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My First Bike: John McConnell

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My first bike was also our first bike. Just like my daughter Jessica McConnell Coombs shared her first bike with her sister Melanie (see the “My First Bike” by Jessica Coombs), I shared my first bike with my wife, Valerie. It was a 1972 Suzuki TS185, and my wife insinuated the purchase. The head- and tail-lights got ripped off right way, a set of Metzler knobs were put on, and the steel fenders were replaced with Preston Pettys.

I started riding in the woods north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a bunch of guys that were like some Hells Angels on a woods ride. I started to look for other people to ride with as these guys turned more towards partying. I found these people at the races, and 2007 will be my 34th consecutive MX season. Unlike Coach Bill Cowher, I never resigned for a season to spend time with my family, because the racing is our family time.

Over the years, everyone in our family has competed at Loretta Lynn‘s. My wife rode in the first National Amateur Championship held at Loretta’s. Big Dave wanted everyone in our family to compete in the same year, but we just couldn’t pull it together. Although my wife retired from racing in 1988, she still attends the races with my daughters and me.

 

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