I’ve been riding mountain bikes since I was 18 way back in 1990, my first bike was a Saracen Trekker. Completely primitive by todays standards, it had a 7spd Deore II groupset, U Brakes, stem a mile long and little grip from the tyres. Still it served my well, especially when I was at polytechnic in Yorkshire and had the Pennines on my doorstep. It even made it up to the top of Helvellyn, a mountain in the Lake District followed by a decidedly sketchy descent.
I grew up in the county of Suffolk in England, a region famed for being almost the flattest place on Earth. I often heard – “There aren’t any mountains”, which generally sucked. This is the view from the villiage I lived in, you can practically see the curveture of the Earth. I wanted to live somewhere mountainous with great options for riding again.
In 2005 I moved to New Zealand, and I’m blessed with so many beautiful places to go riding both locally and around the country. This is where I live now.
About 18 months ago I had a really stupid crash which resulted in my left wrist getting slammed into the ground resulting in an (according to the Surgeon) extremely bad break.
Two surgeries later, I’ve recovered a decent amount of movement and strength in the joint, but there’s still some way to go. For a long time I’ve had a mental block about getting back on a bike again. I kept imagining a repeat situation where any crash ends up with me breaking something again. But I still wanted to keep riding.
I came to understand that part of this mental block came from losing confidence in my bike. I’d been riding a Giant Trance for a while – a beautiful bike to ride, but I’d had a few sketchy moments on it over the years.
So I decided to go for it: I’m 45, if I’m going to have a midlife crisis then I might as well go for it. No way I’m going to buy a road bike and go for coffee on Saturday morning. where I live because the drivers are nuts, so riding on the road is a big no.
It’s also cheaper than a Ferrari.
I sold my Trance and bought a Santa Cruz Nomad instead. I wanted a bike that would mask the limits of my abilities and could handle anything I’ll throw at it. I’m motivated to ride more, train properly and get fit again. I’m looking forward to riding in locations such as Queenstown and Rotorua.