Blast From the Past: Reader Rants Revisited

This vintage trio of reader letters reminds us that mountain bikers were adept at ranting long before the Internet made it all too easy to blow off some steam.


Editor’s note: This vintage trio of reader letters reminds us that mountain bikers were adept at ranting long before the Internet made it all too easy to blow off some steam. Here’s some favorites we found in the archives.

Rear suspension sucks!

One thing in your last issue annoyed me. It was your claim that rear suspension was a positive thing in the evolution of mountain bikes. Rear suspension sucks! It’s heavy and ugly. It also takes the fun and challenge out of mountain biking. You should have to rely on skill not technology to get down the mountain. If suspension is what you want, buy a motorcycle. Suspension goes against what mountain biking stands for. Go back to the original frame and test yourself, NOT THE BIKE. But I must admit, I have not ridden a rear suspension bike, but as someone who loves mountain biking I must say something against making it into a war of technology not skill.

—Simeon Bayles

DR #11, February 1991

Werds to ponder

respect preserve question feather 2 or 1 finger top soil green hardpan focus in groove hill don’t skid chatter off-line loud tool bag fred. say it isn’t so bugs kill trees green trucks start fires for the dept. and mr. wilson sends in the dow chemical retardants and all the troops get mo money. i pay taxes too mtn. biking is not a crime u green shirt berkley dropout gun toten facist. a horse is a mule of coarse of coarse. mr. upgrade says put your bike on a diet stx sucks use bert’s mid cage bla bla bla. titanium metal matrix molded carbon tomacium-bendumovernite. how bout the promoter at the grumblemaster classic. 20k in his pocket. the winner got grief for poaching a cola and figletts and was rewarded with a 20 dollar bill and 6 hour drive home.

—ex-pro bobby disengaged

DR #40, October 1994

Free what?

I have had it with this FREERIDE freakin’ stupidity! This must be the marketing ploy of the decade! So you are supposed to be stupid enough to run out and buy another bike just to be able to ride how most people have been for the past 10 or 15 years?! I think that there are several terms that one of the execs must have confused it with:

FREELOAD: When you can’t get enough money and are too lazy to get new people into biking—so you sponge off the people who have already coughed up a lung for your product.

FREELANCE: When you get too big to write about the sport that encouraged you in the first place—so you hire someone who hasn’t a clue to promote your product.

FREEDOM: The big cheese who has enough of your dough to eat caviar and drink Dom Perignon in Austria—so he can tell you how you should just be an ordinary guy and enjoy riding.

FREEZER BURN: The food you had to eat because you spent another gazillion dollars on a bike that did the same thing as your last one.

FREETOWN: The capital of Sierra Leone in West Africa—the exec only discovered by spilling his latte on the copy of Wall Street Journal that was only on his coffee table to impress friends.

FREE-FOR-ALL: The scenario that ensues following a new word that justifies the mainstream biking press’ existence.

FREEDOM-OF-CHOICE: Name of a great Devo tune that should inspire us all.

Look, I’m over 30, balding, fat, exercise all too little and eat and drink too much, play with this stupid computer and have no real social life—BUT EVEN I CAN SPOT THIS SCAM! Free ride, Free Bird—it all has been overplayed before—just enjoy.

—Tim Williamson

DR #62, November 1997

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