*A trip for two to sunny Las Vegas, entry to 2007's Interbike and the chance to ogle all the new cycling goodies slated to hit the shelves in 2008*

*A 2008 Mission 3, Diamondback’s versatile all-mountain machine. Nimble, efficient and stable, the Mission 3 features Shimano’s new Deore XT components, including the Shadow rear derailleur and high power disc brakes.*

*15 minutes of fame in a Diamondback ad that will appear in Dirt Rag featuring the winner on their new Mission 3.*

*Swag from Dirt Rag, Diamondback, Fox Racing Shox, Rockshox, Shimano and WTB. *

To enter, simply go to diamondback.com and click on the “What’s Your Mission?” button to submit your all-mountain inspiring description and photo.

You will also find the fine print there, too, but here’s some to get you started: No purchase necessary to enter or win. One entry per person. Void where prohibited by law. Contest submissions will be accepted from May 1 through August 1, 2007. Entrant must both author their description and take the photo submitted

Monday, July 16, 2007

Rodney R. - Butler, MO

My Mission to Separate Myth From Reality My "mission," as this contest's title asks, is to learn why the camaraderie so evident at biking events and in mountain-biking stories in Dirt Rag is so non-existent when the subject of mountain-bike history is mentioned. I refer specifically to the territorial arrogance displayed by the Marin County, Californians, when presented with evidence that the modern U.S. mountain bike was "invented" in the eastern Midwest seven years prior to their initial efforts (see www.mtnbikehalloffame.com, Nominees, Pioneers, Rodney Rom; and History, First Bikes, [last entry]). Maybe the unfriendliness is just due to a misunderstanding in who should be recognized for what in the sport's history. Being that aforementioned Midwestern pioneering inventor and having read "authoritative" books such as The Birth of DIRT, there was always a piece of the recognition puzzle I couldn't find — until early June of this year while reading Dirt Rag's Issue 128. On pages 6-7 of this issue, I came across FisherBikes' 2-page advertisement spread. Enlightenment finally replaced bewilderment! For example, Gary Fisher, someone who definitely knows better, advertises, "Standard mountain bike wheels are 26 inches because that's what Gary Fisher and his band of friends found...as they were inventing the sport." I agree! Notice, though, that Fisher's ad further states, "But Gary has always been very good at questioning standards." Not, it seems, when those "standards" credit him with an undeserved honor: FisherBikes' logo claim in the lower-right corner of page 7 says, "Gary Fisher – The 1st and Last Name in Mountain Bikes." I do not deny that Gary was instrumental in "inventing" the sport of mountain biking. However, Gary was not "The 1st...Name in Mountain Bikes." (If Gary wants to truthfully advertise "Firsts" in mountain biking, he should amend his ad to read, "The 1st...Name in Production Mountain Bikes.") Gary Fisher even takes his shoulder chip with him on the road: My Mom and younger brother Kevin live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This past June 9th, while Gary was making a promotional appearance at the Juan Tabo Albuquerque Bicycle Center, Kevin had an opportunity to briefly speak to Gary. When Kevin mentioned he was my brother, he was treated very rudely by Gary. This is the spirit of mountain biking?! In Frank Berto's TBoD, the "publisher's Introduction" on page 6 asks the question, "...who invented the mountain bike?" However, the heading on the cover of the book as well as the underlying story line in the book itself both speak of the "Origins of Mountain Biking." TBoD Chapters 6 and 7 detail pre-1970 "mountain bikes" that did not meet the criteria of the first five of Frank's six "essential mountain bike features" in Chapter 3. Hence, they do not classify as "mountain bikes." My 1966 ChROMer, on the other hand, purpose-built for climbing and descending hills, has these five essential features with only insignificant variations. Additionally, in TBoD Chapters 3 and 4, Frank's arbitrary and unilateral sixth "essential mountain bike feature" requires that the mountain bike "inventor" be from "Marin County, California, in the 1970s," and be "actively involved in the development of subsequent mountain bikes." The fact that someone or some group comes along and manufacturers, markets and/or promotes a unique item that someone else has already developed doesn't make the former the "inventor." Although Frank is a Marin Countian himself and is understandably trying to protect his turf and his friends, this is where "Frank Berto's Interpretation of 'Invent'" errs. If you'll stop and think, it's easy to see where the recognition problem lies: The mountain bike is the vehicle used in the sport of mountain biking — the two, although tied, are separate and distinct. In 1973-'75, Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze, Russ Mahon et al "invented" the sport of mountain biking by duplicating my purpose-built 1966 mountain bike "invention" and making it available to the masses of their region, from whence it spread. Had not Ho Chi Minh and then-President Lyndon Johnson intervened to prevent my further late-'60s development of my invention, the sport itself could very well have been credited to Montgomery, Ohio, instead of Marin, California. Instead, thanks to period politics, the "invention" of the sport of mountain biking is an honor that no one will ever be able to take from Marin County. Knowing this distinction and acknowledging the modern U.S. mountain bike's true inventor in no way lessens the contributions made by Marin Countians to the sport of mountain biking. It merely gives credit where credit is due. Admission of this fact by the aforementioned Marinites would go a long way towards separating mountain-bike myth from reality and closing the recent antagonistic gap opened by the Marin County pioneers against one deserving Midwesterner and his creation. It would be truly regrettable for mountain-bike history if the recognition of the Vietnam-era Navy veteran "inventor" of the modern U.S. mountain bike became one more casualty of the Vietnam War. Don't you agree? Sincerely; Rodney J. Rom; Butler, MO 64730-9627