Celebrate mountain bike history with the California Klunkin' patch.
Patches are sewn to every hat in Fairfax, CA.
Select your favorite styles from the drop-down menu. All hats feature premium stitching and snapback, and all truckers have a mesh back.
Designed by Tommy as a side project, this patch is based on a vintage California license plate, complete with October 1976 registration. That's the month of the first Repack downhill, the earliest organized mountain bike race, held in the hills above Fairfax. The racers navigated the 1,300 foot descent on bikes known as Bombers, Ballooners, Cruisers -- or most commonly, Klunkers.
Klunkers are the precursors to the modern mountain bike. They began as fat-tire Schwinn cruisers, marketed toward youths, best remembered as paper delivery bikes. The choicest frames were built earlier, in the late 1930s. In the 1960s and 70s, as off-road riding re-emerged around North America, pioneering dirt riders gravitated toward these bikes, and scoured junkyards to find them. They were strong and stable. But they weren't reliable -- or lightweight.
Riders began modifying their frames with stronger and more capable parts, to better withstand the rigors of dirt roads and trails. Nowhere was this modifying more prominent than in Marin County, where riders had formed a movement around the noble Klunker. That community platform led to the development of the modern mountain bike: bicycle frames that were purpose built, for the first time, for off-road riding. These new machines could no longer be called Klunkers, and a whole new sport was born.
Even today, riders build, ride & celebrate Klunkers in their original form: foregoing modern technology and looking backward to the roots of the mountain bike movement. It's a unique way to experience the outdoors -- and a way to give reverence to the visionaries who blazed our trails. If you go out for a Klunk, you'll start to see mountain bike history in a whole new way. But you'll always be reminded of an inescapable fact -- Klunkin' ain't easy.
Please note: colors in photographs are not exact
Copyright Tommy Breeze, 2022