Photo by Skye Schillhammer.
I have been riding bicycles for well over half my life. I have explored many disciplines of cycling over the years, downhill, fixies, BMX, trials... the list goes on, but dirt jumps have captured my attention with a relentless grasp for the last 5 years.
The first time I convinced myself to hit my first line of doubles was a true turning point in my life. The physical act of riding the line was irrelevant. But the confidence that comes from overcoming your own mind and doing something that you had previously convinced yourself that you could not do–that will last a lifetime. Like many sports, once you achieve the basic physical skills, it quickly becomes a mental game that can torture or reward you, depending on your outlook. Attitude truly is everything, in sport or daily life.
Anyone that rides bicycles, snowboards, scooters, motorcycles–anything that is inherently dangerous–they will all have their own reasons as to why they ride, why they regularly put themselves in seemingly unnecessary danger. I can honestly say that the experience of riding jumps and the extensive mental benefits I have received from it absolutely outweigh any negative side effects that may arise.
I don't want to be "the best." I'm not into competition. I ride bicycles for the personal rewards that come with it. I ride because I'm 20 years in and it still makes me smile every time I step onto the pedals or hear a hub clicking. I have been doing it for so long that it's what I feel the most comfortable doing. I have found no valid reasons to stop riding, and a thousand valid reasons not to. Bicycles have shown me a way of life that fosters personal growth and mastery, and which provides more satisfaction and good vibes than any other avenue I have explored.
We have a strong bike scene here in Spokane, WA. I have met many like-minded individuals, my age or older, that I believe have clearly also found that there is more to riding bicycles than turning circles. We watch some of our friends move on to the "next chapter" of their lives, be it marriage, mortgage, children or career, and we see the number of days between rides turn to weeks, months or even years.
For the remaining few, for whatever reason we have each decided on, we are still out there killing it and pushing our limits. It's become a part of our lives that we will never be able to walk away from.
Photo by Justin Bumgarner.
I'm not hating on anyone that doesn't ride as much as they used to. Everyone has their own idea of what they want to do with their life; I'm simply showcasing my own.
The beer fridge at Cave Mountain.
Like-minded people seem to have a way of finding each other. The last year or so I have been making frequent trips to Cave Mountain. For those that are not familiar with this dirtbag oasis, it's my friend Ben Tobin's home. There's a pumptrack around the house, a line of jumps is under construction as well as a mini moto track.
I have grown to live my life by my own values and completely ignore society's expectations of how one should structure their lifestyle. The confidence, determination, and lack of self doubt needed to do this, for the long haul, comes from riding bicycles.
A variety of animals also occupy the property in the form of goats, chickens, cats, and dogs. A fully stocked bike shop, 2 to 3 mini-motos, a fridge full of beer, and a front yard bonfire provide endless entertainment. Not to mention the company is always top notch.
Mini-motos and good time at Cave Mountain.
While I am married to a very supportive wife, we are not having children. It's for the pure fact that we want to live exactly how we are living now, forever. I have grown to live my life by my own values and completely ignore society's expectations of how one should structure their lifestyle. The confidence, determination, and lack of self doubt needed to do this, for the long haul, comes from riding bicycles.
"The confidence, determination, and lack of self doubt needed to do this, for the long haul, comes from riding bicycles."
Personally, there was never really any other option than to become who I am today. Bikes will be a part of my life until the bitter end. I can't speak for all of the dudes over 30 that still get after it, but I'm running it till the grave. Ultimately, despite anyone thinking that I've made all the wrong decisions in my life, I feel that I've made all the right ones.
"Never let the feeling fade and never let the rest get in the way." - Joe Rich
Words and Photos by Thomas Yeates/T-Hustle Visuals unless otherwise noted.