Pedego has been known for their very consistent style with their bikes. Most have a beach cruiser look with a rear hub motor and a rack-mounted battery. All of them had both pedal assist and throttles. This year they threw everyone for a loop by bringing out three mid-driven models, each with a completely different motor. Talk about shock and awe! THE BIKE The Conveyor is a good-looking commuter. It looks a little like a beach cruiser mixed with a generic bike with the fenders; without it, it really leans towards the beach cruiser. We love that they call it the Conveyor, because it’s driven by a belt—as in conveyor belt. Clever. There’s plenty of information to be had with the app—from speed and range to diagnostics. It’s available in black, brushed or blue. We really like the shade of blue with the black accents. Where most Pedego bikes have 26-inch wheels and a plethora of custom color options for fenders, wheels, etc., the Conveyor has 27.5-inch wheels, and that means fewer color and customizing choices. We like this wheel size; it’s a bit smoother over bumpy surfaces, and now there are more choices for tires. The pedals are kind of cheap plastic with grip tape, which means you can wear them with virtually any shoes. And should you happen to slip a pedal, it’ll still hurt, but it won’t likely dig into your shin. The app interface works pretty well overall. You can see your connected bike, toggle the alarm, see the maps and map your ride, plus access the social features here. THE KILLER APP This is the first Pedego to have connectivity features via an app. It’s pretty feature-rich too. It can record the map of your ride, monitor your battery’s health, send info to Pedego for diagnostics, track your bike if stolen and even can alert you if someone moves your bike if it’s parked with an audible alarm on your smartphone. In our tests, this didn’t work perfectly. You had to be in Bluetooth range and connected to be alerted when your bike was moved. If not, you had to reconnect to the bike, then the alarm would sound. Not great. The bike does cut the motor if the alarm has been triggered, however. The internal-shifting 8-speed Alfine hub is quiet and has a perfect range even on hills. When recording a ride, you definitely want to turn off your screen. We drained a phone battery by over 25 percent in a mile of riding by leaving the screen on with the map running. With no way to plug in a phone on this bike, there’s a really good reason not to leave the screen on. And, you can’t map your ride in the background, such as in the case that you want to use other features or get directions from another app. Hopefully those things can be fixed in future updates to the app. There’s a social media aspect built into the app. Pedego owners have their own community, and they love to share information about their rides. The app is no different; you can follow others and they can follow you. The best part of the connectivity is that the hardware is built into the battery, and some bikes purchased in 2017 may have the capability to use the app. If you have a Pedego bike built in the last couple of years, check with your Pedego dealer to see if it will work. Some older bikes may need to upgrade their batteries. THE MOTOR This is the first time Pedego has used a Brose mid-drive on one of their bikes. They went with the latest and greatest, the Brose S motor. It’s similar to the previous Brose T motor, but Brose has refined it to make it lighter, 15 percent more powerful, more efficient and quieter with some replaced hardware, new circuitry and new programming. Internally, it’s driven with a belt, which means it’s quieter than a geared motor, and with the Gates carbon belt drive, you can barely hear it at all. The drivetrain is really clean and should be maintenance-free. Keep your pants away from that belt, though. If you get your pant leg stuck in it, it’s a bear to get it back out! We love the Brose for its natural feel. It doesn’t kick in hard; it’s a wonderfully subtle power addition that you only notice when it drops off for a second (unfortunately, almost a full second) when shifting. The big battery provides good range, even in the top of the three power settings. We made it from Santa Monica to the South Bay and back (a distance of 35 miles round trip) on a bit more than half the battery, using levels 2 and 3 the whole time. Range anxiety is not an issue with this bike. WHO IT’S MADE FOR This is a good-looking commuter bike that can be made beach cruiser-ish just by removing the fenders. The big battery offers long range for touring, and it has plenty of power to flatten any hill in your way. Riders who like an upright position, quiet ride and some interesting features to talk about will like this bike. THE RIDE Our first sunny day ride on the Conveyor started off with a fun ride around