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  1. #1
    Retro on Steroids
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    A Chance to Write the Bible

    I just signed a book deal with Velo Press for an account of my bicycle-related activities between 1970 and 1990. They expect a manuscript to be delivered in late spring. The editor threw the word "definitive" around after the deal was done. I had earlier rejected (through my agent, bless his heart) a deal from a different publisher that I found a little insulting.

    I figure I have one chance to tell the story of a pretty good bike adventure, and I hope they let me tell it as completely as I want to. Title is "Fat Tire Flyer." Where have I heard that? I'm not going to dignify the the "who did what" issues. I can tell you what I did and what I saw, in excruciating detail.

    I'm not the only participant in all these events, but I can't see any of the others defining that period the way I can. I have the luxury of having documented just about everything I did, through my magazine and my contributions to other publications, and by collecting everything written about us by others. I have every scrap of paper the experience generated, with one major exception. When my business relationship with Gary ended I had to leave behind the original files of the MountainBikes company, which would have been a gold mine but have long been dispersed and lost.

    Joe Breeze has his own files and could write a pretty good book about his bike adventures, but he probably won't. His would be an amazing autobiography, because Joe had incredible bike experiences before I met him that I have heard about and the rest of the world hasn't. He's a good writer, but he's not the sort who can sit down and churn out the words the way I can. I use Joe as my fact-checker and consultant in all technical matters, and you can't do any better than that. He is a major collaborator. Tom Ritchey and Gary Fisher have good stories also, but they will probably need editorial help to get them out. Hard to see those two glued to a keyboard for six weeks.

    It's up to me to do it right, because I don't see a lot of other first person accounts on the horizon. I'll try to live up to the opportunity.

  2. #2
    slow
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    I'm looking forward to reading it.

  3. #3
    velocipede technician
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    perfect thread title
    looking for 20-21" P team

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Dah! I thought you meant Chris Chance.
    Somec is like the digital Zunow
    And this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD5h3y0a9AU

  5. #5
    mtbr member
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    Very cool. Can't wait to see it. I think more of this needs to be done in the next 10 years.

  6. #6
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    Wow! Good luck! No easy undertaking writing a book.

  7. #7
    I'm just messing with you
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    Will it be the finished version of the partial history you shared a while back? That was pretty interesting.
    Chasing bears through the woods drunk with a dull hatchet is strongly not advised

  8. #8
    the new Gilbert Grape
    Reputation: laffeaux's Avatar
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    Great news!! Can I put in an order for an autographed copy?
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux View Post
    Great news!! Can I put in an order for an autographed copy?
    me too!
    WTB: Bontrager Comp Fork & Syncros metal top cap

  10. #10
    banned
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    Sounds like an excellent opportunity, and am certain it'll be a great read.
    Best of luck to keep that keyboard cranking.

  11. #11
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    I love Joe. Riding with him is pretty much one of the highlights of my life. I was so giddy to have met him and was stunned by what a nice and humble a man he is. I'm glad he's going to have a hand in this....Bible.

    Good luck, CK!

  12. #12
    shawnw
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    GOB, I think you need a bike built by JB, or designed by him

  13. #13
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    I tried. Didn't have the pocketbook.

  14. #14
    shawnw
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    I tried. Didn't have the pocketbook.
    How bout the one designed by JB, ya you know what I'm talking about

  15. #15
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by shawnw View Post
    How bout the one designed by JB, ya you know what I'm talking about
    no. :P

  16. #16
    Certified Bike Junkie
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    Sounds like this could be a cool book if you can get contributions and input from a bunch of the pioneers.
    Need: McMahon brake for roller cam mounts, Mountain Goat fork.

  17. #17
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by muddybuddy View Post
    Sounds like this could be a cool book if you can get contributions and input from a bunch of the pioneers.
    Who did you have in mind?

  18. #18
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    Who did you have in mind?
    You should talk to that guy that helped Gary Fisher get the whole thing started. ... assuming that he's still around.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  19. #19
    All Lefty's, all the time Moderator
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    Awesome! As someone who types a fair bit myself? Have fun with that!

    Can't wait to read it
    This is a Pugs not some carbon wannabee pretzel wagon!!

    - FrostyStruthers



    www.mendoncyclesmith.com

  20. #20
    mtbr member
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    Six weeks - wow - Go for it CK - don't hold back. Very happy for you. Of course I'll order when ready.

  21. #21
    artistic...
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    I am pretty sure you can do it in 6 days.

  22. #22
    Ambivalent Luddite
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    CK- reserve a signed copy for me, my "brush with greatness" with you was at the Ross Race in 1987. Do you recall that race? It rained the whole weekend & I still remember your comment about the people wearing garbage bags - "Mexican Gortex" was what you called it. My wife & I still talk about that.

    Thanks for all you have done, now is your time to shine.

