Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly among the originals featured on network show
Other than starting with the letter “r,” the mountain bike events known as Repack and Rampage have little to do with each other. Though the latter—a modern day, energy drink-infused spectacle televised by helicopters—might not even exist were it not for the grassrootsy genesis caused by the former.
Charlie Kelly, Jacquie Phelan and the gang from Marin County get some big water on the slopes of Mount Tam for the cameras of CBS’ Evening Magazine.
Humble though it may have been, Repack scored some Nielsen points of its own back-in-the-day, appearing in a segment of the CBS television show Evening Magazine in 1979, and giving mountain biking some of its first national exposure.
For their part, viewers got a glimpse into the sport’s early years which included no shortage of powerslides, jean shorts and the Steve Miller Band. They also met a young, prophetic rider who explained that the mountain bike had “come a long way” in its first five years and that “it’s going to go a long way from here.” That rider was named Gary Fisher, and it turns out he was right.
Before Gary Fisher was a company, he was a guy who worked at bike shops, wrote for bike magazines and raced his bike. He counts the famed Repack among his victories.
Fisher along with likes of Joe Breeze, Denise Caramagno, Charlie Cunningham, Charlie Kelly, Jacquie Phelan, Tom Ritchey and others birthed the modern mountain bike on the slopes of Mount Tamalpias in California’s Marin County north of San Francisco.
Charlie Kelly organized races like Repack, published the Fat Tire Flyer and found time to jump into the fray and race as well.
Kelly along with Caramango started the first mountain bike magazine, Fat Tire Flyer in 1980, and were among the first to chronicle the burgeoning sport. Kelly also organized Repack, one of the earliest mountain bike races held on the downhill fire roads of Mount Tamalpias near Fairfax, Calif. His book Fat Tire Flyer: Repack, Revolution, and the Birth of the Mountain Bike comes out in September. We found this link on the newly established Fat Tire Flyer Facebook page.
A smooth powerslide was key to keeping your speed up on the fire road switchbacks of the Repack downhill.
This rider’s slide goes high-side as he crosses it up going into a high-speed switchback. Fortunately he kept his head off the ground and a pair of Toughskins and some football arm pads saved him from serious injury.