Gary Fisher: All I’ve ever wanted to do was cover the earth with bikes

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Sunday 28th February 2021

The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast

EPISODE 268: Bike Freak: Being Gary Fisher


HOST: Carlton Reid

GUEST: Gary Fisher

TOPICS: I walk Gary backyards through his life, starting now and ending in 1950, the year he was born.


“Being Gary Fisher,” Bluetrain Publishing.


Carlton Reid 0:13
Welcome to episode 268 of the Spokesmen Cycling Podcast. This show was published on Sunday 28th February 2021

David Bernstein 0:24
The Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, where you’ll always find a great selection of products at amazing prices with unparalleled customer service. For more information, just go to Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast cycling podcast at I’m one of the hosts and producers of the Spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast. For shownotes links and all sorts of other information please visit our website at And now, here are the spokesmen..

Carlton Reid 1:08
Mountain bike icon. Gary Fisher has a book out. It’s a great book. No, no, it’s a fantastic book. It’s eclectic. It’s lively. It’s full of fabulous photographs. And I loved it. I’m Carlton Reid. And on today’s very, very long Show. I’m talking to Hollywood, Grateful Dead and transportation cycling with the eponymous larger than life subject of being Gary Fisher. You might think you know, Gary’s story, the mountain bike years, of course, and perhaps also his psychedelia phase. I’m not too sure he’s out of that phase yet, actually. But there’s plenty in our chat that’s fresh. And it’s fascinating to hear Gary reminiscing, as I walk him backwards through his life, starting now. And ending in 1950, the year Gary was born.

Carlton Reid 2:11
So Gary, this this book, it’s hard to put into words how good it is actually, it is just fabulous. I mean, the cover alone,

Carlton Reid 2:23
obviously, is an absolute knockout, just a wonderful, wonderful illustration of well, instantly recognisable mountain bike, bicycle, Guru icon, whatever you want to be called, or whatever we want to call you. It’s just fantastic. Then you turn it over, and there’s the back of your head. So it’s a wonderful gag. And then even even the spine is brilliant. So the spine

Carlton Reid 2:50
is just an open spot. It’s difficult to describe as it’s an open spine. It’s not like on a book you’d normally see. And then the contents inside are also not it’s like a graphic novel. Right? So tell me first of all, because this is guy Kesteven is the guy who has interviewed you. Is this like a British production? Mostly? Yeah. Tell me tell me about the production values here.

Gary Fisher 3:15
Okay, and Guy Andrews. Also, yes, you see, you know, he’s the guy that

Gary Fisher 3:22
really was the main guy behind Rouleur back in a day. Yep. You know, and I met those guys a long time ago. And they were, you know, really impressed me as they knew what they were doing. And guy’s wife, Taz Darling, she knows paper printing, you know, putting these things together, and it’s the

Gary Fisher 3:45
finish, let let the kids loose. You know,

Gary Fisher 3:49

Gary Fisher 3:52
I wanted to have a book that has a beginning, middle and end call to action, all these different things. And that’s was the important part. It wasn’t, I just didn’t want to do another dry autobiography, you know, and I, I’ve always believed in you try to find the very best people possible to work with. And then you set them free go out,

Carlton Reid 4:22
actually, I would, I would stop you that I would just say the text in this book is it would be standalone you wouldn’t need you actually wouldn’t need all the fantastic illustrations that are in there, even though they are absolutely fantastic. Because you have

Carlton Reid 4:36
as you know, you have had an amazing, amazing life and and hopefully we’ll we’ll get on to that. As we carry on and we we kind of go into your, your your background before you became this this bicycling icon. But what I’d like to do is just anybody I’m sure there’s nobody on here who’s listening to this. It doesn’t know

Carlton Reid 5:00
You are, but let me just read out what’s the first paragraph on the back cover. So that kind of sets the scene. And then I’m going to do something that hopefully you’ll agree to. But anyway, let’s just let’s read out the the cover blurb. “Meet Gary Fisher, the maverick kid bike racer, who cycles straight into the acid test seen and lit up the Grateful Dead gigs. The relentless tinkerer who transformed an industry and sold mountain biking to the world, and the visionary who still working flat out every day to prove that bikes are the answer to a healthier, happier future. for everyone.” Now, I know you are going on lots of podcasts, Gary, and and they’re very, very podcast. So you’ve been on the war on cars. And then you can talk about like your modern activism. And I’m sure you could go on a, you know, an acid trip, kind of podcast and talk about that background.

Carlton Reid 5:58
So you’ve had just an amazing life. Now, in the book.

Carlton Reid 6:06
It’s chronological. So roughly, it goes from, well, kind of before you’re born, so it talks about your, your, your two or three generations ancestors, and then it comes right the way up to the present. So with your permission, Gary, yes. I’d like to go through your book backwards. Okay. So there’s like, this is your life, but backwards. And I’ve just picked out. So I’ve read the whole book, I think it’s fantastic. So I’ve picked out some stuff I’d like to talk about. And and I’d like you to tell me stuff.

Carlton Reid 6:41
Some of which is is in it. Other interviews people will have heard before, you know, you got some famous anecdotes, and I’m sure we’ll touch on those. But there’s tonnes in this book that I didn’t know, which is fantastic to be able to get like a fuller story. So because it’s chronological, and because it, it ends in in 2019, even though it talks about COVID, about four or five times it’s bang up to date, in many respects.

Carlton Reid 7:10
But it’s it finishes the chronology finishes, roughly roughly now. So I’d like to take you backwards. So first of all, tell me about your Alex, your wife, your wife, and your your young children then now so we might hear them in the background. So let’s just, let’s just talk about them. So

Carlton Reid 7:29
tell me about your family background where you are in your house right now.

Gary Fisher 7:33
Right now. It’s just the four of us. So I’ve got a

Gary Fisher 7:38
two and a half year old girl, a six year old boy, and my wife and myself, my wife’s a doctor. And, you know, she’s a regular MD family doctor, and she’s been doing a lot of telemedicine. And normally, you know, I work she works, I still work full time for trek bikes. But the last month and a half we had and normally we have an Au Pair living with us. And for the last month and a half no pair so we take care of the kids ourselves, which is in incredibly sweet. I got a it’s a lot of work. And I get I totally get it. I mean, a mother’s job, you know, is never ending.

Gary Fisher 8:23
You know, and I’ve been a mother, I’ve been caretaker I’ve been a, you know, I bring in food and cook. I didn’t I never, if you told me 10 years ago, I was going to be cooking every day.

Gary Fisher 8:37
Really, wow, you know, what I’m doing, and all the domestic work. And it’s been? Well, some people would say humbling, but I’ve always believed in that type of work is really good for the mind and the body. That simple, humble stuff. It’s been really, really sweet. And that being said, we’ve got a new au pair that’s come up from Mexico and she wants to learn interior design. Oh my god, it’s so perfect. She’s so great. And she’s been in quarantine. She’s gonna come out on Thursday, and we’ll have a family of five again, that’ll be great. So it’s little things like that, you know, little this little pod and my I’ve got other kids and we’ve all been in touch via you know, Skype and other good like that, you know, nobody’s been physically touching each other or getting close simply because we got too many scientists in the family and doctors

Gary Fisher 9:42
don’t fool around.

Carlton Reid 9:45
So let’s let’s place you geographically. So my son Josh has been out to you and you kind of took him for a bike ride around your neighbourhood I believe it was. So what is that neighbourhood? So we’re roughly you don’t have to tell me exactly where your house is. But where’s your neighbourhood?

Gary Fisher 10:00
We’re just across the bay from San Francisco. And I mean, we’re literally on the bay. So we get the view of the Golden Gate Bridge of the city. It’s spectacular.

Carlton Reid 10:12
And it’s all the yacht a yacht club, isn’t it?

Gary Fisher 10:14
It is very close to the club. And all that, you know, this is the original Yacht Club of San Francisco, San Francisco Yacht Club, is located across the bay and Belvedere. And Belvedere has got a weird story to it, you know, they used to, they claimed it was an island, and therefore not subject of all the local laws, and they had their own laws.

Gary Fisher 10:38
And it’s really a charming little place. And my parents moved here when I was a teenager, and I hated it. And I couldn’t wait to get away, and I did. Now I’ve come back. And it’s like,

Gary Fisher 10:52
it’s, it’s amazing. It’s a totally change neighbourhood. It used to be old white people, and now it’s people that make money from all parts of the world, you hear all the different languages on our streets these days, it’s great, you know, I want to teach my kids four different languages, you know, we can do that the kids will, will absorb it, and it creates a more nimble mind, we know this.

Gary Fisher 11:20
It’s this, like, I guess, you know, I’m in that stage of life where I’m like, really, where people tend to, to get dedicate themselves to their kids. And part of that is, you know, this insane traffic system that we have here in the United States, that we’re relying on this grand experiment with the automobile that has never delivered on promise.

Carlton Reid 11:47
Now, Gary, I can date you very accurately because the chronology finishes in a certain year, but and you kind of brought it up there. But how old are you?

Gary Fisher 11:55
I’m 70. Born in 1950, right now.

Carlton Reid 11:58
Yep. So 1950 is when I want to end. So we’ve got a lot to get through. We’re not going to go for every single year, I’m going to pick out the highlights, but some of them are below lights in that. So the first one I’m going to go to is actually when the Gary Fisher name disappeared off bikes. So we are talking 2011. So we can go into the history of Trek when we when we get there in the the chronology, but just tell me about what you thought about the name disappearing. And you’re like the Gary Fisher collection, and not, you know, decal on the side of a bike. So what were you thinking then?

