Perhaps no builder epitomizes the intense, eccentric inventiveness of mountain biking’s inception like Charlie Cunningham. And we now have a superb glimpse of his unique contributions by the like-named but unrelated, Richard Cunningham of Pinkbike. Both, by the way, living examples of eyes-wide, bold cleverness in the pursuit of 2-wheeled dirt. Please check it!
In his April 11 post, Richard explores Charlie’s 1978 CCproto that includes so many years ahead ideas, he could barely fit them into 1,500 words. None of us who’ve shared this era can deny Charlie’s many influences on each of our work, a true Hall of Famer.
To many in the day, Marin seemed a fantasy land—tinkering with dirt cycling, consciousness, rampaging around various watersheds, light shows at house parties, a bit unhinged. The joy of taking cycling down a somewhat different path was too much fun. For kids, like visiting a chocolate factory.
Chocolate, that mesoamerican delight, nearly addictive for many, health enhancing (in moderation), never out of season; seems an apt metaphor for the playful indulgence of mountain biking’s early years.
For his part, writer and inventor, Richard Cunningham packs a career of surprises and discoveries. Wish I had an image of him on his horse, but here’s another typical scene.
Sadly, Charlie’s inventive career was interrupted several years ago when a bad crash left him with brain injuries. Now, with the care of his wife, legendary racer and writer Jacquie Phelan, and many friends, Charlie works hard every day to recover and enjoy what he can. He needs your help. Consider contributing to Charlie’s recovery fund.
While mentioning Jacquie, let’s remember one of her more famous fashion statements from the era—a mud covered RockShox moment. Funny how much that mud looks like chocolate!