Welcome to our second annual Guest Editor issue. This time around we present none other than Joe Parkin, celebrated racer, writer, book author and former magazine editor. As an introduction to this special edition, he in part pens, “Photographers like to say that the best camera in the world is the one you’re carrying right now. I figure the same is true for bikes. I rode about a thousand bike races during a competition career that spanned 13 years. Surprisingly, I can remember many if not the majority of them. Truth: When I watch the race on TV, I can recognize sectors of Paris-Roubaix cobblestones now 30 years after I last rode them. I remember the faces of people alongside the ’95 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships course—I can hear their voices and still smell the beer breath. But while I contested these races aboard the most cutting-edge bicycle technology of the day, some of my best memories—and best stories—were made on bikes that most would consider to be pieces of junk.
“As this is Dirt Rag and all, I figure I am mostly preaching to the choir. Still, when asked if I would play the role of guest editor, I figured it would be a great chance to remind myself, if no one else, that bikes are at their absolute best when they’re being used to create a new story, a long-lasting memory.”
Every feature story you read in this issue was commissioned, assigned, edited and personally commented on by Mr. Parkin, resulting in something very unique and unlike anything Dirt Rag has done before. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did putting it together.
Cover photo: Photographer Robin O’Neill captures Yoann Barelli at Whistler Bike Park
“I have always appreciated/loved most every aspect of the sport of bicycling racing. I think that racing bicycles full time is the equivalent of having a dog’s life. If there is an afterlife, I want to come back as a dog.”
Story Gallery by various photographers
“Most magazine photo galleries are carefully curated collections of shots that are meant to work together over several pages. If this one works that way, it will be pure coincidence and some kind of design magic, because I chose the shooters but not the shots. The request I sent was for two shots and captions—one bike related and the other could be anything else. Dealer’s choice, tell me a story.”
Dirty Jerseys by Geoff Waugh
“I’ve been a Geoff Waugh fan for a long time. I’ll attribute that mostly to his style, much to the fact that Geoff shoots all kinds of bikes, and partially because he has been photographing cycling since the year I became a professional cyclist—which was back when toe clips and straps were not ironic, and helmets were a formality, not an actual piece of head protection.
“Geoff is working on a passion-project book whose working title is ‘Dirty Jerseys.’ As you will soon see, it is a colorful collection of jerseys from the backs of mountain bike racers, along with a story behind each of them.
“Whether they are beautiful art pieces or god-awful design abortions, every jersey Geoff has collected represents a special moment in the history of mountain biking.”
Water In The Desert by Jen See
“My friend Jen See has a big brain—as in Ph.D. big. Despite that, she writes a lot of stuff about bikes. When she’s not writing about bike-related things, she surfs. A couple of years ago she gave me a copy of Chas Smith’s “Welcome to Paradise, Now Go to Hell,” which is a totally awesome read, by the way. Recently, she went on a media trip that included a trail I don’t like at all. She didn’t either. Mostly. Though she ended up finding something positive. I asked her to write a piece that felt a bit like Chas Smith but was still completely Jen See. I think she did it.”
Let Me Tell You a Story by various authors
“Tell me a story. That’s what I asked a group of rider, writer, athlete and industry friends to do. It could be the best ride ever, the worst ride ever—or it didn’t even need to be about a ride. But the memory had to exist because of each person’s relationship with the bicycle.”
Reviews and Stuff
This month these bikes are on test:
Jamis Dragonfly 26+ Pro
Kona Hei Hei Trail DL 27.5
Salsa Deadwood Sus XT 1×11
Box 1×11 drivetrain
Hunter Smooth Move Low Rise handlebars
Hope Tech 3 X2 brakes
Magura MT Trail Carbon brakes
Thomson Elite external routed dropper post
And a lot more…
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