The Mountain Bike Life

Jay

Christmas morning in 1992 greeted the eleven year old me with a jet-black Huffy ‘Stalker’ 12-speed mountain bike. There the journey began. It didn’t take long for the bike to break, but in hindsight I’m not certain I have ever equaled the level of fun I had on that bike at local sledding hills and metro parks. Fast forward 22 years, a few bikes and I am a father of three children, husband of one wife, and owner two mountain bikes, which combined have two less gears than my Huffy.

jay family

I live in the plains of Northwest Ohio and ride mostly in the Irish Hills of southern Michigan. I have had the privilege of introducing teenagers to the sport of mountain biking and have gotten some of them truly hooked, one of them, now 23 is my primary riding buddy. One of the most daunting things our young riders in this sport face is the cost to have a ‘current’ kit. I love reading about gear as much as the next guy, and I find bikes to be fascinating, but at the end of the day I am trying to sell the sport to people who don’t even have $1000 of disposable income yearly. This is all to say that when you read my articles do not be surprised if I sound like a cheapskate. I want to see everyone on a bike, and nobody dissatisfied with their own kit only on the basis of something else that is promised to be better. One of the great pleasures of riding a cheap bike is passing a suspension fork or rear wheel which cost more than your whole kit, the Doppler Effect on a Chris King Hub is rad, especially when you are passing it. While I don’t begrudge nice stuff, or the people who have earned it with their hard work, it is still a hidden pleasure every cheapskate enjoys.

My favorite riding partner, can't wait to get him on the trails

My favorite riding partner, can’t wait to get him on the trails

I currently ride a ’06 Specialize Rockhopper Comp Disc. The fork, front wheel, and frame are all that is left of the original, but I upgrade only as things break. I have a Profile Racing Crankset (off of my old BMX bike) that is only 2 years newer than the aforementioned Huffy, an SLX derailleur, 1×9 setup with MRP chain guide, and a bunch of other mid-range-good-enough-to-not-breakdown components. I also have a ’94 (I think) Gary Fisher that is a fully rigid single-speed it’s what I ride when I’m taking someone else to the trail, of course they ride the other bike.

I guess you could call me a weekend warrior, but I do prepare for the battle throughout the week with weights, running, and time on the trainer. The bottom line is that a family of 5 can’t have dad driving 3 hour round trip to the trail head during the week.

pumpkin saws-all

Aside from biking, I enjoy my wife and kids the most. I like craft beer, reading, writing, weight lifting, and theology. I was an engineer and 6 years ago became a United Methodist Pastor. I am honored to be a part of this team, and a part of the wonderful community that is Mountain Biking.

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