Fairfax: Birthplace of Mountain Biking

Fairfax: Birthplace of Mountain Biking

By Errol Tremolada • Photos by Wende and Larry Cragg Riders pose atop “Frisbee Knoll”, above Kent Lake, 1975. Photo: Charlie Kelly/Charlie Wirtz collection There are a number of places that claim to be outdoor meccas, but few have the robust history to prove it like Fairfax. Located at the base of the 2,574-foot Mount Tamalpais, thirty minutes from the pristine Point Reyes National Seashore, with hundreds of miles of multi-use trail at its disposal, Fairfax is the quintessential hub for the outdoor junkie. With a single gallon of gas you can reach six nationally protected areas, six state parks and a myriad of locally managed open space preserves. Hikers, runners and naturalists alike flock to this small town sixteen miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, but the heart of Fairfax pumps with chain lube and fat tires. Cycling Gets Dirty It was on the rugged fire roads...
Cruisers, Clunkers and the Origins of the Off-Road Bike

Cruisers, Clunkers and the Origins of the Off-Road Bike

Sitting Down with Mountain Bike Pioneer Charlie Kelly By Colleen Corcoran • Photos by Wende Cragg Charlie Kelly hauling denim down Repack’s Camera Corner, late 1976, on his 50-pound modified Schwinn Excelsior. Notice the safety gear – knee pads, elbow pads, leather gloves and boots – sans helmet. A pickup truck parade that includes a pink 1953 Chevy leaves the last outpost of civilization – the leafy, hippie oasis that is Fairfax – heading up into the hills, with 50-pound bicycles and two chronometers … To Repack. The Repack trail drops 1,300 feet in 2.1 miles down the east side of Pine Mountain. At the top is an open ridge with views of Mt. Tamalpais, Marin, the San Francisco Bay, and the blue sky beyond. Fred Wolf and Charlie Kelly started the race down Repack, on Oct. 21, 1976, to be precise. It was here that the words “mountain bike”...
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