By Billy Rainford
Wow, I gained an entire day! I went through all of yesterday thinking it was Monday. I guess because we raced Friday and Saturday this past weekend I went into autopilot and figured it was Saturday and Sunday. I felt guilty about not doing a Monday Morning Coffee column yesterday because I went straight to a race recap article (Read it HERE) and now here I am with nothing to say on an actual Monday!
I was messing around with my mountain bike earlier and it got to thinking about the very first one I ever owned. In fact, it was given to me by my cousin who won it and didn’t really know what it was or what to do with it!
It was 1984, I think, and he won a Pepsi contest and the first prize was some new-fangled kind of bicycle that you rode on the trails. He had no use for it but knew that I raced motocross and figured I would put it to good use.
I remember throwing it into our trailer on race days and feeling pretty cool as I rode around the pits the riders meetings at Hully Gully or Motopark. Sure, these types of bikes had, by that time, been around for a couple years, but mostly just floating around Marin County in California with the Original “Stumpjumper” and things like that.
Here’s an interesting little blurb on the History of the Mountain Bike:
From: Furious Bikes
The commercial Mountain Bike evolution didn’t start until 1974 and its first production bikes didn’t appear in stores until about 10 years later. In other words, it’s a relatively new machine and sport. Not surprisingly, California commercialized, if not started it all. There, a band of reckless young men started racing down the root-strewn trails of the Northern California mountains atop home-made bicycles. They rode balloon-tired, coaster-braked, spring-seated bikes with motorcycle brake levers and old 10-speed thumb-shifters. Gary Fisher was one of those bike-makers and has become somewhat the commercial “Father” of Mountain Bikes for his early efforts.
Four years later, in 1978, Gary rode his original bike down Repack Hill in 4 minutes, 22 seconds. Gary survived and at this writing, his record still stands.Because those early bikes had inadequate low gear ratios, Gary and his fellow riders had to push their bikes back up the hill, like sleds, for another ride down.
While the Californians refined their downhill bicycles, a group of East Coast riders were building their own version of the Mountain Bike for the rocky wooded trails of New England. The most promising work being done by a young cyclist named Chris Chance.
His first bike design, dubbed the “Fat Chance,” was outfitted with fat tires, of course, but Chris also re-welded the frame incorporating some radical geometric changes he thought would help him stay in the saddle while negotiating the single-lane paths snaking up, over, down and around the rocks, stumps and streams in the New England woods. His design used shortened chainstays, (horizontal tubes holding the rear wheel) which placed the rider more squarely over the back tire where climbing traction was needed. He used steeper head angles (the angle of the front fork) for quicker steering response. The result was a compact, responsive bicycle made for the woods. He didn’t stop there. Chance raised the bottom bracket which holds the crank/bearing assembly to give his bikes more ground clearance for rocks and stumps and he added a third front chainring for more low climbing gears.
Heck, it was bound to happen. In the summer of 1983, Chris Chance and Gary Fisher met at a closed-for-the-summer Ski Resort in Crested Butte, Montana and a year later, in 1984, the Mountain Bike as we know it was being delivered to bike stores. A new sport had arrived. There were undoubtedly scores of other design contributors whose names, rightly or wrongly, have been overshadowed by the fame of Chance and Fisher. I acknowledge and salute them too. Forgive me, this is the Readers Digest version.
OK, where was I again?
This thing wasn’t fancy of really all that beefy, by today’s standards, but it was just different enough to make people ask questions.
Man, now that I think about it, I’m not sure if it was even a Pepsi contest at all! It was a soft drink brand is all I can really remember now. Mountain Dew? I am pretty sure it was a Raleigh though.
All I know is that it didn’t last me very long. I managed to get the forks to bend out at a dangerous angle like a chopper and the gears definitely wrapped up and around the chain stay a few times when I took it on the actual river trails around London.
Before these mountain bikes, we all had our BMX bikes. I had a really cool Team Mongoose bike for a few years until I bent the expensive cranks on it and never really got it going properly again.
In fact, one year, I had 2 Kawasaki KX 80’s in the shed and we were broken into one night. All they took was the Mongoose BMX bike and left the dirt bikes where they were!
