Rob Fisk. Stand down, Merlinman

by 45


Stand down, Merlinman. We knew it was coming – you told us that much, but it was still sudden and surprising and sad to find out that you’d breathed your last today, happily at home, surrounded by family and love, having said goodbye to many of us in person.

(Thanks to Nicky Allison for the photo)

It’s perhaps no exaggeration to suggest that without Rob Fisk, Singletrackworld as you know it might not have made it through those difficult early years. Rob filled the role of godfather, or perhaps ‘indulgent uncle’ in our early efforts.
Back when we had ten forum posts a day, Rob would always have written one of them. He was always supportive of us and everything we did. If we organised a ride, he’d be there. If we needed advice and direction, he’d give it. When we produced a new T-shirt, jersey, mug or jigsaw, Rob would phone up, usually within minutes and order one of every design.

“Don’t worry Rob, you’re family, we’ll send you a free…”

“The name on the card is R. Fisk. Mastercard…”, he would interrupt us, “6745 1234… you have my address” – and that was that.

He kept us in good humour, too. When we were struggling to keep the lights on, he sent us a framed tin of baked beans in an ‘Open in emergency’ box that was proudly displayed on the office wall for years.

Rob was such a part of the fabric of the magazine from those early years. Though we were in our thirties, we would completely forget that he was a couple of decades older than the oldest of us, yet he never complained when he was dragged along on camping weekends, on late nights in pubs, random friends’ floors or bunk beds in bunkhouses and rides in all sorts of weather. Rob was part of the Singletrack family and would always get an invite to our work Christmas parties and our personal birthday parties.

Rob loved mountain bikes. His bikes were always immaculate and well kept. He still had his namesake Merlin titanium hardtail and had owned a range of high-end bikes from Spot to Maverick. But more than that, Rob loved the people behind the bikes. He would come to events, not really for the 24 hour racing, or the traipse over the Peak District, he came for the chat and the banter and the stories. He would listen carefully to everyone, remembering all that he was told.

Rob had had cancer for a while, the treatment for which he accepted without complaint or undue secrecy. In late April this year, he told his friends that his latest cancer was aggressive and untreatable. At most he had weeks or months left and, after a couple of days of letting it sink in, he invited all who knew him to visit him for a cuppa, a chat and what we would all know, would be a final goodbye.

I was lucky that I could go and visit him, and his wife Chris, soon after, at their house for a cup of tea and a slice of cake. At 79, Rob was happy with his lot, content and settled. He’d been selling off some of his bikes, spares and music collection. Just tidying up the odds and ends. He talked fondly of past events, asked about the welfare of other friends and just seemed so calm and happy with his lot.

As I went to leave, he gripped my hand in a warm handshake. “I’ve had such a good life, Chipps. I have no regrets.”

Stand down Merlinman. You helped made Singletrackworld what it is and you’ve inspired us all.

It’s all about bikes and friendship. But mostly friendship…

Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 23 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running mountain bike magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

More posts from Chipps

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 45 total)
  • Rob Fisk. Stand down, Merlinman
  • 16
    rockthreegozy
    Free Member

    RIP, nice words.

    4
    simondbarnes
    Full Member

    He was a wonderful human and it has been a pleasure to count him as a friend of many years x

    3
    nbt
    Full Member

    Lovely words, thanks Chipps. I feel lucky to have met Rob on occasion and shared a tale or two. RIP

    2
    matt_outandabout
    Full Member

    Lovely words for what sounds like a lovely man.

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    Well said, Chipps.
    Thanks for the insight.

    RIP, Rob.

    dirtyrider
    Free Member

    lovely tribute, a life worthy, night Rob

    submarined
    Free Member

    In didn’t know Rob, but if my life can lead to such good friends to write such a wonderful eulogy, I’ll pass a happy man.

    I’m sorry for your loss, all that knew him.

    2
    ton
    Full Member

    fantastic words Chipps.

    sounded like Merlinman had a life well lived.  RIP Rob.

    4
    Bez
    Full Member

    He was an unfailingly lovely bloke; it was always a joy to find his ever-beaming face on the occasions (sadly none recent) that I ventured up north. Chapeau Rob, you made the good times the best times.

    jamj1974
    Full Member

    A great tribute to what must have been a dear friend.

