When/how did you start mountain biking?

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  • When/how did you start mountain biking?
  • Premier Icon seosamh77

    Don’t really differentiate all that much tbh, it’s all cycling to me.

    But I’m claiming my first “trail” as cycling up to tormusk in the late 80s about 8 or 9 year old and coming down through the muddy trail in the woods down there on my bmx! 🙂 used to love that! buggers tarmaced it in the mid 1990s! Beyond that venturing upto cathkin braes now and again was about the extent of it on rigid mtbs.

    But as for getting into “mountain biking”, I’ve never really not cycled since I learned(I don’t remember learning to ride a bike I was that young), but heading out regular to find offroad stuff, me an my mate started looking for trails around 2005 together on dodgy rigid bikes, then we took redundancy from our work in around the end 2006 and both of us bought hardtails, never really looked back since. Before that cycling was really just a mode of transport to me though whether off or on road. That’s really when I started cycling for fun after my teenage years.


    I sold my motocross bikes and thought that these new ATB thingies looked like a bit of a laugh 🙂

    Premier Icon tomtomthepipersson

    Moved to Wales when I was 6 or 7 (’79-80) – in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do… So I thought. Turned out living on the side of a big hill in the middle of the Berwyns had its plus points. Destroyed quite a few bikes in my early attempts at downhilling. I eventually got a BMX which stayed in one piece for a good few years before graduating to a Carrera Krakatoa.

    Rode that till it fell apart (Snowdon didn’t do it any favours) and then got a Lavadome… Discovered suspension forks Quadras, then Judys ( Snowdon was much more fun now!) and it’s gone on from there.

    Bloody love riding.


    I used to swim competitively (back in the day) and injured a quad muscle quite badly in training. After some ultrasound and physio stuff my doctor suggested cycling would help build up the supporting muscles around the knee so I got a Specialized ‘Sportrock’ from my LBS, joined a few other mates who had mountain bikes and got hooked 🙂


    Got into it with a couple of school friends in the early 90s when the craze first started to take off. Swinley forest was within cycling distance. New shop opened up in Crowthorne (Cycology), started going on their club rides and then ended up joining BoB when it first started and did a few Gorrik races. Have had a couple of periods off the bike whilst at uni and when kids were very young and time didn’t allow. Just started to get back into things summer last year and already only have the grips left from my previous bike!


    My mate asked me to bid on something at the police auctions – just dropped me off and vanished. Can’t remember if I bought whatever it was he wanted but did manage to buy a rigid Trek and a Muddy Fox Courier, both complete with locked U-locks which needed ground off by a blacksmith!

    Just kept going thereafter – all round Deeside and beyond.


    I’d always been into bikes, used to bmx a lot as a teenager. All my mates quit so I got a bit bored of riding by myself and sold my bmx, bought a mtb (DMR Trailstar) for messing about on but never really got into it properly so it was left un-used a lot of the time. After my first year of uni I decided I needed to seriously lose weight and started riding my bike every day, just on the road. Really started to enjoy it and wanted a bit more excitement than roads so started riding it off road a bit more, then just progressed from there really. And now here I am, 12 stone lighter with a Whistler summer under my belt and a lot poorer thanks to regular bike expenditure. Wouldn’t say I’m a bad rider now either. I really started to get way more into it when I lived 15 mins away from Western Park jumps in Leicester. Ended up riding them pretty much every morning before lectures! I also have a road bike and started bmx again.

