When I was growing up as a kid I wasn’t really interested in any sports like most of my peers were.  Playing rugby and football just didn’t interest me and one of my two older brothers was exactly the same.  Having saved up his wages from his weekend job for months and months he suddenly turned up one day with a brand new mountain bike; a Marin Bear Valley to be precise.  As the sport was still in its infancy in the UK it was the first mountain bike that I had ever seen and sparked a love for mountain bikes within my family that still holds strong two decades later.

Get to get me one of those

As soon as I saw my brother’s new bike I knew that I had to get one for myself.  I had only just turned 13 at the time and so hadn’t really been old enough to have a weekend job.  I knew that my best chance of getting one of those amazing bikes was to hang on until Christmas, which was still seven months away.  So I started asking my parents right then if I could get one from Santa.  However, although my parents have always worked hard, they have never been the richest and with three sons and a daughter money was always tight.  The fact that my other brother had decided that he also wanted one meant that my parents were left trying to get together enough money to buy two mountain bikes at the same time.

A working man

Both my brother and I were told that if we got ourselves a bit of a job and tried to save some money towards it then my parents would see what they could do.  So I started doing a paper round and my brother Richard who is two years my senior got job on a market stall and we both started saving like crazy.   Richard was earning a bit more than me and so when Christmas time came around he had almost twice as much saved up.  I can’t remember the exact figures, but I remember thinking that there was no way that I had saved enough to get my bike.  As Christmas approached we still had no idea whether we were getting our mountain bikes and our parents were pretty noncommittal.

D-day arrives

I can still feel the anticipation of going downstairs on Christmas day, having woken up about twenty times during the night, wondering if I’d have a new bike in the morning.  As we walked into the front room we were disappointed to see a pile of presents each, but no bikes.  Our parents were looking downbeat and told us to come into the kitchen so they could talk to us both as our other brother and sister set about opening up their presents.  We walked in expecting to get an explanation of why they couldn’t afford to buy us what we wanted, only to find two brand-spanking new Kona mountain bikes propped against the work cupboards.  It was and still is the best present I have ever received.  My brothers extra money had gotten him a Lavadome, which was the next model up from my Fire Mountain, but I didn’t care.

A new passion

We spent all day riding up and down the street in the freezing cold and much of the school holidays exploring the local woods and bridleways.  All three of us brothers were hooked on mountain biking and had found a new love this has endured to this day.  We still make time to get out on our bikes together when we can and my eldest brother has now introduced his firstborn son to the sport.  I just can’t wait until my little baby boy is old enough for me to buy him his first mountain bike.


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  1. Thaddeus Jones says:

    Good post – your family sounds just like mine! :S


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