A mountain bike is a type of bicycle that is suitable for riding over rough ground. It has a strong frame and thick tyres.
A Brief History of the Mountain Bike
The first successful high quality fat-tire bicycle was built in Marin County, California by Joe Breeze, who with others rode down the rocky trails of nearby My Tamalpais. They used balloon-tire one-speed clunkers from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s to descend these trails with coaster brakes. In that pursuit, one of these trails got the name "Repack" because one descent was enough to vaporize the bike's grease, requiring the hub to be re-packed.
Joe Breeze, Otis Guy, and Gary Fisher, all still in the bike business today, were top category USCF riders. Many of the Tamalpais riders were members of road club Velo Club Tamalpais, wearing a blue and gold jersey with the mountain logo. In October of 1977, Joe built a fat-tire bike of lightweight tubing that was previously found only on better road bikes. It had all new, high-quality parts and 26" x 2 1/8" Uniroyal "Knobby" tires on Schwinn S2 rims and Phil Wood hubs. Joe built ten of these first Breezers by June 1978. Breezer #1 has been on display at various places, including the Oakland Museum, where it has been on permanent display since 1985.
However the first Breezer was predated by a frame built for Charlie Kelly by Craig Mitchell earlier in 1977. As the Breezer frames that followed, it was made of 4130 chrome-moly airframe tubing. Kelly equipped it with the parts from his Schwinn Excelsior. These parts included SunTour derailleurs and thumbshifters, TA aluminum cranks, Union drum brake hubs, motorcycle brake levers, Brooks B-72 saddle, Schwinn S-2 rims and UniRoyal Knobby tires (essentially, the best parts found on clunkers of that day). In spite of this, Charlie chose switch back to his Schwinn frame, which he rode until June of 1978, when he got himself a Breezer, and for one reason or another the Mitchell frame was not further developed.
In January 1979, Joe and Otis, who were planning another transcontinental record attempt, visited Tom Ritchey, who was building their tandem frame, and brought along Joe's Breezer mountain bike. Peter Johnson, another noted frame builder who happened to be present, was immediately impressed with its features, as was Tom who also sensed the significance of the concept, being a veteran road bike trail rider in the Santa Cruz mountains. Gary Fisher got wind of Tom's interest in fat tire bikes and asked Tom to build him one. Tom built one for himself, one for Gary, and one for Gary to sell.
After building nine more frames later in 1979, Tom couldn't find buyers for them nearby in Palo Alto, so he asked Fisher if he could sell them in Marin. Fisher and Charlie Kelly pooled a few hundred dollars and started "MountainBikes" which became today's Gary Fisher Bicycles. It was the first exclusively mountain bike business. It was Tom's bikes, and Fisher and Kelly's business that made the introduction of the mountain bike take hold. There was an obvious gap in the market, most builders focusing on road bikes left this an open field for innovation.
If anyone's name stands out as the builder of the earliest viable mountain bike, it is Joe Breeze, who today still produces Breezers. The marketing push first came from Tom Ritchey, Gary Fisher, and Charlie Kelly and the ball was rolling. At first the USCF felt it below their dignity, as did the UCI, to include these bicycles, but after NORBA racers began to outnumber USCF racers, they relented and absorbed these upstarts, as they certainly would recumbents if they had similar public appeal.
A "Before You Ride" Basic Beginner Mountain Bike Skill Workshop
Mountain biking is an exciting sport that can be enjoyed by everyone who knows how to ride a bike. It does, however, present some additional challenges compared to the average neighborhood ride. Master these basic skills before you hit the real dirt and turn those obstacles into something to look forward to.
These mountain biking beginner skills can be practiced at a local park, school, bike path, or simply in your neighborhood. Try to find a location with a steep hill.
First Things First - Get a Helmet
It’s simple. Get a helmet and wear it. This simple concept has saved thousands of lives including my own. Modern helmets are comfortable, stylish and every mountain biker wears one. You can go to your local bike shop and they will be happy to help you pick one out that suits your needs and budget.
Some other safety equipment and accessories that I recommend are cycling gloves (I prefer the full finger style), some sort of hydration system (either a water bottle or a hydration backpack), eye protection or sunglasses, bike shorts with extra padding where it counts, sunscreen, and a shirt made from quick drying material.
Stretching for Cycling
I couldn't decide what to write about this week, so like any good cyclist, I thought I'd go ride my bike instead. I finally got to take my son along with me on a nice, hilly ride. After I lugged the weight of us both up quite a few long hills, and sat down to eat a snack, my body quickly told me to write about stretching. And, did I ever need to stretch after that ride!
Despite the somewhat limited movement involved in cycling, keeping limber has many advantages. Besides preventing injury, just as in other sports, stretching can help you maintain proper form and keep you comfortable on long rides.
First, let's start with stretching before the ride. This is primarily to prevent injury. As with all stretching, I recommend stretching slowly and gently, avoiding bouncing, which may cause injury. And, if you're wearing slippery cleated shoes, either do the leg stretches before your shoes go on, or be VERY careful.
- Stand next to your bike, holding it by the handlebars with your left hand, placing your right foot on top of the saddle, toes pointing upwards. Now, lean slowly towards your foot, grabbing the saddle with you right hand for balance. Hold this stretch for at least 15 seconds. Now switch sides, hold the bike with the right hand and placing the left foot on the saddle and stretch.
