12 Jan, 2015

What was a “Modern Cyclist”?


Chris Newby-Fraser, via email:

I saw the new mag and, with a healthy dose of cynicism picked it up to read, assuming Modern Cyclist was just another corporate entry into the currently trendy cycling market. Since Adele Tait left Ride, the mainstream cycling magazines have lost the 'people’s' touch and only the very good and fairly specialist Tread has been around to cater for the cyclist who has a modicum of attitude. With Modern Cyclist, at first glance, I get the impression of an editorial style that is in tune with the average rider (much like the style of Suzie Mills who started Ride and Adele Tait who was editor for the Koekemoer's for a long time). I do hope you succeed with your venture.

My take on the definition of a modern cyclist is very different to what constituted a 'modern cyclist' during the earlier years of cycling growth in SA. In those days, we few emulated two riders, Alan "The Idol" van Heerden or Ertjies Bezuidenhout and we hung on every word of guidance and encouragement from Basil Cohen. Rare newspaper articles on cycling were cut out and shared with friends at the next ride. To be a modern cyclist then was to be young and to race, end of story! The very competitive Vets Racing was for the old guys and did not feature outside of their own world. It is so different today, with the typical modern cyclist being drawn from any corner of the public with racing covering all ages, from my little five-year-old grandson to retirees of 65 who are looking for something to excite their lives. Thanks to modern media, none are short of some form of news coverage and information.

I clock a Grand 60 next year so after an extended break to recover from grumpy health and loss of enthusiasm, I am getting back into competitive mountain biking, to compete in the “Fast Fossils” category - the Grand Masters national series. There is no chance of winning anything so it should be a lot of fun, a blast that is if I don't collapse in a pile of powdery bones. 'The Missus' is not impressed but my grandson reckons I am seriously cool.

If you wish, while you establish your mag, I could keep tabs on the MTB Grand Masters category and send you some updates and scuttlebutt about the events. Maybe do some stories on how the better Fast Fossils stay competitive, their views etc? There are a couple of giants from the old days who will enter grand masters over the next couple of years. It will be very interesting to see how they fare against the relative newcomers to the sport, riders who started riding in their fifties but have the same genetic ability of the MacKintosh's, Beneke's etc.

Thank you for your kind words Chris. We would love to hear from you as you compete in the grand masters category. And we certainly look forward to seeing the “giants” from days gone by racing again, it will indeed be a blast! – Editor.