    Premier Icon nach

    A Saracen Kili Racer, around Cromford in the mid-90’s:

    Can’t remember how MTB first caught my attention; probably because my older brother had one. Those Ritchey Z-Max tyres were absolute pigs for picking up sticky mud. Spent ages messing around on jumps behind a Nottingham industrial estate too, went through so many wheels. LBS loved me 🙂

    Premier Icon stevenmenmuir

    Always lived in the middle of nowhere so rode off road on my chopper copies when I was wee. Parents wouldn’t buy me a bmx so I got Raleigh Pacer instead. Luckily it had quite wide tyres so could cope with farm tracks, flew up hill. Got my first MTB about 1988, a Raleigh Mustang from the now defunct MacDonald’s Cycles in Edinburgh. The man who sold it to us said I’d grow into it, don’t think I ever did. In ’93 I got a Cannondale M400, crap clearance and sticky mud meant there was no paint left on the inside of the stays after the first ride. Still had it twelve years ago until we lost an argument with a Ford Mondeo.

    Premier Icon mboy

    Grew up in the country, which meant if I wanted to get anywhere, I had to ride a bike. I’d had a BMX, then a cheap road bike as a kid, but at about 9/10 years old a couple of mates at school ended up getting cheap mountain bikes, and I was very jealous! Anyway, picked up a load of brochures, and convinced myself I wanted a Peugeot for just over £200 at the time for my 10th Birthday (I was putting a bit of money towards it). My duly obliged and took me to buy said Peugeot…

    Got there and discovered the size I was TOLD I’d need over the phone (a 19″ frame, I was 10 FFS!) obviously didn’t fit, and they didn’t have anything smaller in the Peugeot range I was looking at. BUT… “Just sit on this Marin to work out your size” said the guy in the shop… Needless to say, I grinned, my Dad caved in, I had said Marin Muirwoods for my 10th Birthday! Lucky boy…

    Continued to ride that (mainly to get places, but also on the road, no real offroad other than round the garden and local fields) for about 4 years, during which time a couple of mates and my cousin actually started riding offroad proper. Again, I saved up some money, twisted my Dad’s arm to help me out a bit, and at 15 I got a Marin Eldridge Grade. And immediately started riding proper offroad on it.

    Within about 9 months I’d convinced myself I needed a full sus (got a summer job and paid for it), then upgradeitis set in HARD and the rest is history…

    I now run a bike shop! 😳

    Premier Icon NZCol

    Much the same as many other posters.
    Always had bikes – small bike, Grifter, roadie, BMZ etc. and spent all day every day riding around on them. 1988 I went to Uni and spent my whole student loan on a Kona explosif. That was it really – massive weekend rides, bivvy trips, bothy trips, summer winter, everything. Still got the bike and still ride my bikes(7 of). Nothing does it for me like a bike ride – long, short, hard, slow, up, down – it’s good to be alive.


    Aged 15 in 1995, I peer over the fence to say hello to my neighbour. He’s there cleaning the most amazing Saracen mountain bike I’ve ever seen. He invites me mountain biking that coming Sunday. I got my Muddy Fox Pathfinder that I used for my paper round, pumped the tyres up rock hard and off we went (with lock and lights still attached!) and was hooked! Summer job in 1996 allowed my to buy a Diamondback Topanga from Halfords for £300. I’ve then progressed onto/through many, many bikes. Loved the bikes so much I entered the bike trade in 2001, which I still love and doubt I’ll ever leave.

    Premier Icon Andy R

    I always had bikes as a kid and, living on a farm, never had any shortage of places to rag them around. Then as soon as I got a motorcycle licence (when I was 16) I started riding trials bikes and motocross bikes made “road legal” well, sort of – it was easy in those days.
    So, I rode trials and, later, enduro bikes until one day I decided I needed a change and took up sled dog racing. But it’s mainly a winter sport and you can’t even do that much training when the temperatures get a bit higher, so I thought that I’d get a mountain bike, just as a way of keeping fit in the summer months.
    I bought a nine month old 1988 Explosif (which I still have) and that’s it really.

    I still have ideas of getting a twin shock trials bike though (320 Majesty or 280 SWM)and making a classic trials comeback but then I probably wouldn’t ride push bikes any more.


    I started when I was in my early 20s. I went on a holiday to Spain with Joyriders. For the first couple of days it was just me and the guides, who were ace – they were really patient and encouraging and I loved it all.

