The mountain bike world has seen a recent rash of "spy shots
" from a mysterious user who goes by Tonkatruck. They’re a mixture of a cold war spy and Darryn Lyons and have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to capture spy shots of unreleased bikes. Despite industry efforts to unmask the them, little has previously been known about their true identity. What can be said for sure is that they seem to always have inside knowledge of upcoming bikes, and aren’t afraid to venture behind enemy lines or, even more horrifying still, into shopping mall parking lots.
That apparent insider information is the first piece in a fast moving puzzle. The second piece is the reaction to Tonkatruck's work on local mountain bike site NSMB, where there was righteous indignation
at the prospect of spy shots. Perhaps the lady doth protest too much?
The mountain bike industry is a small place. We all have many friends that work for various publications and we’ll often chat either at the trailhead or currently, more often than not, over Instagram or WhatsApp. We’re also always very happy to support people who enjoy and use the site, so we decided to get in touch to send Tonkatrucks a t-shirt. This is where it gets weird.
When our staff member added TonkaTruck on Whatsapp it came up as an already saved number. That contact goes by the name of Cam McRae, editor at NSMB and author of the aforementioned article condemning spy shots.
It’s unclear whether Tonkatruck and McRae share the same phone, or indeed if they are the same person. Wild speculation on the greyish-and-rainy-web, the Vancouver version of the dark web, suggests that the mystery photographer is indeed NSMB editor Cam McRae. Could it be a false flag? Could it be that he’d already written the article and wanted to stir things up? Maybe he was just bored in lockdown?
Cam McRae has forever been know to us at Pinkbike as a “really nice guy”. This should have been a warning that something was up. That doesn’t sound like much, but you’re forgetting this is in Canada. To only be “really nice” and not “really really”... very suspicious.
We've reached out for clarification, but so far Cam has refused to comment. We’re not here to offer conjecture, only the facts, and we’ll report back as this story develops.