Getting To Know UK Mountain Biking - Quick History

The history of UK mountain biking doesn't go back very far, to about 1985. It's only a decade ago but my memories of those early years are already fuzzy ... I'm on the trail of a man who knows, but suffice it to say the bikes were weird, the clothes appalling and the number of people involved few. The first "Nationals" were held in 1987 in Telford, the first National Series in 1988 and as for the first race I seem to remember there being some arguement ... but it could have been the Reeth Rockhop in Yorkshire.

The bikes were heavy (30lbs plus), laid back in angles and had handlebars as wide as possible. Early makes were Ridgeback, Overburys and the coolest of cool Fisher. If you owned a Fisher Pro Caliber or Hoo Koo E Koo I think you'd probably made it.

Early stars of the race scene were Paul Hinton, Mike Newton and Vince Edwards but everything went into overdrive when David Baker and Tim Gould came along and thrashed everyone. The Peugeot machine (or should I say Chas Roberts and Ritchey?) dragged UK racing very fast onto the world scene. They are still there doing their stuff. In 1987, 1988 and 1989 there were two World Championships: one in Europe and one in the USA until finally in 1990 it all went official with the first UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Worlds at Purgatory in Colorado. Gouldie won a bronze, as did Jake Elliot in the Junior XC and a silver for Dave Hemming in the Junior downhill. Our most successful Worlds ever!

That's enough of that ... someone write a book for heavens sake. If you want more I'll collar the man that knows.

In the meantime I recently came across a fascinating record of the development of the mountain bike, written by one of the pioneers Joe Breeze. It's well worth a read. It makes you want to go out and invent the sport all over again... just for the hell of it.

History of Mountain Biking