- Stand next to your bike and grab the top tube with both hands, arms outstretched. Bend at the waist, keeping your back straight and bending down as far as you can. Hold for at least 15 seconds.
- Now, you can go ahead and straddle the bike. Hold up your right arm, and with your left hand, grab the back of your right elbow. Now pull the elbow gently backwards to stretch your triceps and hold. Next, switch arms. On a bumpy ride, your arms will thank you.
- Shrug your shoulders and roll them back to stretch. Relax your shoulders and tilt your head to one side stretching your neck muscles. Now tilt your head to the other side. Next, try to touch your chin to your sternum.
Now you're ready to ride. During the ride you should try to stretch at least once an hour. Remember to try to keep your upper body as relaxed as possible and to keep your shoulders from shrugging and your elbows bent. If your bike is properly fit, you should have no problem keeping a comfortable position. And, be sure to change hand positions often, and keep your grip on the handlebar light - squeezing the bar to death will make your hands hurt.
- Stand up out of the saddle, with your hands on the hoods of the brake levers. With the crank parallel to the ground, stretch the leg in the rear by slightly lowering your heel, bending at the waist, and holding for 10-15 seconds. Then, spin the crank 180 degrees and stretch the other rear leg.
- While still standing up, drop your right leg down, so the crank is at the 6 o'clock position. Now stretch your right calf by slowly dropping your right heel and hold. Then switch to the left leg and repeat.
- Sit back in the saddle, shrug your shoulders and roll them back. Tilt your head to one side, then the other. If you have good balance on the bike, you can turn your head to one side, and, holding your chin, stretch, then turn to the other side to stretch.
- Again, if you have good balance, you can sit straight up on the saddle, and stretch your triceps, as above. You have to ride without holding the handlebars to do this stretch, so don't try it if you can't ride well with no hands.
After the ride is also a good time to stretch, before your muscles get cold. Feel free to repeat the before-ride stretches, plus the following.
- Sit down with both feet touching each other, and pull them towards your crotch. Now try to lower your knees. This is a good stretch to use a partner to stand behind you and gently push down on your knees.
- Spread your legs and try to touch your right foot and hold for 15 seconds, then switch to your left foot. Sit back up.
- Stretch your thighs. Put both legs together in front of you. Bending your right leg at the knee, pull your right foot back and towards your side, keeping your leg on the ground. Now slowly lean back, holding your right foot with your right hand. Stop when you feel the thigh stretching and hold for 15 seconds. Then switch legs and repeat.
- Lay on your back and grab your legs by the back of the knees, pulling them to your chest. Now, slowly try to straighten your legs while trying to keep the small of your back on the ground. You should feel this stretching your lower back. Keeping your lower back stretched out will help you keep your back straight on the bike, allowing a more aerodynamic riding position. So stretching will indeed make you go faster AND prevent injuries.
Be Nice To The People You Meet On The Tral
but not really. What happens when we meet and pass people - especially hikers and horse riders - is the most important factor in shaping trail access.
While most trail users around the country say they're satisfied with their experiences on shared trails, some say they've been scared by close encounters with mountain bikers and are reluctant to walk on trails that are heavily used by cyclists. (Of course, the reverse is true : mountain bikers shy from paths packed with walkers because it's hard to find a rhythm and roll smoothly.)
These concerns are real and must be addressed--though not by closing trails to mountain bikers, except as a last resort. Thankfully, there are dozens of ways to reduce trail-user conflict that are less severe.
Nevertheless, we believe that conflict between different types of trail users is the root of most trail closures. Most concerns about erosion--which is the other main category of complaints about mountain biking--can be addressed by proper trail design and regular trail maintenance.
Thankfully, interaction on the trail is one element of our sport that we have the power to control. If all of us (realistically, most of us) can improve the way we pass hikers and equestrians, land managers will hear fewer complaints. Fewer complaint will mean fewer trail closures. It's that simple.
10 Responsible Riding TIP
- Be Prepared
- Know your equipment, your ability, the weather, and the area you are riding and prepare accordingly. A well-planned ride will go smoothly for you and your companions.
- Don't Ride On Closed Trails
- Whether it is to protect the environment or for rider safety, a closed trail is off limits for a reason. Riding closed trails is not only illegal; it gives mountain bikers a bad reputation.
- Say No To Mud
- Riding a muddy trail can cause unnecessary trail widening and erosion that may lead to long-lasting damage.
- Respect the Trail, Wildlife and Environment
- Be sensitive to the trail and its surroundings by riding softly and never skidding. Do not litter and never scare animals.
- Stay On the Trail
- Do not intentionally ride off trail. Riding off trail can damage the ecosystem. Never cut switchbacks.
- Ride Slowly On Crowded Trails
- Just like a busy highway, when trails are crowded you must move slowly to ensure safety for all trail users.
- Pass With Courtesy and Care
- Slow down when approaching other trail users and respectfully make others aware you are approaching. Pass with care and be prepared to stop if necessary.
- Share the Trail With Other Trail Users
- Mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians must share multi-use trails. Remember : mountain bikers should yield to hikers and equestrians.
- Unauthorized or illegal trailwork may lead to environmental damage, injury or even potential trail closure.
- Get Involved
- If you want to make a difference in your mountain biking community get involved with a local club, Visit : imba.com to find a club in your area.