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Charlie the Bikemonger urges you toward adventure. Even if it’s a sunburned, punctured, dehydrated, drunken, euphoric adventure in Arizona. Especially if it is.


This spring, I got back from a few days bikepacking on the Arizona Trail. It’s an 800-mile off-road trail that runs the length of the state from Utah in the north, heads over the Grand Canyon and winds its way down to Mexico. In a single day you can encounter several seriously different environments, from that low desert to craggy snow-topped mountains. It’s one hell of a trail.

Ian (my Dorset local riding buddy), Gil (singlespeeding’s premier sticker printer), and I jumped onto the trail for three days. Well, I say jumped; we fell out of Dirty’s Industry Nine van with colds and hangovers, but also with coffees and super-welcome egg butties. We rode from near Phoenix, Arizona, heading south towards the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race – a three-day mountain biking Glastonbury of about 3,000 folk – and a Friday 5pm cocktail party at the whisky tree (yes, more on this later), loaded with minimal kit and around eight litres of water each.

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Trailhunter – Tom Fenton continues his search for the very best trails, and finds that Dartmoor might just have them. Classic Ride – Sanny takes us on a tour of the Merrick in Scotland, where there are great views to be had… if you get the weather. Grouptest – Wil puts eight sets of top trail brakes to the test – which four will make his pick of the bunch? Bike test – Better known for their carbon models, Barney tests out three alloy bikes from Norco, Santa Cruz and YT. Finnish Epic – 100 years after its independence, Hannah goes to Finland in search of fat-bike fun. Luckily all the bears are sleeping, and the moose are on her plate. Singletrack Recommended – We bring you the products that are so good, we’d spend our own money on them. Oddball – we love bikes, but we love other things too. This issue, it’s knives. It’s just as well we love each other in the office. Kit Bag – We take a peek inside the tool box of Ray Waxham, Trek’s enduro race mechanic. What does it take to keep the wheels of champions racing? Room 101 – Charlie dispenses justice for your complaints. This issue he has a couple of celebrity submitters in the form of our own editor, Chipps and a pioneer of mountain biking: Charlie Kelly. Jason Miles – Jason passes on his wisdom after years of racing as a top-level amateur endurance racer. Arizona – Charlie The Bikemonger goes on holiday where life is simpler and the trails are paved with cactus spines. Escaping the Bike Parks – Anthony Pease avoids the French bike parks and heads off for a hut to hut trip in the Alps. Whistler for Mortals – in this area better known for its technicality, Sanny discovers there are trails for those who prefer to keep their wheels on the ground. Last word – A ponder on the transient world of the mountain bike enthusiast.