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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 105 > A QUESTION OF DUST

A QUESTION OF DUST

BARNEY TRAVELS HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD TO GET DUST IN HIS EYES, A BEER IN HIS HAND AND LOVE IN HIS COLD, COLD HEART.

PATAGONIA'S AYSEN RALLY

PICTURES BY BARNEY & GARY PERKIN

It’s hot today. Really hot. And I’m riding through some of the most astonishing scenery I’ve ever seen. But right now, I’m totally oblivious to it. All I can see is the blurred outline of the rear wheel I’m chasing, and slowly, even that is gone. The dust kicked off the wheel in front seems to spiral outwards, packets of talcum powder exploding from it like little cluster bombs, firing curtains of glowing oblivion in the air.

The manual - Should be higher!

The experience is totally new to me, and utterly gorgeous. At first, the dust merely catches the light and makes the air heavy with a sort of magical expectation. And then the fog deepens. Sounds from outside seem dulled; all I can hear is our whoops and hollers, the clickclickclick of the freewheel and the occasional shriek of suddenly applied brakes. And suddenly the trail points a little more downwards, and our speed picks up. This is what the dust has been waiting for, it seems. It erupts in astonishing profusion from the wheel I am following and can already barely see. Every knobble on the tyre spits out more of this ambushing miasma, curling and billowing like squid ink.

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About Singletrack

International Adventure: Patagonia – Barney travels to this remote region of Chilé to find some killer singletrack – and a fair bit of dust. We Work Here: Rocky Mountain – We take a trip to the distant (but still very wet) shores of North Vancouver, to see the inner workings of one of Canada’s oldest mountain bike companies. UK Adventure: Dances with Wolves – Andy McCandlish takes a chilly trip down memory lane with Ed Oxley and Andy McKenna. UK Adventure: Riding Through The Seasons – Sanny extols the virtues of riding all year round. Room 101 – Mark is the ultimate arbiter of your submissions to our Room of Shame. Classic Ride: Capel Curig – There’s more to Snowdonia than a few trail centres and a mountain. Grouptest: Wider Wheels – The Grinder team put six sub-£500 wheelsets through the mill. Bike Test: Flat-out Race Bikes – We take a look at three nose-to-the-wheel speed machines. Through the Grinder – A plethora of promising products, assessed by our accomplished assemblage of trusted and true testers. Grinder Bike: Pivot Mach 4 Carbon – Chipps takes a long look at Pivot’s swoopy carbon trail/race monster. 15 Years of Spine Lines – To celebrate our 15th year, some of the best – and the weirdest – of our Spine Lines. International Adventure: Suisse Rolling – Jérôme Clementz takes a busman’s holiday in the Swiss Alps. The Last Word – Antony de Heveningham wonders if we’re actually in the golden age of mountain biking right now.
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