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Mountain Bikers Take on the World

Ten years ago mountain bikes were available as custom-order items made in lots of 1 to 10 by a handful of garage-shop torch bearers in northern California. And mountain biking offered nothing more than pick-up contests with finish lines scratched in the dirt, the refuge of independent wanderers seeking quick relief from car campers and their trailers. Fisher Mountain Bikes ”Otis Guy and Joe Breeze convinced Gary Fisher and I to take our bikes up the mountain on the trails that wound around on their way down,” said Charles Kelly, the original sales manager for what would become the first mountain bike company of record  and noted chronicler of the nascent sport’s activities. ”The bikes were so much poorer performers than road bikes of the time.” Kelly said, ”It was the woods experience, not the riding experience, that got your attention. But because most of us had good road bikes we had an idea of how good a bike could be.” Breeze, Guy and a couple of other area craftsmen applied the lightweight, multigeared technology of contemporary road bicycles to the sturdy newspaperboy designs they had grown up on. They created a light, comfortable bicycle able to withstand treatment that would make a 4 x 4 pickup truck junkyard fodder. When mass manufacturers began producing the new bikes in the early 80’s, mountain biking grew more quickly than anything since rock and roll. Outdoors people of every stripe began using mountain bikes for an intense aerobic workout with the intimate access to nature. According to the Bicycle Federation of America, the bikes now account for 50 percent or 7.5 million of the bicycles sold annually in the United States. ”We ride straight-in and go beyond the sound range of cars,” said Bob Windauer, describing his approach to hunting on wheels. […]