Of all the people I have interviewed for Bicycle Quarterly, Charlie Cunningham was perhaps the most fascinating. We talked for hours about a great variety of bike-related topics. I am particularly fascinated by his various brake designs – we both prefer brakes with posts next to the fork crown. (Since then, even Shimano has adopted that technology.)
The hardest part for me was distilling our several hours of conversation into a BQ article. It still ended up 14 pages long, but I am proud to think we managed to explain how Charlie’s “Toggle Cam” and “Lever Link” brakes actually work. Charlie exemplifies the “mad inventor” for me – a guy with scant regard for convention, but who is right more often than not.
The same issue (BQ 29) also included a long interview with Charlie’s partner, the incomparable Jacquie Phelan. Together, they make one of mountain biking’s most amazing and inspirational couple.
So you can imagine how sad I was when Jacquie told me recently that Charlie had a bike accident with multiple broken bones. Worse, a head injury manifested itself six weeks later, requiring emergency brain surgery. Charlie is a tough guy, and it appears that he is recovering, albeit slowly.
We want to help get the word out that there is a fund drive to raise money to help cover mounting expenses, especially in the face of what looks like a long recovery. One of their friends has set up a relief fund. Please donate at https://www.gofundme.com/w85tn3dg