Sorry about that picture; it's so big that it means we all have to scroll along to extract the full juicy content of each posting.
Hmmm... can anything be done about that?
Anyway, a bit more about the how it was back then. I just re-read my posting about the RSF, and realise I could have been more explicit...
The attitude amongst cyclists, and therefore the entire trade, all shops, magazines, clubs, everything cycling, was that riding off-road was, at best, a necessary evil. Even the RSF would wax lyrical about the experience of finding themselves somewhere remote, but if the ride experience was ever mentioned, it was to say how difficult or inconvenient it was.
The idea of seeking out and delighting in riding rough terrain was utterly alien to all the cyclists I met and talked to. You can imagine how alone that made me feel. It is true that, from time to time I would be joined by friends, but enjoable though this was, they were not cyclists, nor did they have suitable machines; it was a bit limiting to have friends along for the ride.
For several years I competed in Motor Cycle Observed Trials, and when not competing, I'd be off for highly illegal jaunts in the hills. Although these were some very memorable two-wheeled experiences; they were also not good for the image of motorcycling. In that densly populated area of the country, it's not easy avoid being seen. I could have crawed into a hole when I discovered that permission to use land for a kosher competitive event had been withdrawn because of illegal riding. I felt I'd let my club down (I didn't own up, by the way).
I'd always had in the back of my head the idea of riding a bicycle off-road; indeed it was the only machine I could ride until I could afford a motorbike ~ parents didn't buy their offspring motorbikes in those days, like they do now. And I took that part of the overall activity as seriously and the powered side, and thus thought at length about designs, components, geometry, weight bias etc,etc,etc. My dream was to be able to go off for a jaunt, be out all day, not make a lot of noise, not have the bike fall on top of me, as my motorbike occasionally would, having me trapped for quite a long time; and that sort of thing generally.
Anyway, I'd talk about this proclivity to my motorcycle chums, and, well it was like with the cyclists; it was utterly alien to them, the idea of being without a motor.
So, that's how it was then. Cycling as it is now was just totally inconceivable then ~ but I had my own fantasies about machines, the capabilities of those machines, and fantasies that it would be really popular.
I occasionally voiced these fantasies, which made me very unpopular.
Ah well, there are a few more very personal and rambling thoughts about the birth of the mountain bike scene in the UK.
Just one more ... I remember discussing with other MTBers once, after the movement had been going for about ten years (about 1993/4), we were saying that there will be youngsters taking up the sport now who would think it had always been like this.