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Taking a holiday from being a mountain bike guide, Ian Bailey goes mountain biking in Italy and lets another guide take the strain. He also lets his sense of self-preservation have some time off too.


Right this second I’m sitting in the pristine kitchen of a brand new, stunningly situated apartment, directly overlooking the church spires and jagged roofs of Finalborgo, old town Finale Ligure. The heavily vegetated hillsides of the surrounding valleys masking a plethora of some of the finest mountain biking in the world. My beloved Stanton Sherpa is lying on the lawn adjacent to the swimming pool where I dropped it an hour ago. I won’t be needing it again this week.

The upper-left side of my body has been rendered almost totally inoperable. I’m unable to lift, or even hold the weight of my arm. A searing pain is emanating from a deep gouge in my elbow that I fear to view, but know I’ll soon need to address. Somewhere out there my friends are still tearing up the trails – a touch slower and more reserved than this morning, wisdom generated at my expense. I’m the fall guy and through pain and self-pity I want to curl up and cry, but instead I write, to encapsulate my feelings as adrenaline and painkillers subside, to maybe help others avoid my idiotic mishap. This is a tale of simple statistics and I’m one of the victims. Take these words at face value because they’re as raw as the pain I’m experiencing right now as I angrily one-finger type, the implications of my stupidity becoming ever more apparent.

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About Singletrack

This issue has adventures from every corner of Britain, plus features from far flung corners of the globe. Whether you’re stay-cationing or joining the jet-setters, this summer issue is sure to have you occupied for those hours by the pool or sheltering from the rain outside your tent. (Hand) Made In China – We get unprecedented behind the scenes access to some of the bike factories in China and Taiwan. Is it a sorry sight of oppressed workers in shabby conditions? Or skilled bike builders in state of the art facilities? Classic Ride: Northern Ireland – Ian Bailey finds us a rare legal loop around the trails of Northern Ireland. Trail Hunter: Snowdon – Just because something is popular doesn’t mean it can’t be a classic. Tom Fenton opts for the dawn raid on the highest peak in Wales. Bike Test: Killer Hardtails (in Innsbruck) – Three tough trail hardtails from Kona, Nukeproof and Trillion make the trip to Innsbruck to see just how capable a modern hardtail can be. Group Test: Hi-Tech Tyres – James Vincent checks out the current generation of burly rubber. Is there such a thing as a tyre for all seasons? Or even a tyre for a whole Lake District ride? He’s been getting the punctures so you don’t have to. Interview: Keith Bontrager – Keith has been designing bikes and components since the eighties. He invented the mantra ‘Cheap, light, strong – pick two’ and has been behind Trek’s component line for over two decades. Chipps tries to get a little more than the usual stock answers to the stock questions. Column – Jason Miles discusses the merits of riding the wrong bike. Room 101 – Charlie the Bikemonger decides which bike world items and issues shall be thrown to the bears, or whatever it is that lives beyond the door of Room 101, and what shall be allowed to continue to roam our earth. ST Recommended – We’ve picked three products so good that you need to go out and buy them now. All of them. Oddball: Fuel – Coffee…