History of Mountain Biking

Mountain biking

Did you know that a California state park played a part in the development of the mountain bike? Opinions differ as to where and when the first mountain biking occurred, but there is agreement that riders in and around Mount Tamalpais State Park led the way to production of the first successful commercial mountain bikes.

In the late 1970s, a group of bicycle road racers from the Marin County area began using old, fat-tire one-speed bikes to ride the trails of the Mount Tamalpais area. The bikes had heavy frames and coaster brakes. One trail near Mount Tamalpais (but outside of the park) got the name “Repack” because the coaster brake hubs had to be repacked with grease after each descent.

Some of the Mount Tamalpais-area riders were also bicycle builders. They began experimenting with lighter tubing, heavy-duty brakes and multiple gears. Word spread, and soon Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey and Joe Breeze began selling these newly named “mountain bikes.”

Fisher, Ritchey and Breeze are still involved in the mountain bike business, and mountain bikers still ride trails on and around Mount Tamalpais. The International Mountain Bicycling Association has over 30,000 members, and this represents just a small fraction of the many people who now enjoy this sport—thanks, in part, to Mount Tamalpais State Park.