Are you a hoarder? Do you prefer the term collector? Or archivist maybe? Whatever it is you’ve got carefully stowed in your loft, garage, or storage unit, we doubt it contains 40 years of mountain bike history. That’s what Charlie Kelly, original klunker rider and mountain bike pioneer, has been carefully filing away since the mid 1970’s, and a Kickstarter project has just been launched to try and raise the money needed to digitise it all so that mountain bike fans around the world can revel in the nostalgia of the collection.
The Kickstarter page explains:
From the mid 1970’s through 1992, Charlie Kelly saved everything he could find relating to the sport of mountain biking. His well-preserved archive includes historic documents from the earliest years and is especially weighted towards the 1980’s, when mountain biking’s popularity exploded.The trove includes U.S magazines, international magazines, race results, product brochures, newspaper articles, club newsletters, images, original artwork, and much more. It is the most complete collection of early mountain bike media in the world.
The Mountain Bike Legacy Project aims to digitize Charlie’s stash – hundreds of thousands of historic documents – and build a website capable of hosting and delivering them to the world. The resulting archive will be an indispensable tool for any historian or mountain biking enthusiast to explore and discover the depths of the sport’s history. The long-term goal is a growing database of material, where contributors around the globe can submit mountain biking content from ANY time period, and preserve the history of the sport. As Charlie puts it, “This should eventually become the Library of Alexandria for everything related to mountain biking.”
Now, we suspect that there are a few of you out there who might have spouses and partners who would be keen to see your ‘trove’ digitised and added to such a library. Imagine – there could be space in the garage for a washing machine! Or for guests to sleep in the spare room! Perhaps getting this database up and running could be in their interests? Charlie has currently got a 10ftx10ft storage unit for all his documents, which the Kickstarter page says includes:
- Product catalogues from bike and component companies
- Newsletters from MTB clubs
- Collected articles about mountain biking
- Early race results
- Issues of nearly every MTB Magazine published in the US (up to roughly 1992)
- Issues of nearly every MTB Magazine published in OTHER COUNTRIES! (in their original language)
- Every Issue of the Fat Tire Flyer (the world’s very first MTB Publication)
- Photographic collections
- Race and product posters
- Original artwork
- Unpublished articles and essays
- Collections donated by Joe Breeze, Gary Fisher, and other MTB pioneers
As well as being handy for whiling away many hours of idle curiosity, Charlie thinks that retro-bike collectors will particularly appreciate the catalogues which detail the original specs for all sorts of early mountain bike models.
If you think you’d like to help dust off Charlie’s collection and bring it to a digital audience, then head on over to Kickstarter to donate.