crap, that's what I've always wanted".
    I was into cars huge, so I didn't buy a mountain bike right away. One day, I just woke up and decided it was time for a bike. I hadn't touched the Fuji since I'd gotten my license. I went to the same bike shop and bought a cromo Schwinn High Plains. Full rigid. Put bar ends, toe clips, that stupid gel seat cover , two water bottles and Ringle quick releases on it and went looking for trails. I was hooked. Bought a rigid Cannondale after that, quickly added a Manitou Three, then an EFC and now I have a Stumpjumper FSR 29er and a Kona HT and now I'm looking at Fatbikes.
    I like turtles

  29. #29
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    Used to do a lot of search and rescue and was an avid hiker/backpacker. Got to do plenty of backpacking in SAR so I took up mountain biking (plus the adrenaline fix ).

  30. #30
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    Started riding a bike as a means to get around before I had my drivers license. Played lacrosse in highschool and college. I have been skiing all my life, downhill, tele, xc. Pretty much stopped riding while I was in college. Graduated and bought a decent hardtail and it all goes down hill from there. Riding a bike beats running.
    Currently own;
    Raleigh XXIX
    Felt Road Bike
    24" BMX
    Cruiser

  31. #31
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    after the initial Schwinn crate, it was bmx and racing starting @ age 10. been looking to get dirty ever since

  32. #32
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    Couch potato -> Biggest Looser Show inspired me -> Walking and eating better to loose weight -> hiking to make it more fun -> lost 50 lbs -> mountain biking -> long distance hiking to make it a real challenge (50 miles in a day with 12,000 ft elevation change) -> biking and hiking in the same day -> To be continued...

  33. #33
    Big B's Trails
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    Been into bikes as long as I can remember(bmx) but in 9th grade(1987) a friends dad took me out to real singletrack and I've been HOOKED on MTB's ever since.... Thank You Mr Hartzke
    I dig dirt!

  34. #34
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    My ex-gf. She insisted on going everywhere with me...and I was too spineless to break up with her. Then a friend casually mentioned that I should go mountain biking with him and his gf. I went with them and my gf came too, only she fell and scraped her knee.

    She was really upset that her knee was messed up (she did have nice legs) and vowed never to go mtn biking. So I bought a bike and started going constantly. We broke up a few months later.

  35. #35
    Paper Mill Aleworks
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    Quote Originally Posted by nachomc
    I was fat.
    This.

    I skated/snowboarded from 4th grade up through college, then when I started tarvelling for work, I stopped but ate/drank as if I still did

    Still snowboarded every Winter, but that was about it.

    Never really rode a bike at all until I was about 27 years of age, and now at 32, I can't imagine doing anything else.

    Still snowboard...and even pick up a skateboard from time to time, just to make sure I can
    A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. - Winston Churchill

  36. #36
    cycle dad
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    My brother told me about cannondales as a kid. He said they were invincible magic bikes that you could jump off cliffs with. We were a motorcycle family then, riding the nack mountain trails of norther Utah. We moved to New York when I was 9 and soon after I out grew the little Honda XL 75 and had to start pedaling. At the time I just used what ever bmx was handy. Then I started borrowing my aunt's spare. She rode men's bikes because there were no "serious" womens bikes that she knew of.
    When I was 12 my aunt sold me he fully rigid 21 spd nishiki manitoba. It was reliable and "light" and I used it to get around. Logging roads around my home town were a good way to get to a friend's house if you had the endurance to climb 800 feet over about 2 miles. Befor elong I was climbing and singing at the same time. (still do it. It annoys my friends while they huff and puff.)
    About 2 yrs later my dad bought me another Nishiki with an rst fork. It was about the same time walmart started selling mongoose. My cousin got one of those and we went all over the place together. I noticed that his bike was dying and mine was thriving.
    I broke my back doing jumps on the nishiki when I was 17 and did graduation in a back brace. I was 21 by the time I got back into it. My brother helped me find a Iron Horse that worked for me. I've had 3 bikes since then. I'll never again stop longer than it takes to heal. I build and ride as much as I can. My wife gets frustrated with me, even though she likes to hit the trails too. She just doesn't have the bug I guess.
    I've still got the second nishiki. Mostly I loan it to old people who want to ride dirt paths. Shifts and brakes great. Rides smoother with a manitou fork and has an upgraded crank too. Gotta love that old beast.
    Last edited by taletotell; 02-17-2011 at 08:21 PM.

  37. #37
    Des(s)ert Rat
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    Wow! A story much like mine!