the neighborhood. We could hear birds singing, people’s conversations as we passed—everything. The ride is very smooth, the belt is a pretty amazing technology. Your pants will never get dirty from chain lube mixed with dirt (because the belt never needs lubrication), but you might want to use a clip or strap to keep your pant leg away from the belt. If it gets stuck, it’s very hard to get out. You may need to enlist a friend, as you’ll have to roll the bike backwards to wrest the fabric from the sprocket. Rotating the cranks backwards does nothing; they won’t engage in that direction. “If you like sneaking up on people, on the other hand, this bike is a good choice.” The stock saddle is really flat and really hard and didn’t fit us, so we’d recommend swapping it for one that does if that’s your experience. The frame comes only in one size, so if you can fit one, we highly recommend getting a suspension seatpost. It’s an expensive extra, but this bike is all aluminum, so the only thing saving your butt and your wrists from every bump in the road are the balloon-like 2.4-inch Super Moto-X tires, which still provide minimal damping of shocks from the road. Those tires are pretty good, providing ample grip on most surfaces, even wet pavement. The handlebars have a nice rise and a strong sweep, which wasn’t our favorite, but far better than the painful angle of traditional beach cruiser bars. The Marquardt control is one of our favorites. It’s a regular choice for Brose motors, and we love the robustness and some of the extra features it offers, especially the human power meter. SHIFT HAPPENS Internal shifting is a great thing. If you come up to a stoplight quickly, you can downshift without moving. The shifter is set up to always go one up or one down per press of the lever, so you can’t cycle through two or three gears in one press. And every time you shift while moving, the motor power will cut for almost a full second to save wear on the drivetrain, which can make hill-climbing more difficult. It’s easier to stay in one gear than to shift. We once made the mistake of going to the beach bike path on a summer weekend with the Pedego. Not only is the beach incredibly crowded, but pedestrians notoriously pay zero attention to cyclists. Normally, going slow down the path, cautiously passing pedestrians, we can rely on the ticking of a freewheel to be enough to notify people that we are passing so they at least stay in their own line. This bike is so silent, and we forgot to attach a bell, so whistling or saying, “On your left,” was our only line of defense. Even that didn’t help one guy meandering wildly as we passed him and his friend in their conversation, bumping his hand with the grip. We highly recommend a good bell, like the Spurcycle (our favorite), to announce your presence. Unless you like using your voice to that end. On the other hand, if you like sneaking up on people, this bike is a good choice. Built-in lighting is bright, and we liked it as a daytime running light as well. You can have it on, off or on automatic. THE VERDICT Pedego has pleasantly surprised us again with a bike that is such a deviation from the e-bikes we normally expect to see them launch. We loved the way the Brose motor provided such natural and quiet power, and so much of it. In conjunction with the belt drive and Alfine eight-speed rear hub. It’s remarkably quiet and smooth. Pedego backs up the bike with a two2-year limited warranty on the bike and the battery. It’s a good bike to look at, well-built, with cutting-edge technology and anti-theft features that put it on par with, or ahead of, its price. SPECS PEDEGO CONVEYOR Price: $4995 Motor: Brose S 36V, 250W mid-drive Battery: 36V, 13 Ah Charge time: 4–5 hours Top speed: 20 mph Range: 30-70 miles Drive: Gates CDX carbon belt/Shimano Alfine internal 8-speed hub Brakes: Tektro M285 hydraulic disc with 180mm rotors Controls: Marquardt Fork: Aluminum Frame: 6061 aluminum Tires: Schwalbe Super Moto-X 27.5×2.4” Weight: 54 lb. Color choices: Black, blue, brushed Sizes: 17” www.pedego.com THERE ARE SO MANY WAYS TO GET ELECTRIC BIKE ACTION In print, from the Apple newsstand, or on your Android device, from Google. Available from the Apple Newsstand for reading on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch. Subscribe Here For more subscription information contact (800) 767-0345 Got something on your mind? Let us know at hi-torque.com The post Bike Review: Pedego Conveyor appeared first on Electric Bike Action.
