| As a rider, you have to adapt to the terrain at hand. In Canada and the West Coast that means big, spectacular mountain ranges that encourage big-mountain riding, downhilling and freeriding. In New York City, it means concrete, and lots of it. Anson Wellington is perhaps the most recognizable face of New York City mountain biking, a term he eschews. “I would call myself a ‘big bike’ rider,” he tells us over a beer at one of NYC’s famous dive bars. Mindful of his roots as a mountain biker, he nevertheless seeks to broaden the definition of this ever-changing sport. Anson’s setup is hardly what most would view as a typical mountain bike, with 24-inch wheels, single gear, pegs and no brakes. “At the minute I’m running a back brake but that’s only because I’m coming back from an injury. Soon I’ll be back to brakeless.”
Anson is currently on the mend from a riding injury that was compounded by a car crash in 2006. “I twisted my knee almost 180 degrees, then shortly after got involved in a car crash, after which I had surgery on the knee. I tried to rush my return to riding and ended up re-injuring it, so pretty much since last November I haven’t been riding at all.”
Trinidadian by birth, he now lives in Brooklyn and has long-standing ties with current main sponsor and iconic New York brand Brooklyn Machine Works. Early March saw the release of his signature frame from BMW, the “ACL”, or “Anson City Limited.” “It’s like a BMX in that you can do tricks, beat it up, you know? It has tight, sleek geometry. Over the years I’ve bought a lot of bikes and whenever I would get a new frame I would always measure it and take notes of how the differences in geometry affected the feel. It’s made from the
knowledge I’ve accumulated over the years of riding different frames and figuring out what works for my style of riding.” With a short rear end, low top tube, and geometry designed for 3 inch travel forks, it should be an ideal dirt/street/park weapon.
Unlike many riders who have transitioned their BMX skills over to MTB, Anson started on a mountain bike and says that’s where he feels most at home “I got a mountain bike as a kid and it just felt comfortable.
Being a kid, I started doing tricks on it and here I am, still doing tricks.” He has a style and flow on the bike that can only come from being a natural, and has the ability to spot lines that many of us wouldn’t even think rideable. I remember seeing an old Revell Bikes advertisement in a UK magazine, where Anson was boosting a huge jump over a 10 ft high chain link fence somewhere in Brooklyn. To me this seemed like BMX super-sized – the tech and street influence of BMX but with more amplitude.
His influences from BMX are hard to deny, but as a rider he is clearly seeking to take the sport in a different direction. Mountain biking feeds off growth, evolution and change and with people like Anson around, the industry may have to think up some new buzz-works to define the category he’s creating as we speak.
Anson would like to thank: Brooklyn Machine Works, Atomlab, Tioga, Lizard Skins, Straitline, Animal BMX, NYC Freeride and Marzocchi USA.