    Ran trails and rockclimbed (lived on the road to do so). Loved my road bike. Had a child, started mountainbiking a month after he was born. He graduated high school last may.

    I bet we have crossed paths, if not, then we should.

  38. #38
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    BMX racing.

    First it was a 16inch baby mx in 1992, then my first 20in in 94... then lots and lots and lots of bmx-ing all up down and round everywhere. Until 2005 when a spangly new mountain bike turned up on my birthday.

  39. #39
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    I had the good fortune to grow up next to a nice state park in PA. I rode trails there on my Schwinn Predator there starting in 1984 or so (I was 9), graduated to a larger bike, and never really stopped. So, my gateway sport was...biking.

    To complete the circle, I moved back to my hometown a few years ago and have taken my son to the same state park, which is once more close to home, for his first trail rides.

  40. #40
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    Dirt bikes (which is what mountain bikes shoulda been called, but the name was already taken) from age 8-40years old.

    Broken pelvis racing desert when I was 38 and my dad got me riding mountain bikes about the same time.

    Over the last ten or twelve years I've gone from riding my moto 2-3x a week and racing every month to riding it only 5-6x a year.

    Now I'm totally addicted to mtb 5-6 days a week: XC, FR, downhill, tech, chunk, smooth, flowy....if it's pedaling knobbies on dirt I'm all over it.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What was your gateway drug (sport)?-copy-2-spring-break-09-031.jpg  

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by KRob; 02-17-2011 at 10:06 AM.
    I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth...
    Isaiah 58:14

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  41. #41
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    Well, I started in BMX when I was young...
    Then I was fat, smoking, and a Dc. told me if I whanted to live to 45?? Then I had to do the change in life....
    Im still chubby, but, try to catch me in the hills if you can!!

  42. #42
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    Skateboarding. Knees are shot to hell for it, but biking is low / no impact (when you do it right).

  43. #43
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    Golf.

    I did lots of bmx riding as a kid. Never raced but used to jump off/over anything I could find in town that would get you airborne. Then I got my license & forgot about bikes for many years. I eventually became a golf professional and with that, my summers were shot for 13 years. Fast forward to 2005 and I decided I needed a distraction from the golf scene and bought a mountain bike. Soon after, I decided to call it quits on the golf thing since I had a newborn and didn't want to work 80+ hours for the rest of my life.

    Now I'm in a new profession that I love, working normal hours and am totally hooked on endurance racing. My wife's favorite line is "and I thought you spent a lot of money on golf tournaments and equipment"

  44. #44
    Keep The Rubber Side Down
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    bicycles, when I was a kid. Basketball from the age of 11 until last year. (no more bball due to doctor's orders) Cycling has been back in that fold for over 16 years too.
    Some of my happiest memories in life took place on my bicycles. - Me

  45. #45
    rmi
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    When I was turning 13 I moved to a new development in Florida. The neighbor kids were riding their bikes (awesome black Huffy's as I remember) on trails and off homemade jumps. I got a Schwinn Moab with front suspension for my 13th birthday!

    Started riding trails again with buddies in high school when I moved to CT. Took some time off serious mountain biking during my college and law school years, although I rode the hell out of bikes....as commuters and as my main transportation.

    Now, I'm back in the mountain saddle.

    Ryan

  46. #46
    CoolArrow
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    1.) Evel Knievel.
    2.) On Any Sunday (movie)
    3.) BMX


    After 10 years on the small bike, it was the only direction for me.

    From this: (about 83 to 2004)


    To this: (2010)
    Cool BandolArrow

    Jerry Hazard website

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by screampint
    Wow! A story much like mine!

    Ran trails and rockclimbed (lived on the road to do so). Loved my road bike. Had a child, started mountainbiking a month after he was born. He graduated high school last may.

    I bet we have crossed paths, if not, then we should.
    Where's the "like" button?
    wow--I wonder if we have crossed paths before--that would be so cool!

  48. #48
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    I love this thread!

  49. #49
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    I actually have a picture of the what inspired me to buy a MTB and start riding. I had been in Vancouver on business this last fall and the weather was predicted to be humid, rainy and just terrible all around. The day we got there it lived up to my expectations. 90%+ humidity and raining sideways.

