It’s hard to imagine Colorado without mountain bikes. The knobby-tired bicycles are so ubiquitous now that it seems almost impossible that there was a time when trails were mostly for hiking. It may also be hard to believe that mountain bikes were once called “klunkers” made from vintage cruisers/paperboy bikes and that the people who rode them wore t-shirts and jeans or shorts instead of spandex “Tron suits” (Helmets? What!?), even as they rode long distances in the back country from places like Crested Butte to Aspen. (Note also the many single-speeds and folks cheerfully walking their bikes with friends!) We hope these two amazing videos of the “Crested Butte to Aspen Klunker Classic” in 1980 can serve as a small reminder of the simpler days of early mountain biking when fun was the first order of business. If anyone recognizes anyone in this video, please leave a comment. (Thanks to pikespeaksports.us for finding these videos!)

 

10 Responses to When Klunkers Were King

  1. Sandra Knauf says:

    What FUN! A more joyful, less self-conscious time – everyone’s laughing! A lot has been lost to seriousness and goals. And I’ll bet the keggers are gone too. Bummer.

  2. Nancy Atherton says:

    Fantastic! A perfect follow-up to the Tour de France. No sponsors, no team cars, no big prizes, except the biggest one of all—a great time with a great bunch of people.

  3. chris fiedler says:

    single speeders ‘get off’ more! hahaha! such a great film. thanks for sharing it noel.

  4. chris fiedler says:

    also,
    for anyone interested and unfamiliar, http://www.klunkerz.com/ is a great film about the birth of mountain biking.

  5. suesun says:

    The boys loved it!…. gives the young perspective on recent history, and respect for those who came before them.

  6. Michael says:

    Un-American! CONSUME. :)

  7. KlunkerBill says:

    Those are such great videos. Seems like a perfect snapshot of the whole thing. I’m just sorry I didn’t uncover them during my research for Klunkerz.I bet the outtakes were insane. It sure is great to see more and more stuff coming out about the history of the sport. I hope that more folks come across ‘some old boxes in the attic’ in the near future. Thanks for posting.
    Ride on,
    Billy

  8. Marina Eckler says:

    I didn’t know you could do that without spandex!
    How fun!

  9. Karen says:

    As high school teacher I developed a lesson on the history of mountain biking for my students who were going to be riding down Pikes Peak. Wish I had found this. The kids would have loved it!

  10. Jeremy Van Hoy says:

    One of my favorites, Noel! I go to CB and ride every summer. Once, I went to Aspen… but over Taylor Pass. Guess I’m a wuss :(

    Thanks!!!

News

Getty Images
July 28, 2015 | NPR · George Washington University is the latest and one of the largest private universities to drop its admissions testing requirement.
 

July 28, 2015 | NPR · Already, researcher Stuart Russell says, sentry robots in South Korea “can spot and track a human being for a distance of two miles – and can very accurately kill that person.”
 

Ikon Images/Getty Images
July 28, 2015 | NCPR-WUNC · This summer, even the most crowded pools are struggling to hire enough lifeguards, and are cutting hours as a result. In a rebounding economy, teens are opting for higher-paying jobs or no job at all.
 

Arts & Life

July 28, 2015 | NPR · Bill Cosby was instrumental in opening the door for black stuntmen in Hollywood early in his career. He was to be a central figure in a new documentary about black stuntmen, but that has now changed. He will be mentioned, but his interviews have been pulled, following the latest revelations about the comedian, who admitted in court documents that he drugged women for sex.
 

Getty Images
July 28, 2015 | NPR · On demand is on demand, as it turns out, whether it’s video or audio. Even Tina Fey says so.
 

Courtesy of Andrew Gorkovenko
July 28, 2015 | NPR · Artists are reinventing the humble tea bag, letting its contents and simple shape and color shine in beautiful, fragile art. Some are even farming out the tea drinking to get to the used bags.
 

Music

July 28, 2015 | NPR · Almost 140 years ago, Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky wrote a solo piano piece for every month of the year called The Seasons. Now saxophonist Ben Wendel has taken this famous body of work and reinterpreted each piece by bringing along a different artist every month. Reviewer Michelle Mercer says through these collaborations, Wendel is giving the listener insight into some of today’s sharpest musicians.
 

July 28, 2015 | WXPN · In Swedish culture, ABBA holds a significant place — one big enough for an entire ABBA museum that doesn’t have to wait for visitors. Hear the World Cafe interview with the curator.
 

Courtesy of the Boston Symphony
July 28, 2015 | NPR · He was with the Boston Symphony for 50 years, and his name was also stamped on the sticks of drummers from Buddy Rich to Charlie Watts to Questlove. Firth died Sunday at age 85.
 

Get the KRCC iPhone App

The Writer's Almanac

Radiolab