In the late 1960s and early 1970s, San Francisco was the vortex of America's counter-culture movement. Just over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, another movement was under way. The kids there would shake up a 100 year old American industry, within a decade creating a worldwide phenomenon.
Long before the mountain bike entered our global consciousness, the cycling enthusiasts of Marin rode modified pre-WWII bicycles down the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. They developed their bikes through rigorous field-testing, often risking lives and limbs to do so. Only the strongest, heaviest parts could withstand the abuse that Mount Tam dished out.
Some were Category-1 road racers looking for a new way to cross-train during the off-season. Others were simply fun-loving hippies, checking out a new way to commune with nature. They had little in common, except for the bikes they rode and the Bay Area music scene that, like the trails on Mt. Tam, surrounded them.
The pioneer's bikes were scavenged from dumpsters and junkyards, sometimes adapting motorcycle parts to suit their needs. It was from these humble beginnings that a billion dollar industry, a new form of recreation for the masses, and an Olympic event, were born. These hefty steeds were affectionately known as "klunkerz."
Using archival footage, still photographs, and interviews, Klunkerz tells the story of the earliest days of the sport from those who were there. Some of the biggest names in the industry, as well as some more obscure characters, recount the people and events that gave birth to the modern mountain bike.
This program is not currently scheduled for broadcast.
Read more about Billy Savage, filmmaker of Klunkerz.
Klunkerz: Crew & Credits
Produced and Directed by
William B. Savage
Director of Photography
James Mc Lean
Tom Ritchey John Finley Scott
Tom "Eli" Slifka
Six Foot Two Productions
Titles and Graphics
Second Unit Camera
William B. Savage
Pete "Blast" Barrett
F.A.U.P. Studios Santa Monica, CA
Principal Photographic Archives
Courtesy of Rolling Dinosaur Archives
Additional Photographic Archives Courtesy of
Jeff Archer (First Flight Bikes)
Eric Lafferty (Old Mountain Bikes)
Geoffrey M. Halaburt
Vance Sprock (Cupertino Bike Shop)
Principal Film Footage Archive (Off-Road)
Additional Film Footage Archives (Off-Road)
Russ Mahon Carter Cox
Principal Film Footage (Road)
Mush Emmons (Phantomatic Bikes)
Stock Footage Provided by
The Transfer Station
Yale Film and Video
TEDS (Telecine Edit Design Services) Los Angeles
Rudy "The Grand Wazoo" Contratti
The Wilshire Courtyard
The Law Offices of Stuart L. Carroll
Cameras and Lenses Provided by
Pro-Cam (Burbank, CA)
Special Thanks to
Fairfax, CA and all the people who live there, Richard and Esther Shapiro, Peter Alexander, APLE Shirts, Rudy "The Grand Wazoo" Contratti, Breezer Bikes, Ritchey Logic, Gary Fisher Bicycles, Specialized Bicycles, Wilderness Trail Bikes, Shimano USA, Steve Potts Bicycles, The Marin Bicycle Coalition, Safe Routes to Schools, Trips for Kids, The Marin Historical Society, The Re-Cyclery, Fairfax Cyclery, Sunshine Bicycles, Gravy Wheels, Manny's Bike Shop, Palms Cyclery, I. Martin Imports, Dirt Rag, Michael Brown, The Sons of Champlin, Jeff Brown, Dustin Brady, Kim Baenisch, Marilyn Price, Paul Stanford, Brian Verner, Brendt Barbour, Bob Sehlinger, Chris Ruedy, Jory Prum, Ariadnye Scott, Keven Krueger, Hal Muscat, Joan Ardis Savage, Florie Savage, Isabella Savage, Wiliam Savage Sr. (1931-2005), and Joan Ardis Fleming (1933-2006).
Also on KQED.org this week ...
We Need You!
Volunteer during our current on-air radio fundraising drive. It's a great way to support KQED Radio with your time. You can really make a difference!
Enter the New "ImageMakers" Screening Room
Enjoy films from present and past seasons of KQED's short independent film series, divided into Animation, Comedy, Drama, and Suspense.