1989 was a big year for a lot of folks. I think Taylor Swift has a whole album about it, or maybe Ryan Adams has a whole album about Taylor Swift’s album about it. Some kid pulled out one of my loose teeth on a school bus on the way to the Science Museum. Nirvana put out Bleach and changed rock and roll forever. Month of Mud (MoM) and Southern Off-Road Bicycling Association (SORBA) were both formed. Paul Components made its first official componentry. And, of course, Dirt Rag was pushed forth into the world.
For this 30th Anniversary, we take a look back at those monumental events. Participants and organizers of MoM shed some light on the month-long event’s history and behind-the-scenes workings. Leslie Kehmeier, our Access Columnist, takes us to Atlanta and the Chattahoochee National Forest to bring us into the jungle-like folds of SORBA’s trail networks and their development.
Meanwhile, Martin Kozaczek of Be Kind Rewind first shows us the Fat Chance Team Comp, which was designed in 1989, then goes a little in the Freaky Friday direction, trading in his trusty old steel mare for fresh geometry and passing along the older design to a young rider who wasn’t yet even born when his bike was built in A Tale of Two Bicis.
Maurice Tierney, Dirt Rag’s co-founder and publisher, headed firmly down memory lane to check in with some old friends who once held office at Dirt Rag. They recalled some wild times and talked about what they learned from their time at the Rag and where they’re off to now. He also caught up with his old buddy Paul Price of Paul Components, another mountain bike lifer who’s also celebrating 30 years in the industry.
But we didn’t just stick firmly to 1989. Stephen Haynes, art warlock, gave an old bike a new look with an old school feel (follow?) by putting some rattle can love into action. Watts Dixon reflects on the frustratingly intimate relationships that bike shop folks find themselves embedded in with certain customers. Stevil Kinevil loses some, finds some. I take you fine readers on a tour of Pittsburgh, Dirt Rag International Headquarters, and fill you in on some of the objectively best places to ride, eat, and dance (but I kept the pinball hot spots to myself, sorry). And David Joachim, our Eat Me food columnist, takes us back to a foggy memory of a previous Dirt Rag Dirt Fest that was full of houseboat shenanigans and seared meat.
For reviews, we get into the nitty-gritty with a full spectrum of componentry to spruce up your ride in time for the season (after all, Ezra Pound said, “Make it new!” not, “Start over!”). However, if you are interested in upgrading our entire ride and want to know what’s the best option for you, we checked out a Reeb Dikyelous2, Ritchey Ultra and and Olivetti Thunderpig. Hey, if you’re gonna make it real new, might as well make it real weird and cool too.
Finally, Beardo gets found in the jungle and scientists want to put him on display. But they have to catch him first!