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  1. #1
    Retro on Steroids
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    It was 40 Years Ago Today

    Actually the anniversary is tomorrow. It was filmed on January 20, 1979. This is hardly the first tine this has been posted here, but because it's a nice round numbered anniversary, I thought I would give it another mention.

    You may have seen a few frames of this in the film "Klunkerz." (Hi, Billy!)

    In late 1978 producer from a local TV station had heard about this crazy downhill race involving a bunch of hippies in Fairfax. He tracked me down and asked if I would put on a race for the TV cameras.

    Of course.

    When the gang heard that it would be filmed, turnout was huge. The video was broadcast on the local CBS affiliate on a program called "Evening Magazine." Later it was shown again on the national broadcast of the same program, the first time the public was exposed to this new sport which had not yet been named "mountain biking."

    Gary Fisher gets off a great line when asked how long this had been going on. "It's been going on as long as people have been riding bikes. For us it's been just the last five years or so, and in that time it's come a long way, and it's GOING a long way."

    If you're attentive, you can see a quick shot of Tom Ritichey on Wende Cragg's Schwinn clunker. He was there at the invitation of Joe Breeze. Later that year Gary Fisher would ask Tom to build a couple of these new bikes.


  2. #2
    Up In Smoke
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    Cool post. I'd rather be klunking

  3. #3
    CS2
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    IMO klunkers were invented in Ohio in the 1960ís. I remember stripping the fenders and chain guard off our old Schwinnís. Then taking them out in the woods. We were really young and didnít have access to welding or a machine shop. So we rode the piss out them everywhere else but on the road.
    Of course Iím being facetious but riding an old Schwinn off road was going on long before the Marin County gang turned it into a business. The first time my brother saw a klunker he said hey thatís exactly what we did in the sixties. Then only difference is we didnt get rich or famous.
    A garage full of steel frames means happiness.

  4. #4
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    IMO klunkers were invented in Ohio in the 1960ís. I remember stripping the fenders and chain guard off our old Schwinnís. Then taking them out in the woods. We were really young and didnít have access to welding or a machine shop. So we rode the piss out them everywhere else but on the road.
    Of course Iím being facetious but riding an old Schwinn off road was going on long before the Marin County gang turned it into a business. The first time my brother saw a klunker he said hey thatís exactly what we did in the sixties. Then only difference is we didnt get rich or famous.
    In the '70s, the landscape was littered with 'klunkers,' old Schwinns whose fenders, chain guards and tanks had long fallen off. so Gary Fisher and I picked up a couple to use for town bikes instead of our Italian racing bikes.

    One day in 1973 this guy says to me and Gary, "Remember when we were kids, and we rode our bikes on trails? Let's take your town bikes out on some trails." Which we did, and kept doing.

    But yes, the inspiration of that first ride was to do something we had done 20 years earlier when we were in grade school, that millions of other kids had also done.

  5. #5
    Retro on Steroids
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    Quote Originally Posted by CS2 View Post
    Then only difference is we didn't get rich or famous.
    A couple of other 'differences' between us and you and your brother [and the hundreds of other people who have told me the same thing] is that you didn't put on dozens of organized races for such bikes, you didn't start modifying those old bikes for off road use with gears and improved brakes, you didn't design and build new versions from scratch with modern tubing, and you didn't rent a building to build bikes in to sell to anyone with money.

    But other than that, I agree, you guys were just like us. I didn't get rich either.

  6. #6
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Very cool to see that. Thanks. Particularly dug the long play Jet Airliner piece.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the post. It is a great reminder of what this thing we call mountain biking is all about.
    On MTBR, the reputation is infamous.

  8. #8
    Cycologist
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    Thanks for the post, RR, I always enjoy your contributions to this site.

    Put me on the list of kids who road their bikes off road. You guys were the ones who figured out that it's still a blast to do so when you're adult!
    Quote Originally Posted by Oh My Sack! View Post
    Remember, there's always quilting and knitting if pedalling becomes too tough.

  9. #9
    Phobia of petting zoos.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Repack Rider View Post
    Gary Fisher gets off a great line when asked how long this had been going on. "It's been going on as long as people have been riding bikes. For us it's been just the last five years or so, and in that time it's come a long way, and it's GOING a long way."
    I think that's a wonderful line. It acknowledges that people have been riding bikes off road long before your crew started doing it. It notes that you guys had been doing for some time, and in that time making progress on how you built the bikes. Most of all, there is that "watch this space" at the end.

    Of course if Gary said "One day you'll be riding carbon fibre bikes with 29 x 3" tyres, with electronic shifting and hydraulic disc brakes and air sprung suspension at each end" he may have come off like a weirdo.

    Grumps

  10. #10
    Co Springs
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    It would be cool to say I rode bikes on trails and in the woods before it was a thing but even if so, it wouldn't take anything away from the real pioneers of climbing, nature rides , racing or the down hill runs on the those crude pieces of steel as shared in the video.
    It's appreciated.

    I completely missed out and was overly enthused with mini bikes and motorcycles in those days. In the woods or on trails though.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    It would be cool to say I rode bikes on trails and in the woods before it was a thing but even if so, it wouldn't take anything away from the real pioneers of climbing, nature rides , racing or the down hill runs on the those crude pieces of steel as shared in the video.
    It's appreciated.

    I completely missed out and was overly enthused with mini bikes and motorcycles in those days. In the woods or on trails though.
    I had a Schwinn cruiser that I made into a Stingray which I rode on motorcycle trails in the early 1970ís, 1971íish. After a few years of that I then went right into dirt bikes and skipped over bicycling on dirt again until the 1990ís. The Schwinn cruiser made into a Stingray was a great trail bike. Large wheels with large tires got the job done. Iíd like to think I had something to do with pioneeering the sport of mountain biking as well.
    Quote Originally Posted by mileslong View Post
    I passionately remove rocks and corners and other stuff I find too hard to ride.

  12. #12
    Co Springs
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    Quote Originally Posted by DIRTJUNKIE View Post
    I had a Schwinn cruiser that I made into a Stingray which I rode on motorcycle trails in the early 1970ís, 1971íish. After a few years of that I then went right into dirt bikes and skipped over bicycling on dirt again until the 1990ís. The Schwinn cruiser made into a Stingray was a great trail bike. Large wheels with large tires got the job done. Iíd like to think I had something to do with pioneeering the sport of mountain biking as well.
    Can't help but think if a friend would have walked over to me and said;
    "Hey jump off that dirt bike and lets go ride the trails on bicycles for some real fun". I'd have thought he inhaled the worst we had going around school in those days- Bad Trip - lol

    Not sure I'd have believed someone telling me riding a bicycle speaks to the mind and soul. Kids of a certain age are not much of a captive audience aside from concerts and weekend parties.
    I'd like to think that missed opportunity would have spoke to me though. Maybe a ride through the woods and dirt roads with a grandaprent when I was 12 or 15 or something... I like that thought.
    In the Middle Ages, the biggest mistake was not putting on your armor because you were 'just going down to the corner.'

  13. #13
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    Thanks Charlie, had I grown up in your area, I guarantee I wouldve been there right with you guys.
    I was 16 at the time of this video, I was getting a little old for BMX( or at least it wasnt cool at that time) but always thought about having a bike more scaled to my now taller size, that we could take up in the local hills( Marshall Canyon, GMR, etc. in So Cal.

    Anyway, I remember talking to you( and that being a highlight of that trip) a lot about this subject at SeaOtter 2018, it was great listening and learning from you, about the sport we all love.
    EXODUX Jeff

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