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.Continue reading “THE DIRTY REIVER 2019”
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.Continue reading “EAST LOTHIAN ROUGH STUFF”
Matt and I went on a Huckleberry Finn gravel adventure through some old railway tunnels and find an abandoned sawmill hidden in the woods.Continue reading “GRAVEL RIDE TO AN ABANDONED SAWMILL”
Grinduro has come around again and you are probably thinking, “He is still riding that silly olden times/fashion trend fixed gear bike and hasn’t learned any lessons since last year”. Well you would only be half right. I am still riding fixed but this year I have made some vital upgrades to maximise shredding. Here is my Surly Steamroller Grinduro v 2.0.
Recently Scotland has been doing a great impression which people from less soggy places would recognise as summer. This has opened up the possibility for flappy jerseys, cultivating tan lines and diversifying rides. Rather than a head down character building pedal from shelter to shelter there are now opportunities to explore parched singletrack meandering off into woods, partake in outdoor cooking and other such activities.
Bombtrack have put together a top notch grav grav shredit of the Dirty Reiver that really captures all the good vibes and is well worth a watch . Especially as I make numerous wheelie, whip skid and chatting with Mr Vear at a feed station appearances.
Back in yester-summer of 2017 Rich and myself rode to Glentress and back when I was testing the feasability of off road fixed on the Steamroller in preparation for Grinduro. Since then I have been super keen to repeat this ride on a more robust bike so that increased rowdiness could be factored in. As Stu was yet to ride his Highland Trail 550 bike we decided to get out and put his sparkly single speed through its paces.
Gravel is the new frontier. The roads are clogged with speeding cars and the forests are crowded with artificial mountain bike trails yet miles and miles of gravel lie ignored waiting to be explored. There is an abundance of routes that are too bumpy for road bikes yet too far for mountain bikes which contain staggering views, lung busting climbs and ripping descents. It is no wonder that the gravel scene is exploding right now.
For the last few years I have been super stoked to do the Dirty Reiver and then when it actually comes round to committing money to tickets I have faltered and backed out. No suitable bike, no time off work or lazy legs, I have probably ticked all the classic excuses. This year is different, I was organised(ish), equipped and fairly keen. I say equipped, in the eyes of most riders my bike choice is probably deemed as a form of sadomasochistic torture.