I started MTBing in July of 04. Unlike most people I don't have anyone to blame it on. No friends or family do it. It started out as a form of exercise I could do outside that wouldn't add more damage to my already screwed up knee. A word of advise, if your over 200 lbs. DO NOT JOG OR RUN. I never thought those nightly runs would come back to haunt me.
I started out using a 13 year old 15 speed Schwinn hybrid that my wife bought me from ...(insert big name box store here) 13 years ago when we were young and childless. I used it at the time sparingly but never got hooked.
13 years later after the knee craps out, I dust it off and start taking it on short RRs in the evening not even thinking about MTBing. One evening I'm passing by a gated dirt road that's used to access powerlines. Ignoring the NO TRESPASSING signs (I make an excellent role model for children by the way) I throw the bike over the gate and venture in. The loose gravel road, the foot trails that ran off, the solitude, and not having to worry about cars running me over had me hooked.
It would have went no further than the power line roads but I decided that I should get a new bike where all 15 gears work. Did I mention that because of rust I only had 9 gears? Upon basic internet research I learned that 26" bikes came in different sizes (huh?) It made sense that I shouldn't be riding the same bike that someone who's 5-8 is riding on. But to get one of these sized bikes I would need to venture into a "real" bike shop and spend "a lot" of money. Two or maybe even three hundred dollars. (What are they crazy, I could get 3 bikes at Walmart for that).
So after a little more internet research I walk into the Bike Doctor (my LBS) with a planned budget of $300 before taxes. Right off I feel outta place. The place is full of skinny , healthy looking people. Some of them are even wearing those funny looking tight shorts (what a bunch of dweebs). Upon inspection of what was available for $300, I decide to hell with the budget, I like the way the $425.00 one looks (It was black and silver and had "manly" written all over it) and the name, Trek, sounded cooler than Giant.
So 3 days later I pick up the new bike and head to a local state forest (Cedarville) where you can ride your bike on the trails. The guys in the shop told me about this ("You mean they let you ride bikes around the forest?"). There I am in jean shorts, tank top, no helmet, no gloves, no water bottle, just me and the bike (did I mention it had 27 gears, I AM A MAN! UGH). I take off onto the path . The temperature drops 10 degrees (in July that's a good thing), there's no one around, and I'm ripping down this dirt path. LIFE DOESN'T GET ANY BETTER. (We'll it would have been nice to have some water.)
It didn't take long after that to discover the MORE group and meet a bunch of really cool, friendly people who taught me the ins and outs of riding.
Ok, I've gotta go buy a pair those dweeby cycling shorts.