I got my first ‘real’ mountain bike in 1988, an Apollo Everest.
After living and studying in Brisbane for a few years it was time to leave behind everything that couldn’t be carried on a bike and ride off into the sunset, destination unknown.
The highly thought out plan meant it was time to ditch the road bike that I’d had a lot of fun mixing it with traffic on the city streets and get something a lot more robust. A tourer wasn’t my style, but those new fangled mountain bikes were like BMX on steroids, with gears. They looked to be perfect big kid fun machines.
My first ‘race bike’ as a teenager was an Apollo III (~1982). It was a great bike that I used to get to and from high school in the next town, riding along the national highway. It survived getting run over by a car before getting stolen when I moved to Brisbane, so when I came across the Apollo Everest it seemed like it was meant to be. Pragmatically there weren’t many MTB’s to pick from in Australian bike stores back then anyway, and the spec of the Everest seemed pretty good – thumb shifters with indexing, slick!
Surprisingly an MTB was great fun around the city, a go anywhere machine compared to my road bike. I used the Everest to get to and from uni, to and from part time cleaning work at night in the city. I also worked as a pedi-cab driver at World Expo which was on at the time, so there was plenty of pedaling going on.
Eventually departure day came and I headed out of the city with the bike fully loaded up. The Everest turned out to be a great choice of bike, proving to be pretty much bomb proof in the months that followed. Over thousands of kilometres carrying a load of stuff across rugged terrain including western Queensland, Cape York, the Gulf of Carpentaria and the Northern Territory it didn’t miss a beat. Total bike repairs: 1 broken spoke.
The MTB tour paused indefinitely at Yulara, a resort town near Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Central Australia. It was great fun getting around the dunes on the Everest, and when after a year it was time to leave the desert and head for the snow fields in the Victorian High Country the Apollo came along though it wouldn’t be long before a new MTB would be needed for the coming summers in the mountains.