Andrew Tilin, Cyclist and Author of “The Doper Next Door,” Dies in Bicycle-Vehicle Crash

Andrew Tilin, a well-known cycling journalist and amateur bike racer, died from injuries sustained after being hit by a truck early Saturday morning in Austin, Texas, while he was fixing a tire on the side of the road, reports the Austin American-Statesman.

Tilin, 52, was probably most known for writing The Doper Next Door in 2011. The book looked into how testosterone affected bike-racing performance through the lens of an everyday cyclist. During his reporting and research, he took testosterone for nearly a year to see how it affected him both physically and emotionally. Tilin also wrote for Bicycling and was a friend and colleague to many of our staff and contributors. His feature on radical bike-fit guru Steve Hogg, The Heretic Will See You Now, appeared in November 2014 issue of the magazine. 

Tilin wrote frequently for Outside, where he was a contributing editor and in 2014 he reported on the war between bikes and cars. In that story, Tilin noted the persistent and myriad dangers cyclists in the United States face. "Riders take to the roads and take their chances," he wrote. "There, they can encounter distracted, impatient, or drunk drivers, lane-hogging SUVs, deteriorating pavement, and traffic-clogged grids. Multiple dangers exist from coast to coast."

The crash that killed Tilin occurred along Marshall Ford Road and FM 620 Road, medics reported to Outside. Tilin was riding with Austin’s Gruppo VOP cycling club on a foggy morning. About 30 miles into the ride, he pulled onto the side of a road to change a flat tire when a truck careened into him after it was hit by another vehicle that skidded on slick pavement.

The American-Statesman reported that members of Gruppo VOP are planning a memorial for Tilin, who lived in Austin since 2011 and became an active member of the cycling community. Following the news, Tilin’s death was met by an outpouring of emotion on social media during the weekend. 

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Frostbike ’18: Bike and cockpit updates from Salsa Cycles

Salsa has traditionally been a leader in categories like fat and gravel bikes, but this year, a big goal for the brand is to become more competitive in its trail bike category. With that in mind, a focus for the brand recently has been refining its trail bike lineup as well as trying to bring price points lower without sacrificing quality in order to allow more people to have access to its bikes.

At Frostbike in Minneapolis this year, we met with Salsa’s Product Managers and Developers as they walked us through the 2018 lineup and what has changed.

The Deadwood, which launched last year as a 29plus short-travel full-suspension rig (see our review here), has gotten quite a few tweaks for 2018. Instead of 100 mm of travel up front, it’s now spec’d with a 120 mm front fork, while retaining 90 mm of travel in the rear. The axle to crown length on the front fork stays the same with the switch, so the geometry doesn’t change. Another spec update is 29 x 2.6 inch tires instead of 29 x 3.0, though the frame stays the same so it can still accommodate the wider meat if you so desire.

One more change to the Deadwood lineup is the addition of an aluminum-framed model, which comes in at $2799 with Shimano NX. 

Deadwood NX

Other small changes to the Salsa bike line-up for 2018 include a wider rim and tire combo on the Redpoint, Salsa’s 27.5 enduro-style bike (i35 rim with 2.5 inch Maxxis Minons), and a couple new colorways for the Timberjack and Woodsmoke.

Redpoint Carbon SLX
Woodsmoke NX
2018 Salsa Woodsmoke

Salsa Cockpit 

Salsa also introduced changes to its cockpit lineup, most notably carbon versions of all of its existing drop and flat bars. All bars now come in three different versions: Regular, Deluxe and Carbon.

The Deluxe bars use 7050-T6 series polished aluminum while the lower level regular bars use 6061-T6 bead blasted aluminum. In general, there’s about a $25-$30 price difference between the regular and Deluxe versions across the board for all the bar models. The Carbon drop bars are about 75 grams lighter than the aluminum and will set you back $215, while the Carbon flat bars come in at $140.

Salsa Cowchipper Carbon

Salsa’s drop bar lineup includes the Woodchipper, it’s distinctively-flared signature mountain drop bar; Cowbell, a relatively traditional drop bar; and the Cowchipper, which bridges the gap between the Cowbell and Woodchipper. On the flat bar side of things, the Salt Flat is a zero-rise bar designed more for endurance, cross-country and dirt touring, while the Rustler offers a 20 mm rise (15 mm on the Carbon version) and is designed to be ridden more aggressively. Changes to the flat bars for this year include an 800 mm width versus 760 in the past, so now both bars are offered in 750 and 800 mm options. The Salt Flat also got a wider 31.8 mm clamping section to mount aero bars and/or an Anything Cradle to the bars for endurance riding and touring. On the other hand, Salsa increased the stiffness of the Carbon Rustler by 15%.

