When/how did you start mountain biking?

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  • When/how did you start mountain biking?
  • sniff

    Just had a thought about when I actually kicked off this whole mountain biking thing….

    Family holiday as a kid on the isle of Arran. Hired a full rigid bike and got out a map and cycled/carried it to the top of the nearest mountain. Bloody loved just getting to the top and down again. Must have been about 12.

    Home from holiday, started saving paper round money and bought a Diamond Back Topanga, black and purple and that was it. Quarter of a century later and I’m still addicted!

    Premier Icon Northwind

    Ooh nice thread. Always rode bikes, my dad put us on tiny-wheelers almost as soon as we could walk, then a budgie, then a strika, then a daft race bmx that I used to just bash around on, on some of the trails I still ride 25 years later. So mtbing came first and a mtb came later πŸ˜‰ Then a raleigh marauder (pretty trick, SIS on the rear shifter!) then a Carrera Krakatoa Flex that I still have, which was finally good enough to really get into the hills. Brilliant bike, quality steel rigid in the days of the raleigh activator.

    Then I stopped for about 15 years, til I broke my hip and decided to start riding bikes again for rehab. Best injury ever! Dragged the old carrera out, started retracing old routes, bumped into old mates by pure coincidence, got a newer carrera, things snowball.


    Bloody loved my strika!

    Premier Icon jam bo

    Raleigh burner.


    With some awful Townsend 18 speed bike from Thorpes in Stockport πŸ˜€ Brought it back on the train to Buxton. I was about 14 😈 Many a Saturday afternoon spent heading over to the Goyt Valley where bridleways and footpaths were all for riding as far as we were concerned. Circa 1994.

    Premier Icon ton

    proper offroad riding with the ctc in 1979, on a dawes tourer. did cutgate on my 2nd ride, it was a bit smoother/nicer than it is nowadays.


    Ridden road bikes for years, then had a couple of big accidents (with cars) and seemed like lots of others were also. Couple of guys I raced against got killed during races, hung up my big wheels and went off road. Since then, I’ve had more injuries, accidents, cuts, grazes, scrapes, blood, gravel rash than all my years riding on the road but loved every moment of it.


    Got some redundancy pay 10 years ago and fancied a bike … Popped to a local shop and treat myself to a Β£300 spesh hardrock sport.

    I Couldn’t believe the price of some of the bikes in there … I Thought people must be mad to spend Β£0000’s on a bike!

    Now I’m One of those mad people πŸ™‚

    Premier Icon jimmy

    Raleigh Lizard for my 13th or 14th Birthday. Everyone else had better Diamond Backs, but I went for one proper muddy ride round the woods and was instantly hooked for life… so far.

    *must ride more*


    I rode road bikes while at school, and lusted after the Ridgebacks in the Madison catalogue.

    Bought a Tufftrax in 1987, the rest is history πŸ˜›

    Premier Icon nuke

    25 odd years ago I got a road bike for my birthday, my twin brother got a Raleigh Mustang ATB…I spent all my time riding his bike and barely touched my road bike, its been the same ever since

    Premier Icon matt_outandabout

    1988 iirc, Raleigh road bike and high street, became a couple of goes on Saracen hire bike, then meeting a certain Mr Lester Noble at the sailing club, who was having these weird Orange bikes made up for when the wind didn’t blow. I bought an old, knackered Tushingham in 1992i maybe 93. Done. Hooked.


    Walker, climber, mountaineer in the early nineties, Yorkshire Dales, our nearest wilderness, was a bit jay (in our view) for walking, so we started MTBing there. Then started taking them to the Alps for when the weather was too poor to climb (never saw MTBers in the alps in them days).


    In 1989, I traded a Woodrup racer in for one of these.


    Cycled as a kid. Broke bike, lost interest as I couldn’t get another. I got really into kayaking while at uni but in my 3rd year it didn’t rain much at all. One of my friends* leant me a bike and we went for a ride. Worked all summer and bought a proper mountain bike with suspension and disc brakes – never looked back.

    *Neil of Superstarcomponents infamy

    Premier Icon 40mpg

    Saw my first MTB in an American BMX mag in 1984. Got choppin on old bikes, brazing on canti brakes, higher bottom brackets, bash guards all over, so I could get further into the woods than on my bmx. Finally got my first proper MTB in 1986 and raced it in cyclo cross against bikes literally half the weight!

    007 – Copy by T*inbred, on Flickr

    Jostling for the holeshot (me on left) about 1989. Sure I could have got another inch off those bars!

    Premier Icon colournoise

    Always messed around on bikes. Remember doing jumps and drops on a road bike when all my mates had Grifters.

    Stopped riding bikes for a bit when I learned to drive. Mid 20s moved to Barnsley to do my teacher training. Became mate with a guy who rode a really nice Cannondale and built up what was basically a klunker. Gradually bought and built better bikes for a few years. Met my wife in 2000 and stopped riding again. 2009 my wife wanted to lose some weight so suggested I dig an old bike out and she bought a new one. 3 bikes later (soon to be 4) I’m still at it, messing about on bikes like I did when I was 11.

