RC Retires: A Tribute to Richard Cunningham

Jan 8, 2020
by Brian Park  
Dean Bradley produced the first issue of Mountain Bike Action magazine. This was one of his images published in the pages. Ranchita Verde was the Mantis delivery vehicle - A stately Chevrolet Impala wagon that got 10 MPG on a good day.
"Ranchita Verde" was the Mantis delivery vehicle, a stately Chevrolet Impala wagon that got 10 MPG on a good day. Photo by Dean Bradley, who produced the first issue of Mountain Bike Action magazine.


A TRIBUTE TO RICHARD CUNNINGHAM

RC RETIRES

Looking back at the career of a legend



Words by Danielle Baker & Brian Park
Stories & photos from his friends & colleagues


bigquotesNever downplay something you really believe in, something that really makes you happy, because that's where you're the most creative. When you're doing something you really enjoy, you get that spark of creativity, and that's what drives the human soul. Make a difference, and feel good about it. Don't lose that one thing, even if it's contrary to everything that everyone else says — keep it alive, and you'll find that it will take you to the next step.Richard Cunningham



January 1st, 2020, was the first day in many years that Pinkbike didn't have Richard Cunningham on as a full time technical editor. No more trade shows or bike test deadlines, but his insights and storytelling will always have a home here.

RC's contributions to our sport can't be understated, but many have been made quietly, under the radar. We hope this tribute gives a sense of the many less public things that RC has accomplished in his life.

We are grateful to Cynthia Ward for sharing with us her account of Richard's life, in his own words, that she recorded in 2004. Much of this biography is based on her work. We're also grateful to RC's wife Justine for her help in sneaking us old photos and filling in a lot of blanks, as well as the many people who contributed photos and stories and ideas. And finally, we're grateful to RC for his many contributions to our sport. This story only scratches the surface of all he's done, but it's been a hell of a ride.





RC and the patio umbrella. Taj Mihelich illustration


IT ALL STARTED WITH FLIGHT
Airplanes were RC's first love. After his mom told him that she would give him fifty bucks if he could build one that would fly, he set about figuring out the science of flight. "I had no idea what it would take to build an airplane," admits Richard. "Actually, I did have an idea, but it wasn't right. I made all sorts of contraptions with wings, I covered the wings with old shower curtains and I used skateboard wheels; which at the time were made out of steel. I took all this stuff to the largest hill in the city of Fullerton, where I lived, and then I would sit on it and go down the hill and bounce up and down, but I never took off."

He once took a modified patio umbrella up the embankment behind his school during the Santa Ana winds. "I knew I could fly. I knew it would work. I would run as fast as I could and jump off the top of the hill when the wind was blowing. But I just crashed my brains out all the way down." On his fifth try, he caught a gust of wind just right and it lifted him up, carrying him nearly to the bottom of the hill. "That was the first time I ever flew. I was so excited! I went home and told my parents - my mother never did believe me."

bigquotesTwo things come to mind [about Richard]: one, he's always been open to new ideas and innovations. It's the same spirit that has him building an airplane, creatively exploring and fine-tuning. He brought that special kind of intelligence and care to bike building and equipment design... testing it all in the field, because he genuinely loves to get outside and ride. But the biggest thing about Richard is that he is a fabulous storyteller. He ignites enthusiasm, and in so doing creates community. Richard is a mythmaker, and he has himself become a legend.Monte Ward, Mountain Bike Pioneer and Hall of Famer


That s me on the left
Dawn patrol over the Mojave Desert.
My first airplane Lucky Dog I wanted to build something that may have been flying around 1914. She turned out to be a good friend.
RC with "Lucky Dog." Urs Heim photo

Years later, Richard's dad built an ultra-light airplane. With an airplane that flies slow enough, is a single-seater and weighs less than 250 pounds, you don't need a pilot's license. "None of us knew how to fly," recalls Richard. "But we went out to this big dry lake, and we'd just sit in it. Sit in the airplane, hit the gas, and just try to fly level with the ground until you feel good about it, and then you take off and go." And so, Richard learned to fly just like the Wright Brothers did. No lessons, just trial and error - and lots of open space.

"The dry lake is perfectly flat - about six miles long and two miles wide. But, at seventy miles an hour, you run out of six miles really fast. And, I didn't know how to turn. So I just tried to remember what I'd read in the book - ten miles, it took me ten miles to turn around, and then. . . just when I got all relaxed and thought I was gonna land, I passed [the lake] again. Ten miles, 400 feet above the lake, and I couldn't tell where we were parked. But after a while, I made this perfect landing, and that was it. I was thirty-five. It was the scariest and most beautiful moment of my life."

If you ask Richard, the bicycle is the closest you can get to an airplane. "If you can ride a bike - you know how you lean and turn - you can fly an airplane."

Lollipop greatest pit ever
John Ker photo.

Cynthia Ward photos

bigquotesI have known Richard since he was in high school. I first met him when I hired him as a welder to work at Bassani Mfg. while he was still in high school. We all used to call him by his nickname "Lizard". I'm not sure where that name came from? He and his brother were by far the best welders out of the 40 some people we had working. While I was working with him at Bassani I built a BMX frame as a side project. I was too big to ride it properly, so Richard volunteered to test ride it for me. I like to think this experience inspired him to start his own company Mantis, building bicycle frames. We have stayed in touch over the years from then until now. He is one of the best people I have known. Any time we get together we end up talking bikes until one of us just has to go.

About five years ago, he called me up with a drivetrain idea. Basically challenging me to figure out how to build and make it work. A year and a half later, I was able to finish it and make it work well enough to sell to SRAM. [They have not put it into production yet, but it's possible it might still happen.]

I particularly enjoy his unique perspective of the bicycle business and people. I know he has plans for when he is no longer working at Pinkbike and I wish him continued success in his future pursuits.
Jim Cooke, former boss and friend

RC on the far left at Bassani. Allan Cooke's dad Jim Cooke is in the moustache and overalls.

Until he was in his mid 20's, Richard was passionate about things with motors. He worked on cars and raced motorbikes - but seeing the impact his riding had on the environment pushed him more into the world of bicycles. "I used to go trail riding in a certain place in the desert. When I first went to this place, it was beautiful. There was a creek over here, bushes everywhere, and a little place to park your car. Well, I kept coming back as time passed, and thirteen years later, it was just a couple of bushes and all dirt. One day I realized that we had done that. We had ridden our motorcycles around the bushes to the point where those got destroyed, and everything just became dirt. And I thought, 'You know? I've spent most of my life making race cars, building motorcycles, and making motorcycles faster. But there's got to be an end to this. I'm not doing something that's making the world better. It's making it more fun, but if you look at my space…I went here because it was beautiful, and now it's denuded.'"

This was an important realization for Richard and the impact went well beyond his hobbies - it also involved his livelihood. He had his own shop and also worked for other people in the automotive industry. But the seed was sown, and several months later Richard changed the direction of his career. "I knew that I didn't want to participate in that world anymore. There are enough people who make cars, enough people who think cars are the coolest things in the world. I wanted to do something that made a better world."

He kept his shop but closed it up and took off rock and mountain climbing for a couple of months. When he returned, he applied at the community college and got a job assembling Schwinn beach cruisers for a dollar seventy-five each in the back of Fullerton Bike Shop.

Royce Carlson photo
Royce Carlson photo

bigquotesI went to high school with Richard but we didn't become friends until a few years later. We lived in neighbouring apartments in Fullerton for several years. Before that, though, he had rented a house that had a cockroach problem. His solution: BB guns. We would sit around his living room shooting cockroaches or trying to. I wish I could find pics of him in his motocross days. He had a massive fro, went by the nickname Lizard, and had a pet iguana named Richard. I remember he broke his hip at one point and had to use a cane for awhile. He would shake his cane at motorists when crossing the road. It was hilarious.

The most fun, and potentially embarrassing, picture is from the Barbarian Party sometime in the mid-eighties, I think. That was one of the most awesome parties I've ever attended. Everyone went all out on their costuming. Richard hammered his breastplate, etc. out of sheet steel (of course).
Royce Carlson, Longtime Friend


Photos: Christine Culver

bigquotesI just want to say how amazing and wonderful Richard is. I was so lucky to have been a part of the 80’s mountain bike riders. I will always be grateful for the fun adventurous times shared riding in the mountains with friends Thanks to Richard I have the best custom bike on the planet! I have had several bikes since, but I always seem to return to the feel of my trusty old Mantis! Richard is truly a genius at his craft and an admirable funny and witty human being. I’m sure he will continue inventing amazing and wonderful things. Enjoy. Relax. Happy retirement Richard! The best is yet to come!
Teresa Samuelson

Provided by Cynthia Ward. Circa 1988.



THE MANTIS YEARS

Bikes had always been Richard's first non-motorized love. As a kid, his first bicycle gave him the freedom to explore the orange groves, tiny paved streets, dirt roads, and hills of Orange county. "I was pretty much a solitary kid, one of those boys you see all by himself playing in the dirt somewhere. That was me. So when I got my first bicycle and my parents would allow me to actually leave the street, it was freedom. I rode for miles. That's the reason I like bicycles so much. It's just you and the road."


Eventually, Richard moved on to a job at Medici Bicycles - a company that made custom road racing bikes, and he started road riding himself. "I loved it, but I ran out of places to ride. I was riding 200 or 300 miles a week during the hot season - once you're that fit, you've ridden everywhere there's pavement for a hundred miles in every direction." So he began using dirt roads to connect longer rides on his road bike. "But the whole time I was going down these sandy fire roads on these tiny little road bikes passing four-wheel drivers and motorcycles, I was thinking, 'wouldn't it be cool if I had big tires and motorcycle handlebars and all the other stuff?"

Eventually, Richard heard about Monte Ward, a local mountain bike pioneer who had gotten one of the first mountain bikes from Tom Ritchey in Northern California. That inspired him to build his own. "I was already working at a bike company [so] when the right rims and the right tires came out, I just went back to my shop, and I made my first mountain bike, the first Mantis. It was 1981. From then on, I never cared if I rode the road again."


bigquotesRichard and I went to high school together. We had some great mountain climbing adventures together. We always pushed ourselves to our physical and mental limits.

