On a summer day in 1984, Jim Hasenauer visited a bicycle store when a line of fat-tired bikes with 18 speeds caught his attention.
Hasenauer, an avid hiker, backpacker and cyclist when he wasn’t teaching communications classes at Cal State Northridge, saw these new “mountain bikes” as a means of combining his outdoor interests.
“I recognized that here was a bike that I can take to the trails in the mountains,” said Hasenauer, who rides three times a week along his favorite trails in the Santa Monica Mountains and Topanga State Park from his home in Woodland Hills.
“It’s really my love of the back country, nature and the critters that led me to this sport.”
Hasenauer’s new hobby would eventually lead to him to become one of mountain biking’s leading advocates.
During his 14 years as a mountain biker, Hasenauer has written several articles in bicycling magazines and co-wrote a mountain bike guidebook of the Santa Monica Mountains.
In 1987, he founded the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclist Assn. (CORBA) in Los Angeles, formed to deal with the closure of trails to mountain bikers in Los Angeles. He served on the group’s steering committee until last year.
In 1988, Hasenauer was one of the founders of the International Mountain Bicycling Assn. This nonprofit advocacy organization, based in Boulder, Colo., is dedicated to promoting mountain biking that is environmentally sound and socially responsible. He served on IMBA’s board of directors until 1991. From 1991-96, he served as the group’s president.
For his work as a mountain bike advocate, Hasenauer was inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in a Las Vegas ceremony on Sept. 12.
“The hall of fame has worked to document the individuals and events that have significantly contributed to mountain biking history and [Hasenauer] is certainly one of those individuals,” said Kay Peterson-Cook, a spokeswoman for the hall, based in Crested Butte, Colo.
Hasenauer, who joins 60 others in the hall, called his induction “an unbelievable honor.”
“There are thousands of mountain bike advocates doing the same thing I’m doing all across the country,” Hasenauer said. “I’m just happy that I can represent them.”