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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
A while back I ran accross a link in the old forums to a magazine article about why people from these forums come together for gatherings. It pretty much summed up the whole "passion" mentality. It was a fine article with many black and white pictures. I don't remember who was featured but "pedal boy" was one of the people. Well the old forums have changed formats again and I can't find the article. Could somebody lend me a hand finding a link? Thanks


sh*t disturber
348 Posts
Peds was mentioned in the article, but wasn't in Waterdown. You're speaking of "The Gathering", featured in the November 1998 issue of "Mountainbike". The gathering itself was in Waterdown, Ontario, Canada in July 1998 and was a classic. I've put the article up a few times since. I had a link to the old mtbr, but it seems to be dead now. I'll put it up here some day (takes a bit of work)

celly ("see no evil" in the infamous "monkey" photo)

Do It Yourself
5,720 Posts
MTBR Archives and article scan...

You might try searching the MTBR archives...

Only goes back one version but that covers waaaay back to 2001 anyway. The archives don't include pics posted on MTBR though. I think those are lost to the black hole of cyberspace.

Here's the scan of the article too...

sh*t disturber
348 Posts
This is one version of it. Took some finessing with the image links to get it to work. Sorry about the crappy formatting.

Was a classic weekend. Hard to believe it's been 6+ years already. Met some superb people that weekend, including my wife (and mother of my soon to be born son). That's "Spike" for those of you new to the site. Will definitely go down as one of my most memorable weekends in so many ways.


Appeared in November 1998 issue of "Mountain Bike" as "The Gathering".

It?s 3:00AM...I'm standing in the Buffalo airport sans one mountain bike box watching the
luggage carousel come to a stop and thinking, "I've flown all the way to friggin' New York to ride
bikes with a bunch of axe murderers and the goddamn airline lost Melba Toast!"
I'm talking to myself and replaying recent conversations with my friends back in Atlanta.
"So what're you doing next weekend?"
"I'm going to Ontario for a bike trip."
"Really? Cool! Who you going with?"
"I'm meeting a bunch of people up there for a sort of mountain bike festival get-together group ride thingy."
"What people?"
"Just some friends I met over the Internet."
"Wha...who? Are you serious?"
"Yeah, on that message board web site I've told you about - mtbr dot com."
"So, you don't know any of these people?"
"Sure I do, I 'talk' to them every day."
"But you don't really know who they are..."
And so on. It seemed perfectly normal to me to be going up north for a weekend of dirt
worship with a bunch of fellow cult members. Now that I was almost there, however, I started
to feel just a shade of my friends' reservations. I really haven't met any of these people
before, at least not in person. What are they really like? Are they the same in "real life" as they
are on the 'net? I'm sure everyone is very nice and I'll have a good time. But are there any
axe murderers among them? Perhaps most important, what kind of riders are they?
The bike arrives 11 hours and seven anxious phone calls later and I drive across the Peace
Bridge into Ontario to Big Dave's Waterdown Invitational. The neighborhood is full of cars and
trucks adorned with bike racks. I walk into a yard full of bikers with muddy shins, kids, dogs,
bikes, workstands and tools. A small camper trailer is backed into the driveway.
A guy with a Marine-style Mohawk looks up and says "Tedly?" My late arrival and my
Atlanta Braves' cap gave me away.

Mohawk-boy turns out to be LoFe, and celly, another mtbr regular, jumps up and shakes
my hand. Everyone is saying "Tedly, you made it!" and "Did you finally get your bike?" Another
car pulls up and Mary Ann jumps out and gives me a big hug, and the legendary Mike T.
shakes my hand. Whatever nerves I had are long gone: now I feel like Norm walking into
Cheers. I'm introduced to the whole gang: LoFe's fiance HammerAnn, Big Dave the host and
his wife Liette, Anarchist, Spike, Voodoo-1, Brent, DaleRider1, Nat, Shiva and his wife Jody, Mary
Ann II (other handles just didn't stick) and her son Jonathan, Brad Trent, Guy Up North, Todd

