The first issue of the first publication for mountain bikers








First Cover

On my monitor this is exactly the size of the original. Your results may vary.

To see a gallery of every cover of the Fat Tire Flyer, click this, or click the logo below, or click the image of the cover.

This is the cover of the first issue of the Fat Tire Flyer. As you can see, it was laid out before the advent of computerized typesetting and graphics. The lettering for the title was done with Letraset, those stick-on letters that have now gone the way of typesetters in general. The graphics were done pen-and-ink; you can see a small "Repack" sign on the right.

You can see a few erasures on the body text. That's because this was all "typeset" on an ordinary typewriter.

In the last paragraph there is a reference to the "Marin County Wilderness Wheelers." This was a club that a few of us attempted to start. At the first meeting of the club I was one of the volunteers who agreed to produce a newsletter. The "club" never held another meeting, but the "newsletter" took on a life of its own, lasting seven years and turning into a reasonably respectable publication.

The Fat Tire Flyer started by accident. In the summer of 1980 a few of us thought we might start a club of people who rode these weird bikes. After all, there were maybe two or three dozen of us. We held a meeting at Wende Cragg's house. I can't remember what else we discussed, but the idea of a newsletter came up.

I had actually sold a couple of magazine articles on mountain biking. I could write proper English. That was something I could do, you know, photocopy a few sheets. Okay, for the next club meeting of the horribly pretentious Marin County Wilderness Wheelers, my girlfriend and I would have a newsletter.

Denise Caramagno ran a roller skate shop in Marin County and was one of the few women who took part in what was a virtually all male sport, "clunker" riding. It was she who came up with the name that stuck, Fat Tire Flyer.

The two of us produced a very crude, but almost imaginative booklet of folded, photocopied sheets. The headlines were set with Letraset, the stick-on stuff that was used before computerized art, some pen and ink drawings, body text done on a typewriter, and very little in the way of hard news. If you don't HAVE a lot of news, you had better go with style. You can only wring so much out of a bare set of race results. Road testing? Excuse me. If there are only a couple of dozen people doing this, it's not like no one knows what is "going on with the sport."

Denise and I made one big mistake with our first issue. On the cover we wrote, "Issue One". If there is Issue One, then that means there must be Issue Two..and so on. The "club" never met again, but the newsletter staggered along for another seven years. It became a holy obligation, get out the next issue, and there was never enough money. Tough on relationships.

Denise handled publishing and I edited and we both folded and stapled and sorted and mailed and somehow we got the thing out. In the three years of Denise's tenure we moved from our photocopied sheet, through several generations of more and more professional layout, and became a real magazine, the only voice for mountain bikers for over five years.

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