Wade Simmons has been my favorite professional mountain bike rider for a long, long time. He’s the Ruben Alcantara of MTB. . . the Eddy Merckx. I haven’t been mountain biking in awhile, but while surfing around on Vital MTB today, I found this little video of him answering a few questions on the North Shore, in North Vancouver, BC.
After watching this video I decided to Google Video search his name and, lo and behold, his segment from Shift popped up! Shift was the first MTB vid that I ever purchased. My mom and I were on a summer camping trip to Mount Rainier and, as usual, we finished the trip by heading in to Seattle for a few days to hang out, have fun, and ride a ferry boat. Little did I know that one day I would live here. . . Anyhoodles, we stopped by the REI Flagship store and I found the VHS rack near the stairs that lead up to the clothing level. At the time mountain biking was still hanging on to the coattails of the boom it experienced in the 1990s and there were A LOT of videos! Shift immediately caught my eye and once I got home to Ashland, I popped it into the VCR and was blown away.
Wade Simmons had the closing section, full of drops, stair gaps, wheelies, and even skatepark riding. That section really demonstrates Wade’s natural ability to ride any and all terrain and it was that section that got me stoked on urban riding. I had already been into riding “street” on my BMX, but to me “street” means concrete, stairs, curbs, etc. “Urban” encompasses so much more than just concrete and asphalt, it also means roots, rocks, grassy knolls, muddy banks, etc. Today I use the two terms interchangeably, but at the time I saw a clear delineation between the two. Wade’s style and personality will always represent the beauty and freedom of mountain biking to me. Here’s his part from Shift.