Magazine article Sunset

Wheel Man: A Pioneer of Northern California's Mountain Bike Scene, Joe Breeze Just Can't Sit Still. His Latest Project: A Museum Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future of Cycling

Magazine article Sunset

Wheel Man: A Pioneer of Northern California's Mountain Bike Scene, Joe Breeze Just Can't Sit Still. His Latest Project: A Museum Celebrating the Past, Present, and Future of Cycling

Article excerpt

Back in the 1970s, Marin County native Joe Breeze became notorious for racing clunky old two-wheelers down a mountain trail so steep that it was known as Repack. (As in, you had to repack the grease in your wheels' hubs after each run, they would get so hot.) Soon, Breeze was making the first purpose-built mountain bikes. These clays, he's got a new creation: the Mann Museum of Bicycling, which opened in January in Fairfax. Along with the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, relocated from Crested Butte, Colorado, the museum offers lectures, movies, and, of course, a coffee bar--cyclists do love their espresso.

How did this all start? The catalyst was the San Francisco airport exhibition that I guest-curated two years ago: From Repack to Rwanda, showcasing Northern California contributions to mountain biking. Afterward, SFO curator Timothy O'Brien, knowing I'd been dreaming of a bike museum, gave me the background images-90 linear feet of panoramic photography of Mt. Tarnalpais and Pine Mountain. An obligation developed. [laughs]

How'd you get into cycling? My father. It was his simple act of riding his bike to work. I took up intercity biking by fifth grade. In 1973, [future museum board members] Otis Guy, Marc Vendetti, and I were road-bike racers, and as we traveled California, we searched for 19th-century bikes to restore. We actually didn't get far down that road-19th-century bikes being tough to find even then! …

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