I actually found it leaning on the wall outside our local bike shop one day, so we went inside and confronted everyone in there until we found the person who “owned” it. The bike found its way back into my shed, but I’d moved on by that time and just ended up selling it.
Man, now that I think about it, I also caught a person riding one of my stolen mountain bikes around the Western University campus one April afternoon.
It was actually a Gary Fisher, as mentioned in the story above, and my buddy and I were “cruising the campus” in his Jeep when the unmistakably blue Fisher MTB went riding by.
We circled around and gave chase as the rider tried to act casual but lost his cool when he tried to hop a curb and deke into a walkway. We went around the block to the street but ended up losing him.
We were about to head home but I said, “Let’s just go over by the campus again, just in case...”
Sure enough, here he comes directly at us. Kris put the Jeep on an angle in the road and I jumped out and ran at him.
He just pulled over and asked what was up. I said, “Well, you’re clearly riding my stolen bike.” He went into some planned story about how he’d bought it at a race in Michigan and blah, blah, blah. Nice try, man.
I said, “Whatever. Let’s go back to my place to see if the serial number matches my receipt.” So, we threw him and the bike into the Jeep and went back to my place where it was found, of course, that it was my bike.
We kept the bike but not before he could ask, “Can I at least keep my wheels?” Hell no! But we were nice enough to give him a ride back to his house, which would prove to be his downfall.
When my parents came home, we decided to call the police because, for one reason, we’d put it through the house insurance and I’d already had a new Fisher to replace it.
We were able to tell the cops exactly where he lived, and when they paid him a little visit, it turned out he had nearly 100 bikes in his basement! He was responsible for almost all of the bike theft at the university.
We actually ended up in court and I had to do the classic, “…and can you point to the individual here in the court room?” “That’s him over there, your honour” was all I had to do that day in court.
It’s Monday, right?! I can’t remember why you called…
Remind me to tell the story about when I got mobbed by street kids downtown with a store’s deposit in my hand and lost another MTB. That was a scary one!
Canadians on Top at Denver Endurocross
- Trystan Hart 2-3-2
- Taddy Blazusiak 4-1-2
- Cody Webb 3-2-5
- Jonny Walker 6-7-3
- Cooper Abbott 8-4-4
- Tim Apolle 5-8-6
- Colton Haaker 1-12-7
- Ty Cullins 7-5-12
- William Riordan 9-10-10
- Nick Thompson 10-14-8
- Shelby Turner
- Louise Forsley
- Rachel Gutish
- Hallie Marks
- Allie Stambaugh
Full results HERE.
Next Round: Prescott, AZ October 22
The Corduroy Enduro
With everything going on the past few weeks, we still haven’t sat down to do a podcast interview with our off-road guy Jared Stock! He’s just done the ISDE in France and now the Corduroy Enduro.
I’ve sent him a message this morning to try and set aside some time for him to tell us some stories from the woods. We’ll be sure to make it happen, eventually…
In case you either aren’t familiar or simply haven’t seen this yet, check out this video put together from this year’s event:
- Lexi Pechout
- Melissa Harten
- Veronique Pellerin-Chaine
- Kristen Broderick
- Marie-Claude Boudreau
- Megan Sharpless
- Rose Lantaigne
- Katherine Boisvert
- Marie Ann Antoine
- Stephanie Yankovich
- Russell Bobbitt
- Philippe Chaine
- Ryder Heacock
- Jeremie Lanthier
- Alexandre Gougeon
- Cameron Harris
- Jarred Jonker
- Jared Stock
- Owen McKill
Full results HERE.
Anyone have a bike I can use for 2023? Did I just say that? Let’s pretend I didn’t. Hey, Greg Poisson, I’ll do it next year if you will!
OK, that got me through 2 cups, so I hope it got you through one to start the week. I’ll get to work on some ‘Faces at the Races‘ from Sarina and the MXON.
We’ll be at Sand Del Lee on Thursday and Friday trying out the new 2023 Yamaha YZ450F. I’ll be repping it in my 2023 Leatt “Citrus Tiger” gear, so I won’t be able to hide, as much as I may want to! It’s one of my favourite tracks to ride, so I’m looking forward to it. Watch for lots of coverage from the 2-days later this week.
Have a great week, everyone.
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