I've really always been interested in bikes and I guess it really started
as a young kid hanging about with teenagers during the first BMX boom. I did
up the recycled iron gate BMX that I had, by painting it white, putting on some
Redline stickers (heh, I was only about 9), putting on red pads, red tyres and
some white mags.
As BMX died, I got a racer, which I also modified and upgraded, before buying
my first mountain bike in 1991: an Alpinestars Cro-Mega DX. Generally pretty
crap, with horrible raised chain-stays, it saw a host of modifications and upgrades
as I really started getting in to riding off-road and racing at the Penshurst
Off Road Course (PORC) near my house. Unfortunately, my rather bulky frame didn't
suit itself to XC racing, so when they started to run DH races in about '93,
I decided to give it a go. It suited my style, and from there I diverted to
flat pedals, low seats and no lycra. About that time, I traded up to a GT RTS-2,
one of the first generation of dual suspension bikes, and generally jumped it
and threw it down hills as fast as I could.
In about '93, I bought my first BMX - a second hand Dyno VFR, which I initially
bought to improve my handling skills. A year or so later, I flogged that on
and then had a Haro Freestyler, which I managed to crumple the downtube on,
and then a Haro Master that I bent the rear triangle on. It was the start of
my bike-wrecking career :)
In '95 I started DH racing throughout the country. I had my moments, a 6th
at a national competition at Catterick and a couple of top 5 finishes in the
Southern Area Mountain bike series. However, failing to get sponsorship, I had
to give up as the cost of competing was too much for a poor student. I concentrated
on just mucking around and just enjoying riding. Unfortunately, 360's and the
GT didn't go well together and I broke it near the head tube and near the bottom
bracket. GT were so impressed (ahem) that they gave me a new one. I immediately
traded it for a Kona Muni Mula. Unfortunately, the original incarnations weren't
that strong either, and I broke that near the head tube too. Kona replaced it
with the following year's model, which I'm still using to this day (despite
riding it off a cliff). However, by this stage, I was
getting fed up with bikes breaking on me, and was really getting in to the resurgent
In '97 I made a trip to California, and amongst other things, visited Sheep
Hills and rode with a load of the riders that I'd seen on videos; Ryan Brennan,
Marvin Lotterie, Shaun Butler and Brian Foster. On that trip I decided to buy
myself a BMX that would last and plumped for a Standard STA (Stronger Than All).
Despite most of the rest of the equipment failing, I'm still using the STA today.
After that, the mountain bike didn't really see much action apart from the
odd jaunt out at uni with my mates. BMX was where it was at, and I spent a lot
of time riding with George French (owner of G-Sport BMX) and his friends, hitting
trails and street in Yorkshire.
After uni ('98-'99), I worked for about eight months in Grimsby, a horrible
town in the North East of England, with one redeeming feature - a great little
park called Krem (unfortunately, now closed). I rode there pretty much every
single day it was open, after work and at the weekends and actually got pretty
It wasn't to last though, and in '99 I moved to Luxembourg. With my bike still
in England and a workload of 60+ hours a week, I didn't ride anything for over
a year and a half. Eventually, I got the BMX out in April '01 and began to hit
local parks and street. Not a huge scene here at all, and as far as I can work
out, I'm the only one who rides BMX in the whole country. However, I'm still
riding regularly, both in Luxembourg and Belgium.
At the start of '02, I put my Kona back together with a mish-mash of parts
begged, stolen, borrowed and bought off my emminently more successful brother.
A good move. With huge steep hillsides all around my flat, the riding is awesome.