Newbie at WMB

By Helen Spedding | Monday, November 19, 2007 11.33am

Being the newbie can be daunting. Especially when everyone else seems to be speaking in a secret language of berms, North Shore and 29ers. Where someone just has to say "Fruita" and a row of grizzled men nod sagely.

That's the world I entered just a few weeks ago, when I joined What Mountain Bike as production editor. I stood out like a sore thumb - I didn't ride, I knew more about cars than was healthy (after seven years spent on car mags), and the idea of bib shorts made me anxious.

I didn't understand the lingo, either. The best way, I found, was to close my eyes and let the steady stream of MTB banter that echoes around our office permeate my brain. And it worked: where chatter from the likes of Justin Loretz and MBUK's Doddy seemed meaningless at first, slowly but surely it's beginning to make sense.

What's more, I have a suspicion I've been infected by their enthusiasm. It's impossible to resist: these guys love what they do, live for what they do, and with an almost religious fervour want to get everyone they know excited about mountain biking too.

The breadth and depth of knowledge of every single member of the team has blown me away. These guys know what they're talking about, from years spent testing every kind of bike on every kind of trail - and they're never afraid to speak their mind. That's crucial on a mag like What Mountain Bike, which aims to give the reader the definitive, authoritative verdict on new products vying for their hard-earned cash.

All that passion for the sport is proving impossible to resist. I'm already gearing up for my first 'proper' ride on my old hardtail that, until now, has only been used for commuting. I'm getting that slightly giddy feeling when I read through WMB's reviews of bike kit that I used to get when looking at shoes in Vogue. And yes, I'm starting to think that bib shorts might not be such a bad idea after all...

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