Yesterday we bade a fond farewell to Danny Walter, editor of MBUK for the last 12 years. During that time we’ve seen Brits dominate the world stage in downhill, the rise of the ready-for-anything ‘enduro’ bike, huge changes in geometry and smaller, more incremental ones elsewhere, as well as an explosion in trail centres, bike parks and hand-cut ‘off-piste’ tracks here in the UK.
Danny oversaw some key moments in the history of the magazine, from our 30th anniversary celebrations earlier this year to our transition from the ‘lads’ mag’ influenced style of the early 2000s (think gratuitous nudity, boozy antics, lots of dirt jumping and cringe-inducing pantomimes) to the more grown-up – but still playfully irreverent – publication you know and (hopefully!) love today. Nice work, boss!
That leaves some pretty big shoes to fill. The good news is that, as Danny’s second in command for the last five years, I already know how to walk the walk. And my size 11 Shimanos ME7s aren’t exactly dainty!
If you’re a regular reader of the mag then even if you’re not familiar with my name, James Costley-White, you should recognise my initials, JCW, which crop up frequently in our Long-Term Rides and Tested sections. If you’ll allow me the indulgence, I’d like to introduce myself.
I’ve been riding bikes all my life and mountain bikes for the past 26 years, starting on a fully rigid bike that weighed a ton and either crumpled its rims or pitched me over the bars at the first sign of a rock. So I really appreciate the state-of-the-art machines we have to ride today. I’ve been reading MBUK for nearly as long, picking up my first issue in spring 1993.
Like many of you, I’m neither as fast nor as skilled a rider as I’d like to be, but I still get a kick out of it every time I ride. The good news is that I’m better behind a keyboard than I am behind a handlebar! I’ve been working in the MTB media for the past decade (previously on BikeRadar and ChopMTB), after initially training as a news journalist. So I think I have a good idea of what you guys want to hear about – and how to translate the overexcited key-pounding of some pretty feral mountain bikers into stories worth reading!
So, what next for MBUK? Well, more of the same essentially, but with a renewed focus on putting you, the reader, at the heart of everything we do. I’m going to be looking at ways we can better reward our loyal subscribers, building on the work Danny has already started. And I’m going to be making sure that UK trail riding – the sort of riding most of us do, most of the time – is properly represented, while continuing to shine a spotlight on all the different aspects of our sport.
It’s that diversity that’s made MBUK such a success and – with a new generation of riders hitting the trails, male and female, of all ages and abilities – one that we’ll continue to celebrate. And all with the humour and refusal to take ourselves too seriously that’s always set MBUK apart from other bike mags.
Come and say hi if you see me and the team out on the trails, at the Malverns Classic or Fort William World Cup, and email me if there’s anything you’d like to say. Cheers!