The Journalist

“Mountain biking and surfing are my two greatest outdoor passions, and living in San Diego I have no shortage of shreddable, world-class waves just a few blocks from my backyard.” Photo: Chris Wellhausen

The Journalist Living Large with Brice Minnigh

Brice Minnigh has a stamp collection. That’s how he ended up at a marionette show with Muhammad Ali, in the capital of North Korea. 

It’s the kind of story that would be a highlight of most people’s lives. For Minnigh, it takes two hours of interviewing before he remembers a press trip he took to the country, while he was working for a government newspaper in Beijing. 

“For a while I collected North Korean stamps, which have all this wild propaganda art on them,” Minnigh says. “There was a stamp shop in the hotel where we were staying, and as I walked in I saw Muhammad Ali in the foyer. I admire Muhammad Ali in a big way, and I stopped in my tracks and was like, ‘Champ!’ We talked, and next thing I was sitting next to Muhammad Ali at a North Korean puppet show.” 

When you have as many stories as Minnigh, veteran journalist and longtime editor of Bike Magazine, it’s not surprising you’ll forget a few. 

We’re at Minnigh’s home in Encinitas, CA, drinking a beer after a morning surf at a nearby beach break. He enjoys the ocean as much as he enjoys the trails, and the swell has been especially good over the past few weeks. The slight 46-year-old is grizzled, with salt-and-pepper scruff covering his jaw and closely shaved head, and as we talk it occasionally twitches to the side. It seems like a shrug, but is actually a tic he picked up while reporting in southern Russia. 

Before we start the meaty part of the interview, he gives me some background on the photos around the room. A bike trip to Taiwan. Peasants in China. Memorable Bike cover shots. One of the three guidebooks he wrote covering Greater China, a part of the world where he lived for more than a decade. 

It doesn’t take long before it becomes obvious Minnigh is way overqualified for his current job. And that’s not to rag on Bike. It’s the most prestigious mountain bike mag in the world, and Minnigh is rightfully proud of his time there and the team he’s assembled. 

The discrepancy only arises because the rest of his resume belongs to someone working at publications like National Geographic or Time. Minnigh speaks four languages—English, Russian, Mandarin and Cantonese—and before he joined the Bike team, his byline had graced newspapers and magazines across the world. 

He’s been to the North Pole, almost died while skiing across Greenland’s ice sheet, oversaw Reuters’ entire Asian debt-reporting division, and biked across China to Pakistan. His passports have almost as many stamps as his North Korean propaganda postage collection. 

As he lines out the incredibly convoluted chronology of his life, there is one common thread. A journalist’s job is to tell the story, and Minnigh is pure journalist. Now, after nearly 30 years of reporting, Minnigh’s tale has become an epic story in itself—even if he can’t remember all the parts.

“I didn’t even realize how weird that might sound to people until I was telling a friend years later,” Minnigh says. “The subject came up, and I said, ‘I met Muhammad Ali in North Korea!’ That’s when I realized it probably sounded a little strange. But that’s my fucking life. And it’s hilarious.”

This article is for our Subscribers and Plus Members.

Gain access by purchasing a magazine subscription or signing up for our online membership.

Basic Free Subscription
$0 / Year

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Sign Up

Plus Online Subscription
$19.95 | Year

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Get Plus

Premium Print Subscription
$34.95 | Year*

  • 4 Issues/year of our print magazine mailed directly to your front door

  • Online access to the latest print issues the day they hit newsstands

  • Download print articles and take them with you on the go for offline reading

  • Access to the FH Dashboard

  • Bookmark favorite articles for easy access

  • Browse articles by issue

  • Receive our weekly newsletter for the latest content and special discounts

Go Premium

Already a Member?

Login