    Looking back now it seems a bit crazy – first time at mountain biking, going down some pretty challenging trails, on a full sus, and in clips – which I’d never used before. But was one of the best hols ever and I ended up buying the same model of bike – stumpjumper – that I’d hired out there.


    Have always had a bike of some description since i was 3 or 4. Christmas 81 saw me with my first bmx and i that was it for me. Rode Lived bmx for almost 16 years then got into motorbikes. I think around ’93 the local bike shop owner convinced me to try an atb so i did. It lasted almost one day, during which time i bust the gears, wheels, crank and forks and bars – it wasn’t a bmx 😳 I carried on riding bmx/motorbike for a few years then the dropped the cycling all together.

    An unfortunate series of events (motorbike related) led me to sell the motorbike in 2007 and as i knew i needed some sort of adrenaline fix, i got myself a nice little Marin hardtail (which also mysteriously broke within 1 hour of owning 😉 ).


    As I kid I always rode my bikes in the woods (on Grifters, racers, and a Bomber), then in October 1985, aged 14, with pocket money, tattie money, and a little help from mum & dad, I took a train into Aberdeen with £175 in my pocket, and returned with a 15 speed Raleigh Maverick with canti brakes, 2″ Araya alloy rims and big bars. It was a revelation. And even now, at the age of 42, I’m getting goosebumps remembering that day and just how excited and chuffed I was with the bike.


    Relatively new used to be a runner then triathlons & road but involved in bad RTA with drunk driver when training for IM. Another triathlete who was also mtb rider kept saying I would love mtb as before living in LDN grew up in Horwich Lancs running fells & XC. Insurance payout bought a Trek 9.9 went in Epping forest fell in love with it immediately then got roped into doing Dusk till Dawn. I crashed 7 times on one lap but couldn’t believe the togetherness of everybody taking part which was completely opposite to triathlon. Never looked back.

    Premier Icon teethgrinder

    1989, 13 years old and a Raleigh Memphis. That got knicked from outside of Hardisty’s in Town, so a 1990 Raleigh Mirage gate-sized thing (20″ was the smallest they did) was next.

    Loving riding sitll, but wish I had the time now as I did then.

    Premier Icon vondally

    in 1991 I was 25 years old never ever ridden a bike, daughter was a couple of months old at the time and as a house parent I was fond of going to the local auction house. There was a rocking horse in the auction and I decided that it would be ideal as a toy……..bought the rocking horse but it was a job lot and came with a

    KHS Montana mountainbike …….way too large for me but my SO taught me how to ride and here I am still trying to hone my skills

    sold the bike to LBS owner as it was his size and still got the rocking horse.


    Always cycled to school and then 6th form, then finished Uni a bit fatter in 1999 and my main leisure pursuit was gaming on my pc till 2am. It wasn’t until till about 5yrs ago that a mate from work said he’s been out out on a bike in some local woods and that I should come. I bought an old red Raleigh on eBay & went with him.

    His instructions were ‘when we get to the steep bit stand up, don’t touch the front brake and just pull the back one just a little bit’ I did as told and remember wooping for joy as I ended ‘the steep bit’ great fun. Bought a better bike a month later and never looked back.


