Slipped under the radar this. Here's my entry. It is taken in part from the thread where I discussed my replica first ever MTB.
Mine is a modest story. It spans 20 years and the desire to re-live some special days in 1991.
So, cast your minds back to spring 1991, I was at university at Lancaster (not far from the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales) and got to know some guys who were into mountain biking. I had a look at their bikes - they looked really cool - especially the neon pink one (this is 1991, remember…). What was it?
It turned out underneath the respray to be a 1989 Diamondback Topanga. It had some unusual features - Campagnolo Bullet Shifters, Centaur Rear and front mechs. A 50 tooth chain ring on the front . Dia-Compe X-1 canti brakes (anybody ever seen another set?).
Well it wasn't very long before I pestered him to sell it to me and £100 later it was mine. My first ever MTB. We went up to the Lakes most weekends and rode it into the ground – we must have done nearly every route in the Lakes, but my first ride that summer remained the most special – Farleton Fell. Dressed in my cut down jeans and t-shirt, no helmet or gloves and trainers I remember having to dismount climbing up the hill out of the pig farm thinking, I’ll never get up here without stopping! I pushed it up and continued the ride.
I added some modifications to the bike over time - Deore SPDs (£45 at the time ), a Girvin Flex Stem (nice neon colour clash!), Flite saddle etc. Along with buying some appropriate clothing!
Then I moved abroad for a year and it sat in the garage untouched. When I returned I moved onto another bike.
So, wind forward 20 or so years and I'm now trying to relive my youth and I think, well why not try to recreate that bike that got me into the sport. I even still had some of the original parts - the handlebars, saddle, SPDs, canti brakes. That was a start. So then to find the rest. Inevitably I had to make some compromises. It's not a 1989 Topanga frame but a year or two more recent. It's not a Campagnolo Centaur rear mech (very rare these days). I probably didn't have a Pace ring at the time. But apart from that I am there or thereabouts.
So the bike was recreated. Now for the ride. Where shall I go on it? Well, there was only one choice surely – Farleton Fell. It was all planned, the weekend before my birthday 2010, I went up with a friend. We thought it’d be a good idea to do a night ride the evening before the main event.
We had nearly finished it and were descending the last stretch of road when out from the hedge shot a small fox which ran straight under my front wheel before I had the chance to avoid it.
Over the bars.
I landed on my shoulder and skid upside down along the road.
Am I alive? Yes. Good.
Am I injured? Yes. Not good.
I sit up winded and check myself over. Some nasty cuts and abrasions all down my side. My shirt and shorts are torn to shreds. And my ribs seriously hurt. My friend has caught up by now and checks me over – off to the hospital is the decision made. I get back on the bike and freewheel the last couple of miles to the car. Lancaster Infirmary at 2am. Broken ribs confirmed.
Get driven home back to Derby. End of dream.
For the time being.
Many sleepless nights and painful days later it’s now mid-summer and I still have yet to re-create my first ever ride. So, I book a date and some friends and at the end of July I made the trip once again to Farleton Fell where I finally rode the hill that defeated me. I must have loved that summer to have gone to these lengths to recreate it!
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"Going that fast, I'm sucking foxes out of hedges!"
"I washed it recently. I think it was in 2005..."