Saturday, June 16, 2007
Clunker bikes, "inventing" mountain bikes and cyclocross
So, I stumbled upon this link to a website dedicated to the men who first "invented" mountain biking. I use quotations around invented because, in all of the articles I've ever read about the birth of mountain biking, there is never a mention of cyclocross.
The link above is cool and tells a great story. But again, that story always fails to remember that what they did in Marin County in the 70's was already done in Europe in the 20's.
Cyclocross was born many decades before... mountain bikes ever came along. Originally, they were a hodgepodge of hand me down road bike parts and results from the scavenging of a rider's road bike. They were creations to be muddied and ridden hard. They were frankenbikes.
Sixty years later not far from where I was born in Northern California, some guys took some cruisers with coaster brakes and modified them to be ridden in the dirt. And a "revolution" was born.
It is cool to hear about the guys that first "invented" mountain biking, guys with last names like Fisher and Bontrager and the like. Here's a direct quote:
A revolutionary moment in this history occurred three or four years ago, when Gary Fisher got the idea of putting a ten-speed dérailleur assembly on a balloon-tired bicycle. (Gary, who is acknowledged in these parts as being the first person to create such a hybrid, is a lightweight bicycle road racer, who also happens to hold the record time on the local clunker downhill race course, the Repack.) It took some fiddling, of course, European dimensions vs. American, but when it was finished, the result was a bicycle that not only would roll down the hilly dirt trails, it could also be pedaled back up them. It could be ridden over deer and cow trails, and unlike dirt motorcycles, it could easily be carried over fallen logs and gullies. And it was quiet!
Sounds like a cyclocross bike to me. A bike that can go down hills, over cow trails and can be lifted over logs? Thats a cross bike dudes! Surely 27" wheels roll down a hill just as fast as 26" ones do.
Today, if you browse over to the Fisher website, the concept of the 29'er bike is all the latest rage. Wow! All hail the mountain bikers who once again reinvented the cross bike, again.
at 10:42 PM