    Our family were always into bikes. My old man had us cycling everywhere. I remember cycling hols around Cherbourg and St Malo (he was immigration on the ferries, so often went over to France with him), on road bikes back then, but doing 50 miles a day (I was about 10, my bro 12!).
    Anyway, years passed, I got into BMX and then back onto my road bike. Then I remember the ATBs coming mainstream. A mate bought a Raleigh Mustang, my mum and I thought it was awesome! That set my mum off, so she and my dad bought Muddy Fox Couriers (his and hers, my dad still has his). Not sure if it was the same time, but I bought a Giant Sierra (one of the first bikes with Hyperglide rear cassette!), mountain LX groupset, very cool! I rode the South Downs, Butser hill and QE park (pre trail centre) with mates on MBK, Specialized Rockhopper (yellow one, which I wanted) This was about 1988. I remember doing a good long SDW ride with my old man and a Swedish exchange student (he must have rode my mums bike lol!). My bike got nicked.
    Got into mopeds after that, and then cars, and then back into MTBs in 1994. I bought a rigid Spesh Rockhopper and me and my current riding mate traveled long distances in our cars in search of great trails. 1st to Breacon, then 4 Lake District holidays, and a Les Arcs 2 week hol in 1996 (after I had noticed MTB trail map whilst snowboarding/skiing).
    I stopped MTBing in 2001 when I moved away, but got back into it in 2008 or 09.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider

    Shared a student house with a future MTB magazine editor turned bike designer. He always had a few of them cluttering up the place.


    Got a job.

    Bought a house.

    Bought a bike, and another, and another.

    Now as a family we have seven of them cluttering up the place.

    Thanks Brant 😉

    Premier Icon kcal

    Never really into bikes when I was young.

    fast forward to world of employment, and a/ started hill-walking in a big way
    b/ guy in work (Gary) had bought a MTB (Claud Butler?) so I bought one as well – this would be 1987? From Stuarts Cycles in Forres.

    It was a Rockhopper as above, but with U brakes, bright yellow. It’s still about, somewhere near Peebles. Hooked. Used it for hill-walking access, and for ragging around Edinburgh – up and down Arthur’s Seat, Pentlands in early days (Puke Hill, The Swoop, Death or Glory, Placenta Path, Peaty Path, Donald’s Hill, Callum’s Hill).

    Advanced to steel Stumpjumper in 1988 I think – lovely bike – used for everything – jaunts to deepest Perthshire, commuting (so at weekends the pannier rack was still on back…) . It finally got side-swiped and down tube cracked. Bought it one Friday, by the Sunday evening had done about 7 Munros with it, and the oh so nice black ano on the rims was long gone…

    An M2 Stumpjumper (still going after 15 years) followed, supplemented by a s/h Kona Kilaeua SS conversion about 6/7 years ago. Still have both. Love them.

    Premier Icon shortcut

    After spending a lot of my youth riding and destroying Raleigh Grifters in the local woods, I spent some time riding road bikes.

    In the late 80’s I had a go on a rental Raleigh Maverick and eventually got a mountain bike when at university in my second year. First MTB was a Specialized Stumpjumper Team – no sense going in on a cheapy. Then I had an Orange Prestige and later a Kona Explosif.

    I can’t say I enjoyed racing the Mountain Bike Club of Wales Winter Series in that first winter.

    Premier Icon WildHunter2009

    Been riding bikes since I was a wee lad but was more interested in touring and longer road rides. First week of university I decided to take my Scott hybrid around Leigh woods for an explore. Ran into a guy I recognised from my course and spent the next 3 hours scaring ourselves witless (The picnic bench trail on a hybrid was a bit lethal. The next week my first loan cheque came and i became the owner of a shiny marin hardtail. Been crazy about it ever since.

    Still cant clean that picnic bench trail though grrr

    Premier Icon Kryton57

    Kryton57 – Member
    … Physio recommended cycling…

    I forgot to add, this was recommended a s a low impact aerobic exercise designed not to aggravate my back or knee injuries. Since then I’ve inherited a robot clavicle, broken and elbow, thumb and ankle 😀


    Wanted to do it when I was a teen, 12 years later realising I was a 24 stone blob of lard that just played Xbox I figured id sell it all , buy a bike and give it a go.

    3 years later I’m under 18 stone and I can’t imagine life without MTB.


