There is a lot of history and information out there in regards to the history and origins of mountain biking, with some being recognized and some that depends on who has the best firm of public relations.
Some say that mountain biking began with the Buffalo Soldiers, which was a turn of the century infantry who customized bikes to carry gear over the rough and tough terrain. They began in August of 1896, over the course of 800 miles. Their mission was simple – to test bikes for military use in the toughest of terrain.
Others say it was the Velo Cross Club of France that started mountain biking. The club was comprised of 20 young bikers from Paris, who between 1951 and 1956 developed a sport that resembles present day mountain biking.
It could have also been John Finley Scott, who was the first mountain biker in the U.S. In 1953 he constructed what he called a “Woodsie Bike”, using a diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handle bars, and cantilever brakes. He was more than 20 years ahead of his time. Even though he remained an off road enthusiast, there were many at that time who didn’t share that same passion.
Today, we believe that the history of the mountain bike is most apparent in Northern California. There are a few areas that claim to be the first community for mountain biking, although each and every history book will tell you Marin County.
The sport of mountain biking has taken many twists and turns over the last several hundred years. Even though there are many that say different things about the history and the beginning, we know one thing for sure – one thing has led to another and the sport of mountain biking was born.