Salsa Rustler Carbon

Salsa is also offering the Guide seatpost in all three versions, coming in at $95 for the Carbon, $65 for Deluxe and $50 for the regular Guide.

Check out more details, pricing and full specs on Salsa’s website.


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Farewell Yuba, I Hardly Knew Ye.

Good morning!

First things first, I’ve got a new Outside column on Outside’s website:

It’s all about my experiences riding the Yuba Supermarché and the sociological implications thereof…though yesterday I officially returned the bike because they asked for it back.  This involved a 20-mile ride from my Bronx estate to 718 Cyclery in Brooklyn, who you should be sure to visit for all your adventure and cargo bike needs:

It snowed here on Saturday night, so when I approached the bike yesterday morning here’s what it looked like:

I briefly considered leaving the snow in the tub to enhance my workout, but instead I leaned the bike over and dumped out the snow in the middle of the street.  Then I shoved off, sticking to the surface roads since the Hudson River Greenway was undoubtedly a mess.  Things were a little messy at first, and I’d have rather been on the greenway than in amongst the car traffic on a large bicycle, but by the time I reached Central Park I was pedaling through a winter idyll:

So was this guy:

And yes, he was listening to a handlebar-mounted speaker system.

Anyway, all was going well until the bike started going a little squirmy, and that’s when I realized I had a front flat.  Naturally I’d brought no flat-fixing supplies with me whatsoever, but fortunately there’s a bike rental place on 7th Avenue just outside the park, and so I availed myself of their mechanical services:

The gentleman who performed the repair declared himself the "flat king," inasmuch as he services all the pedicabs and various other pedal-powered conveyances that exist in the tourist ecosystem around Central Park, and said he repairs 50 a week.  At $20 a pop (see what I did there?) that’s a cool grand a week in flats alone, unless of course I paid the sucker rate.  (Honestly I have no idea what the going rate is for flat repair these days.)  But I was in no position to haggle at this stage of my journey, and at any rate he earned every penny because I was up and running again just as fast as you can say, "Lemme run across to the ATM real quick," and I was grateful for his services.

Hey, it’s pretty much impossible to make it through midtown without parting with $20 one way or another, so consider it congestion pricing.

Finally I crossed the Manhattan Bridge and alighted in Brooklyn, but before dropping off the bike I figured I’d stop at Whole Foods and make one last farewell haul:

The Gowanus Whole Foods has ample bike racks, though even the progressive (by American standards) designers of this yupster flagship didn’t account for cargo bikes.  Therefore, parking was a bit awkward, but I made it work:

Then I made scant use of the bike’s voluminous hauling capacity by loading up on six (6) whole cans of beer to gift to 718 because I felt guilty about returning the bike in such a filthy state:

Once I’d discharged the bike and the beer, I figured 20 miles of riding a heavy bicycle (which I didn’t Strava, by the way, because my Apple watch was acting all wonky) wasn’t enough, and so I grabbed a Citi Bike for the next leg of my journey.  Despite its size and heft the Yuba is quite easy to ride, and even my long trip on it was quite manageable.  Still, it was a bit of a relief to get onto a bicycle with a "short" wheelbase, if only because I didn’t have to be so careful about accidentally blocking the crosswalks.

It’s also worth noting that by now (in Brooklyn anyway) most of the snow had disappeared, though you’ve got to give motorists credit for still finding a way to obscure their visibility with it:

Seriously, it’s two swipes with the snow brush, what’s so hard about that?

Then, before leaving Brooklyn, I docked the Citi Bike bought myself a drink:

Because I deserve it, dammit.


NAHBS: Day 2 Highlights

Fuzzy eyed and coffee charged, we lumbered our way to Day 2 of NAHBS. The myth of Jenga greatness welcomed our visitors to the Dirt Rag booth today. Young and old looked to achieve legendary status in the attempts to out-Jenga Dunk and Evan. Day 2 also brought the judges out and the inevitable winners of the weekend’s various categories. To be honest, we collectively missed the winners, amongst conversations of where the best pizza in town is and “is it really going to snow 29 inches tonight?” (currently, it’s well on its way), the call of the winners was a mumble in the background. Let us be honest, your favorite bike and my favorite bike are likely not the same, so in our eyes, everyone is a winner.

A personal favorite is the Sklar Bikes for Kitsbow. Trail geometry steel hardtail ripper with a beautiful paint scheme.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the day was not selected by the judges at all, but a young man who was selected by DeSalvo Cycles to have his dream bike built and shown at the show this weekend. As you can imagine the young gentleman was STOKED! and the bike was quite the eye catcher.

