It's been 10 years since I walked out of Wal-Mart with my yellow, 24 inch wheeled, full suspesion NEXT bike. It was February 22, 2000. I loaded it into my pick-up, strapped it down like a motorcycle, immediately removed the cheesy stickers and then re-applied some Fox Racing stickers. I was no dummy, I knew it was't a "real" bike, but I was determined to make it look like one. It was warm that day. I drove home to the farm, put on some old jeans and rode up the driveway toward the cattle pasture. The gravel road was a gradual climb and within a mile I was cooked. Over the next 3 months I rode that bike. It skipped gears on its own, it bobbed like a pogo stick and it was sized for a 12 year old boy, but I rode it. The first event that cemented my obsession was a little stretch of singletrack through the woods that I had built for my motorcycle. The exit of the trail dropped really steeply down a bank out onto a road. It was gnarly then and still is to this day. So I rolled that move on my little NEXT bike. I was stoked! It was so much fun!
(I'm noticing some similarity to this bike and my new one...red bits everywhere!)
In May of 2000 I bought my first REAL mountain bike. A Giant Warp, with disc brakes and full suspension. By then I had lost 40lbs, and I could ride to the cattle pasture in the middle ring, bust down to the old spring on rocky cow track, cross the creek and then head back up the "unclimbable hill" to the house. The world seemed so much bigger, so brand new.
A little yellow NEXT started a journey that hasn't remotely begun to end. From New York, to Canada, to Moab, to my meeting my amazing wife, to New Zealand, to Colorado. Through bikes I've got more friends than I can keep up with.
(Catskill Mountains, New York)
(Sticky Forest, Wanaka, New Zealand.)
(Moke Lake, New Zealand)
(The raddest chick to ever ride a bike, Coronett Peak, New Zealand)
It's ironic that such a stupid name for a bike so amazingly captures the way I feel every day. Becuase of bikes I am always looking forward to whats NEXT!