Saturday, March 27, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
We extend our heartfelt thank you to the fine folks at Adventure Cycling Association for featuring Rough Riding, and specifically the upcoming Rough Riders Rally, in the current issue (February 2010) of their very fine magazine, Adventure Cyclist. We encourage you to join their organization immediately. One of the many, many perks you'll enjoy is receiving their magazine.
We are also pleased to announce that we (AdventureCORPS) recently became a Gold Level Sponsor of the Adventure Cycling Association, an organization founded in 1973 to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle for fun, fitness, and self-discovery. (The great ink about the Rough Riders Rally was already in the works - due to no specific effort or outreach on our part - when we became a sponsor, just so you don't think there's some quid pro quo going on.)
The exposure in Adventure Cyclist, as well as an ad we have coming out in the next issue, along with ongoing ads in American Randonneur and Bicycle Quarterly, will hopefully give the Rough Riders Rally a good boost in participation. Currently we have 40 riders registered for the event, with a limit of 100. We hope you will consider joining this one-of-a-kind, and first-ever, event! Info here. (Please also help us spread the word!)
which features Rough Riding:
by Michael McCoy (click it to see it bigger):This ad appears in the March 2010 issue of Adventure Cycling:
This ad appears in the current, and next, issues of American Randonneur and Bicycle Quarterly:
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Above: The author in 1993, from the Bicycle Guide photo shoot. Photos by Bob Schenker shot on the Westridge Trail above Oakland, CA. Nothing has much changed since then, except the Magnum, p.i. moustache is gone and he's got Hammer Nutrition's HEED and/or Perpetuem in his water bottles now. The pictured Bridgestone RB-1's spirit lives on in Chris' current Rivendell Roadeo.
Any Bike, Anywhere: The Rough Rider’s Way of Life
By Chris Kostman
Originally published by Hammer Nutrition in Endurance News, Edition #68, March 2010. View that version online here.
In the February 1993 issue of Bicycle Guide, I published an article called “Mountain Bikes: Who Needs Them?” which began with this hackle-raising opener:
“I routinely dust every mountain biker I encounter on the trail. And I ride a road bike.”
Speaking the truth more fully, I then hooked the readers a little more deeply by continuing thusly:
“Furthermore, I think, no, I know, the mountain bike is the most over-rated, most improperly used, most over-built, and most greedily promoted piece of hardware to hit the sport and fitness industry in modern history. Ninety-nine percent of the miles ridden by 99% of the mountain bikes could, and should, be ridden on the first and only real all terrain bike, the 'road bike.' More bluntly, a road bike is equal to or better than a mountain bike if ridden with skill like I have.”
At first, the hate mail poured in, more than for any article ever published in that magazine, with readers calling me “the most arrogant, elitist bastard I’ve ever read” and similar gems. One reader was at such a loss for words that he just sent in a fax of his hand with the middle finger raised.
But then a neat thing happened: Some readers went out and tried my premise. More letters ensued from readers who claimed they had used their road bike to set a new course record at a “mountain bike” hill climb event; others made bigger claims, stating that their lives had been changed, for the better, forever.
Here we are eighteen years later and “Rough Riding,” as it has come to be known, is beginning to come into its own as a particular sub-category of cycling. The motto from my article - “Technique beats technology any time, anywhere.” - has been adopted by innumerable cyclists the world round who have embraced the “any bike, anywhere” ethos. The current bicycle industry, from major manufacturers to boutique frame builders, is beginning to address this niche market, creating bicycles, or even lines of bicycles, under such monikers as "All Road Bikes," "All-Rounders," and "Adventure Bikes." There’s even a Wikipedia page about Rough Riding.
Rough Riding is nothing new, however: Before "mountain bikes," cyclists routinely rode all manner of bicycles on all manner of riding surfaces. They just didn’t know any better, you might say. The oldest known mixed-surface cycling club is the Rough Stuff Fellowship, formed in the United Kingdom in 1955.
That’s not to say Rough Riding is mainstream, of course. In fact, it’s a common misconception that without the "right bike," one simply cannot partake in the wonderful landscape of cycling opportunities. It’s time to set the record straight, though, for any bike can be taken anywhere!
