The book takes its title from the magazine founded and published by Kelly in the early 1980s, also called Fat Tire Flyer, which was one of the original publications dedicated to mountain biking in the sport's early days. Charlie Kelly is without a doubt one of the best authorities on the subject, having been involved with the sport since its infancy, and as Joe Breeze refers to him in the book's forward, "one of the main instigators of the sport." Kelly was the organizer of the famous Repack downhill races in Marin County, and the co-founder with Gary Fisher of the MountainBikes company which built and sold some of the first examples of the breed, with frames built by Tom Ritchey. Actually, I'm not even scratching the surface on Kelly's involvement in the beginnings of mountain biking. You'll just have to read the book for that.
Charlie Kelly's book is part informative history and part personal memoir. Kelly is a great chronicler of the people, the places, and the events that combined to turn a band of hippie bicycle enthusiasts in the 70s into the fathers of a whole new bicycling movement. His style is informal and personal, and it isn't difficult to "hear" his voice and imagine him telling the story of the "Klunkerz" and the early Repack races, almost as though you were with him gathered 'round a campfire after a long day of riding the trails around Marin.
|Joe Breeze created this fantastic|
map of the Repack Course
in 1984. It's just one of the many
"historic artifacts" that help bring
Kelly's chronicle to life.
|Charlie Kelly and Joe Breeze at 10,000 ft in Mineral King Valley.|
The caption with the photo says, "Yes, we know how lucky we are."
The bikes are two of the very first Breezers, often credited as the
first purpose-built mountain bikes.