Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Dusty 100 Report

The second annual Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge took place on Saturday out by Victoria Settlement in Smoky Lake County. Five intrepid challengers assembled at the start line at 9 am under cloudy skies, with a light wind blowing from the southwest. After the traditional bugle call (which attracted some local wildlife), the party rolled out heading east from Metis Crossing, beginning the 107-km counter-clockwise gravel loop. The group vibe was downright giddy: it wasn’t raining and the gravel was (mostly) firm. The air was humming with the positive energy brought out by the fellowship of the wheel.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dusty 100: Route Details

The Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge may turn out to be even more challengy than anticipated. The forecast is calling for some light rain on Saturday, so be prepared for some mud, rather than dust.

The event is a go, regardless of weather. My bugle is waterproof.

You can see a map of the route here:

GPX file is available here.

Cue sheets will be handed out at the start, 9 am. Until then, all ye brave gravel challengers!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Why Take The Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge?

Why take The Dusty 100 Gravel Challenge on Saturday, May 28, out at Metis Crossing?

Because . . . you'll get to see this:

And this:

And quite possibly these:

Monday, May 16, 2016

50th Streets

One of the many pleasures of riding a bicycle in rural Alberta is visiting small towns, little villages, and dinky hamlets that I would almost certainly never pass through otherwise. Some of these are sad (Torrington), some are charming (Duchess), and some seem to barely exist at all (Rollyview?). In any event, I always get a small thrill rolling into a new place, no matter how miniscule, and getting the lay of the land, scoping out the main drag, locating all the usual small-town landmarks—the post office, the Chinese-Canadian restaurant, or the buildings that once housed such stalwarts.

One phenomenon I’ve noticed over my years of cycling to and through a lot of these rural communities is the curious street-numbering system found in a lot of them whereby the main street is called 50th  Street. Not Main Street or First Street but 50th Street. This has always struck me as odd. Why 50? The smaller the settlement, the sillier this method seems.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Self-Propelled Voyager

“You can ramble and roam more easily on a bicycle than by any other conveyance.”
--Winfred Garrison (1900)

I’m excited about this book. Duncan R. Jamieson’s The Self-Propelled Voyager: How the Cycle Revolutionized Travel (Rowan and Littlefield, 2015) is the first serious, book-length, historical study of cycle travel and its literature. Jamieson is an historian at Ashland University in Ohio, and he brings an academic thoroughness to this research project while managing to strike a completely accessible—and, at times, surprisingly personal—tone. The book’s aim is to trace the “rise and development of long-distance bicycle travel through the narratives of those who travelled.”