When Steph and Kyle Scott decide to go for a ride, the hardest decision isn’t where, but on what.
The Ahwatukee Foothills couple has more of a choice than most recreational riders do and all of those options involve two wheels.
Their inventory includes Honda CRF 450X racing motorcycles, street motorcycles, dirt motorcycles and mountain bikes.
“We were going to get a couple of road bikes to ride around the streets when I was rehabbing from knee surgery this winter,” Scott said, “but we didn’t get around to it.”
During the summer months, like a lot of Ahwatukee Foothills mountain bike riders, the couple rides before the sun is up or after sunset along the trails that snake up and down South Mountain.
“We’ve got headlights on the bikes, so you can see where you’re going and it’s pretty neat when it’s still a little dark to see all the lights out on the trails.”
He grew up around bicycles, and she was raised riding dirt bikes.
“When I was younger I worked at a bike shop as a mechanic,” Scott said. “They had some mountain bikes, and I thought that would be fun, so I started riding those.”
Eventually he was riding in national competitions and collecting walls of trophies.
“Now, we just do it for fun and to get a little bit of exercise. If you want a trophy it’s less expensive to go to a trophy shop and buy one.”
Riding over rough terrain, dirt trails and steep hills wasn’t anything new for Steph.
“I was riding dirt bikes when I was 7 or 8,” she said. “Mountain bikes were different, but Kyle got me into it.”
She adapted to having a two-cycle motor on a dirt bike to get her where she wants to go instead of pushing her endurance by pedaling.
“It’s pretty much the same, except with a dirt bike you’re going a lot faster and things come up on you pretty fast, so you have to be thinking ahead. And, on a mountain bike you can stop a lot faster if you get into trouble.”
Before she ever put on the motorcycle racing leathers and mountain bike Spandex, she had a different kind of horsepower under her and wore a completely different type of riding gear.
As an equestrian, she rode an English saddle and wore riding apparel like breeches, high riding boots and a riding helmet. She even donned the traditional red coat of fox hunting back in southeastern Pennsylvania.
“But it isn’t a blood sport there like it is in England,” she said. “The fox always survives.”
Kyle started riding dirt bikes after mountain bikes to get the feel of a motor at his fingertips.
“Actually,” he said, “I started riding dirt bikes to learn how to ride street bikes.”
He was working at a motorcycle supply store in Gilbert when the owner suggested he might get a first-hand idea of what he was selling if he rode a motorcycle.
It wasn’t long before those mountain bike competitive juices kicked in again.
He was doing high-speed track days and racing motorcycles on road courses where he was putting his knee down on the asphalt as part of the raucous Team Bling Racing group that followed the circuit at places like Firebird and Arroyo Seca in Deming, N.M.
While Kyle and Steph both have a competitive nature, there isn’t any real rivalry on the track, on the mountain trails or running full throttle across the desert.
“Kyle’s faster on the track,” Steph said, “but I got my knee down for the first time a couple of weeks ago at that new track in Willcox.”
Although they came from different riding backgrounds they gravitated to the same recreational destination.
“We sort of came from different directions and ended up in about the same place,” Steph added. “We didn’t plan it.”
They are more than weekend warriors. When they don’t load up the motorcycles for a trip, they’re riding from their home to South Mountain most evenings or early mornings.
“We’ve met one other couple who ride motorcycles and mountain bikes,” Steph said. “So I guess that makes us kind of unique. It’s just figuring out what we want to ride that day and where we’re going to go.”