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Freehub Magazine: Spring 2012 Issue out now

Freehub Magazine is the community-generated mountain bike journal that lands on coffeetables twice a year in a glossy-paged tome of stories, voices, photos and pure passion from the world of bikes. The Spring 2012 issue dropped not too long ago in bookstores and bike shops, and I have to say, I’m pretty stoked. It was edited by yours truly. But that’s not why I’m thrilled to turn its leaves.

Rather, it’s because during the editing process, as the contracted editor, I only dealt with the words. I hadn’t seen how they played with the pictures, which complete those stories—so, I hadn’t seen the whole story. I hadn’t felt the power behind every word; experienced every detail as it should be.

Now that I have, I have to say, this issue—it’s a goodie. The book came together beautifully.

From the detailed trail reviews across several states, to the emerging rider profiles, to the in-depth reporting on renowned film company Anthill Films, to the jaw-dropping photographers’ galleries, this issue is one to curl up with on a spring day and spend some time dreaming through its pages.

After all, that’s what it’s all about. As Jared VanderGriend, friend of Freehub, writes in the “Who We Are” intro page: “Freehub is about living the dream. A dream which expands the possibilities of a normal day and life through bikes and their people. For you and for us, riding provides an escape from the mundane, from the snares of city dwelling; a departure into the peace of nature.”

Among the stories, a veteran trail builder takes us through his fascinating several-decade mission to build sustainable trails across North America, including some of the most famous trails in Moab. Another rider brings us along on his “Two-wheeled Search for Solitude” in Montana, only to realize that it will be his last ride through these alpine meadows before the wilderness land is closed to bikes because of “environmental concerns.”

In Maui, we catch the sunrise with a pack of camp-and-riders before descending 10,023 feet on a high-speed pursuit that ends at the crashing sea. We also get the intriguing history of Knolly Bikes; that zoomed-in perspective on Anthill’s success at documenting mountain biking’s saga; and learn that, no doubt, “Klunkin’ Aint Easy.” The first two in that list scribed by well-known NW writer Colin Wiseman (think Frequency TSJ).

But perhaps one of my favorite stories comes from Alaska. Author Natalie Dawson takes us out with herself and two others from Anchorage as they decide to skirt their weekend routine of jetting into the hinterlands for adrenaline-induced adventure, for a mid-January opportunity to explore their local frozen mudflats on two-wheels. Their afternoon, and the story, is a slowly rolling adventure weaving through a refreshed appreciation of nature, mixed with a healthy dose of human comedy, and crisp, clear exposure to the raw elegance that only the Alaskan landscape can deliver.

“The birch and alder forest quickly opened up to icy mudflats. Weeks of freezing weather had made a smooth, solid sheet of the flats. Like biking on marble, we crossed a mosaic of yellow, brown, blue and white beneath our studded tires. The early morning was silenced by a blanket of fog.”

The pictures flooding the pages of this story are icy, chilling and beautiful.

If that doesn’t get you dreaming of pedaling, I don’t know what will.

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