Some fellow cyclists who check out my ride and see the gear I use consider me a bicycling luddite, a descendant of those 19th century textile workers who fought progress.
For me, it's usually a matter of economics, instead of aesthetics. But for ultra-cycling promoter Chris Kostman, his choice of bicycles is definitely philosophical.
Check out Kostman with his bicycle in the picture here. What's a guy doing at the top of this mountain with a road bike? Then consider his "Mountain Bikes: Who Needs Them" article penned back in 1993 that announced his "Any Bike, Anywhere" manifesto.
Now, after all this time, Kostman is looking for other like-minded individuals to take part in a Rough Riders Rally on July 23 - 25 in Marin County, California. The event uses paved roads and dirt trails that wind through the scenic Marin Headlands overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
"Rough Riding is not defined by the type of bicycle or type of riding surface. Rough Riding is a state of mind, a riding style with limitless freedom and an all-pervasive sense of adventure. The Rough Riders slogan is "Any Bike, Anywhere" and the general idea is to use as little technology as possible while traversing a variety of riding surfaces and terrains. Hence, one of the Rough Riders' mantras is "technique beats technology."
"For some Rough Riders, that means riding a "road bike" with 25mm tyres on "mountain bike trails." For others, it means tackling any and all surfaces while riding a cyclocross bike, an old-school mountain bike, a 70s or 80s era road bike retrofitted with 650B wheels, a classic touring bike, or a world tour-ready 29er rig."
Kostman is a former RAAM cyclist who heads up AdventureCORPS, which produces extreme sports and ultra-endurance bicycling and running events. He has used his talents to create three days of bike riding that takes in many of the challenges that Rough Riders like to face -- paved road, abandoned pavement, fire roads, dirt trails and single track.
Day 2 of the rally, for instance, features a 36.5-mile ride over all those conditions and 5,700 feet of elevation gain. The route intersects the Mill Valley to Stinson Beach "Dipsea" running route and boasts view of Mount Tamalpais and (on a fogless day) views of the Golden Gate Bridge.
You can see write-ups on his three-day recon of all the stages at "Rough Riders Rally, Final Recon of all Routes." Kostman shares pictures and descriptions of hte routes, as well as suggestions on how much of the route is passable on different width tires.
Kostman recently got word that Marin bike racing legend Jacquie Phelan will be joining the Rough Riders Rally. You can read more about her achievements and exploits at Rough Riders website. Other participants include bicycling author Owen Mulholland and "co-creator" of the sport of mountain-biking, Charlie Kelley.
If you're thinking of signing up for this event, do it soon. Registration closes on July 16 or with 100 participants, whichever comes first. Here's the Rough Riders Rally registration page with all the details.