    The next day was to be filled with meetings and in spite the weather guessers prognosticating of doom and gloom, the sun came out and it turned into one of those perfect days where being stuck under fluorescent lights is torture. I was trapped in an attorney's office working on a deal and I kept looking out the window at the breathtaking view. For some reason I remembered hearing that Whistler was a MTB park in the summer and the urge to buy a bike hit me. My mind was wandering and I suddenly remembered that the deal I was working on would require me to spend a lot of time on site in rural Kentucky for projects that involve having narrow dirt roads bulldozed into the sides of mountains for equipment to get to the location. It hit me that I had my own private fire road system and shuttle service in the form of field crews with radios. I didn't just want a bike any more. I NEEDED a bike. We took a break from the meeting around this time, as I think we were all starting to drift a little bit, and that's when I snapped the picture below of the view that was driving my thinking.

    After dinner that night I went back to the hotel and researched bikes for 5 or so hours. I got back in town around 9:30 on a Wednesday and was at the LBS by 10:30 the next morning and riding that afternoon and ever since. It's my first time on a bike in over a decade and my first time riding any real trails. So far I have completed one XC race, ben to a betterride.net camp (which I highly recommend), bought a road bike with a power meter and developed and have been following a training program for the next XC season.

    I'd say I'm pretty well hooked.

    ETA: I have no freaking clue why that picture is suddenly displaying upside down. It's rightside up on my computer.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What was your gateway drug (sport)?-van-bc.jpg  

    AG

    When in doubt, lean more. 95% of the time it will solve the problem; the other 5% of the time it'll end the suspense.

  50. #50
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    I started mountain biking about a year ago on my walmart bike. I would ride over to the local forest preserve and ride a little XC. After that I scrolled through Craigslist everyday and found a 97 Gt Timberline FS for $140. Ive been riding that for about four months now, and Ive been hooked. Now theres too much snow on the ground so I'm on bike withdrawal.
    Long live MTB!

  51. #51
    It's about showing up.
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    The 3 majors

    Heavy focus on Baseball. Running. Competitive swimming. Road

  52. #52
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    16 years as a Pro Rodeo Cowboy. One of my mentors was into MTB and invited me on a trip. I had been into road biking for fitness. So I bought a good bike and spent 3 weeks learning to ride. Trip was to Moab for 4 days of riding with some hardcores. Got hooked on the spot.
    That was in 2000. And I still love Moab...and Fruita...and Park City...and Sedona...and Tahoe...and... anywhere else I can ride.

  53. #53
    cycle dad
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    Seems like the pro rodeo circuit would provide you with some great places to pedal. You still do bull riding?

  54. #54
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterRide
    So what sport, idea, reason got you to start mtbing?
    Growing up and realizing that beating the **** out of myself daily (riding bmx) probably isn't the best idea. Since then I've sold my bmx bike, still have a dirt jump bike though, and now ride rigid singlespeed and fixed gear bikes. Love to play bike polo on the roadie, and am always looking forward to finding new places to ride on my mtb.

  55. #55
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    Been riding since I was a todler.

    Matel Big wheel (83)------>Tricycle(84)---->BMX with Training wheels(85)------>Huffy Thunder Gorge 18 Speed (89)------->Mongoose Sycamore (93)------>Diamondback WCF 4.0 (96)------>Fast forward another 15 years and here I am still riding and having as much fun as I had back in 83.

  56. #56
    brake later, pedal sooner
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    i rode sport bikes for 9 years.. i got into the track heavily the last year.. i was going to start racing AFM (california racing league) cause my lap times were top 10 in the 1000cc open class.. and then i decided to not do it and have retired from motrocycles completely. i figured i was going to get seriously hurt from the speeds i go at....it's been about two years now since i rode. i got nothing to prove, i also got married but it was my decision before that.. i've dodged so many bullets on the street, i am lucky to tell this story.

    got a mountain bike november 2009... been ****ed up way worse than i ever did the previous 9 years but i'm still here, and crashing at 25-30mph is better than 90mph, personally guaranteed.

    a picture from my very last time riding a motorcycle:


  57. #57
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    Im 25, have been biking since I was in grade school. Biking was good fun all through my childhood, riding in high school before I had my license was really fun and I rode so much. But it wasn't till after I graduated around 18-19 that I developed a true love for biking. I remember the times I had with friends when we were around 15 and we had said we would never stop biking after we got our licenses. As I look back now I am the only one that still rides I will ride hard for the rest of my life!

  58. #58
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    I was addicted to trail running until my body stopped cooperating. It started with IT Band stuff then moved deeper into my knees then hips then low back. Eventually I just had to let it go. I still miss it a lot but I couldn't be happier riding my bikes. Wish I could do both and still hold out hope that someday i'll be able to, but pretty stoked I'm able to ride as hard as I can generally pain free.
    Previously known as mttamrnr.