Back in the late 70s, a friend and I thought it would be fun to bag some peaks on bicycles and we laid down some of the first bicycle tracks on southern California’s trail system. Like the Northern California guys (that we knew nothing about at the time), our bikes where heavy beach cruisers with five speeds and low gears to grind up the hills. Little did we know at the time that "Mountain Bikes" would be a thing.

Richard saw my bike and within weeks he built a better one. He had a welding shop with his brother so he could do more than bolt together off the shelf parts like we did. We came up with a nifty shoulder pad to carry our bikes over the rough parts. Our brakes where a drum up front and cheap calliper in the rear, Richard welded bosses on his frame to use lightweight MAFAC cantilevers. Richard continued with his never-ending innovation and improvements. Mantis elevated chainstays, X-Frames to monocoque Flying-V (rock and roll guitar bike) and the Pro Floater. The history you know about.

After all these years, we still get together for creative jam sessions. He is so much more than a great writer and knowledge source on mountain bikes. I am sure he will use his time doing great things in retirement!
Rick Carlson, Sr. Partner CAMP7 Design


RC in an early MBA Dean Bradley photo
Mantis rider Joe Sloup at the Carlsbad Motocross GP. Dean Bradley photo

bigquotesI first met Richard at a bike show in Crested Butte in 1983. He had his Mantis bikes on display, and they bowled me over with their beauty. But more than that, it was apparent someone had imbued the product with vital original thought. And that, clearly, was Richard. It was a delight to learn more that day from the man behind the wheel. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed Richard’s joie de velo, always finding inspiration in his writings and on the happy occasions of seeing him in person. At the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in Fairfax, two days a week, I have the pleasure of telling visitors of Richard Cunningham’s contributions to the sport, working back from Pinkbike, to Mountain Bike Action, to Mantis. Joe Breeze


Richard and Joe Breeze at the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame. Justine Zafran photos


bigquotesYou came into my life when I was in sixth grade (roughly 12 years old), when I was living with my single mother and three siblings. My father was not around at that point in my life and I was immature and full of youthful rage. You took me under your wing and guided me on the right path. You became a positive male influence for me and a role model.

You and your entire family took me in and showed me so much love and support at an influential time in my life. These were great times at Mantis and some of my fondest memories. The bicycle in the photo (below) was one that you designed for Bob Bacin and his family and was a collaboration between the two of us. Another great photo is the B122 Volvo that you gave to me when my son (Derek) was first born and I needed a way of getting around (when off my bike, of course).

Your friendship and guidance at that point in my life meant the world to me. You took a misguided young boy and gave him purpose and a skill. I will forever be grateful to you for that. At the age of 24, I opened my own business because you gave me the confidence to try.

I’m now 46 years old. My son is 27 and he works at my shop alongside me. I have reached many of my dreams because of the skills you taught me. Thank you for showing me how to be a man and for helping me succeed in life and have a career I can be proud of. I consider myself extremely fortunate that we met and have always felt that your influence helped shape a future for both my son and me.

Congratulations on your retirement. You have worked hard, and I know you will enjoy this next chapter. I’m excited for your next adventure!
Travis Decker


Bob Bacin rides with his twin sons, Lucas and Jacob.

Travis Decker test rides the Triple with his son, Derek.
RIP Brandy, the best shop dog ever.


Returning from the heat treater.
RC's beloved Amazon wagon.Photos: Travis Decker

bigquotesRichard was known for taking his friends on exploratory, all day ordeals, running us all into the ground. However, one day after working in his shop, just the two of us met at Coal Canyon to explore Fremont Canyon area of the Santa Ana Mountains. Not only did we traverse three steep canyons on this ride, each canyon got worse due do damp, clay conditions with recent cattle traffic. The surface deteriorated as we continued on our rigid bikes. When we crossed the range and finally found the civilization known as Irvine Park, I was shocked to notice that Richard was exhausted, he had bonked! As we rode by the Ranger Station, he pleaded with them for a warm cup of coffee. Even though there were no cell phones or Uber apps, he managed to get a ride home that day. That was the day I realized even Richard was not invincible.Bob Bacin


The bike the Richard built looked good but it needed to be properly tested. He reached out to Monte who was headed out to do what was considered the hardest climb in Orange County at the time. Being out of shape and afraid he couldn't keep up to "mythic Monte," Richard sent a friend along to ride his beautiful red Mantis. "My friend rode up there with [Monte] and came down and said that my bike handled the worst of any bicycle he'd ever ridden in his life."

Despite being constantly broke, Richard describes the start of Mantis as an exciting time. "When a sport first starts out, it's so new, just doing it is really fun. When I first started making mountain bikes, there were no boundaries. A mountain bike could be anything you could ride on the dirt. Nobody knew what made a good mountain bike, or what made a bad one. So I had a chance to experiment with different tubing, different types of arrangements that made a bike go faster or climb better, and it made a big difference each time I discovered something new. It wasn't just bicycles. I was participating with a very small group of other men and women who were making bicycles all over this country. We were creating a new sport."

Starting something brand new isn't easy and Richard and the Mantis team were met with plenty of closed doors in the early years. "My partner Mark Grayson and I went to all the biggest bike shops from Santa Barbara to San Diego trying to sell our bikes. And you know what they told us? We can't sell a $1200 beach cruiser. And they threw us out. We didn't sell one bike." The same shops that turned them down are now considered the mountain bike centers of their communities. It was just too new. They ended up putting on slide shows to educate people about mountain biking - and to sell bikes.

RC's original riding crew. Matching jersey and knee socks for "brush busting." Photo provided by Cynthia Ward (far right).

bigquotes I hold Richard in a very special place in my heart. I met him when I was 19 in 1984 and had just discovered bicycles and had fallen in love with mountain bikes and racing. He offered me a spot on the Mantis racing team. I loved being a team racer and wearing the kit and representing Richard and his beautiful works of art. He would take me on the longest, craziest rides that often involved hiking and arriving home in the dark. These are still my most favorite types of rides.Christine Culver, dhbetty Bicycle Gems


Richard doing trail building in Chino Hills State Park in the late 1980s, shortly after the park opened. Photos: Royce Carlson
Richard spearheaded efforts to coordinate trail use with hikers and horse riders to avoid conflict between user groups as much as possible.

Rocking the hip pack before they were enduro-approved.

bigquotesIn the early days of mountain biking, we were proud to participate in this invitational race - the 1983 Shimano Grand Prix Mountain Bike Race at Carlsbad Motocross Raceway. The race was during the intermission of the motocross event and we suffered jeers and insults mixed in with some cheers at our mountain bicycle debut amidst the crowd of throttle twisting enthusiasts. This course was not ideal for our rigid bicycles, as it consisted of moguls and mud crossings. As I reached the bottom of a hill, I saw another racer off his bike looking into the mud. After I passed, I realized the rider was Richard and the reason for his dismount was looking for his lost shoe. I'm not sure if he ever found it.Bob Bacin


Monte, Richard, Skip, Mike, and Jeff. Cynthia Ward photo

bigquotesI met Richard through one of my dad’s friends that built road bikes and motorcycles. This is when he owned and ran his own bike company, Mantis.

We met up to do our first mountain bike ride together. I was super new to the sport and really green – I knew nothing about cycling or mountain bikes. After a few rides together at Fullerton loop, he took me under his wing and invited me to ride with him and his friends on Tuesday and Thursday night rides. I went and had no idea what to expect. When I got there most everyone had such cool Mantis bikes and were super into mountain bikes. We took off for the ride and I instantly got dropped and of course Richard waited for me every so often so I wouldn’t get lost.

After a few weeks of this Richard said to me you can’t ride with us anymore until you learn how to pedal. I looked at him like he was crazy. He told me to go buy spd shoes and pedals and go learn to pedal at the boardwalk where I lived in Huntington Beach. He told me to spin circles in an easy gear. I spent a month doing this boring exercise. I then went back and rode with the group on Tuesdays and Thursdays and still got dropped but now I could keep them in sight, haha. Lesson in efficiency learned.

There were plenty more rides over the next 20 plus years and learning some important lessons along the way. If you know Richard, he is a fountain full of knowledge on a lot of crazy stuff. I don’t see this as retiring as his love and passion for mountain biking will always be there. I am lucky to be friends with him and owe a lot to him as he helped me so much along the way to be part of the mountain bike industry and get to work with some of the best mountain bike athletes to ever ride in the sport.

Sounds like you will have some extra time so let’s get together and ride Fullerton loop soon.
Mike Redding


"From left is Travis Decker, Corrine Cunningham, Richard, shop dog Brandy and me, Eddie Rea. That had to be 1991-1992. The coolest thing about the photo was Richard’s T-shirt. It broke down the production life of a Mantis from beginning to end. On the left-hand side of the photo you will spot a Valkyrie frame, that belonged to Reece Vogel who gets photo credit." - Eddie Rea


"These are T-shirts from the 1980s that I've worn the heck out of. The hieroglyphics one was all done by hand by Richard with puff paints on a sweatshirt. This photo is of the t-shirts produced from that sweatshirt. No small feat considering puff paints of that time. And of course, he researched the hieroglyphics. No surprise there." - Justine Zafran

bigquotes[Richard is a] very inventive frame builder who made a large impact of the early days of mountain biking by way of frame design and his workmanship. His knowledge, determination, and skill allowed him to make even more contributions to Pinkbike.

I have used Richard's counsel and guidance for as long as I have been the Director of the Mountain Bike Hall of fame for the last few years. His help with looking at applicants who were/are considered for the ballot of the MBHOF has been invaluable. Of course, this was a complete volunteer effort by him (and me) and I can't really put into words how much that has meant to me and the MBHOF (by the way, he is an inductee).
Otis Guy, Founding Board Member of the Marin Museum


Interbike Expo '92. Jody Weisel photo

bigquotesRichard typically rolled up to the shop at 10 or 11 in the morning silently in his 66 Volvo Wagon. The brakes would squeal slightly, and he would engage the parking brake with a zippp. Shop dog Brandy would greet him as he exited his vehicle with a chocolate chip muffin in one hand and a cup of Winchell's coffee in the other. He would shuffle around the shop all day and create solutions for problems. By that time it was time to do our afternoon ride. Frames were left in the queue to be welded with no hope of being completed. We would finish the ride and he would buy a cup of coffee when the rest of us were eating frozen yogurt and the like. Unlike the rest of us, he would return to the shop, open up the bay door and drop in a cassette (ha!) into the ghetto blaster and crank Hendrix, Beethoven or even Tom Waits and get to welding frames.

