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Xtreme Cyclist

September 17, 2009
by Erik Vance
Image source: Courtesy of Charlie Kelley

IMPACT: In the early 1980s, the mountain bike went from an offbeat pastime for Marin County hippies to more than 40 percent of the bicycle market. Ushering in an era of “extreme sports,” mountain bikes helped change the way Americans view athletics. Outdoor sports was no longer just a distraction for the intrepid young. We adopted a “sports-for-life” ethos, according to Gary Fisher, who credits the change to a motley group of off-road racers on the slopes of Mt. Tamalpais in the late seventies. Along with hydration bladders, uncomfortable spandex, and concussions, mountain bikes and extreme sports have been on the rise ever since.

EUREKA MOMENT: Fisher remembers: “Everybody that we took out on a ride came back with these big wide eyes saying ‘I’ve got to get one of these things.'”

From the January February 2007 25 Brilliant California Ideas issue of California.

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