  59. #59
    balance_fit
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    I was a triathlete for over 20 yrs before my knees gave serious signals of degeneration. I stopped running, and the other two disciplines, swimming and road biking, were shortly substituted.
    I had started cross training mtb and road biking in training for triathlons because of the fun factor and the safety of not being on the roads. The risk of being run over by a car is far greater than that of falling off my mtb! Plus, i witnessed accidents on road bikes and had a couple of friends sent flying after cars collided with them, this was a strong argument to get off the roads.
    One of the last triathlons i participated in was an XTerra, giving me a taste of real mtb. From there, the transition to mtb was very smooth, and my road bike collected dust until it was finally sold. Been mtbiking for over 7 yrs and i don't miss the roads at all !

    In the other hand, even though i still keep some swimming shape, most of the swimming training was substituted by paddle sports, which i currently practice in the form of stand up paddle board.

    It is safe to say that my gateway sport was triathlon and the icing on the cake was the XTerra !
    Simple, not easy.

  60. #60
    cycle dad
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    MTB is a religion. Just hearing these conversion stories makes me sure of it. We are all believers in a cult and those on the outside just can't understand.

    Wild.

  61. #61
    meow meow
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    seeing mountain bikers and thinking it was cool. turns out i was right.

  62. #62
    Flatlands suck
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    I started running to drop weight...dropped 60lbs and killed my right knee from my bad running style. Bought a Trek4300 to ride on the trails I was running...

    ...got introduced to rock climbing and liked it a bunch.

    ...rock climbing partner introduced me to singletrack riding

    ...now I have a Trek 69er and am addicted.

  63. #63
    Shaman
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    After a busy weekend I finally got to lead the replies to this thread I started. Wow, great stories. People who got married through riding, lost a lot of weight and were hooked many that started when they were kids, a guy that was riding singletrack in '68! great stuff! What a fun, healthy passion we share.

    Here are three photos from my early days.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What was your gateway drug (sport)?-scan0001.jpg  

    What was your gateway drug (sport)?-scan0002.jpg  

    What was your gateway drug (sport)?-scan0003.jpg  

    Skills coaching loved by passionate riders of all levels and trusted by the pros.
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  64. #64
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    Didn't really have a gateway sport. I played volleyball in highschool year round. I got the bootski at the end of my senior year season and that ended my career. I watched the tour and realized that I could be really good at cycling considering my skinny build. Bought a mountain bike cause they are cheaper than road bikes now I ride MTB and road and don't miss volleyball a bit.

  65. #65
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    I swam competitively when I was younger and then it got to be too much, I was drained and constantly sick. Went mountain biking with a friend and got hooked. Now it's not only my escape from school but my transportation and the way I keep from gaining weight.

  66. #66
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    Tour de Tucson :P I got a trophy for being the youngest to finish when I was 6 (Fun side note: You can now decipher my last name!). Growing up my dad was real shitty but the one thing he did do right was buy us new bicycles every year on our birthday and we were all hooked. My brother had a big bmx track in our backyard in the horse corral so I did that a lot..

    Finally when I was 21 or so my truck died and I start riding all the time. Fast forward 3 years and about 20,000 miles later and I am hooked on riding
    2008 Specialized Rockhopper -- STOLEN! *cry*
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  67. #67
    Perpetually Intermediate
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    Backpacking and hiking...then realizing how much ground I could cover on a mountain bike versus walking. Some of my rides are high speed and adrenaline, others are long explorations of mountains and desert.

  68. #68
    tomas'
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    Had the old Schwinn as a kid in the 50's and 60's. Got a drivers license and that was that. Fast forward to 1994. I had quit smoking a couple years before and started expanding. Was tired of buying new clothes. I had supported MS 150's for years, and a friend in a bike shop sold me a Trek hybrid. I rode it for a couple years, but not real religious about it. Same friend loaned me a Trek 930 demo bike. (I thought a bike might be a good way to get into some high country fishing in Colorado.) I took the demo to Palo Duro Canyon SP in Texas, and one lap was hooked. This was inspite of crashing in the sand and huffing and puffing. I retired from work (once) in 2000 and we moved to Prescott,AZ because of the fantastic trails available there. I wound up with 5 bikes. One was a road bike. Was riding two or three thousand miles a year. Now live near Charlotte, NC (That is another story). I played a lot of golf when we first moved here and did not ride as much. Last year I figured out that I just was not enjoying golf. Five hours of watching some other schmucks look for their golf balls while waiting to hit just wasn't cutting it. Came home to my bike. The local club is full of great people and am making good friends. Am down to 3 bikes, one road, one Stumpjumper comp hardtail, and a Santa Cruz Superlight. The MTB has changed my life in a very positive way. I turn 61 next month. Hope to ride as long as possible, and after that will keep building/maintaining trail until just can't move.

