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PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2009 8:11 pm 
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This was posted on BikeRadar.com in reply to my posing on the history of mountain biking in Britain. The posting refers to the creation of Geoff Apps first Range-Rider Cross Country Cycle in 1979

Graham Wallace, I read your thread with interest, as this brings back many memories.....I worked at DOA (DeesCycles of Amersham) at this time (1978/9) for the company run along side the cycle shop( Signwell Ltd)... Roy Davies was my boss....Geoff was a customer at this time. Roy, with a little help from myself did build his first frame , always refered to as a cross country bike, not a mountainbike.We had to fabricate bash guards and many other strange fittings and I think we assembled the finished frame into a bike Geoff could ride home.
Geoff always used to ride to the shop....cross country of course!....dressed in his rather natty clothing and deerstalker hat.
Ive wondered what Geoff is up to these days, the last contact I had was at the Wendover Bash back in 88...
I'll try to remember more details about the spec, the thing I do recall is the studded tyes imported from Sweden (Hacka?)

This is an all to rare example of the internet uncovering anecdotes from the mirky pre-history of British mountain biking.

Below is my response...

Hi 'Zog',

Great to hear a first hand account of the creation of the first Cleland Cross Country Cycle designrd by Geoff Apps back in 1978/9. (Thirty years ago!) Geoff went on to improve his design and eventualy marketed it as the Cleland Aventura in 1982. I was one of his customers in 1984 and still own and use two of his machines. Geoff now lives in Scotland though returns to Buckinghamshire for a reunion ride each December. I have nominated Geoff for induction to the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame museum in America and have the backing of Charlie Kelly, one of the pioneers who developed and marketed the American mountain bikes. Geoff and I are also developing a new version of his design which should be finished by the end of this year.

It's wonderful to hear stories about the early years of off-road cycling. Organised off-road cycling in Britain had existed since 1955 but Geoff was the first person to develop and market purpose built bikes.

People back then must have thought of Geoff and his ideas as excentric, not realising that what he was doing was preempting the invention of a new sport and style of bicycle. Much of what happened back then went unreported and so its history has been overlooked. Geoff tells me that most frame builders, at the time, refused to build bikes with sloping top-tubes. Roy was ok with the sloping top-tube but refused to bend the chainstays in order to improve the frame/tyre clearences. The later Clelands resolved this design problem by using straight chain-stays and extra wide (90-110mm) bottom-bracket shells.

I will pass your memories on to Geoff.


Attachments:
File comment: The 1979 Cleland Range-Rider in question.
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3516206672_93be3c048f_b.jpg [ 51.19 KiB | Viewed 3835 times ]
File comment: Geoff Apps & 1979 Cleland Range-Rider.
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3515396551_8e1175f7f6_b.jpg [ 88.41 KiB | Viewed 3835 times ]


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:56 am 
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A good read. Thanks


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 2:02 pm 
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I wonder what we'd be doing had MTBs not been invented? I'd probably have a 'proper' job for a start ;)


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 Post subject: Jack Taylor v Ridgeback
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:02 pm 
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In the 1970s Jack Taylor cycles made a small number of bicycles modified for "Rough Stuff" use. This anecdote from "Yosemite Sam" relates to the Taylor brothers seeing an Imported Ridgeback mountain bike for the first time. Ridgebacks were the first mountain bikes imported into Britain in early 1983.


been reading this topic with some great interest as i was one of the first round here who had a mountain bike back in 1982

i saw in magazines some seriously trick stuff comin from the US and quickly decided i had to have one - sold my road bike for a ridgeback - then took it down to see Jack Taylor - well as you might know jack n his 2 brothers were from stockton on tees where i live (they have long since retired) they saw the bike i had and after i told them i wanted it modified for use in errrr 'british climate' he said well how - he had never seen such a bike before - he asked if he could borrow it for a few days to drool over it - lol - i had lots of mods done to it - moving cables to top tubes rear hub brakes, carring straps, water cage brackets, carrier brackets and so on - at the time most bikes just didnt have any sort of suspension just my backside n arms! lol

....man we had some good days - people were amazed to see bikes on the moors and we had a lot of problems as well - there were probs with access even on bridleways! walkers just wanted to kill you or stare at you blankly... lol..

...jack didnt get into mtb's till he copied my bike (ridgeback) he had cyclo cross stuff simply because his bikes were made of girders and unbreakable - made lots of one offs for tv, specially good at tandems and bigger.. his workshops were an aladins cave.. had a little office when someone came to visit - a huge electric heater on the table - you had to have toast and a mug of tea if you went there.. bread cut from a huge mansize loaf with doorstep slices.. didnt ever dare say no thanks.. lol

he had my bike on the jig table for a few days while he blatatly copied the dimensions - but credits due - he didnt stop there - added his own individualistic touches - anything was possible there.. shame it closed down - factory has even been levelled..


