Mountain biking has always been about getting back into the wild, and if done correctly, about getting the wild back into oneself…
I really like bikes.
When I was five years old, I fell in love with a beat up rust-and-yellow mini-bicycle at my babysitter’s house that I taught myself to ride. It was my very first taste of owning something intangible, my first lesson in ability and confidence and faith-in-myself. I couldn’t have known it at the time but I was touching a common thread that would tie all the subsequent points of my life together. 30 years later I look back and see the paths I took; my great adventures, my major life decisions and my dearest friends have been made riding bicycles. I started out on that bike making wobbly circles in my babysitter’s front yard and it has taken me to some of the greatest mountainbike destinations on the planet. More importantly it brought me to the edges of myself; the fringes of ability, the limits of endurance, the vast wilderness of my mind emptied of all the noise of modern living and focused on the singularity of the immediate intense present.
My Mountain Bike Life has been a string of bikes and bike people and trips and races and rides and getting lost and finding myself and chasing the thrill of the first moment on that rusty bike.
I live in Colorado, USA. I moved here based on a sudden gust of Manifest Destiny and stayed for a girl. I currently have a number of bikes but mostly I ride a custom Independent Fabrication Steel Deluxe SS 29er.
Also, I have an odd affinity for Columbia cruisers, two-speed kickback hubs, wool anything and enjoy the taste of blue loctite and Phil Wood Waterproof Grease. I tend to do the wrenching on my bikes myself. Not out of innate technical ability but out of pride, sometimes with expensive results. At a very young age my father taught me the art of Apocalypse Mechanics, which put another way means that if the only tool you have is a hammer, all your problems tend to look like nails. This works well when truing a bent rim against a tree in the middle of nowhere to make it back to civilization, not so well when rebuilding your fork the night before a big trip. I believe in bikes as an art form: They should be beautiful and ride beautifully. I believe that longer rides make better stories, that the word “epic” has been too overused to be usable in our lexicon, that wheels of any size are good, that comfort foods are the best power foods, and that like butter and bacon, bicycles make everything better.
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Chad Christian rides and writes from a safe distance outside of Boulder, CO.