    I was in between jobs in 1987, bored and mooching around Harrogate when I spotted a white and yellow Raleigh Maverick with red graphics in a bike shop window. I stopped and stared at it and realised that was the future of cycling so I walked in and bought it on the spot for £199 on my Barclaycard. Got on it and rode it 7 miles back to Summerbridge with half-inflated tyres and the seat too low, I thought I was fit but by half way home I was dying of exhaustion! A neighbour passed in her Kombi and said later that I looked shattered and she’d considered stopping but hadn’t wanted to bother me! I hid the Raleigh under a tarp out the back and didn’t touch it for several months but it niggled me and I began taking it out for short trips around Brimham Rocks and the immediate area. Slowly I got fitter then one day some pals invited me to do the tour of Pen-y-Ghent with them; one of them was riding a Specialized Rockhopper Comp, full rigid. I had a ride on it, fell in love again and the rest is history.

    After 20 years of Polaris events, night riding, mud, filth, expensive repairs and refurbs and about five bikes I started to get bored. Then I bought an old steel Harry Hall road bike and the love affair started all over again…. then I FOUND a 2006 Specialized Roubaix, brand new, thrown off a bridge. Took it to the Police and a month later it was mine….. now I’m riding a 2103 Roubaix SL4 and I’m in love all over again. Will it ever end? I’m nearly 58 now and can’t see myself ever not cycling.


    As per a lot of people on here I rode unsuitable bikes around the woods for years… always had a bike for transport. I started riding again off road on a proper bike in 2011 for fitness mostly really started enjoying myself. Been ill with a chest infection for weeks that I can’t shift and not riding is bullshit.


    Try Ibuprofen, it reduces the inflammation in the chest.

    Premier Icon boltonjon

    Back in about 1990, someone leant me a Dawes Ascent and took me for a 30 mile epic. Nearly killed me but i loved it, so i bought the Dawes of him for £50 and painted it black & white with Hammerite

    Upgraded to a nice Dyna Tech 12 months later working a summer job in an Ice Cream shop

    Raced for the next 5 years

    Went to uni in 96, discovered women and beer in a big way

    Got invited to Glentress in April 2011 by some mates – hired out a Orange 5 and a Lapierre Zesty and fell in love all over again

    Came home, ordered a Zesty

    And now Mountain Biking is a barely controllable addiction – but i’ve made some great mates in local riding scene 🙂

    Premier Icon tonyg2003

    I’d ridden bikes as a kid then became an unfit teen. I went to uni in 1986 and started rowing. Got super fit. To get even fitter and save money I bought a Dawes MTB to ride to Uni and training. Started mountain biking and loved it. Then soon moved onto a Rockhopper, then a Orange Aluminium (which I still have in the garage).


    Riding the forest roads on Cannock Chase, in the late 80’s and early 90’s on my Stallard road bike and then on my Raleigh M Trax. It was however the opening of Follow the Dog in 2005 that I really got the mountain bike bug.

    I suppose I could go back to the early 60’s when living on a farm my brother and I, and some friends used to ride the “cow paths” across our fields on bikes. Our farm, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales had plenty of hills!


    Rode since I was young on various Apollos, then started buying mbuk when I was 15,.and got a paper round to save up for a Kona Stuff (£650 from Leisure Lakes in 2001) my now deceased step Dad paid the remainder from what I’d saved up and succombe to his Lung Cancer a month later. Rode the bike round Rivi, did loads of dirt jumping then got into motorbikes at 18 and the Mtb went into the shed.

    At 24 when I bought mbuk again to read while in Greece and decided when I got back I’d tidy the Kona up and upgrade bits and get going again, so ordered new forks etc and when they arrived went to dig the bike out to find the shed had been left unlocked and bike gone. Was gutted, as it had sentimental value.

    Few weeks later I bought a Carrera Vulcan and been riding ever since.

