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While I was riding today for the last time of 2008 my mind began to wander as it will sometimes. I began reflecting on my two wheel history on dirt.
I narrowed it down to my first real mountain bike which was a 1987 ritchey ultra but while reminiscing about that bike and its awesomeness I realized my history on dirt went much further.

When I was just a tyke before the media's preoccupation with abducted children I would saddle up on my old tricycle and buddy in tow we would ride to "Calgary" which was as far as we could get from home and the only other location we knew about in Canada at that early age.

My time on bikes progressed until one day I found an old Canadian tire Ten Speed in our shrubs. Showing my dad he gave me that look and said we needed to get it back to its original owner. Well they came and got it but determined it was time for them to get a new one anyway and gave it back to me. Immediately my whole world expanded. Friends and I would load up backpacks with hardboiled eggs, crackers, canteens and head out into the farmlands. We followed roads, trails and whatever we could. We saw the world (as much as our middle school minds could understand at least). We experienced independence. We adventured and we had fun. So much fun. Exploration became a much stronger drug than BMX. Much stronger.

I wore that bike out and began lusting after one of these new "mountain bikes". Pleading to my mother I worked out a deal to get one, a new Raleigh BigHorn. Suzue sealed hubs, 18 speeds, cantilever brakes, and knobby tires with a center ridge for the best of all worlds.

Well cheap mountain bikes aren't as awesome as old 10speeds. Nutted BBs drop crank arms at the most inopportune locations, way out nowhere. Way out.

This drove the bike lust to a new level. I needed a bike that matched the durability and awesomeness of my SE quadangle BMX with 3 piece cranks and tuff mags. Cool looking, stong, and reliable. Venturing to the LBS (Joe's Cycle, Saskatoon: RIP) I saw the bike i needed: the 1987 ritchey ultra (while I don't have a picture of that bike it is the same as this one but black on black)



This was my true introduction to mountain biking. Light, packed with performance, and so awesome. Now I was locked in. Eventually I pimped it with some Aluminum handlebars, these new ones from answer products, the taperlite (in white!!). Ritchey tires rolled across the trails regularly, ubrake plugged with mud regularly. Sadly this bike was stolen at a party when a friend borrowed it to go home (stopped at a party instead).

For awhile I was without a mountain bike. A sad time in my life but this was about to happen:



the Mantis XCR-EC ordered from cambria bikes. totally done with bullseye hubs, XT 7 speed!, IRD seatpost, Syncros stem, XT cranks and Specialized ground control c tires. I rode the daylights out of this bike, saskatchewan, banff, calgary whereever there was dirt I was there with this bike.

Mantis was my choice for my next boutique bike, a profloater, purchased right before RC left Mantis.



This bike (not the one pictured here courtesy of First Flight), ordered from cambria bikes too, amp fork, velocity rims on nukeproof hubs, grafton joysticks, marinovative decelerator brakes, onzas porcupines, machinetech stem, IRD seatpost, purple king headset. This bike also tasted a lot of trails but it wasn't long lived. Eventually this bike would break during a race, my first real bike failure. I was crushed. I had to revert to the XCR-EC, swapped a few parts and then the next big thing in my life occured, I moved to arizona.

In arizona I started riding here on the XCR-EC but was so broke i couldn't afford to repair my gears so I removed as many links as I could from my chain, locked the rear derailleur in one gear and hit the trails single speed. Didn't take long for me to realize that I needed gears and I needed some sort of cushion from the terrain out here.

This was my ultimate purchase, always a huge fan of fat chance, always wanted a yo eddy, so I got the closest thing:



the independent fabrications deluxe. Purchased in 1996 and initially run with a 4.5" RST elastomer fork. Went through many iterations including my first foray into these new "riser bars", sweet wing cranks, bebop pedals, xtr v-brakes, wtb rims and the infamous marzocchi Z1 bomber. I rode this bike in so many iterations that I can't really keep track of them all. Eventually thanks to a new product called the surly singulator it became a single speed when I found this used:



that is a 1995-6 turner dh burner with 3.5" travel. I ran this bike as my AZ desert XC bike for quite awhile, running a Z1bam fork and most of the gear train from my IF including the american flag SRAM shifter set and a matching SDG belair. This bike suffered a sad fate with the BB shearing off and Dave Turner unable to repair it. DT being the awesome dude that he is got me a new front triangle that worked with the rear and I was back in business:



I raced this bike, free rode this bike, urban assaulted this bike but ultimately technology got so far ahead of me that I was left behind. I needed new technology. Platform dampening had just become available and more travel is better right? Boom, the bullit:



this bike carried me through many years of use starting life with a fork by a company that just was sampling the fork market but at the same time redefining it, a fox vanilla. disc brakes redefined what braking was to me and platform dampening still never made up for the single pivot rear and after 4 odd years the benefits of the travel was never really offset by the 36lbs of weight or the odd behaviors under braking and I found myself riding my old SS converted IF Deluxe more and more. Eventually I only rode the SS, the bullit gathering dust and taking up room. MTBR classified and it was gone, a few $$ in my pocket and my eye searching for something like my single speed IF but hopefully with a little more modern technology such as disc brakes and more tire clearance.

29ers were becoming a beguiling concept and I was late to this party. I had seen the willits bike in mags. Heard tell of their shortcomings from local shop keeps but hanging out in the 29er forum here I realized this was something I needed to try. Heck I used AMP forks, early v brakes, singlespeed, Freeride style bikes, why not give this a whirl. So I got me one of these:



been riding it for awhile now with no regrets.

It funny how life goes. My first "real" mountain bike was a cool steel ride with rigid fork and a funny handlebar. 23 years later and I am riding a cool steel ride with a rigid fork and a funny handlebar. I hope the next 23 are just as awesome!

Happy New Year!
 

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Very cool RC, thanks for a definite Passion post and a Happy New Year to you and all on MTBR. Only bike I can remember is my old Raleigh Grifter, which I inherited from my older bro when I was big enough (about 10) and he'd moved on to girls and such :D
 

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Wow, thanks for letting me ride on your way back machine!

Not quite a tricycle, but I do recall me and my 20" BMX bike took me everywhere from 3rd grade to 8th grade. Didn't get a mtn bike with gears until high school back in the 80s...

Great thread.
 

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Wow, I didn't even notice her until you mentioned her. I only saw the bikes, I think I may have a problem :D
 

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Awesome post. :thumbsup:

I have a stack of photos on my dresser I've been meaning to scan, many are from MTB road trips done back in the early 90's. Man the vibe was so cool back then. There were so few people riding off road, it felt like a much more tight-knit family.

Thanks for the stoke. I'll do a similar thread when I get around to scanning those photos. Should be good for a laugh ;)
 
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