Loretz and the loop da loop tricksterOn the outside, Canadian Kona Clump captain and all-round dirt jumping god, John Cowan, is just like you and me. Nearly.
Dressed in dull-coloured workwear and skate shoes, he could be anyone from anywhere - you'd pass John in the street and never give him a second glance. Look a little closer, though, and you'll see that the baggy wear and shoes are actually expensive items of 'adventure clothing', made by one of his key sponsors Salomon.
Then you clock the physique. With arms like Popeye (after the spinach) and hands like shovels - complete with calloused palms - Cowan is obviously not 'just' a rider. John has spent hours turning the countryside around his Vancouver home into something resembling the aftermath of the Somme offensive - in fact, he's responsible for building countless dirt jumps in Canada and all over the world. A nasty looking scab sat on a scar-riddled shin gives the tell-tale sign of a life devoted to jumping bikes.
John Cowan has always been into wheels, either fixed to a skateboard or bicycle; you could say it's in his blood. But this is certainly no 'hands off' appreciation, like someone who collects classic oil paintings only to keep them locked in a vault, or cellars of fine wine destined never to be drunk. Nope. John Cowan loves to ride his bike. No, actually that's not strictly true, John loves to jump his bike. And he likes to get involved in the nitty gritty of those jumps.
Fortunately, it turns out that he also likes to impart some of that jump fascination to us mere mortals.
Justin catches up with John over a cup of tea and a slice of cake to talk about jumping, DVDs and postmen.
Only in the next issue of MBUK, on sale 18th February