Today I got on BART (the SF bay area’s train system), and there it was. A ’95 Specialized RockHopper, AKA my very first muthafuckin’ mountain bike! The only difference is that this one actually had a suspension fork on it. But not mine, son. I can’t believe I don’t have arthritis from the year or so I rode that stiff bastard. Other than that (and the seat and extra handle bar thingies), this sucker was identical, down to the crank set and even color.
The funny thing is that I just responded to a post on mtbr about first bikes. I think a buddy of mine still has the bike. I need to get it back from him if he’s not using it. For a long time I didn’t really care what happened to the bike, but not that riding is such a big part of my life, I’d love to have it around.
I actually had the bike for about 7 years before it even touched dirt. A buddy of mine had a friend who had gotten him into riding. Eventually I joined them. We were somewhere in the east bay. The ride started with a fire road descent. Up we went…about 200 yards when I stopped to puke up the pizza I’d had for lunch. But I cranked on. I would not be denied the peak that taunted me from about…oh, a mile and half up, if I’m remembering correctly. Eventually, gravity and friction lay defeated at my quivering feet and I joined my friend who had been waiting for me at the top for about two weeks. We went on to climb some more, and eventually did some fun single track downhill. My first ride was not an epic one, but I was hooked. A decade later, that friend no longer rides and I’m the stunning, hill slaying, riding at night, going to Moab, mountain bike blogging, getting mountain biking articles publshed, going to Downeyville, never shutting the fuck up about mountain biking, fat tire humping fellah I am today.