old school

Here is something I wrote back in 1997.  For those of you who remember,  I wrote this in the style of bike magazine;  in fact I even submitted it to them and they were kind enough to reject it. bike magazine was all about the culture of mountain biking, the joy of riding off road.  It is what you read to get inspired to ride.  It contained very few articles about gear but was all about “the stoke”.  Who among us who ever worked in a bike shop could forget Mike Ferrentino’s column “The Grimy Handshake”?  It was always the first article I read.


When I wrote this I may or may not have had my first set of SnowCat rims on my bike; I got them either in the winter of ’96 or the winter of ’97.  I called  Simon Rakower up in Alaska, explained what I wanted and gave him my shipping address.  He said he’d send them right away, didn’t mention anything about payment.  When I asked him about it he said “No problem, I’ll just invoice you and you can send me the money when you get them.”  Wow, I thought, that’s trust; people must be different in Alaska.  So I may or may not have had SnowCats on my rig, certainly the other two figures in the story didn’t and by that time we had been riding on snow for 10 years.


The trail we rode out to Bay Bulls on isn’t rideable any longer. It was part of an old railway line that ran “up the shore”.    The ATV’s really played havoc with it, turning long sections of it into deep bog holes. Then some beaver activity caused a lot of flooding in the area.  In addition, a bridge that crossed a small but very deep river is now gone.  The good news is that there is an abandoned pole line than runs parallel just west of this trail that snowmobiles use and that can be ridden.  The river crossing is usually frozen on that section, but sometimes, like last year, it is not and it means getting your feet wet so be prepared.


The other two figures in this story know who they are and their names have not been changed to protect the innocent; in fact they are guilty as hell of everything contained in this story. Especially Jim.

(click on image to enlarge)



5 thoughts on “old school

  1. M: I remember my introduction to the rare winter wonderland that is hard pack, when all the elements meld to allow just the knobs on your tires to sink. Jim and Jon and a video camera in tow. What magic to be able to ride anywhere….the only limitation your legs, only barrier, your mind. I was cautious at first, untrusting of the snowpack, afraid the front wheel would sink to the axle and I’d go arse over teakettle. Not long before I was laughing like a child on that infinite white rollercoaster. I had just a few such adventures with you guys. It was all fun and games till I sank through at the bog. Crossing where a snowmobile had gone before, you first, Jon, Jim… then me. Never go last! I sank into the bog up to my armpits to the laughter of les boys. By the time I got home, my feet were frozen to the pedals. I remember it as one of the best times of my life.

  2. Some of the best times on a bike. I often think about some of those rides… The winter rides were always set apart from any other rides that we did. Great times! Glad that I was there to be a part of the fun.

  3. Pingback: trans-newfoundland | slow:biker

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