Burning Dirt: Saved by Bilenky’s Junkyard ‘Cross

By Mike Cushionbury. Photos by Dave Joachim.

I quit bike riding. I’d almost suggest you do too. It’s hard. Equipment breaks down. You get cold and wet. You get lost. You fall and get fucked up. Don’t even get me started on racing; it ruins you from the inside out. It sucks

I think I’ve said that every year since 2006 and oops I said it again in 2012, about four times I think. Thankfully I never really mean it and we’re riding big again in 2013. We may even race some.

And when I say we, I mean all of us who ride, race, commute or work on bikes every day through all of Mother Nature’s best and worst, even when it hurts and doesn’t work out like we planned. If you look at the pages of our magazine you’ll see passionate riders, writers and artists who never give up on the lifestyle. It’s a true way of life.

In the next year you’ll meet more folks who never gave up. I count among my friends the promoters of BC Bike Race and the Trans-Sylvania Epic, two mountain bike stage races you must attend this coming year (you didn’t quit riding like I suggested, right?) They never gave up on their dreams and now they’re doing pretty well for themselves while giving us who like to ride mountain bikes for a week some great summer action.

A new friend is Jim Cummins, promoter of the Dirty Kanza 200, my next adventure that you’ll also read all about in this blog and in the magazine. It’s a giant new journey that made me rethink hanging up my bike. Just like BCBR and TSE have done every year since 2007 and 2010 respectively. You may also read about another friend, Rebecca Rusch and her 100-mile “My Own Private Idaho.” But that’s a secret for now.

I guess I found my point. Bike riding, racing and just being is pretty fun and it’s what makes us all, well, us. Like the season-end party I just went to: Bilenky’s famous Junkyard Cross. It’s a giant Philadelphia celebration of bikes: hipsters, roadsters, punks, metal heads, pros, cons and a lot of what made me realize why I’ll never quit riding: we all just suck at having fun.


Welcome to the junkshow.


When’s the last time you got passed by a unicorn in a cyclocross race?


Bilenky Cycles’s junkyard ‘cross doesn’t have your typical ‘cross finish line.


The day’s winner rides off with the podium girl.


That doesn’t look like a UCI-approved barrier…


Even Old St. Nick had a go around. Too bad his pants kept falling down.


It’s not a party until the cops show up… 


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