Our good friends at Woom Bikes and Buddy Pegs Media and spearheading an awesome weekend in Austin Texas. If you are anywhere close, you should definitely go. There is also a sweet contest. read below to find out the finer details. The Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend is a multi-day celebration of family bike riding that coincides with the legendary Austin Marathon. Bring your kiddos to enjoy family friendly group rides, woom bike demos, Buddy Pegs Bicycle Playdates (for children 6 and under), author readings, raffles, bicycle scavenger hunts, and more! Whether you are coming in for the Marathon and wanting to entertain your children while your loved one prepares for their run, or just looking for a fun way to connect as a family on bikes, our festival is for YOU! RESERVE YOUR SPOT FRIDAY 2/5/19 At The Palmer Events Center 10:30am – 12:30pm: Age specific family group rides along the Ann and Roy Butler Trail (exact times and routes TBD) Bike Scavenger Hunt 1-4pm: woom bike demos for children 2 – 10 years old Buddy Pegs Media fun and games, Bicycle Playdates and Bicycle Playground (kids 2-6 years old) Author readings and book signings Bike-centric arts and crafts SATURDAY 2/16/19 At The Palmer Events Center 10am – 5pm: woom bike demos (kids 2 – 10 years old) Buddy Pegs Media fun and games Bicycle Playdates and Bicycle Playground (kids 2-6 years old) Author readings and book signings Bicycle Scavenger Hunt Arts and crafts table 11:45am: 1st Annual Youth bicycle category in the Manzano Mile event 1 mile out and back ride from Riverside Drive Start/Finish Balance bike and pedal bike divisions SUNDAY FEBRUARY 17TH At The Austin Marathon Finish Line Festival (7th & Congress) Buddy Pegs Media Bicycle Playground (kids 2-6 years old) woom bike demos Bicycle games and prizes Christian Bezdeka and Marcus Ihlenfeld developed woom in Europe before Mathias Ihlenfeld (Marcus’ brother) launched the USA branch in Austin, TX. woom is a family business born from a love of bicycles and a desire to make children happy. What started as a search to create the perfect children’s bike developed into a goal: build bikes that inspire children and their parents. The Buddy Pegs Bicycle Playground was developed to give children 2-6 years old a safe place to develop skills, confidence, and a love of riding through life on two wheels. Experienced Buddy Pegs ride leaders will be on hand to guide paretns and children throughout the weekend. CRANK OUT THE MANZANO MILE Two Bicycle Divisions for kids! Saturday February 16th 11:45 Children on Pedal bikes (full mile) 11:55 Children on Balance Bikes (1/2 mile) The Manzano Mile is named for 2019 Austin Marathon Official Race Ambassador and 2012 Olympic silver medalist Leo Manzano. Leo is a highly decorated track star, four-time USATF National Champion, seven-time Team USA member, two-time Olympian, and the first Olympic medalist for the USA in the 1500m since 1968. The Manzano Mile embodies Leo ’s passion for reaching out to the community, specifically to local youth, through health and fitness programs. REGISTER HERE FUEL UP AT THE KODIAK CAKES PANCAKE FEED! Saturday 10am – 12pm At the Manzano Mile Start/Finish Area Our friends at Kodiak Cakes will be on hand to make sure you and your little one are fueled up for the Manzano Mile and a day of adventure together on two wheels! These are the best, most protein pancakes you’ll ever smother in maple syrup! SHARE YOUR LOVE OF BIKING & VISIT AUSTIN The best way to explore downtown Austin with your family is from the seat of a bike! The Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend is an amazing opportunity to meet other like-minded parents and watch your little ones develop the riding skills, self-confidence, and resilience they’ll carry with them for life. Click to Register CLICK TO REGISTER UPGRADE YOUR CHILD TO A VERY IMPORTANT PEDALER Each VIP package includes: Event T-shirt from Recover Brands (100% recycled) Special gifts from woom and Buddy Pegs Media Amazing coupons and promotional deals from our partners Priority admission to the Buddy Pegs Bicycle Playdates (optional) Priority start line “call-up” at the Manzano Mile Priority woom demo bikes Commemorative event poster $25/child GRAB YOUR VIP SPOT JOIN THE RIDE We would love to have your family join us at the 1st Annual Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend! Register for FREE or grab one of our limited VIP (very important pedalers) spots for that includes a limited edition event t-shirt, gifts from our supporting partners, priority spots in our Bicycle Playdates, and more! CLICK TO REGISTER GETTING THERE The Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend is a perfect way to explore downtown Austin, TX as a family. All events are conveniently located located next to the Austin Marathon Health & Wellness Expo Friday and Saturday, and Sunday’s Finish Line Festival. THE PALMER EVENT CENTER If you are going to drive, we strongly encourage carpooling as traffic gets quite busy all around downtown race weekend. To book convenient and affordable parking, we recommend using SpotHero, the nation’s leading parking reservation app. To reserve