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
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
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.