A chronological history of my cycling love
The year was 1979 when I got my first bike. I spent my time cruising the neighborhood, planning stunts – the things kids do. These are the things that adults forget about as they become adults – the same pure joy that I remind them of when trying to get them back on a bike. You’re probably a cycle lover and you know the feeling. I have vivid memories of a 16” wheel BMX style bike, an ill-fitting foam helmet and a massive bruise on my forehead. It was from this point on that I painted my bikes custom colorways, worked on them, tweaked them and rode the rubber off of them. Addicted! I wish I had an image of this one.
Early 80’s – These were the glory days of SkyWay, where every kid in the UK dreamed about Mag’s and SkyWay frames. White, yellow and blue. A few years later Raleigh made a comeback with the SuperBurner and the SuperTuff Burner, which had mags and frame in the premium gold colour. The Araya anodized hoops had me with their satin gold bling and high count spokes.
Raleigh SuperTuff Burner
In the early 90’s I developed my love for mountain bikes after lusting over my friend’s Giant steel mountain bike. Within a few years I found myself to be the proud owner of a burgundy steel Specialized Rockhopper. This turned out to be my daily commuter – until one summer, in a shady part of Manchester UK, I was mugged and my pride and joy was stolen. But the passion was now fully in my blood and the cycling addiction continued with a replacement Rockhopper that got many a mile around Manchester and West Yorkshire.
Skip a few years, a few more bikes and a continent: In 1996 I find myself studying Art and purchased an M4 Stumpjumper in Columbus Ohio – oh yes I had to have the M4 Metal matrix. After riding trails, I was soon tinkering in Trials. This bike and a few 6-foot walls ended up giving me some sleepless nights of passing blood! Needless to say, to this day Hans Ray and Danny Macaskill still inspire me.
Specialized M4 Stumpjumper 1996
Trek Y bakes came and knocked around, but were too pricey for the likes of me. I grew into the GT Zazkar Team edition, and lusted after the ever growing sport of full suspension. My eyes became tuned into a pretty little anodized beast called a Blur, the Santa Cruz Blur.
In the early 2000’s I found myself saving my pennies for a new mountain bike – I had my heart set on a Santa Cruz Blur for a few years this had become the gold standard of XC bikes. A new bike store that carried all sorts of goodies, including Santa Cruz and Felt, came into town. One day after work I wandered in, only to be converted to the road scene. A few days later I had ordered an aluminium road bike with a rear DuraAce deraileur! This marked the start of my love for road cycling. The Felt F35 was my first real road bike and the onslaught of road miles and constantly being dropped ensued.
Felt DuraAce F35
Cyclocross, the cyclocross bug hit me hard, I began in 2006 when I lived in Chicago at the time where a friend got me to try this new cycling sport. My first cyclocross race was among the city parks and frozen tundra. I started in the beginners and moved my way up into the top “b’s”, or cat2’s. The Felt Fx1 was my introduction to spending lots of money, year after year breaking components in the mud, and never winning a Cat2 Race!. The next few photos are from my first cyclocross races in Portland Oregon at the Alpenrose dairy, a classic opening race to the season.
The next few years consisted of me racing anything and everything, road, track, cyclocross and mountain bike in various levels of commitment. The world of bikes unfolded and I tried to experience as many bikes as I could. Including some team TT!
2008 was also the start of the Santa Cruz dream, with the purchase of a blur.
Getting back into MTB, The Santa Cruz Blur was a machine I always lusted after. This time with a solid QR15 and a nice groupo, this bike showed me many miles of trails around Oregon, and also took me through the amazing MBO (mountain bike oregon) event that happens outside of Eugene every year to ride days of sweet single track, xc and trail.
2008 Commute Life
2008-2014 were pivotal years, my work commute was something that changed by understanding of basemiles. With my commute being 32miles round trip and 2000ft of climbing per day, I got a lot of miles and hill climbing skills quickly. The commute life needed a reliable, sturdy ride that could take whatever I threw at it for 32 miles a day all year round, the fully fender’ed Dedacciai Kona Honkey Tonk
“Steel is real” – this became the common phrase in the bike world and maybe more so around Portland Oregon in 2012 where the hand built scene was growing rapidly. The Kona Honkey Tonk, designed by Erik Tonkin, came across my list, Direct from the factory with its eyesore robin egg blue, it soon got a custom paint job from my friend at the Vanilla workshop. I did the custom powder and top wet graphics by myself.
This, alongside a Felt TK1, headed up for some track time going from a Cat 5 to a Cat3. I really loved the summer of track at Alpensrose’s 200 metre 45 degree turn track – with the sketchy high line in turn 4 that pops your rear wheel up and sends your cadence off.
My love for cycling continued: road, track – everything. Carbon became the new short distance bike. The most notable being a Pedal Force CG1, ISP and stiff as heck, that puppy could move up hills; tipping the scale at 14lbs for a 59cm with ‘off the shelf’ components. Unfortunately I never found a carbon bike that I could ride for 8hours.
As of the last couple of years, my passion turned for riding brevets and rides of small man teams with epic adventures on road and gravel, normally consisting of intermittent hammer fests with regular rides of 6-8hours saddle time and lots of elevation. A group called Velodirt regularly hold epic gravel races in eastern Oregon with races from 80 – 140miles. My latest bike love: the Moots CR – Titanium, out of curiosity at first, then a frameset built up. The Moots continues to be my choice to this day – along with the yearning every now and again for the pure efficiency and drive of Carbon.
2013 saw the onslaught of longer riding and introduction of gravel as I started to explore mt. hood and surrounding areas. 2013 through 2015, I rode about 10,000 miles a year, 2014 consisted of a lot of fast century type rides and generally more endurance. 2013 was the year of a crazy friend where we became the dumb and dumber, ever going on 130mile adventures, clocking up 11,000ft rides and epic days in the saddle.
Having had a carbon bike in 2012 and realizing I was only good on it for around 60miles, I abandoned carbon and sold my PedalForce. Looking for better carbon alternatives, better design , better ride. Work got heavy this year, but I still clocked up the miles and retained the passsion.
Decided to get back to the training game, with a plan and a power meter, lets see how this season goes.