Sep 15, 2012

Tom Ritchey, The Godfather of Mountain Biking

Enjoy mountain biking? I miss it. I haven't ridden a mountain bike in years and think about it all the time. In the shop I'm surrounded by them. Great machines that offer adventure and escape. So what happened? Kids. No idea what I did with my free time before kids. Maybe I was bored more often, I did get out on some great off road rides and adventures. Some glorious, some disastrous. All were fantastic. I realized that mountain biking required more time than I had available. Knowing that I couldn't recapture the time away from my kids I couldn't justify the loading up, driving to trails, riding and returning to clean up and maintain my bike. Oh, there was the occasional crash that would bang me up too. Road riding became a way to ride, escape and enjoy bicycles with a smaller time commitment. Just step out the door and ride. Fewer crashes, no driving and less maintenance. The last time I was on a mountain bike I was out West in Zion National Park celebrating my 40th birthday. Some good friends and some of the best trails I have ever ridden. What a way to go out. Gotta get that back.

So what about mountain biking? Have you ever wondered? I'm not old and I have seen the entire history unfold in my lifetime. My first mountain bike was a Ross (circa 1980?), gold rims and all it was one of the first mountain bikes in Minneapolis. One of several bikes I should have never sold. A few bikes later and I had a Ritchey Timberwolf which was two wheeled badness. I worked in a shop and managed to break my ankle weeks before it was to be delivered. "Bear trap" pedals integrated well with the rubber peg on my cast so I was off riding. Bermuda shorts, a skate t-shirt, Chuck Taylor on one foot and a cast on the other. No problem. That bike was pivotal in my life and the connection to cycling that I enjoy to this day. When I stumbled upon this video about Tom Ritchey I sat back with my cup of coffee, all quiet in the house, and paid respect to the man behind the bikes, the history, the parts and pieces that made the sport - Tom Ritchey, The Godfather of Mountain Biking.

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