  69. #69
    The White Jeff W
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    I started riding as cross training for ice hockey. Now I'd rather ride bikes than skate
    No moss...

  70. #70
    what?
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    Boredom. I rode my bike everywhere I could go when I was a kid and decided one day that I wanted to do that again. That was about 5 years ago and I haven't looked back since! Now I mountain bike or use my commuter/commuter+trailer to do what I want.

  71. #71
    SSOD
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    Sports from 1st grade through junior year of college left me burned out and after couple years with no regimented training and general laziness, bought my first ht and never looked back. First sport I have ever done where I don't feel like my training is a job, if I ever do then I will probably quit it but for the last 3 years have raced competitively and now ride 6 days/ week with 18 races planned for this year. Just finished my first 6 hour solo ss couple weeks ago and wouldn't trade all that pain for anything.

  72. #72
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    I rode a 10-speed as transportation until I got my license. Played hockey since I could walk, until graduating HS. I've skied all my life as well. Then in my 20's I started to fatten up, so I started running. My knees were not happy with running, and I guy I worked with got me into road riding. Fast-forward 20 years, I hooked up with my current crew of roadies and racers, and lo and behold, they all headed into the woods in the fall. 4 mtn bikes later, now I'm the one who keeps some of the roadies in the woods at least once a week year-round, and I'm the chief instigator to go out and play when it's cold and nasty in winter. I found my calling in life.
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  73. #73
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    There were lots and lots of horse trails and stables where I grew up in the early 1960's. A purple 20" schwinn stingray frame for sale with cranks for $10 was my first bike I built. I think I was 10 or 11. By the early 1970's in Junior high school, we were already racing. BMX didn't exist yet. I used to race against Bultaco Pro motocrosser Kenny Zahrt before he was racing Bultaco Pursangs or Honda 110's. Crazy fast and ruthless on the course, full contact sport with block passing in corners, even as a kid.

    To this day, I still thank equestrians for sharing their trails with us mountain bikers, because if it weren't for them, I would have had nowhere to ride as a kid. I always had lots and lots of places to ride in the foothills where I grew up. Mountain biking still brings out the kid in me, a sense of freedom not experienced in any other sport.

  74. #74
    I Tried Them ALL... SuperModerator
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    My gateway drug was methamphetamine. I was addicted to that $hit for 22 agonizing years. It turned me from a successful Stockbroker, making six figures a year...to a homeless street Urchin, burglarizing homes to support my habit. My primary mode of transport were Walmart mountain bikes - which were often replaced with stolen ones, as they broke down regularly. I always told myself I was going to get into the sport of mountain biking...but, I was too busy chasing that high.

    In 2006, I was admitted into ER four times, with congestive heart failure at age 42; a result of being high on speed 24/7 for nearly 22 years and smoking two packs/day of Marlboro Reds. My doctor said I was not going to make it to 45 if I did not change my ways. My first "real" bike was a stolen, 2004 Gary Fisher Supercaliber. My mom said she would pay for rehab - but only if I made the 450-mile journey to the recovery center. From the Bay Area San Francisco, I thumbed my way to Southern California with nothing but a backpack, no ID and that Gary Fisher MTB. I nearly got killed by some psycho guy who was planning on taking me into his motel room for the night...thanks to the bike, I got away just in time.

    Nearly three weeks later....I finally made it to the World Famous' Betty Ford Center. I was 135 pounds, sucked-up and with full symptoms of CHF again. I spent 10 days in ICU and then went straight into rehab, for the next seven months. After I was released, I was 230 pounds and could not tie my own shoes without holding my breath. That Gary Fisher was re-stolen from the bike rack at rehab. Karma is a b*tch. I used my Disability money to actually buy myself a 33-pound, 2006 Trek 4900 Disc hardtail. That was my real transition bike. I lost 82 pounds on it and soon upgraded to a 19-pound Cannondale race hardtail, as a "reward" for losing all that post-rehab weight. I soon got a 16-pound Cannondale road bike and I lost even more off my waist. I rode my first century last year, and my doc took me off all seven heart meds, for the first time. My waist went from a barrel-gut 41 to 29, with a ripped, six pack of abs and bulging veins now. My mom said for the first time... I don't look like a dope fiend but more like an elite cyclist....I'm hooked! I now ride 120 miles of combined road/mountain a week. Unfortunately, I cannot race - due to all the heart and lung damage I did to myself. So, I compensate by riding what the pros use; ultra-lightweight race machines....nothing wrong with looking and FEELING like a racer! I plan on riding till I drop now.

