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Title Oral History of Charlie Kelly
Collection Oral History
Scope & Content In this oral history, Marin County polymath Charlie Kelly recounts a life coterminous with the "greatest bicycle adventure of the 20th century." Born in 1945, Charlie grew up in Mill Valley and attended Tamalpais High School. After graduating from Tam, Charlie briefly attended College of Marin before enlisting in the Army, where he served for two years in the mid-1960s. When he returned to Mill Valley in 1968 he began working as a roadie for the Sons of Champlin, missing only four of their gigs in 42 years. Charlie describes how he got into Marin's bicycling subculture, making friends, racing, and building bikes with such legendary figures as Gary Fisher and Joe Breeze, and he shares the origin story of mountain biking, or "clunking" as he and his fellow pioneers originally referred to it in the early 1970s. He also began writing and publishing his own magazine during this period, Fat Tire Flyer, which became the title of his definitive history of mountain biking published in 2014. Charlie concludes his oral history with some observations on the special topography of Marin County as an enabling condition for the emergence of mountain biking culture and an evocation of the happiness he has experienced over the years as a husband and father.
Audio and Transcript Click here to hear recording.
Click here to read the transcript.
Dates of Creation 2015-06-08
Narrator's name Kelly, Charlie
Interviewer Schwartz, Debra
Extent and Medium Transcript: 27pp
Recording: 01:24:35
Search Terms Bicycle racing
Bonds, Allen
Breeze, Joe
Caramagno, Denise
Champlin, Bill
Clunker Awards
College of Marin
Cragg, Larry
Cragg, Wende
Dawson, John "Marmaduke"
Fat Tire Flyer
Fisher, Gary
Grateful Dead
Kelly, Charles
Kelly, Frances
Magazine publishing industry
Marin Museum of Bicycling
Mitchell, Craig
Moitoza, Rob
Mount Tamalpais
Mountain biking
Ritchey, Tom
Rock & roll bands
Sons of Champlin
Object ID 2016.053.001
Object Name Recording
Copyrights Transcript and recording copyright Mill Valley Public Library, 2015. Materials are made available for research purposes only; all rights are reserved to the Mill Valley Public Library. Requests for permission to quote for publication or for any other usage must be obtained from the Library.