2006 Pancake Breakfast with Keith Bontrager

Well, I know most of you made it the “MT. Wilson Bicycling Association (MWBA) Pancake Breakfast” and got a chance t meet Keith Bontrager(KB). I have to say this year’s event was even better than last year and I’m sure it was mainly due to Keith’s being there. Keith Bontrager Hall of Famer

First, as most of you know, KB is a pioneer in the sport of mountain biking and in designing mountain bikes. Early mountain bikes were primarily modified beach cruisers or town bikes .Keith made a custom mountain bike in 1980. Then he started his own custom bike frame company designing and building mountain bike frames before they where commercially available.Today he has continued with his component development known today as BONTRAGER Wheelworks and Components. His products are known to be “light, strong and durable” with the philosophy that you must have all three. He has made tremendous contributions to our sport, to many to list, and was inducted into the MTB Hall of Fame in 1994. http://mmbhof.org/keith-bontrager/ I could try to go on with all his accomplishments but let me just say “He the MAN” and yes, he really knows his stuff.

Sunday’s morning ride

Many of the people who joined us on the Sunday morning ride, had classic fully rigid and single speed mountain bikes .It was quite a site with around 30 or 40 mountain bikers in the JPL parking lot waiting to ride with Keith. Thanks guys! I wish I had taken a picture of all of us at the Brown Saddle. Sunday’s ride was just a short easy ride for Keith I’m sure, and this is why I know. Keith rode his bike down from Santa Cruz to get here. Yes, Santa Cruz, and he rode on a 29” Gary Fisher mountain bike. Saturday, the day before the breakfast, the day I met Keith, we had an epic ride. Jonathon, Bob and I, rode with him from the Pasadena Cyclery up Lake St. then up Lower Sam Merrill to Sunset. That was followed by the sweet descent all the way down to Millard, then back up to do El Prieto. So let me just tell you this as a witness. KB can RIDE! He pushed the pace on all the climbs and had the skills for all the technical descents. Not only is Keith a corporate President, he is a great mountain biker and truly a nice guy. While he was riding with Lloyd and me, through El P, this guy was having a difficult time with his fully rigid mountain bike. I think his bike was about 10-15 years old at least, but looked like it was in very good condition. So as we regroup, Keith takes a look at this guy approaching us and asks him one simple question. “How much air is in your tires?” The guy says, “Sixty pounds.” So Keith very kindly explains to him the advantages of running on a much lower pressure and said “let out to around 35-40 pounds”. I’m not sure if this guy knew that he was getting advice from the guy that invented some of the first mountain bike tires. However, he let some air out of his tires and had a much better ride for it.

The Original El Prieto and Trail Work

Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, I led Keith down the original El Prieto single track. I told him that El P is one of the most popular single track trails in So. California and how it has changed over the last 10 years. He quickly noticed the cinder blocks embedded in the single track. I took credit as one of the people that carried them during trail work over ten years ago. For those of you that don’t remember or hadn’t joined Pasadena Mountain Bike Club yet, we used to join up with Mt. Wilson Bicycling Association for trail work at least twice a year. Yes, the MWBA, the ones who started the Pancake breakfast. Ok this is getting too sentimental, but let me say one more thing. It’s ironic that I first got into mountain biking on this very single track and I showed Keith that weekend. Lloyd (Miller madness -epic rider) was there too, and he was also there over 10 years ago when we carried the cinder blocks down El P during that trail work. I know Lloyd and I have ridden this single track over 100 times, as have many of you. I think this is where I really got hooked on mountain biking. However, this time I had an almost nirvana feeling about it. FYI, Keith cleaned almost all the switchbacks and cleaned the climb-outs.

The Ride never ends

Well after we finished El P., Keith, Lloyd and I rode up Loma Alta to the Pancake breakfast. It was a relentlessly long climb after a full weekend of mountain biking in Pasadena and the San Gabriel Mountains. Keith Bontrager is truly passionate about mountain biking and bicycles and in with his mellow demeanor, he rides (not walks) the talk and experiences the inspirational force that draws masses to start and stay in this sport and lifestyle. Thanks Keith, great riding with you, and come back to Pasadena and ride with PMBC anytime!

Doug Sullivan,RN,AFAA
Fitness Expert