Gary Fisher 12:36
It was funny, because it was actually a part of saying, Yeah, this is a good idea. In that day, the company we’re producing, you know, my bikes and track bikes and wares are sort of cannibalising each other and sort of like, competing with each other. And a were obliged to make, you know, a completely different bike line. And that was crazy. You know, and, and that didn’t make sense. And at the same time, trek wasn’t all that powerful, and marketing of their known names. And we could go through that history, we had quite a few different names over the years. And a lot of them failed simply because they weren’t really good at getting out there. And getting in front and marketing, any of them, even the track name. And fortunately, that’s changed quite a bit in the last few years. You know, it brought in a number of new people, you know, younger people with good visions, and everything, good marketing people, and that’s, that’s changed. And it’s, you know, it’s sort of crushed me that I still had a great following, and yet

Gary Fisher 13:50
they wanted to take you know, my name was on the bike. I was fine with that. Even though trek was on a head badge. For a while I’ve disappeared completely, but lately, they they’ve been bringing me back and they use it a lot more of my names, you know, and it’s like,

Gary Fisher 14:07
the bike I’ve gotten behind the Marlin with simple bike, okay, that’s the whole idea of it. You know, it’s made of parts we know work of dimensions, or that you can there are available around the world, you know, fully supported. That bike, my baby sells more mountain bikes than any other mountain bike on Earth. You know what? So I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m happy.

Gary Fisher 14:34
This is what I wanted to always do is cover the earth with bikes. You know.

Gary Fisher 14:39
I love high end bikes. I love Exotica. I love new dimensions, new standards. You know, the heck of it, let’s just go for it. I love that whole thing. But there is a place for the simple humble, repairable bicycle, you know, and that’s something we don’t make

Gary Fisher 15:00
fake bikes, you know, like, like, in the United States, we get this phenomena of what we call a bike shaped object, you know. And it’s really funny, it sort of comes in under the category of a toy. And it is truly unrepairable. Because it’s all soft steel, you know, soft material and everything. And we won’t make a bike like that, you know, we we, you know, I tend to think our cheapest bike is the world’s cheapest bike, dollar per mile sort of thing. And that’s where that Marlin hits it, you know that it’s a good simple, cheap bike with incredible colours.

Carlton Reid 15:37
So Trek isn’t, isn’t using your name on the bikes, but they’re using you. On what you’re, you’re a globe, obviously, now you’re not travelling anywhere, but prior to the pandemic, you are a global ambassador. Yeah, well cycling in general, but of course, Trek in particular, what’s on your business card? What What does it say on your business card?

Carlton Reid 15:59
What’s your job title?

Gary Fisher 16:00
Well, technically, you know, I’m a Product executive. But I’m also a brand ambassador. So those those two things, you know, is what I do. But then I’m, then I get this other title. I’m Gary.

Gary Fisher 16:15
You know, I can come in and comment on anything, and people will listen.

Gary Fisher 16:20
But that’s because I listen a lot. You know, I listen, a lot of always listen to my customers. And, you know, it’s the key people need to be heard. Or, you’re never going to win, any type of respect is never going to get anywhere with them. So you got to spend your time listening, you know, and why there’s new things you learn, you know, all the time. And that’s my goal. I want to learn something every single day of my life.

Carlton Reid 16:48
And I’m saying you’re learning stuff from your book, Gary. So let’s let go 1996. Now, so we’re, we’re skimming through the years here. There’s tonnes of fascinating stuff in between, of course, but we can’t talk about everything. So I’m going to talk about the kind of the riders you’ve been involved with over the years and and the what the first one that comes up in your, in the book or that sorry, going backwards in the book Paola Pezzo.

Gary Fisher 17:14
Oh, yeah.

Carlton Reid 17:15
Who won Olympic gold. medal, winning mountain biker looked fantastic, was a marketable personality in here own right. So I’ve got that down as 1996 when you started working with it all set when she won the gold, isn’t it? So in Atlanta, and she won that?

Gary Fisher 17:34
Well, that was a Yeah, in Atlanta, you know, but you’d already been riding for a couple a few years. And, oh, boy, that was crazy. But, you know, the whole situation we had in Italy, we had crazy distributor, you know, and, and she came through that, and it was, like, she and I is so funny. It’s like the coincidence thing. There’s stuff that we’ve, we marked it, oh, we have all these stuff in common. She was our writer for 12 years, you know, and,

Gary Fisher 18:07
you know, she would win the podium every time, you know, she had the timings the looks, you know, she could wear the fashions correctly and everything, that whole thing.

Gary Fisher 18:19
And at the same time, you know, choose dedicated, you know, completely dedicated, serious writer and everything.

Gary Fisher 18:27
This, we’ve been lucky, you know, we had some good riders, but everybody, they get into that realm of, you know, sponsorship and everything. And,

Gary Fisher 18:37
well, there’s people that are well known. I mean, you look at the stats, I mean, Lance Armstrong is still the best known cyclist in the world at this moment. But what are you known for, you know, is the that other thing and she sent a fantastic message, you know, look good, ride a bike, be strong. I mean, she’s strong and powerful. And, you know, I’m looking forward to the pandemic and ending and going there and bringing my family with me and

Gary Fisher 19:09
hanging out with the group. You know, this the good life, huh?

Carlton Reid 19:14
Yeah. Okay, let’s, let’s skim backwards. And we are now going to skim backwards to 1992. And that’s when you you basically sold to Trek.

Gary Fisher 19:27
Well, that’s that like, and that’s a simplification because my brother and I sold to another company before that, you know, and when and that was crazy. And my brother told me, I should listen to my brother. My brother said, I don’t trust these guys. He was over right.

Carlton Reid 19:45
So they were a Taiwanese company. Who made those BSOs who made those? They were they were churning out some pretty poor bike for you. Yeah?

Gary Fisher 19:54
well, they treated us as a cash cow. You know, I would. It was crazy. I got these pricings

Gary Fisher 20:00
From this is crazy, this pricing, I immediately, you know, jump on a plane and go to Taiwan I go around a different competiting competitor companies and I get prices that are 20% lower, you treat me as a cash cow and then a dumping ground. I mean, like, we get last year’s equipment.

Gary Fisher 20:19
You know, we get like bikes where the head tube was cracked and then painted over, you know, this her own mother company, you know,

Gary Fisher 20:27
I can laugh now. Well in it in the in the book that there’s there’s an illustration of a two pager a double page illustration of you being a detective, in effect with anlin. So how come you you’re having to find out what was happening with this company and you’re being shafted? And then you must have then tried to get out? And that’s when track came? Yeah, well, a lot of different offers were coming along because the name was had been tarnished within the dealerships, but not out in the general public. So a lot of you know, and that was a time when everybody was trying to get into the business, they wanted to have a name. So we hadn’t really good name. And they wanted and trek came along. And I knew that this is the company, you know, and and I was between a rock and a hard place because at that moment I had, you know, my

Gary Fisher 21:26
major financier, you know, installed a liquidator basically good old Howie, Howie Cohen, which we turned out to be friends. But

Carlton Reid 21:37
he was a historian, wasn’t he? Because I know how Howie Cohen, we’ve actually emailed together because he he was a, as well as being a major figure in the bike industry. He liked his history. So he liked his 1890s stuff. He was a collector of bicycle memorabilia and bicycles of all kinds, wasn’t he?

Gary Fisher 21:55
Well, he also was a guy that he made a killing off of ET the movie, he’s he would had the official bike of everything. He was a smart marketer, smart guy. I like how he, you know, and he was, you know, brought to fight against me.

Gary Fisher 22:13
Anyway, I turned out to be a really good corporate fighter.

Gary Fisher 22:20
Which is crazy, you know, but it’s all about people, isn’t it? Really.

Carlton Reid 22:28
So, the people at track, of course, are the Burke family. Yes. The Burke family came along, and you described them in their book. You’re quite frank, and you’re saying that the brand wasn’t that sexy? At the time? Yeah, this is obviously pre Lance Armstrong,

Carlton Reid 22:43
pre any of that stuff. So they were like, a solid, you know, good business, but didn’t have any pizaazz said, Would it be fair to say you brought some pzazz to Trek?

Gary Fisher 22:54
Literally, I mean, Paola Pezzo? Oh, my goodness. I mean, trek didn’t have a single sponsored rider. When I first came there. 1993 there were two people in marketing. And guess what they did the colours for the bikes as well. And the graphics and everything. That was it, you know, is a famous story. Dick Burke, I love I loved sitting with Dick Burke, you know, like talking with him, it was the best.

Gary Fisher 23:23
You know, and he had this famous story where he got

Gary Fisher 23:28
profiled by Forbes magazine, okay, in the United States. And they sent a photographer out from New York City, to Wisconsin. And dick said to the photographer, I’ll give you three shots. ographers goes Click, click, click, and Dick turns around, and he’s out of there. Because dick didn’t believe in hype in LA. And that was, you know, and he was the leader. And the ethos of trek was no, we’re not going to sponsor you as a racer, or we’re not going to sponsor your team, and I can respond to these people, anybody?

Gary Fisher 24:07
Do you want the bikes to be more expensive? That’s how they’d put it. You know, people say, Oh, no, no. And so they wouldn’t sponsor anybody. And that changed.

Gary Fisher 24:18
And that’s it, you know, you look for things, you know, they could really use me, and I worked with the gang, you know, and it wasn’t always easy. But hey, when I got a saying, if it was easy, everybody do it. Right.

Gary Fisher 24:33
Yeah. But they had this thing. They, you know, no one would point fingers when something went wrong. They just all pitch in and take care of it. You know, nobody go home until the last customer is taken care of. And

Gary Fisher 24:49
that’s a really good quality, you know, that sort of thing. And I sort of fell in love with that whole Midwest. You know, I like to say, well, the Midwest is where the American Dream

Gary Fisher 25:01
actually works. And people actually work really hard on it. On the other hand, my father, you know, the architect, he would talk about the Midwest. So yeah, they got this big meeting a whole bunch of people at around table, and they go around and around, and around and around until it’s oatmeal.