A Tomac inspired all-terrain ripper brought to life by DeSalvo Cycles

There was also a lot of love floating around the show today–from Bromances to families, we were all feeling warm and fuzzy. The snow is falling hard in Hartford right now, so some warm love will be welcomed for the third and final day at NAHBS tomorrow. Challenge us to a game of Jenga, if you dare!

Ultra-Bromance Billy + Benedict
Josh of Hi-Fitrix (23 of 39)trix (9 of 39)


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Frostbike ’18: All-City debuts Gorilla Monsoon “monster cross” bike

At this year’s Frostbike, an event held by Quality Bicycle Products to familiarize and showcase retailers and media with new products, All-City launched a monster cross style bike dubbed the Gorilla Monsoon.

All-City is mainly known for cross and urban bikes, though the brand has dabbled in the mountain category a little in the past and recently launched a 27plus hardtail, the Electric Queen. The Gorilla Monsoon pairs the brand’s cross background with mountain bike capabilities and mixes in just a tad of touring influence.

The Gorilla, as we’ll call it, sports cross bike geometry that is tweaked to optimize long days in the saddle. It also features three water bottle mounts on the frame, as well as rack and fender mounts and provisions for a front derailleur if you want to turn it into a dirt touring bike. The steel thru-axle frame will fit a 27.5 x 2.4 inch tire, or a 700 x 42 (it comes stock with the former). It has stealth dropper post routing too, though it doesn’t come stock with one. The frame comes with a matching steel fork.

The complete build comes equipped with a 1×11 SRAM Apex drivetrain (36t up front with 11-36 in the rear), Hayes CX Expert mechanical disc brakes, WTB rims and tires and the Salsa Cowchipper flared adventure drop bar.

All-City describes this bike as a “do it all dirt solution” for touring, connecting gravel with singletrack or just going out and having fun without wanting to be limited by your bike. Call it a monster cross bike or a drop-bar MTB, the Gorilla Monsoon seems like a versatile and fun ride, with a head-turning paint job to boot.

More info can be found on the All-City website.


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NAHBS 2018: Day 1 Highlights

The 2018 North American Handmade Bicycle Show is up and running here in Hartford, Connecticut. The bikes have all been polished, the judges are judging, and over-sized Jenga is going down at the Dirt Rag booth. Day 1 was a busy one for sure; trying to take in all the booths, catch up with some old friends and keep from drooling on all of the magnificent bikes was a little exhausting. There was so much to see today that I look forward to tomorrow knowing that we weren’t able to get a good look at all of the bikes on display. From legends like Independent Fabrications and Moots to the fresh faces like Adam Sklar and Stinner Bikes, there was enough eye candy to have you looking for a fourth or fifth side job so you could order a couple new frames for yourself. Here’s just a glimpse of some of our favorite bikes and people from the day. If you are coming to the show this weekend be sure to stop by and see us, play some jenga, grab a mag and say hi.

nahbstrix (3 of 32)Independent FabricationsMosiac All-RoadMosaicMosaicmosaicMosaicVladVladSklar


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Save 50 Percent on This Staff-Favorite Giro Helmet

So, getting hit by a car sucks. Luckily I wasn’t injured, but after breaking the windshield of the car involved, I was left looking for a new helmet. $250 seemed like a lot at the time to throw down for something that weighs just a couple hundred grams, but then I asked myself the question everyone asks: “well, how much is your head worth?” So I got the Giro Synthe with MIPS, and it was a huge aid in getting me riding again. 

RELATED: Best Helmets of 2018

The Synthe was a recommendation from multiple riders on staff who love its featherweight and ultra-ventilated fit. Giro’s Roc Loc Air fit system gets the helmet on snug quickly and easily, and suspends it above your head a bit to allow more airflow and ventilation on hot days—when I’m wearing the Synthe I can literally feel the wind in my hair.

But that’s not to say it doesn’t feel protective. The added rotational protection of MIPS makes me feel like I’m safer than with my previous helmet without it, and the helmet itself has good coverage over my whole head. With its aerodynamic shaping and racey style, I even felt confident entering a few local crits as the crash faded from memory. 

Still, $250 is a lot. Luckily, the Giro Synthe is currently on sale for $135 in select colors and styles. If it’s time for an upgrade or you just want to experience some amazing ventilation on hot days, now’s certainly a good time to check one out. 

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Review: Women’s riding hoodies from Garneau, Pearl Izumi and Club Ride

As a curvy woman, I often struggle to find technical clothing that fits well. Investing in an outer layer that fits right and checks all the boxes on my “must list” is not an easy task. I decided to seek this golden chalice of perfection and gather three outer layers for riding that I thought might be “the one.”

Garneau Women’s Mid Season Hoodie
Price: $110
Sizes Available: XS-XXL (MD reviewed)

This hoodie was designed for fall-winter cycling in mild conditions. I would agree that the Mid Season Hoodie did really well in 20-40° temperatures, while lower than 20° required more under-layering pieces to keep my body temperature at a tolerable level. The 4-way stretchable fabric made it easy to layer or accommodate my winter donut habit.

The Drytext 4002 fabric technology keeps in the warmth while allowing for moisture to escape. There is additional material on the shoulder, chest, and elbow for abrasion resistance.

Women rarely get pit vents in our technical clothing, so this hoodie got bonus points from me for having mesh underarms which did not compromise the warmth factor. The hood has an extended visor that fits under a helmet and there are slits on each side to secure the helmet straps through. There are thumb loops on the cuff and two full-size zipper front pockets that an entire open hand fits in. There is also a ponytail opening in the back of the hood that I did not use due to my short hairstyle.

I really liked this hoodie. It fits true to size and has a good amount of complementary qualities to be worth the value of a technical piece of apparel. The Garneau Mid Season Hoodie is available in two colors, and there is a men’s version also.

Pearl Izumi Women’s Versa Quilted Hoodie
Price: $220
Sizes Available: XS-XL (MD reviewed)

When I the Versa Quilted Hoodie for the first time I thought, “This is firey, like my soul!” It is such a great color scheme and style. And at $220 I might have to sell my soul to purchase one. All jokes aside, this is the most expensive of the three but before you judge it based on price or it’s amazingly cool look, read on.

The hoodie is a mix of softshell fabric on the sleeves and a quilted core consisting of 100g PrimaGold insulation in the torso area. I found it got almost too warm after more than an hour of activity, but Pearl Izumi designed this jacket for an average one-hour ride. I was surprised that it is rated at 40-55° temperature and I was wearing it mostly for 20-40° rides.

The fabric in the arms and waist has a good amount of stretch. But the chest area into the armpit does not have a lot of stretch to it, and I found it to be a little snug for me in that area. I would recommend going up a size. Reference for the ladies: I am in the 37″ territory, which falls in line with a medium according to the size chart.

The Versa is water resistant, has drop tail coverage and a side zipper back pocket. There is a front stash pocket big enough for a set of keys. There are thumb loops hidden in the cuffs.

The biggest disappointment I had with this jacket was the small hand pockets. Although this jacket is designed for a one-hour ride, it would have been nice to wear as a casual jacket off the trail. There is just enough room for my mighty fist. Tiny pockets are one of those ongoing problems with a lot of women’s clothing designs.

I still love the look of this jacket and how warm it is! But at the price point, I was definitely disappointed by the fit it had on my curvy body type and the tiny pockets. As a side note, one of my co-workers also gave this jacket a try. She also found the hoodie to be almost too warm unless temps were below 20º and to be too snug to really layer with. She and I both found ourselves not wearing it as much as we would have liked.

Club Ride Two Timer
Price: $110
Sizes Available: XS-XL (MD reviewed)

Last but certainly not least is the Club Ride Two Timer shacket. The Two Timer is made of breathable, quick-dry fabric. It has a lightweight synthetic thermal filled insulation on the front and back, knit sleeves, and a wind resistance front. It also has UV protection, meaning that it has a tight enough weave in the fabric to not let sun rays in.

The Two Timer has a top-zip, large rear pocket with a media port for headphones and two full-size pockets in the front with zipper closures. There are a few reflective accents and thumb holes on the cuffs. The fit is comfortable, and contrary to a few reviews on the Club Ride website, I found the fit true to size. With that said, there was room for a baselayer and a mid-layer in 20° or below temperatures, like a traditional jacket. The wind resistant front is a nice addition to the jacket and it would have been great to have that on the back as well. The Two Timer is warm, and in 40° weather, just a single underlayer works really well.

Side note; Two Timer name has nothing to do with deceiving your partner, but to do with the two materials that created this item.

Overall the Two Timer is a really nice outer-layer – it’s comfortable, warm, and has a casual enough look to cruise to a bar for an after ride beverage.


I do not envy clothing companies trying to figure out the great mystery that is the many shapes of the human body and how to accommodate them all. Out of the three of these, I wore the Garneau and the Club Ride jacket the most and they both have similar qualities: comfort, layering capability, warmth, thumb holes and full-size pockets.

The Garneau has a couple qualities the Club Ride does not: moisture wicking and pit vents. It is a sporty looking piece that can be used for any activity that has a lot of movement and requires flexibility in your clothes. If you are looking for a hoodie to run and ride in, the Mid Season Hoodie may be a good fit for you.

The Club Ride also has a couple qualities that the Garneau does not: wind resistant front and UV protection. It has a nice casual look that works great if you want a jacket to wear on and off the trail and not look like you have just been riding.

What do you think about women’s technical bike clothes? Have you found that golden chalice outer layer that no other can compare to? Comment in the box below and let’s discuss. 


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Tour of Alberta Cancelled, Dealing Another Blow to North American Road Racing

The Tour of Alberta announced its cancellation on Thursday, taking one of North America’s few stage races off the UCI calendar for the season.

Some of pro cycling’s biggest names have used the September race as a warm-up for the Road World Championships held later in the month, including racers from teams like Trek–Segafredo, Cannondale-Drapac, and Rally Cycling. Peter Sagan raced in 2013, and US pro Evan Huffman won the overall in 2017. 

“This decision did not come easily, however with the current economic conditions and decreases in traditional funding sources, we had no other option,” Jeffrey Hansen-Carlson, board chair of the Alberta Peloton Association, said in a statement.

RELATED: Watch Monster Winds Pummel Cyclists Mid-Race

In total, 525 professional cyclists representing 33 countries have taken part in the Tour of Alberta. According to promoters, the race was broadcast to more than 150 countries annually, reaching tens of millions of viewers. It was the only Canadian stage race to achieve a 2.1 UCI ranking.

“The ATB Tour of Alberta was one of North America’s top cycling events and brought some of the world’s best cyclists to the Province of Alberta,” Hansen-Carlson said. “We are very proud of the positive impact this event has had in showcasing Alberta’s people, communities, and landscapes to the world.”

RELATED: 9 Reasons Why the Spring Classics Are for Literally Everyone

In other disheartening news for North American road racing, it appears that Philadelphia’s almost-saved International Cycling Classic—renamed the Independence Classic after its cancellation last year—has also been removed from the UCI calendar, Cycling News reports.

Other events, like the Tour of California, are still on the schedule as usual. But it bears mentioning that this year, the women’s race is down from four stages to three.

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Dockless Bike Share May Have Already Saved China Billions

China’s experiment with dockless bike share, which is less than two years old but has already spread throughout the country (and made its way to the US) has finally started to produce some hard data. We learned last fall that bike share has cut into the nation’s use of gasoline, slowing its annual growth in fuel consumption by about 2.5 percent. Now, it seems that bike share can save big bucks when it comes to easing traffic congestion.

Liu Xiaoming, China’s vice minister of transport, announced last weekend that since dockless bike share launched in the country in April 2016, total costs related to traffic congestion have fallen by 16.1 billion Yuan ($2.6 billion). Furthermore, Cycling Industry News reports that officials estimate health and social benefits tied to the rise in bicycling have amounted to as much as 200 billion Yuan ($31.5 billion) so far.

Last month, a government report noted that bike share has helped cut carbon emissions by nearly 7 million metric tons and created some 30,000 jobs, according to China Daily.

RELATED: Uber Takes a Bet on Dockless Bike Share

These are the Chinese government’s numbers, and it’s hard to confirm them independently. But it’s true that dockless bike share has grown with remarkable speed in the country. Anywhere between 16 million and 23 million bikes have been rolled out in a very short window of time, attracting as many as 220 million riders. Last year, China Daily reports, riders pedaled dockless bikes for a total of nearly 30 billion kilometers (more than 18 billion miles).

The runaway bike-share boom has also caused some headaches for Chinese officials. Rollouts have kept way ahead of regulators scrambling to catch up. The result: hundreds of multicolor bikes blocking rights-of-way, becoming trash in streams and rivers, and sometimes gathering in massive, weirdly beautiful piles. The sheer amount of bikes has overwhelmed cleanup efforts.

RELATED: Are E-Bikes the Future of Dockless Bike Share?

Some analysts have questioned the industry’s long-term viability. A whopping 77 private bike-share companies sprang up in China in recent years, with more than 20 quickly failing. Some of the shuttered operators, like Bluegogo, were briefly major players in the field before competition moved in. But other companies survived the fray and may become permanent fixtures in the transportation economy. Ofo, a Beijing-based operator with billions in investment capital behind it, has even begun debuting in cities across the US.

In some ways, including the VC funding, China’s bike share boom resembles a silicon Valley-style gold rush—and the money it could potentially save cities (if not the environmental and health incentives) will likely fuel even more interest. 

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