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Posted on July 1 at 8:52 p.m.
Wow, that was a walk down memory lane. In the mid to late 70's, I was living in the student ghetto known as IV, but had no idea that Open Air was where the mountain bike craze began. It's mind-boggling that the person who coined the phrase was Wing Bamboo. Wing became friends with one of my roommates at the time, and he would regularly use our apartment when he needed a bathroom, or as a place to crash if the rains were too heavy and went on for too long. The spring of '78 brought one such monsoon, so we saw a great deal of Wing.....and others.
Wing said he was a Chumash Indian, but I think he was just another suburban kid of privilege who happened across an alternative lifestyle he connected with. As I recall, he and his friends in Tipi Village earned their living, such as it was, by fixing bicycles. Mine was repaired many times by Wing over the course of the two years I lived in IV.
Finally, the wikiups and tipis attracted too much attention, controversy followed, and Wing and company headed, literally, for the hills. They never liked the beach because of the visible oil rigs and the"natural seepage" of tar on the beach which Wing blamed on the rigs. I wonder whatever happened to him, and how he's lived his life. I still have the pictures of tipi village, taken during the few times I was invited in to visit. Without those pictures, most people would think I was making it up. You had to live in IV back then to understand.....it was damned hard to explain what it was like living there, especially being from a conservative area of the northeast. I'm just thankful I was able to participate in that weird and unique slice of life before it changed -- and not necessarily for the better.
On From Klunkers to Mountain Bikes