Back in 2001 Gary Fisher had a crazy notion. He and a couple other non-traditionalists were messing with 29” wheeled mountain bikes. It was a fringe concept at the time. Fast forward seven years and 29ers are the hottest thing going in the mountain bike world. With Fisher’s legacy in 29ers and race team sponsorship, it made perfect sense for Gary Fisher Bikes to sponsor a team exclusively of 29er riders to prove the dominance of the bigger wheel.
The Gary Fisher 29er Crew is a non-traditional team. It’s a grassroots and diverse collective of racers banded together under the Fisher flag and by their passion for racing on 29ers. For 2008, the team is 43 riders strong. Racers range in age from 17 to 50. They hail from the wooded Northeast of Vermont, the Southwestern deserts of California, the shores of the United Kingdom, and everywhere in between. They’re men and women racing cross-country, endurance, and XTerra. They ride rigid singlespeeds and full-suspension 29ers. About the only common denominator between teammates is the size of the wheels they roll on.
The 40-plus person team includes notable individuals such as recent 24-Hour National Champion, Cameron Chambers; current National Cyclocross Single Speed Champion, Marko LaLonde; current Chequamegon 40 Champ, Jesse LaLonde (yes, they’re brothers); longtime Fisher regional racer and brain tumor survivor, Michael Patrick; Subaru-Gary Fisher team mechanic, Matt Opperman; ’07 US National Championship top-ten finisher, Sam Koerber; and, of course, the man, Gary Fisher.
The 29er Crew website and blog. www.29ercrew.com will host the great stories of all the riders. There each rider will be posting blog entries, race recaps, and news from their lives. It’s an opportunity to showcase the different voices and perspectives of this diverse team. It’s fitting for a group of 29er riders. The groundswell popularity of 29ers was due to the passionate base of its believers. On the 29er Crew blog, the riders will continue to help foster the individuality and passion of 29er culture. Aside from the Fisher frames and big wheels, you’ll be able to recognize 29er Crew racers by their distinct jersey. The Champion System jersey is only available to team members.
The 29er Crew couldn’t exist without the support of several people. Gary Fisher supplies the big-wheeled bikes (www.fisherbikes.com). Bontrager (www.bontrager.com) was the first choice as partner for 29er specific wheels, tires, and components. Riders can take advantage of the Bontrager Tubeless Ready Race X Lite 29 and Rhythm 29 wheelsets, a full set of condition-specific Tubeless Ready 29” tires, and components designed for 29ers such as the Race Lite Big Sweep handlebars. Champion Systems (www.champ-sys.com) is providing the great looking performance apparel in lickety-split fashion.
Be sure to check out your local 29er Crew rider and follow along on the team’s exploits on the 29er Crew site: www.29ercrew.com
source: Travis Ott, Gary Fisher & LeMond Brand Manager