I've seen pictures of a couple of these people, but for the most part I had no idea what they
would look or sound like. Celly, easily the most prolific poster on MTBR (and one of a trio of
"Class Clowns" that includes Shiva and, um, myself!), keeps a cheerful running commentary,
but I hadn't expected him to have an accent like one of the MacKenzie brothers. The often
obnoxious and always hilarious "Flamemaster" Brad Trent was a surprise; he just walked up
and shook my hand and said "Hello, Tedly." For a few seconds Brad actually didn't know what
to say; as the lone representative from the Deep South, I think he half expected me to be
carrying a banjo and drooling tobacco juice, but I still have all my own teeth and not much of a drawl. Shiva looks something like what I had pictured; a skinny mischievous Alfred E.
Neuman type. He picked his handle because the Destroyer of Worlds is more impressive than
the testosterone-laden handles people sometimes use like "Thrasher", "Shredder", or
"MTBGOD!!!!". DaleRider1, nominated poet laureate of MTBR, is a big Santa Claus of a man;
an officer in his corporation, a collector as well as a rider (he owns 9 high-end bikes at last
count), and maybe one of the most genuinely nice and generous people I've ever met.

Anarchist is a big surprise; when he first posted on MTBR he was grounded for stealing his
parents' car. Later on he started hanging out in the chatroom after he had gotten caught
skipping three weeks of school. I expected to meet an obnoxious rebellious little snot, but he's
really just a good kid, always smiling, full of enthusiasm yet kind of quiet. He sure is a lot
different than I was at that age:
"Hey 'narko, you wanna beer?"
<SHEEPISH grin>"I'm not old enough"
"I didn't ask if you were qualified, I asked if you would like a beer."
"I'm really not supposed to."
<SIGH>"Let me ask you again: do you WANT a beer?"
"I'm only 17."
Maybe peer pressure isn't what it used to be.

I fetch the box with Melba Toast (my bike, a Bontrager Race named after the guy's car in
"Dazed and Confused"), and put everything together in one of four workstands littered about
the yard. A little while later we all ride the couple of blocks from Dave's house to the trailhead,
and I'm on my first official MTBR group ride. The sound of 21 pairs of knobby tires on
pavement is one I'll never forget. The one little piece of nervousness I still had resurfaced:
what kind of riders are these?
When you read stories on the Internet about a "big jump" or a "scary drop" you really have
no frame of reference with which to compare to your own skills and trails. Have I
misrepresented myself as an incredible badass stunt rider, or as someone who crashes six
times on every ride? Am I in shape to keep up with these people?

Once again my nerves are gone within minutes as the big group makes its way through
the woods and I find it makes absolutely no difference what kind of rider I am. Mary Ann II, the distance runner with a bad ankle, could probably outlast anyone in an endurance ride but has less than a year of accumulated bike skills. LoFe, the veteran of the 24 hours of Canaan, is something of a hammerhead. Anarchist has all the enthusiasm in the world, especially since we've all been giving him such a hard time about his bike being too clean. And of course there's Big Dave at the head of the group.

Big Dave built some of these trails himself and glides over the obstacles as only someone
who rides them every day could do, one of the smoothest riders I've ever seen. But not once does
anyone try to show anyone up, and we all chat and laugh patiently while someone catches up
or fixes a mechanical.
Mountain Bike Review, the web site at which we all congregate daily, was created by
Francis Cebedo in 19xx as a review site, a place where bikers could post reviews of their
shwag and read others' opinions. I checked in for several weeks, reading reviews, and getting
help buying my first suspension fork and some tires. Twenty or more opinions based on actual
experience with bike parts are a great comfort before you make a decision worth a couple
hundred dollars. I mentioned the site to a friend who asked if I'd been to the "Techtalk" and
"Passion" forums. I said no, I saw the links but really had no desire to have conversations with
Internet strangers, and if I ever posted something in Techtalk, I would surely sound like an
idiot. "Oh, you've got to take a look, he said. 'Passion's great, lots of really nice people hang
out there."
When I went to the Passion forum (subtitled "Why do we love this sport so much?"),
everyone had weird handles like "Arbysauce", "Khoolhandz" and "KonaChicklet". The stories were entertaining, some funny, some stupid, and obviously a lot of the people were "regulars" who seemed to know each other. I easily found my friend's post by his handle (just his initials JR), "It's fun to bring your roadie friends to the trail and watch them slip in the mud and stall to cross little roots." I replied, "Yeah, John, it's also fun for your roadie friends to come to the trail with you so you eat the dust coming off their middle ring on the climbs, while you grunt and wheeze your way up in your granny." I used the handle "Deadly Tedly", which is what he had been calling me all day as I kicked his butt up and down the Appalachians after a week full of road riding.
Eventually I was spending a good 45 minutes to an hour of every day in Passion, reading
and replying, sometimes posting a story about a good crash I had over the weekend and
sometimes congratulating someone on their first successful bunny hop. I got to "know" some
of the regulars, like "LeeL" the North Shore wheelie dropping mountain climbing windsurfing
lawyer, and "The Old Man", the hospital administrator and Civil War relic collector who spent a
fortune building up a Heckler to under 23 pounds. Eventually I migrated into some of the
off-the-wall threads about tattoos and the famous one about wearing underwear under bike
shorts, which went on for days and turned into the age-old question "boxers or briefs?" I got to
know all about poor Mary Ann's trials and tribulations with severe shoulder tendinitis, which
kept her out of triathalons and off the bike for six months. People were starting to get to know
Deadly Tedly too, and I started to get email from a few people, so now I had mountain biking
pen pals. I loved to read race stories and I started to get an itch to try racing myself. To be
sure, there are some obnoxious *******s from time to time, but they never last more than a
few days. Brad Trent, celly and PedalBoy (a true 5-star General in Flame Wars) usually run
them off by pouring on a torrent of eloquent and hilarious insults and rebuttals. If that doesn't
work then they just get ignored until boredom takes them to another corner of th'net.

