20 years ago I bought my first copy of MBUK, and every month since then I've bought at least one mountain biking magazine. To me, the mags are as much a part of mountain bike culture as the bikes themselves. This month's MBUK is a bit different. Turn to page 20, and there you'll see the Edit prototype, full page, Out Front.
We get used to the monthly ritual of opening up the latest magazine to find a dozen shiny new things to look at. The bike industry keeps us topped up with an endless supply of new bikes, new kit, new colours, innovations, new standards and occasionally a new wheel size. It's what we've come to expect after three decades of continuous improvements in bike technology and growth in our sport. We get numb to it, cynical even. But how often do we sit back and think about just how much effort has gone into every one of those shiny new things in the glossy magazines?
Roll back those 20 years to when I bought my first copy of MBUK. I can still remember the cover: some dude on a purple Fat Chance Shock-a-billy with spin mag wheels. I used to spend hours poring over every bike, every component, every single detail. I could tell you all about the latest elastomer suspension system, what a Rollamajig or a Crud Claw was for. Drillium. Anodized everything. 22" flat bars with X-Lite bar ends. I had just about scraped together enough money to but a second-hand 1992 Orange Clockwork out of the local newspaper and I loved it. I cleaned it after every ride and I even had a little bottle of clear nail-varnish to touch up any little nicks in the paintwork.
That feeling of awe I used to get from seeing all the latest kit in the magazines has never left me. I still feel exactly the same today when the latest super-bike hits the pages. That totally irrational desire to have the thing, whatever it is, to know what it's like to ride. The mixture of respect and admiration for the people with the vision and determination to bring it into being. A cynic might say this is just a reflection of the rampant consumerism that is part of our sport these days. But I don't actually go out and buy every thing just because I want it. I just enjoy the idea that maybe I could, and it's a source of inspiration.
That's why this is a big deal for me. I never thought I would see my own bike grace the pages of the venerable MBUK magazine. The same pages that saw Jamie Hibbard's Santa Cruz Tazmon, JMC's Specialized, Rob Warner's Giant ATX One, Peaty's GT Lobo, Martyn Ashton's Volvo Cannondale, Shaun Palmer's Intense M1... you get the picture. I'm not saying for one second that the Airdrop Edit should sit along side those bikes of legend, that's not the point. What gets me really stoked is the idea that there might be a kid out there somewhere buying his or her first MBUK, checking out my bike and thinking "one day I'm gonna get one of those..."
You never know, 20 years from now they might even set up their own bike company.
Ed is the owner of Airdrop Bikes. A former web and graphic designer, he sacked off his job one day and decided to start up a bike brand.
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