Your point about shop groms made me realize how important that was to my life long infatuation with cycling. I worked at a bike shop when I was 16 and while I started with flat repairs and box builds, I ended up learning how to build a bike from the frame up as well as my first few sets of wheels. Those skills led to a shop job throughout college which allowed me to afford mountain bikes on a very limited budget, something that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.
My parents met as Taiwanese grad students at Penn State and I was born there in 1970. I fell in love with bikes as soon as I started riding around 4 years old. When I was a kid I wanted to race BMX more than anything, but my parents dismissed that idea as expensive and frivolous - academics and piano were where I should be focused. Geography also plays a large role in getting people into mountain biking, far more so than road riding. Growing up in the DC area, it wasn’t until I went to Virginia Tech in the Appalachians that I discovered MTB. That led to moving to Colorado after college where I’ve been since.
For most of my CO cycling life, I am the diversity in the group, although aside from “white”, I’m very much in the straight, able-bodied vein of the rest of my cycling peers. Compared to Vancouver, where I used to travel quite frequently for work, CO is not very diverse as a population which to me explains a lot of the lack of diversity in my riding groups.
I’d be interested to learn from this group if you felt your parents (and hence culture) played a large role in getting you into cycling. Ironically, I’ve tried getting my own kids into cycling and it just didn’t take.
Thanks for bringing this up Sanesh and sharing your experiences. It was very refreshing and validating to read.
Turned 50 in 2020 and got my first “modern” geo MTB as well. Started riding MTB in 1989 and thought I had it all figured out until I suddenly ended up on the ground several times in the first few months of the new bike wondering WTF just happened?!? Usually on the ridiculously easy parts of trail too. I’ve been actively re-evaluating my bike position and how I ride and am psyched to keep learning, as I’ve also had some amazing experiences on my new bike as well - riding steeper tech and bigger drops than ever before. Just ordered a set of cones to practice my flat corners after reading your article - new tricks for this old dog. Thanks for a really great site and looking forward to 2021!