Mountain Bike Legacy Project
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. It is the most complete collection of early mountain bike media in the world and most of the items haven't seen the light of day in over 25 years.
Charlie has been paying for storage on this content since he sold his piano moving business several years ago and moved out of his office/warehouse. Roughly $300 a month. For Charlie, who is retired, never really made much money from the sport he helped pioneer, and lives on a fixed income, this is a significant expense. I've known CK for about 13 years and he is very passionate about mountain biking and preserving the historic documents from its early days. I started this Go Fund Me to give those of us in the Mountain Bike Community the opportunity to help CK with the financial burden of keeping these documents alive.
ABOVE AND BEYOND the preservation of this archive, your donations will help Charlie to begin scanning the documents and create a digital archive of this content. Last year Charlie, Tommy Breeze and I tried to raise funds for the full-blown development of this archive into a website and "living archive" of mountain biking, where other people would be able to contribute their MTB content, stories, images, and such. We did not come close to reaching our Kickstater goal of $50K, and thus did not receive any funding. Not a penny.
Go Fund Me allows for funds to be withdrawn as they come in, which will allow funding for:
A) Keeping the archive alive
B) Starting a grass roots effort to digitize Charlie's historic content
C) Begin developing a website where the content can be shared with the world
If you want to learn more, here's the Website from last year: http://workingmanfilms.com/mtblegacyproject/about.html
If you are a mountain biker, a vintage mountain bike collector, or just someone who has a passion for historic projects, I ask that you help out Charlie with even a few dollars. Every bit helps and it goes to preserve the history of OUR SPORT.
While visiting Northern California for New Years, I stopped at the Marin Bicycling Museum in Fairfax to see Charlie and the Archive. More than just a casual visit, this was planned as a meeting of the minds to discuss the progress with the Mountain Bike Legacy Project and create some goals for 2019.
Probably the most important acquisition, if you can call it that, is not a computer or archive material whatsoever, but rather an Archive Specialist named Kilpatrick. He has a background in working with archiving and archiving software, as well as a huge interest in cycling and mountain bikes. In the last couple months he has been instrumental in the technical aspects of setting us up with computer gear and scanners needed to begin the conversion of Charlie's material to digital format.
Charlie is quite smitten with one of the scanners because it performs conversions of books and magazines. The scanner uses some sort of optic converters to compensate for the curvature of the center of the pages when a book is laid flat on the scanning surface. Not to mention the scanner is really fast, "like taking pictures of the pages," as Charlie puts it. Suffice to say, Kilpatrick has been working on an efficient scanning process.
So that's the big news for late 2018.
At the Museum Charlie, Kil and I chatted about plans for 2019. Basically where we are now and what needs to happen to create a fully functional version of the Archive in the coming year. The most important items on the docket are as follows:
1) Establish a solid scanning process that is efficient to execute and provides quality searchable files, complete with off-site back up. Then start scanning material on a regular schedule.
2) Develop the back end database and hosting for the material. This is an area where we are horribly deficient and will be seeking help. I suspect it will be our largest hurdle.
3) Create front-end web portal for searching and viewing of content. Obviously, this will need to link to the aforementioned database in order to serve the content to anyone looking through the archive. At first this might be mostly functional and not very sexy.
4) Create a blog site where Charlie can post updates and highlight cool stuff he's scanned and added to the archive.
That's only 4 goals for 2019, but they are all huge steps that represent a fully functional Archive by the end of next year. I am hopeful, if all goes well, that we'll have things up and running sooner in the year rather than later. That would mean a functional Archive site and we simply add to the volume of content as the year goes on. Hang tight... we shall see how the next few months unfold.
Again... thank all of you for your support here in 2018, as well as your patience. This continues to be a grass roots project and a labor of love. I can tell you with all honesty that Charlie is thrilled. Because of YOUR help the archive has found a new home in the Museum and there is space to work & organize the content. and the "wheels have been put into motion" to create this Historic Archive for all Mountain Bikers to enjoy.
Until our next update in 2019... have a Happy New Year!
Just spoke to Charlie. He's back from a little mtb speaking (and riding) tour of the UK and still rather taken by the warm reception he received from the riders and enthusiasts on the other side of the pond. He loves the UK... and, apparently, the UK loves CK.
Back here in the Colonies, the archive is moving along slowly but surely. Charlie and I are extremely thankful for all of the donations that have been made to this project! The money raised has helped with the following:
- Move the Archive to the Marin Museum of Biking
- Pay monthly storage fees (same as the Public Storage, but now in the Museum where it can be organized and worked on!)
- Purchase computer, scanner and software for digitization
- Purchase domain names for website
I would like everyone to know that all of the monies raised go directly to Charlie, and specifically for use on the Archive project. No one, including myself, is taking any payments or administration fees. All funds are being used to either preserve the Archive or develop the Archive in digital form. We are simply grateful to finally have a few $$ to work with and make the MTB Archive happen.
I will be stopping by Marin County toward the end of the year, where I plan to meet with Charlie and the archive specialist who has generously volunteered to assist with logistics and technical aspects of the MTB Legacy Project. Our next goals are to establish a solid archiving process, create the initial data base for the digital material, and upgrade the website to a functional hosting platform.
Hopefully, over the winter months Charlie can begin pumping out material at a regular pace.
Again... THANK YOU for your financial support here in 2018! We wish you a wonderful holidays and Happy New Years. More to come in 2019!
- Rob K
I spoke to Charlie this evening and he is excited because if he can cover rent on the archive for the next few months he can focus on digitizing more of the content. And we're in cahoots with someone who's built archiving software for the internet.
- Rob K