What Tha?

If you have never been to this website before you are probably wondering what this is all about. Maybe this will help…

My name is Mike and I’ve been riding mountain bikes for eighteen years now. My love of riding started as a kid. I had a Schwinn Stingray that was the first bike I learned to ride without training wheels. It was metal-flake candy apple red with matching banana seat and I thought it was pretty cool. At the time that I got it (when I was 8 or so) it was too big. It was so big in fact I was unable to touch the ground with either foot while sitting on the seat. It came with training wheels and this allowed me to climb onto it without it falling over. First, I would put one foot on the lower pedal then I would swing the other leg over the back, as if I was mounting a horse, then I would stand on the highest pedal with all of my weight and finally, after a moment of standing on it, it would start to move forward and off I went.

classicstingray

I got the idea that I wanted to ride it without training wheels from watching a friend. When he rode, it looked effortless and free and I knew that it must be crazy fun. I just had to figure this thing out. So, I removed the brackets for the training wheels and gave it a try. To get on the bike without the training wheels, I had to brace it against the tree so it wouldn’t move. With the bike lodged in place, I was able to climb on. Once on the bike, I braced my shoulder against the tree and got myself and the bike as upright as possible. Then I gave the tree one big shove to push off to begin moving forward. This last part was one big leap of faith, because as I started to move, the back wheel bounced over the roots of the tree and the handlebars jerked and wobbled with only one hand to brace them. It was pure luck that I didn’t crash immediately after leaving the tree, but somehow I managed to return my missing hand to the grip and coast for 15 feet before I lost control and crashed on my side. The crash hurt, but I didn’t really feel it immediately, because suddenly, the realization occurred to me that I COULD do it! It was possible! And that was all I needed, the knowledge that I could do it if I didn’t give up. All I had to do was keep trying. After the first try, I spent the rest of the day attempting it and the rest of the day crashing too, but by the end of that day I was official. I was riding a bike.

 

To say it was difficult to learn to ride from a dead stop, leaning against a tree and pushing off with one hand and coasting down a hill would be a bit of an understatement. But at the time, I didn’t know any different. I was a kid. It was my bike. I wanted to ride it, so I found a way. I guess learning to ride in that way – without help – pretty much set the tone for my experiences learning to ride a mountain bike as an adult. Without a whole lot of guidance, I set out to learn and then kept tying until finally I did it. That’s not to say that it was the easy way or the best way for that matter, but with effort and time, I learned. I learned the wrong way to do a lot of things. I got in over my head a lot of times. I crashed a lot. I broke a lot of bikes and bike parts. I got hurt a lot and I retired more than a few helmets. But I kept trying and kept learning.

 

Everyone who rides mountain bikes can probably recall the first time they went for a trail ride no matter how long ago it was. The location you rode and the people you went with might be different from me, but I’m willing to bet that if you’re still riding now, your first ride was a lot like mine. It was scary. It was exciting. It was exhilarating, maybe a bit painful, but it was a hell of a lot of fun! And that is why I’m here sitting down to write this.

 

This website is about what I call the mountain bike experience. It include all of the things that are enriching, fun or funny about riding mountain bikes. It’s relishing that exhausted feeling that comes during or after a long ride. It’s the satisfaction that comes from learning to do something new. It’s learning to do something that you would have never thought you could do. The experience is seeing – by chance – something new on a trail that you’ve ridden for years and it’s also the excitement and anticipation that comes from seeking out new places for the unknown adventures that new places hold. It’s about riding with friends, enjoying their company and enjoying the time you have together. It’s all of those things and it’s what makes the ride so much fun. A lot of this my story on a bike, but as time goes on there will be other contributors too. And what all of the writing here will have in common is, it all relates to the Mountain Bike Experience.

cache_1123848You might find something that sounds familiar, or maybe even something out of the norm and exciting. Either way, I hope you enjoy what you find here. There is more to come. Check back often.

 

-Mike

 

 

About Me

Name: Mike Storm

Where I’m from: Charlotte, NC
Place I Call Home: Bellingham, WA

Age: 43 (I have no plans of getting older)