What these posts don't mention is the existance of the Taylor brothers own off-road bikes (shown below). It's not clear if these were designed by the Taylors themselves? It's most likely that they were originaly made at the bequest of a RoughStuff Fellowship member who may have produced designs. Later they became available by special order though I don't think they were ever listed as a standard Jack Taylor model.

Were they ever promoted or advertised? The RoughStuff Journal editer, at the time, would not accept technical contributions but may have accepted adverts?


Attachments:
File comment: 1979 Jack Taylor 'RoughStuff Bike'
jack_taylor_rough_stuff_1979_196.jpg
jack_taylor_rough_stuff_1979_196.jpg [ 141.08 KiB | Viewed 3830 times ]
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 6:09 am 
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What are the odds?

Back in the early '80s there were three RSF members in California: myself, Gary Fisher and Holland Jones, who owned the Fulton Street Cyclery in San Francisco and sold Taylor bicycles.

I haven't seen Holland in years, since he retired and sold the bike shop, and moved 150 miles from here.

Last week I was finishing a ride with some pals, and two of us had gone ahead of some slower descenders, so we waited at a point called "Five Corners" where that many dirt tracks all meet.

Who comes riding up one of the other roads just as we hit that point, but Holland Jones! He doesn't live anywhere close and I don't spend that much time hanging out in that spot, but we hit it together. I didn't even recognize him, but my companion did and called him over. So I took a couple of photos. He gave me his email, so I'll ask him about this bike, which looks to be rigid and ti.

Image

Image

Then it got interesting, because we finished riding down the hill, and after complaining about his health, Holland was a ROCKET! I was done with my ride and had a few miles through town to get home so I tend to coast in, but Holland was on his way somewhere, and I had to kick it up three or four notches to keep up.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:53 pm 
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I think i spy a Kona headtube logo, so hei hei?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:19 pm 
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Pre-1990; corrugations, crude brakes and no suspension

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzZkKE9Z35g

Early mountain bikers often came from the road tradition where high pressure tyres meant lower rolling resistance and more speed. The same approach applied to mountain bikes would cause the wheels to skip and jump on even small bumps. This could cause violent vibration of the handlebars where you had to hold on with all your might and didn't even dare let go of the grips in order to apply the brakes. A real white knuckle ride!

When we tried lower tyre pressures we ran into all kind of problems; the skinwall tyre' side walls tore and streched, valves ripped out as the tyres slipped on the rimms, not to mention the pinch punctures.

The tyres back then were too often fat but weak copies of skinwall road tyres. Modern tyres are far tougher and grip the rims well at low pressures. Back in the 80's the only tyres that could be run low pressure were the 650b x 2" Nokia Hakkapellita snow tyres from Finland. They were a revelation, 15lbs/square inch, no pinch punctures, and with the right rim tape, no valves ripping out. They could handle corrugated bumps up to about 40mm before the vibration became uncontrollable and you were forced to slow down or lose control. Each tyre did however weigh 3lbs.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2010 8:35 am 
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Err wrote:
I think i spy a Kona headtube logo, so hei hei?


That's what I thought - although I spotted the welds on the Ti P2 fork dropouts before I saw the headtube logo.

Great info, Graham. Keep it coming.


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PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 12:37 am 
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The Mountain Bike - an idea waiting to happen?

During my childhood in Liverpool, like many others I had enjoyed cycling off-road on waste land and in the woods etc. I also enjoyed hillwalking in North Wales, Scotland and the Lake District.

So In 1981 I nearly invented the mountain bike. I saw a Raleigh Bomber in the Peak District and thought that with larger frame, and a 14-34 tooth freewheel and derailleur system, you would have a capable and interesting all-terrain bike.

However:

1/ I couldn't be arsed enough to pursue this idea.

2/ The French VCCP had already invented a style of mountain bike in 1955.

3/ The US' Marin County and Larkspur riders had done it by 1977.

4/ Brit, Geoff Apps had done it in 1978-9.

So when in the spring of 1984, I saw two £500.00 Ritchey' Montare mountain bikes at the Covent Garden Bicycle Company in London, I immediately understood the potential of this new design. The adventure and freedom of exploring the British countryside on these machines was instantly appealing and I simply had to find out more about these bikes.


Last edited by GrahamJohnWallace on Thu May 13, 2010 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: ..
PostPosted: Wed May 12, 2010 1:29 pm 
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Who invented Mountain Biking, or who invented the "Mountain Bike" is interesting I suppose.

I had a cowhorned hybrid which I knocked together in 1975/6, and used to go "Scrambling" up the SouthWales Hills.

I would guess that kids had been doing this well before me.


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