your parking spot today, visit the Austin Marathon Expo SpotHero Parking Page and book a spot with rates up to 50% off drive-up. New to SpotHero? Download the SpotHero iPhone | Android app There are lots of bicycle racks on site so avoid the parking fees and ride your bike! There are also two Austin B-Cycle stations around the Palmer Events Center available. Visit CapMetro.org for information and schedules on Metro Bus and Metro Rail. THE FINISH LINE FESTIVAL Look for the woom and Buddy Pegs Media tents at 7th St & Congress Ave where we’ll have a Bicycle Playground and demo bikes for children 2-6 years old. Parking in the downtown area within walking distance of the start and finish lines is plentiful. There are numerous free and paid parking garages and surface lots as well as free on-street parking downtown. On-street metered spots are free of charge on Sundays. To book convenient, affordable, and stress-free parking in advance, use SpotHero to reserve your parking spot today. Visit the Austin Marathon SpotHero Parking Page and book a spot with rates up to 50% off drive-up. The post The Raise Riders Family Bicycle Weekend appeared first on The Bike Dads.
The Instinct Powerplay will take you to the places you never thought possible. When it comes time to head out the door for that all-day ride into the alpine, you’ll be riding further and faster than ever before on what is our most versatile e-MTB yet. Taking our Powerplay™ line up to the next level, the Instinct Powerplay integrates our powerful Dyname™ 3.0 drive system on a 29” wheeled platform for fast rolling rides and long distances. Featuring the new iWoc TRIO remote, our RIDE-9™ adjustment system, tweaked suspension kinematics, and great small-bump sensitivity, the Instinct Powerplay is perfect for the big epic rides! Pricing & Availability The Powerplay is now available! Please head to your local Rocky Mountain dealer to see the bikes. Regional availability may vary. Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70: $7,999 CAD / $6,399 USD Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50: $6,599 CAD / $5,299 USD When we introduced the Altitude Powerplay it blew the doors off the mountain bike community as an aggressive, capable, and powerful e-MTB. It’s now available in an alloy frame so more people can experience the ride to go further and faster than ever before. We took the Altitude’s legendary handling and ride quality, integrated a powerful drive system and created the most capable e-MTB in the market. The Dyname™ 3.0 drive system was designed in parallel with the frame, delivering ultra-short chainstays, optimized suspension kinematics, super-low center of gravity, and class-leading torque. The result is an e-MTB that actually rides like a proper mountain bike—perfect for everything from self-shuttling all mountain trails, finding flow between the descents, and squeezing in power lunch rides. Pricing & Availability The Altitude Powerplay is now available! Please head to your local Rocky Mountain dealer to see the bikes. Regional availability may vary. Altitude Powerplay Alloy 70: $7,999 CAD / $6,399 USD Altitude Powerplay Alloy 50: $6,899 CAD / $5,499 USD Dyname™ 3.0 drive system Designed in Canada, in collaboration with Propulsion Powercycle, the Dyname™ 3.0 drive system is a sleek, lightweight, and powerful electric assist that pushes the boundaries of electric bikes. Its compact, low-mounted motor allows us to design electric mountain bikes to our suspension and handling standards—with proper geometry and ideal pivot placement. The system provides class-leading torque, instant power response, and super-fast charging. We developed our own drive system so we could maintain the geometry, handling, and ride characteristics that our bikes are known for. The other systems on the market today force frame designs to be compromised rather than seamlessly integrated like ours. Our battery is stored within the downtube of our frames and the drive system itself is nicely tucked above the bottom bracket at the base of the seat tube. Our drive system allows for an instant, natural power response that makes for an intuitive ride thanks to an in-line torque sensor. With this sensor, the power rolls on and rolls off smoothly resulting in greater bike control from the rider. This means no more spinning out on climbs, you have the ability to soft pedal technical sections or tight switchbacks, and an overall increased level of confidence as you approach and exit corners. • High efficiency, three-phase brushless motor provides class-leading torque • 48v battery voltage for fast-charging and heat management in high-torque scenarios • To prevent creaking and wear, pedaling forces are isolated from the drive system via a bottom bracket shell that is integral to the frame itself • Increased stiffness thanks to structural