  23. #23
    Master of the Face Plant
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    I would love a signed copy. I hope there are lots of pictures especially of some of the original Fat tire Flyers and race posters.
    http://www.nbbikes.com/
    ^^^Best Bike Shop of MTBR 2008^^^

  24. #24
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by muddybuddy View Post
    Sounds like this could be a cool book if you can get contributions and input from a bunch of the pioneers.
    I just got a response to my email to Tom Ritchey about this. He's in South Africa, but wants to talk about it when he returns in a couple of weeks. I'm also talking to Dave Garoutte about the TrailMaster. Anybody else? Oh, Gary, but we were joined at the hip for so long that his activities are not a mystery to me.

  25. #25
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    A graphic novel would be cool.

  26. #26
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    It would be fantastic to have page copies of the Fat Tire Flyer in the appendix.

  27. #27
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    Congratulations on your deal! Your FTF mag was always an exciting read. i still love them and if any of the early ones come up some how i would love to have my own collection. I agree you are a perfect person to take on this task and you will get it right because you were actually there and know the players. The years have blended memories and I'm sure the task will not be easy especially since you only have several weeks. As I read though the posts here it seems to me that time is of the essence and I thought of a few names that could help your assignment, but I'm sure you may already have them on your list.

    Of course you will be in touch with the Koski's (I will PM you DK's #... I did ask him if it was OK and he said that you can call him).
    I would also think you would consider Chris Paretich a source. (a good title for him would be "Third generation Larkspur Canyon Gang, MTB-Rider/Historian/Machinist" ) and also James McClean of the "Santa Barbara Scene" (One of the first MTB reps of many different brands, one of which I refuse to mention. hmmm, Could he have been a spy? He was up here the whole time, hanging out at the Cove...Just kidding JM.) He has binders full of articles from early on and knows the story from experience.
    With that said...the other side of the the hill (Mill Valley side) had a bunch of riders also that don't really get mentioned. What they were doing, instead of Repack, was hitching up to Pantoll from the 2 am club by way of people driving to Stinson and then Bombing Lone Tree Fire Road (the road now restored to native hillside, paralleled the Dipsea trail contours for some length) to the beach just to immediately turn around and hitch back to Mill Valley and again to the beach getting several runs a day.

    There are plenty of guys out there and stories to tell...Off the top of my head...I'm getting stuck on Mark's and M's for some reason....
    Mark at Paragon, Mark at WTB, Mark of Velo Tam, Mark Witz, Matt Hebdog...... and on through the bet.
    You have your work cut out for you.
    Keep it Roll'in Mr. Kelly.
    Sorry for the long windedness.
    Thank you.
    Here is a nice little picture from last Saturday's Derby/Bomb.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A Chance to Write the Bible-imag1398-1-1-.jpg  


  28. #28
    mtbr member
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    You gonna use Dink Bridger or John Castellano?

  29. #29
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by fos'l View Post
    It would be fantastic to have page copies of the Fat Tire Flyer in the appendix.
    I'm going through everything in my massive file cabinets as I work on the MS. Fortunately I wrote about much of what I was doing when I was doing it. The stories I wrote at the time are better than trying to dredge up a 30-year old experience. Many of the stories that ran in the FTF will be in the appendix, as well as work I did for the mainstream magazines.

    Regarding the Koskis, I said it on this site and it will appear in print that the Trailmaster was a better design than the Ritchey MountainBike, but no one at the time could match the number of bikes MountainBikes got out the door.

    In the process of composing this work, I have contacted a number of people active at the time, and I will include their thoughts when appropriate. However I am most comfortable describing events I took part in than commenting on the motives and activities of others.

  30. #30
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    As a long time rider I would love to hear about how things developed. Simple facts are fine, but it's the stories behind the facts that are what we all want. Lol IMHO.

    Good luck, do your absolute best, then set it down and be satisfied.

    Bill

  31. #31
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    I kind of skimmed the thread so I may have missed it but what will you do for photos? Do you only plan on using only older pics? It would be cool to add some photos from the recent SFO exhibit if they will let you.

  32. #32
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    wow...this is so cool...I'd like a signed copy also....and an audio book with you reading it...gotta be told with and older, wiser voice, and one thats been there so the feeling can come out.
    good luck!

  33. #33
    マスターの自転車整備士
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    CK,

    I'm in for a signed copy. And, if there is an audiobook, you HAVE to narrate it!

    Alan

  34. #34
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by stan lee View Post
    I kind of skimmed the thread so I may have missed it but what will you do for photos? Do you only plan on using only older pics? It would be cool to add some photos from the recent SFO exhibit if they will let you.
    There are a lot of graphics available. All the original Repack race posters, Joe's drawing for the first Breezer, and lots of Wende's and my own photos. I don't plan to add any from the SFO exhibit.

  35. #35
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    can i be you in the movie?

  36. #36
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by den haag View Post
    can i be you in the movie?
    Tommy Chong has the part.

  37. #37
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    i couldn't top that. and i got a hernia the last time i moved a grand piano, anyway! cheers

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by den haag View Post
    i couldn't top that. and i got a hernia the last time i moved a grand piano, anyway! cheers
    haha

  39. #39
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    Late spring?
    When would the book be out?
    I don't know book timelines, but assume it takes a while.

