I read lots of mountain bike magazines. There’s currently a four foot high stack of them in my back bedroom. I’ve taken out subscriptions to all the major ones at some point over the last 20 years and even had articles and photographs published some of them.
So I am always a bit sceptical whenever I see a feature on the history of mountain biking. Experience tells me that it’s usually a disappointing sidebar feature which is compromised by brevity and sometimes spoilt by inaccuracy.
A few publications, notably the now defunct Privateer, have got it right though. Nice long in depth articles from highly regarded sources; so when ‘The History of Mountain Biking’ landed on my doormat I wasn’t expecting to be impressed.
On a first quick flick through of the 154 pages I was struck by the lack of advertisements. In fact unlike the mainstream magazines which have so little content compared to the volume of adverts, this had none, apart from on the inside covers. This was all content; a good prospect.
Scanning through the list of contributors revealed a range of very highly regarded journalists and significant figures in mountain biking’s past and present.
Tym Manley, Charlie Kelly, Steve Worland, Jacquie Phelan, Steve Behr, Wende Cragg to name but a few…
The first article written by Tym Manley, is engaging and well written, summing up the story behind the ‘official’ rise of the mountain bike in California. It’s in depth and really sets the scene, introducing many of the key figures of the time.