    Premier Icon bearnecessities

    It was the next best thing to a car.

    Well-meaning parents wouldn’t let me buy a bike until I was 15; possibly because they could see me & friends launching as pug drop handlebar as far into the air as possible from local park, directly into road after a 300m downhill run-up!

    Eventually, saved up paper-round money, bought a GT Talera, drilled holes into the chainrings to save weight etc etc and had the greatest few years of my life to date.

    MTBing doesn’t mean to me what it once did, but it reminds me of that feeling. Cakes, long summer holidays with all sun, loitering in local bike shop, mint sauce and learning πŸ˜€

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    I used to run a lot for fitness and recreation. Then I got a knee injury playing soccer and running became troublesome. My physiology suggested a bike as being lower impact*. I had a hybrid for a while but roads were bloody awful back then- total disregard / no idea how to treat cyclists back then. Then one day on cricket tour in bath, pissing with rain and doing anything to avoid going to the pub until after lunch, I found myself in a bike shop looking at these new fangled mountain bikes. I didn’t buy one there and then, not least cos I was on tour 100 miles from home, but the decision was made. As soon as I got home I px’ed my hybrid for a diamondback and that was 20something years ago.

    * vaguely correct, assuming you don’t count the various impacts I’ve had with trees, rocks, the ground, other cyclists………

    Premier Icon mattbee

    Rode road bikes when I was in school, as well as bombing around the woods on a bmx.
    First proper mtb was in 1995 when I went to Uni in Wrexham. Bought a Carrera in my first year then in my second I blew my whole student loan in Alf Jones on a Cannondale. Happy memories of epic rides around Ruabon, Llangollen and Llandegla ( pre trail centre) with Nasher of RivieraBike and a few other locals when I really ought to have been studying…


    Brilliant stories. Keep em coming.


    Learnt to ride a bike when I was nearly 5.

    Just kept riding…

    Premier Icon Simon

    Always had bikes as a kid but stopped riding them in my mid teens.
    Fast forward to 1997 when I was 26 and a mate lent me his GT Karakoram for 2 weeks whilst he was on holiday. I loved it and soon after bought a Β£400 rigid GT Timberline, I rode that on and off for 10 years before starting to ride more regularly in 2005 when I bought a Marin Rocky Ridge…..


    1997. I moved down South, went a new school and some chaps who were already into bikes. I started tagging along on my crappy Barracuda and got joked pretty sharpish to started saving all my paper round money, that with my birthday money was able to go and but a 1997 steel Rockhopper in dark blue which was soon sporting an Azonic double wall bar.

    Sadly some scum bags from Slough decided to relieve me and my mate of our bikes. After the insurance pay out, I ended up with a Kona Koa which I loved even more which was swapped for a Cannondale Super V which became a Mount Vision before I lost interest in mountain bikes around 2000 when I started skating and BMXing. This was short lived because I sucked.

    Had a few years off before getting another bike on a whim and got hooked again but gad another hiatus around 09 but booked another bike in 2012. It’s the one thing that I always seem to come back to.

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    I cycled road as a kid until I left home and discovered beer. Then in 1998 my rugby career ended with a series of injuries that threatened permament back, knee and ankle injuries. Physiology recommended cycling, so in 2000 I bought a *whispers* Claud butler Osiris and off I went. Cue familiar upgrade path and recent road resurgence….


    Nearly killed myself in a car accident twenty odd years ago so went and spent Β£200 on a Ridgeback bike and just pedalled off into the Dales and kept as far away from long stretches of dual carriageway with a roundabout at the end as I could!

    Premier Icon tmb467

    Lived miles from anywhere – allus had a bike. can’t remember what it was but it was black with sturmey archer grip shift and some sort of weird double forks

    Rode it everywhere – off road, on road and jumps to flat.

    Then after I’d grown up a bit (early 90s), a lad I knew who’d been road racing in France knacked his knee and moved back home. He got me into riding off road again and we ended up out most days just discovering old deer tracks through the woods and finding technical lines down steep hills. First proper bike was a rigid M-Trax 350 in blue with v brakes and 21 gears. Ended up with a ’92 Marin pine mountain frame and pace rc35s

    Was just lucky living where i did with hills on my doorstep and mates who all rode

    Premier Icon zippykona

    My brother bought a Saracen in 87. To me it was just a tracker bike that we all had as kids.
    Basically a normal bike converted to single speed ,with a pair of knobbliest and cow horn handlebars.
    I couldn’t figure out why it had flat bars. All off road 2 wheelers had big wide bars.
    At the time i was sharing a house with some dope heads and it was a real struggle to even get them to go down the pub on a sunday lunch time.
    Being a fidget , I bought a Muddy Fox so I could go out, expend a bit of energy and explore the tracks of my youth.

