A trio of British mountain biking legends are up for nomination for addition to the Mountain Biking Hall of fame.
Tym Manley & Steve Behr have been nominated together as the creative partnership at the core of Mountain Biking UK, launched in 1987, which to this day maintains the MTB lifestyle in Great Britain and the anglosphere. Its legendary race team, Team MBUK, was key to Britain’s unique and continuing success in Downhill Racing and Freeride sponsoring all the top riders, including Peaty.
Steve Peat is of course the other nomination. Laying claim to being the most successful British downhill racer of all time, Peat has inspired generations of mountain bikers to push the pace just a little harder and has mentored a whole string of young riders via the Steve Peat Syndicate, people like World Cup Champ Josh Bryceland.
It is easy enough to sign up as a member with voting rights online at https://mmbhof.org/mtn-bike-hall-of-fame. The downside is that it costs $30.00.
“No Yorkshireman will pay that just to vote for me,”says Steve Peat, but the eternal optimist, Tym Manley, insists that a vote for all three is a bargain at ten bucks a head.
Voting takes place from June 15th 2017 for one month.
The MTB Hall of Fame has now moved to the Marin Museum of Bicycling in Fairfax, Ca.
The Behr/Manley story:
In the 80s, Steve Behr became obsessed by mountain bikes and applied his talent for photography to the early races and then to feature work. His career as a City lawyer had already begun to pall and as MBUK grew Steve was able quit his job and become chief editorial photographer.Mountain Biking was hardly known in the UK back then, there was no support from cycling organisations, rather the opposite; no stars, no journalists just a small but fanatical riding community spread around the country in small pockets.
Tym Manley came from mainstream lifestyle magazines and he set about building the scene, training journalists and creating celebrities from the talented riders who were beginning to emerge such as Jason McRoy, Rob Warner Martyn Ashton and Steve Peat. After four issues and kick-started, tellingly, by a cover featuring skydivers riding bikes out of a Skyvan, MBUK became a publishing phenomenon and promoted mountain biking in the UK as a grassroots lifestyle activity, made glamorous by the success of Britain’s downhill and extreme riders, but always ballasted by combative testing of equipment and an emphasis on teaching the skills real mountain bikers needed to enjoy their riding.
Tym quickly identified the 70s Marin County combination of off-road epic rides,
downhill racing and good natured lunacy as a natural fit for the UK and plugged the nascent sport directly into the spirit of those days, with Charlie Kelly on the masthead as US Editor from Day 1.
For a feature based magazine, great pictures were key. Working closely together Manley and Behr invented ways to make dirt jumping, slalom, freeride, trials and racing looked as cool as they were, inspired in part by the videos of Hans Rey, and had a lot of fun going to the extremes and sometimes a step too far.
MBUK was the first magazine to include ‘freeride’ features regularly before it was even called freeride. The effect was to spread the sport by sharing the innovations of the Laguna RADS, say, or a group of inner city trials riders with those of a gang of Scottish mountain night riders. The readers quickly joined in.
The mix of pro skills, enthusiasm and crazy humour communicated by the featured riders to the growing riding community, and the efforts of those grass roots riders who joined the magazine staff, and often became celebrities themselves while engaging with the readership, saw MBUK drive mountain biking pretty much on its own until the internet took over the community building duties late in the first decade of the 21st Century.
The Steve Peat story:
Born in Sheffield, England, with a father who lived for Motorcycle Trials Steve Peat was a natural bike rider and tough battling competitor, once he became fixated on winning after the death of his friend and role model Jason McRoy.
The result: 17 World Cup wins, 52 World Cup podiums, one World Championship, two European Championships and nine British Championships. Steve will go down in history as one the greatest riders to swing his leg over a bike.
For years Peaty could not win the World Championship title. It was a blot an otherwise flawless career. He was second year after year and by 2009 most people had written off his chances. But that year, in Canberra, he tore the course apart and although he only won by 0.05 seconds, the run was perfect.
Always keen to ensure that the British downhill scene remains strong, Peaty has mentored some of the most promising young riders and turned them into stars. Most famous being World Cup champion, Josh Bryceland.
Won’t Back Down was a biographical documentary that chronicled Peaty’s 2009 World Champs success, and became more of a history of mountain biking. Peaty has also appeared in films such as Seasons, the Sprung series and his very own, This is Peaty.
Having retired from racing in 2016, he is focused on promotional and coaching projects like these which all contribute to the ripple effect his massive and positive influence has had on the popularity of mountain bike riding.