Having not ridden a bike for many, many years, it seemed at one point that nearly every person in their thirties I met declared MTB as their hobby.
Then my neighbour got working on me and Summer 2006 saw me purchase my first mountain bike at 36 years young.
Somewhat naively, I blew the dust off my very old (purple!!) helmet, popped on my ‘gardening’ trainers and went out for my first ride.
‘Fook me…’ said neighbour Scott as I pitched up ‘…it’s the Purple Helmets’.
At that stage, I saw nothing wrong in my 80’s style lid, scruffy trainers, floppy shorts and wife-beater vest. Things were about to change.
Having not really understood what all the fuss was about, I became instantly hooked and my naivety soon manifested itself into a Supermarket Sweep-like frenzy of Wiggle and CRC shopping that Dale himself would have been mighty proud of. I had no idea how much kit you need (and don’t need) for this lark.
Nearly two years on and I’m still loving it, still buying the odd item of kit (at least on a weekly basis) and I’m now into a regular pattern of mid-week night rides plus a Sunday blast, normally with the Muddymoles. I’m also the fittest I have been since I was in my late teens, though there is still some way to go on that front.
As a motorcycle fan and track day addict, I’ve found something that has gradually replaced my former hobby for a safer (albeit sometimes not much!) pastime which gives me much, much more.
It still provides a real buzz like the motorcycling generated, but also keeps me fit, provides a constant challenge, is very sociable and more socially acceptable (rightly or wrongly).
I’m also very lucky in that my wife is very supportive of me MTB-ing and generally doesn’t mind losing me for a morning every weekend, possibly because my wheels and legs are no longer separated by a 140hp engine.
She doesn’t know however that my latest ambition is to start learning the black art of jumping. Oh dear brace youselves, this may well hurt…