Richard never was one for daily operations and was bored with production. Rarely would he come into work to take care of standard business, so when our Japanese distributor was scheduled to visit, he showed up and proceeded to work on some kind of project as Travis and I worked away on production. A couple of hours later he shared his creation with us. A shooting gallery he made for a BB gun. We shrugged our shoulders, but when the bus (yes full-blown tour bus) rolled into the parking lot, there were close to a dozen people that rolled out and we showed them around the shop... all of about five minutes... and then proceeded to the back and spent the next hour shooting at the gallery. Only one representative spoke English, so there was very little talk. Just fun. The bus loaded up shortly thereafter and we received their order the following week.

I broke myself up pretty good in 2006 and was in a wheelchair for 13 weeks. Richard showed up at my house with an RC car that we ran around my two-acre lot for a few hours. I'd crash it, he'd retrieve it and the dogs would chase it. On his departure, he gave me a goal to recover. He signed me up for the 24 hours in the Old Pueblo in February 2007. I didn't get out of the wheelchair until the end of December. Richard shows up at my home with two bikes, camping gear and a guitar in his white Volvo Wagon. We added my two bicycles and camping gear and hit the road to Tuscon. Four bicycles, a guitar, camping gear and two grown men (mind you I'm 6'3") left us with no wiggle room on the six hour plus drive. The best part was the drive down the 15-mile dirt road in the pouring rain with Richard at the wheel doing his best impression of a rally driver. He had the car floored through every corner and had it nailed through every river crossing on the way in.

Richard took me under his wing and helped me develop as a cyclist and later, a businessman. Because of his kindness and investment in me, he opened up a door for me that I can never thank him enough for. I spent close to two decades working in the bike industry and was able to travel to Europe and Asia many times. One can argue that the bike industry brought me to the greater Seattle area, and this is where I met my wife (who also turned into a very good cyclist with a little of his mentorship). Thank you, Richard, for following your dreams. By doing so, you provided me with the means to follow mine and I am forever grateful.
Eddie Rea


Richard designed bikes for Nishiki during the early 90's.


LEARNING HOW TO TYPE AT MBA

After over a decade making Mantis mountain bikes and design work, Richard began looking for something new again. "Here I was making maybe 500 frames a year, and companies like Specialized and Nishiki are making 20,000 and 30,000 bikes at a time. There wasn't as much need for a small manufacturer like me as there was for a large manufacturer to produce big numbers for less money. My bicycles cost, at the time, $2500 each and you could buy a fully equipped bicycle with the same amount of parts for about $700 or $800. So I looked at it and decided it was time to do something else."

The editor position at Mountain Bike Action had become available and, Corrine, Richard's wife at the time, knowing he was looking to do something different, suggested he look into it. But there were a few problems; Richard didn't know how to type, he wasn't great at spelling, and wasn't too sure about computers either. "But I did know a lot about mountain bikes. So I called up the magazine and said, 'You know, Zapata Espinoza is leaving. Why don't you put me on the list?' And the next day I got the job." All of a sudden he had a company to sell and also had to learn everything from how to type and use a computer to everything about how the magazine world functions. "I think it was the biggest change I've made in my life on any one day…"

bigquotesWe hired Zap away from MBA, and when we did, Richard replaced him. So we were always friendly rivals. And I thought that bringing Richard on as Zap’s replacement was a brilliant move. A genius tech guy with actual bike design and building experience. That was something we couldn’t offer. On the other hand, I thought that our journalism credentials gave us an advantage, but Richard quickly proved himself to be a great writer, editor, and reader advocate. It was a blast competing against him.Dan Koeppel, Senior Writer, The Wirecutter / New York Times and former editor of Mountain Bike


It turned out that writing about bikes came easy to Richard. "You see a bike, you ride it, and then you talk about it, or type about it, like you were telling your best friend." And he found a formula that worked for him when it came to writing his own monthly column - despite the challenge. "You're supposed to be brilliant in just one page. And sometimes, I just didn't have anything to say, so I'd break it up. For two times, I would talk about something that's important, or something technical, something I like or something I hate - that's kind of political - and the third time, I would just tell a cool story. It's challenging to try to write a one-page story because you have to take out a lot of stuff that you think is important. It's easy to go on and on like I'm doing right now, boring you to death, but if I had to say everything in one paragraph, I'd really have to think it through. So that's it. A one-column story is a lot harder than anything else to write."

bigquotesWe worked together at MBA and when he first became the editor, he didn't know how to type. His life prior to editorial was making bikes at Mantis, so typing wasn't required. So, for his first six months or so, he would literally dictate word for word all his features and bike reviews to me and I would type them. Try that sometime? Begin a story in your mind and then dictate it to someone. It's virtually impossible and another example of how brilliant and creative Richard is. He eventually learned to type and ended up typing faster than I ever did.

He also noticed early on that I was obsessed with lunch and would stress about our staff lunch plans, so he sat at the table and put together a spinning lunch dial, with all the options included and so when he saw me worrying about it, he would spin it and wherever it landed we would go.

He also consulted the spinning 8-ball (the one filled with blue liquid) when we had a difficult decision to make as a staff. When we couldn't figure out to do, we went with the 8-balls decision unless it came up: "Better not tell you now." In that case, he would re-spin it.

He was also famous for insisting we take field trips during high-stress deadlines and we got in trouble a few times for large groups of people leaving the office and going to Magic Mountain to ride roller coasters during the production of magazines. Those trips were the best.

Richard was always incredibly inclusive of girlfriends, boyfriends, kids, etc. and his kindness and ability to listen is something I try to emulate.

He also speaks in parables and allegories which is another reason I could spend hours listening to him on any subject whatsoever. He writes in the same way, which is why his stories are so compelling and inclusive. He has the ability to see things in a 360-degree way and then describe them that way. That's really difficult to do and is a true gift for a writer and human.

His biggest impact on me was how he kindly, humbly guided me on how to become a father to my two kids when they were young. He was the oldest of eight children, so although he didn't have children of his own, he loved and respected his father and we would talk about the idea of dads and fatherhood quite a bit. He made a huge impact on my life and I loved working for him and with him. 
Brad Roe, Peloton Magazine



bigquotesThe first time I visited RC at his home when he was working for MBA, he had built an airplane in his living room! He did not have a garage and his house was long and narrow (think of a double-wide). He built the airplane at a 45-degree angle to fit it all in and when it was completed, he had to take it apart to get it out of the house. At some point, after he had started working for Pinkbike, he wanted to come out to visit me. He was super excited because he found someone in Apache Junction that was selling a Rotax two stroke motor that he wanted to put in his airplane. I shouldn’t really be bagging on Apache Junction, but let’s just say that it’s not really a place that I would feel comfortable going to buy an engine that my life would ultimately depend on. He probably has five years on that engine now, so it seems to have worked out just fine. As a side note, he has the throttle cable running outside the airplane and it re-enters the fuselage into the engine through an Avid V brake noodle. There was a fair amount of recycled bike parts on his plane. Overall, it’s an amazing piece of engineering, but I’m super happy it wasn’t a two-seater as I probably would have had to turn down an invite.

I grew up racing BMX but didn’t ride my first mountain bike until 1987. I was instantly hooked and shortly thereafter started building parts and frames of my own. I had a two page Nishiki Alien (designed by Richard) magazine advertisement hanging up on the wall in my dorm room. I thought that Mantis bikes were the coolest things I had ever seen but I had never actually seen one in person. I had a friend that moved to California and he called me and told me that he started doing a weekly ride in Chino Hills and Richard Cunningham was always on the ride. I had a bottom bracket that I had designed and drove out to California so I could try and ride with Richard and show him my new bottom bracket. He probably thought that I was some kind of stalker, but I was just thrilled to be on the same ride with him. It was a pretty big deal for an 18-year-old kid from Chicago. The first frame I ever welded was an elevated chainstay bike that was really inspired by Richard’s Mantis Valkyrie and the Nishiki Alien. Alan Vaughn, the original president of NORBA (and the person who taught me how to braze) and I drove out to California together to show the guys at Mountain Bike Action our bikes and wound up being featured in a 1988 issue of MBA entitled “Bikes of the Future”, right alongside the Mantis Flying V, the Mantis Valarie and the Nishiki Alien. I would say that I wouldn’t be where I am today and Pivot wouldn’t exist without Richard’s early influence and our close friendship over the years.

It’s hard to know where to begin, but the most obvious is his contribution to mountain bike design. Some of his early concepts of what a mountain bike should be set the path for where we are today. He invented elevated chainstays. He pioneered the idea of a hydroformed, monocoque frame design (in aluminum) and then mated it to a chromoly steel rear triangle. When you look at bikes like the Mantis Pro-Floater and then compare it to bikes of today, it looks current. With many of the most successful suspension bikes in history, there’s no denying where the design influence came from. Beyond that, Richard never shies away from pushing the sport forward through his writing. He’s quick to call bullshit on marketing fluff and is always a proponent of new and interesting technology. Richard’s been the reason many companies have succeeded with out of the box ideas because he’s always been willing to give it a fair shake and see what’s possible. With many of my own ideas, I like to run them past Richard to see what he thinks. He always gives me a straight answer…..Unless it’s regarding how well he knows the trail or how long we are going to be gone. That’s an area where it’s best just to suffer through the adventure. You’ll probably live to tell about it and have crazy stories for the rest of your life.