motor casing • Compact, low-profile motor design with reinforced motor casing and integrated motor-brace bashguard • Display-free with a low-profile remote for a pure ride experience • Bar-mounted remote displays assist level, battery level, and diagnostics; controls three assist levels and “walk” mode • Optional ebikemotion mobile app (iOS & Android) connects via Bluetooth and provides a wide range of system customization, reach estimates, ride tracking, and more • Available with a massive 632Wh lithium-ion battery (70 level) or 500Wh lithium-ion battery (50 level) • Minimal drag when exceeding the motor speed or when drive system is disengaged thanks to crankset clutch and elimination of traditional e-bike gearbox • Based on a third-generation electric drive system that’s been in development since 2010 • Strong regional dealer service support • Wear items (BB, drive sprocket) are shop-serviceable with common shop tools • Works with a standard Race Face bottom bracket and crankset • Charge fast, then charge hard: ultra-fast charge times of 1 hour 40 minutes (to 80%) with the 500Wh battery, or 2 hours (to 80%) with the 632Wh battery Instinct Powerplay Alloy 70 MODEL HIGHLIGHTS Dyname™ 3.0 drive system All-new iWoc TRIO remote Maxxis Rekon EXO 29×2.6 tires (27.5+ compatible) Fox 34 Float Performance E-Bike 140mm Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite rear shock Maxxis Rekon EXO Tubeless Ready 29×2.6 / Maxxis Rekon EXO Tubeless Ready 29×2.6 SRAM 12-speed drivetrain Race Face AR 30 rims Instinct Powerplay alloy 70, size Medium: 52.2lbs (23.6kg) IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS MODEL New model for 2019 Instinct Powerplay Alloy 50 MODEL HIGHLIGHTS Dyname™ 3.0 drive system All-new iWoc TRIO remote Maxxis Rekon EXO 29×2.6 tires (27.5+ compatible) Rockshox Reba RL 140mm Rockshox Deluxe Debonair RT Maxxis Rekon EXO Tubeless Ready 29×2.6 / Maxxis Rekon EXO Tubeless Ready 29×2.6 SRAM 12-speed drivetrain Sun Düroc SD37 Instinct Powerplay alloy 50, size Medium: 52.2lbs (23.6kg) IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS MODEL New model for 2019 Altitude Powerplay Alloy 70 MODEL HIGHLIGHTS Dyname™ 3.0 drive system All-new iWoc TRIO remote Fox 36 E-MTB Float EVOL Grip Performance 160mm Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Maxxis Minion DHF WT Maxx Terra 3C Tubeless Ready 27.5 x 2.5 / Maxxis Aggressor WT EXO Tubeless Ready 27.5 x 2.5 SRAM 12-speed drivetrain Race Face AR 35 rims Altitude Powerplay alloy 70, size Medium: 53.4lbs (24.2kg) IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS MODEL New model for 2019 FORM™ alloy Altitude Powerplay Alloy 50 MODEL HIGHLIGHTS Dyname™ 3.0 drive system All-new iWoc TRIO remote Rockshox Yari RC 160mm Rockshox Deluxe RT Maxxis Minion DHF WT Maxx Terra 3C Tubeless Ready 27.5 x 2.5 / Maxxis Aggressor WT EXO Tubeless Ready 27.5 x 2.5 SRAM 12-speed drivetrain Sun Düroc SD42 rims Altitude Powerplay alloy 50, size Medium: 53.4lbs (24.2kg) IMPROVEMENTS OVER PREVIOUS MODEL New model for 2019 FORM™ alloy Instinct Powerplay alloy and Altitude Powerplay alloy The Instinct and the Altitude share a lot of the same frame features, but are designed for different types of riding. The Instinct Powerplay alloy has 29″ wheels and is meant for incredibly efficient travel, while the Altitude Powerplay alloy has 27.5″ wheels making it perfect for aggressive riding. Next generation drive system The Dyname™ 3.0 drive system was designed from the ground up to allow true mountain bike performance, while providing class-leading torque, massive battery capacity, and an intuitive ride feel. iWoc TRIO The iWoc TRIO is a sleek, compact, 3-button remote that is intuitive and easy to use. Intuitive pedal assist An in-line torque sensor provides smooth, instant power response, making for an intuitive, natural ride with no learning curve. Get on and go. Charge fast, then charge hard The 48v system provides super short charge times, taking only two hours to reach 80% capacity of the available 632Wh lithium ion battery. Frame details • The RIDE-9™ adjustment system allows riders to quickly fine-tune their geometry and suspension with a pair of Allen keys. • Upper idler straightens the chainline for reduced drivetrain wear • Integral bottom bracket shell is part of the frame, not the Dyname 3.0 drive system—improving stiffness and preventing creaking or wear • Standard PF92 bottom bracket is shop serviceable and easily replaceable • Single-sided chainstay and seatstay pivots for a narrower rear triangle—reduces heel rub, even with Boost spacing • Enduro MAX cartridge bearing pivots with simplified hardware • Shock-eyelet bearings for small-bump sensitivity • Clean and tidy: oversized downtube ports for ease of cable routing, with full-length internal dropper post routing and internal brake routing in the front triangle • Lightweight bolt-on axle for reduced hardware complexity and extra security in e-MTB applications • Tapered ZS44 | ZS56 headset • Boost spacing • 1x specific
