I was 15 when I bought my first mountain bike. Working retail had allowed me to pull together $900 which I put towards a used/abused Norco Java - I got swindled. Physically owning a mountain bike didn't mean I knew what to do with it, I thought I did, but looking back now it was clear that I was incredibly green to it all.

Some memories of humility that stick out from that period:

▸ Wearing khaki shorts always over biking shorts. The thought of exposed tights was terrifying.
▸ Changing flat tires with butter knives 'borrowed' from my mom. Surely there were tools better suited?
▸ After my initial $900 investment, a further $700 was needed to convert the commuter into an actual mountain bike. Did I mention I got swindled? I've kept that Norco frame as a reminder of my eager stupidity.
▸ Getting pressured into my first race. I finished second from last, barely managing to beat a guy who folded his rear wheel and was still able to walk/run the remainder of the race.

Soaking in the terrain. Note: the bottom half of this pic is appropriately juvenille.
 My concept of mountain biking got a healthy mind altering when in the summer of 1997, after finishing Grade 12, a few of us decided to do a self supported cycling trip in British Columbia. The trip itself was filled with highs, lows, and a smattering of stories in between, but our last few days of the journey were spent in Whistler where I was finally able to appreciate just what mountain biking could encompass. It was like nothing I had seen before. The trails, the vibe, the mass participation, and the equipment - especially the equipment.

The bicycle company Rocky Mountain had a firm stranglehold in this part of the country and it seemed like almost everyone was riding the iconic frame colourways of their flagship Vertex T.O. and Element T.O. The stunning mapleleaf paint schemes and the alluring Team Only taglines made me instantly fall in love and I desperately craved one.

The late 90's eye candy.
Upon my return home I sought out my local Rocky Mountain dealer and was immediately steam rolled with the reality of the bikes cost - my part time teenager job would be no match. It would take me several years to finally have the means to own my first Rocky and the tantric wait was well worth it. Nearly 15 years later and I am still in posession of a Rocky Mountain. I've had a steady stream of bikes over the years, but this Rocky will be the one bike that I commit to. This bike has taken me through my local trails, city commutes, and winter miles. The frame is the only stock piece left from its original purchase, but thats just fine with me.

The current fondness.
The memories attached to this bike will far outweigh the technological advancements that will overtake it through the years, and that's just fine with me too. I hope everyone at some point gets to own that one bike that they have coveted. Trust that bike, its nostalgia, and its maintenance with a skilled technician at your Local Bike Shop.

∼ the culture crew.