I had been a Passion regular for about nine months when I got an email from Big Dave
about the "Big Dave Waterdown Invitational" at his home in Ontario. Most people would be
staying at one of two dirt-cheap motels nearby. By this time I had met "Chris H." through mtbr
who had become a regular riding buddy, so I had a little experience meeting Internet folks.
LeeL had already hosted a similar get-together in Whistler, BC, which was a resounding
success that drew about 20 net-geek bikers who went on and on about the trip afterwards in a
huge thread full of pictures and stories. I had been dying to go, but Whistler is a long way
away from Atlanta and it just didn't happen.
But then I lucked out into a cheap plane ticket to Buffalo (less than $100 round trip found
on the web - the Internet truly is amazing), packed Melba Toast and off I went. That first night
we did dinner at a bar and grill down the road from Dave's house (everything is "just down the
road" in tiny Waterdown), and stayed up talking and drinking in Dave's living room past 2 AM.
Everyone is the genuine article: the personalities are the same as they are in Passion and
in Chat, but now three dimensional. I've never met a group of people that was so easy to
instantly hang out and feel comfortable with. Voodoo-1 brought his friend Brent who doesn?t
even own a computer By Saturday Brent kept saying "You guys all met over the Internet?
You've never even seen each other before? You're kidding right? I gotta get a computer!"

Not only did we all bond and put faces to names, everyone on the trip came home with
over $100 in shwag. Big Dave assembled give-aways from manufacturers, bike shops and
mail-order outfits. After the cookout Saturday night we all drew names one at a time to pick
prizes out of the dozens of Crowbars, saddles, tires, gift certificates, stickers, water bottles
and T-shirts. We took up a collection and bought Big Dave a Chris King threaded headset.
DaleRider1 gave him a new workstand and Nat brought a bottle of Maker's Mark.
This time the party went on past 3:00AM, going from Dave's house to the hotel after an
exhausted host gave us the boot. Sunday morning's ride was slow and hung over. We stuck to
flat trails and 15 cameras whipped out every time we stopped. We all had a serious case of
the warm fuzzies as we dreaded the coming breakup of the Waterdown gang.
At the time of this writing, the "official" Waterdown thread has been permanently placed at
the top of the Passion page, and has over 700 response follow-ups. All over Passion, people
who weren't at Waterdown are beginning to plan get-togethers in their own corner of the looks like the next big get togethers will be in Fruita, CO, in September, and one in Pisgah, North Carolina over Labor Day.
All in all there were 25 or so bikers at the BDWI, ranging in age from 9 to 50 plus a few
non-riding spouses and dogs. We traveled a total of 8800 miles to get there, coming from places
like Georgia, Iowa, Rhode Island and even Calgary (celly drove over 2200 miles). We are
accountants, engineers, firefighters, police dispatchers and fourth graders in "real life",
and not a single axe-murderer among us.

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