Friday, May 26, 2017


Tim Moore is a funny guy, a talented writer, and the author of three popular cycle-travel books. His first, French Revolutions (2001), recounts Moore’s hilarious attempt to ride—with virtually no training—the route of the 2000 Tour de France. I loved that book’s very British brand of eloquent profanity, self-deprecating humor, and (also very British) anti-French satire, as well as its entertaining tidbits of Tour de France history and mythology. That formula worked so well that Moore went on to apply it to the second-most-famous grand tour, the Giro d’Italia, and the result is his thoroughly entertaining Gironimo! Riding the Very Terrible 1914 Tour of Italy (2014). (No, Moore’s third cycling book is not about the Vuelta. It’s called The Cyclist Who Went Out in the Cold: Adventures Along the Iron Curtain, and I have to admit I haven’t read it.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Guest Post: Dust is Hard by Allan Thompson

There are a lot of hard things in cycling. Hardmen race the classics, mountain bikers ride hardtails and are hardcore (or not), and roadies prefer hard tires. We go hard and then bonk hard, and in a velodrome, the shouts from coaches of “Hard! Hard! Hard!” are common. So, last year, when I read in the fine print that the Dusty 107 was also hard, I didn’t give it the thought or respect I should have. I stuck the widest tires I own--35c knobbly cyclocross tubs--on my steel road machine, packed a towel, and was off.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In Pursuit of Spring

Over the Easter weekend in late March of 1913, the thirty-five-year-old English writer and naturalist Edward Thomas rode his bicycle west from South London to the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The 130-mile trip was a pilgrimage, both seasonal and literary, his destination the place where spring traditionally comes first and, more specficially, Nether Stowey, where, in the late 1790s, the Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge had written some of his most famous poems.  

Thomas is best known now as a poet himself and for being one of a handful of accomplished British poets who died in World War I. But in 1913, Thomas was a prose writer, a literary critic and author of more than half a dozen books about English country life. It was only after publishing In Pursuit of Spring that Thomas re-invented himself as poet. During the next four years, up until his death at the Battle of Arras in March, 1917, Thomas produced an impressive and influential body of verse.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Steve Tilford

I miss Steve Tilford. The internet sucks without him.

For those who don’t know, Steve Tilford was a legend of American bike racing and, in recent years, also a successful, if eccentric, blogger, who was killed in a car accident in Utah on April 5. Tilford, who was from Topeka, Kansas, won the first US mountain biking championship in 1983, was a four-time national cyclocross champion, and road-raced professionally in the US and Europe with and against a who’s who of cycling greats from the 80s, from Lemond to Phinney to Hampsten.

His palmares are impressive, but even more remarkable was the longevity of his racing career. He continued to race his bike regularly and successfully up to the end of his life at age 57. Every weekend, for three seasons of the year, he’d load up his truck and drive hundreds of miles to get to some dinky Midwestern race, ride it balls out, and then drive home and write about it on his blog. That, somehow, was the life he loved.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fat Free

I’ve got to lose weight.

End of March I always start to feel this way—bloated, heavy, settled. Winter is, inevitably, a time of taking on extra pounds.

But when spring hits and the days start getting long, you can feel that change in the air. That’s when you know it’s time to shed the weight.

I’m putting the fat bike away for the season. Bring on the skinny tires.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

3rd Annual Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge

The bugle is back.

Sunday, June 4, 2017.

The start/finish is Metis Crossing, AB (1.5 hour drive northeast of Edmonton); park one km east of the campground entrance, by the monument.

9 am bugle call and roll out.

The route is a 107-km loop on picturesque GRAVEL roads that include the scenic Victoria Trail, the oldest continuously used road in Alberta.

Everyone is welcome: gravel lovers, the gravel-curious, and anyone up for a dusty adventure. But a ride like this isn't easy.

More info on our facebook event page.

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Monuments

It’s spring classics season in professional cycling, the time of year when racers and fans turn their attention to those grueling and glorious one-day races in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, and Italy. The five oldest and most celebrated of these classics--Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Lombardy, Milan-San Remo, and the Tour of Flanders, all but the Italian race taking place in March and and April—have come to be known as “the monuments,” and winning one of these is, for most pros, an accomplishment second only to a Grand Tour victory.

The Monuments: The Grit and Glory of Cycling’s Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, 2014) by British cycling journalist Peter Cossins offers a useful, if somewhat two-dimensional, primer on the history and legacy of these big five races. If you are a casual fan of pro cycling and curious about the classics, Cossins’s book is a reasonable jumping off point for learning more.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SoCal Postcard

A view of the hills of Encinitas. 
Hills and traffic, that’s what I found riding my bike around the San Diego area for three days. Oh, and also a Jaws-style shark head sticking out of some dude’s driveway marker in La Jolla. It is California. Southern California.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Up the Creek

Just before winter vanished last week, the Dusty crew had the good fortune to return to Whitemud Creek for a second fat bike exploration, following up on last winter’s initial foray. This time we met up at the parking lot of Snow Valley ski hill. As most folks tramped their way uphill, we dropped down into the  creek bed and headed south.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Turd Window

One thing you can’t help but notice when winter off-road cycling is all the frozen turds. I guess it’s a matter of context. I’m sure there are just as many turds on the paths and trails at other times of the year; turds are just less conspicuous without the white background of snow. In spring, summer, or fall your typical turd blends in with the surroundings, neatly camouflaged amid the leaves, dirt, branches, and grass.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Baiyu Superbright Spoke Lights

Got me some cheap Chinese spoke lights for my crap commuter bike. I had been thinking for some time about the need to improve side visibiIity on my daily ride and concluded that some kind of wheel lighting was the way to go. So I ordered these on amazon for $13, shipping included. They arrived remarkably quickly, shipped from China complete with curiously worded “English” instructions, in time to make a little Christmas gift to myself. I see them as an experiment. I know they’re cheap, in every sense. But, hey, 13 bucks.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gravel & Creek

Our first ride of 2017 was a winner, an auspicious undertaking that has me hopeful for the year ahead. I mapped out a route that combines gravel roads and a frozen creek west of St. Albert, between Meadowview Road and Highway 633, to be exact. Val, Penn, and I parked at Sandpiper Golf Course and rolled off into a fierce north wind, with the plan to ride straight gravel roads north and take the meandering creek back. (In hindsight, I see we probably should have done it the other way around, to account for that north wind. Next time, I’ll work that into the plan).