Gary Fisher – an American Cycling Pioneer

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gary fisher

Gary Fisher

An American Cycling Pioneer

by Matthew Peacock

Recently. U.S biking legend Gary Fisher flew in from California to spend the weekend in Otley. Gary is one of the creators of the mountain bike and was the first person to set up a business manufacturing and selling mountain bikes.

gary fisher mountain bikingHe has a reputation for having a slightly eccentric dress sense – and he didn’t disappoint! He walked into Otley wearing a bowler hat and a tailcoat made of neoprene! It might sound mad, but we thought he looked very cool!

Gary then spent the next four-hours meeting people, signing everything (including my bike!). Even the local police came to say hello and pose for photos. We supplied them with Gary Fisher bikes, modified for police use

Gary Fisher: “He helped grow mountain biking into the huge sport it is now”

At lunch at a local pub, we introduced him to a Yorkshire pint of Black Sheep. It seemed to go down well. His twitter feed now has pictures of other Black Sheep beers, so it must have hit the spot.

On Saturday evening, about 200 enthusiasts enjoyed a special showing of Klunkerz. This film, by Billy Savage, is made up of interviews with Gary and other influential people who started building mountain bikes (Klunkerz) in the 1970s and helped grow mountain biking into the huge sport it is now.

gary fisher cyclingGary was Guest of Honour and was quite a spectacular sight in his reproduction, tweed 1920’s cycling suit which, under flash photography, revealed it was woven with reflective aluminium threads. The general reaction was “wow!”

After the film, Gary talked passionately about cycling in general. He answered all the questions that were thrown at him until, in Gary’s own words, “let’s drink beer!”  There were yet more signings and photos and eventually the night came to a reluctant end.

Gary Fisher: “Super-fit, smooth, fearless and fast”

The following day dawned bright, clear and sunny. Perfect for the demo rides – people could ride one of Gary’s bikes alongside its creator! A rare opportunity that probably won’t ever come again. Riding on Otley Chevin with a living mountain bike legend is a feeling hard to beat. Gary may be 58 but he rides as much as ever and is still top class – super-fit, smooth, fearless and fast. Making light work of the steep climbs and rocky descents of the Chevin.  His reward was a pint of Theakston’s Best!

As Gary flew back to the States, he left a lasting impression of someone with incredible drive, who is passionate about bikes, full of life, fun and opinions, and a thoroughly, nice person.

Here’s one more for the road, Gary!

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