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Mountain Bikes- the sport of riding Bicycles Off-road

Mountain Bikes-The Sport of Riding Bicycles Off-road

Mountain biking is the sport of riding bicycles off-road, often over rough terrain, using specially designed mountain bikes. Mountain bikes share similarities with other bikes, but incorporate features designed to enhance durability and performance in rough terrain.  Named a “mountain bicycle” for its intended place of use.

The History of the Mountain Bike:

The Rough Stuff Fellowship was established in 1955 by off-road cyclists in the United Kingdom. In Oregon, one Chemeketan club member, D. Gwynn, built a rough terrain trail bicycle in 1966. He named it a “mountain bicycle” for its intended place of use. This may be the first use of that name.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

-Albert Einstein

There were several groups of riders in different areas of the U.S.A. who can make valid claims to playing a part in the birth of the sport. Riders in Crested Butte, Colorado and Cupertino, California tinkered with bikes and adapted them to the rigors of off-road riding.

There were several groups of riders in different areas of the U.S.A. who can make valid claims to playing a part in the birth of the sport. Riders in Crested Butte, Colorado and Cupertino, California tinkered with bikes and adapted them to the rigors of off-road riding. Modified heavy cruiser bicycles, old 1930s and ’40s Schwinn bicycles retrofitted with better brakes and fat tires, were used for freewheeling down mountain trails in Marin County, California in the mid-to-late 1970s.

Modified heavy cruiser bicycles, old 1930s and ’40s Schwinn bicycles retrofitted with better brakes and fat tires, were used for freewheeling down mountain trails in Marin County, California in the mid-to-late 1970s. At the time, there were no mountain bikes. The earliest ancestors of modern mountain bikes were based around frames from cruiser bicycles such as those made by Schwinn. The Schwinn Excelsior was the frame of choice due to its geometry. Riders used balloon-tired cruisers and modified them with gears and motocross or BMX-style handlebars, creating “klunkers”. The term would also be used as a verb since the term “mountain biking” was not yet in use. Riders would race down mountain fireroads, causing the hub brake to burn the grease inside, requiring the riders to repack the bearings.

These were called “Repack Races” and triggered the first innovations in mountain bike technology as well as the initial interest of the public (on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin CA, there is still a trail titled “Repack”- in reference to these early competitions). The sport originated in California on Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais.

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(2) Comments

  1. Colin Middleton

    Great to know the origin of the name Mountain bike

  2. Bob Mclaughlin

    Great Blog

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