Why me, why mountain bikes?
I started riding a mountain bike “seriously” about 10 years ago. Before that I had always had a road bike, so the change of style was a bit of a shock. Originally it was all just a bit of a laugh, but became a proper interest as time went by. Then, as now, mountain biking represents my only source of exercise, if you discount running round after my 2½ year old daughter, and was chosen because I thoroughly enjoy it, it’s a lot more interesting than going to the gym, and of course I get to wear lycra in public.
In our current group I usually play the role of back marker, slow up hills and very careful down hills. Slow up as my fitness is not what it could be, slow down as in April 2003 I decided it would be a good idea to see if I could throw myself and my bike through a hedge sideways at 25 mph and see if I could survive. Since my spill my confidence has been a bit shaky, so I tend to take a little more time coming down hill than I used to. I now work on the principal that I should return from my ride with as many limbs and other bodily appendages as I set out with.
Beyond the fitness element, cycling has become my equivalent of a “lads night out”, as much a social event as anything else. The advantage of this is that I don’t have to suffer the consequences of the late night kebab or the screaming hangover usually associated with the traditional lads events, and a cup of tea and a slice of bread pudding is a lot more civilised!