SURLY DUNOON DIRT DASH

Before we start, there are two things that you must know about the Dunoon Dirt Dash:

• It’s not a bloody race
• Don’t be a dick

Oh, and one more thing. Never assume a route created by Markus Stitz will just be a simple easy-going gravel ride.

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THE DIRTY REIVER 2019

These days if you haven’t tackled the Dirty Reiver can you even call yourself a UK gravel rider? The Dirty Reiver has become a gravel season opener here and a tough benchmark to measure how favourable the winter months have been to fitness. If you have been hiding inside from the grimness of winter the Dirty Reiver is going to quickly remind you of all those missed training rides. Even the diligent winter riders will find the 130km cut off to be very tempting, an opportunity to end the suffering by cutting the route short to find sanctuary and beer at the event village early. The full 200km demands some serious grit and determination from riders.

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THE WRONG TYPE OF TUBELESS

I really should have learned by now but when the weather is great and you are quickly packing your bag for a local ride it can be too easy to forget or overlook something. The Pentlands are the perfect distance from Edinburgh to allow you to leap on your bike, get out into the hills and in the exuberance of the ride not consider everything you might need. On this occasion I headed out and in my excitement of riding some new trails managed to forget a tube. The frustration is you can go on many rides with no worries of a puncture yet quite often they will appear at a point that is most inconvenient. This was one of those rides.

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EURO FIXED GEAR ODYSSEY BIKE CHECK

One of the things I like about bikepacking is that each setup is unique to the rider. Each person will have different requirements or preferences which are ultimately reflected in their kit. Shaped by experience, setups become dialled in and what works for one person might seem ridiculous to another. There is no rule book to tell you that a setup is perfect other than the conclusion of the ride and even then there are always new lessons learned for the next trip. Even on an adventure where two similar riders tackle the same route on the same bike there are is so much scope for different approaches. This could not be any better demonstrated than by the setups that Stu and I ran for a 1000+ mile fixed tour across Europe which saw us covering the wide range of terrain and surfaces that span between Barcelona and Rome.

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SNOW DAY!

I went for a gravel ride with Euan Camlin, Andrew Cullen and Christo Gallagher. We had planned out a route but when we saw that it had snowed over night we decided to scrap our plan, make things up as we go along and the ride worked out even better.

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EAST LOTHIAN ROUGH STUFF

As per Rich’s birthday tradition we go for a loop of the East Lothian Rough Stuff Audax gravel route. Some swoopy trails, standard pie stop and a top shelf selection of Rich stories.

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IS THE STOVE ON – OVER PHAWHOPE BOTHY MICROADVENTURE

The echo chamber of our group chat had tricked us again. With the woes of our Gameshope miss-adventure now in the past the idea of getting out for the first bothy adventure of 2019 had got us excited.

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