Gary Fisher 25:20
You know, and that’s the truth. I mean, East Coast, West Coast, we can come up with crazy ideas, and people go, Yeah, and it’s boom, that’s it, everybody’s on board. And we had, you know, especially in those days, you had a much harder time, you know, of charging people up, but everything’s changed. You know, I mean, now, everybody sees it, you know, within seconds, right? Because that’s how we communicate in a totally different way. And then we travel, people travel all the time. Now, people didn’t travel, you know, as much 30 years ago. No way, you know, and now, you know, you see things will pop up and, and roll around the globe rather quickly. You know, it’s a totally a different atmosphere from 30 years ago.

Carlton Reid 26:08
Well, that that’s a good segue for me actually into a different date. So we’re now going into we’ll skip the early 1990s. And we’ll go straight to the middle of the 1980s. And we’re going to stick on a travel theme because Anlin was Taiwanese, but before that, you were Japan. So in 1985, it says in your book, you helped Shimano of Japan, with what everybody now anybody who’s born after that date, doesn’t realise how bad gears used to be. You have a negative feel where they were Shimano with your help brought out SIS indexed gears so Shimano Indexing System so the Click Click Click System. Everybody now uses but even even the BSOs have got fantastic click click gear systems. Back then it literally was you. You feel the gears and it was almost a religion in like, yeah, where the gears and stuff.

Gary Fisher 27:06
Yeah. Noise abatement system. Yeah. So

Gary Fisher 27:11
how did you help Shimano? with that? How was how was? How was that going down with Shimano? Well, it was a tradition for me, and how I handled my vendors, especially the Japanese vendors is that I give them everything, you know, I, I’m going to tell you everything I possibly can. So you can make the best price possible product. And, yeah, I know, you’re going to help my competitors. But this is as well as me. But this is going to make everything work. And then I’d also ask, you know, what’s the best price I want? You know, the first delivery, and I want terms, and I wound up getting a loan from the Japanese government back in the day,

Carlton Reid 27:52
but these $80,000 It says here, yeah, the government loan. That’s, that’s, that’s a lot.

Gary Fisher 28:00
Well, I was enough for a couple of containers of bikes, you know, and, and I just, you know, I got a fantastic cooperation. That was the SIS, they sent engineer Shinpei Okajima, he was also a really hot road racer. And he wrote with my riders for like, four months, you know, and just, you know, Joe Murray, that kid, he’s a kid then, man, he, it was good. And he landed himself a lifetime job as a skunk tester with Shimano, for good reason, you know,

Gary Fisher 28:34
it’s just bringing together good people that can work together, you know, that’s the thing. And then, you know, giving feedback, all the time really honest feedback about how it’s going to go together. And that’s the, you know, from

Gary Fisher 28:49
the point of view, I mean, I was a mechanic for a long time, I still am still working on my own darn bikes. But, you know, how’s this thing go together? You know, how’s it come out of the package? How’s it attached to the bike, you know, everything, you know, all the way through, you know, see how it’s gonna work. And then hopefully have a good life. Good, long wife, you know, and those guys, I mean, Shimano, and then all the other the other side, too, which was suntour sugino. You know, and then the tubing makers Ishiwata, Tange.

Gary Fisher 29:26
I taught them and man, they taught me how stuff was made, you know,

Carlton Reid 29:32
that says you visited Japan 1981 in the first and we’ll get them away when we go backwards in a little bit, but first of all, tell me more about because you are working with Shimano on Deore XT which is the first right you know, full group set is still with us. Of course, you are working on that group set with them.

Gary Fisher 29:50
Yeah, yeah. You know, that in the centre, you know, had their group set and that was like, along with their whole, you know, group of different makers.

Gary Fisher 30:00
And it didn’t all look the same, you know what I’m saying? The Shimano stuff, graphically, you know, and just design wise and everything, it was like completely integrated, that that was a real breakthrough, you know, to have a whole group for a mountain bike that it looked like it was really made for a mountain bike. So, and I guess we want to fill in two people here because we obviously know everybody’s just accept Shimano as a, you know, as the global BMR you know, market maker back then it wasn’t you mentioned centre there, you know, centre was the leading Maker of the component makeup of of the day. Certainly the Japanese anyway, and then you gotta come back. No, no, of course, and Shimano was, was in effect, you know, it’s been going since the 1920s. been, you know, taking along for a long time, but it really became big in the 1980s. So there’s like a huge breakthrough. So you helping them with Dr. x, t, and si s, it’s part of the reason that they are now this mammoth mammoth company. I’m really happy when people like that are successful. I’m really happy. You know, and, you know, I like, I don’t mind having competitors. It’s like, Mike Sinyard of Specialized. Man, he’s a tough competitor, he, you know, uses his tricks and walls and all that stuff, but I don’t care. I like Mike. You know, I like him. He’s, he’s alright, by me. And he’s pushed the whole thing. And I, I point out to my competitors, you know, like Tony Lo [of Giant], well, he’s retired kids are in a giant finally loaded giant. So keep that guy takes the he’s taken the high road. I mean, those guys could have killed us with price. I mean, those guys are the very best buyers of parts in the world, you know, they get a better price and better delivery than you do, buddy. for good reason. They’re on the case suit on everything. And they work with their suppliers, you know, and they work together and everything. And that’s, that’s really evident. You see it now. It’s like, the whole business is sort of started to turn a corner, I feel like we finally started to grow up, you know, and not fight each other so much as to think big and, and go boldly and everything and make it a bigger market for us. And, of course, make people happy and make people healthy.

Carlton Reid 32:22
Since 1981, was when you went to Japan for the first time, and an awful lot of the bike industry went to Japan at that point. But what what why Japan because you know, now we know of Taiwan. Why? Apart from Shimano Why? Or maybe it was just Shimano? Why Japan?

Gary Fisher 32:39
Well, they were

Gary Fisher 32:42
they were a huge manufacturing powers, you know, period, you know, I mean, it their automotive industry was, was really pushing the US and everything. And it was evident there was quality there. But I’ll tell you, for myself, it came down to one particular event. And that was in 81.

Gary Fisher 33:03
At the New York bike show, at the bequest of Bicycling magazine, it did a presentation on the mountain bike, and all the bigwigs showed up, you know, from the industry, and the Japanese, it blew their mind. And then they just started to come out and visit me all the time. And we had like, hundreds of Japanese visitors, handfuls of European visitors, and one from the United States. That’s it, you know, and it was who’s interested who wants to do things, and

Gary Fisher 33:38
it was just they wanted to go, let’s go, let’s make new things. Let’s do things. And you know, I talked to a member talking to Reynolds 531 tubing. And to get a pair of fork plates, like the Unicron style. I wanted to do that. You know, that was like, that was my idea. Real. I mean, it was basically putting two different ideas together was no, it wasn’t rocket science. But I named it the Unicrown. Right?

Gary Fisher 34:07
Yeah. And I had to deal with Tange tubing, you know, for all those Unicrown forks. And then my trademark attorney said, Hey, this guy.

Gary Fisher 34:17
I don’t think you can use that name. You know, because there’s a guy that owns Crown bicycle, that I met my neighbours next door neighbour to my parents house. And the guy there the next door neighbour says crown, crown, hat’s my father’s company. You could have used that name.

Gary Fisher 34:35
I blew off that that deal with Tange. But that was that was gonna be a good deal. But anyway, you know, ups and downs, rounds and rounds. The other stuff, you know,

Gary Fisher 34:46
but I had to do it all again.

Gary Fisher 34:49
But I do have different of course, but

Gary Fisher 34:53
no, it was amazing. Those guys were completely on the gas. You know, and I hate culture shock when I came

Gary Fisher 34:59
back, because people there were so attentive and on it. And it’s like, it came back. I came from laid back myrin you know, and come back here and it’s like,

Gary Fisher 35:14
you don’t understand the people outside this country going into a completely different speed and we are

Carlton Reid 35:20
you describing like getting onto trains or bullet train or getting to the next meeting within two minutes of spare and then, you know, just going off again and being basically industrious, very, very industrious.

Gary Fisher 35:30
Oh, yeah, you know, and incredibly efficient. You know,

Gary Fisher 35:33
I mean, go to that first visit, I went to Shimano, they showed me their automatic warehouse, right? No humans there at Oh, and then the room that makes making a tremendous amount of noise. And you walk in, they flip it all the lights while they’re making derailleurs A robotically. This is like a 1981, my friend, you know. So it’s like, oh, you know, you really understand

Gary Fisher 35:59
what type of competition the United State was getting to half. Then we went in the 50s. I mean, we had no competition, you know, all of our industrialised competition had been literally flattened, right. So, it’s, it’s, it just it really drove home, you know, that

Gary Fisher 36:20
things are changing fast. So Japan was a really good partner, because he needed to have

Gary Fisher 36:28
this whole thing was growing. And if I didn’t do it, other people would do we’d go to Japan, it was obvious, you know, and, and, you know, Mike went there, Mike Sinyard. You know, he did a lot of work over there. And his people have, you know, really good in their supply chain going.

Carlton Reid 36:44
I’ve got Mike down for 1980. Don’t worry, we’re gonna get

Carlton Reid 36:49
another character. Yeah. And this is the the disadvantage, of course of going backwards through chronology. Yeah, we kind of meet characters at the end of their, their time with you rather than the beginning. So we’re gonna talk about Charlie Kelly now.

