I got my first decent bike in September '05. Hadn't ridden since I was a kid. Started riding again to help me quit smoking, which I did, been over a year now.
I chose a hard tail that would let me do a variety of riding. Most of all I like flowing on single-track trails. I also did a couple 25-mile fitness rides on the street/MUP per week last year. That has declined unfortunately due to my left knee pain while cycling. I've been fitted but next I'm going to have someone measure each leg since only my left knee bothers me.
I also like camping and when I got the bike those two came together so I look forward to touring. I found Ken Kifer's Bike Pages and it was captivating, I enjoyed reading his daily accounts of independently traveling America by bicycle.
I also practice some trials moves, I'm not very good at all. I hope upgrading to disc brakes will help me find and hold the balance point on one wheel.
And then there's downhill/freeride. What a rush. I have a tenancy to go over the bars though. Here's the worst one. There's a sledding hill nearby that the track team also uses to train on. I like to ride the path that's mowed for them when it's vacant, makes a nice circuit. When it snows the hill swarms with sledders. They compact it down so much it's like an ice slope.
I chose the biggest, gnarliest hill with a nice hump at the bottom to jump off. I go down a few times riding the brakes, not too scary. Ok, I'm ready to get some air. I sail down that hill, so little rolling resistance on the ice compared to the usual grass. I press of the face of the big bump as hard as I can. HOLY COW! I'm flying high but in the excitement it all happens so fast. Before I know it I'm about to land with my nose pointing down. Yes, the front wheel lands first and I am catapulted over the bars and sent flailing into the ground, direct impact taken by my chest. I slide down the rest the hill and compose myself. I get up, out of breath, I walk a few feet and collapse. I lay there for a few minutes waiting for the pain to subside.
I decided I need to start home now before I stiffen up too much. My front rim is bent beyond all repair, the v-brakes jammed and I have to fight to release them, not easy in my condition. I walk my bike slowly up the snow-covered sidewalk, kids' refrozen footsteps making it painfully difficult. I get most of the way home before a neighbor drives by and offers me a ride the last few blocks. I'm lucky I didn't break my collar bone. I had incredibly deep bruising on my chest. I couldn't even roll over in bed for a week! I went back later to find my helmet mirror and was able to see where my front wheel dug in. I counted 20' from the lip of the jump. That's the most air I've had, I have a chest protector now but I still have a fear inside holding me back.
I fell in love with two wheels so much that in June I bought a supermoto/dual-sport/dirt bike. Another all-around machine. It's a lot of fun, though it and mods cost 10x as much.
I eventually want a FS mtb, though right now my next bike is looking to be a multi-purpose BMX to try some flatland and urban riding.
See you around!