VALENCIA, CA (BRAIN)—Richard Cunningham, one of the most tenured and well-known writers at Mountain Bike Action, has stepped down from his editor-at-large role at the magazine.
Cunningham was at MBA for 17 years, serving as editor from 1993 to 2001 before taking on a scaled back editor-at-large position. For the past three years, he was also the technical editor for Road Bike Action, which is another magazine published by Valencia, California, based Hi-Torque Publications.
He resigned on Sept. 20.
“It was a good run,” Cunningham said during a phone interview on Tuesday. “We went from rear suspension to disc brakes to two or three different shifting platforms, to carbon fiber to aluminum carbon fiber. It was just a huge turmoil of technology. It was really fun.”
But, in recent years as his role at the magazine transitioned away from driving its direction to strictly reporter, he started to want more.
“I’d like to see what else it out there in the world. That’s the sacrifice. It should be exciting, but on the other hand I’m leaving a lot behind. I’ll miss it,” he said.
Cunningham started in the industry in the early 1980s as a frame builder, making custom Mantis rigid mountain bike frames. After selling his company, he designed bikes for Nishiki and acted as a consultant for Asian companies breaking into the U.S. market.
He took over as chief of Mountain Bike Action when Zapata Espinoza left to head up Mountain Bike (Zapata has since returned to Hi-Torque and is currently editor of Road Bike Action).
“I had no idea how to run a magazine. I had very little computer experience for typing and all that stuff. Literally it’s like walking into a music hall and having someone give you a violin saying, ‘You’re going to be the principal violinist for the orchestra and these people will help you out,’” he said.
In the early days, Cunningham handwrote stories on paper and his colleagues typed them out for him.
“After a year or so I had it. It was a steep learning curve, but it was quite exciting,” he said.
Cunningham said the decision to leave was difficult, and primarily, he’ll miss writing to MBA’s engaging audience.
“I think because MBA had such a loyal readership it was a gift to be an editor and have an audience that was almost palpable, that you could feel was out there. I’m just thankful people read what I wrote and actually responded. I was really amazed that I could have a readership like that. That’s what made it a wonderful job, really,” he said.
Cunningham is looking to find another position in the industry. He can be reached at email@example.com.