Carlton Reid 37:03
So Charlie Kelly, this is the reason I’m talking about now is 1982, Charlie Kelly leaves mountain bikes. And again, the weakness of going backwards is, you know, what is mountain bikes? mountain bikes, of course, you know, is a generic term. It was also the term that you came up with for your first company with Charlie. Yeah, yeah, essentially.

Carlton Reid 37:25
But before we get to that, because we’re gonna, we’re gonna come on to the founding of the company, but Charlie Kelly leaving? What was what was it? Because you said it was a sad, sad day.

Gary Fisher 37:36

  1. And Previous to that.

Gary Fisher 37:43
People were asking me because I was looking for money. Well, what’s Charlie do?

Gary Fisher 37:50
We build two wheels, you know, it’s a good wheel builder. And he would just sort of leave the room when we ever got into financial stuff. I mean, the first guy ever hired was a bookkeeper. Because I knew you got to keep stuff straight. Or you just you don’t know where you are, you know, you’re not going to have a chance. And so I was having a, and we weren’t doing well, right, then, you know, we were in debt, you know. And so I said to Charlie,

Gary Fisher 38:21
you know, I was having a hard time, nobody had loaned us money, they’d loan me money, they wouldn’t loan him money. And it was getting a real a real problem. And

Gary Fisher 38:32
they’d say, What’s he do? He owns half the company, what’s he do? So I take the walk around the block, and I say with him and say, you know, and by California law, you can dissolve a partnership.

Gary Fisher 38:44
I want to dissolve this partnership, you know.

Gary Fisher 38:47
And I gave him a forgiveness of debt. We are $80,000 in debt. So he got off the hook for 40 grand, he got a computer, he got a bike. And I think that was about it. And he

Gary Fisher 39:00
agreed to that signed off on it. And

Gary Fisher 39:03
our attorney Clay Green wrote the papers Clay Green still around, you know. And, you know, a few months later, Charlie wasn’t too happy that he left the business because I wound up making a bunch of money that year. Hmm, yeah.

Carlton Reid 39:16
So, Charlie, Charlie Kelly, Otis Guy, Joe breeze has a whole bunch of characters that are famous in in this the story of mountain biking. Do you get on with them at all still, because they’re all roughly, you know, in the Bay Area?

Gary Fisher 39:33
I’m not really, you know, it’s like, I just, I didn’t you know, Charlie, you know, we separated that was it. I didn’t insist that a non compete because I knew he was never gonna compete with me.

Gary Fisher 39:46
You know, and the rest of them, you know, it’s the same deal. They just, like live on their own planet and they just don’t, they don’t understand me.

Gary Fisher 39:55
You know, it’s like, I Charlie’s written about me. He’s never interviewed.

Gary Fisher 40:00
Never, you know, he keeps writing the same old story over and over again. And it’s like, you know, I named the company Mountain Bikes. I thought about that my own little head. You know?

Gary Fisher 40:13
We blew it. You know, as far as a trademark goes, it went generic and everything I know a lot more about trademarks than I did then. You know, I don’t, I don’t

Gary Fisher 40:22
you know, listen, those guys don’t slow me down at all. And it’s a you know, Joe’s a sweetheart, I love Joe, you know, but he doesn’t understand what happened so much though.

Gary Fisher 40:36
The forces, you know, it’s like, none of this stuff is truly original. I mean, 120 years ago, everybody rode off road, come on, then you go back in history, and you can like even the first guy that ever loaned me money, John Findley Scott, UC Davis, Professor 1953, he made what he called a woodsy bike. And, you know, is a Schwinn varsity frame where the frame had been, you know, widened a bit so he could fit 26 by 175 tires had a sturmey Archer three speed hub on a rear with a drum brake on the side, and a three speed cog set. So as a nine speed bike, you know, and

Gary Fisher 41:19
oh, what a calliper brake. And you know, you could argue back and forth. That was this that was that, you know, then Joe breeze found these guys in France, I think it was in 40s, late 40s. And some pretty cool looking bikes, you know, and then, of course, there’s Geoff Apps, you know, from the UK, he was completely independent of us. And then Victor Vincente, right around the same time, you know, came along and had his whole thing going and everything. And it’s all great, you know, and, and I’m not

Gary Fisher 41:51
I’m not saying that I invented anything. I mean, the bikes we made were just sort of heavy duty road bikes, you know, there was no suspension or anything, you know, it’s sort of funny, wasn’t rocket science, you know, I don’t think the thing that’s the magic is marketing, and providing the product, you know, and making a really nice product, you know, in that’s what a lot of these original guys don’t they have no clue. You know, what Mike Sinyard does? He knows exactly. And then there was a john Kirkpatrick from Ross bicycles. And he passed away died of cancer, you know, in the 80s. But that guy, he understood exactly what he was doing, you know, and then, oh, what? Oh, gt Gary, Gary Turner. Uh huh. Ah, well, he, he was killed in a motorcycle wreck. I mean, that guy. He could have changed everything. You know, there’s like all these great people to like, get people excited about doing something and say, here it is. Let’s go. And then the next part is making more places that people can go right. And what was fantastic about off road was like, Wow, there was just endless opportunity, you know, out there, and especially in those days in, you know, in the 70s, late 70s, early 80s. I mean, very few people were going out into the woods, and this was such a fun way to get out in the woods.

Carlton Reid 41:53
So, what we’re going to get onto that, but I do like, let’s get to that point mention the Larkspur Canyon gangs, theor which was “no cars, no cops, no concrete.” So you’re getting away from from everything.

Gary Fisher 43:38
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And those that was like, those are my friends. Some of my friends in high school at Redwood high school that I met and how we met was more through the drum circle thing.

Carlton Reid 43:54
Gary, we will get there I promise.

Gary Fisher 43:56
I’m jumping around.

Carlton Reid 43:58
No, no, it’s fine. It’s a weird way of going through this one. I recognise that? So you’ve mentioned him a few times. We can now now now bring him into the story officially. So 1980 you’ve introduced bull moose handlebars, Shimano free hubs and bear trap pedals onto mountain bikes, machines and your machines to set the scene are about $1500 at this point,

Carlton Reid 44:25
and then Mike Sinyard who went now introducing of Specialized gets one of your bikes, buys one of your bikes, whatever. And then the Specialized Stumpjumper is roughly your bike but $750

Gary Fisher 44:41
Well, actually, we had a bike at that moment that he came out with one for $995 there was a cheaper bike that was equipped, almost identical, but it was a domestic made frame. You know, so yeah, it killed my sales for about a month and then he ran out of bikes.

Gary Fisher 44:59
My bike sold even better, because he marketed his bikes really well. And when you’re an orphan out there all by yourself, people go, I don’t know, when you got five other hot competitors that are going for it. Everybody’s going like this is it, man? This is it, you know? So Mike did help open up the whole thing, you know? And

Gary Fisher 45:21
some of our guys were like, oh, how can he ever do that? You know, it’s like, come on, how could he not, you know, he bought four bikes from me. And he enjoyed it a lot. He liked it. You know? He said, Yeah, and this is gonna work and he’s not stupid. You know? I mean, it wasn’t a real stretch to see that this thing was gonna work.

Carlton Reid 45:43
So this Stumpjumper is generally considered by most people to be like the first in inverted commas commercial, man, like not not like me, you had a commercial bike, not us selling them. But the first one done by like a manufacturer.

Gary Fisher 45:57
Yeah, yeah. Well, you know, we can get into all these nitpicking

Gary Fisher 46:03
things, you know, who did this? Who did that? And everything. It’s nitpicking. A lot of it, you know, it’s like, oh, it’s like, who made the first, you know, frame from scratch in our neighbourhood? Was Craig Mitchell. Craig made the first one. And that’s why you say, That’s why Joseph is the first successful because Charlie Kelly wrote Craig’s for about a week to a couple of weeks didn’t like it. I don’t know why, you know, I think the geometry was different. And he just didn’t like it. So he took it apart and put together a different one. So that was a successful blahdy blah. I like Craig, he was an amazingly clever guy, you know. And had, I learned a lot from Craig, I learned a lot from Doug white, white industries, he was around in the 70s. Oh, man, clever, you know, and another guy, Paul Brown, Paul Brown, still around, he’s like, more like a collector knows, knows all the old equipment and all that stuff. And those were the three guys in the bike shop horizon working.

Gary Fisher 47:07
Sunshine bike works. In fact,

Gary Fisher 47:10
Ed Christensen, the owner, you know, and that great little crucible, I mean, you think that’s good. Look at this, it was sort of that attitude all the time. And at the time, I was a road tester for Bicycling magazine. Haha. And I would bring in, you know, like, the coolest things, you know, I mean, I get a new bike every month. And I knew more and more people in industry, you know, and

Gary Fisher 47:35
so I knew what was going on. I mean, that helped a lot, you know, and that was my trajectory. You know, I mean, the other guy’s in Marin didn’t work for Bicycling. And that that meant a lot, because I had an audience in front of like, all these manufacturers and everything. They, they were looking for me to look at their stuff all the time.

Carlton Reid 47:59
It was a lot. So we’ve now reached the 1970s, when of 1979. And that’s when you set up MountainBikes. So is the company name is MountainBikes, all one word? Yeah, you set that up with Charlie Kelly. And you may need Well, how many bikes did you make in that first year?

Gary Fisher 48:16
The first year is about 160 bikes.

Carlton Reid 48:19
And they were selling pretty much locally, or were you selling internationally already?

Gary Fisher 48:24
We sold all over, all over, you know, all over the place, because we had, we had a mail order catalogue, computer, and the computer, you know, it would take about three hours to sort about the 6000 names. by zip. It was like, just, but it worked. You’d I mean, all this stuff. We had a telex machine. Oh, do you remember those things?

