AWD: I got an e-mail response from yesterday's post regarding all wheel drive bicycles. The question was, "Do you ever think these will become common?" Answer: No. These all wheel drive bikes have been around in one form or another for 10 years or so now. They will never really take off in the cycling world for two reasons. 1. More complexity= more maintenance. The front wheel is cable driven on these machines and any contamination will only serve to make the mechanism more inefficient than it already is. This leads me to reason number 2. Loss of efficiency. Mechanically speaking, there is alot of bevel gears and cable being spun around here by human power. Power that could be used to propel the bike forwards, or for a longer period of time. Of course the mechanism adds weight as well. Finally, the end purpose for the biggest manufacturer in the AWD bicycle field is to get into the motorcycle market, which makes alot more sense. Motorcycle engines produce alot more power than human ones do!
Crowd Control: It has been reported in various cycling forums that the Colorado Highway Patrol has announced a limit to the number of people allowed on the roads in cycling events that they provide protection for. Citing shrinking budgets and lack of available manpower to cover such huge events, the CHP has limited the number of cyclists to 2500 for any event needing their assistance. (Read: any cycling event on a public road in Colorado) Some of the larger public rides in Colorado will be affected by as much as a reduction in riders of 30%.
Why should we care? Well, here in Iowa you can bet that the Iowa State Patrol has their ears pricked up by this news. Iowa is in a similar state of affairs when it comes to budget cuts and lack of manpower. Iowa also has this little ride across the state in July that attracts over 10,000 riders, plus all the support vehicles and people associated with the event. The Iowa State Patrol has been grumbling for years about the strain that RAGBRAI has put on their force. This past summer, the organizers of RAGBRAI were encouraged to put limits on the riders as to when services would be available on route. For example, the route was said to have "shut down" at 6pm. nightly. Did this work? I wasn't on the ride this year, but you can bet that there were people riding past 6pm. WAY past 6pm.!
Another rumor I'm hearing is that the organizers of the event want to take more control of the event by catering it. Thats right folks, no more independant food vendors, unless the organizers give the okay, which I doubt. Why is this? Because State officials want this ride brought under control, and if RAGBRAI won't police the event, then the State will. And they now have a precedent set in Colorado.
My prediction is that we will see an event limit set in Iowa, as well. Of course, RAGBRAI will be the target, as this is the only ride in Iowa that exceeds the 2500 limit Colorado has set for their cycling events. The days of the "out of control", Mardi Gras type atmousphere of RAGBRAI are over. The monster just got WAY too big to tame. Now it's time to kill it.
That's my take, what's yours?