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A selection of some of the weird and wonderful emails you have sent us this month.

Taken from Dirt issue 62, May 2007

Send your comments, letters, viewpoints, complaints, compliments, and photos to us here Dirt Magazine. What do you think about racing? What do you think about your scene? Do you have any good riding spots? What do you think about the mag? Basically, send us anything you want, it’s all welcome.

DIRT MAIL: TABLE TENNIS CONFESSIONS

I was disturbed and confused by issue 62 of Dirt, enjoyable as ever though it was. The sight of Geoff Gulevich dressed up looking like a pink gym bunny was disturbing in itself, but the sudden and unexpected vitriol towards table tennis was even more shocking.

Having been an avid ready of Dirt for some years, its nice to feel that in some small way by mucking about on bikes, doing a few DH races (even if I am never going to get in the top half of the pack) and reading up on the latest news in Dirt, that I'm part of the scene. But now I'm not sure and feel that I might be a complete outsider after all. What's wrong with table tennis? Some of my best friends play table tennis and I even had some experimental table tennis experiences when I was a teenager. There I've said it. Is that such a terrible confession? More terrible than the sight of Geoff Gulevich's knees or a Specialised Epic in Dirt magazine?

Maybe this outburst seems more weird given the changes that have gone on with Dirt and the increasing coverage of bikes that are do–it–all making me think that Dirt had somehow mellowed in its views, and like me got more comfortable with not being a kid any more. Perhaps I am still part of the fold, you even gave an On–One 456 a good review. I've got one of those and I love it too!

Now I'm not suggesting the new inclusive Dirt should start to cover table tennis as well as reviewing bikes like the Epic, pointless as it is, but perhaps you should complete your transformation by banning all negative thoughts towards minority groups from your marketing spreads? Or maybe not, who cares…but please tell me I can still subscribe despite by table tennis experiences?

Yours confused

Tim.

Dirt: I suppose you can, just keep it quiet, it’s not really cross-training is it.

 

DIRT MAIL: WHO’S DYSLEXIC?

Come on lads sort it out the grammar and spelling in last months mag was apalling mainly in the first few pages. What was it bring a dyslexic to work week? I don't normally mind but since i am now doing a journalism degree at uni we are taught the importance of double checking our work so unfortunately that means we are taught to instinctively notice others mistakes in publications. Could the pressure of going monthly be getting to the editor? anyway other than that another great issue keep them coming and i love the cover photo.

Samuel Connor

Surrey

Dirt: All I can say to that is that at least none of us spent however many years at uni studying journalism, only to then write a letter into a magazine complaining about spelling and grammar, which contains a spelling mistake and a non-capital ‘i’. I’ve left the spelling mistake for you to spot.

 

DIRT MAIL: TECH GEEK

Great latest issue, tech tech tech, gimme more tech. As a man who wonders why tweaking his gears or bleeding his brakes still doesn't seem to bring in the top race results, it was fascinating to read in depth how much development has gone into some of the top race bikes, plus understand some of the restrictions that even the top race teams work under. But I still reckon there's room for more, you devoted two pages to Cedric Gracia's bike but there looked to be so much more to know, new back end, lower linkage, rims with no paint on, my crap racer mind cries out to know what these things mean! You could do a whole issue on that bike and I'd buy 10 copies. More tech please, I can't be the only one who wants it? Anyway keep it up, the winter months can be lean but you still keep pumping out the good stuff.

Cheers, Benoit

Hemlock, Nottingham

Dirt: No, you’re not the only one, it’s just that there’s a lot more to bikes than just ‘tech’, for example you can actually ride them. We’ll try and keep you happy, but in the mean time get out and ride your assembly of technology, it’s much more fun.

 

DIRT MAIL: ONE MORE CHANCE

I was wondering if you knew anything about the SKF bottom bracket range? I want to chance the BFR600 with some RaceFace Prodigy ISIS cranks, in an attempt to end the short–lived, clicking, creaking ISIS BB saga, but I don’t know if I should just excavate my pockets and fully switch to either the X-Type Saint, or the Truvativ Howitzer system. The only good thing at the moment is that I don't need to fit a bell, what with the racket my hardtail makes, it sounds like a full susser with knackered pivot bearings!

The idea of a bearing manufacturer bringing out a range ISIS bottom brackets sounds promising but I have not heard any reviews about them since they were featured in issue 56 (it sounded all good!). I am most keen to know whether they actually do outlast the current crop of ISIS offerings, which as I’m sure you will all agree can only be described as being a f–kin’ joke (in fact that’s probably an understatement). Maybe you could feature a brief report if at all possible, I'm sure there are many others that would appreciate this. By the way, keep up what is a great mag.

