‘Born From Junk’ Recalls the Early Days of MTB in Crested Butte

‘Born From Junk: Outlaw Origins of Mountain Biking’ tells the true story of how a few bored, young rebels transformed a depressed mining town into a crucible of MTB culture.

Mountain bikers far and wide regard California’s Mount Tamalpais (aka Mt. Tam) as the birthplace of modern MTB — and rightly so. Yet, few know how the sport took root in Colorado.

For much of its history, Crested Butte, Colo., was just a struggling mining settlement nestled in the scenic Elk Mountain Range. By the 1970s, it was in dire shape — no paved roads, jobs were few and far between, and the ski area hadn’t yet taken off. But that didn’t stop a few bicycling hippies from moving into town.

'Born From Junk: Outlaw Origins of Mountain Biking' tells the true story of how a few bored, young rebels transformed a depressed mining town into a crucible of MTB culture.
(Image/’Born From Junk,’ YouTube)

At first, cycling was just a cheap way to get around town. But then boredom sank in, beers made the rounds, and the racing began. It soon became apparent that they’d need more than the average bike to cut across Crested Butte’s backcountry.

That’s when a group of friends started cobbling together “clunkers” using scavenged bicycle and motorcycle parts. Thus the primitive mountain bike was born — and it wasn’t long until everyone wanted a clunker of their own.

This short film from Freehub Magazine skillfully recreates the early misadventures of Crested Butte’s MTB OGs and charts the rise of modern MTB culture. We think it’s well worth checking out.

Runtime: 14.5 minutes

Brittany Konsella
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Jilli Cluff
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Jilli grew up in the rural southern Colorado mountains, later moving to Texas for college. After seven years in corporate consulting, she was introduced to sport climbing — and life would never be the same. She now works as a contributor, gear tester, and editor for GearJunkie and other outlets within the AllGear family. She is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where she takes up residence with her climbing gear and one-eared blue heeler, George Michael.

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