Cyclist of the Month: Dave Ashmun

Age: 77
Occupation: retired CPA
Residence: Shoreline, Washington
Wheels: Litespeed Siena, Klein road bike, 1963 English Carlton road bike, Santa Cruz and GT mountain bikes

From five-speeds to ten-speeds to twenty seven-speeds; from steel to aluminum to titanium; from sew-up tires and soldered spokes to lightweight wheelsets – Dave Ashmun has witnessed the gauntlet of bicycle technology innovation since the 1950s. A fifteen-year Cascade Bicycle Club veteran, Ashmun comments on his love of biking and the history of doping.

Born in Dayton, Ohio, Ashmun co-founded the Dayton Bicycle Racing & Touring Club with fellow rider Clair Duckham. Today, the Dayton Cycling Club is still active, boasting approximately 1,000 members. And Ashmun’s buddy Clair, 100-years old, annually rides part of a route from Dayton to Troy, Ohio to celebrate his birthday with club members.

In his racing days, Ashmun competed in the middle category of the five race categories. Many of his Dayton racing peers were Italian nationals; Ashman recalls leaving some of the Italians without passports at the border because they could not leave the U.S. to race. Ashmun’s best performance was a 17th place finish in a 125-mile race from Detroit to Cereal City, Michigan. ”I remember racers sleeping in fire stations and putting in 500 miles per week. Back then, a lot of dope addicts and smokers raced…and some rode dirty too; they would try to eliminate new riders from races.”

Ed note: According to Jerry Baker, self-described PHC, the Amateur Bicycle League of America (ABLA), which is now the United States Cycling Federation (USCF), would have been the governing body for Ashmun and his teammates. Until the mid-1980s, Baker recalls the ABLA grouping riders as midgets, intermediates, juniors, seniors, and veterans. Today, USCF recognizes six official ranking levels:
Pro, Cat1, Cat 2, Cat 3, Cat 4, and Cat 5 in four age groups: Masters, Elites, Seniors, and Under 23s/Juniors.

In 1967, Ashmun moved to Ballard; he has also lived in Bellevue, Marysville, Renton, and, now lives in Shoreline.

Ashmun says cycling keeps him better oriented. Every week, he rides 40 miles with fellow Club member Bob Kelly. “I started riding more when I retired, but I really never stopped riding.” Logging 4,000 miles per year, biking is his main physical activity. A former Mountaineers club member, Ashmun also enjoys hiking, photography, rowing, sailing, and skiing.

Since retiring, his cycling event resume includes: eleven Group Health STPs; several Wenatchee Apple Centuries; two Lilac Centuries in Spokane; three Chilly Hillys; several Flying Wheel Summer Centuries, and an upcoming McClinchy Mile Bike Ride. In 2003, Ashmun’s son Stuart (who used to build bikes at Cycle Sport in Bellevue) joined him to tour Cycle Oregon; Ashmun’s most memorable cycling experience was coming into and out of Joseph, Oregon where cyclists were descending wet pavement at 50 – 60 m.p.h. in chilly and rainy weather. After huddling at food stop bonfires to keep warm, Ashmun volunteered as a course monitor for the 2007 Cycle Oregon.

Although his five bikes are configured with different saddles, computers, shifters and other components – Ashmun appreciates that all of the new brakes are vast improvements over the ones available in the 1960s.

Look for Dave Ashmun in July when he’ll ride his twelth STP.

To learn more about the Dayton Cycling Club, visit:

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