    Yes, I have an addictive personality. I am truly grateful I don't have to live that way anymore. I stopped lying, stealing, conning and now tries to help as many people in need, as possible. By channeling my past experience it in a positive way now....anything becomes possible. Thanks for letting me share.
    Last edited by Cayenne_Pepa; 02-22-2011 at 03:44 PM.
    "This is a male-dominated forum... there will be lots of Testosterone sword-shaming here" ~ Kenfucius

  75. #75
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    For me it began with BMX bikes on trails in the woods in NJ + VA, then freestyle in the mid '80s' (RRRAAAAAD) followed by a 5 year hiatus before getting my first Trek 850 in '94.

    @ BetterRide - I went to ODU from '92 - '96 and rode the same landfill next to campus you mentioned. It had quite a network of routes on it at the time with the best being the downhill on the far end (not to be done at night, without a helmet, and certainly not while impaired...) it is a golf course now if you can believe that! PM me, I have some questions for you!

  76. #76
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    Alpine skiing as a kid opened me up to mountain biking. I spent a lot of time in Vermont in the mountains in the summer and winter. Once the snow melted everyone mountain biked or golfed. Golf sucks so I gave mountain biking a try when I was about 14.

    Rented a bike one day, rode some trails and I was hooked. That same summer I got my first job bagging groceries for $4.50 an hour and bought a bike that fall.
    Vermonter - bikes, beers and skis.

  77. #77
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    bmx

  78. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by BetterRide
    After a busy weekend I finally got to lead the replies to this thread I started. Wow, great stories. People who got married through riding, lost a lot of weight and were hooked many that started when they were kids, a guy that was riding singletrack in '68! great stuff! What a fun, healthy passion we share.

    Here are three photos from my early days.

    The race photo just made my day. It was a bit before my time in racing but what an awesome photo.

  79. #79
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    cycling was more of a gateway into motorcycling than anything else. i started riding alot out of boredom when i was in middle school. i would do about 10 miles per day all summer long. seemed like a lot back then. guess it wasn't a ton. anyways, i did that until senior year of high school when i started riding sportbikes.

    i all but gave up on cycling until senior year of college when i was involved in the ASME HPV competition (event for mechanical engineers; design, build, and race a human powered vehicle). this reignited my interest in cycling. i kept talking about buying a new bike and finally ended up using my year end bonus to pick up a new Cannondale.

    the weather is still crap, so i've only been able to ride it once though

  80. #80
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    motocross

  81. #81
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    I started BMX racing, dirt jumping, hitting the BMX park when I was about 10. I started backpacking and rock climbing about the same age. I think the two kind of mixed together and when I was in the backcountry all I could think of were riding the lines that I was trekking over.

    By the end of 6th grade I was racing xc mountain bikes (had to race up in age I believe to get out of the "kids race" bracket).

    By the fall of 8th grade (13ish) I had a shiny new 'cross bike and was racing mid pack the killer B's.

    I had to mow a lot of lawns to afford race rigs and entry fees.

    Now 24 and still racing longer stuff (6+ hr) on the xc bike and getting in a cross season as well as still getting my fair share of sport climbing and skiing.

  82. #82
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    Climbing. Alpine. Rock, Ice. Mountaineering.

    Mon- revisit weekend climb, sort gear, relax
    Tue- decide on next climb. Laundry.
    Wed- Research routes, make copies, sort gear.
    Thurs.-groceries.
    Friday- leave from work drive to trailhead climb-
    Saturday- Climb
    Sunday- Climb drive home late Sun eve.
    Monday- Revisit weekend climb sort gear....
    Repeat for a decade

    Mountain biking was just something to mix it up a bit on occasion when we needed to stay close by for the weekend.

    Married climbing partner, bought house, had kids,

    Priorities changed. It's a lot easier to get away for a few hours and go for a ride......

    Still have two climbs left to do with my boys; Rainier, and Denali. My Ex and I were training to climb the Cassin on Denali when she became pregnant with my oldest son. Never made the climb happen. Yes my sons middle name is Denali (the others sons is Vinson go figure).

