Saturday, January 24, 2015

Ramones Soundcheck - Circa 1980

I've been the huge Ramones fan for decades and clumsily blabbered about it awhile back, so I'll spare you the history for now.

Recently while cruising YouTube, I rediscovered this little gem. Ramones soundcheck from Italy, circa 1980. I dig the informal nature of it all, folks milling about and yet it rocks. Johnny's awesome guitar tone and style in action. Close up view of Marky's drumming technique. Dee Dee warming up on bass. Joey looking awkward and cool at the same time, yet sounding fantastic.

The Ramones, R.I.P...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fat Chance Rebirth in Progress

As mentioned in various bicycle media and alluded to by me a few months back, Chris Chance relaunching Fat Chance bikes. And that is a cool story. I've said it before, if any old school mountain bike company was worthy of relaunch, Fat Chance would be it. Even years after its demise, a rabid cult following still exists. Now to see if actually possible.

Interesting to note that Chris Chance is doing this via a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds. $116,000 requested to get Fat Chance afloat once again. With 18 days currently left, they've scored over $95,000 towards the goal. Amazing that amount accumulated with just 131 people signed on. Don't quote me on the numbers, they can change daily.

Some big bucks required to secure the first batch of new Yo Eddy frames. $2500 or $5000+ to be on the list, depending on the package. Seems crazy expensive for a steel frame, until you consider its not just about the frame, you're helping to bring back some cool mountain bike history and launch it into the modern age. For the not so well off, cheaper packages available for t-shirts and other goodies.

The modern Yo Eddy frame to feature 27.5 or 29er wheels, your choice. Trail oriented geometry, tapered head tube, 12x142 rear axle, and dropper post compatible. All in glorious steel and hopefully old school graphics. Exactly how spec'd it on their survey awhile back, along with a bunch of other folks I'm sure. Frames to be USA built and delivered this summer. Being the old school Fat fan, pushes all my correct buttons. Yes please.

Will I be scoring a frame myself? Fat chance, Bunky. Highly unlikely and not quite in the family budget. Maybe after the initial run and stock production goes into full swing, lowering the price. That be the dream anyway. I'll probably pony up for the $50 t-shirt and sticker pack anyway, to at least be part of it all.

I wish 'em all good luck and hope to see this be a successful venture.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking - Charlie Kelly

After reading about its release to the masses, I picked up a copy of Charlie Kelly's new book a few weeks ago. Upon arrival to the official Dan O estate, I quickly read through it as I'm usually disposed to do with a new book. Especially one about old school mountain biking. The book did not disappoint, well done indeed.

Recently during a rainy weekend, I pulled it off the bookshelf for a slower reread and ponder the historical photos also included at no extra charge. Call now, operators are standing by.

As you may or may not be aware, Charlie Kelly was a key player in what you and I now call "Mountain Biking". Yes, other folks also constructed similar bikes during that era - and even earlier - but Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, Joe BreezeTom Ritchey and others collaborated, created, and marketed what evolved into what the mountain bike scene is today. They are truly the founding fathers of the mountain bike movement.

And not to forget Wende Cragg, the godmother of mountain bikes. She was there riding with this gang and without her impressive collection of photographs, we wouldn't have the visual documentary of this bicycle revolution. Fantastic that she carried a camera during this early adventure.

Being the old school mountain biker myself - first mountain bike for me in 1984 - I was already familiar with story about the birth of it all. This through various articles and media over the years. Even so, this book being the best of 'em. Story of it all in chronological order through the eyes and words of Kelly himself. You couldn't ask for better tour guide.

Some of the other folks from that era have become a bit more famous and certainly more wealthily, via bike companies associated to them. When it comes down to it though, Kelly was also right there and perhaps the most collaborative of 'em all. From modifying Schwinn klunkers into early prototype mountain bikes, starting the first production mountain bike company, organizing the first downhill Repack mountain bike races and large scale organized rides, the creation of NORBA, to the first mountain bike publication - Fat Tire Flyer. The blueprint of mountain biking today.

Kelly truly defines the soul of mountain biking and his impact still resonates through the sport today. Check out this book and you'll see why. Highly recommended.

Match it up with this DVD and you'll become seriously schooled and perhaps nod your helmet in appreciation, next time you roll that modern long travel rig down your favorite trail.