    What would it take to get you to Mn for a book signing in, say Sept 2014?

  40. #40
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldfatbaldguy View Post
    What would it take to get you to Mn for a book signing in, say Sept 2014?
    I'm sure the publisher has a publicity tour in mind, but my agent keeps reminding me that nothing will happen until I deliver the manuscript.

  41. #41
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    ha...so you got alot of work to do, sounds like alot of it is going through reams of old memories and photograhps of a time we all (that lurk here) definately daydream about....so whos gonna help with that?...what a job...VRC docs from the begining....i think it sounds to me like a joyous adventure for you, and we all get to reap the rewards of this memoir tapping...and you get some funding...everybody wins.....cannot wait.....

    are you going to keep us informed as time goes on so we arent pacing too much?
    Thanks!

  42. #42
    AM, monstercross, klunker
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    Repack Rider: My dad was your dentist and my parents still own the Ritcheys they bought from you and Gary at the Center Avenue shop. It's funny that my family has been telling everyone the "true history" of mountain biking since the late 80's after S-word stole the glory (those in the know still give credit where credit is due). My younger brother even interviewed you in sixth grade for a report on mountain biking. I would love to find that old report of his and pass it on to you for the archives. I'm sure you have been interviewed many times, but every piece of documentation is a unique window into that period in time "we who lurk here" are so nostalgic about. Please put me down for a few signed copies of the book. I'm looking forward to its publication.

    You may remember a nice blacked-out Intense FS rig in the garage of someone who you were helping to move a year or two back. He's my neighbor and I helped get him into the sport and build his bike. After you left, he called me and said, "you'll never guess who helped move my piano!" Needless to say, it was no guess. I knew it was you. Hope to see you around town.

    -Kevin (Dr. Smith's son)

  43. #43
    Sergeant Spandex
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    Quote Originally Posted by girlonbike View Post
    A graphic novel would be cool.

    That is an interesting idea...

  44. #44
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    I was young when BMX was king and MTB was no where to be found, just want to know if you have any ties there. Theres talk of some team from the area that whipped butt in Marin then but I never knew them although a guy named Jim was mentioned that I went to high school with but unsure if it's the Jim from the famous one time race of the boys from Cupertino. I was in the mix in the early/mid 70's in Cupertino with the boys from the area and raced with Dan O, Fast Fred, Nate J and the rest. If you did any BMX are you going to include that in the book and leave a note to whom they may be? I'm not leaving last names because I don't know what has happened to them.
    Too many bikes, and just enough time to ride them.

  45. #45
    Retro on Steroids
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    I never rode BMX and there is none in the book. I delivered the MS in June, collected my advance against royalties, and now I am waiting for a host of other issues to be dealt with before the big payday.

    The editor is coming out in a couple of weeks to meet with me, Joe Breeze and Wende Cragg to select images. After that there is artwork and layout, discussions on what form the product will take, price point, publicity, and a bunch of other stuff I never thought about.

    Velo-Press promised me a booth to sign copies for the next trade show, which is depressingly far off.

  46. #46
    rismtb
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    Thanks for being the "keeper of the history key". Its hard for me to wrap my head around the amount of time you have volunteered to make **** happen. Not only from the beginning 30+ yrs ago but all thru your life including this forum to pass the news or give advice on some thing new. i know from experience that most riders are "apathetic" when asked to do something for nothing or just for the good of the sport. It's always been like that I don't expect it to change. This book you should make your own because the personal experience stories are the most intriguing. Maybe on the inside cover a nice pic of the pope JFS. Anyway I won't take you away from your task at hand , can't wait to buy,read,hear,ride,party,give thanks to people responsible for changing the world for the better

  47. #47
    gobsmacked Moderator
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    I never rode BMX and there is none in the book. I delivered the MS in June, collected my advance against royalties, and now I am waiting for a host of other issues to be dealt with before the big payday.

    The editor is coming out in a couple of weeks to meet with me, Joe Breeze and Wende Cragg to select images. After that there is artwork and layout, discussions on what form the product will take, price point, publicity, and a bunch of other stuff I never thought about.

    Velo-Press promised me a booth to sign copies for the next trade show, which is depressingly far off.
    Hang in there. I feel for ya! Looking forward to your big payday, CK!

  48. #48
    the new Gilbert Grape
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    Can't wait to see (and own) the final product!!
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  49. #49
    VRC Illuminati
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    Definitely buying one!
    -eric-

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    Wanted: NDS Suntour XC Pro Microdrive 175mm Crank Arm.

  50. #50
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    Me too! I'm also working my way through all your posts here, you're about the most interesting poster on MTBR. Not trying to kiss your butt, just thanking you for sharing your war-stories; such an asset to this community, it's so awesome that someone with your background and experience is willing to share.
    Denver Broncos: 101-3 since 1975 when scoring 30+ at home.

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