Mr B

London

Dirt: Here’s the brief report;

The first thing I can tell you is that of all the ones in bikes that I own (or know of), not one of them has failed as yet. I’m sure if I’d been running any other type I would have had to replace it at least twice, so from my experiences I’d say they definitely outlast anything that’s previously been available. The second thing I can tell you is that of all the units that Pace have sold, only a tiny percentage have been returned for warranty (unlike the bucket loads a day that some other people receive), and the vast majority of these were returned due to one of the cups cracking, and not bearing failure. I wouldn’t worry about that though because it turned out to be a faulty batch, and all were replaced under warranty. My advice would be to definitely give your ISIS set–up one more chance, it’ll save you a load of money, and from my experience once you’ve got an SKF BB in there it’ll work a treat. One last piece of advice would be (and this applies to any bearing on your bike) not to get any form of degreaser/GT85/Muc–Off/etc. anywhere near the thing. It doesn’t matter how good the seals are, these sort of products WILL get in there, and when they do they’ll cause havoc.

 

DIRT MAIL: BLIND AS A BAT

You guys must have really good eye sight. What font size are you guys using? 6.5? And grey letters on a white back ground. Help me out here, I love your mag, it's the best, but what's the use of trying to read it, if in fact, you can't read it? Make the font a little bigger…PLEASE!

Besides that, your mag is wonderful, keep up the great work. By the way, I have 20/20 vision, or a least I think I do, after reading the 10 years of Dirt, I think it is slightly off now.

Isaac Guerrero

Dirt: I don’t reckon it’s Dirt that’s buggered your eyesight, have you been working out one arm just a bit too much? Anyway, one day we might get around to giving out a free pocket magnifying glass to all you poor afflicted souls, but until then you’ll just have to buy your own, because the font’s staying the same.

[part title="Dirt Mail: What have you got to say? Part 2"]

DIRT MAIL: SITTING IT OUT

Hey there Dirt Mag, this is a bit of a long one, so please bear with me! It's been nine months since I broke my arm, the second time it had happened in less than 12 months. As these things do, it happened in possibly the worst place and with the worst timing I can imagine. First trip to Morzine, first day, first run of Chavannes. Some how I managed to ride all the rest of the day, I think the plate from the previous break 10 months before was holding it together, with the amazing power of two paracetamol holding down the pain. Les Gets 2 was very interesting; especially those lower berms mid summer...could there be any more braking bumps!? On returning to the chalet and taking off my armour, I found my arm well and truly bent. Ever the optimist I iced it, praying that it was just heavy swelling. Guess I was just kidding myself.

Since then I haven't ridden a bike off–road, in fact I think I can count how many times I’ve put foot to pedal on one hand. I still have a year to go, as I need the new plate out before I can ride, it's so huge that it'll work like a lever and snap my wrist if I have a heavy fall. I also recently sold my downhill bike, possibly one of the saddest things I’ve had to decide to do. I seem to have lost sight of a lot of dreams in these dark days, on and off the bike. Winter is not helping, nor is hitting the bottle pretty hard. A student life style is not good for rest and recuperation!

Despite all this, a few things are keeping the spark alive in my numb brain. The arrival of Earthed 4 to my doorstep for one definitely breathed new life into me. I think I spent about the next month and a half digging, with no more than three days between a session, often going weeks back to back, solid digging new trails. Amazing how therapeutic building is, and how fit it gets you! But also, Dirt seems to be a staple force in making me want to get out there and sort myself out, on and off the bike. You guys really have inspired me to keep going through words, images and film. I think the drive to ride my bike again was what brought me out of the hole I had dug myself in the months following the breakage. Issues 35 through to present have been a lifesaver! I’m currently looking for an all–mountain bike to keep myself entertained when I’m healthy enough to ride again. The next step will be another big bike, can’t wait!

So I'd like to say a big thank you to all at Dirt. I know you’ll keep me inspired for many years to come.

Paul H

P.S. any additional ideas to help keep myself from losing it over the next year would come in very useful, still got a long ways to go.

Dirt: All we really ever want to do is inspire you lot to ride, and so if we’re managing to do it with someone who’s by the sounds of it a crippled drunk, then we can’t be doing too bad. My only advice for keeping yourself entertained over the next year would be to make sure you make it up to Fort William for the World Champs, and secondly, buy yourself a Nintendo Wii. I know the last one has got nothing to do with bikes, but it’s the best form of physiotherapy I’ve ever come across.

