R.I.P., Dirt Rag

Ah, Dirt Rag, we hardly knew ye.

Well, this sucks.

Dirt Rag has been in the bicycle-journalism racket exactly as long as I have. We both rolled around in 1989, though I was mostly on a road bike.

American Cyclery is getting a seismic refit and, eventually, it is to be hoped, a new owner.

I never thought of myself as a mountain biker. And Dirt Rag was never just a mountain-bike mag. Maurice Tierney and the gang were into art and culture and all manner of good shit. Did you know Mo is a deejay at KALX, 90.7 FM in Berserkly? True fact.

Also, this:

The oldest bike shop in San Francisco is on the block. American Cyclery built my Soma Saga Disc for me, and they did a stellar job. I haven’t had to do jack shit to that bike except ride it and fix an occasional flat.

I thought Friday was the day when all the bad news dropped. Trust the bike biz to get it wrong.


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15 Responses to “R.I.P., Dirt Rag”

  1. SAO' Says:

    Weirdly ironic-ish that one of their last articles was a reminiscence of Fat City going out of business.

    If a frame builder goes out of business, and there’s no one to write about it because all of the bike mags went out of business, then does it make a sound?


  2. khal spencer Says:


  3. katholoch Says:

    So you are much more up on my local news than I am! Two Bay Area tidbits.

  4. Pat O'Brien Says:

    I hope American Cyclery lands on its feet with a new owner. And, SOMA sure does make nice frame sets. With the right components, they are stellar bikes for not much money. Like I have said many times before, I can’t understand why people buy a bicycle of the floor. If you have a good LBS, they can build you a better bike for the same or slightly more money and make sure it fits you.

  5. Russell Williams Says:

    I have subscribed to DR since it hit the stands. When their road bike mag hit the stands, I subscribed immediately. A letter of mine received a full page treatment with artwork in issue 002. Now both are gone? This Sucks! One after another, our magazines disappear.
    Am I the only one who still reads?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The numbers in the bike biz are gawd-awful and getting worse. An industry insider-turned-outsider tells me the year-end BPSA stats show unit shipments down 12 percent to 1.8 million per annum. This is a little better than half the unit shipments during The Glory Days.® E-bikes are keeping dollar sales up, but that’s about the only good news.

      Says my source: “The bike business was bad a few years ago. Who would’ve thought it would get worse?”

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        Yep, you might not be able to even make a small fortune out of a big one these daze in the bike biz. 😦

      • Russell Williams Says:

        I still subscribe to 4 bicycle mags. Over the years, 5 or 6 other magazines have folded. One the days my health won’t allow me to ride, I enjoy at least reading about the toys and those who can ride.

      • SAO Says:

        Despite a few flurries today, I noticed two dozen bikes in the rack at our K-5 playground. When the weather’s better, you can count on 50. At a school with 500kids. So one in 10 are riding their bike to school. That’s gotta be a sliver of a wisp of a glimmer of a hint of good news. And most of the bikes are $400-500 Treks and Big S’s, not $95 Target specials.

        So I just solved the problem… The bike industry just needs to invest in upper middle-class suburbs. Does Andrew Yang have a plan to ensure everyone gets a $120k/year job at HP or Intel?

        • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

          What? Parents let their children risk death by riding bicycles to school rather than ferry them back and forth in a massive, multi-ton, 4-wheel drive, gas-guzzling Chevrolet Subdivision or similar? What planet do you live on?

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Ah, remember the Good Old Days®, when parents spewed their spawn into the streets to sink or swim? That kept the gene pool nicely filtered.

          On Randolph AFB we had one car (dad’s) for most of our five-year stay, and as a consequence we kids walked, rode bikes, or took buses everywhere, as we had in Ottawa. The elementary school was an easy half-mile hike; once I graduated into the combo junior high/high school, which was a couple-three miles from home, I took the bus.

          In Bibleburg, my sister’s elementary school was a half-mile walk, while my junior high was less than a mile. High school was about a mile and a half.

          We lobbied for auto transportation from time to time and generally got the sharp edge of mom’s tongue for it. “Piss off, I have bridge club.”

          We survived, even grew up to become taxpaying citizens. My sis chose a career doing good works for the Department of Social Services in Fort Fun. I, of course, have spent the past four decades performing what amounts to an extended fart noise, with the right palm in the left armpit and the left arm flapping up down, as though I were some crippled, stupid, flightless bird.

  6. Hurben Says:

    I guess I’ll head out to the garage with a six pack & reminisce over all my old Dirt Rag Mags. Maurice & crew would want it that way.

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