Gary Fisher 48:48
But no, we were definitely I tried to go as far and wide as I possibly could. Because the strategy was, is to become a name, you know, to start and become a name. And it worked.

Gary Fisher 49:01
Problem was was the wrong name.

Gary Fisher 49:04
But you know, I didn’t nail it down. You know, that real big problem. But

Carlton Reid 49:10
well, it helps if it’s generic in that, man.

Gary Fisher 49:15
That’s true. I mean, it’s better to have a generic name than nothing at all.

Gary Fisher 49:19
You got to have a handle on a thing. You know, that used to be a classic thing that Trek would do they develop something and they say, Well, what do you call this?

Gary Fisher 49:29
We get out there to do the presentation. I say, oh, what do you call this and have some sort of like, cryptic description, you know? No, no, no, no. It’s like when you conceive of the product, you better start with a name. Right then, you know, get the whole thing rolling because this is it’s almost as important as the thing itself. It’s just amazing.

Carlton Reid 49:54
So 1977 Yes, Gary. You placed fifth at the cyclocross.

Carlton Reid 50:00
nationals so we’re going to talk about your your progress as a racer in a second as we get earlier into your, your your life story.

Carlton Reid 50:09
But perhaps have more renown to most people who, who who know your story is you set the fastest time in the Repack. So what is the Repack.

Gary Fisher 50:20
The repack, race is about two mile long downhill. And it was a pretty big deal for a while, you know, locally, people would talk about it a lot, and and so is the first sort of dirt time trial, you know, and I managed to win the thing a few times, and then set the record on it, you know, and it was a scary thing for me. But

Gary Fisher 50:47
I learned a lot of bike handling by riding a mountain bike because and you do because you get all these opportunities for the wheels to lose traction in a road bike that only happens once every six months. And when it happens, it’s like if you don’t know what to do, you fall down, boom, you know, boom, go down. mountain bike, you know, and you go out on a slippery day, and you’ll get 1000 opportunities for the wheels to slip. So you’ll learn how to deal with how the wheel slip. It’s a beautiful thing.

Carlton Reid 51:16
so these are just two miles. Yeah, down a fire road down.

Carlton Reid 51:22
Mount Tamalpais is right? in Marin County.

Gary Fisher 51:25

Carlton Reid 51:26
And there’s a how many how many people are taking part in when it ended when you got the final one, how many people were riding at that point?

Gary Fisher 51:33
will be about 50, 70. People would show up and actually write it. It’d be another, you know, 150 spectators. But that race got into a segment of evening magazine. And evening magazine did an eight minute long segment on it. And they showed it nationwide. And that won an award for him for the year. It was hot, you know, and it was just this, like, you know, the mountain bikers, this combination of like, this is insane. Oh, no, you’re not supposed to ride bikes off road, people thought this is crazy. And then the reality was, it was extremely practical. Because there’s this heavy duty bike, you know, where the tire stay inflated, where it had a practical,

Gary Fisher 52:18
more or less upright position with the shifters right there at your fingertips with a relatively wide saddle and everything. And that was, you know, a golden combination, because anybody could ride this thing. And anybody could dream about you know, riding over a mountain. And that was, you know, it was perfect that way.

Carlton Reid 52:38
So how come you have the fastest time? Because it stopped? And why did it stop? You can no longer ride it in effect?

Carlton Reid 52:48
Sso what why is that?

Gary Fisher 52:50
Now you can ride it on Strava and a beaten record.

Gary Fisher 52:56
Officially, you can ride that fire, that that trail, go check it out on Strava is there and I think somebody like got me by about 20 seconds. Uh huh. No, but we practice like crazy. That’s why the wait time was good. Go out and do it again. And again, and again. And again. And again.

Carlton Reid 53:15
This is in jeans and woodsmen shirt. And and yeah,

Gary Fisher 53:19
and what loves this is not like, you know,

Gary Fisher 53:22
you know, on armour here, you’re not wearing a helmet and you’re not wearing it didn’t exist. Like, it still exists. And lycra was like, was uncool. I mean, if I was like or barely existed, it was a woolly jersey, you know, you know, what’s the difference between that, you know, but I did, I would switch out the steel toed boots for a, you know, a pair of Nike trainers, you know, for the race and everything. And I did on a couple occasions, I put a double chainring setup on the front. Well, while the cyclocross guard thing, you know, we take two chain rings that you take all the teeth off of, and you sandwich a single chain ring, the old school classic cyclocross setup, because that worked really well to keep the chain on.

Gary Fisher 54:09
I use that I set that up a few times for the race and everything, but it was I did a faster time, simply because that day had a tailwind and the, the dirt was in the right condition, you know,

Carlton Reid 54:23
And then what Joe Breeze would be your main competitor?

Gary Fisher 54:27
Joe would be you know, real close to me. Joe is really good. He’s still a good downhiller. You know,

Carlton Reid 54:35
I’ve done that many times. With with Joe so yes, I do know he’s, he’s very good on the bike.

Gary Fisher 54:41
Yeah, he’s good, you know, but they’re, I mean, come on. I mean, today, these guys, these downhillers

Gary Fisher 54:49
there’s a whole nother world is so good, it’s amazing. I love to watch Danny Hart, you know, he created this whole technique of you know, when you have no traction, how to

Gary Fisher 55:00
To get traction, oh, amazing. And there’s a number of other kids that can do it now, like Danny, and, you know, you look at the different techniques are amazing, you know, and how, how they can go and that mean the Frenchman Luke Bruni, and, you know, Lauren Villa and Aaron gwin, and all this, you know, I love watching the modern stuff, you know, but the bikes are on a completely different level. I mean, the type of suspensions that are out there now, are incredible. I mean, I know this, I mean, I ride, I ride suspension, a ride suspension B, and like, wow, there’s a huge difference, you know, between they look the same, but, and this thing, like, this is a miracle when I ride this bike, you know, and, and then the trail builders, you know, it’s, it’s amazing, you know, they’re using algorithms now

Gary Fisher 55:52
to, you know, figure out, you know, how this thing launches, how I can go through here, where I landed everything, it’s amazing. And that’s what I see is, I want to bring that technology more to the urban landscape. And, for two reasons, for one, is it we’d have less dangerous bike routes, bike paths, because some of those bypass are just awful. I mean, they get designed in two dimensions, and the people designing them have very little idea of how a bicycle actually functions, you know, that the worst of bike path.

Gary Fisher 56:32
So to really bring up the quality of bike path, and then secondly, to be able to have fun,

Gary Fisher 56:39
which is something that needs to be imported into the cities. And, you know, we can have a Safe Routes to School commuter routes, but also, you know, features and go routes, you know, because kids, humans need to stress themselves in that, you know, it’s the old thing, you either use it or lose it, you know, if you don’t use a bodily function, and it’ll deteriorate.

Carlton Reid 57:04
So it’s not chronological, but it’s elsewhere in the book, where you actually talk about, like, the pump tracks, in Fruita, where they’re basically the, on the bike paths on the route to school. So the kids are on the pump tracks, but it’s actually getting them to school at the same time.

Gary Fisher 57:21
And they’re pretty cool, having fun with the school, they’re more focused. And we now have the studies to say, this is for real, you know, we used to be, you know, thinking, I have these gut feelings. I know, this is right, I know this is right. And now we’ve got all these peer reviewed medical papers that say, guess what, you were right.

Gary Fisher 57:41
So it’s a, I feel really good about being, you know, that just a huge campaigner. And what I really like is my bosses go, you know, that’s what I like you doing, you know, like you campaigning about this. And that’s a see right now, there’s some really intense times, you know, we can, especially in states and the UK, psyche, you know, you can give it up to the car guys again, or we can make some real change, and it’s a watch the struggles you’re going through. And that’s the the biggest is once you change the matter, between the ears, the grey matter, everything else is easy. And you are in that battle. And I I really admire what you’re doing, you know, and and all the others that we have that are fighting this intellectual battle, to like, tell the Emperor that he’s wearing no clothes to say you know, that the automobile does not work for cities.

Carlton Reid 58:41
Well, you do have a Transportation Secretary now that that’s it talking that language anywhere like Mayor Pete is talking about that kind of stuff. So we’ll see where that goes. But I want to stick to history. Okay, so we’re now back to 1976. And you’ve already mentioned that you are working for Bicycling magazine, but this is when you start working for Bicycling magazine. So that’s absolutely a big deal. Yeah. As you said, you know, you’re getting kit, you are getting recognition. So how’d you get the deal with Bicycling? Because that that’s that’s it is a big deal. Well,

Gary Fisher 59:11
Well, Bill Fields, walks into the shop is working out and he says, hey, I’ve we’ve heard that you’re a really good bike racer, we want you can you write an article for, you know, Bicycling magazine through the road test? And I said, Yes. And let me tell you, I was not a rider. Boy, I agonised over the first few months and everything, but it worked out, you know, and I just really wanted to do it. I just really wanted to do it, you know, period.

Carlton Reid 59:41
And at this point, you were, as you said, you are you’re a racer. So you are

Carlton Reid 59:47
like, You’re like a you’re an up and coming.

Carlton Reid 59:52
road racer. There’s a track just been built, I believe you say in your book. So you’re basically a roadie.

Gary Fisher 59:58
Yeah. Well, I love by

Gary Fisher 1:00:00
I mean, I wanted to do nothing more than riding a bike. I mean, to me, I mean, it was like, the greatest sport there ever was. And I still feel it. You know, I still like tell the guys, you know, racing, I say, look, you doing the most fun thing in the world? You know? Yeah, it’s intense. Yeah, it’s hard sometimes. But you know what, this is the most incredible thing in the world. And I, I still feel that way. You know, it’s a

Gary Fisher 1:00:27
it’s a fantastic sport, you know, involves a lot of science, a lot of strategy and a lot of physicality.

