When I was a kid my parents bought me a few bikes over the years. At 17 I went to university on a military officer training program scholarship I got paid to study which meant I had some $$$ to buy my own stuff for the first time. The first bike I purchased was a Fiore mountain bike that was bright red and pretty mediocre, but it got me around town just fine and gave me a taste of the trails around Kingston, Ontario where I was studying. I lent it to a friend who crashed it into a car wrecking the front wheel and fork. I used the money he gave me to buy a eye-searing orange entry level Cycle Tech mountain bike. I was more into trail riding at this point so the bike saw a lot of abuse and like most entry level bikes didn’t hold up as well as you wanted them to. After a year of use I sold it to a friend and bought the blue Cycle Tech XTC shown in the photo above.
That bike was well equipped for the time. Not that I can recall what the parts were, but it seems to me it would be the equivalent to a full Shimano XT setup today. High quality and functional without being as expensive or as blinged out as XTR. For the last two years or university that bike was my mountain bike in the summer and my daily transport in the winter when my motorcycle was in storage. I rode to and from school everyday in 4th year in the snow/rain/sleet of winter so I could see my GF at night and attend classes in the day. Back then we didn’t know that canti brakes didn’t work in the winter and we didn’t realize we needed special tires and IGHs to commute in horrible conditions. I was too broke after buying this bike to do much more than simply ride it and get on with things. Interestingly I don’t recall having any problems beyond my GF’s roommates getting annoyed by the mess the melting snow left in their hallway!
After graduation I was sent out to Chilliwack BC [45mins east of Vancouver] for a couple years to finish my training. There was great mountain biking in BC and I started to get interested in bike touring since the BC rainforest is so much fun to explore. I was getting paid a bit more so I invested in racks/panniers and a tent then I hit the road. My touring adventures were all pretty modest, but I had fun and it has been an interest that has stuck with me all these years.
After BC I was sent back to Kingston for 2 more years and would commute to work most days year round on this bike. I really enjoyed my winter commutes because I was one of the few bikers out on the roads and it felt kind of epic! I continued to mountain bike in the summer and loved my trusty blue Cycle Tech. It amazes me that given the abuse it was receiving I never had any serious problems with it. I didn’t do my own maintenance so I would generally take it by a LBS in the spring and get stuff replaced/tuned up before trying to break it for the next year! That bike taught me that buying quality upfront wasn’t necessarily as expensive in the long run as buying a cheap bike and having to continually fix stuff.
Eventually I was sent to Alberta by the army and my XTC came with me of course. I had the Rocky Mountains to play in and was introduced to a new scale of mountain bike trails. Sadly my XTC was stolen during this time…=-( But, I was insured and was stoked to find out my policy allowed me to get a brand new equivalent bike. So I ended up riding a Cannondale Killer-V shown below. I was starting to make some decent $$$ by this point and was single with no dependants so I added a suspension fork to the rigid Killer-V, then v-brakes and new tires. I moved to Calgary and this bike was my only bike for a long time. I was really into mountain biking for the first few years of living in Alberta. Eventually I got a full suspension Cannondale MTB and the rest is history…
Although my CycleTech XTC wasn’t my first bike or the nicest bike I ever owned it was my trusted ride during an important phase of my life where I might have given up cycling and embraced the slothful car-centric life most people do when they become an adult. That XTC was such a great bike that it kept me rolling through my young adult years until I got to the point where I was wise enough to appreciate that biking was more than just a fun thing to do – it would end up being a key factor in keeping me healthy all my life…=-)
I guess it’s appropriate that I’ll end this post and head out on my current mountain bike to ride the trails at Hartland Mountain Bike Park!