Fat Tire Flyer

Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking

By Charlie Kelly


Fat Tire Flyer tells the true story of the invention, success, and continued vitality of the mountain bike and its culture as told by the riders who were there: Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, and Joe Breeze.

In stock


It all started with a small crew of bicycle-obsessed hippies bombing the downhill trails of Mount Tamalpais, in Marin County, California. As the friendly competition intensified on the steep dirt trail they called Repack, history’s first mountain bikers began craving an upgrade from the old Schwinn cruisers they had rescued from the junkyard. With the single-minded focus found only among the truly obsessed, this rag-tag group sparked a rapid evolution that transformed the castoff Repack bomber into the modern mountain bike, a refined and elegant machine that quickly became the top-selling bicycle in the world.

Charlie Kelly — co-founder of the MountainBikes company with Gary Fisher, organizer of the Repack races, and chronicler of the sport — now delivers the true, complete, and often unbelievable history of the rise of mountain biking and its lasting culture. Rich with first-hand descriptions and bursting with original photographs, drawings, and memorabilia, Fat Tire Flyer is the definitive history of one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century.

Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking
Charlie Kelly
Foreword by Joe Breeze
Hardcover with jacket. Full-color photographs throughout.
11″ x 9 1/2″, 264 pp., $29.95, 9781937715168

Enjoy previews and outtakes from Fat Tire Flyer on FatTireFlyer.com!

Fat Tire Flyer: Repack and the Birth of Mountain Biking

Charlie Kelly

Hardcover with jacket. Full-color interior with photographs throughout.

Shipping Dimensions: 11.3in x 9.75in x 1in 264pp $29.95, Inventory 9781937715168, Shipping 3.75lbs

Foreword by Joe Breeze
1 Epiphany
2 Spidey
3 Humbolt
4 Singlespeeds
5 Marin County Klunkers
6 Repack
7 A Passion for Racing
8 The Most Important Bicycle of the 20th Century
9 The Dirt Bicycle Comes of Age
10 Crested Butte
11 Getting Organized
12 The Word Gets Out
13 The Ritchey Mountain-Bike
14 The First Mountain-Bike
15 Widening the View
16 Mountain-Bikes
17 Fat Tire Flyer
19 The 1982 Coors Classic
20 The Image
21 The Ride of a Lifetime
22 Mammoth Kamikaze
23 Giro d’Italia
24 After the Flyer
25 Postscript: Some Conclusions
26 Appendix
27 Coda
28 Acknowledgments
29 Credits
30 Index

Preview book.

“For the mountain biker on your gift list, grab a copy of Charlie Kelly’s Fat Tire Flyer. One of the sport’s founding fathers, Kelly tells the most honest and complete history of the sport’s earliest days, dating all the way back to the days when ‘mountain biking’ was nothing more than a bunch of hippies bombing down Marin County’s Mount Tamalpais. The sport has come a long way since those days, but the story of how it all got started is one not to be missed.” — Bicycling

“Several histories of the invention of the mountain bike have been published, but Charlie Kelly is indisputably the man to tell the story. In Fat Tire Flyer, he relates it with attention to detail and storytelling flair. It is the definitive account.” — Wall Street Journal

Fat Tire Flyer is the best first-hand account of the dawn of a new era for bike riding.” – Velo magazine

“Kelly’s new book, Fat Tire Flyer is a true, firsthand look at the wild beginnings of the sport of mountain biking with never before seen photos, artwork and memorabilia.” — Dirt Rag magazine

“Best known for chronicling the early days of mountain biking as publisher of the sport’s first periodical, Charlie Kelly is legitimately one of the handful of Founding Fathers of the sport.” — Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

“The firsthand account of the sport’s early days…Regarded as a leading archivist of mountain biking, Kelly rounds out his 264-page hardcover history with a wealth of original photos, drawings, and memorabilia.” — Bicycle Retailer and Industry News

“An excellent book on the birth of mountain biking…Filled with great stories, tons of information and historic photos.” — Mountain Bike Action

Fat Tire Flyer is a fresh look at the awesome band of crazies who created the sport.” — MTBR.com

2014 PubWest Book Design Contest Gold Award Winner: Historical Books

“Just like the biking; [Fat Tire Flyer is] too good, too fast, and waaay too much fun.” — Jersey Pocket

Fat Tire Flyer is the first book to provide a detailed insider’s account of the birth of the mountain bike, a machine that had numerous fathers but was the product of a very particular time and place. Fat Tire Flyer may not be about road bikes and Euro-style but it is not just about a new technology coming to life. It is about unforgettable characters, good friends, good times and having fun on your bike. That is something all cyclists should be able to relate to and enjoy.” — PezcyclingNews.com

“Illuminating and inspiring.” — Mountain Flyer magazine

Fat Tire Flyer is a trip down memory lane for Charlie Kelly, the guy above whom the tornado formed. His is a collective memory, nearly omniscient in scope, the masterful narrator whose voiceover takes in a sweeping view of Northern California at a point when it was still Redwoods and hippies, pot and touring rock bands. Fat Tire Flyer will go down as the definitive history of mountain biking’s start, a book indispensable to any cyclist’s library.” —Red Kite Prayer

“Kelly candidly tells the story of the rock-n-roll-soaked years that led up to [Repack], as well as the business he started a few years later, MountainBikes, with his other roommate, Gary Fisher…Fat Tire Flyer is a terrific read, although it’ll probably make you want to put the book down, dust off that clunker that’s been buried in the garage, and head for the hills.” — WinkBooks.com

“Packed with color photos, posters, cartoons and pictures of early mountain bikes from Kelly’s extensive archives, Fat Tire Flyer is being billed as ‘the definitive history of one of the most significant inventions of the 20th century.’”— Marin Independent Journal

Fat Tire Flyer argues that it was Kelly and his crew who spurred the sport until it caugh on—and then rode the wave as first-generation mountain bike manufacturers.” — Colorado Springs Gazette

“With Fat Tire Flyer, we now have the most complete, first-hand documentation available of the mountain biking culture that resulted in a movement and industry that, even today, sees more mountain bikes being sold than any other type of bike…Fifty years from now, this book will still be the definitive work on the roots of mountain bikes.” — USCyclingReport.com

“Few people will be better equipped to give a first-hand account of how mountain biking developed in the early years, and Charlie Kelly has done the job justice.” — Cycling World

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