Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

"It's coming right for us! Kill it" Season 1, ep 3, Southpark.

Forgive me if my memory is a little hazy, I’m casting my mind back 20 odd years here, but I think the first bike magazine I bought was some long bust title called MTBtrail or MTB rider or such. I forget exactly, but the title’s not important.

The contents included an article on converting your bike from 3×6 to 3×7 (and whether you needed 7 gears at the back and perhaps that it might cause the bike to be too fragile and anyway you certainly don’t need 8 gears, that would be crazy). There were some words on rides you could do around the country, tests of bikes worth crazy money (I think there was a Rocky Mountain that cost almost £900!) and some race reports. A lot of race reports actually, this was before the internet mind.

Rider's head partially cropped, blurry background, partially focussed, photographer about to be hit by bike. It can only be a MBUK cover from the early 90's

The second magazine I bought was MBuk. Then the local bike shop would sell 1 month old issues of Mountain Biker for cheap so I’d get that, then MTBpro, because being elitist is a good thing. Then Dirt came onto the scene and I bought that for ages too.

Leaves and a stream. Where's some Frank Lloyd Wright architecture when you need it.

With such a back catalogue of magazines you couldn’t help but notice a certain repetition in them all. After a couple of years everything useful had kinda been said and the copy was mostly rehashed old articles for new readers in the hope the long term ones had had too many concussions to notice. Sure there was the odd insightful interview, amazing destination article or genuinely innovative bit of gear reviewed but mostly……meh. I stopped buying bike magazines.

How to take photos in tricky light tip 1: Do a set up shot of a static rider.

That’s where we’re at here. I’ve not ridden every trail around Chamonix, but there’s not much left and they tend to be a wee bit trickier to get to. I’ve not written about every trail ridden either, some things need to be found by your own hard work. Instead I’m having to find new ways to write about old tracks. This is made harder by:

Mid climb re-fuel. Who thought sticking a fountain in the middle of a road was a good idea?

1) An easily searchable archive, at least with magazines you had to remember if you’d kept the back issue you were thinking of, and;

2) That we tend to ride trails in a pretty seasonal order. You don’t see us pushing 1500m up under a lift that’ll be running 4 weeks later, and every November we’re riding in much the same place.

And people say there's no flowy wooded singletrack around Chamonix

So just like this time last year, and the year before, and etc., we’re riding about Servoz where you dodge the snow line a bit longer and get just that wee bit more sun than the valley. It’s lots of fun, you should try it. The pedal up’s pretty quick and you can fit a fair number of laps into an afternoon. Bring a spade and give the trails a wee hand too if you’re bored.

Same old, same old. At least riding the trails doesn't get as repetitive as my writing about them.

Next, more of the same.

How to take photos in tricky light tip 2: Photoshop.