    Climbing photos (ha kids not me).
    South Early Winter Spire N Cascades:

    Approach (SEWS right peak). What is he thinking.
    Attachment 599020

    Several pitches up.
    Attachment 599021

    Climbing
    Attachment 599022

    Still working on rope management.
    Attachment 599023
    Last edited by tductape; 02-29-2012 at 11:21 PM.

  83. #83
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    wow, some really great stories here.

    i was always a skinny, nerdy kid growing up in houston, so i never did any sports. then in college, i ran into more skinny nerds in my engineering classes as a freshman. these guys were different though, they had mountain bikes! (i thought it might be a california thing) so i saved up my cash, and after my freshman semester, i bought a brand new 1994 specialized rockhopper w/ full alivio kit on sale for $375 at pac bikes in berkeley.

    after that, any time we were bored or down 'n out, we would just jump on our bikes and cruise around. friday night and no party invitations? no problem, we'd ride around campus finding little trails and chutes, or practice bunny hopping in a lit parking lot. after a few months, we were riding even further from campus, checking out hte local parks and trails. its been a blast ever since, and i still roll w/ the same guys.
    94 Specialized Rockhopper

  84. #84
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    BMX .....

    Riding and racing...

    Now singlespeed, (with a STRONG BMX influence)...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails What was your gateway drug (sport)?-os1.jpg  

    What was your gateway drug (sport)?-0s2.jpg  

    What was your gateway drug (sport)?-race1.jpg  

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  85. #85
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    Except all the other riding resources, the bicycle riding has its own charm, particularly when its your time Why don't you try to place a thread regarding stunts? it would be a great addition for all.

  86. #86
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    My outlets growing up:

    Paintball, Mountain Biking, R/C Cars & Planes, then got into street bikes, and snowmobiles...

    I'm actually back to Mountain Bikes now. Funny how life goes in a circle. I just find that you can completely get away from people on a mountain bike. It's fantastic. No damn cell phone, nobody around, no ********. I love it.

    Usually just me and a riding buddy or two. No more, no less.

    My bike, a good trail, my pack full of PB&J's and clif bars = heaven.

    Now, if my Petelliar Tendonitus would go away, so I could really hammer the pedals again..

    You in Oklahoma City? If yes, come ride with us.

  87. #87
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    Field hockey, cricket and cycle road racing until my early '30's and sail boat racing until my mid 50's. I still sail for recreation but I've given away yacht racing, to ride my MTB more often.

    Sail boat racing was very good but all too consuming. I saw a lot of coastal Australia and many nice boats and amazing wind patterns ... but off-road MTB touring on the Great Dividing Range, is the bee's knees of spectacular enjoyment, as much as any sport that I know, absolutely.

    My dear wife Helen, has afforded me space and time to play sport and be away from home for long periods of time, over many years. She has been fantastically supportive. I wish all young players here, find an equally fine supporter.

    The gateway to off-roading MTB, wasn't so much about enjoying cycling but more to do with navigating. Navigating boats to navigating bikes. Riding through the mountains ranges is like being at sea with a giant swell.




    Warren.
    Last edited by Wild Wassa; 02-23-2011 at 05:13 PM.

  88. #88
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    My kids are to blame.

    I had mentioned casually to a neighbour about how I had to run to keep up to my kids when they were riding their 16" wheelers on the local dykes. He offered me the use of his mountain bike which was a revelation to me because I hadn't been on a bike in 10 years and never on a mountain bike.

    I couldn't believe how good it felt.

    Up to this point I had tried a number of activities and nothing really stuck until I got back on the bike.
    I eventually bought my neighbour's bike, joined a local mountain bike club ( "you guys ride this stuff?!") and the best addiction I could imagine began.

    This was a bit over 10 years ago and I love it more than ever.

  89. #89
    Trail Rider
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    Decided to become a bike messenger in Washington D.C. in 1989.

    Wrecked my motobecane road bike into the back of a cab.

    Bought a Mongoose IBOC mountain bike.

    Me and a few friends (other messengers) decided to go ride in the woods, and that's all she wrote.
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  90. #90
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    Raced BMX in the NBL as a kid in the late 80's.. Weekends at Kingston, NY, Shoreham, NY, and Trumbell, CT BMX tracks. 2 Weeks at Woodward BMX camp pre-X Games explosion.

    Stopped riding for team sports.... played out the string, started smoking cigarettes in college. Did nothing constructive health or activity wise for the entire duration of my 20s.... Bought an entry level Rockhopper for my 30th BDay, hit the trails, and quit smoking 6 weeks later.

