Where it all began? Tashes, Drifts and Klunkers

This late 70s news segment documents the beginnings of mountain biking as we know it today. For me its lets about the big tyres, wide bars and 1×10 setup; its more about the ‘spirit’, the mates racing and the ‘dicking about on bikes’.

I’m no psychologist but the desire to compete with your peers, to measure yourself against your friends, is probably all just down to willy waving and impressing ‘birds’.  However, its a very strong desire and one that I go to great lengths to promote amongst my own mates, organising regular races of varying degrees of skill and seriousness.

For these races its not really about winning because most of us know who it likely to win and personally I know its unlikely to be me. However, there are small victories to be won, there are little ‘one-ups’ that can be taken advantage of over a beer. The real drive though, why we keep coming back and trying again its simple. Its just fun. Pure unadulterated, holla at the top of your lungs, joy. This video reminds me of that; the smiles beneath the tashes, the crowds on the driftiest corner the excited waves from the uplift truck. And of course, there’s always one. I mean I know this This guy, “dusty in summer, dry in the winter”, who surely Dana Carvey based Garth Algar on.

Charlie Kelly and Gary Fisher have been well documented within the annals of mountain biking folklore. Charlie was the organiser of the ‘re-pack‘ race and they both went on to sell bikes and aid the revolution that MTB became. However, that initial drive to race them, to have fun on bikes and compete remains exactly the same.

Charlie Kelly, Drifting, in 1976. Photo: Larry Cragg
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