 

DIRT MAIL:  ALL BY MYSELF

First of all I have to admit that your magazine is very unique. I know that there are other MTB magazines out there, but they all look like the same. Dirt mag is unique because in my point of view it’s more ‘artistic’, it has its own style. It’s like you’re getting in your hands a small piece of art, and not just technical reviews. That is because the people behind the scenes, seems to know how to put together all this material and present some topics, by using very nice pictures and writing very nice articles. Plain, simple and into the spirit.

The second thing I wanted to say is a big THANK YOU to Dirt mag crew. You see in some places of the world there are lonely riders who are doing the sport on their own. I am one of these people. I am from Cyprus, and I am doing freeriding and downhill. Back home I may be the only one who is doing such a sport. I never found any other riders. Believe it or not, they are very hard to find. There are only four local bike shops which support us with performance bikes, and that’s on the entire island! Also, they really only sell XC bikes, and they raise the prices very high. I buy most of my stuff in UK while I’m here doing my law degree and I take them with me when I go back home in summer.

I feel proud to be a free rider/downhiller because I do what I like to do, even though being on your own is hard. The good thing is that Dirt is sold on the island, but there only two place were you can get it, and these are both British Forces bases. Imagine that, even the best UK mountain bike magazine is hard to get! I am lucky being close to one of the shops. As I said at the beginning of this paragraph thank you Dirt mag crew, cause you are the ones who keep the spirit inside people like me to keep riding and never give up.

Marios ‘Mr.Dirt’ Spyrou

Cyprus

Dirt: What more can I say, this guy loves Dirt so much that it sounds like he risks his life breaking into army bases, just so that he can buy a copy. That’s what you call dedication.

 

DIRT MAIL:  STILL ROCKIN’ AT 40

Having just bought a copy of Dirt to read the article on Verbier I was surprised at the comments of people feeling their age. I went to Verbier last August for my 40th birthday with five good friends, bought a lift pass, ripped the tread off my Knobby Nics, and wore through three sets of pads in just over six days. It rocked…literally, steep switchbacks, and single track heaven. Since coming back to my local trails around Bromley I have ridden with more passion and gusto than ever before, building ladders, kickers and sweet single track, my kids love it…life rocks at 40! My only hang ups these days seem to be my waistline and what tyres to run.

Ride local, it’s good for you.

Leigh Stark

Dirt: It seems like this age thing is never ending, some of you feel old, some of you don’t. I think the only thing we can learn from all of this is that everyone’s different, but we knew that already. The best thing to take from this letter though is the fact that everyone should take a trip to somewhere mental, it’s good for the soul. As for the waistline and tyre choice issues, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t suffer from those.

 

DIRT MAIL:  THANK GOD I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!

It is my 34th birthday today. Time to reflect…not 30 anymore, but still on the right side of 35 (which is more than I can say for my missus, for which I am eternally grateful!). I received a copy of Dirt through the post today as part of a birthday present from by brother–in–law, a year subscription to your wonderful mag. He's been great to me over the last few years. He introduced me to downhill riding about four years ago and has been a constant source of encouragement and inspiration. But one of the most inspired articles I've read was Dai Jones "Someone’s gonna pay for all those turds" (issue 62). I totally identified with everything he said in that sketch (apart from race days, which I've never had the balls to take part in). Those pre–ride thoughts during the line–up are very familiar, as are all the excuses for not attempting that particular drop/jump/rock garden/double. I've used them all. I bought a new Norco Six-One last month and used the excuse of "I'm not used to the bike" to avoid a drop that I'd been comfortably riding off on my trusty Big Hit a week before. It was affecting my whole technique all day until I summoned up the balls to just ride it, and you know what…the Six-One sucked it all up just as well as the Big Hit. I was left thinking why I was making such a fuss in the first place, and with the added confidence I had a great Sunday.

Dai's wry observations on the thought processes of all downhill riders, even the more experienced ones, have inspired me to get out this summer and really try to improve my riding. So I'll be coming to a casualty ward near you soon...

Yours in plaster.

Spencer Allen-Scholey

Cornwall

Dirt: That’s almost the best thing about mountain biking, it doesn’t really matter where you are, or what level you are at, you can still have the same experiences and thoughts as someone on the other side of the planet. That’s what brings us all together (hopefully not just in the casualty ward).