Tag Archives: Marin County

The Birthplace of Mountain Bikes

There is a great amount of history regarding mountain biking in California, and all over the world. It is often questioned where the birthplace of mountain bicycles. Despite the controversies, and misconceptions I believe Marin County is the birthplace of modern day mountain bicycles.

The first effective high quality bicycle was built in Marin County; California by Joe Breeze had large, wide tires. Joe Breeze acknowledged the need for this specific type of bicycle after riding the unstable ridged trails of Mount Tamalpias. In 1977 Joe built a fat- tire bike that consisted of lightweight metal tubing that was only found on particular road bikes. “It had all new, high-quality parts and 26″ x 2.125″ Uniroyal “Knobby” tires on Schwinn S2 rims and Phil Wood hubs.” Joe Breeze constructed the rest of the bike by using specific parts from his Schwinn Excelsior. Joe Breeze had constructed ten of these specific types of bicycles by 1978.

In January of 1979 Joe Breeze, and his partner Otis Guy gave a visit to Tom Ritchey. At the time Tom Ritchey was constructing the frames to many of the bikes Joe had Otis had been riding. When they paid him a visit, they brought along Joe Breeze’s current custom modified bicycle. When they visited Tom Ritchey, Peter Johnson, and another man were existent. Peter and the other man were very well known frame builders. Tom and the other men were very impressed with Joe Breeze’s custom bicycle. The modifications of the bicycle, and these various features it offered intrigued them.

Gary Fisher heard of these fat tire custom bicycles due the fact they were talk of the town within the cycling community. Gary Fisher was very interested in the bicycles and asked Tom Richey to construct one for him. Tom built one for himself, one for Gary Fisher, and one for Gary to attempt to sell. Later that year Tom began to construct more of the frames for the bicycles. Tom couldn’t find any one interested in purchasing the frames in his hometown Palo Alto, so he asked Gary Fisher to attempt to sell them a little ways away in Marin County. Gary Fisher and his colleague Charlie Kelly yielded a small amount of income, and began their first company called “MountainBike.” This company later became known as Gary Fisher which was the first solely mountain bicycle business.

charliekelly500

Charlie Kelly above

This blog post was made possible thanks to:

http://sheldonbrown.com/brandt/mtb-history.html

http://sanfrancisco.about.com/od/klunkerzbillysavage/ss/klunkerzphotos_5.htm