Carlton Reid 1:00:37
So 1972 that’s actually when you met Charlie Kelly. And you says here that you each had the same bike, and the same interests and you became roommates. Right. So that was long before you started a business together. Yeah. So where was that? Where was that actually saying here where that was?

Gary Fisher 1:00:58
Oh, that was in San Anselmo. And it was right above this recording studio. They called the church. And you know, bands like Huey Lewis in the news, they did all their stuff in there. And sons of champion that was a band Charlie worked for, and it was a 21. Humboldt. And there was this perfect little pad right up there. And Charlie was a roadie. And I’ve been hanging out in living with musicians, you know, I was living with a band called new writers of the purple sage and

Gary Fisher 1:01:31
big old house in Canfield in what happens the band becomes really popular. And then everybody goes out and buys her own house gets their own place.

Gary Fisher 1:01:39
So I had to go find my own place. And I was tired of living of rock and rollers, in a way.

Gary Fisher 1:01:48
And Charlie, well, Charlie’s still a rock and roller, but then it was like he was a sort of an athlete. So that was a lot of fun.

Carlton Reid 1:01:55
We’re going to get on to your your rock and roll background or your hippie background or whatever you want to describe it as? And we would absolutely want to talk about that. But I can. I’ve written some notes here, because it says 1971 that’s when you start racing again, right? Because we’re going to go into the there was a hiatus there was a gap in which you you were doing stuff to your body that wasn’t just

Carlton Reid 1:02:17
temple and athletic stuff. But I did my notes here are just saying.

Carlton Reid 1:02:23
Cycling, in effect became your new drug. Your new high. Yeah. So you got back into it. You’re you’re coming from a scene that had soured

Carlton Reid 1:02:35
like a drug. psychedelia.

Gary Fisher 1:02:38
LSD was seen. It was it was, you know, parts of it were

Gary Fisher 1:02:44
incredible. I mean, you know, I hung out with

Gary Fisher 1:02:47
Jack Leary. I mean, Timothy’s son, you know, I used to work for the Mayor, you know, the guy who made more LSD than anybody on the planet, you know, a hork.

Gary Fisher 1:02:57
Ken Kesey, I used to go hang out on his farm. You know, I used to hang out with

Gary Fisher 1:03:03
LSD guys of the time. Yeah, he was an author No One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest unit, you know, that book, and now they’re doing a movie, a new version of the movie, while a TV version of jack nicholson was in the original, but it was, you know, it was a lot about consciousness expansion. And it totally got out of hand, and I watched it, you know, I saw the whole thing, you know, and it was stupid. It went from being something really incredible. I mean, yeah, the temple, taking care of the temple, you know, as to abusing the temple.

Gary Fisher 1:03:41
When, you know, off the hook, you know, I always said, I watched the, the ultimate thing get organised, right, I knew all the organisers, and then we’d hang out in the meetings and stuff. It’s the ultimate was like a, it was gonna be another Woodstock. But it was originally like, we’re going to get the Beatles there. That didn’t work out. We got the second trip the Rolling Stones.

Gary Fisher 1:04:04
And we’re gonna do it in Golden Gate Park. Well, the city of San Francisco wouldn’t allow it. And then it got shifted over to this big Motor Speedway up serious point. But then the owner a serious point, one of the owners found out that the Rolling Stones were gonna film a movie there, you know, and he wanted a piece of the action and everything. And that went to South and then within, you know, one day, they changed the venue to this other place and ultimate. And it was just a frickin like a disaster. And it could have been much worse. I mean, it could have been even worse, you know, I mean, though, the deaths are staggering. And for this, you know, and I mean, Mick Jagger could have lost his life that day. I mean, seriously, you know, it was nuts, you know, and it was like, This is the stupidest ass dream. You know? I’m getting out of here. Yeah, this

Gary Fisher 1:05:00
is a mess, you know. And it’s funny. I mean, cooler heads prevailed. I mean, Bill Graham took over the whole promotion thing. And I knew Bill Graham, I worked for him too. You know, he was a, he had his act together, tough old New Yorker, you know, and they needed to be worked out the way it did. But it was sort of like the dream was over. You know, I mean, literally, after that, that was in December of 1969, thousands of people have left San Francisco and went elsewhere. Because that that didn’t work. You know, it wasn’t working, you know. And I said to myself, I’m going back and doing the bike. The bike never lied to me. biker was always good to me. I love the bike.

Carlton Reid 1:05:43
So you go back and race race the bike again. And

Gary Fisher 1:05:48
that’s all I wanted to do at that moment. So roughly 1968 to 1970.

Carlton Reid 1:05:54
When you part of this alternative scene

Carlton Reid 1:05:58
Roughly, were you still riding a bike during those two years?

Gary Fisher 1:06:01
Not for beans. You know, it was more than it was about four year period, we

Gary Fisher 1:06:08
did the light show thing. And that was pretty heavy duty. And the guy did it with you know, started, he wound up being the father of Visual Basic, he did a big company that he just couldn’t keep up. Yeah.

Carlton Reid 1:06:22
And Alan Cooper is on Twitter, I follow Alan.

Gary Fisher 1:06:25
So yeah, and he’s really used to make stuff. Oh, man, we had a good time making stuff.

Gary Fisher 1:06:32
You know, and I’ll go do some more stuff with him. Again, I get some fantasies, doing some more stuff with Alan.

Carlton Reid 1:06:39
So that the photographs in the book are fabulous. And the most evocative ones for me are of this period, in that, obviously, they’re very colourful. It’s the oils, and it’s the light shows you are putting on. So basically, you were doing light shows for Grateful Dead, and bands like that. So tell me what a light show was, what what exactly was it and how did you do it?

Gary Fisher 1:07:01
Well, it’s changed, the technology’s changed completely. But back in those days it used, we use slide projectors, which were two by two slide projectors. And so you’d have maybe I had eight of those

Gary Fisher 1:07:17
overhead projectors, which is a 10 by 10 inch.

Gary Fisher 1:07:22
You know, you put liquids on those. And those had to be like modified, everything had to be modified. Oh my god, 16 millimetre film projectors, I had the 16 millimetre film projectors, I modified their old Keystone projectors, and I put a separate a different motor on the drive. And then there was a motor for the film gate, the air over the film gate, a fan over the film, gate, and then a fan over the bulb, these things doing 1200 at 1200 watt bulbs, oh my god. And you could run up to 60 frames a second on these because they were you know, 24 frames a second is a standard and everything, but I can run them super fast. Or I could go you know, one at a time down to zero, you know, DC motors. And you turn off the fan and a film gate and you go like one frame at a time and you use black film and a film would burn and go on the screen and go poof poof, poof, another effect was using film loops. And you could do one or two film loops in this one gate, you know, and it’s like, every projector was modified you know and he said, you know, mounts for colour wheels on him the whole ways a colour wheels mean colour wheels, nobody would ever use those anymore. Use electronica to do things. liquids, you know, boy, it was oils based on oil and alcohol based colours and the oil colours, especially we worked really hard on making them super transparent. And you could take a drop of this oil and mix it with clear oil and colourize it but you could look through the whole bottle. It was amazing. And, you know, the clock faces were from real clocks, you know, and you get glass clock faces that matched each other correctly. I’m telling you, there’s so much detail in this. It’s nuts. And there was about 50 different light shows in well, and in the Bay Area. And in New York, where were light shows were and a few in LA or a few out down there. And we had a thing called a light artists guild after a while, you know, because

Gary Fisher 1:09:33
we weren’t getting the kind of money we wanted, you know, that type of thing. And there were 50 members 50 deeper member groups, and I was a big part of that thing in the end. And we struck the family dog and a beach when a Grateful Dead were playing and dead wouldn’t cross the picket line. I ran it a generator and we projected on the outside of the building and no one would go in and

Carlton Reid 1:09:56
18 or 19 at this point?

Gary Fisher 1:09:59
You know, when I was like, 16, you know, 16, 17, 18, 19 you know, I still have a lot of the equipment. And it’s funny, and

Gary Fisher 1:10:11
it was a scene. I learned a lot through that, that business.

Carlton Reid 1:10:15
And you had you had very long hair then. So there’s some photographs in the book. You had long hair. I do. You’re free. I mean, that’s what a freak was. Yeah. Somebody who was buying into that scene had the long hair was doing the LSD.

Gary Fisher 1:10:28
Oh, no, yeah. But there got to be like,

Gary Fisher 1:10:34
people had all this stuff on the outside, could take the drugs in the inside, and still be idiots.

Gary Fisher 1:10:41
You know, it was like it, it was the whole thing went off of the tracks. And I think I talked about it, like cocaine came into the whole scene. And I’ll never forget it. There I am, you know, the hit the dead house. And like, this guy from New York comes with this huge tin of coke. And he says, It’s organic, and it’s not addictive. And people believed him. I couldn’t believe it. And it was, you know, people like owlsley and illyrian. And all these other guys who like, stay away from that stuff, man, that stuff messes up your head, you know, and did it mess people up. It’s not a good drug. And fetta means that drug is not good for the brain at all. It takes brain you know, about a year to heal from that stuff. And right, you know, psychedelics are a different animal, you know, and today they’re doing psychedelics again. But they’ll do 10 micrograms, LSD were like, we were doing 50 to 100. You know, which is too much, you know, it’s excess excess is stupid. You know? And that’s the big lesson out of the whole consciousness expansion, you figure out, hey, excess on all levels is stupid.

Gary Fisher 1:11:54
You know, and here we are today excess. See, you had long hair.

Carlton Reid 1:12:00
But then if we skip back another couple of years to 1966, that’s when you can make a Cat A junior racer, and it says here with regular top five finishes. But then you got banned for racing for having long hair. And I’ve looked at a photograph that wasn’t very long, right?

