Acclaimed mountain biking film ‘Klunkerz’ screens in St. George

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ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University and the DOCUTAH International Documentary Film Festival present the highly acclaimed documentary “Klunkerz” at the Electric Theater on Friday at 7 p.m.

From the late 1960s through the 1970s — long before the mountain bike entered the global consciousness — a group of cyclists in Northern California’s Marin County turned the bicycle world upside down by taking their adventures off-road, riding modified pre-WWII bicycles scavenged from dumpsters and junkyards down the slopes of Mount Tamalpais. It was from these humble beginnings that a multibillion-dollar industry, a form of recreation for the masses and an Olympic event were born. These hefty steeds were affectionately known as Klunkerz.

“Klunkers” is a raucous and entertaining documentary that will have you on the edge of your seat, even if you’ve never been mountain biking. The film features interviews with the pioneers of the sport and the more obscure characters who influenced them.

“Far from the elite status of spandex covered bike racers on $10,000 bikes, these guys turned their backs on that glitz and glamour,” Executive Director of DOCUTAH and Director of the Dixie State Film Program Phil Tuckett said. “Through trial and error and hair-raising rides careening down Mt. Tamalpais, they invented a new sport, but they sure had fun doing it.”

USA Today noted, “Savage’s funny and often poignant film looks at how a bunch of semi-stoned hippies in Northern California developed a unique style of off-road bike riding through collaboration and competition. ‘Klunkerz’ is worth checking out even if you’re not a bike nut.”

Director William Savage will conduct a filmmaker chat at the Electric Theater following the screening. “Klunkerz” is the third in a series of monthly screenings at the Electric Theater. Tickets are $10 and available at the door or at the Jennings Building on the Dixie State University campus. Space is limited to theater capacity.

DOCUTAH@TheELECTRIC Schedule

Filmmakers or documentary subjects will be available for meet and greet chats at all DOCUTAH@TheELECTRIC screenings. The Electric Theater schedule for the coming months leading up to the 2016 DOCUTAH International Film Festival includes:

  • March 25 — “Klunkerz” — Directed by William Savage. Long before the mountain bike entered our global consciousness, the cycling enthusiasts of Northern California’s Marin County rode modified pre-WWII bicycles down the slopes of Mount Tamalpais.
  • April 29 — “Pete McCloskey, Leading from the Front” — Produced and directed by Rob Caughlan, the film tells the colorful and inspirational life story of true American hero Pete McCloskey — U.S. Marine, Congressman, lawyer and environmentalist. Both Rob Caughlan and former Congressman Pete McCloskey will be onsite.
  • May 27 — “Off the Rez” — Directed by Jonathan Hock. The documentary, which won an ESPN 30 for 30 award, follows the journey of former Oregon high school basketball star Shoni Schimmel and her family from the Umatilla Indian Reservation to starring on the basketball court.
  • June 24 — “The Day After Trinity; J. Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb” — Directed by Jon H. Else. Scientists and witnesses involved in the creation and testing of the first atomic bomb reflect on the Manhattan Project and its fascinating leader, J. Robert Oppenheimer.
  • July 29 — “The Great American Cowboy” — Directed by Kieth Merrill. This Oscar-winning film tells the exciting, true story of this vanishing American and his special kind of freedom.

The August 26th screening TBA.

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1 Comment

  • mjvande March 21, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

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