Praise for Fat Tire Flyer!

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie Kelly“For the mountain biker on your gift list, grab a copy of Charlie Kelly’s Fat Tire Flyer. One of the sport’s founding fathers, Kelly tells the most honest and complete history of the sport’s earliest days, dating all the way back to the days when ‘mountain biking’ was nothing more than a bunch of hippies bombing down Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais. The sport has come a long way since those days, but the story of how it all got started is one not to be missed.” — Bicycling

“Several histories of the invention of the mountain bike have been published, but Charlie Kelly is indisputably the man to tell the story. In Fat Tire Flyer, he relates it with attention to detail and storytelling flair. It is the definitive account.” — Wall Street Journal

“Kelly’s new book, Fat Tire Flyer is a true, firsthand look at the wild beginnings of the sport of mountain biking with never before seen photos, artwork and memorabilia.” — Dirt Rag magazine

“Best known for chronicling the early days of mountain biking as publisher of the sport’s first periodical, Charlie Kelly is legitimately one of the handful of Founding Fathers of the sport.” — Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

Fat Tire Flyer is a fresh look at the awesome band of crazies who created the sport.” — MTBR.com

Fat Tire Flyer is the first book to provide a detailed insider’s account of the birth of the mountain bike, a machine that had numerous fathers but was the product of a very particular time and place. Fat Tire Flyer may not be about road bikes and Euro-style but it is not just about a new technology coming to life. It is about unforgettable characters, good friends, good times and having fun on your bike. That is something all cyclists should be able to relate to and enjoy.” — PezcyclingNews.com

“Kelly candidly tells the story of the rock-n-roll-soaked years that led up to [Repack], as well as the business he started a few years later, MountainBikes, with his other roommate, Gary Fisher…Fat Tire Flyer is a terrific read, although it’ll probably make you want to put the book down, dust off that clunker that’s been buried in the garage, and head for the hills.” — WinkBooks.com

“Packed with color photos, posters, cartoons and pictures of early mountain bikes from Kelly’s extensive archives, Fat Tire Flyer is being billed as ‘the definitive history of one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century.’”— Marin Independent Journal

“With Fat Tire Flyer, we now have the most complete, first-hand documentation available of the mountain biking culture that resulted in a movement and industry that, even today, sees more mountain bikes being sold than any other type of bike…Fifty years from now, this book will still be the definitive work on the roots of mountain bikes.” — USCyclingReport.com

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyFat Tire Flyer is the unbelievable true story of the invention of mountain biking, as told by the people who were there: Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and many more of the Repack crew. We’ll offer sneak peeks at the book here on fattireflyer.com, but we hope you’ll order the book today from your local bike shop, bookstore, or from these online retailers.

Please subscribe to Fat Tire Flyer using the box at the top right of this page or join us on Facebook!

VeloPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local independent bookstores

 

Repack: The World’s First Mountain Bike Racecourse

This excerpt is from the chapter on Repack from Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie Kelly.

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyWith a growing circle of clunker owners, by 1976 there were all sorts of informal group activ­ities. Those of us who didn’t have to report daily to a form of employment started taking group rides, often throwing the bikes into the back of Fred’s pickup truck and taking them out to a new place to explore, such as Point Reyes National Seashore or Bolinas Ridge, which were inviting but a little remote to ride to from Fairfax. We pushed and ped­aled to the top of Mount Barnabe and Pine Moun­tain and lesser peaks in between and explored every trail in the backcountry of Marin County, learning the lay of the land better than any but the rangers who patrolled it.

Before anyone thought to make rules about such things, we found every singletrack in the Water District and kicked off the primary political aspect of mountain biking when we offended hik­ers and equestrians by our mere presence in places once used only for their activities.

The first “Appetite Seminar” had taken place on Thanksgiving Day, 1975, when a dozen or so rid­ers took a lap of the Pine Mountain Loop, the idea being that a long ride would set us up for a big din­ner. The finish of the seminar was an exhilarating run down Repack, and the ride served as an intro­duction to it for the participants. Although the idea was spontaneous, we repeated it the following year. The Appetite Seminar is now the longest-running annual mountain bike event in the world and has become a Bay Area holiday tradition for upwards of a thousand mountain bikers.

Even with the new gearing, the bikes were still impossibly heavy, and pushing the bike efficiently was as much of an art as riding it. Sometimes pushing was faster even in areas where riding was possible. Trudging for half an hour up a steep hill beside a 50-pound clunker was not what most peo­ple consider fun, but we didn’t mind. It wasn’t any harder than trying to stay with the flying peloton in a road bike race, and even the trudging turned into a slow-motion speed contest as a couple of grim, sweaty riders tried to match each other stride for stride at 2 miles an hour. The reward for these efforts was standing on the peak, then shredding the dirt road back down.

