Riding in Crested Butte Before the Tour
Before there were the Marin county riders that made mountain biking what it is today, there were the riders of Crested Butte, CO that spent their free time building old klunkers and tearing down the Colorado hillside on them. These riders are most commonly known for the Pearl Pass ride which started as a sort of payback. Riders from Aspen would make the trip into Crested Butte and line the streets with their bikes, party in the bar, and joke with the local riders. Not to be outdone, the Crested Butte riders decided that they would return the favor and ride over Pearl Pass and into Aspen, making their unexpected presence known in the ritzy town.
"If they can come over here and mess with us, let's ride over there and do it back. Who in the hell...would do this? So that's what we did." - Bob Starr
Like the Marin county riders, the Crested Butte riders pieced their klunkers together by gathering parts from old Schwinn newsboy bicycles. According to Al Maunz, they would get a truckoad of old bikes, frames, and other parts from the Denver dump, and from that, would be able to build a few bikes. The addition of hand brakes on these klunkers really helped set the scene for the future of mountain biking. It was this type of innovation that would also appear in Marin county, and would lead to further refining of the mountain bike.
"It was just all used old stuff."- Al Maunz
According to Al Maunz, his friend Steve Baker had a knee injury that made it difficult to work and get around. Steve had the idea to piece together a klunker out of his old Schwinn bicycle and possibly make some extra money. This idea, an old Schwinn newsboy bike, and two friends in a garage was the start of the Crested Butte klunkers.
"It was Steve that got us interested in the bikes...and so that's what started it."- Al Maunz
The Crested Butte riders originally built klunkers for themselves, but after riding, jumping, and testing out their bikes on the downtown streets, klunkers began to gain popularity. Suddenly klunkers were in demand and men like Al Maunz, Steve Baker, and Bob Starr were building bikes to make some extra money. Eventually that business dwindled down because the profit just wasn't large enough.
"We weren't making any money at it...we kinda got out of it cuz I needed to work."- Al Maunz