MIck Kirkman
MIck Kirkman

Mick Kirkman is all about bikes. He started racing BMX back in 1981, and in one way or another has been riding on two wheels for over 35 years. After some ‘time out’ from racing bikes (he blames Acid House!) he ended up racing Elite DH (back in the 1990’s) as well as some dual slalom and 4X. He then retreated into the woods and built and rode BMX trails for a good few years, as well as riding MTB. Now a father and freelance mountain bike journalist here is Mick Kirkman…

DIRT ISSUE 125 - JULY 2012

Words by Mike Rose. Photo by Steve Jones

Who is Mick Kirkman?

A 40 year–old mountain biker/photographer/writer/dad/grumpy bugger.

Where do you live?

Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

What’s your job title?

Freelance photographer/writer.

What do you do?

Take photographs, test bikes and products, and write features for magazines.

How do you balance your various jobs?

Just get on with it. Get as many ideas as I can on the go and then finish the best ones.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?

Working at a pet shop concession within Kwik Save.

Where’s your favourite place?

Loads of places are great but I’m not a massive fan of repeat visits. Yosemite probably blew me away the most, but the Alps, London, Italy, Lake District, Thailand, North Devon.

Where’s your favourite place to ride?

Too hard to pick one. I’d say any flowing trail I’ve never ridden before that is on dirt and rock. La Varda in Les Arcs. Colorado. Some of the trails in the Trans Provence race were great.

When are you happiest?

When I don’t have to think too much.

What makes you angry?

…I’m always moaning about something.

What makes you happy?

Being in the present moment. Our little girl Martha turns me into a real giggling softie.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t know about advice but I want to mention Geoff Waugh who helped out some of my generation of friends. Also Muldoon, Milner and Burwell at MBR, they are the people that got me an ‘in’ into journalism.

What are your extravagances?

I’m too skint and tight to have extravagances, but I do exercise a bit on bikes so I’m allowed to eat and drink as much as I want.

Who do you admire?

Interesting people doing their own thing.

What’s the most important thing in your life?

My wife Hannah and daughter Martha, and riding bikes.

What would you never throw away?

I’m not really a hoarder.

What’s your greatest fear?

I try not to worry too much, just bury my head in the sand.

What was your luckiest escape?

While out on my road bike I got stabbed in a road rage incident by a BMW driving Yardie bad–boy, that was pretty f–king scary.

Do you have any regrets?

I suppose I regret that I used to get nervous at big races. My brain is better at that sort of thing now I’m too old!

What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?

If you’re not an arsehole it should all be OK in the end.

If you could have dinner with three famous people who would they be?

I’m not bothered about famous people. I’d rather have dinner with friends.

Who is your favourite rider?

Hill – raw speed, Fairclough – gifted and fluid, Brosnan – fast and loose. Semenuk and Soderstrom of the ‘jumpers’. A lot of BMXers are amazing to watch too like Mike Aitkin, Matt Roe, Brian Foster, Chase Hawk, Taj Mihelich.

What’s your favourite bike product of all time?

Strong cranks are great, slim flat pedals, good tyres, modern suspension, but I guess best of all has to be the Aheadset – threaded headsets were such a pain in the arse.

What’s your least favourite bike product of all time?

The GT Lobo STS was pretty shit.

What saying do you use too much?

I can’t be arsed…

What are you listening to at the moment?

Wild Nothing, Ducktails, Real Estate – kind of bleached out, dreamy US Indie. I’m pretty into music and I’ve released quite a bit of it myself with a mate.

What one thing would you change about yourself?

To be a bit younger again I suppose would be cool, and to be a bit taller and thinner…oh, and to enunciate more clearly…I’m a mumbler.

What are your weaknesses?

Not giving too much of a shit about making money. I swear too much. I could write a lot more here.

What does the future hold for you?

Keep on trying to do a good job of things and learning and improving with whatever I’m doing. Staying stimulated. Having a laugh.

What does the future hold for mountain biking?

More incremental changes until bikes from today look as crap as ones from ten years ago. I’m not nostalgic about technology.

How would you like to be remembered?

I don’t care about that sort of thing…yet.

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