    BillMC
    Full Member

    RIP Rob, it was a privilege to know you.

    Houns
    Full Member

    Ride in peace Merlinman

    4
    Drac
    Full Member

    A gentleman, a comedian, a man of wisdom, a voice of reason, an ear to listen to you and a friend.

    RIP Rob it’s been a pleasure and honour to have known you.

    myheadsashed
    Full Member

    RIP Merlinman 😔

     

    sillyoldman
    Full Member

    RIP Rob. Thanks for the lovely words Chipps.

    1
    nickc
    Full Member

    Thanks Chipps, what a sad loss.

    lowey
    Full Member

    Sounds like a life well lived. RIP Rob. Thinking of all your family and friends.

    tomlevell
    Full Member

    Sad news

    crazy-legs
    Full Member

    Lovely words Chipps.
    RIP Rob.

    Keando
    Full Member

    RIP. Condolences to all Rob’s family and friends

    salsaboy
    Full Member

    RIP Rob, it was always a joy to be in your company, either on a bike or off, so many happy memories of you.

    Chipps, thank you for those lovely words.

    munrobiker
    Free Member

    A kind and funny guy, and a loss to this community.

    hooli
    Full Member

    Lovely words, he sounds like a true gentleman. RIP.

     

    1
    jimmy
    Full Member

    Didn’t know Rob but that’s a lovely tribute. And my word its got dusty in here.

    Poopscoop
    Full Member

    Oh man, that’s terribly sad news.

    4
    peter1979
    Free Member

    Christ that was a beautifully written piece. You’ve really captured the love and friendship in those words and even though I’ve never heard or met Rob before I feel like I somehow knew him.
    RIP to what sounded like a really lovely person.

    1
    Cougar
    Full Member

    Oh bloody hell.

    I met Rob on a couple of the STW Christmas get-togethers.  Seemed to be a thoroughly decent bloke.

    2
    kcal
    Full Member

    bloody hell. hell of a set of words Chipps. Rob was one of those guys I ‘knew’ in the scene without actually having met – a bit like good number of the posters above. It’s a gift to have no-one have a bad word to say about you, even when you’re very much alive. Rob was one of those.

    phiiiiil
    Full Member

    As I went to leave, he gripped my hand in a warm handshake. “I’ve had such a good life, Chipps. I have no regrets.”

    There is nothing else I could possibly want from life other than to be able to say those words.

    4
    Alex
    Full Member

    Ah that’s a bugger, if not unexpected. Met Rob a few times and he was such good company. Funny and wise with no obvious ego. I vaguely remember one night somewhere in a Northern Barn him indulging my drunken ramblings with nothing more than a slightly raised eyebrow :)

    RIP Merlinman – a loss to many :(

    MoreCashThanDash
    Full Member

    Ashamed to say I had no knowledge of the man behind the name, but what a lovely and moving thing to read.

    dave661350
    Full Member

    A great ‘eulogy’ Chipps. RIP Merlinman.

    3
    BigJohn
    Full Member

    I’m deeply saddened by the news, although he and we knew it was coming.

    In April there was a thread (Merlinman of the Parish) where many of his friends were able to share their memories of Robin and it was gratifying to know that he read them, and was left in no doubt of the affection that we all held for him.

    Goodnight friend.

    scruff
    Free Member

    Had the pleasure of a few rides and after ride drinks with him, top bloke, RIP.

    1
    stever
    Free Member

    A gentle man indeed.
    What a lovely sign off “I’ve had such a good life… I have no regrets.”

    1
    cy
    Full Member

    One in a million. Thanks Rob

    2
    Drac
    Full Member

    What a lovely sign off “I’ve had such a good life… I have no regrets.”

    Sums him up perfectly.

    kelvin
    Full Member

    Star.

    Speshpaul
    Full Member

    RIP Rob,  I’m not articulate enough to say what needs to be said. But Rob was a outstanding human being.

    brassneck
    Full Member

    A real shame .. only knew him via the forum (and maybe bought a bit or two), but always seemed a gent. RIP.

    That we can all sign off in such a manner.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 45 total)

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