Mountain bike exhibit at SFO

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Our friend Todd Lappin points us to another terrific exhibition at the San Francisco International Airport. If you fly through, don't miss "From Repack to Rwanda: The Origins, Evolution, and Global Reach of the Mountain Bike," on exhibit until February. There is also a great online component with great images and informative text. Seen above, a 1941 Schwinn modified in 1973 by Joe Breeze of Mill Valley, California:

In the early 1970s, the preferred bike for Marin County’s off-road bicycling enthusiasts was a prewar Schwinn Excelsior, which Otis Guy notes was “the best handling of the old bikes…the fastest of all the single-speed Schwinns.” Its slack geometry and high bottom bracket were ideally suited to this new style of riding. Riders stripped the bikes of nonessential fenders, racks, chain-guards, and frame-tanks that added weight and complicated the bike’s operation on tight, twisty turns. Mill Valley’s Joe Breeze modified his blue Schwinn with an upgraded front drum brake, a Bendix 2-speed manual shifter, and a custom rear cog to accept a skip-tooth chain. In and early, albeit unrefined, version of a “bull moose” handlebar, Breeze welded a bar across the span of his handlebars to strengthen a part of the bike that frequently failed during the roughest rides.

"From Repack to Rwanda: The Origins, Evolution, and Global Reach of the Mountain Bike"


  1. SFO frequently has very interesting exhibits.   They have long corridors, and use the linear format to create fascinating timeline displays.    I can recall exhibits on televisions, sewing machines, etc…  Sadly, they are behind security, and so I hustle past them,  either A) worried about getting to the gate or B) eager to get home.

     The 1941 DX shown above is a slow, sweet-riding truck of a bike  – I own one myself, albeit without the MTB mods.   Notable only to me, I’m sure – in 20 years of looking, that’s the 3rd example  I’ve seen of the pointy ‘dragonfly wing’ design at the head tube…  My bike has it, but most DXs had a rounder motif with a circle and curved wing.

  2. David, As a former long time employee of the SFO Museum and an avid connoisseur of BoingBoing from the very early days, I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping bring attention to the excellent work my former colleagues produce. They are all dedicated, knowledgeable, hard working people and deserve this positive accolade.

  3. I definitely want to see that exhibit, but do you have to be flying to see it? Also, Joe Breeze lives in San Anselmo. His son is a high school MTB racer at Drake High.

  4. According to this map, the bike exhibit is in A1 and G1 of the International Terminal, outside security.  Some of the other exhibits are past security.

  5. As a Ukian, the beach cruiser bike is not part of my bicycular vocabulary. But what are those ‘frame tanks’ actually for? Can you put something in them? They seem like such a weird anachronism. A gew gaw. A pomphrey. Do they really have any function?

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