Cover: Flannel, freeride and fog: Could it be any more British Columbia? Flicker Caleb Holonko and button-clicker Isaac Wallen each nab their first Bike cover with this stunning snap from deep within a fleeting fog on a North Shore summer’s day.
The Bible of Bike Tests aside, it’s rare for us to devote nearly all the pages of an issue to just one destination—there are inspiring stories, trails, people and places all over the world that feed mountain biking’s soul. But if it was going to happen, it was going to be British Columbia, whose magical woods have endlessly fueled careers, products and the creative content that flows through our digital channels and onto our print pages. In many ways, B.C. is the epicenter of our sport—it’s home to the most famous bike park in the world and the most famous multi-day endurance race in the world. From singletrack arcing through loam-filled forests on the West Coast and party trains on jump lines in Whistler, to remote trails traversing high-alpine ridgelines in the Chilcotin or Monashee mountains, the diversity of riding packed into the province lacks nothing.
And while mountain biking may have been born in Marin County and Crested Butte, it grew up in the dank B.C. forests. As our sport approaches middle age, B.C. once again serves as a microcosm of the greater landscape; it is currently caught somewhere between yearning for careless youthful exuberance and a secure future, knowing how much relies on it as an industry now. Mountain biking has become big business. Towns and cities that once brushed off mountain bikers as dirt bags who don’t spend money now count bike-toting tourists as a major economic driver. Trail builders who used to sneakily carve rogue lines into the landscape are now paid as professionals to do the same work.
Writer Andrew Findlay tackles that tricky balance in his feature: Is B.C. Getting Soft? As building for the masses become the priority in popular destinations, gone are the days of sketchy, fall-line trails in the woods, often replaced by blue-square flow lines designed to hold up to crowds and against erosion. But is the shift for better or worse?
Amid the sanitization, one place that has managed to retain its rowdy roots is Nelson, an anti-establishment enclave known for its white-knuckle DH lines. It’s one of the only places where 26 truly isn’t dead. In this issue, writer Matt Coté and photographer Bruno Long dip into the scene and profile the burly riders keeping it alive.
In the gear section, find long-term reviews of both the Banshee Spitfire V3 and the new Transition Scout, and in “Matter,” a walk down memory lane to the ragtag roots of Dakine’s first shuttle truck pad.
We end the issue with legendary North Shore trailbuilder Digger, who makes a case for why the iconic North Vancouver mountains are as gnarly as they were back when he was constructing teetertotters and rollercoasters on Fromme and Cypress, the very movement that set B.C. on its influential path. And, as always, we start the issue with a stunning gallery of the best imagery in mountain biking.
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