Monday, January 27, 2014

Many years ago, before every bike bit was made of carbon fiber and you only had one choice of wheel size, I walked into a Grand Rapid’s Schwinn shop with big dreams and what I thought to be a shit ton of money.  ($650)  Based on my extensive knowledge from bike magazines, I knew I needed a Rock Shox fork.........and a cool ass bike.  The sales person showed me the Treks and the Schwinns but nothing peaked my interest like the metallic green Gary Fisher.  I did not know much about the brand outside of their artsy catalogs and spokesperson who was claimed to be the father of fat tire pedal power madness.

I took one look at the bike, with its metal frame, Indy XC fork and beige tires and I was hooked.  I counted out my twenties, tens, fives and ones on the counter, and the bike accounted for all of my high school graduation party earnings.  I took the wheels off (my first experience with Quick Release) and stuffed my pride and joy into the back seat of my Chevy Corsica.  I was hitting the dirt that afternoon, and most afternoons for the next 16 years.

That bike was a race weapon, a single speed conversion, a college commuter, a mid-20s bar bike and still is in my basement today.  I pedal it around our unfinished basement while my son rides his tricycle, that I wish was a Gary Fisher.

The Legend

That bike introduced me to the culture of mountain biking and later to the bicycle industry as a career path.  When Fisher introduced the Sugar suspension platform, I was in love.  A few years later he unleashed the 29er hard tail platform and I no longer looked like a giant bear riding a tiny bike in the circus.  All while riding these works of art, I was selling them to customers in various shops hoping they too would join the off road revolution.

On Saturday I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit across from Gary Fisher and share my story.  I told him about being a super-fan of his enduro greats like Cameron Chambers and Nat Ross.  I told him about my Green Metal Machine, and about all the 29er bikes I sold.  He smiled and said thanks, and it made the work worthwhile.  

Big Wheels Churning, courtesy of Steve B.

I also had a chance to race my fat bike in deep snow.  The race was done by recent Hall of Fame inductee Brent Walk, and sponsored by Wheels in Motion.  I had the legs, but the poison powder sucked the life out of my passing opportunities.  I was hanging tough with the lead group for the first 2 laps before making some costly mistakes and finishing 4th.  Next race in the series will be at Addison Oaks on February 8.

Love Dan

Trying for the Hole Shot

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