Gary Fisher 1:12:17
At that point. That was quite a No, in fact, Joe Breeze showed me a photo of myself as the last race. I rode, you know, before I get kicked out, and it was like my hair barely went over my ears. You know?

Carlton Reid 1:12:34
So you’re a Cat A junior racer, and this is on your first kind of custom built bike. And that’s a paragon.

Gary Fisher 1:12:42
Oh, yeah. Paragon. That was Lars Zabrasky. He built those bikes.

Gary Fisher 1:12:48
Really cool guy. I know.

Carlton Reid 1:12:51
And what kind of gears because you had you had Oh, it was a That one’s a weirdo setup that had the simplex, the plastic derailleurs. Remember that as being between the lines that the making trying to make it light.

Carlton Reid 1:13:02
So you were using campagnolotrying to make a light bike. So that’s why using the simplex, I use

Gary Fisher 1:13:08
derailleurs and it used Mayfac cantilever brakes.

Gary Fisher 1:13:14
Those were like that was and a TA crank set. And it was the old ones that they had there. an alloy crank set that was cottered.

Gary Fisher 1:13:23
you remember, and it had sort of a shaped bottom bracket spindle.

Carlton Reid 1:13:32
Okay, we’re skimminh back fast now, so 1962 that’s when you get your first serious racing bike. A Legano but that does have come with Campagnolo.

Gary Fisher 1:13:43
Yeah, yeah. And, oh, man, Distrone cottered crank set, you know, steel crank set.

Gary Fisher 1:13:47
And there was no such thing as Campagnolo brakes at that time? No, it’s just the derailleurs

Gary Fisher 1:13:57
Oh, and I found a good set of wheels. That was something that was a, I was hanging out at the bike shop and had some kid there that says, Hey, I got these wheels. I want to trade for a pair of clinchers. And like, you do okay, boom, boom, you know, it was a set of a high flange Campag hubs.

Gary Fisher 1:14:14
Set a few army Red Label rooms. Let’s go.

Carlton Reid 1:14:18
Describe the racing scene at that point. So we are talking

Carlton Reid 1:14:24
mid 1950s we’re getting towards the end of the 1950s

Gary Fisher 1:14:28
No, no, no, no. Like, I got into it. And like

Carlton Reid 1:14:32
sorry, 63. So I’m going I’m going I’m flipping myself here because you got your first bike in case for sorry. So 63 I mean, and I mean, road racing must have been pretty small.

Gary Fisher 1:14:41
But there were 120 registered riders and all in Northern California. And in those days, if you wrote a bike seriously at all, you would register with trh ABVLA even if you didn’t race. And that’s how few riders were there was like two women. You know, there were seven intermediate state

Gary Fisher 1:15:00
That was my category. You know, you’d see somebody on a road that wasn’t obvious DUI victim or some kid, and you’d stop them and exchange phone numbers. And otherwise you knew who it was for sure.

Gary Fisher 1:15:17
that few people, you know, but it was very chummy, so to speak.

Carlton Reid 1:15:23
And how did you get into racing? So, in 1954, you got your first biker Schwinn Spitfire, but these aren’t, these aren’t racing bikes. So how’d you start actually, racing?

Gary Fisher 1:15:34
Well, I was, I was hanging out at the bike shop and was the San Mateo bike shop, a Schwinn shop. And these guys that show up, and we’re gonna go on a ride, and once these guys were like, 15, 17, 18, and they were looking at me, you can’t come You can’t come. Because I was like, I was 12. I was like, tiny. I was like five foot four. And it was like 89 pounds skinny. And I said, Yeah, I can come and I just started riding with them. And they didn’t get rid of me. And at the end of the ride, they said, Yeah, you can. You can be in a club. You can be a mascot, and I started crying. I didn’t want to be mascot. I want to be a regular member. So okay, okay. We’ll make you a regular member. And, you know, that was a Belmont bike club. So it was the first club I joined.

Carlton Reid 1:16:23
Cuz there’s some Brits there. Yeah. Who, Larry Walpole. There’s a few few Brits like that. We’re like, basically organising this club. Yeah. So you would like brought into the scene by Brits?

Gary Fisher 1:16:33
Well, yeah, I mean, Larry, especially, I mean, he was a

Gary Fisher 1:16:36
he’s from East London. He had that, you know, that accent and he was hilarious. And he was a mechanic for Pan-Am. And he took care of me, you know, we do 80 mile rides, and he makes sure I made it, you know, a whole thing. And then Ray Andrews, Ray Andrews was a racer. He was a Brit, living in the States.

Gary Fisher 1:16:59
But he was a top category racer, you know, good road racer.

Gary Fisher 1:17:05
So, yeah, he taught me how to drink tea.

Gary Fisher 1:17:09
And Larry, Larry, though, and he get British Cycling Weekly, and then Miroir Du Cycliste, you know, the, and that was the window, you know, you got to consider, I mean, there was no such thing as video, you know, so you couldn’t rent a video of some race or something. And, you know, I remember seeing his 16 millimetre film with some World Championships. But that was all I ever saw of a European race until I was in my 20s, and actually went to Europe. And us, you just wouldn’t see how right or road or how pack function or any of those physical things, you know, is really different. And, you know, and writing races in those days was far different. And then you’d have, there’d be 20, guys that could go fast, and then it’d be 15. And then then it just be five, you know, it would just get whittled down so fast and be ridiculous, you know, and, and then later on, when I was racing, and especially you go to the national championships or something, and there’d be 100 really good riders. That was different, you know, and the whole concept of going to something like the Tour de France, where you’ve got 150 riders that are like so incredibly good. No, that was something that was just like a dream. You know?

Carlton Reid 1:18:27
To help me visualise this, I’m just mentioning here Breaking Away. So Breaking Away is a different part of the US. It’s not, it’s not California, but is Breaking Away. Is that a good way of visualising this scene? Is it How accurate is breaking away to that kind of racing era?

Gary Fisher 1:18:43
My mother used to say all the time, “that was a movie about you, Gary.”

Carlton Reid 1:18:49
I met I met Oh, who is the guy? Dennis Christopher. I met him. Nice guy. But

Gary Fisher 1:18:57
I mean, in different scene in it, that was the Midwest and in the Midwest, you know, it’s, there’s a portion of it that is highly organised, you know, and that was the actual event and everything, you know that

Gary Fisher 1:19:09
they did a good job on their event, even though it was like absolutely bizarre, you know, the way that thing the, the Little Indy 500 runs and everything. Whereas in California,

Gary Fisher 1:19:21
Northern Southern California was sort of the where roadracing came back. It had almost died, you know, they hadn’t had a national championships for a number of years. And in 65, they did a, they included it in the nationals in Southern California, a road race for the first time in a long time, because there were enough people doing it and sort of came out of California and it was more

Gary Fisher 1:19:47
more independence in a really different feeling. You know, the Midwest where things were families and well organised and everything. And out here it was some awesome races, but when

Gary Fisher 1:20:00
Wasn’t organised, like, you know, like to do in the Midwest. I mean, the biggest race we had out here was back in those days was tour Nevada city, you know, for Northern California, and Southern Cal had a few big races. And then there are a number of races that would happen, you know, I mean, like mount Hamilton race. When I was 17. I organised race. I was the promoter, because I was in this club Pedali Alpini. And you had I don’t know how old was I? I don’t know if I know I was 20 when I organised that race. But I was it was my turn to organise a race, you know.

Gary Fisher 1:20:39
And that’s how loose it was, you know, everybody had to take a turn in a club of organising the race. Can you imagine? And it wasn’t so bad when there’s only 75 riders in all categories combined. You know, so,

Gary Fisher 1:20:55
but, no, it wasn’t well organised. It wasn’t something. It was tiny, you know, but I loved it. I completely loved it. And

Carlton Reid 1:21:06
1955 you’re five years old? And that’s when you moved to San Francisco, in effect from from?

Gary Fisher 1:21:14
Well, from Oakland, California. Well, yes. And no, I mean,

Gary Fisher 1:21:19
I was not. When I was six months old. We I was born in Oakland. My father was in the Navy. When I was six months old. We took a ship to Guam. My mother said, Yeah, you got seasick.

Gary Fisher 1:21:32
My mother was a singer, my mother was in an entertainer, my mother’s saying in a nightclubs, my mother got the attraction of like one of the islanders, a big guys, you know, like a native guy. And

Gary Fisher 1:21:46
my father got really jealous. My mother said, Forget about it. And she moved back to Beverly Hills took me with her when I was three and a half.

Gary Fisher 1:21:57
And we looked at my grandfather, and my grandfather worked for Warner Brothers. And he was a script or a script supervisor. And he invented that job. And he was actually really well known in Hollywood.

Carlton Reid 1:22:13
That’s some great photographs in the book. I’m now skimming through it here. of him is his horse, the the like, the script table.

Carlton Reid 1:22:20
Yeah. With all these fantastic movie, you know, movie scenes that he’s in, you know, obviously, behind the scenes, but clearly big blockbuster movies going on with some big major stars.

Gary Fisher 1:22:31
He was the guy that told the actors, this is what you’re gonna say, this is how you say it. Right? So I got these photos of him and he’s right in the centre of action. You know, he’s, you know, he’s the director is there, making sure everything’s going right. Doing things but my grandfather’s the guy that’s like, Okay, next slide. Next slide. Next slide. Next slide.