As the group rides grew, perhaps a dozen clunker riders would push off a peak after picnick­ing at the top and recovering from the trudge it took to get there. This was the rush we had been working for all day, and we wanted all of it. Two or three riders are manageable on a fire road, but the groups were now bigger. “Dicing” on the downhill started to be a problem when everyone was equally competitive but not equal in size. It became obvious that you didn’t want to try to pass one of the bigger riders, who would ride you off a cliff to preserve his lead in a “race” that hadn’t really been declared. Pure downhill was fun, but fighting another rider for the fast line through the turn was a distraction. Eating dust and not being able to see the road was a bummer and so was having another guy stick his elbow in your ear. Everyone liked to see the road with no one in front and all options open, but on any given ride only one rider seemed to.

Repack course map Fat Tire Flyer

The long rides and slow walks up hills gave us plenty of time to discuss every possible subject to death. We must have discussed the idea of holding a downhill race for hours over a period of weeks before it all came together at the top of Repack on the morning of October 21, 1976. Not many sports can trace their birth to such a specific time, date, and location. As that date approached, and we discussed what we wanted to do, our perspec­tive was different. We figured that we would settle one nagging question: Who among us was actually the fastest downhill rider? The once-and-for-all aspect was clear: Why would we ever want to go to all this trouble again to settle something that we settled to everyone’s satisfaction on October 21?

If the race was downhill, Repack was the obvi­ous place to hold it because it was the most chal­lenging hill we knew, and it was in a perfect location just outside of Fairfax. It was well outside of the popular hiking routes and was virtually unknown to anyone at the time who didn’t ride on it, so we could be reasonably sure that we wouldn’t meet the local chapter of the Sierra Club on a Sunday hike. The average grade is about 14 percent, but parts are much steeper. The road winds along the top of a ridge separating two drainages that meet at the bottom. Because it twists so much, sightlines are more limited than speed, so the rider has to con­tinually accelerate into the unknown around the next bend.

The descent is 1,300 feet of elevation over 2 miles, and the only limit to how fast you can go was how fast you want to go. There are huge ruts, deep ditches, hard switchback turns, and loose surfaces on off-camber turns to skid you over the edge.

Sounds like . . . fun.

For more about Repack and the first Appetite Seminar, please pick up a copy of Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking.

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyFat Tire Flyer is the unbelievable story of the invention of mountain biking, as told by the people who were there: Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and many more of the Repack crew. We’ll offer sneak peeks at the book here on fattireflyer.com, but we hope you’ll order the book today from your local bike shop, bookstore, or from these online retailers.

Please subscribe to Fat Tire Flyer using the box at the top right of this page or join us on Facebook!

VeloPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local independent bookstores

Dirt Rag Reviews Fat Tire Flyer!

In a strange twist of history, the magazine inspired by the magazine that inspired the book has reviewed the book. Thanks, Maurice!

Here is Dirt Rag magazine’s first impression of Fat Tire Flyer.

And if you pick up issue #180, you can take a look at the story of how Charlie Kelly met Gary Fisher.

Fat-Tire-Flyer-in-Dirt-Rag

 

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyFat Tire Flyer is the unbelievable story of the invention of mountain biking, as told by the people who were there: Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and many more of the Repack crew. We’ll offer sneak peeks at the book here on fattireflyer.com, but we hope you’ll order the book today from your local bike shop, bookstore, or from these online retailers.

Please subscribe to Fat Tire Flyer using the box at the top right of this page or join us on Facebook!

VeloPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local independent bookstores

A Sneak Peek at Fat Tire Flyer – Chapter 13: The Ritchey Mountainbike

Please enjoy this free chapter of Fat Tire Flyer (pdf)! If you like it, perhaps you’d like the whole book even more.

Also pick up issue # 180 of Dirt Rag for the story of how Charlie Kelly met Gary Fisher.

Dirt-Rag-Fat-Tire-Flyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyFat Tire Flyer is the unbelievable story of the invention of mountain biking, as told by the people who were there: Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and many more of the Repack crew. We’ll offer sneak peeks at the book here on fattireflyer.com, but we hope you’ll order the book today from your local bike shop, bookstore, or from these online retailers.

Please subscribe to Fat Tire Flyer using the box at the top right of this page or join us on Facebook!

VeloPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local independent bookstores

Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, and Tom Ritchey Autograph Fat Tire Flyer at Interbike

Mountain biking legends Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, and Gary Fisher met retailers and media during a book signing at Interbike last week, and there were hundreds of people lined up for pre-release copies autographed by the four inventors of mountain biking.

Here’s a photo gallery!

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Fat Tire Flyer by Charlie KellyFat Tire Flyer is the unbelievable story of the invention of mountain biking, as told by the people who were there: Charlie Kelly, Joe Breeze, Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and many more of the Repack crew. We’ll offer sneak peeks at the book here on fattireflyer.com, but we hope you’ll order the book today from your local bike shop, bookstore, or from these online retailers.

Please subscribe to Fat Tire Flyer using the box at the top right of this page or join us on Facebook!

VeloPress.com
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Chapters/Indigo
local independent bookstores