Have you ever wondered where mountain biking started? The history of mountain biking in Colorado is explored in the two Born From Junk films. Born From Junk: Outlaw Origins of Mountain Biking chronicles the scrappy beginnings of mountain biking high in the mountain passes around Crested Butte, Colorado. The bikes, known as klunkers, are just as important to the story as the ragtag group of people who rode them. Born From Junk Part 2: Trailblazers tells the tale of the mountain biking race scene in Hartman Rocks, a previously unknown plot of BLM land just down the road from Crested Butte in Gunnison, Colorado. Watch both Born From Junk films here for free.
In the mid-1970s, a group of intrepid adventurers called the Grubstake Gang started riding bikes on the mountain roads surrounding the tiny former mining town of Crested Butte, Colorado. They modified their bikes to survive on the bumpy terrain. The Pearl Pass Tour was born. Trail-building soon followed, and the world’s oldest mountain biking club, CBMBA, was formed.
The mountain bike trail system in the Gunnison Valley has expanded dramatically since the ‘70s. Today you can ride more than 800 miles of singletrack trail in Gunnison County. Learn more about mountain biking in Crested Butte and Gunnison.
Crested Butte, Colorado, once a sleepy former mining town without paved roads, is now a bustling little community. It has stayed true to its scrappy, quirky roots. Check out art galleries, restaurants, bars and historic buildings in downtown Crested Butte. Dozens of mountain bike trails are close enough to ride to from town.
Interested in the history of the Gunnison Valley before the 1970s? Learn more about Crested Butte’s mining past and the indigenous people who lived here previously.
Born From Junk Part 2 follows the once niche sport of mountain biking through its explosion in popularity in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Hartman Rocks, once a forgotton tract of BLM land near Gunnison, soon became a beloved hub of the MTB scene and the venue of the Rage in the Sage race. Local rider Susan DeMattei medaled in the 1996 Olympic games, the year mountain biking made its Olympic debut.
Gunnison, Colorado, formerly a sleepy ranching town, came to life as mountain biking increased in popularity. Today, Gunnison is home to Western Colorado University in addition to being a popular destination for anyone who loves exploring the great outdoors. Shops and restaurants (many of them bike-themed) line Main Street.
Hartman Rocks Recreation Area is just a five-minute drive from downtown Gunnison. This sprawling, hilly area is home to some of the Gunnison Valley’s only true cross-country trails. Hartman’s contains about 50 miles of trails for riders of all ability levels. The high-desert ecosystem causes trails to thaw out much earlier in spring than they do in the mountains, and stay dry well into fall. Hartman’s is famous for its rocky, technical trails, which provide challenging riding and endlessly interesting line choices.
Gravel biking is currently seeing an explosion in popularity similar to that of mountain biking in the 1980s. The 1,000-plus miles of dirt roads around Gunnison and Crested Butte provide epic views, a wilderness feel and plenty of opportunities for adventure.
Can’t get enough short films about mountain biking? Watch Micayla in Wonderland, a short film by Crested Butte’s own Matchstick Productions. Follow Micayla Gatto down the rabbit hole on an unbelievable ride through Wonderland, which looks a lot like the Gunnison Valley.