When did you start mountain biking?

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    • #238802

      I was just wondering how old you were when you started mountain biking. I’ve heard of people that have been mountain biking their entire life and are super good at it. I started at 13. How about you?

    • #238803

      I started at around 13 or 14 I think.  At least doing what somewhat resembles ‘mountain biking’ as we know it today.  That being riding a 26″ wheeled bike on dirt.  That was the mid 70’s.  Fast forward almost 45 years…  still loving it almost on a daily basis!

    • #238805

      I was 7, the year was 1990, and I got a sweet 26″ Huffy.

    • #238817

      I started riding in 1987 at 18 years old.  A 26″ wheel Trek Antelope 820.  put over 1000 miles on that bike in the rocky hills of PA and WV.   Been going ever since.   Bikes better now, my fitness isn,t.

    • #238827

      I started around when I turned 20. A little late to the game but try to do anything I can to make up for lost time.

    • #238829

      Started riding at age 50, waaaay later than I should have.  Not sure how I could have missed such a great fit all my life.  Now in many ways I wish I was a better rider, but I don’t let that get to me.  I’ve had the privilege to ride and explore one unexplored trail after another in Mongolia. I’ve been the first to put knobbies on many a trail in an amazing country in some amazing mountains.

    • #238837

      While I’ve been riding bikes since being a kid and never really stopped, the first time my tires ever really touched a dirt trail was while I was living in Alaska back in 2006. I guess I was about 34. I wasn’t even really looking to get into mountain biking and had never considered it. I was in the military and just walking around the base exchange and just happened to walk over to the bicycle section. 1 bike caught my eye, I thought “man that’s a cool looking bike with that weird front fork and beefy tires, it looks like it would be a blast on some off road type stuff. The bike was a Cannondale Scalpel with the lefty fork. It was sitting there with a 50 or 75% off tag on it and the retail showed something like 2 or 3k (I don’t recall exactly) but I thought “that must be some kind of high end mountain bike right there, this store must have no idea what this is to discount it so much” and I bought it. The base exchanges would have bicycles comparable to something you may find at a Target or a Sports authority (and that’s pushing it). I knew nothing about the MTB world but I knew that bike had to be mine because it looked like no other bike I have ever rode nd that’s where it started 12 years ago.

    • #238842

      I started mountain biking with my dad when I was around ten years old.  It wasn’t a consistent endeavor back then.  For the most part I would ride my rigid Giant 24 speed around my house, and the hundred or so acres of farmland we lived on.  My dad would sometimes take my sister and me on rides in the mountains near home, or on our yearly trip to St. George, Utah.  The trail that got me hooked is a rocky descent down a steep canyon, often populated by grazing herds of cows.  The trail has multiple stream crossings, large boulders, and some very steep declines.  I loved it. My dad was patient with us as we slowly worked our way down on rigid frames and weak rim brakes, and put up with our complaints of fatigue on the long climbs or hike-a-bikes.  When I was 14 I substituted pedal power for dirt bikes, and did not return to mountain biking until I was 20, even then it took me a few years to find my passion for it.  Now, as my wife will attest, I’m completely obsessed.  She hates to go to the bike shops with me because I like to browse all of the inventory, dream of collecting all of the varieties of bikes, and talk bikes with anyone around.  I read Singletracks first thing every morning to get my wake up fix.  Whenever we drive somewhere I point out all of the locations that would make a good spot for a trail.  She tolerates it alright, or she just ignores me.  She started to ride with me on an old bike I had, she didn’t like they bike, but enjoyed the riding enough.  We eventually bought her a lightly used specialized rumor 29er, and it really improved the experience for her.  We have quite a ways yet to go though, she doesn’t strive to ride everything imaginable yet, the mark of a true mountain biker.

    • #238844

      At around 8 years old I would ride my bike on old gravel patrol roads while my dad ran, which started the off-road itch. I didn’t really start mountain biking until age 12 when we moved across town, putting me within riding distance of about 30 miles of old-school, rocky, rooty singletrack. I started exploring the park on longer and longer excursions, and eventually started riding there regularly. I’ve gone from a trek 3500 with v brakes, non functioning suspension, and semi-slick tires to two different xc bikes, and now a hardcore hardtail. It’s been 4 years and I still ride the same park more than anywhere else, but I keep finding new lines and new ways to get faster.