    Premier Icon roverpig

    Always ridden a bike ever since I was a kid in the early 70s, but mainly on the road. Got one of these new fangled ATBs (Raleigh Dune Dancer) around 1989 when I lived in Croydon. Tried riding it around some muddy trails, but didn’t see the appeal, so stuck slicks on it. Took it to Utah with me when I moved out there for a job in 1992 and (with the knobblies back on) took it around some trails (Slickrock, White Rim and various desert and mountain tracks). But it still wasn’t really for me, so the bike mostly stayed on the road and I spent more time hiking and skiing than cycling. Came back to the UK in 1997 and went through a succession of road bikes (some of which I still have). Did various events; Audax, Etape du Tour etc, but always on the road. Then in 2012 we had a family holiday in the Lake District and my brother in law and his partner brought their mountain bikes. Watching them ride off up lakeland bridleways made me think there might be something in this off road stuff. So, I dusted off my wife’s old (rigid steel) Specialized Rockhopper from the shed, took it round a few local Aberdeenshire trails and loved it. The road bikes have hardly been touched since πŸ™‚


    About 1990/1 with British Eagle of some description. Then ‘properly in 93 when I bought a rockhopper fs with all my savings.


    About 1990/1 with a Β£200 bright orange British Eagle. Tagged along on ride around the isle of white with an older kid from school, Then went out and bought a rockhopper fs with all my savings In 1993. Rode it into yhe ground and added some very dodgy anofised blue ‘upgrades’ – until it was stolen in 1995.


    I was invited on a biking weekend in the Peaks during August 2003. My fitness was excellent, hence the invite but I was given a Saracen Havoc to ride, complete with cable discs, Zokes triple clamp forks with no adjustment and a noname coil rear shock.

    I was hooked.

    By October I’d decided upon a Spesh Hardrock, but there weren’t any in stock so I plumped for a Rockhopper. Within two months it had grown Hope Minis and within eight months it became a Spesh Enduro.

    Premier Icon Normal Man

    Off road on a bmx in the early 80’s, then saw cyclocross on Grandstand and attempted riding around the woods on a second hand 5 speed ‘racer’ my dad built up.

    Then in ’85 saw an article on mtbing and my local Raleigh shop got a 5 speed Maverick in. I saved hard and bought it in ’86. It had steel rims and side pull brakes so stopping was more of an option than action!

    Later followed a Dawes Ascent, then Fisher Celerity which had so many changes and still lives in my fleet! (Now a singlespeed).

    My dad still MTBs at 75 and I’ve got my wife and kids hooked. In fact its part of my sons GCSE PE course.

    My body carries the internal damage from various cycling related injuries but I’m still a MTBer.

    Premier Icon hot_fiat

    Got into cycling when I was about 3. Was taught to ride by my grandad, who used to cycle from Dumfries to sunderland and back again at weekends during the 30s to see his fiancΓ©e. Progressed up from my robin to a striker, then when I was about 8, I wanted a bigger bike. I was heart set on a Raleigh racer of some sort, but my dad suggested that it could be good to have a bike that could go over rough ground. Looked around at all sorts, from BMXs with three speed hubs to the Raleigh mavericks.

    There were very few 24″ wheeled mtbs in 1984, I remember going to the cycle trade show in Harrogate with my dad to look at what was on the market. There was one from a company called yeti (I don’t think the same company) and the other was from muddy fox, the Bigfoot. Somehow darkes cyckes had managed to get hold of a pre-prod Bigfoot, which we hired for a weekend, along with a diamond back for my dad. Spent the Sunday cycling along the wear valley from South Hilton to cox green. Had a fantastic time, were totally hooked & we bought both bikes on the Monday.

    Premier Icon stevied

    About 1988 had a Raleigh Banana road bike, got knocked off and used the money to buy a Raleigh Avanti. Was hooked on off road. Avanti got stolen whilst working for a Raleigh main dealer and managed to wangle a Team Issue DynaTech Pro. Had a bit of a break from about ’92 to 2000 but glad I got back into it.
    Still riding the same trails now on the Malvern hills that I’ve been riding since I started…

    Premier Icon benji

    First found it in my sixth form days, 17 and a happy owner of a kona lavadome, that was 23 years ago. Most weekends were spent navigating bridleways with an ordnance survey map, trying to find more and more ways to travel between my parents houses without spending too much time on tarmac or at either home. PE lessons also drastically improved as the games master was pleased to wave me off, thus releasing me for a cheeky midweek mud thrash in school time.


    Nice one Sniff – almost exactly the same as me – it would have been Easter 1988 (when I was about 14). My Dad and I hired a couple of Saracen bikes somewhere in the Trossachs. And then watching the first ever UK MTB championships on ITV the following year (won by Mike Kloser). I was then hooked !

    Premier Icon woody2000

    Started riding to work in about 2003 (aged 32) after not having ridden a bike since about 1982, not entirely sure why now, but that progressed to riding off road in pretty short order and haven’t looked back since πŸ™‚

    Something to do locally instead of travelling up country to go hill walking.


    Someone at work asked if I wanted to do The Barnardos Challenge.

    I said yea, bought a Carrera Vulcan and the rest is two-wheeled history.

    Three years on, never been prouder to let cycling define me.

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