This really isn’t some secret conspiracy that I am blowing the whistle on here, for cyclists the world round take "the wrong bike into the wrong place." Just ride any century ride and you’ll see innumerable mountain bikes and cross bikes being comfortably and happily put to good use in grinding out the 100 miler. (Heck, mountain bikes have even been ridden successfully in 500 mile road races like Furnace Creek 508!)
How does all this work, you ask? It’s simply a case of the rider riding the bike, not the reverse. In other words, let technology work for you or just don’t use the technology in the first place. Think about it: turning cranks in circles is turning cranks in circles. Whether that translates into covering terrain efficiently is entirely up to the skill and strength of the rider. With time, any rider can learn to ride any bike anywhere. The trick is just getting out there and going for it!
Bikes are the ultimate freedom tools: they let you go to more places, more easily, and more simply than any other human invention. But in today’s era of high technology and equipment specialization, they can also seem incredibly limiting.
The Rough Riding philosophy can mean different things to different people. First of all, it can mean that you may not really have to shell out the bucks for a new bike because you only have a "road bike" or a "mountain bike." So this can save you a lot of money. But if you already have both types of bikes, then you can hone your skills for either bike by using the "wrong bike" on various rides.
For example, riding skinny tyres off-pavement will hone your attentiveness, balance, coordination, handling skills, and nerve. Likewise, riding fat tyres on-road will build strength, hill climbing ability, and provide a comfy and largely bullet-proof ride. Rides that combine both environments will become a real treat, allowing you to immediately experience the cross-over benefits firsthand.
Regardless of bicycle choice, the goal of Rough Riding is to tackle any and all possible combinations of trails, fire roads, gravel roads, paved roads, singletrack, and any other possible riding surface - all within one ride, on just one bike. Perhaps the greatest beauty of Rough Riding is that any possible ride route can be created and enjoyed: Rough Riders do not choose between "road biking" and "mountain biking" and subsequently let the bicycle determine the route and terrain of any given ride. Instead, creative, "first ascent-style" rides can be strung together in one epic route which involves all manner of riding surfaces, sights, sounds, and scenes. The Rough Riding goal, perhaps? To see it all and do it all, to truly have an adventure. Try it: your life might be changed forever!
Chris and 99 other Rough Riders will gather in Marin County for the first ever Rough Riders Rally on July 23-25. You’re invited! Info at www.adventurecorps.com/rrr/.
Chris Kostman has lived on the endurance path since 1982. Besides competing in races as diverse as the Race Across America, the Triple Ironman, and the 100-mile Iditasport Snowshoe Race, he also organizes endurance events such as the Badwater Ultramarathon and Furnace Creek 508 races, plus a series of four century rides and a five-day cycling retreat in Death Valley. This is his thirteenth article for Endurance News. Learn more at www.adventurecorps.com.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Coming up soon are Hell's Gate Hundred on April 3 and Mount Laguna Bicycle Classic on April 17, both of which we are hosting. (Both have registration still open, however all the hotels in and near Death Valley for the HGH ride on April 3 are sold out. Both currently have about 200 riders signed up and we are very excited.)
The next two Saturdays, we plan to ride the MLBC route, starting from Major's in Pine Valley both days. Saturday the 20th we'll start at 700am and ride loops 1 & 2, then Saturday the 27th we'll start at 800am and ride loops 2 & 3. All are welcome to join us. No support provided, not even a route sheet. Just come ride!
Here's a preview of my new Rivendell Roadeo in its first incarnation. A full report and lots of photos will be posted soon:
We got a cool email from fellow Rough Rider Dustin Sharp, a regular at the Rough Rider Rambles and the Rough Rider Semi-Epics which we'll share here:
We (Esteban Del Rio and I) rode the 80 for Haiti course last Saturday (January 30) with a Kitchen Creek Finish, making for about 90 miles and 7500 feet of climbing. We pushed our bikes through over two miles of snow at the top of Kitchen Creek before hitting sunrise highway. Don’t ask why we weren’t smart enough to turn around and go the other way. Suffice it to say that Sidi shoes are not waterproof and my feet were like two numb bricks coming down Sunrise and into pine valley. It was a different sort of “rough riding” for sure. Check out the pics!