MBHOF Hours

Winter: 12:00PM - 6:00PM
Summer: 10:00AM - 8:00PM
  * Closed Apr, May, Oct and Nov

Museum admission: $4.00

For more info, call the Crested Butte Mountain Heritage Museum at (970) 349-1880.

Sponsor of the Month

The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame is very thankful for the continued support of Mountain Bike history provided by Specialized!

Klunker Photos from 1977

Here are a collection of Cool Photos taken in 1977 when Crested Butte was experiencing a year of "Un" which translates to a winter of no snow. This was the winter following the first Pearl Pass Klunker Tour to Aspen, September 1976. The local biking enthusiasts held the First Ever Klunker Bike Rodeo.

The 1976 PEARL PASS TOUR, another perspective by Dawn Belloise

The Pearl Pass Tour had an ignominious beginning on September 17, 1976, in front of the Grubstake Saloon, when a clan of Crested Butte’s more notorious hippies took a ride on the wild side, determined to descend victoriously into Aspen on one-speed klunker bicycles. Of course, much of the infamy lies in the partying at the destination and along the way – with kegs of beer (kept cold in snow in the back of pickup trucks), Schnapps and other substances blazing the trail to camp and much whoopin’ and hollerin’ and shootin’ of guns around the campfire. It was Wild West meets Hippiedom in the middle of paradise on impossible Schwinn bikes.
One of the original pedal pushers, Bob Starr recalled, “Steve Baker and Al Maunz were building townie klunkers at that time. We were just a bunch of guys from the Grubstake. We’d throw our bikes into the back of a truck and head up Paradise Divide and then ride down. We weren’t into the uphill thing.”
The spontaneous ride to Aspen was partly a jab at Crested Butte’s conspicuously affluent neighbor. “The boys from Aspen would ride over on their motorcycles with their nice padded suits and bring their hundred-dollar bills into the Wooden Nickel and the Grubstake,” Starr said. “They’d come over and pimp us with their wealth, and we’d had enough of that.”
Baker, who pieced together junkyard bikes in the bed of his pickup parked by the Grubstake, jumped on the idea: “We’ll show them! Let’s take our bikes over there and line ‘em up in front of the Jerome.”
The road over Pearl Pass, built circa 1884 for mule trains to bring ore from Aspen to the railhead at Crested Butte, was used only by the toughest four-wheel drivers. Baker worked on the bikes and vehicles so they could cross the scree and boulders that jolted the riders like a concrete vibrator. Many bikes fell apart along the way. Luckily the support trucks were packed with extra junkers, as well as klunker groupies and dropouts who could pedal no farther.
Rider Jim Beach rode with Walter Keith, reaching the empty base camp long before the other 30 or so arrived by bike or beat-up truck to camp for the night. Richard Ullery, with a broken leg, rode in a padded bathtub in the back of one of the trucks and became the first known human to summit Pearl Pass in a tub.
In Aspen the next day, the townie take-over rumbled through the streets. Baker recalled, “The people in Aspen just hated us. We rode in, a pack of 30 with balloons tied on for loudness so we sounded like motorcycles, and we backed our klunkers into about four parking spaces in front of the Jerome. We chased their women and we didn’t spend any money.”
The riders sidled up to the elegant Jerome bar and consumed copious amounts of forty-cent beers. They were so unruly, the barkeep called in the burly local rugby team, hoping for a calming effect.
The next September, after a dry winter the CB Hotshot volunteers were off battling blazes, leaving no one for the tour. But in 1978, a group of Marin County, California, cyclists wrote to the Grubstake, eager to ride with the notorious Schwinn rowdies over Pearl to Aspen. Starr said, “We wrote back and said, ‘Sure, come on out and we’ll do it!’” Some of these riders went on to mountain bike fame, like Gary Fisher, Charlie Kelly, Wende Cragg and Joe Breeze.