A quick stroll down the aisles of Interbike revealed to me that neon is back. Back with a vengeance. Maybe it never left, or at least the time period. At Biketoberfest this past weekend, kids parading about on demo bikes were, well... brightly adorned. Even Mark Weir, while seated on a red WTB TCS couch discussed fanny packs and enduro while sporting what almost looked to be a neon pink cast. In the words of the great Yogi Berra, "it's like deja vu all over again."
Shown above is a shining example of WTB marketing material from 1992 when neon was also popular, maybe the first time. While in the picture I can't find the fanny pack - ahhhem, enduro pack, hip pouch, whatever the polite euphemism of today currently is, they sure were popular during this time period. Fitting conveniently into this time period was Grease Guard®, which really could ward off invading elements - to see more on this, check out this previous post here. So combine the two and what do you get? A flock of neon clad cyclists storming anything unpleasant - creeks, mud bogs, the forever wet bike path sitting adjacent to the sewage treatment plant, maybe even some Gak emitting from Nickelodeon (yup, it was that time period,) who knows, anything icky was possible in the quest for appropriate Grease Guard® marketing materials.
On a more serious note, an entire discipline of off-road riding was conjured up to meet the needs and test the limits of Grease Guard® equipped cyclists: Hellbiking. Sound close to Helltrack? It's equally scary, rest assured. As described below, it entailed carrying, pushing, or floating one's bike for at least 20% of the journey. Do things go in cycles, they must. It seems like this concept is ever present today with freeriders floating rivers and fatbikers bikepacking through slot canyons and across fingers of lakes (via float, mind you) and once again, WTB was with it from the beginning. Also, hats off to Roman Dial, mentioned below in the 1992 ad that appeared in VeloNews, one tough dude from the start of it all.