A personal mountain biking history

December 2, 2006 at 10:35 pm 4 comments

We started riding mountain bikes in 1985. OK, originally it was just me but I dragged Bob and Tom and Craig onto the trails of Eastern San Diego County with me. Denim shorts, T-shirts, and low-cut hiking boots were riding clothes. Bike choices were limited and the components broke a lot. For years, we made the only bike tracks on the trails; Noble Canyon, Pacific Crest Trail, Anderson Truck Trail, Cuyamaca loop, Kitchen Creek, Mission Trails, Sycamore Canyon, and lots of un-named trails and near trails. We learned right away to be nice to the other trail users (hikers and horseback riders,) we were outnumbered after all.

Gradually the bikes got lighter and the components got better. We started riding in bike shorts with chamois and bought rigid soled biking shoes and clips and straps so our feet stayed on the pedals, and we started wearing helmets when we rode. We still liked our T-shirts, though.

We started making more money and could buy better bikes, like from Chris Chance at Wicked Cycles. We started riding bikes with suspension forks (RockShox), and eventually front and rear suspension (Trek and AMP). SPD pedals came out and some of us tried ’em.

We went to Moab, we went to Crested Butte, we went to Durango. We rode Tecate to Ensenada and Rosarito to Ensenada, on fat tires. Not very many fat tires on those rides back then. (I did Rosarito again in 2003 and there were lots and lots and lots of fat tire bikes.) We started wearing jerseys that let us ride cooler in the summer. Baggy biking shorts were a hit with us.

Downhill bikes started showing up and we didn’t get it. I think it’s much more fun to ride down a trail that I’ve worked hard to ride up. Freeride has made a big splash lately and it looks like a lot of fun. But I haven’t tried it yet.

I still dislike the idea of shuttle rides.


Entry filed under: History, Mountain Biking.

It doesn’t get very cold in the OC Scanning and organizing photos

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BikeBum  |  December 18, 2006 at 7:53 am

    I’ve Similar History, Started Riding Mtn Bike in 1987…
    Didn’t travel as much you. Hade wife and a kid by then

    I have to agree though, I don’t get Freeride/Shuttle Rides either.

    By any chance was that you I passed (I was in my Car)on a mtn bike going up Jeffery Rd last Tuesday Dec 12th wearing a Black and Bright Green Jacket around 8am?

  • 2. Greg  |  December 18, 2006 at 9:14 am

    Not on Tuesday. I went out and rode out by and around Sand Canyon on Thursday morning, looking for new trails. I didn’t find any that didn’t end up being fenced and posted no trespassing not too far down the trail.

  • 3. notastute » Blog Archive » Epic rides  |  December 19, 2006 at 9:56 pm

    […] At first we (Bob, Tom, Craig and I -  see earlier post) defined a mountain bike ride as Epic as a ride where somebody’s bike broke and they had to walk back. Then it was a ride where we got lost, or didn’t know how to get back to the cars (not the same thing.) Then it became a ride with injuries – cuts, bruises, ride rash, and poison oak didn’t count as injuries, breaking a bone or crashing with your head/face did. The farther from the cars we were when an injury happened, the more Epic the ride was. Then it was a ride where we ran out of water or food and somebody bonked miles from home. We started carrying more food and water because the rides kept getting longer and longer. I remember carrying two large water bottles and looking for a way to carry more. I remember making our own bike food – honey roasted peanuts, M&Ms, and raisins for me. I also remember the waist packs with water bottle pockets to carry tubes and tools. Thank God for PowerBars and CamelBaks. […]

  • 4. Dan aka BikeBum  |  December 24, 2006 at 10:53 am

    I’ve lived here 10 years and finding trails in this area (Tehachapi Valley) pretty tough. Hard to find a place to ride without having Ranchers getting pretty ticked.
    That happens a couple times and you stop trying…

    I keep thinking someday I’ll meet someone who has a secret stash of trails somewhere and wants to share…..sigh….

    In the meantime, when I do ride the Mtn Bike, It’s in the Foothills and Mountains just South west of Palmdale.

    Let me rant here a little:

    In Palmdale, there was a trail system behind Highland High School called the P12 Trail or Joshua Ranch Trail.
    One of the greatest areas for Mtn Biking I’ve had ever came across. It was a series of trails that local Runners, Cross Country Teams, Equestrians and Hikers would use that was in town and easy to get too.
    The trail ran the length of the valley floor and through rolling hills to the south, north and the west end of the valley. You could make a ride as hard and as easy or as long or short as you wanted. From a 4 mile dirt road cruise through the wild flowers to a 14 mile single-track hammerfest.
    Many a local has introduced their friends, Co-workers and family to Mtn biking on these trails.
    Back when I use to Mtn Bike race now and there, this was a great place to train… I could run over on my lunch from work and get in a run.

    I’m not a tree hugger, but the City of Palmdale really did a dis-service to its residents letting this be sold to a developer… Homes are going up now and you still can ride a portion (Less than a fourth) of the original trails. But the entrance into the trails isn’t for beginners….

    Ha, sorry, may have gotten carried away here… anyway to bad you never got to experience P12. Now, with Family and Work, I can’t image how I could possibly prepare for an Event/Race without the connivance of those trails……

    Sorry, don’t mean to Hi-Jack your blog ….


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