The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Chad P. Christian

I am hemorrhaging Summer. It is spilling onto the linoleum of time. I am dizzy. Woozy even. Last winter, Summer was an abstract concept. It slowly stretched before me and faded into the vast continuum of all Future. My plans for Summer were primordial. Ill formed without regard for timing or work or family or a single shred of reality they danced before my mind in a silly, childlike, muppet way in a magical land where the sun was locked…

For years, mountain bike shoes have fallen into the ends of the mtb spectrum. Either the bastard children of road bike shoes and figure skates or the clunky progeny of skate shoes. There hasn’t been much in the middle. Either plastic tap-shoes or wimpy lace-ups with gummy soles. It amazed me that so few manufacturers could produce something in between. I wanted something better. What’s more, I needed new shoes. My beloved Sidi dominators, while still in service for use…

PUSH industries have been specializing in making other companies gear better for the greater part of two decades. Shocks from the factory are made for the masses. Averages are accepted to manufacture the fewest number of production units that will work for the greatest number of applications. As a result, you may or may not fit into the factory spec. If you’re much bigger or smaller than around 165lbs, more or less aggressive than most, or ride a specific type…

What is Faster and why must we find it? What is the compulsion that opposes our mortal fears and drives us further beyond whatever we’ve done before? Competition can push us, but this is different from a desire to win or to not be beaten. It is an irresistible lover’s whisper. A temptation in spite of the danger. A giggle where there should be a scream. Letting off the brakes when one should really be applying them. A fall-line challenge…

When I was 15 years old I was allowed to work in a bike shop. As a racer on their team, I had access to the work areas and shop tools whenever a stand wasn’t occupied by a regular customer’s bike. It was there, hanging out with the cranky but lovable mechanic, getting in the way, being yelled for failing to clean something properly, sorting through the bins of discarded 7-speed friction shifters, Ashtabula bottom bracket bearings, and derailleur pulleys…

Mountain biking carries with it inherent risk.. The recipe for awesomeness shares many of the same ingredients with injury, disability and death. Gravity, speed, rocks/trees/fixed objects, limited protective gear and the constant desire to test it mean that it’s all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. I have been riding for 23 years and have been a career Paramedic for the latter fifteen. I’ve worked in a variety of systems and in a number of roles including SWAT Medic…

On Colorado’s Front Range, there really isn’t a weather-imposed “off” season. It gets a little bit cold, a little bit wet, for a little bit and then the lower trails closest to home dry up within a week or so. As a kid from Wisconsin, where winter’s gray, wet, colder-than-a-pimp’s-heart stranglehold is relentless for 8 months of the year, I am unimpressed. The good stuff, the high country is a different story and it’ll be 8 months before I’m descending…

I admit it. I am a gear snob. I like everything I have to be a very particular way, perform exactly as I expect, and to be everything it is advertised to be. This is my standard. Anything but this standard will drive me insane. It will not be usable. Many of my rides have been obliterated by the intolerable minutia that would normally be excepted as standard deviation. I am susceptible to drivetrain noise, untuned suspension, inappropriate tire pressures…

I don’t blame that Ebola nurse in Maine for violating her “quarantine” and heading out for a ride. In fact, I’m considering a little trip to Liberia and back just for the passport stamp. What a gift to be labelled in such a way that entire major metropolitan areas would avoid you like, well…. the plague. As much as I love my Bike Friends, there are times when I want nothing more than to leave them, along with every single…

If you’ve done this sport/lifestyle/modus operandi long enough, you begin to collect pieces of cycling. Mud on your tires, bits of random bike skeletons in the parts bin, god-awful bike-event t-shirts, and if you’re doing it right, you also gather Bike Friends. Your Bike Friends are not like those other friends. These are not intended for public consumption. They are often the rag-tag misfits of their other social circles, the fringe dwellers of the mainstream that are only truly home…

1 2 3