After initially choosing a toy pirate ship over his first bike, writer Stuart Kenny reminisces on the ’98 Christmas that planted the seed for his mountain biking passion Photo via Stuart Kenny “What do you think Stuart will get for Christmas? Is he big enough for a mountain bike yet?” So said my father to my older brother, on a video taken in Vancouver General Hospital on a classic one-tonne camcorder bought in the 1980s, two weeks before Santa was scheduled to stick whatever kids got for Christmas in 1992 (a Thunderbirds Tracy Island being the most hotly requested present, Google informs me) down chimneys across the world. “Is he big enough for a mountain bike yet?” It’s the first footage of me alive on the planet, that video, and as such I have the same expression as most babies who have been alive for 72 hours. You know that kind of grumpy, eyes-welded-shut, bundle-of-blankets look that could easily be mistaken for a New Year’s day hangover if you didn’t know it was on the face of a three-day old child? Yeah, that one. I guess with Whistler a one-hour drive from our home in Lion’s Bay, Canada at the time, the mountain bike question was a natural one, an easy joke, but a suitably foreshadowing one. Photo via Stuart Kenny We wouldn’t stay in Canada long, though, my Irish parents opting to trade their views of the eastern shores of the Howe Sound fjord network for the footballing prowess and deep-fried cuisine of bonnie Scotland. It was there, a few years after that initial prediction from my father that I would actually ride a bike for the first time – without stabilisers, like the cool kids. Fast forward to another Christmas day, 1998. Having recently turned six, I ran down into the living room, no doubt at some ungodly hour, to see what the big man in red had brought. There it was. A new bike. Laid against the sofa. Metallic dark blue, with fire font on the top tube and not a stabiliser in sight. This was the big leagues now. Naturally, I ran right past it to open with the Fisher-Price Pirate Ship my parents had also got me first. The cannon fired actual plastic cannonballs. It’s still my go-to when I’m asked about the best gift I ever received. *** Photo via Stuart Kenny Two night’s sleep later, and following on from Christmas Day, and the next 24 hours spent ignoring the bike to play with what I would still argue is the best toy, and indeed the best pirate ship, ever made – the Black Pearl gets stolen too much and The Flying Dutchman is just really scary – and it was time to learn how to ride a bicycle. This, my father quite correctly decided, would be a good laugh to get on video camera, but funnily enough, it’s one of the most vivid memories I have from that time in my childhood. “We watch it back on Boxing Day 2018, one day short of exactly 20 years later. There’s been a whole lot of bike riding since then” We went out to the little loop of road just outside our house, then set about learning in the traditional manner. Dad filmed. And we watch it back together on Boxing Day 2018, one day short of exactly 20 years later. There’s been a whole lot of bike riding since then. “You didn’t want to be seen to be moaning on camera,” laughed dad. “You can kind of see your face turning into a winge at one point, but I’d turn it off then and check you were alright.” Photo via Stuart Kenny What this largely lead to is a fairly hilarious “fade to black” on the footage right after each time I crash. And given it was my first time, crashes were in no short supply. Dad was a good cycling teacher, though. He certainly had the credentials, given he’d cycled the entire way across Canada in the 80s. Though mum still jokes that was largely because he was too tight to pay for the bus. I was geared out in full learner’s kit and 90s chic; kids Giro helmet in that weird shade of purple that only seems to have existed pre-2000, big puffy red jacket that confirms I was cooler as a six year old than I am now, old pair of trackies, bike. What else could you need? “Big puffy red jacket that confirms I was cooler as a six year old than I am now, old pair of trackies, bike. What else could you need?” It all went pretty much to plan from there. There were no disasters. There was lots of falling off though, of course. I started pretty unsurely, then got better and better, until eventually I could ride a bike. Stopping and getting off the thing was my biggest problem. I figured out pretty fast that it was easier to keep upright if you had momentum behind you, but that meant whizzing about the road pretty quickly in circles and loops, like the Steve Peat of six-year-old bicycle riders – before a kerb would appear or I would decide I wanted