Bygone Biking


In the bygone days of biking my recollection is that there were only two types of bikes: Bikes and 10-Speeds.  Maybe I was too young or stupid to know, but in my world there really wasn’t such a thing as road bike, city bike, trail bike, mountain bike, etc. bikes; there were just bikes.  Road, city, trail, mountain, etc. were places you rode your bike.  If you had a bike you rode it where you rode it and if you had a 10-speed, you rode it where you rode it.  Then in the early 80’s along came these newfangled Mountain Bikes…and I didn’t even consider them because they were too dang expensive.

I rode various bikes that were modified to be mountainish, but I purchased my first real mountain bike, a Specialized Hardrock, from a bike shop in Bellevue, WA. Might have been Gregg’s Greenlake Cycle.   I can picture the store up behind the Ernst Hardware, but can’t recall the name.   I bought the Hardrock because it is was the only “real mountain bike” that I could afford.

In the bygone days of mountain biking there were not mountain bike trails, hiking trails, horse trails, dirt bike trails; there were trails.  Mountain biking, hiking, horse riding, etc. were what you did on the trails.  The trails were trails and all the trails were multi-use which meant sharing, and coasting through motorcycle ruts so deep that you couldn’t pedal.  It also meant that in the rainy NW some of the mud was green mud left by horses and there’s nothing like having new knobby tires flinging that stuff up in your face on a fast downhill.

I noticed that from the mid 80’s through the early 90’s things changed substantially with respect to where we went mountain biking.  Planning went from “hey do you think this is rideable, do you think we can make it from here to there” to “hey, is this trail still open for bikes, or have they put signs up there or can we still play dumb”

In the bygone days of biking you would have been able to ride up Silver Creek trail and on towards Silver Lake on the Poodle Dog Pass trail.  You would have been able to ride miles and miles of single track in the Redmond Watershed, or on Grand Ridge outside Issaquah, you would have ridden to the base of the haystack on Mt. Si, or ridden to and from the top of Tiger Mtn. (wish I had pictures of that).   Those trails don’t exist any longer for bikes because they are either closed to bikes or improved into trails that are no longer fun to ride.  But more trails have emerged as we really had to start looking hard for places to ride and as mountain bikes evolved many unrideable trails became rideable.   I do remember even how crude my first pair of Scott Unishocks were, but even they opened up a couple of particularly rocky trails/abandoned creek beds to my then modified Specialized Hardrock.

More to come.