Above all, Richard is a close friend and an incredibly unique and amazing person. I feel lucky to know him and have him in my life.
Chris Cocalis, Founder of Pivot Cycles

Birthday Grand Prix: RC's San Diego family traded mountain bikes for karts for #66. It was fierce.

bigquotesIt’s wild to think we met 20 years ago when you were the omnipotent leader of Mountain Bike Action magazine and I was a wet-behind-the-ears 22-year-old kid from Indiana whose only semi-marketable skills were holding onto handlebars and an aptitude for stringing a few words together. Despite not having the clout or career experience to deserve your favor, you always granted me the benefit of my perspective in my work. You not only respected what I had to say, you listened. Whether it be on deadline at 4:59 p.m. and I was searching for help to articulate what I was experiencing from a bike’s suspension design, or at 11:59 p.m. and I just needed someone to talk to, never did a call of mine go unanswered.

From my front-row seat of your remarkable influence on mountain biking, I learned much more than you likely realize. For a decade, I witnessed how you treat people. And, whether an impromptu trailside chat in the middle of nowhere with a fan of your work, addressing legions of strangers at an event, or even confronting the rare nemesis, you always emanated humility, kindness, generosity, humor, and patience. And, for all of your attributes, expressions, and knowledge I’ve attempted to appropriate over the years, the aforementioned ones are which I hope to someday live up to.

During my lucky career, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside many influential and remarkable people in the mountain bike world and am forever appreciative of those experiences and opportunities; however, I can’t begin to imagine where I might have ended up if you hadn’t always been in my corner. Thank you for everything.
Ryan Cleek, writer, photographer, & filmmaker



TECHNICAL EDITOR AT PINKBIKE


Richard was the Editor of Mountain Bike Action until 2010. In 2011, he was welcomed to Pinkbike as the Technical Editor. Richard brought his insight and creativity to Pinkbike, and could always be counted on to dig deep into his library of knowledge to explain exactly how mountain bike history was repeating itself. Again. RC demonstrated an uncanny ability to sense which way the sport was going before the rest of the industry caught on. He was espousing the benefits of wide rims, wider tires and lower air pressures well before that became the norm, and many of his insights on gearboxes, e-bikes, and geometry were glimpses into the future of the sport.

No one can say it better than Richard himself, so here are his own words on his time in the industry, "I really wanted to make bikes and get a job in the bike industry and make a difference by doing this, and the whole time I was at Mantis, for the first ten years, I never made more than ten thousand dollars a year. I was poor the whole time. And my dad and my friends told me to give it up. But I really wanted to do it. And somehow, because I just kept working at it, I found an angle that worked, and it was really fulfilling. So never downplay something you really believe in, something that really makes you happy, because that's where you're the most creative. When you're doing something you really enjoy, you get that spark of creativity, and that's what drives the human soul. Make a difference, and feel good about it. Don't lose that one thing, even if it's contrary to everything that everyone else says -- keep it alive, and you'll find that it will take you to the next step."

Photo Sterling Lorence
Photo: Sterling Lorence

Richard Cunningham riding near San Diego in perfect evening light .

Photos: Ian Hylands

bigquotesAt the Sea Otter a few years back, I was leaving the venue with my family, walking through the crowds toward the exit and the hike back to the car out in a field somewhere.

We ran into RC who we’d had a nice chat with earlier in the day. We had talked about a wide range of stuff from parenting to fabrication techniques to old bike industry stories and it’d been great. I think we were both on our way to different places but wanted to acknowledge each other and say goodbye, so I say to him something like, nice to see you, great chatting with you, let's do it again next year. He agrees and says goodbye and half under his breath as we were walking away says "it's crazy that most of these bikes will be gone next year."

Plus tires had just hit and there were a lot of plus bikes at the Otter that year. I didn't immediately understand what he was alluding to, but bluffed and just replied, "yeah." I thought I'd figure it out on the walk back to the car.

Two months later, I still hadn't figured out what RC meant, and it was bugging me. I ran out of feasible explanations and finally called him and admitted that I needed further explanation and was really curious about what he meant.

He explained that he was referring to many plus tire bikes having overshot on the tire size and that the new slightly smaller versions had much better manners on the trail. They were less bouncy, but still brought most of the benefits of the large volume tires to the bike.

It's part of my job to keep up on things like this and I thought it was a good observation and we optimized our bikes for the 2.8" tire which happened to be almost the same diameter sagged at 17 psi as a 2.35" at more typical riding pressures. That allowed you to run either tire on the same bike and as RC predicted obsolesced the entire season of bikes built around the larger tires.

I have no doubt that the guy can see into the future.
Hans Heim, CEO of Ibis Cycles

Photo Ian Hylands
Photo Ian Hylands

Photo Margus Riga

bigquotesI grew up reading any bike magazines that I could get my hands on and RC became a monthly fixture through Mountain Bike Action.

I remember one year, at Sea Otter, meeting him in person and him showing me how he takes a static bike shot at a booth. I paid attention and those little details stuck and that's part of RC, the little details.

When I learned that RC would be joining the fold at Pinkbike, my sense of pride in my work went up, it was like our online presence was being accepted and that we were on the right track.

He was always down to celebrate a "birthday" at any gathering, because it meant a free dessert and who questions the oldest guy in the group?

RC cares about bikes and the industry as a whole and it's always shown. 
Tyler Maine, Former Pinkbike Content Manager

Photo Greg Lambert

Photo Greg Lambert
Photo Greg Lambert
Greg Lambert photos
bigquotesCongrats on your retirement RC, although I know that won’t last long and remember never say "last run." Good luck on your next adventure.

Thanks my friend for allowing me to tag along for the last eight years.
Greg Lambert, Photographer

Daniel Sapp and RC in Whistler.

bigquotesLike many others, I knew of RC and his work for years before meeting him. When I first joined the team at Pinkbike, I remember people would make the connection that RC and I worked together. "You work with RC?“, “What’s it like to work with RC?", “It’s so cool that you work with RC, I’ve been reading his work since his column at MBA”, etc. It still happens.

Truly, it’s been amazing working with RC, a real privilege and I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine from him about airplanes, life, and bikes. RC is someone that everyone can call a friend. I’ve never hesitated to ask him for advice and he’s always been gracious to help myself and others in any way he can. Thank you for everything.
Daniel Sapp, Pinkbike Technical Editor

RC leading out the 2018 Pinkbike Field Test crew. Trevor Lyden photo

bigquotesI have known RC for a long time and have always enjoyed our conversations - and respected his writing for even longer.

I finally got to ride with RC about 10 years ago when he joined my crazy north shore big bike buddies and me on a Mt. Seymour lap. He wasn’t planning on riding and borrowed one of my trail bikes and some gear and we headed out for a rip. We were well on our way when it started to rain and then sleet and kind of snow at the top. We were not doing a dangerously technical ride but it was definitely not an easy ride... a solid black diamond with a couple of double black moves.

I thought RC could ride what he could and just walk the sketchy parts, especially since it just got really greasy. What I didn’t expect was to see RC wind his way down the trail (that he had never seen before) picking smart lines through the roots, wheelie dropping little logs into rock gardens and have a big smile with a semi-psycho “let’s do this” look in his eyes! I was very impressed. When we got to the gnarly moves, he took a look at them, walked one, and decided to ride the other. I tried to talk him out of it but he calmly assured me “he had it” and proceeded to ride the steep line with an off-camber entrance corner into a pinch point with a potential pedal catcher and an exposed g-out runout that took strength and guts to clean. RC cleaned it and the murmur of approval from my veteran shore buddies contrasted sharply with my screams of stoke and relief and patting RC on the back. He ripped it up and did it on a borrowed trail bike. Very cool.

I would like to thank RC for staying healthy that day, and for all the entertainment and information he has shared from his brain to me and many others over the decades. Truly a special man... and awesome mountain biker! Enjoy retirement and please come ride with me anytime RC!
Brett Tippie


RC and his wife Justine.
RC on his
RC on his "job interview" with Tippie.

late 1980 s - Cartoon by Cynthia Carbone
This Cynthia Ward cartoon...
...could be prophetic. Richard and Monte, then and now.

bigquotesI think for me, RC really just gave me the freedom to represent myself accurately in a few of the biggest interviews of my career. He allowed me to be involved in the questions so that we could discuss the topics that were important to me as well. That kind of freedom can be rare for an athlete sometimes and I appreciated his hard work and patience to work with me through those big stories.Aaron Gwin


"This was his first horse, Basque Son. I taught him how to ride back in the early 90's. When I moved to WA., he took over for me as exerciser of "Sonny" and the others we rode...until Dr. Williams chose to sell, and Richard bought them. Sonny was NOT a beginner horse. He was a hot-headed vision of unspeakable beauty and speed with the good sense of a post. But his heart was always in every ride, as was Richard's. Richard learned a lot about patience and listening from that horse!" - Justine Zafran

Chris Hultner photo
Cynthia Ward photo]
"This was Pepper (left), a POA (pony of America). The most intelligent and sturdy little pony ever! His other horse (right) is Sonny." - Justine Zafran

Erica, Harold Preston's horse.
"Raki"

"Raki (right), was his third and last horse. They were so bonded, Richard could just think the speed and direction and Raki knew and complied. They were the horse and rider team people dream about. His horse days informed him of the equestrians' issues with sharing trails with hikers and bikes. Richard was uniquely qualified to broker the land-use deals for sharing trails, knowing the issues of each user group. Our early horse rides were equal to the fabled "Richard rides" on the bikes. But on horseback, I could equal him on trail! Those were some of our best times together, galloping "off-road" in the backcountry." - Justine Zafran

Taking Erica for a spin. Harold Preston photo

bigquotesIt was gonna happen sooner than later that our paths would cross. I actually first conversed with RC at a ONE Industries event when the Athertons came into town in 2011. Said hi and hung out for a little bit with Scott Sharples. Later that month, I went out for a pedal on the big bike at a local spot in Poway. And there he was, lost and looking for advice. I know that guy looks so familiar. That day I took RC under my wing and showed him around. Not knowing that he actually took me under his wing. We exchanged information and that was the beginning of a remarkable friendship that resulted in family.

We started going on pedals throughout the county and the amount of knowledge I gained on each adventure was mind-blowing. Those who know RC will relate that you need to add an extra hour or so for the ride due to the constant advice and stories.

