FROM THE ANONYMITY OF THE WWW, EMAILS OR TWITTER THIS IS DEDICATED TO A FINE BODY OF PEOPLE MANY OF WHOM WE NEVER SEE BUT HAVE CONTACT WITH. A VISIT TO DIRT HQ, RIDE THE TRAILS, THE TEST BIKES AND DRINK COFFEE FOR A DAY.
DIRT PICKED UP A POLISH ARCHITECT FROM BRISTOL PARKWAY.
Name: Waclaw Kipszak
Internet name: Waki Designs
Location: Gothenburg Sweden
Bikes: Santa Cruz Blur TRc, hardtail of my own design
Occupation: Architect, 3D graphic artist
Wacek, it was great to finally meet the real person, not a number/name on a forum! How was your flying visit to the borders?
It was really good, I could finally get at least a small taste of infamous British mud. Coffee got so much better in London since the last time I’ve been here 6 years ago. I am super happy I saw the countryside, it’s a bit like northern version of Italian villages. I have a weak spot for folklore. I could imagine myself living in Wales.
Were the Dirt test tracks like you’d imagined? Is it similar to what you do?
Yes they were a bit like I imagined but I never saw so slippery mud. My local trails are spread on much lower hills, have more rocks and boulders. NS Vancouver in miniature. Really great place to test XC/trail bikes, a place that might put big wheels to a question – acceleration VS momentum
You took out the Stumpy Evo 29? So much debate about wheels when the reality is few people have actually ridden the real good ones?
Haha, yes, I think the wheel’s diameter is totally overrated – how about we talk rim widths and the effect that does on cornering or riding rock gardens? But that’s not only peoples’ fault, industry has its own way of tuning something a bit and announcing it as a breakthrough. The Stumpy was amazing, it had a mind of its own, very nimble, haven’t felt like other 29ers I rode – just a great bike really. But hey it was really pimped up: Pike, carbon rims, 35mm stem – that’s cheating!
We see these beautiful images of mtb, for example there is currently photo of the year happening/run to the hills……but the reality is mostly quite different? Nice to dream though?
Oh I could write for days about reality… or what it takes for a picture to be made. We admire people like Brendan F or Stevie Smith, but we never see the full story, we never know if we’d change with one of them – their life isn’t just jumping. I have a TDF level roadie in my family, I know those athletes sacrifice a lot of things that I never would – and I don’t mean injuries or tough training – how about dinner with the family? I look at it this way: that picture is there and looks the way it looks, because people buy bikes: office rats, carpenters, plumbers, street sweepers, all sorts of un-GoPro-able jobs. Even if you contributed to just a fiber in his jersey, you are on that picture. Dare to dream, and consider that you might be living a dream, if Cedric G could see all that makes your life, maybe he’d be jealous. It takes balls to realize and accept who you are, even if it means becoming your own dad or mother.
You mentioned the “troll was off-line”? And that I mention ‘people on the internet.’ Surely you are not one of these, your comments are usually balanced and informed.
I might be more balanced, but I write so much that in quantitative terms I qualify to be a troll for sure! I don’t think I get more information into my head than an average person but I definitely think too much. I also have this friend Jon, who is a great point of reference, experienced bike mechanic, very skilled and strong rider. You can’t talk gaining seconds on uphill thanks to carbon rims when someone blasts past you on a bike with double the travel on cheap DH rims… And hey! I am proud to be a troll! I’ve grown big enough I can feed myself
Opinions are a funny business though, I mean everyone has their own preference after all?
Yes it amuses me how often people run away into argument “It’s a matter of your own preference” – as if there was no good or bad preferences, because how do you know if your choice is good for you? I see some weird tyre choices on my trails sometimes…
Bike testing is about finding the best, do you feel there needs to be more clarity as to what IS actually good on websites/magazines?
I think there is way too many reviews of gear looking like a prose of geometry chart and list of components accompanied by interpretation of intended use. Honestly you people… out there… writing – just entertain us a bit, give us something we can’t find on manufacturers website – surprise us, tell us what you feel, tell us something only you can tell us. Get that guy Luca Masserini from DirtTV in San Remo! Get him to test something and write a review! We’ll get adjectives no one ever considered using to describe a bike part!
If you want to upset someone, do it well?
Yes, like win EWS on 26” wheels! No seriously, I don’t like interpersonal fights because they are often poor in content and in language. Billy Connolly says that insult and swearing are a skill. If you are to tell someone off then at least entertain everyone else! My latest favourite, coming from race report from Hafjell: ”- Haha! Gee crashed into a tree” reply “- No, Gee crashed into your mom”
Do you get any positive interaction from web discussions?
A lot, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it. I think a lot about everything, writing on the internet helps me formulate, clarify and test ideas. There are some people with whom I have PM chats about everything, bikes, architecture, sex toys, even religion. After 5 years of verbal diarrhoea I learned a lot about myself. I have also met many nutters, I love nutters!
Does there really need to be so much hate on websites?
It doesn’t need to be if people took more responsibility for what they write. We are anonymous and safe behind the screen and it is too easy to leave a message for everyone to see. It’s like shouting at people in traffic when you sit inside the car – try that it on narrow pavement, walking behind somebody. As long as people ramble about bike parts I can take it, but I cannot stand this hating on riders, I always lose it. First Sam Hill couldn’t talk, then Aaron Gwin was boring, American and talking God. Now Gee is this, Gee is that, Gee is too serious! Gee crashed into my mom…
Talk to us about religion
Religions are going down the drain yet surprisingly we remain as naive as we’ve always been. I see more and more claims like, “I believe in science.” I always say – “Then Science bless you”. Congratulations, you just found another thing that is beyond your imagination, so you have to listen to other people telling you why you and the universe looks the way it looks. It just doesn’t answer the main question: “why? – what is the meaning of this?” Guy in the sky never answered, now Scientists say they don’t know, but that bloody question just sits in there… you got to face it yourself, think it through, there’s no way around it…