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‘The History of Mountain Biking’ – magazine review

February 25th, 2014

The History of Mountain BikingI 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.

Retrobike Peaks Ride 2010 – An Official Report by DryStonePaul

October 7th, 2010

It was a crisp and cool autumnal morning as I arrived at the Woodbine Cafe in Hope shortly after 9am. At first I didn’t recognise Mr K sat outside in the sunshine sipping on a cinnamon semi latte, despite his fluorescent pink roadie cap and Afghan scarf/cravat. Flicking through a low budget fixie fanzine he nonchalantly acknowledged my arrival as I tripped over his polo mallet.

His breakfast arrived shortly afterwards along with a growing assortment of chaps wheeling with them an assortment of old bikes. From dipped in glitter disco Konas, to effortlessly well assembled Fats, Paces and DeKerfs and all the way through to John and his 89 Raleigh Mirage. Mr K was particularly cutting in his analysis of the rear centre ridged Cheng Shin tyre on this ‘classic’ beast.

After an hour or so of not so serious discussion and bacon butties, 28 riders lined up their bikes for the traditional pre-ride welcome and photo opportunity.

At some point during this assemblage a small commotion broke out nearby. At first, thinking that a couple of our retrobike riders had accidently stumbled over into a comedic heap on the ground, I let out a loud belly laugh of approval. Imagine my horror when I realised that our very own Guv’nor was callously granny bashing in broad daylight. I felt sickened to the very core.
Although that could’ve been last night’s beers.


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