Gary Fisher 1:22:55
And he’s taking me on a set. you’d bring Ronald Reagan, Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn, Dora House,

Gary Fisher 1:23:01
we, we go to this park where the Disney’s were hanging out, and they were, you know, his little rat hole Park, in Hollywood, where all actors bring their kids, Walt Disney and his family show up and he go on about, I’m going to build this park for the family and everything. And he did you know, and we went to opening day and it was crazy and everything. Then later, Mike, my, my best friend around the corner and I we built a Disneyland in his backyard. My mother says, Oh, hey. And my mother, you know, I’m 90 years old last year, she says to me, “Gary, you know, this is about marketing, and how you provide press releases press for

Gary Fisher 1:23:42
media,” she says, Gary, you’re doing their job for them. Okay, let’s go back to LA. You know, she’s she calls up three different newspapers, including the LA Times and says, Hey, I got a story for you. They come out and do us run a story on us. You know, five years old, I’m in the LA Times. Right?

Carlton Reid 1:24:03
Yeah, I mean, in your book, I can actually say it’s where I learned, you know, that’s where I see

Carlton Reid 1:24:10
like good good at PR and presenting yourself so what I haven’t been able to track down in the book I mean, that there’s there’s disparate mentions of it everywhere in the book, but there’s not like one section that I’d like to do your fashion sense because that’s clearly what an awful lot of people will know about you and and especially your with your penchant for suits. Basically, you’re famous for your suit your Paul Smith suits, there was a Paul Smith connection in cycling Of course, because he was he was it is a big time cycle fan. And you’ve had Tom Baker suit, you’ve had all sorts of weird that fashion sense come from when did it generate and

Carlton Reid 1:24:53
the thread seems to be very early from like, you know, like the freak days where you’re you’re you?

Gary Fisher 1:25:00
We’re doing different stuff. No, in fact, while I’m my mother always, you know, in our family always, it was always something, you know, to be appreciated and myself was always, you know,

Gary Fisher 1:25:15
just like, you’d have a lot of fun dressing, you know, and it’s, it’s your way of presenting yourself to the world to

Gary Fisher 1:25:24
what’s funny, though, is like, it’s it ltb all those my big voice, you know, saying I’ll spend money on cars, I spend money on on suits and things is not that much money. When you buy quality. That’s, that’s the amazing thing. The quality stuff lasts a long time. And the looks last a long time, the hardest thing is to staying fit enough to fit things.

Gary Fisher 1:25:46
But it’s, I don’t know, it’s just, I appreciate it. You know, I think that’s what it is, is, if you don’t care about it, it doesn’t work, right.

Carlton Reid 1:25:57
So you do you do have the physique for these fancy suits that that set out. But it’s all a look, I mean, you could be going in a trade show anywhere in the world, and you could spot you from a long way off. So it’s trademark as well.

Gary Fisher 1:26:12
Yeah. No, it’s just, I like to do it, you know, and I know, and I,

Gary Fisher 1:26:19
it said thing to you go to where you need to go to find the very best in the world. And then you get humbled. You know, I will go to London, and hang out with my friends that they they all know so much more than I do. And I learned from them all the time, you know, and,

Gary Fisher 1:26:40
and we just have fun. You know, that’s the big thing. And it’s all about

Gary Fisher 1:26:45
having fun and, and,

Gary Fisher 1:26:48
and, you know, you’re evoking these looks from different places, different ideas and things and having a good time with it.

Gary Fisher 1:26:56
That said, I mean, it’s, I love it, but it’s not like

Gary Fisher 1:27:02
I’m not making my living with it. I you know, it’s not a business, I really want to be in to the fashion business. And I enjoy it and everything but

Gary Fisher 1:27:12
and I know it’s become a become well known for it.

Carlton Reid 1:27:16

Carlton Reid 1:27:20
you’ve been sat there on zooms, you know, Skype style chats, Where were your wife, Alex is in a dressing gown, and you’re, you’re in a suit. So this is a this is not a trademark, like, when you come out, you really bought into this, haven’t you?

Gary Fisher 1:27:36
You’ve like, well, it was a long time ago, I said, I’m not gonna wear a T shirt anymore.

Gary Fisher 1:27:41
Because I can’t pull it off. You know, I look right. You know, and

Gary Fisher 1:27:47
I can dress this way. And it’s easy, you know, it’s a lot easier than then you think, you know, it’s not that difficult. You know, when you find things that work a few and everything. It’s a no and and it’s really interesting because I man, I haven’t bought anything in the last year. I mean,

Gary Fisher 1:28:04
I’ve slowed down in the last five years or more, you know?

Carlton Reid 1:28:08
Yeah, it’s what’s it? Do you have a fancy dressing gown then? So when you take your suit off, and you’re getting into something more comfortable and you’re going to bed Are you like Do you also have a snazzy dressing gowns? I’m expecting like a you know, an English smoking jacket or something? What do you what do you

Gary Fisher 1:28:24
actually it’s more cartoonish. You know, it’s like boy, like, is is pretty funny. Because right now, my daughter is dressing me more than anybody. She’s the big cop. She says, Daddy, no, no, you can’t wear that. You gotta wear this. It’s hilarious. She’s, she’s something else. And the kids would just encourage that, you know, we’re just having fun. Here with this. It’s, it’s a

Gary Fisher 1:28:48
no, I don’t think about it too hard. I’m trying to me right now. I will. I mean, I, I’ll tell you, though, before I do, normally, when I go and I travel, and I do things, I think about what am I? What am I trying to present here? Who is my audience, you know, and I’ll address them but by not by too much. It’s not to go too far out there. So I’m definitely calculating. For that.

Carlton Reid 1:29:15
So, the front cover of the book. It draws in a lot of of your history so it’s got the you in the suit, it’s got you and a handlebar moustache and a hat and the shades. And then it’s got the Gary Fisher is picked out in like freak-style, you know, late 1960s

Carlton Reid 1:29:32
typography which is actually fantastic. And then on your suit, there’s a there’s a little bear on a bicycle.

Gary Fisher 1:29:40
And the bicycle is Grateful Dead, Grateful Dead always loved bicycles. They did something. You know, they bought a lot of bikes for me over the years.

Gary Fisher 1:29:49
They, they and they always believed in the whole idea. You know, the whole thing. I love my friend Howard. He’s a sound guy and for the Dead has been

Gary Fisher 1:29:59
forever. And he started a club called the Teamsters. And it used to be, and I love this example of all inclusivity.

Gary Fisher 1:30:09
He’d say, they’d say, Well, look, once you written to the top of Mount Tam, he could become a member. And then they soften the rules. They said, Well, if you say you’re going to ride to the top of Mount Tam, you could become a member. And then they want the ultimate. They said, if you think that right into the top of Mount Tam is a good idea, you can become a member. And that’s the way I want bikes to be, you know, you can be You don’t even have to do it. You just got to think it’s a good idea, then you’re my friend.

Gary Fisher 1:30:42
Right? And that’s the sort of inclusivity that I like to see. And everything is the same thing, Gary? Yeah, sorry.

Carlton Reid 1:30:50
I’m trying to wrap up here.

Carlton Reid 1:30:55
So even Gary Fisher is the name of the book. The subtitle is colour and the bicycling and the bicycle revolution. Sorry.

Carlton Reid 1:31:04
Where can people get this from? I mean, it’s Blue Train is the publisher. I mean, this is this is everywhere. This is it’s $39 99. money well spent. But where can people get it?

Gary Fisher 1:31:13
Well, that’s a story unto itself, too. Haha, we decided we aren’t going with the good old Amazon. No, no, no. And what’s funny is like, Trek is, you know, a very good distributor of bicycles. I mean, we, we sell in 100 countries. And so this is a challenge. Can we become a book distributor? Oh, my goodness. And I’ll tell you,

Gary Fisher 1:31:39
the boss, john Burke, he loves the idea of being able to distribute books. I mean, look, he’s done a few books himself. He had political books, his his philosophy in democratic politics, he would like to be a good book distributor, you know, this is something in our common interest. And like I pointed out before, I mean, it is all about the grey matter between the ears. And you know, that’s part of the job. And that is part of what I brought to Trek is this whole idea that it’s not just the physical object, it is also, you know, the, all the ideas behind that physical object.

Carlton Reid 1:32:18
So this physical object, which I’ve got on my hands now,

Carlton Reid 1:32:22
which isn’t in print, it’s not Kindle. It’s not a Kindle book is you’ve got, it’s like, it’s dripping with wonderful photographs, great typography, great. Design, the whole thing is a great package. So basically, people are gonna buy it from bike shops.

Gary Fisher 1:32:37
Yeah, that’s right. You know, online bike shops are our distribution at the moment is, to be honest. All right. And will we improve it? Absolutely. And it’s a whole process and I’m not worried.

Gary Fisher 1:32:55
I know the books gonna do really well. It’s a lot of fun.

Carlton Reid 1:32:59
It is very, it is fun. It’s I read it

Carlton Reid 1:33:04
filled in a lot of background for me cuz I’ve got I’ve got an awful lot of mountain bike history books, and bicycle history books in general. And and just the photographs are just brilliant. And including, you know, your backstory. So we haven’t really got into your ancestors hear at all, but you’ve got a fantastic bunch of ancestors there that that that built some amazing stuff. So Gary, thank you ever so much for taking the time out today to to talk to me. Absolutely. I can recommend “Being Gary Fisher.” And even better that you’ve got to go to a bike shop to go and get it. So thank you very much, Gary.

Gary Fisher 1:33:39
Thank you.

Carlton Reid 1:33:41
That was the one and only Gary Fisher and this has been Episode 268 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast. Show notes and a full transcript can be found as always at Now that’s it for this month. There’ll be another couple of episodes in March. Meanwhile, get out there and ride …

One Comment

  1. March 1, 2021

    Great interview, many thanks – its keeping me going till I can get my hands on the physical book. Any idea when Trek France will have the book available? thanks, Pat

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