Bryn Atkinson is an Australian professional mountain bike racer who was born in Canberra, and I grew up in Townsville, North QLD. Bryn started mountain biking at the age of 14 and became a pro in 2002. His first introduction to the sport was through his local mountain bike club in Townsville- The Townsville Rockwheelers.
Bryn raced cross country type events for a few years, then evolved with the sport and found downhill. As a teenager, he moved north to Cairns, a popular location for downhill mountain biking, and host of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 1996.
Glen Jacobs was the course builder for that event and several other events on the World Cup. Bryn lived with Glen for a few years, showing him the ropes before his first pro season in the U.S. in 2002.
Bryn now considers Seattle, Washington home. He “lives and breathes two wheels.”
Q & A
When did you first start training? Where and why?
Started training when I was about 15, in Townsville, It was when I first started really getting into racing, just wanted to be better, and go faster. It’s funny looking back now how into it I was, I would be up when it was dark before school, and out riding again when I got home. I really do love riding bikes.
When did you turn pro?
2002 was my first year racing pro in the U.S. I rode for Team Royal- Orange out of San Diego, It was a fun time.
Tell us about your preferred bike set up?
I ride a Norco Aurum for DH, but really like my current 650b trail bike, it’s a Norco Sight, it’s stiff enough with solid geometry to handle the wildest of terrain, and It’ll go anywhere.
Your favorite discipline?
Downhill for sure, slalom is a close second though.
Who was your inspiration growing up?
Within your sport:
Nico Voullioz, Peaty, Lopes, EC, Kovarik
Outside your sport:
I was pretty focused on MTB growing up, it was all I did.. I didn’t really have much outside influence until I saw the world.
What has driven you to work super hard and rise up beyond mediocrity?
Progression with the sport, and equipment. I like seeing what makes other riders fast, tweak it and try it myself, sometimes it works out. I do the same with other sports that have similarities. I just want to be the best I can be in whatever I do, I’m not one of those people that can settle for mediocrity. Bikes have taught me so much about my self; I’d say my biggest life lessons have come from racing.
Are you a rebel? Why or why not?
Yeah I’m a bit of a rebel, I tend to get the odd “wild hair” up my ass every now and then.. That’s probably a “rebel” trait yeah?
What is your favorite course?
I really enjoyed a lot of the old NORBA race courses, Durango and Vermont stand out. Fort William for atmosphere can’t be beat, Andorra, Schladming, Norway, Leogang. I just like going fast good dirt, and the track to be all blown out.
What is the venue that you purely dread and why?
Probably Stromlo, Canberra, the track isn’t very fun and the pedal at the bottom is brutal. It’s always windy there too.
Finish this sentence: “Oakley is ________”
My first choice in eyewear.
If you weren’t killing it in the MTB scene, what would you be doing for a living?
Probably building something with my hands, I like engines, dirt and houses.
What is a hidden talent you have other than your sport?
Fixing stuff/ tinkering.
What is the best song to work out to?
I’m a rocker, but some upbeat hip hop for gym/ cardio.
Apparently Adam Sandler, and that dude from Avatar.
Food: Thai, Sushi
Vacation Spot: Palm Trees
Candy: Not a big candy guy.. But if I gotta choose, sour something
Sport (Besides your own): Motocross/ Supercross, golf, basketball
Music Genre: Metal, rock, hip hop/ rap
Movie: Happy Gilmore
One word Association: