The name "Mountain Biking" has always been an awkward fit; by comparison "All Terrain Biking" sounded pedestrian but was probably a more accurate description.
Beastway showed just how unnecessary mountains are in the mountain bike experience: all that was needed to create London's legendary mid-week race series were a couple of acres of unloveable but accessible wasteland, a few steep slopes and unbreakable human enthusiasm. The result shouldn't have made the impact it did, but there was a magic there that made Beastway more than the sum of its parts.
In issue 12 of Privateer, photographer and writer Geoff Waugh celebrates Beastway with the help of the riders and organisers who helped make it what it was. Over the course of 22 pages, we meet everyone from former National Champions to bike shop owners and Turner Prize winning artists, all of whom lined up alongside each other week in, week out to race mountain bikes around a small patch of East London.
Elsewhere, Matt Wragg speaks to Enduro pioneer, Frenchman Fred Glo, and considers whether the format will lose its identity once practice is enforced by decree of the UCI. Up until now, many races have been ridden blind: is that not the truest test of a rider?
Next, Privateer's Deputy Editor spent 2012 following Cannondale Factory Racing's Marco Fontana and Manuel Fumic around the XC circuit. He discovered two bright, funny and passionate racers who are intent on making XC racing exciting, and accessible, again.
In Jamaica, renowned British trail builder rider and racer Rowan Sorrell finds an island where mountain biking is still in its infancy, but gaining new trails - and new riders - apace, while in California Seb Rogers visits Crankbrothers in Some Candy Talking.
In the south of England, Olly Wilkins invites us to explores the underground world of dirt jumping, from the late 90's to the present day, illustrated by the photography of Steve Behr.
We finish off this race-tinged issue with one rider's experience of the ABSA Cape Epic, South Africa's seven day, pairs-only, stage race. This unique, innovative race, should be on any mountain biker's bucket list, but beware, our writer reckons it's highly addictive, despite the crashes, the hardship and the constant need to think not just about yourself, but your partner too.