Throwback Thursday: Back to the Future

Phillip Diprose goes into a charity shop and comes out transformed into a teenager with purple bar-ends and crazy coloured leggings.

Fate can play its hand at the strangest of moments.

I certainly wouldn’t have expected anything like this to happen to me while I’m in a charity shop, especially not in Bexhill. But it’s true, I’m holding in my hands the first four issues of a certain mountain bike magazine that began in 1988. Now we can probably all guess which magazine it is, it may well have been next to this one on the shelf at your newsagent, but it no longer looks anything like the stack of slightly faded pages I slapped onto the counter in Scope. Actually nothing looks like these magazines any more. Looking at them now they are like a frozen snapshot of our sport’s short history, kind of like the fly in the amber block at the start of Jurassic Park, but with zinc on its face and a pair of AXO boots.

It was all so different back then

It was all so different back then

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The spectre of ‘Retro’ even manages to rear its head in the first few issues. But not in the way we expect these days. Not in articles harking back to late 80s, er… like this one is. Back then the past was something to be rallied against. Destroying everything that had come before them, the writers and riders were optimistically planning for a new future. It was a sport that wasn’t dogged by the ghosts of the past and the traditions that bless/plague sports like road riding. Looking at it now it’s still a pretty potent cocktail. All the things that they were hoping for are still being chased by today’s riders: Better places to ride, better bikes and more ways to enjoy your yourself with a bike between your legs. The future has come and gone, long live the future.

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