Which after nine years I think I have only heard three repeat stories that someone in the group had never been exposed to. The stories from massive mountain bike adventures, being shot at by the cartel with machine guns, to grown men crying while ice picking up an ice glacier. A movie script about an avocado grove that was maintained by a farmer and a troop of monkeys. Training horses, (he has helped with my personal horse.) Flying planes, crashing his brains out, flat-track racing, racing pigeons, doing drugs, let me tell you, the list goes on and on.

I believe I have helped RC with over 20 bike reviews finding locations and getting the shot. Spent evenings with him talking about each bike. Asking me why this one sucked so bad or why this one was a diamond in the rough. It really has put me in the spotlight with many things to come, he would text me and say, "Are you ready to become famous?”

I would be lying in bed that night nervous AF. Awaiting the grilling from the mountain bike world. After a while I didn’t care what anyone thought, I just did my best with a bike that I only had ridden for an hour sometimes.

The amount of confidence he has is incredible so much that he has built his own airplane, and it has rubbed off on me. He has helped my wife and I start a business which has started to take off. He has physically come down and helped clean up the brewery before inspection. This has been such a wild ride that some days I look back and it does not seem real.

I am so grateful and honored for being apart of RC life, I can’t wait for the next chapter. We have had each others' back since day one. Love you, Sir Cunningham. 
Harold Preston, Pinkbike Contributor & Founder of Prestons’ Ginger Beer


Photos: Harold Preston

bigquotesWhether it was on the phone, in person, during staff meetings or on the page it was always storytime with RC. Whether you were in the mood to have a yarn or not, something about RC’s goofy upbeat tone always made you sit back, relax and settle in to enjoy the ride. RC’s prose wasn’t always about bikes either. If you got RC talking about flying and building planes, his wife Justine’s latest interaction with the animals at the San Diego Zoo, or the latest on the myriad pets he keeps on his property, it was special. And always quirky. Thank you, RC, for always taking the time to tell us your stories. Rachelle Fraser

Photo Greg Lambert
Greg Lambert photo
Photo Greg Lambert
Greg Lambert photo

bigquotesOnce of my fondest memories of RC took place years ago when a few of us were down in Sedona, Arizona, to escape the snow and get some bike testing done. We'd just finished a long ride, rolling into the parking lot as the sun began its quick descent behind the horizon. Mike Levy's battle-worn Mitsubishi Delica was the last vehicle in the lot, and we loaded up as quickly as possible, knowing that warm burritos and cold beverages were only minutes away.

Except they weren't. The Delica's finicky diesel engine refused to start, no matter how many times the key was turned, or how many curse words were shouted at the ill-tempered van. We all unloaded and performed the familiar technique of lifting the hood and staring down as if we knew what we were looking at. A wire jiggle here, a tap on some random part there, all to no avail. That is, until RC donned a headlamp, pulled out a multi-tool and got to work. Fifteen minutes later the engine coughed, sputtered, and started up, all without the need for a key in the ignition.

That's just one of the countless instances where RC's ingenuity and creative thinking left me thoroughly impressed. From designing his next airplane using Microsoft Paint to riding down slippery, steep rock rolls in Squamish while the rest of us stood by dumbfounded, RC's always been a source of inspiration, a daydreamer, tinkerer, and inventor with a heart of gold.
Mike Kazimer, Pinkbike Managing Technical Editor

Photo Greg Lambert
Greg Lambert photo

RC on his way to ride an eMTB.
RC on his way to the eMTB store. Justine Zafran photo

bigquotesI've always been a bit of a closet space dork, so I was quietly excited to witness a solar eclipse while visiting Sedona, Arizona, for a product launch years ago. For a guy from the thick rainforests of British Columbia, Sedona's red rocks made it feel more than a little surreal. Then again, it might have been because I was standing in the parking lot of a "sushi restaurant" in the middle of the desert with RC and Ruthie Mathes, a legend herself who won the 1991 cross-country World Championships. Oh, and all three of us were wearing RC's homemade solar eclipse glasses. You know, just another day with Richard.

It's a bit unreal to me (and others, I'm sure) to have been able to call him a peer and friend for nearly a decade now, and it's probably fair to say that neither RC or PB were expecting the ride that was coming. Who woulda thought? I'm sure that he's learned more about being online than he ever expected, but I've learned far more from working with him than the internet could ever teach me. RC not being around as much means that our daily meetings will be quite a bit shorter, and they'd definitely have fewer bird noises in them, but at least he'll have time to finish that homemade plane he's been working on forever. Thanks for everything, RC. 
Mike Levy, Technical Editor


Photo Trevor Lyden

bigquotesPeople call RC a legend and by that, some of them mean that the guy has been around forever. That, however, only proves that Richard Cunningham existed during the dawn of mountain biking and that he’s still above ground today. So what? That’s not what makes RC great. And make no mistake—RC is one of the greatest people, innovators, and writers to have ever blessed the cycling world.

Let’s start with the obvious—he’s a genius. I mean, I’ve spent plenty a night calling bullshit on some of RC’swilder theories, but this is also a man that gets phone calls from NASA when the space agency is stumped and can’t figure shit out. And no, I didn’t just make that up. NASA has asked RC for advice.

RC is so damn smart that while the rest of us merely dream of flying, he actually goes out and does it. He builds his own planes. In his own damn family room. And then he takes to the skies in that same plane because he’s that kind of badass.

His range of knowledge is staggering. I’ve never met someone who knew more about wormholes, tire sealant, Fausto Coppi, Britney Spears, the fall of Carthage, or angular contract bearings….the guy’s appetite for knowledge has no end.

RC also squarely spits in the eye of the notion that there’s a point in life when you have to “grow up” and stop riding a bike. If I can be even half the rider that RC is when I start scraping the digits he’s accumulated, I’ll be damn proud of it. RC is proof that you never have to stop pushing your limits on two wheels. The guy’s a boss.

And yet despite all of that, RC is also one of the kindest and most humble human beings you could hope to meet. Truly. It was my great fortune to call RC a co-worker for a few years. It’s my even greater fortune to call him a friend.

RC, I miss staying up late, arguing, missing editorial deadlines, mocking Levy, and simply talking shit with you. You are a legend in every damn sense of the word. Go on with your bad self.
Vernon Felton, former Pinkbike Technical Editor

Harold Preston, RC and PB contributing photographer Eric Eilers on a recent ride in SD County (left). Self-portrait of Richard in April 2018 summiting El Cajon Mnt. in his home valley - (often seen in the background of bike photos) - a personal goal when he first moved there.

Richard working on the couch with Inca on his shoulder (left). Inca's voice was frequently heard in Pinkbike morning meetings.

bigquotesI grew up poring through the grey market pages of Mountain Bike Action, negotiating with myself to rake enough leaves at the Lakeside Resort to buy a 1997 Mountain Cycle (I never did, thankfully). It was the height of competition in the print publishing world, with Mountain Bike, Bike Magazine, Mountain Bike Action, and others all vying for the public's attention in an industry that had cracks forming in its status quo and dwindling non-endemic investment. 14-year-old me didn't care about Mantis, or understand the history of mountain biking, but I knew and respected RC's work even then.

When Richard went to Pinkbike in 2011 he was already part of the old guard to me, the guy who'd advocated calling freeriding 'velo-schussing'—I was surprised to see an established print writer making the change. Three years ago when I took the opportunity to come on as Pinkbike's head of editorial, I was nervous about working with him. I'd known RC in passing for a few years in the industry, we were on good terms, but how would this icon of our industry react to change? He'd run a magazine before I did my first sketchy teenage wheelie drop. He'd helped create a sport before I'd even learned to ride a bike. How was I going to tell him to do something a different way or hound him about a deadline?

But that's the thing about RC. He's never been one to sit still or stop learning new things, and I hope all the stories in this piece illustrate that. I don't think he ever resented my requests to do things differently, or my new workflows. Sure, changing direction is never easy, but honestly the biggest challenge with RC was getting him to keep his very loud, squawking parrot out of the room before our morning Slack meetings.

Once I looked under the hood, I was shocked at how much RC contributed behind the scenes. Staying up late to help edit others' work, connecting ideas and people that nobody else could have known to bring into pieces. I pushed him to write 'Carbon vs Aluminum: Separating Environmental Fact from Fiction' and it's one of the pieces I'm most proud of over the years. Sure he missed a bunch of deadlines on it, but it deserved the time it took.

Recently RC has been testing cheaper gear. Many established editors would have balked at the suggestion they take on reviewing value-priced bikes and components, thinking their insight too valuable to "waste" on the less expensive equipment. Not RC. He took that project on with enthusiasm, going over and above to focus on stuff that most riders can afford. He even pushed to come to Whistler and show us kids how it's done in last year's Field Test. His '3 Affordable Full Suspension Bikes' video was the most successful of the test. All writers have egos, but RC always channeled his in constructive ways with humility.

His advice and insight over the last three years has been nothing short of a gift. He's become a good friend, and someone whose hundred-thousand-foot view of the sport I value very much.

RC, thank you for everything. I know you won't be slowing down anytime soon, and I'm looking forward to the stories and ideas I know you've got floating around in your head. It's been a pleasure. You and your parrot are welcome in the morning meetings anytime.
Brian Park, Pinkbike Head of Editorial


RC still pushing it at 65 in Whistler.





This tribute will be worked into a small print volume in the near future. We know there are countless other people who have been impacted by RC over the years. If anyone would like to contribute, especially if you have some more embarrassing photos, please reach out to news@pinkbike.com.


215 Comments

  • 321 3
 That Ripmo AF vs Spectral review was peak journalism. Great way to finish! All the best RC!
  • 20 2
 Fully agree.
  • 13 200
flag duzzi (Jan 7, 2020 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
 Yes! It was in the time honored tradition of barely, or never, ride the bikes, show some pretty photos (they do not need to be outdoors), and write something about the ... quite obvious (e.g. the relatively cheaper price of the bikes in the review) with an added sprinkle of blabbering about this component or that.

