Fall Inspiration: Marin County Mountain Biking in the 1970s

Maybe denim and flannel is not the freshest take on what to wear in the fall, but I can’t help but absorb the vibe of the original mountain bikers: a group of (primarily) guys who raced a course called Repack in late 70s Marin a County, California. These photos look like a current retro lookbook for a brand like Levi’s Vintage Clothing or Band of Outsiders: medium wash denim, sawtooth pocket western shirts (with a DIY frayed hem), trucker jackets, cords, boots and vintage (well, NOW they’re vintage) Nikes. Next time you’re thinking of canceling a ride because you can’t find your lightweight merino baselayer, throw on a shredded chamois shirt instead. All the better for sliding under locked fire road gates.

Ben Marks interviewed some of the core players in the Repack scene, including Gary Fisher, whose small partnership with frame builder Tom Ritchey evolved into a dominant player in the mountain bike industry. At the time, most riders were flying downhill on heavy steel Schwinns from the 1940s, reinforced with custom bars and brakes. See also the Rolling Dinosaur archive for more photos from Wende Cragg, who shot it all with her Nikon and 35mm slide film.

-Pete

There’s a lot of “How To Be A Man” stuff on the internet, but I think this commencement speech, from Norm MacDonald, is all you really need.