Mountain Bike Passion: Guest Post by Patty Mooney

Patty Mooney and husband Mark

Mountain Bike Passion by Patty Mooney

My husband and I both have reason to be hopeless romantics. After all, we met on Valentine’s Day in 1982 and have been together ever since. One day this summer we were walking hand-in-hand on the beach at La Jolla Shores. We passed a woman who asked whether we were on our honeymoon. My husband laughed and said, “Yes, for the last 27 years.”

When we inform people that we not only live together, but we work and play together, too, they are astonished. “How do you do it?” Communication is key. We are constantly communicating. We don’t go to bed angry. If we do have an argument, we take a time out, and then we come back together to talk it through. It has gotten easier and easier to get past these kinds of buckles in the road. But there is one thing we do that has really stoked the fires of our relationship, and that is mountain biking.

Back in 1986, Mark and I decided to put our business on hold, and sail around the United States, Alaska and Canada in a small camper, called a Chinook, for nine months and 25,000 miles. We headed north from San Diego on April Fool’s Day and didn’t get back home until Christmastime. Life is different when you’re on the road. The only worries we had were where to fill up the gas tank and where and what to eat. We would drive maybe 50 miles a day, and then find a place to camp and enjoy the new location. It was the adventure of a lifetime. We used to shun those RV parks because of the loud generators and barking dogs, but every so often we’d pull into one just to get a shower and do some laundry. We’d meet fellow RV’ers – usually much older than us – who would say, “You kids are doing it right. Retire now, work later.”

Patty Mooney 1992

While exploring Victoria, Canada, one day we saw a man on a bicycle riding through a creek. And when I say “through,” the water was up to the tops of his knees. Mark and I looked at each other. “What kind of a bicycle is THAT?” we wondered. Later, at a Sporting Goods shop in Whitehorse, Yukon the clerk informed us, “It had to have been a mountain bike.” A mountain bike? He pointed out the window. “See that mountain?” We nodded. “Well, that’s a ‘six-header.’ That means, when you ride a mountain bike on that particular trail, you’re bound to take at least six headers.” I later learned what a “header” was on my maiden mountain-bike voyage which would occur about a year later. It happens when you are too far forward on your bicycle while on a descent, and you go over the handle bars. The clerk then pointed at an array of shiny, colorful bicycles with fat knobby tires and multiple gears. “Those are mountain bikes.”

After a glorious expedition featuring a grizzly bear attack (also in Canada), salmon fishing in Alaska, fresh-caught lobsters in Nova Scotia, Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts, and far more adventures than I can recount here, the first thing we did upon returning home to San Diego was to purchase a couple of mountain bikes for each other as a Christmas gift.

By summer we were participating in races. I had found a great part-time job with fabulous benefits including health insurance; but my policy would only cover Mark if we were married. So we had a “shotgun wedding” in the mountains with our mountain bikes in July. Then a week later, we honeymooned in Big Bear where we participated in a grueling cross country mountain bike race. We both happened to earn trophies which were these humongous beer mugs that worked nicely for champagne.

Patty and Mark 1989

We were so taken by the sport that we began to produce videos about it. “The Great Mountain Bike Video” and “Ultimate Mountain Biking: Advanced Techniques and Winning Strategies” were the VHS tapes that every true mountain biker had to have in their library. They featured tips from mountain-bike pro racers and won many awards and lots of good press. Mark was the first person to rig up a “helmet cam” with a VHS camera on top of a motorcycle helmet. At the time you also needed to have a video tape deck in close proximity to the camera, so he wore that in a backpack. Just imagine how heavy that was compared to today’s lipstick cams and wireless systems. Those were the days, my friend!

When Mountain Biking became a sanctioned sport in the Olympics, we produced “Battle At Durango: First-Ever World Mountain Bike Championships” featuring footage from multiple cameras – also a first in the mountain-bike video realm.

Our last and greatest mountain bike video was called “Full Cycle: a World Odyssey” which we produced and in which we also appeared. We went to nine different countries including the United States, in search of the world’s best trail – a la “Endless Summer.” This movie won 13 different international awards and lots of great press but ironically was never aired on any broadcast station. Clips have been shown though, including a couple of world’s firsts: underwater mountain biking in Costa Rica and the First-Ever Himalayan Mountain Bike Rally in India.

Since we began our adventures in mountain biking 24 years ago, it’s been a constant source of fun with exercise as a side benefit. It brings us out into nature which we love. We believe that the “couple who play together stay together,” and we hope to be able to share our passion for many more years to come. I recently had a couple of “hiccups” where I had to sit out a few rides due to a Total Knee Replacement last year, and then a Retinal Detachment a few months ago. But I’m back in the saddle again and always ready to hit the trails with my Valentine.


Patty writes two blogs, “A Diary Left Open” and “A Life in Business”. She and Mark are partners of Crystal Pyramid Productions, an award-winning San Diego video production services company ( serving broadcast, corporate and web-based clients with high-end video; and of New & Unique Videos, a stock-footage library and distributor of special interest videos and DVDs ( Patty also writes a column for Mountain Bike Tales.


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About the Author

Henrietta Newman is a self-loving empty-nester into smudging, nature, yoga, fitness, healthy living, hunting, camping, hiking, tech, video games, gadgets, recipes, reviews and more.
With a love for the outdoors and visiting local attractions in and around NW PA and Lake Erie, you never know what you'll find in my nest! Subscribe to A Hen's Nest so you don't miss the fun!



  1. 1

    Damn, the "Patty Mooney 1992"
    scene is pretty scary to me, didn't you feel you're close to death? haha…

    I personally love the Cannondale Mountain Bikes. =)

  2. 2

    Mountain biking is not just a hobby or profession it also a passion. As I am a mountain biker I really like to ride regularly.

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