Klunking- The Origin Of Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

Klunking- The Origin Of Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

Biking

Klunking- The Origin Of Downhill Mountain Bike Racing

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It’s hard to pinpoint one particular person or place that is responsible for the creation of downhill mountain biking, but the sport we love today undoubtedly has roots in Marin County, CA.

The video below is a news piece from Evening Magazine of a group of downhill biking pioneers from 1979. The sport was called ‘Klunking’ back then, and the riders created their own mountain bikes of sorts.

Most riders modified old Schwinn bikes with better brakes, fatter tires, and more gears to handle the steep fire roads on Marin County’s fabled Mount Tamalpais.

This video is an absolute gold mine of classic mountain biking shots. I love seeing what everybody was wearing, listening to them talk, and being able to see how the sport started to grow. I also got a kick out of how there’s not a helmet in sight, and everybody seems like they’re stoned.

Must have been a rad time to be the in the Bay Area.

Evening Magazine Remembered – San Francisco: Thank you to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, California. It 2014 it was with their assistance that we were able to reconstruct this important piece of history: https://mmbhof.org

This segment, hosted by Steve Fox and showcasing the founders of mountain bike racing, comes from the Paul Colardo collection in the William French Archive. Paul was one of ‘Evening’s’ cameramen and producers. Steve Kotton, cameraman on this shoot, had to testify in court over a lawsuit brought against KPIX by one of the riders. They claimed Steve was in the middle of the road on a turn, thus causing the rider to crash. The rider lost since video tape does not lie and Steve was on the side (you can see it in this segment). It is believed this segment was edited by Jim Farney.”

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