    For my 2nd phase, mtn. biking was my 'gateway', I now run 20 total miles a week, 5 times a day in the off-season to benefit my riding. Riding is a def. a drug.

    Props to the ex BMXer a few posts above with the pimping Redline.. When I can swing having a rigid SS in the stable, def. buying a Redline.

  91. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigHit-Maniac
    My bike, a good trail, my pack full of PB&J's and clif bars = heaven.
    Now ain't that the truth.
    I love threads like this and its generally why I check the passion forum from time to time.
    For me, any other activity I do (really none anymore) are just fill ins. I am just waiting for spring to arrive this year, I think about it every day, watch MTB vids on Youtube a lot, I just can't wait. I am getting into DH more this year. Planning on buying a 2011 SX Trail to ride at Blue Mountain in Collingwood, Ontario regularly. I am just itching to get it, and get out there on it.

    Summer cant come fast enough
    2013 Cannondale F29 2
    2013 Giant Seek 0
    2010 Specialized SX Trail
    2009 Cannondale Rize 4

  92. #92
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    For me I moved to Germany and in my town alone we have 7 bike stores. Everyone in Germany rides bikes we have bike roads every where with road signs and everything. When i was living in the US I never considered riding a bicycle we had no place to ride and I had a dirt bike. I got to Germany knowing nothing about Germany and I was surprised at the amount of people riding bikes. One day I slipped in to a bike store and saw a modern mtb and instantly was like I got to get one. It was not what I remembered from when I was a kid riding the huffy these things were cool and I had to have one. That was 15 months ago and I am now on my second bike (bmc trailfox) and I love it I go riding when ever I can.

  93. #93
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    I bought a scott voltage to ride around campus when i was in college and one of my buddies was into dh and he asked me if i wanted to go. i had nothing better to do that weekend so i went...on a dh trail, on a hard tail trail bike, with no helmet, and no prior mtb experience. i ended up doing pretty well although i walked some of the bigger stuff in the beggining of the trail and i've been riding ever since. but now i have a proper rig for dh/fr type stuff and a pretty nice helmet too.

  94. #94
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    My getaway was always the Backcountry and cycling. My parents got me into hiking when I was little and then I started Mountaineering in my teens, but I was always on a bike. When I was young the mountains and my bike were always my way to get away from my parents and other rules, as an adult these and my motorcycles are still my way to escape to responsibilities of life.

  95. #95
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    The movie Breaking Away, & watching Greg Lemond in Le Tour, got me addicted to riding a bike.

    Then moving to Utah, and finding out that folks actually ride their bikes on rocky, steep, loose hiking trails If I had only gotten a clue earlier in life...

  96. #96
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    I was a runner, but needed a less impact sport to keep in shape. I've always had an MTB so I figured MTBing was a good way to go. This will be my first summer of taking my bike off the easy paths and trying out singletrack.

  97. #97
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    I wasn't good at any sport. I'm a slow runner, I have a terrible throwing arm and a limited vertical leap. The only thing I had was stamina. In 1963 when fifty mile hikes were a brief fad, I started out with 400 others on one, and finished in about 13 hours with my brother, 12th and 13th of the 100 or so who went the distance.

    I first rode a ten-speed in 1970 when I was 24 years old and my car had died. I scrounged a 50-pound Schwinn Varsity out of a friend's basement, It was for no other purpose than transportation, but i noticed that even though I had only been riding a week or so and I was riding on junk, I was faster than anyone else I saw on a bike. It was the sport I was built for, and it took me that long to find it. Every time I had an opportunity to get a better bike, I did, and within three years I was on my fourth bike owned as an adult, a Colnago, and president of my bike club.

    So I kept riding, and have ever since.

  98. #98
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    Windsurfing, back in the dark ages.

    Rather than sitting on the beach and waiting for the wind to come up we would drive 30 minutes and ride until we could see white caps down on the river. Then boogie back to the cars and jam back to the launch for a session or two.

  99. #99
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    My wife and I road motorcycles and cars on road-courses until we had children. This seemed much safer and great for our health.

    Of course skateboarding in the late 80's and early 90's helped.

  100. #100
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itchy The Clown
    Windsurfing, back in the dark ages.

    Rather than sitting on the beach and waiting for the wind to come up we would drive 30 minutes and ride until we could see white caps down on the river. Then boogie back to the cars and jam back to the launch for a session or two.
    Hood River Oregon? Good trails over there.

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