Night Bison Gravel Nocturne, September 1, 2013

From the dawn of mankind, the transition from summer to fall has been a special time for cyclists. Some of the earliest cave paintings show primitive men and women undergoing a critical, seasonal transition in training. You see, in primitive days, these pre-civilized cave-people would ride their road bikes after work during the summer, when the sky was illuminated from the great glowing ball of fire. But as the days progressed towards fall, the great ball of fire started to hang around less and less. Eventually, it got dark early enough that they couldn’t ride road bikes after work. They had to start riding gravel.

The earliest adopters of gravel did things like ride mountain bikes, or road bikes with fatter tires on them. These were heady times. They hoped that the great ball of fire would return the following spring, and thus they would gather in a mass-ritual of appreciation for the sun, and the darkness. They would share in the social experience that was gravel-grinding. While some archaeologists and historians disagree, there is evidence to suggest that these early cycling “group rides” were the foundation for a fundamental shift in human existence, from solitary individuals to small social groups that were the precursors for society and civilization.

Here at Axletree, we’re huge suckers for history. And thus, we are honoring the prehistoric roots of gravel cycling with our second annual Night Bison Gravel Nocturne.

Yes.  September 1, 2013.  We’ll depart shortly before 8pm, from the parking lot immediately behind North Central Cyclery.  To participate, you must have:

  • A bike suitable for 50+ miles on gravel.  That could be a gravel bike, a mountain bike, a touring bike with big tires, a fat bike, a unicycle, etc.  You likely will not be happy on a road bike with 23c tires…this will be loose gravel and B-roads, at night.
  • A helmet.  All riders must wear a helmet.
  • Headlights so you can see where you’re going.
  • A taillight so others can see where you’re at.
  • Tools, tubes, CO2, etc., that you may need.  This ride is self-supported.  There is no SAG and no on-course rider support.
  • Food and hydration for 50+ miles.  (See prior note re: self-supported).
  • A desire to have fun, and the ability to ride safely with others.

Because the ride is self-supported and at night, we recommend riding in groups.  We’d suggest bringing a cell phone, but we won’t have anyone for you to call (we’re all riding), so if your bailout plan is a phone, make sure you have someone to call.

Mid-ride, it will look something like this:

And here’s a little video review from last year.

We’ll have some special surprises this year.  I guarantee that we will have at least 3 2 of the following 5 elements present:

  1. A complimentary Moots Titanium frame for each attendee.
  2. An unsanctioned, unlicensed, not-associated-with-Axletree-in-any-way-mid-route-fireworks-display.
  3. A giveaway of special swag from Knog and Gemini.
  4. A post-ride celebration of gravel.
  5. A guest appearance by Fabian Cancellara.

Remember…3 of 5.

Last year’s inaugural Night Bison was awesome.  This year’s Night Bison shall be better yet.  Come and join us!


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