Mountain Bike Fiction at its best!!!!!!
  • 30 1
 30 years ago, if a unicorn slid down a bolt of lightning and told me I would enjoy reading every word some bike dude would write over the next 30 years, I would have laughed. Take my $3,000 - RC easily won every round of bike journalism!
  • 8 2
 1000% agreed. I had been considering the Ibis, and RC's review has convinved me to make it happen.
  • 6 91
flag getsomesy (Jan 7, 2020 at 10:52) (Below Threshold)
 @duzzi: glad someone else is here to say it! Richard cunningham is mountain bike fiction writer.
  • 3 0
 Fully agree... The Ripmo AF is my next bike... Thanks RC !!
  • 4 12
flag Mutigen (Jan 7, 2020 at 17:55) (Below Threshold)
 @SchalkMarais: Buyer beware. The XL Ripmo AF has the most floppy hinged feeling steering I have ever felt. There is a distinct notch feeling and dive as you turn the fork through the center positionat lower speeds. It was horrible compared to XL Hightower, Yeti, and OG Ripmo demos.
  • 9 0
 @Mutigen: ........ Huh? Sounds like a bad headset.
  • 1 0
 @Mutigen: Thanks. Will take one for a spin. Pretty sure I will take a L and not an XL.
Some frame flex was also mentioned by Jeff Kendleweed...
  • 2 0
 @pnwpedal: Nope. Not headset. There was just a distinctive flop of the front wheel at slow speeds as you turned sharply. The shop mechanic could feel it as well. It was a geometry symptom related to the headtube angle and fork trail I presume. The bike was nice at speed for sure.
  • 6 1
 @Mutigen: I'm not discounting what you're feeling, and none of us have ridden the XL. But, I'm skeptical that a 64.9° HTA and a 44/51mm offset are inherently causing a distinctive flop in the steering. There are a LOT of bikes out there with the same numbers. Again, not doubting the symptom, just the cause.
  • 1 0
 @Mutigen: interesting. I plan to demo a few bikes before buying so I'll see if I notice that. I'm also with @brianpark... There are so many bikes these days with the same geometry numbers, the cause of what you felt might be something else. Maybe suspension setup/sag?
  • 1 0
 @Mutigen: wheel flop. Symptom of the geometry like you said, and a tradeoff for it ripping so fast downhill. The carbon Ripmo's geometry is right on the edge of being too aggressive for a trail bike IMO (I have one) and I think the AF has gone past that point. I suspect that Ibis is trying to spread the gap between the new Ripley and the Ripmo and the Ripmo V2 will get the same geo as the AF, pushing trail riders to the Ripley. I also suspect we will see an aluminum Ripley at some point in the near future.
  • 2 0
 I just loved the sincerity in RC’s joy of a great riding affordable bike. I’ve read his articles since I was a teenager finding the one thing in our school library that I really wanted to read, old copies of MBA. 30 years later, I have still enjoyed reading his work. I wanted a Nishiki Alien designed by RC so bad back in the day, but my local shop didn’t sell them but they sold Haro, so I was able to get their Alien copy, the Extreme, with elevated chain stays. Peace be with you, RC. Thanks for your work in our sport.
  • 65 3
 It's been amazing and an honor, @RichardCunningham - thanks for your endless wisdom and stories. I still want to make the PB video - "RC gets his first tattoo." Someday..
  • 29 2
 We should probably all get RC tattoos.
  • 11 0
 @brianpark: #SeaOtter2020
  • 6 0
 @brianpark:
Would that tattoo look like the RC Cola label with a crown on top?

beverageuniverse.com/rc-cola-12-oz-html.html
  • 3 0
 @brianpark: I think you guys should go all-out and get Mantis Flying V's right across your upper backs. Maybe @tajlucas: can draw up a design
  • 3 0
 @tom666:
Or lower back.
  • 64 1
 This tribute makes me miss both future RC content and past Vernon Felton content.
  • 9 1
 I’ll second that
  • 37 2
 First, let me say that the last thing I thought I would see on the internet today is RC in a cod piece... RC - enjoy retirement, though I doubt that means you'll slow down much, I have been riding and reading about mtb since 1987, and appreciate all your contributions to the sport I love.
  • 35 1
 What a great write-up for a legend in his own right. Thanks Richard for all your insights, hard work, inspiration and dedication to the community.
  • 4 0
 So, years back I was missing tech articles in MBA by RC when I come across RC at Teds. I ask him what is happening and he tells me he’s working at Pink Bike on-line now. I immediately started consuming Pink Bike on a daily basis. Later, I see RC in a test ride photo, I think it was a Pivot Mach 4, cranking up a hairy technical rock on a trail called Candygram. I had always chickened out coming to that rock, but the next time, I thought if RC can do it, I can do it. So I went for the scary climb over the boulder with the oh-crap drop on the left side and made it. Yeah, the pic of RC gave me the courage to crank up and over. ... Later, only to hear from RC that he broke his arm doing the test ride over that tricky rock. Had I known, I would have punted out again. Never the less, RC, you are my Mtn hero! Thanks for authoring the countless enjoyable articles.
  • 23 1
 Ok I'll take some time later and a beer to read all of this. The least I can do.
  • 6 2
 The day I retire I will take the time to read this.
  • 1 0
 well buddy, ill take your beer
  • 19 1
 I'll be honest I did not know that RC had such an impact on the industry. I just figured he was some old dude that liked riding bikes and wrote reviews and stuff for Pinkbike. Never looked him up beyond reading his reviews and stuff on PB. Had no idea he had done all that other stuff. Very cool. Have fun with retirement.
  • 21 0
 What's with damaged bike on roof of the car in 1st photo? Respect RC, enjoy your "retirement".
  • 1 0
 Wondering about that too. What a retro-spectacle this article is!
  • 4 0
 Did anyone else turn their phone/tablet upside down to see just how ruined that bike was?
  • 5 0
 @RichardCunningham did you drive that thing into a garage door?
  • 1 0
 Is it damaged or just a 89*HA prototype? You know, before the slack AF 71*HA became a standard.
  • 25 0
 @dlford: It was a customer's bike. He ran it into a concrete parking garage in a roof rack. We fixed it like new.
  • 1 0
 @RichardCunningham: Nice work, and to no surprise given the craftsman tackling the job.

A friend who had a mid-90's Civic drove into his garage with two bikes on a fork-mount roof rack. The result was 2 bikes intact other than minus 2 bent seatposts and scuffed saddles, 1 Civic relegated to summer use only, complete with a DIY removeable roof.

Thank you for your decades of entertaining and insightful writing.
  • 19 1
 What a wild ride it's been so far, @RichardCunningham. I'm so grateful that I was able to be along for a small part of it here at Pinkbike.
  • 9 0
 My first MTB was a '93 purple Nishiki Alien, and on the chainstays, it had written "designed by Richard Cunningham". The fun I had on that bike... Thanks for your contribution to this sport RC, I already miss your articles on PB!
  • 8 0
 It's not always the athletes that bring mountain biking to the masses, it's the guys behind the scenes that grew MTB into what it is today... And to to that end, RC is the GOAT
  • 8 1
 The affordable trail bike review was the first video ive seen of him, and he was so calm and composed, Mike Levy would look like a coked up grasshopper next to him. Also cool to see someone ride at a more normal pace after watching stuff like the sound of speed with Jesse Melamed, I can relate way more to that.
  • 5 1
 Oh, and the positivity. RC just sounded like he’s happy to ride bikes and not get caught up in minimal differences of compliance in carbon wheels or something.
  • 15 0
 I'd never do coke - its just energy drinks and Adderall Wink
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: and donuts. For which I don't blame you
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: It's funny how many people feel doing adderal is ok but coke is bad. Adderal is pretty much legal coke but scarier
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: lol yeah it’s a medical grade amphetamine and a huge PHD for anyone who didn’t know
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: I mean PED lol
  • 2 0
 @GlassGuy: might get you a PhD though
  • 4 0
 @GlassGuy: But there isn't any Fenty in Adderall like the bar-mix blow that is killing people right and left. Why they put that shit is coke is beyond me. I suppose it's cheaper than cut since the Chinese have flooded the world market with it. It really is a form of chemical warfare.
  • 1 0
 @mkotowski1: can confirm. In graduate school I had a labmate who only made it through because of his Adderall prescription.
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: you have a comparison test on this?
  • 1 0
 @fssphotography: ask anyone who's done both and as mentioned above it's an amphetamine
  • 1 0
 @GlassGuy: username checks out..
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: you should try redbull n Adderall... helluva uphill mix Wink
  • 6 1
 RC, first off, thanks for all you have done for Mountain Biking as a whole... I think it would be impossible to name off everything... On a personal note, thanks for some good times when we were neighbors during my time at Marzocchi.. For those that don't know, there was a time when Marzocchi was just across the parking lot from Hi Torque publications... Getting to hear some great stories, seeing Bryson flip out anytime a Bomber was mentioned as being heavy, and getting an invite to one of your Dollar Downhills are things that will be amongst my best memories Now, with retirement looming, I'm almost afraid to see what your mind will bring to life... Best to you and I hope our paths cross again!
  • 11 2
 This guy is way fucking cooler then you will ever be
  • 6 0
 Lifetime achievement award to this guy! Thanks RC for all your contributions that have shaped countless lives for the better. The opening quote to the article is exactly what I needed to hear today. Peace!
  • 7 0
 The One Wheeler is a uni-cycle that Richard made during the Bassini years. I have the 2nd version and my brother has the first version.
  • 8 0
 Whaaaat that's incredible. Got pics?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Click on my profile and I just uploaded a couple of pics. I have it for sale if you know of anyone with an interest?.
  • 5 0
 I met RC in the San Gabriels once, mid '90s. We were climbing Mt. Lowe Rd to do Gabrielino. Guy on a bright green Mantis on his way down, just randomly stops us to yak for a bit. My buddy realized at that point that he'd forgot to fill his bottle. RC gladly gave his up, since he was on the way down anyway. Super nice guy! Hope he has a blast being a 'cranky old gent' from now on.
  • 6 0
 @brianpark , @sarahlukas and @PB Staff in generall:

