BUILD­ING BONDS THAT RUN DIRT-DEEP

Bike (USA) - - Contents -

This issue is de­voted to sto­ries that con­vey these con­nec­tions, and we chose an un­con­ven­tional cover im­age to present it, sim­ply be­cause Ale Di Lullo’s shot from Royal Fest so per­fectly em­bod­ies that mo­ment of pure en­joy­ment that we all crave from this sport: care­free, in the woods, with our bud­dies. And no bet­ter event than Fest Se­ries—a se­ries cre­ated by rid­ers to pro­mote ca­ma­raderie over com­pe­ti­tion—to ex­press this feel­ing.

One of the truest ex­am­ples of the bonds cre­ated by dirt is the decades-long friend­ship be­tween Mat­tias Fredriks­son, one of Bike’s se­nior pho­tog­ra­phers, and his stead­fast sub­ject, Janne Tjärn­ström. The duo’s work has re­sulted in dozens of mag­a­zine cov­ers and thou­sands of pub­lished im­ages, many of which have graced the pages of this mag­a­zine. The Swedes met by chance, but stayed close by choice, and their shared vi­sion for how to por­tray our sport has in­spired scores of rid­ers. But while Tjärn­ström has ap­peared in more im­ages than most rid­ers who get paid to show up in pho­tos, he’s rel­a­tively un­known. In “Hid­den Tal­ent,” on page 60, writer To­bias Lil­jeroth sheds light on the man in front of the lens, but also on the friend­ship that put him there.

And halfway across the world, an eclec­tic crew has banded to­gether in Toronto due to their ded­i­ca­tion to a hand­built trail net­work tucked away in the bow­els of the busy city of 6 mil­lion people. Writer Devon O’Neil and se­nior photographer Bruno Long em­bed­ded with the ‘Don Vi­vants’ last fall, and chron­i­cle the al­lure of the un­der­ground scene on page 48. Sim­i­larly, in a re­mote cor­ner of Cal­i­for­nia’s Sierra range, two child­hood friends whose adult lives have di­verged, come to­gether to cel­e­brate the trails that formed their re­la­tion­ship, both with bikes and each other. Writer Kurt Gen­sheimer and photographer Ab­ner King­man re­port from the tiny en­clave of Bear Val­ley on page 26.

The pull to con­nect over a shared pas­sion is the rea­son why columnist Kristin Butcher said ‘yes’ to a ridicu­lously gru­el­ing day in south­ern Utah’s La Sal moun­tains, the agony and tri­umph of which she de­tails in “Butcher Pa­per” on page 32. It was a day that would’ve been tax­ing be­fore tack­ing on that ex­tra 5,000-foot-climb. But where’s the story in that? Af­ter all, we all yearn to find those people who we can look back with now and laugh about what nearly broke us then. Be­cause what else are friends for?

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