    I had a Strika too! Cracking wee bombproof bike that weighed a ton and would probably still be going today, had some swine not nicked it.
    After that, the Christmas morning all my mates were waking up to Raleigh Burners, I woke up to a Raleigh Arena 5 speed road bike! That bike had a hard life, going off all the same jumps my mates BMXes did. I still used to ride around on it before I learned to drive though. I think it’s still in my parents loft. Must go have a look.

    First proper MTB was around 92 or 93. A fully rigid, canti braked Scott Yecora. That got me riding trails up the local hills that I still ride today. The bike is still, mostly, with me, in the guise of a drop barred singlespeed bodge.

    Premier Icon mrblobby

    Proper mountain biking… early 90’s. Had been into running and road riding all my teens and through uni. Had a few months off at my folks in North Wales before starting a proper job. My Dad was working with the tourist board at the time and had been involved in grant applications from Coed y Brenin when it was first getting going. Liked the sound of what they were doing there so went and got myself a fully rigid Cannonade M500 (which I still regret selling) and started riding the trails there.

    Premier Icon Northwind

    stevenmenmuir – Member

    Got my first MTB about 1988, a Raleigh Mustang from the now defunct MacDonald’s Cycles in Edinburgh. The man who sold it to us said I’d grow into it, don’t think I ever did

    I don’t think MacDonalds ever sold a single kids bike that wasn’t too big, it was part of their irreplacable charm…

    Premier Icon Yak

    Rode bmx at our local makeshift track as a kid, then one day a mate of mine suggested we did a longer ride. So packed sandwiches and made a day of bashing out 7 miles of bridleways on our bmx’s. Thought nothing of it and carried on playing on the local track. Mate then got a Raleigh Mustang for Christmas/b’day. Was gobsmacked at this thing. Massive wheels and good for big off road miles. I then got a Falcon Sierra. It was great. Had 15 friction shift gears, canti brakes. Ace.

    Rode everywhere on it, local trails, QECP before it was a proper trail centre and a few 2 dayers along the sdw to my mate’s gran’s in Brighton then back again the next day. Great stuff. Bits kept falling off the falcon though and then through a cheap deal via the importer, we both got some mongoose frames. Built up for cheap, these were the dogs. Weighed naff all, compared to the sierra and mustang. Even had some purple bits!.

    Then went to uni, and lived in a succession of big cities and used bikes for commuting only.

    Then grew up/old, moved out to the peak district, and started mountain biking again in 2005. Not stopped since. 🙂


    rode my first mountain bike back in 1991…when our youth services bought a fleet of specialized rockhoppers. absolutely loved it and the mtb bug had well and truly got me!! we were the only ones using the bikes at the time so there was no need for me to buy my own yet and i couldnt convince my parents to buy me one yet especially as i already had a bmx. eventually bought my first mtb in 1992/3….a raleigh activator….a horrible thing but it was a starting point. bought my first proper mtb in 1996 (marin eldridge grade) and havent looked back since. i’ll be hitting the grand age of 37 tomorrow and the passion mountain bikes is as strong as it ever was…

    Premier Icon cookeaa

    1989 – I was very close to asking for a Road bike for my Birthday (having only ridden BMXes up to that point) but all the other kids in our street talked me out of it, as MTBs were the cool new thing.

    My Dad got me an “Emmelle Cougar” (Bloody Cheapskate) which was made of Lead filled, cast Iron but was still great fun, My Dad bought himself an MTB (a much better Peugeot) too after having a go on mine, and we rode loads together at the weekends, and I’d go out riding with my mates, or on my own if nobody else fancied it, a few years later I got a Diamondback Ascent (which I loved) and I’ve always had MTBs ever since, it actually took another 18 odd years for me to buy a Road bike, turns out I’d probably have enjoyed that too… but I have no regrets, MTBing is great.

    I rode a lot all through my teens, Beer and University put a dent in my riding enthusiasm and fitness, but after that it picked back up and has never really gone away…

    So yeah, coming up on 25 years, and at no point during that time have I been without a mountain bike of some sort, Blimey!

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