Mountain Biking - Then and Now

I'm in denial that time has past. In my mind I'm just a year or two older than 24. Even though the logic side of my brain notes that the ages of my children make this impossible, I still feel like a young man. But nothing slaps you out of this delusion like a relic from the past - undeniable proof that you've changed. And so I present a photo of my wife and I mountain biking the Moab Slickrock trail for the first time - the year, 1990:

There's plenty to laugh at, so let's start with the clothing:

  • No helmets (what's a helmet?)
  • T-shirts (OK even today, but there are better alternatives)
  • Jeans (I'm sporting acid washed, no less!)
  • Pant leg clip (don't want any chain grease on those sweet jeans!)
  • Tennis shoes (actually OK for Slickrock, but still ...)
  • Sweatshirts tied around the waist (I call it urban yuppie)
  • Gloves (we got something right! Technically road gloves, but the only full-fingered gloves back there were purchased at the IFA)
  • Glasses (I look like the smartest guy on the trail)
OK, let's move on to the bikes:
  • Schwinn Mirada (both - we match, isn't that cute!)
  • 1.5" wide knobby tires (that would be great for cyclocross today)
  • Above-the-bar thumb shifters (friction on the front, indexed on the rear)
  • 8 speed (who needs more gears?)
  • No suspension front or rear (well, you're rear, legs and arms were the suspension)
  • Reflectors (check)
  • Cantilever brakes (if you have forearms like Popeye, you'll stop, but not if the rim is wet)
  • Toe clips (was there anything else back then?)
  • One water bottle each (it's not like it gets hot in Moab)
That was then, this is now:

Dressed up and ready to roll on our full suspension bikes. (OK, full suspension is one tiny sign I'm getting older and not into taking a hardtail beating anymore.)

I look at that old photo and cringe. But you know what? Even with that primitive gear we had a great time riding. And we still do today, but in bit more style and comfort. :-)

Update: Todd posted his own "way back" photo and recollections.


Eat Sleep MTB said...

So what year are you going to laugh at your current photo? I am laughing at your blue shorts right now.

KanyonKris said...

Hey, I like those shorts! They're an expression of the wild part of me lurking just below the surface (about 10 miles down ;-) Don't make me come over to your blog and comment!

UtRider said...

Yeah, I've been working on Kris to ditch the baggies but so far he's resisted. Old farts are often stubborn you know... :)

Eat Sleep MTB said...

Sorry to be nitpicky, but there is also a typo. You put 1995, instead of 1985.

KanyonKris said...

Where's the love?

utrider: Except for XC racing, MTBers wear baggies - give it up, roadie. ;-)

eat sleep MTB: 1985 - was that a backhanded dig? Anyway, my wife remembered the date (1990) and the post has been updated.

goat said...

If those bikes are from 1990 or earlier, I don't think you'd be running an eight-speed hub. Probably seven, maybe six.