to stop, and just slow down, bit by bit, brake by brake, until I eventually ended up falling sideways, slowly but surely, like a cow not happy about getting tipped, but safe in the knowledge that there’s not much they can do to prevent it happening now. My future love of mountain biking could perhaps best be predicted from the fact that after about four attempts at riding a bike, I decided to try to ride towards my dad, take one hand off the handlebars and wave to the camera, instead completely losing my balance in the process and absolutely decking myself onto the floor. Anything for the edit clip, though, right? Photo via Stuart Kenny Of course, when I was asked the next day, back on the camcorder, on the safety of the old red couch in our living room, if I had crashed when I was learning to ride the new bike, I offered a convincing “no” in reply. You can hear dad giggle away behind the camera in 1998 on the television, and indeed, both of us laughing on the couch watching it back in 2018. All’s well that ends well. “Anything for the edit clip, though, right?” And if there’s one thing I still have in common with that six year old in terms of cycling, it’s definitely the fact that I still crash an awful lot, and I often still hope nobody saw it happen! It was on that same bike that I’d learn to ride on the roads, desperately try to wheelie, and discover the adrenaline and freedom that came with riding a bicycle as I raced down the hill at the top of our road without my hands on the handlebars. Totally, like, gnarly, dude. *** The day Stu busted his spleen in Slovenia and nearly died || Photo: Tristan Kennedy It wasn’t until I went to university that I really got into mountain biking, at the University of Stirling, set in the Dumyat Hills, at the western extremity of the Ochil Hills in central Scotland. I’d ride my hybrid pretty much everywhere, so it was only natural that one day, that took me deep into the hills beyond the university campus, on a weekend morning ride. Powering into the rolling hills, I decided, somewhat naively, to leave the tarmac go off track down a muddy trail and see how things went. Not that well, you’ll be completely surprised to know. It was extremely bumpy. I had no suspension. I was shaking about – to quote Alkaline Trio’s famous proclamation – like a dog shitting razorblades. But it was fun. I was exploring new places. Riding a bike in a completely different way. I ended up exploring for hours and and it got me eager to find out more about bikes, and in general, more about trail riding. “Ruptured spleens and near-death experiences in the dreamy greens of Slovenia” Before then, mountain biking had been sporadic trips into the hills, a handful of times a year on a bike not really suited for the task. Not long after this, came my first real mountain bike – a bright orange, retro Specialized Stumpjumper, which was later replaced by my first full-sus bike, a Giant Anthem, when my love of riding was confirmed as more than just a phase (alas, skydiving club and the campus radio society did not make it past the ‘phase’ period). There’s something about the mixture of exhilaration and meditative qualities in mountain biking that got me completely hooked. And from there, it’s so easy for it to become your life. You find the community online. You find the edits and the films. You watch the downhill world cup, get your favourites – hiya Sam Hill – and discover the magazines and the culture that surrounds it all. It’s incredibly cliche, but it, y’know, becomes a lifestyle and all. Pictured: Stu mountain biking, as an adult, in Cervinia There was no university club, but rides in Dumyat became more regular, and turned into extremely regular trips up the Pentland Hills when I got back to Edinburgh after university. The same freedom I’d felt growing up, flying down hills no-handed became even more than that – it became a real way to get away from tech and the strains of the modern world and to properly embrace nature, in such a full and fulfilling way, while still living in the city. Those rides became trips to Glentress and Fort William to ride, which grew into trips abroad to Meribel, ruptured spleens and near-death experiences in the dreamy greens of Slovenia, riding adventures to New Zealand and America to ride and write about riding and then eventually full circle, back to watching those original videos of my dad and miniature me, learning to ride that beautiful blue bike I was first given in 1998. Think back about your history on a bike, from the very start to the finish, if you ever hit a riding slump. It’s an easy reminder that it’s about an awful lot more than getting from A to B. You May Also Like The First Time I Went… | Skiing Theo and Jake, Mountain Bikers | Adventure-gram The post The First Time I Went… | Mountain Biking appeared first on Mpora.