Ahoy! Ye Dirt Rag Mag #209 has set sails for yonder mailboxes!

We just got Dirt Rag Magazine #209, the first issue of the year, in our boxes this weekend, which means subscribers are getting yours as well! If you don’t subscribe yet, never fear, you can start your subscription with #210 by subscribing today (how many times can I say “subscribe” in one sentence to get this subliminal message really through?).

The theme of this issue is Island Life. But not the kind of islands you typically read about in magazines. In classic Dirt Rag fashion, we headed to the islands that offered more adventure than relaxation, more frozen trails than umbrella cocktails. I went to Martha’s Vineyard where I was overwhelmed with nostalgia for a place I’d never been as I pedaled through the flat, sandy trails and the vacant beaches, having grown up nearby on the coast of Massachusetts with the myths and legends of the whalers who called the island home (and then stopped by Firefly Bicycles to see the magic made there for our new column, Fast and Loose). Brett headed out to Copper Harbor, a dreamy island floating in stormy Lake Michigan where the trails were just as raucous as the surrounding waters (and Scott wrote a Passing Through for the charming town of Marquette they stopped in on the way). And Abby Cooper went on an adventure to the other Subshine Coast, in Canada, just as winter started to settle in for the season in her hometown of Whistler, and found that the bike parks were just as gnarly there as at home.

from Hearing the Whale Song on Martha’s Vineyard, by Carolyne Whelan

In Readings, follow in the footsteps, err, pedalpushes of Sir Hugh Monro with Pete Scullion as he sets out to ride all 282 of Scotland’s Monro peaks. And our Access Editor, Leslie Keheimer, gives us the breakdown on bikepacking in New Zealand so you can plan your own adventures. Eat Me’s recipe for a Hippie Speedball will rev you up and chill you out (editor tested, mountain bike approved). Be Kind, Rewind revisits the Grove Innovations Hard Core, a very cool prototype based on the Assault design. Meanwhile, Hangdown in the Wheelstrings weaves more yarns of bike shop life, this time focused on the tough relationship with customers who express distasteful or bigoted worldviews. SWTPYITFB reminds us that there is more to do than dream of riding bikes when the trails aren’t rideable. And finally, Stephen, our Visual Warlock, finishes out the magazine with her new comic adventure, Beardo.

from The Walkers and Stalkers of Scotland’s Munros, by Pete Scullion

But wait, there’s more! Of course, we have so many reviews for you to peruse. A custom Crust bike designed for the owner himself, drop bar adventure bike(Bombtrack Beyond 1 and Salsa Cutthroat Apex 1), plus wheels, winter gear and kits, and a Wahoo Kickr that just may convince you to stay home and let your trails dry up (and maybe test out that hippie speedball in the safety of your home).

What else could you want in a magazine? In life? Are you thinking, this world lacks poetry? Well, Dirt Rag even has a poem about riding to lift your spirits. We’ve changed up the design a bit, and think it looks pretty dang fantastic.

So come on ye landlubbers. If you already have a subscription, you’re in for a treat. If you held out for too long, you can still hoist up the main to not miss out on #210, currently in the works. In the meantime, please bother your local bike shops for the latest issue that has just set sail.