is there any way to bring back the Mantis hieroglyphic Shirt as a RC Tribute to the Pinkbike Shop?
this would be super epic!
  • 2 0
 This is such a sick idea. Something to look into, I'm not actually sure who owns the Mantis IP now. @RichardCunningham ?
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: @bohne listening.... Smile
  • 1 0
 L I S T E N I N G . . . .
  • 4 0
 The Mantis XCR, an aluminum mainframe with a screwed & glued CrMo rear triangle, first appeared in the Bicycle Sport Shop (Austin, TX) c1985. It had top of the line SunTour components, and pre-production WTB roller cam brakes. That pearl white frame was beautiful. Martin West, a good friend, bought that bike and used it through the development of front suspension up to the days of decent full suspension. What perfect welds and paint. I never knew a white bike could be so pretty.
  • 4 0
 RC's time here has been well-spent, and I've enjoyed his thoughtful contributions, especially the relatively long-form ones. Prior to his joining PB, I tended to think of RC as a magazine shill with MBA. I don't think I'm alone in that. His contributions to Pinkbike have been excellent, and I've completely changed my opinion. I'll miss him.
  • 6 0
 What a career RC. You are one of the good guys. Now time to cruise eBay for a Mantis bike haha.
  • 4 1
 Sad to see him go, happy to have had him shape a part of what mountainbiking is today. From what I have seen, a truly passionate, non-cynical biker and top-notch human being. Enjoy that well-earned retirement and drop us some lines on PB when you feel like it. Cheers!
  • 4 1
 WOW. I started into this tribute knowing that Richard Cunningham has been one of the greats in the MTB world, but quickly realized that his involvement has been nothing short of pivotal to bring the sport to where we are today. After ~16 years in this scene, I can't recall seeing or hearing anything about RC that I didn't trust and respect. Reading the kind words here has been truly inspiring to me... to live my life to the fullest, follow my passions, and hope to have some positive impacts on others. If I can manage even a small fraction of what RC has done I would be proud of that. Thank you RC, enjoy your newfound free time and I'm sure we'll be hearing from you again soon!
  • 5 0
 At first I thought white turtleneck RC was my favorite. Then I saw barbarian RC....
  • 6 0
 RC IS THE MAN!! I'm lucky to call him a friend!!
  • 2 0
 rc is an og! love the hieroglyphics shirt he did for mantis, there was a special vibe at that era of mtb in the late 80ies and early 90ies. he always reminds me a littlebit of john turturro and sex machine from dusk till dawn. thanks for all rc
  • 2 0
 If your near or in your fifties like me you have followed this man and the sport of mountain biking as it evolved. These could easily and should be a book written about this man. But let someone else write the book other than RC or the man will never get to retire.
  • 2 0
 It's been an amazing journey RC! A big pleasure and a honor sharing with you so many press launches around the globe! Thanks for the memories, and forever grateful for that MBAction cover shot in Mexico -Sterling pic- when we rode the original Remedy at that unbelievable Trek Bikes launch!! It's been now 12 years since that magazine! @mikelevy was there as well... we had a blast. All the best my friend!!
  • 2 0
 Hey Richard. Been reading your publications since I first got into bikes in general, and have to say you were always damned keen on what you reported, and always did it in a way that was approachable and digestible to anyone. I was at first shocked when you moved to Pinkbike, but honestly, you fit in so well and were an absolutely great addition to the team. Very sad to hear you'll be moving on from publishing reviews for a company, but here's hoping to a rather awesome retirement and many more years on wheels! Thanks for all you've done.
  • 2 0
 I remember the german 'Bike Magazin' issue that image with the Pro Floater in it – and I remember Richard's point in the interview, how full suspension bikes require a different riding technique "There will be a generation of young kids who grow up on full suspension bikes that will show us how to really ride these things."

I had shrugged off suspension on bikes as a fad until then, but RC's interview opened my eyes that there was hughe evolution in MTB riding and technology ahead of us. He had it figured out before most people in the industry.
  • 2 0
 It was an absolute pleasure to meet RC at last years Crankworx Whistler. I remember him walking up to me and I said "Dope shirt" being ignorant to who exactly this man is (at the time). He said thanks and started asking questions about our non-profit. I mentioned to him that I'd written an article and sent it to PB but it was denied for being a third party interview. RC looked at me and smiled and goes "this is now an official interview"; I had an inkling that I had met the right dude at the right time. Really appreciated spending some time to get to know you sir; I wish you peace and joy in your retirement. I hope the wheels always roll fast for you and life keeps dirty. Thank you for being the person you are and inspiring so many.
  • 2 0
 @RichardCunningham: RC you are the embodiment of the sport. You’ve touched so many lives by what you’ve done. Including thousands of people who don’t even know who you are. I emailed you a couple years back about an idea I had for a TedX talk that I was doing. I needed some help and advice on it. You didn’t know me from Adam and yet you took time out to help me and help set up some interviews for me. Thank you so very much for that. Thanks for doing what you’ve done. The entire MTB community owes you a debt of gratitude sir.
  • 3 1
 The Word legend is often over used..... not in this case. a great contribution to the world and MTB. the first mtb i have on the wall was a Mantis xframe cut out of mag ........one day...one day..... Long live RC!!!
  • 2 1
 Congrats RC! To think that MTB journalism has been guided by such an outstanding man. For over 30 years I have been a reading the work that Richard has helped influence. In so many ways Richard created the image of what a mountain biker is and in turn the way I mountainbike. Through times where I rode daily to long stints off the bike with injuries -RC's work was usually an arms length away from me helping me stay positive that I would soon ride again. Thank You
  • 3 0
 I have had the pleasure of a few chats with RC, he is an awesome guy with no shortage of great ideas and even better stories. Have fun Richard, hope to see you around!
  • 1 0
 I remember when buying my first proper mtb, 94’ GT Karakoram and the sales guys asked if I was related to Richard since we have the same last name (we are not but ironically my dads name is Richard). At the time I didn’t know who he was but I quickly discovered his work. Thanks for all your insight, knowledge and joy you have brought to me and others during this time. If you’re ever in SW CO you got a place to crash and a happy tour guide
  • 3 0
 I'll miss RC's takes on the industry trends and mountain biking in general. Thank you RC for everything and hopefully you'll pop in every once in a while.
  • 1 0
 I probably won't get a chance to meet you RC, but I know Mark Grayson is running around the town I live. I remember working in my dad's shop across from where Mark was making bikes. I'll have to flag him down the next time I see him and ask about some RC anecdotes. Congrats on a great career and the endeavors to come.
  • 1 0
 My respect to RC and thanks for all the words and insight and snark-taking over the years. Been reading and following your work since the early 90's. Didn't know about how well you could corner a horse though, that photo was cool. Best wishes for your next adventures. You are one of a kind.
  • 1 0
 Thank you Mr. Cunningham for helping me become a mountain biker. I remember reading articles authored by you and looking at bikes that you designed when I was as young as 10 years old. It never failed to ignite in me a stronger passion for mountain biking and I only hope that I am successful in stewarding that in my own children. Enjoy your retirement and best wishes.
  • 1 0
 History, the older I get the more I appreciate it and that whole article was brilliant. I remember my first mountain bike in '89, a Shogun Trail Breaker 2 and not too long after that I started reading RC' s stuff in MBA, always loved his hands on approach and more than evident knowledge, the fact that he came from a motorcycle background sealed it for me, a two wheeled bad arse. Thanks Richard for all the knowledge you shared and honest reviews.
  • 2 0
 I loved my Shogun, bright yellow, it was the bomb!
  • 1 0
 @RichardCunningham, thank you very much for everything you have done for mountain biking.
For me, it started 35 years ago.
When I discovered mountain biking my life changed drastically and gave me the best experiences, but sometimes also physical suffering ;-).
I was the one who surely bought one of the 3 available copies of Mountainbike Action in a German station kiosk.
I was so in love with the Mantis Pro-Floater, and then there was this one in the shop in Finale/Ligure (around 1995?), unfortunately out of reach for me at that time, but the trails were still great and pretty rough at that time.
I think biking will accompany me to the end.

I hope you have more time and leisure for mountain biking now.
But every now and then a small article can't hurt...
  • 1 0
 Congratulations on your retirement Richard. Also thank you for your innovations you have brought to the sport. I also want to thank you for all those rides we've done in CHSP, Anaheim Hills and the other places we have ridden. Those were and always will be some of the funnest rides of all time.Riding with you and the other riders, you had a part in advancing my skills as a rider in those days and you helped make me love mountain biking, at sport I still enjoy after 38 years and one that has sprouted several business opportunities for me.
  • 1 0
 Thanks Richard for all of your varied contributions to the sport! I must have been reading your articles for at least 20 if not the last 25 years. That's more than half of my life and I ain't no spring chicken! It's truly a scary thing to envision how the sport would look today if it weren't for you, and this is no exaggeration! You have my utmost respect and you're going to be well missed around here! All the best to you!
  • 1 0
 Contratulations RC !!! You're teaching words were the very firts I read when I could get my hands on an MBAction mag. It was not an easy task here in Valencia (Spain) in my twenties.
I always wanted to know what your 5 or 10 best bikes in history would be if you were free to talk...and I dare know to ask you...
...a last memory review would be very appreciated.
If you came around here and want to taste the finest paella ever...let me know !!!
Thanks for all your heart in your words !!!
  • 1 0
 I was lucky enough to ride for the UK importers of Nishiki in the early 90s. Our race bike of choice was the alien. We rode the full aluminium one and the one with the bolt on chainstays (the acx?) Awesome bikes to ride and real head turners at the races. I just wish I'd bought one when the race team finished!
Thanks for the amazing bikes RC and all the best for retirement.
  • 1 0
 RC, we've not (yet) met, but as someone who started MTB riding in 1989, I've really enjoyed your work. Your mix of science, feel and experienced based opinion, what you said (and left unsaid) were always worth a read and a think. Cheers, Matt
  • 1 0
 I was driving away from Ted's in Poway and turn to see someone getting ready to ride, when I got home I told my wife " I think I just saw this bike writer, about to ride". Photos on the cement slab, confirmed. I can see my house in the background. Very cool. Hope to see you out enjoying Retirement.
  • 1 0
 This was a well-done piece on RC's life. My own life kinda parallels his, but no retirement for me. Also, could RC be summoned back on occasion for tech-spraining, like the comments section on todays' article on leaf springs.?
Just an entry in the comments section would be great. A line or two would 'prolly do it.
  • 1 0
 I need to pull out some old photos. We painted for RC back during the Mantis and Nishiki days. We were Cycle Fantasy back then. Loved working with Richard, Eddie, Travis, Corrine and yes loved Brandi. So many fun memories. Richard was so kind to our 5 daughters and he was so much fun. He was friends with my whole family. We enjoyed having the frames we painted on many MBA magazine covers. Thanks Richard for all the memories. Wishing you the best in retirement and your always welcome to come ride up our way. Dave is still loving all his bikes. I still can not believe you guys raced each other Tt/flat track out at Elsinore. I miss your dad too.
May you have pure joy in retirement.
Colleen Wilburn aka Nutzo and only you called me ‘ the redhead goddess from H’
  • 1 0
 So....I'll admit, I've never heard of RC until today, but I've been on the same ride for just as long and after reading the article I just wanted to say; Thank you, Mr Cunningham, just simply for riding bikes. May your tires always find dirt and your wings always find lift. Good on ya.
  • 4 0
 Cheers Richard! You truly Elevated Mountain Biking to new dimensions.
  • 5 1
 Cool to see a "Tunnels" photo from San Diego! Such a great little gem.
  • 4 0
 What a legend!! doing things for the MTB industry before I was even born!
  • 2 0
 Godspeed RC - may your trail ahead lead you to lots of interesting places, interesting people, and interesting problems to solve, and may your ride on it be hella fun.
  • 3 0
 I have always enjoyed your perspective, RC. Thank you for the memories. And nothing says barbarian like a pair of Deerfoams.
  • 4 0
 HOW TO UNSEE THE CONAN PHOTO
  • 2 0
 Thank you, RC! I have deep respect for your views, and experience. I hope we hear from you every now and then! Sincerely, Duncan
  • 2 0
 Learned so much from RC in this sport over the last 20 years. Would have been lost without this mans coverage. Can Mike Levy fill those shoes?.....I think he can.
  • 1 0
 Bookmarked! And have a good’un RC

