The Transylvania Times -

Mountain Biking Three Generations Of Unforgettable Adventures – Brevard NC


Three generations of Dicksons pose for a photo before starting the Jerdon Mountain Challenge. Pictured are Hannah, her father, Wes, her aunt, Hesper, and her grandfather, Wes. (Courtesy photo by Charisma Arbogast)

As I watch my daughter progress as a cyclist, it brings me much joy and makes me think about my dad taking me out to ride. He was on the cutting edge of a shift in riding bikes. When he introduced me to cycling in 1987, he opened my eyes to a new subculture that was still lurking on the fringes: mountain Biking.

Riding with my daughter brings back a flood of memories from when my dad and I traveled up and down the East Coast to race bikes. We had to travel to find events; when he got me into riding, there where no cycling events in our area. We sometimes traveled eight or more hours for a 2-hour race and it always amazed me that many people were willing to do the same. I came to realize that it was all about hanging out with others that shared your passion, and for me it was about finding common ground with my father.

My dad took me mountain Biking and that is where my love for the sport started. After he saw that the cycling bug had bitten me, he got me a road bike to help me become a better all-around cyclist. At one of the first group road rides we went on, I noticed that there was an older crowd than the riders I saw on the mountain bike group rides. My dad told me that road cycling had been around for longer and it is easier on your body because it is less jarring and you are less likely to fall down. (The mountain bikes at this time had no suspension. Yikes!) I thought that all the time I'd spent on mountain bikes, coupled with my youth would make road cycling easy for me – until those old guys dropped me! This fired me up to become a better cyclist.

Yeah, my friends and I rode bikes before 1987, but they were BMX bikes around Little River. Bikes were toys and something that only kids played with. They were lumped with other toys like pogo sticks, hula-hoops and roller-skates. I don't think any of us understood at the time that we were part of a sport that was on the verge of growing up. And boy has it grown up.

Today you see multiple generations getting out there and enjoying cycling. It started with kids dragging their parents into the shop to look at the bikes, now we are seeing the parents and grandparents dragging the kids in to show off the sport they love. Avid cyclists range in ages from around five or younger to folks that are 90-plus! The way we ride and what we ride may look different. One cyclist might love touring the country on a road bike, another might love rallying down the mountain on a downhill bike, and still another might be holding steady on a bike with training wheels. But the passion for pedaling is something we all have in common.

Last month my dad, sister, daughter and I took part in the Jerdon Mountain Challenge, a 26-mile mountain bike race in Old Fort. To see Hannah, my sixteen-year-old, getting all fired up about the same things that I did as a kid makes me so happy and proud. She is growing up so fast, too fast. She is changing so much every day. But when we travel together to race bikes and she loves it as much as I did when I was her age, it tells me that some things never change.

Dickson is a former Brevard City Council member and owner of Sycamore Cycles in Pisgah Forest. He enjoys riding bikes with his family and friends.


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