I first got into mountain biking when I lived in the south of England at the age of 17. I was really lucky to live in a house that literally allowed me out of my garden and onto national forestry commission land. It was the ideal play ground for a beginner with lots of single track that had been grooved out of the hills from the race series that were often held there. My bike was a bulking heavy beast of a bike costing little more than two hundred pounds. I loved it all the same as it gave me so much freedom from home life. I even started upgrading parts like brakes and the saddle to improve it. I started using clipless pedals for the first time within a year of owning it, (some lovely red Ritchey logics) and I've never looked back from clipless pedals since. Also about this time I took part in my first race. It was a disaster, I abandoned after getting my arse truly kicked in the first lap. It was a hard moment and I was deep down gutted, but I wanted to do it again, and again. It's an obsession I've always had, I want to race, to do well, I dreamt of winning so many times but have never got there and I know I never will. I still love taking part in races, but my outcomes are realistic. Near the back will do just fine!
One of the main things I'm loving right now is riding my bike singlespeed and enjoying the exra challenge it brings as well as a simplicity to my riding that is a breath of fresh air. I am now developing a group called North East Single Speed (NESS) with the aim of getting like minded riders together for rides, discussion and races.