Saw u on youtube earlier when cleaning my room

Smile

Looking a lot like chopper read portrayed by that aussie actor leaning on that Mantis green bike there

;-d
  • 1 0
 Was always a pleasure to read your amazing articles, a true advocate for this amazing sport!! Your content will be missed and I hope you enjoy all the fruits of your labours Smile
  • 1 0
 Read and appreciated RC’s work in the pages of Motocross Action for many years before I got into mtb.

His insights here at Pinkbike have been a treasure to find as well.

Cheers to you sir!

A Fan
  • 1 0
 This is a great article, but what stopped me in my tracks was at the very bottom and the picture of Inca. I'm a reluctant bird owner. Bikes, planes, whatever - keeping a bird takes a special kind o' nut.
  • 3 0
 What a nice story to read!!! Great photos as well, cheers to the Man!
  • 4 0
 Thanks RC.
  • 4 1
 Congrats man, that's awesome
  • 4 1
 We love you RC, plain and simple.
  • 4 1
 Another living legend moving on to pastures new, all the best RC!!
  • 3 1
 Surprised Chris from Pivot didn't share a story ?

So much truth in his opening quote!
  • 3 0
 There's an excellent story from Chris in there. About 2/3-ish of the way down.
  • 2 0
 Congrats @RichardCunningham, I look forward to seeing you out on the local trails if I can manage to catch up to you.
  • 3 0
 "I'm Richie Cunningham, and this is my wife... Oprah."
  • 2 0
 I can't get my head around that RC won't be on PB anymore ;/ I want him back! Permanently!
  • 10 0
 Oh he'll still be around. We've got a bunch of projects and stories in the works. He's just stepping back from the daily tasks of technical editorial: review deadlines, trade shows, bad airplane food, etc. Smile
  • 1 0
 @brianpark:I sincerely hope so Smile
  • 1 0
 @brianpark: Who's going to fill those shoes??
  • 2 0
 @Patsplit: just give levy some adderal and some doughnuts and tell there will be a pole. He will do anything at that point lol
  • 1 0
 @Patsplit: nobody could fill those shoes, but we've got a few talented people joining the team this year. We'll announce very soon. #industryteamrumours
  • 3 0
 What an absolute legend. Thank you for all the stories.
  • 3 0
 Best wishes for what comes next RC!
  • 1 0
 Cheers Richard! Proud to say my first full suspension bike was a Pro Floater in 1995, I was 16 and it was worth easily twice as much as my car.
  • 3 0
 All the best RC...man I lead a boring life !
  • 1 0
 That's what I was thinking. What a legend!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for everything RC! Just when you thought you knew about a guy, then find out he built a plane inside his house! How bout that Rage cycles shirt.
  • 4 0
 Team Rumor : RC to Vital
  • 2 0
 i had one of those green all aluminum aliens in 1992. what a machine! thank you RC for everything.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for everything RC- hope you still pop in on Pinkbike once in awhile. Best of Luck!
  • 1 1
 Hope everyone read took good notes on the article above. There will by 75 questions on the exam.
Question #1: Who is RC?

A. The G.O.A.T.
B. Ricky Carmichael
C. A knockoff soda that's way too sweet
D. Tom Hanks
  • 2 0
 Legend! Love the flat track shot! always been a pleasure knowing you RC, you always had time for everyone
  • 1 0
 I'm Italian and I am proud to see Richard with Trofeo senza fine in his hand! Thank you for all your work that made our days better man!
  • 2 0
 What a wonderful tribute to a living legend! He really sums up why we all smile during our rides.
  • 2 0
 RC, thank you for chronicling much of my passion for bikes since I was kid reading my dad's MBA starting back in 1998.
  • 2 0
 Happy Retirement RC. I have been reading your work since I was 13, will be strange without you!
  • 2 0
 My hat is tipped sir. I loved reading MBA for many years. Enjoy retirement and have fun.
  • 1 0
 It's sad that RC is retiring before Fox Live Valve became more mainstream. He loved it when he rode it. The future of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 Thanks for all RC, I've been reading your articles for my entire mountain bike life, and that's a long time! Enjoy the trails...
  • 1 0
 OK, so how cool you have to be to retire from Pinkbike? RC is a true legend, would love to read his autobiography, hope he writes it someday.
  • 1 0
 Had to come here to comment for posterity. Yet one more person who makes me feel like the *slacker* that I am!
Congrats, and thanks for the years of inspiration.
  • 1 0
 I was amazed when I found out his age, after reading one of his articles. He could have been 23 for all I knew. Very young at heart. Inspiring.
  • 3 0
 Thank you Richard!
  • 2 0
 How I still picture RC today

www.pinkbike.com/photo/18099757
  • 4 1
 RESPECT!!
  • 3 0
 Congratulations RC.
  • 2 0
 Shred hard, @RichardCunningham! Here's to many more trails to come!
  • 2 0
 Great tribute! But no Happy Day's info? I'll see myself out........
  • 3 0
 True legend
  • 2 0
 Congrats on a legendary timeline and career RC.
  • 2 0
 Good luck, live long and prosper RC.
  • 2 0
 RC a legend, a gentleman-congrats on an amazing career. And thank you.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for everything RC Smile
  • 2 0
 Awesome contribution to this fine pursuit. Thank you RC!
  • 2 0
 Be free, RC. Fly planes, and ride horses. And drink beer.
  • 2 0
 Gonna be weird without ya! Ride on my friend... all the best!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for teaching me the art of enjoyable Technical Writing all for $3.99 per month in 80's and 90's.
All the best!
  • 1 0
 RC, you are the man. It was always a pleasure to run into you in SD. Thank you for all of your contributions to the sport.
  • 2 0
 Hope to see you on the trails in SD. Thanks for the good reads RC
  • 2 0
 Nice tribute...from one old trail dog to another ..Happy trails RC Smile
  • 1 0
 Anyone else hope @RichardCunningham will comment as much as @WAKIdesigns ? Wish you the best in retirement!
  • 1 0
 Tip of the hat buddy! I’ve enjoyed your articles for many years. I wish you well in your next adventure. Cheers to you!
  • 1 0
 Thank you RC for all the positive things you have done for our beloved sport/passion.
  • 2 0
 RC the Yoda of mountain biking.
  • 1 0
 Please do something about the margins in the callout boxes. Hardly legible on phones...
  • 1 0
 He's not retiring. He's just working on his next publication: "Senior Bike Action !" (for us old folks).
  • 1 0
 The Nishiki Alien actually pulled off 3 water bottles, talk about a bike from the future!
  • 1 0
 great article & great site to share their knowledge.congrats & enjoy living without an alarm clock!
  • 3 1
 Cheers, RC. Well done.
  • 1 0
 RC...don't stop doing it all
  • 2 0
 Thank you bike dad
  • 2 0
 Respect. Thank you RC.
  • 1 0
 Can we get a spec list on that horse ?
  • 1 0
 You can be my wingman anytime. Best of luck, RC.
  • 2 0
 Stay on ya bike RC!!!!
  • 2 0
 All the best!
  • 2 0
 Happy trails!
  • 1 0
 That first photo is photography gold.
  • 1 0
 Enjoyed the ride RC. Look forward to hearing about your next endeavor.
  • 1 0
 I’ve never even seen a Mantis bicycle but, my first MTB was a Nishiki.
  • 2 0
 Great tribute! Cheers RC
  • 1 0
 #livelikeRC

Some life story, and he ain't done yet!
  • 1 0
 thank you for decades of Inspiration!
  • 1 0
 How happy does that horse look!
  • 1 0
 Thanks for everything RC!!
  • 1 0
 RIP "Lizards" Trail. Thanks for everything RC.
  • 1 0
 Crap can he ride steep tech! Last photo
  • 1 0
 All the best in your new adventures. Thanks for your time and dedication.
  • 2 0
 Thank you RC!
  • 1 0
 Legends don't retire. They reinvent. Wink
  • 1 1
 Booooo

@richardcunningham

Stay
  • 1 0
 We'll miss you RC!
  • 1 0
 Gangster
  • 1 0
 MAGNATE/LEGEND!
  • 1 2
 Just realised I've sent this from my sons account!
  • 1 3
 can he wheelie.......?
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