      Mountain biking keeps me sane, and I say it’s the best sport out there.

    • #238845

      @Head over handlebars – How has your riding changed with the hardcore hardtail? That is the direction I am heading. I just want to have the most fun possible on my local trails in Ohio but with the option to sample some of the more challenging trails in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

      I think my first step is going to build up a Klunker to use in the technical valley that I live by. If that doesn’t work out the way I envision, I should be able to use it at Ray’s.

      • #238846

        Vapidoscar, my riding has only gotten better and more aggressive. I’ve never owned a full suspension bike and I don’t really want to. My Orange Crush is really more bike than I need for 90% of the stuff on my local trails, but for those few hard hits it’s nice to have, as well as for the occasional trip to Windrock bike park. I say that a hardtail with modern geometry, (relatively long and slack, reasonably wide bars, short stem, etc.) 130-160mm of travel, and good brakes is one of the best do-it-all bikes you can get.

        Since I got the Crush I’ve stopped focusing on how far I ride, and more on the amount of fun I have each ride, as well as progressing my skills as a rider. My fitness has gotten better because I’m riding more, and I’m riding more because I’ve never had a more fun bike.

        If you’re seriously considering it, I say go for it; if you stick with it you’ll probably become a better rider. I know that I’ve seen a significant increase in my descending speed, particularly over rough stuff; I’ve learned to flow on the chunky stuff.

        Can ya tell I like hardtails? 🙂 I’ve never ridden a klunker but that sounds like a neat idea. You may want to look at the Lowside that Surly just released, it looks like a lot of fun.

    • #238849

      Head over handlebars – you nailed it with that one.

      That is very similar to my current bike. Swobo Mutineer. But nicer with the steel frame, bigger wheels and beefy axles.

      Which is the reason I have been hesitant to start on my klunker project. It would be very similar to the Mutineer. Especially because the frame I want to pick up is a Swobo Folsom. Would like to keep the initial build under $400.

    • #238851

      I’m not sure at what point, by definition, I started. I started taking my geared road bike on trails when I was approximately 10 (late 70’s early 80’s) which also taught me a lot about fixing bikes seeing those bikes weren’t made for trail rips in rocky New England… My first sight of a mt bike in the mid 80’s certainly got me as excited as my first girlfriend (well almost) and I’m not one to keep up with technology so since then I can count on one hand how many mt bikes I’ve owned, but not the amount of components I’ve replaced :-/. After all these years my original road bike had more bells and whistles than my current Kona Big Unit rigid SS… It had gears!! Although the Kona definitely rips the trails much better 😉

    • #238876

      61 …..better late than never.

    • #238895

      I started riding a banana seat Schwinn on some old logging trails near the James River in Richmond, Va.  I upgraded to a Diamondback Mongoose around ’84 and we used to ride back in the woods in upstate SC.  I got my first real mountain bike in 1998 – a Specialized Rockhopper.  I traded that in for a Canondale F600 about 2 years later.  I did a ton of riding in the early 00’s on that bike.  Just recently got back into it.

      • #239465

        Louis Harris said “I started riding a banana seat Schwinn …”

        I had a banana seat bike! Had a 3 speed hub.  🙂  Use to try to jump garbage cans with it.  Guess I thought I was Evil Knievel.

    • #238905

      <p style=”text-align: left;”>I quit riding on the road right after High School, when I had two separate car hits in short succession, it gave me a strong dislike for playing in traffic. I felt like the next one would have my number.</p>
      <p style=”text-align: left;”>I tried mountain biking briefly but career and family responsibility took priority. Fast forward 25 years later, I was a 46 year old, out-of-shape mess and my doctor gave me a stern warning. So I started riding regularly. It is the first form of exercise I ever looked forward to. Being midway through my second year, I can say it has driven complete change in my health, lifestyle and outlook.</p>

    • #238906

      Probably around 11 or 12 for me, but like others have mentioned, at the time I didn’t know it was “mountain biking.” A neighbor had a 10-speed road bike I liked to ride, and so that year I asked for a 10-speed for Christmas. Instead of a bike with skinny tires and drop bars, I got a Western Flyer 10-speed “mountain bike.”

