The Mountain Bike Chronicles
Who is This Guy!
by Flyin Al Gidden
Roll back the clock to 1988, when I got my first
Known then, and now, as the 'beast' my first
mountain bike had many miles put on it.
For almost 4 years I rode the beast regularly, almost always
for fun, but I never went beyond that.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted to hammer on that mountain bike but I
never thought I could do it.
Worse, I figured that my bike
couldn't handle any real
speed or serious singletrack.
I was fortunate enough to be able to road-race a motorcycle
a few times while all this biking was going on, and this took
good care of my need for adrenaline. It never dawned on me
how fast the motorcycle would go compared to how fast the mountain
bike would go, but later I would have this realization and change
About 1993 I was starting to have problems with the beast. I would
generally go no more than about 2 rides before a component would fail.
I was starting to doubt I could ever get an adrenaline high out of
As time progressed, my understanding of how the bike worked became
better, and so did my skills. I tried to ride every chance I got. Even
if it was hopping a 2X4 in the street for 15 minutes.
Eventually the equipment failures lessened and things started
to get more fun for the amount of time I spent riding.
In 1994 my daughter was born. The motorcycle became a prisoner
of my garage and my mountain bike paint started to fade even more
from the amount of time I spent on it. Going 130mph was not going to
This is when it dawned on me that 130 on the motorcycle was scary,
but I knew how to handle it. On the other hand, 30 on the mountain
bike was about as fast as I ever went (downhill) and it scared the
stuffing out of me.
I started to get these wierd thoughts of modifying my mountain bike,
perhaps even going to a front suspension... it soon got out of hand
and I bought a second bike in 1995 - full suspension.
Since my bike and my mind were relatively stock, I decided to take
notes of all the changes and work I did to the beast.
This is where the mountain bike chronicles comes in.
One of the biggest problems with handling a mountain bike is confidence.
So many people think that the bike makes the ride, but this really
is not true. The driver
makes the bike do what it does.
You will want to learn better control. In some cases, components can help, but in most cases,
you will get the best results from practice.
Practice? Practice what?
Practice riding. Practice reacting. Practice anything you can. It will
help your confidence and your skills, and your rides will be faster,
safer, and less effort.
The mountain bike chronicles are my experiences and how they helped
(or hindered) my ability to learn things. I am hoping that if you read
all the information in an article, and try the examples you will see that knowing
how the bike works can go a long way to taking you on faster rides.
Don't want to go faster? No problem. You don't ride on flat surfaces
all the time. What about choosing your gears? Saddle sore? Thinking
of getting SPD pedals? Can't bunnyhop? Don't think you need to?
There is more in the mountain bike chronicles than a bunch of tips
for racers or people with $3000 bikes.
You are also invited to send me any questions you have about mountain
biking. I do not profess to be an expert, but I will take the time to
research any information you ask. If I can find no information, or
you want a point of view, you will get my point of view and why.
If you have already started a career in mountain bike racing, I probably
cannot tell you anything you do not already know.
You can contact me at: email@example.com anytime.
Flyin Al Gidden
Got a question for Flyin' Al?
If you have any fishing or mountain biking questions for Flyin' Al,
you can send an email to: