Luminaries such as Gary Fisher, Joe Breeze and Charlie Kelly - and many other Repack pioneers - attended the premiere of 'Klunkerz' at the Mill Valley Film Festival in Marin County, California, on Sunday. The movie is a ride down Memory Lane, exploring the history of mountain biking.

MTB royalty attend premiere of flashback movie

And it doesn’t restrict itself to the 1970s in Marin County it features footage of other US ‘mountain bike’ pioneers. However, there’s no footage of Geoff Apps, the British pioneer of the ‘all terrain bicycle’ who was developing his Cleland at about the same time as MTBing was being developed in the US. No footage either of David Wrath-Sharman of Highpath Engineering, who had hub brakes on his ‘mountain bike’ in the early 1980s.

To be fair, neither Apps or Wrath-Sharman influenced the American MTB scene.

MTBs were created, named, commercialised and popularised in the US so it’s only fair that ‘Klunkerz’ should stay rooted in the US.

Mind you, if any country can lay claim to being first into MTBs, it’s France. The Velo Cross Club Parisien was experimenting with balloon tyre bikes in the 1950s. Most of these bikes even featured suspension forks and handlebar-mounted gear changers.

‘Klunkerz’ documentary was directed by Billy Savage. It doesn’t say Gary Fisher was the father of the mountain bike, a claim made by countless magazine articles and books. Savage was at the movie’s premiere on Sunday night. So was Fisher.

Also there were fellow MTB pioneers Joe Breeze, Charlie Kelly, Otis Guy and many others.

Sadly, not at the event was Professor John Finley Scott, "the first mountain bike enthusiast in the United States," says the MTB Hall of Fame.

"In 1953 he built what he called a ‘Woodsie Bike’, using a Schwinn World diamond frame, balloon tires, flat handlebars, derailleur gears, and cantilever brakes. John was more than twenty years ahead of his time."

Finley Scott, retired professor of sociology at the University of California, has been missing since June and is now presumed dead.

According to the Mill Valley Movie Festival, ‘Klunkerz’ "traces the Marin County roots and global rise of mountain biking, a gonzo sport long favored by fearless iconoclasts.

"Pot-smoking adrenaline junkies from Mill Valley, Larkspur and surrounding towns took their pre-World War II bicycles–known as “klunkerz” due to their fat tires–to the top of Mt. Tamalpais, then hurled themselves down dirt paths, risking life and limb in search of a killer high. People formed amateur bike leagues and tricked-out their two-wheelers with junkyard finds; spectacular wipe-outs made local guys national legends, and this mud-splattered hobby became an international craze and Olympic sport."

A Quicktime trailer for the move can be seen here.

Archive footage of an early singlespeed downhiller can be accessed from the Bike Stuff group on

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