      I rode that thing everywhere, off road and through the woods. It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I actually started riding places that required driving to a trailhead. Not sure having that early-ish start really helped me become a great rider or anything. 🙂

      My son, on the other hand, started with a Strider at 2 and was riding his bike off road from the beginning. Watch out for the next generation of mountain bikers, they are going to be RAD.

    • #239432

      <p style=”text-align: center;”>Started riding mountain bikes yesterday! I will be 41 in June, I have raced off-road motorcycles for over 30 years competitively, but never rode mountain bikes. My wife and I are excited to join your community!</p>

    • #239479

      Like others have pointed out this is an interesting question. If by “mountain biking” you mean riding a bike off of pavement and doing stupid stuff like flying off of jumps and drops, then something like age 4 or 5. But if you mean specifically seeking out singletrack trails to ride and trying to get better at the sport, then around age 16.

    • #239653

      2012, immediately after graduating from college. It actually is a pretty treasured hobby of mine because as I was sitting there with my degree, I just thought “Mountain Biking. I’m going to get into Mountain Biking.” No one escorted me into it or eased me in, I just dropped 800 bucks on a Cannondale hardtail and hit a trail that threw me off the bike repeatedly. 6 years later, I’m still getting thrown on the sides of the trail, but with a Santa Cruz 5010 Uncle Sam helped me pay for and an intense desire to find time to get better.

    • #239710

      I started 2 years ago, 2 hardtails both wrong fit and sold to me with excitement cuz my bike shops suck. Currently ride a ’17 Camber CC Large, fits like a glove( got it at a good price) and wish i didnt just use an MTB( department store) purely for transport as a kid/teen. At this point MTB’ ing is my life in a nutshell(tech, races, R&D, componentry, technique) , wishing I went to college and didnt work hard labor so i could enjoy my sport without a 1/4 botlle of ibuprofen per ride day. 24 Years old, stay in school kids.

    • #239976

      Seven years ago today.

      I actually joined Singletracks before I went out for my first ride.

      • #239990

        I actually joined Singletracks before I went out for my first ride.

        Wait, this is really interesting. So why did you join Singletracks before even knowing what you were getting into?

    • #239991

      I started when I think I was 8 or 9 and I’m 12 now so I’ve been trying to get on more trails since. If your a beginner you don’t need a good thousand dollar bike mine was around 200 and it’s held up to whatever I through at it but I do recommend checking your bike before you ride it on any trails mine doesn’t have quick release levers on my wheels and when I got it I could unscrew both bolts with my hands and one time I saw a little girl go off a curb probably her first time and the wheel came off. In conclusion I recommend getting a cheap bike then just checking it up because I went against my uncle who’s been riding his who life with a 2,000 dollar bike and I bear him in a race and Hill climb and even some of the trails and jumos ony 200 dollar bike.

    • #239994

      I did road cycling until I was 45 then switched to XC. Did not really get a lot of trail time until 50. Now, I am 60 and ride most days on a local trails. The older I get, the more I like it. Yes, I still get a bit aggressive when I am in the zone and have my share of crashes. That is what keeps it exciting.

    • #240033

      Wait, this is really interesting. So why did you join Singletracks before even knowing what you were getting into?

      Jeff, I had a pretty good idea mountain biking was something I was going to love. My two previous hobbies/obsessions (Jeeping and paintball) involved the outdoors and adrenaline.

      I could no longer afford Jeeping and was now living in the midwest compared to the southwest so the offroad areas were farther away and not quite the same. Mudding was fun, but I really enjoyed rockcrawling/driving in the desert. The Jeep was also my daily driver so I kind of needed that to stay healthy while I was in college.

      Paintball was something I needed to do with other people and since I was at college all my of team when home for the summer breaks. I still played paintball during the school year but needed something to decompress after my summer Spanish classes (6-8 hours, 5 days a week of nothing but Spanish, ugh.)

      I did some Googling, found Singletracks, joined, and then went out for my first ride a few days later. I’ve loved it ever since!

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