I learned to ride younger than I can remember. Probably three or four years old. My dad and brother were the ones that helped get me on two wheels for the first time. My favorite type of riding is mountain biking, for sure. Whether in a group or solo setting, I don’t care either way. But definitely, struggling up the mountain and then bombing back down is my favorite way to ride.

DuPont State Forest is my favorite place to ride, by far. It can be a beast, but there’s also ample opportunity to park and ride some mostly mellow, scenic places. Tree canopies, riverside trails, breathtaking overlooks, and waterfalls really make DuPont a place all its own. I love it. PS: Both the Hunger Games and Last of the Mohicans were partially filmed in DuPont.

Kris Vermillion riding his mountain bike.

A Favorite Memory

A favorite riding memory is when my six-year-old son wanted a particular helmet, but he was still on training wheels. I promised him any helmet he wanted if he’d get on two wheels. On a family day at the bike park, he decided that having the helmet was worth facing the fear, and he just went for it. We all ran alongside him and cheered him on, and within a matter of minutes, he was on two wheels, riding all over the place. It was pretty awesome on its own account, but it was really cool to be able to recognize at that moment how significant it was.

Why I Ride

I ride to bond; with myself, with friends, with my kids. Riding allows me to sort through personal or work issues, build relationships with family and friends, and push myself to do more than I think I can. As a dad, riding allows me to bond with my kids in a way that few other things can. As they grow, we can continue to bond as their skills progress and their desire to ride new terrain grows with them. My eight-year-old son basically just knew how to ride. Right at three years old, he was on two wheels, full speed. He’s been on the trails for about three years now, and my six-year-old just got his first trail bike while my four-year-old daughter is working on getting rid of her training wheels.

Kris Vermillion riding mountain bikes with his kids.

Every bit of it has given me time to bond with them and learn something together. When you teach your kids, you teach your kids’ kids, so, for me, passing on my love of riding and encouraging them to push themselves in ways they don’t think possible (shedding training wheels being one of the first) puts them on a path of continual personal growth. There’s a lot of life lessons found in biking if applied correctly. I tell my kids all the time, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right” (not sure who said that first, but it wasn’t me). My hope is that they hold on to that idea and apply it everywhere else in life.

Involuntary Dismount Podcast

Kris hosts the Involuntary Dismount Podcast, a mountain bike podcast dedicated to the love of riding. Listen in to Episode 9, where our very own Brian Pierce was recently a guest!

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