Eric Melson

Age: 28 | Vitals: 5’10″, 165 lbs. | Years Riding: 14 | Current Residence: McCall, Idaho / Missoula, Montana


I was hatched in the ultra-conservative sprawl of Colorado Springs, home to two military bases, more churches per-capita than anywhere in the state, and (arguably) Colorado’s best singletrack. My pops loved spending long weekends in the hills, and from an early age I spent lots of time hiking 14ers and camping out of his rusty ’67 Chevy pickup.

I was about twelve when I got my first real bike, a beat-to-hell GT VFR 20” BMX bike I got at a garage sale. The movie RAD was my inspiration for a BMX bike, and, as corny as it sounds, I wanted be like Cru Jones and Bart Taylor. (Who didn’t?) So I took the VFR home, immediately found that it had two flats and a ton of other problems, and decided that I wanted to paint it chrome (rattle can), install some pegs, and learn some “tricks.”

What this resulted in was several massive scars I still wear proudly on my shins, and a serious love affair with bicycles. I quickly graduated from the VFR to a used Nishiki Manatoba a friend of mine had outgrown, which I turned into a kick-ass trials bike that I regret getting rid of…It had neon yellow Sugino trails cranks.

Eric Melson, Blister Gear Review

I went through a trials phase for a few years, competed in a few events, started to get bored hopping around for hours on end and not going anywhere, and then one day ran into future BLISTER bike reviewer Noah Bodman jumping stair sets on the Colorado College campus. He was doubling down to the bottom set, something that blew my freakin’ mind. I’d seen Kranked (the original MTB porn) about a million times, imagined Noah to be one of the dudes on the big screen, and thought, “I can do that.”

The Nishitty was upgraded to an Azonic DS-1 dirt jump bike, a bike that I progressed on more than any other in my life thus far. I spent every waking moment thrashing that thing at the local jump trails and around town. I’d ride to class seeing how many concrete squares I could manual with a backpack on. My lunch breaks in high school consisted of eating in the hallway on my way to the bike rack, then bunny hopping backpacks in the courtyard before returning inside. I was 15 when I got my first job at a bike shop where I turned wrenches until I graduated and moved to Fort Collins for college.

During my formative, university years, I continued to wrench at a local shop, spending all my money on discounted parts and bikes, and riding the blissful trails of Northern Colorado. I dabbled in racing slalom and 4x, and even entered a DH race with good results. But something about competing on bikes never struck me as fun, so I went back to shop rides and shredding with dirt bags who I still call friends.

After graduating from Colorado State University with a B.S. in Natural Resource Management, I took an internship with a non-profit wilderness organization in Montana, wanting to become a paid U.S. Forest Service Wilderness Ranger. It’s a romantic job really: you get paid to go backpacking for ten days at a time, self supported, into the most remote and wildest areas left in the U.S. The internship morphed into a full-time position as the Programs Director for the Selway-Bitterroot Frank Church Foundation, and my passion for stewarding the last wild places in Idaho and Montana couldn’t be stronger.

When I’m not leading volunteer trail maintenance projects for weeks on end, I try to ride as much as possible and like finding obscure trails in central Idaho and western Montana. My ideal trail would be steep and technical with lots of roots and rocks, loamy soil that you can carve, with built features to huck. I like going fast, and I like jumping large gaps. I can hang on the uphill, but prefer to take my time and spend all my energy hanging on through the chunder.

Eric Melson, Blister Gear Review

I split my time between McCall, Idaho during the field season and Missoula, Montana for my winter office work. I make frequent trips for work to Spokane and Boise, and generally any city adjacent to the Selway-Bitterroot and Frank Church Wilderness areas, and usually always travel with a bike or three.

Some Favorite Bike Equipment:
FOX suspension, SRAM drivetrain, Deity bars, e.thirteen guides, ODI ruffians

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