I invented the mountain bike

After listening for years to a bunch of wannabees, I think itís time to come out of the closet. I hope this revelation is not too shocking for anyone.

The mountain bike wasnít invented by a bunch of long-haired yahoos on Mount Tamoopaloose, or something like that, in northern California. It was invented in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. By me.

True, I didnít build the first mountain bike, but I was pedaling my trusty Western Flyer up and down the ravines of the Athens of Arkansas several years before several famed bicyclists were bombing down Mount Tamyloosest, or whatever, on ancient bikes. I wouldnít even be a long-haired yahoo for a few more years.

At the time, I wasnít so excited about the big-wheeled bicycle, because those little-wheeled precursers of the BMX bike were all the rage. You know, a 'nana bike: the ones with those long seats and short fenders. I soon learned the bigger bike had a faster top end and handled well on twisty trails, so I was a happy camper.

A turn to the left forever sealed my fate as the father of the mountain bike. (No, I didnít vote for George McGovern; I was too young to vote.)

The first day I rode those trails that would later make me famous will never be forgotten. I had just been riding down Walnut Street when I became curious about that old dirt road off to the left.

Like wow! A small collection of tombstones. Tiny creeks and log bridges. A seemingly endless series of wilderness trails! It was a heady experience for a 10-year-old. I was in Shangrila, or at least rural Arkadelphia.

I had somewhat of a start when I came back upon Walnut Street. Somewhat disoriented, I thought for a few seconds that I had come out on Highway 26, west of town. I wasnít a mite bewildered Ė I knew I was west of town Ė but thought I had a long ride home. Suddenly I realized I was back at Walnut Street and wasnít so far from home at all!

This secret was too good to keep. I soon got my friend Dean to ride the trails, but that dirt singletrack didnít seem to capture his imagination like it grabbed mine.

Are these heretofore undisclosed facts too shocking for you? Well, I know those former long-hairs must have sparked an international phenomenon. As for me, Iím content to know that Iím the true inventer of the mountain bike. (Of course, there might have been others who rode up and down dirt hills even before I did, but one thingís for sure Ė we preceded that bunch of daredevil downhillers on Mount Tamylooser, or whatever.)

At any rate, Iím certain I invented the ravine bike, if not the mountain bike.

PLEASE NOTE: This is strictly intended as a humorous column. I wrote it for my bicycle club newsletter after reading an article about the many people who claim to be the "father of the mountain bike." I am certain there are many others who enjoyed riding their bikes on trails many years ago, just as I did!

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