“Repack” by Jim Kelly

Charlie Kelly’s brother Jim wrote a series of poems about their mountain bike adventures. He is currently working on turning this series into a publication called “The Bike Cycle.” Here is one of the poems, titled “Repack,” recounting the infamous Repack Downhill races. 

Riding a bike on the street isn’t hard,
Up on the sidewalk, around the back yard,
Into the town or out on the road –
That’s where we went on our bikes when we rode.

But we were young bucks and that wasn’t enough
Those bikes couldn’t handle terrain that’s too tough;
We lusted for freedom to spin down a trail
On a moving machine that was sure not to fail.

So we scoured the junkyards for frames and for parts
Upon which we practiced mechanical arts;
We upgraded bikes once discarded as junkers,
Creating a new kind of bike we called “Clunkers.”

Heavy but hardy, sturdy and strong,
They’d work for a while but didn’t last long;
They’d break and we’d fix ‘em, again and again;
We knew they would fail but we didn’t know when.

We organized forays in search of components
To steady our steeds, to smoke our opponents;
Then who is fastest commanded attention
And spurred on a spurt of unbridled invention;

In order to settle whose bike was the best
We needed a racecourse to serve as a test;
Then opened up hitherto gated-off lands,
When a stray set of keys fell into Fred’s hands,

With a declivitous challenging place
Suddenly everyone wanted to race;
Charlie was tapped to create the event,
He organized Repack, everyone went.

From out that original, innocent race
Developments followed at furious pace.
Joe designed bikes to fulfill this intention
And Tom carried on with continued invention.

When Repack outgrew those prohibited lands
(Gary was fastest, his record still stands),
Who could foresee what the future unfurled
For Mountain Bikes soon came to conquer the world;

Repack prefigured where cycling went:
A word in the language; Olympic event.
Mountain Bikes captured the cycling scene
With an all-terrain, off-road excitement machine!

The Repack Course. By Dewey Livingston.

Keep Reading: Check out this piece about the Repack reunion last year.