Scot Nicol, A Founder Of Mountain Biking, Is A Heck Of A Rider In His 60s.

Scot Nicols keeps "just keeps riding", a great lesson for seniors. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Scot Nicol “just keeps riding”, a great lesson for seniors.
Credit: Pat McCloskey

Dirt Fest is an annual event that is presented by Dirt Rag Magazine and always takes place in May at Raystown Lake, Pa. The nationally known Alligrippis Trails are there, and it is an opportunity for 5,000-plus people to attend, ride the trails, and intermingle with industry types who set up shop with demo equipment.  One of the exhibitors is Ibis Bicycles of Santa Cruz, California headed up by their founder Scot Nicol.  Scot is an icon in the world of mountain biking and at 61 years old, one heck of a good rider.  One of the stops on their way from Santa Cruz is always in Pittsburgh, Pa to North Park which is a county park north of the city that has 42 miles of very enjoyable trails.  An added attraction is the OTB Café which is situated in the boat house on North Park Lake.  A great meeting place with great food and fellowship with the active set.  The scene was set for an enjoyable stop and demo on the way to Dirt Fest by the Ibis crew.

Fast forward to the ride. It was quite a vision to see the trails filled with about 30 riders on Ibis Ripleys, MojoHD3, and other new versions of dual suspension and hard tail design.  The local trails did not disappoint, and the riders eventually split into separate groups but riding with Scot was a priority for me since we were both senior riders of the same age.  Interestingly, we were the elder statesmen of the ride by a good 20-plus years, but, as an industry icon and a guy who takes his fitness seriously, Scot has the ability to ride a great line on trails with which he is not familiar.  The younger set were amazed as Scot and his California crew rode at the front of the group. As we descended the final trail, I was at my limit with a fast and furious pace driven by a guy who is a very talented senior rider.

Now most people our age would consider flying over the rocks and the roots of Eastern single-track impossible.  Many of them would even scoff at why we would even be interested in “punishing” ourselves rather than kicking back and enjoying our older years.  When I discussed this on the road back with Scot, he looked at me with that California cool and said, “Just keep riding and don’t even think about it.”  Validation for me for what I think is a healthy lifestyle that I would like to continue for a long time.

Every year you have benchmarks where you can compare and test yourself.  Skiing the chutes and the black and double black diamonds are always a benchmark test for me and other  senior skiers.  Riding with Scot Nicol and the younger set of our mountain bike group is always another benchmark test.  “Just keep riding.”  So true for all of us in so many ways.

Dirt Fest Riders on the Alligrippis Trails in Raystown Lake, PA. Dirt Fest is an annual event sponsored by Dirt Rag magazine. Credit: Pat McCloskey
Bike Riders in North Park, PA, a warren of 42 miles of trails just north of Pittsburgh. 
Credit: Pat McCloskey


  1. Great piece Pat. Keep the rubber side down, and “just keep riding.”

  2. Roo Harris says:

    Now you know why we all ride Ibis Ripley bikes here on the Mendocino Coast. Scot started the Ibis bike business here in 1981 working out of his garage and teaching science in the local school. His imprint here is legendary.

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