Saturday, July 30, 2005

Impending Doom!

Just got word that the wise men at Trek have tried to slide a fast one under the radar, but they've been caught! Our buyer at work noticed that a short blurb buried down the list on the front page of Dexter,( Trek's dealer website) stated that for the Trek show, only TWO PEOPLE would be allowed admittance for free from each dealer. More than that would incur a $200.00 per head price tag! Yeah! I couldn't believe it either! It's true unfortunately. I guess unless a special disspensation is made, I'll be not going to the Trek Show this year! If your reading this, and your planning on going to the Trek dealer only show, you'd better let your boss or manager know about this, as virtually no advance warning was given by Trek. It wasn't on the registration form, and it wasn't communicated to us by our rep, although he confirmed it when our buyer called him on it. Huge Bummer!

On other notes: Locals take notice! August 28th there is another XC event being planned at Camp Ingawanis. If you haven't ridden here, you need to go! It's very good terrain for a fun XC race! If you have ridden there, you know what I'm talking about.

Wonder how Jeff is doing at 24hr of 9mile?

I've got my "new" set up on the Karate Monkee. Still dialing in the details, pics soon!

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Ergon Grips Review: Update

Ergon Grips as mounted on my Karate Monkey single speed
Guitar Ted Productions

I know I have posted on Ergon grips before, but I wanted to give an update on the performance of these grips over the last three months. To re-cap the salient features, Ergon grips are a performance enhancing grip designed to give you more comfort and control when mounted to your flat, or riser bars. The anatomic shape fits nicely in your hands, but as I have found, that's not the only posistion for you to operate with. (More on that in a minute) Ergon grips feature a soft flatish insert on top, along with a lock on collar, and a hard plastic interface with your handle bar. The grips slip on snugly, and then lock into the desired posistion using a 4mm allen bolt located on the outside end of the grip. The bolt is nicely recessed into the aluminum collar. The collar itself flowing nicely into the grip area, making a nice transistion, which feels good to the hand. Currently there are two models. One meant for larger hands, dubbed the "men's model", and one for smaller hands dubbed the "women's model". I have recommended the smaller model to men with smaller hands and the large to women with larger hands, so don't let the labels deter you. A grip shift compatible model is in the works, but not currently available.

These grips have so reduced my hand pain and numbness, that I will not ride a flat bar without them again! It was evident on my very first ride. It's that dramatic a change from traditional grips. I found that with the wider, flattish profile of the grip that I could rest my hands, thumbs and all, on the top of the grip for a little change while riding non-technical stretches of trail. Not only that, but subtle twists and reposistioning of your hands on different areas of the grips yeilded even more ways to relax the hands. You'll have to experiment for yourselves to fully get a grasp on what I mean, but trust me, it's nice! I found that I could really relax my grip, and in turn my forearms, and still maintain a great level of control. The grips lock on feature really kept them from twisting, which could have been a real problem in light of their shape.
The posistioning of the attitude of the grips on your bars is the key to their performance benefits, so you may have to tweak the grip slightly over time to fine tune it to your needs. For instance, I found that by pointing the tail of the grip,(the portion of the grip that tapers to the rear of your bike as you look at it from a sideveiw) slightly upwards from level was the best for me. Ergon representative, Peter Swap confirmed my suspicions that the tail section pointing upwards is key to making the grip work it's best. You may be able to dicern this from my photo, above.
I used these grips for three solid months on rides in cold, snow, light rain, and searing heat. My rides consisted of my short commute to work, which is about 20 minutes, all the way up to an epic five hour gravel grinder. I found them to remain cosistent in their feel, which is pleasingly soft, yet firm. Not mushy! They held up well, showing very little signs of wear and tear for me. The material that they are made of seems to remain stable and un-affected by temperature changes. I recommend them to you, and any of my clients at the bicycle shop I work at. Especially if you have problems with numbness or pain in the hands. They are expensive, at about $30.00 retail, but are well worth the dollars for the benefits to the rider. No pain is way better than riding cheap grips with numb hands any day!

Hope you enjoyed that review. Get some Ergon grips! You won't be sorry. I am having a little regret, however, because I am going to be testing a new handlebar/ grip combo starting today. Why, you ask? Well, I have to be satisfied that I have fully explored (within reason!) my options for a very long ride I have planned to do, that's why! I may very well come back to the Ergon/ Ti bar set-up I have now, but we'll see! Stay tuned for pics of the new set-up soon!

Stupid Question: A Ragbrai Moment

Although picking just one stupid ragbrai moment would seem at first to be an insurmountable task, I'm sure you'll all agree that this has to be at the top of the list!

Picture in your mind the quiet, bucolic Iowa countrside on a perfect late summer day. I and my mother, who was my riding partner for the day, decide to stop at a roadside food stand set up by a local Amish family. They have several different homebaked goods on offer. A few riders are milling around in the gravel driveway munching on their delicious treats. Meanwhile, five Amish men, and a few of their children look on in quiet amazement at the circus rolling by their farm.

Okay? Now, imagine a middle aged male rider doing the 30 questions routine with one of the young Amish men. Questions such as "What crops do you all raise?, What do you do for heat? You guys don't have electricity?", and on and on ad infinitum. This in itself was just mildly irritating, but the Amish man was pleasant and accomodating. Then, as I gazed at the rider asking questions thinking to myself, "Leave the dude alone, already!", I heard the craziest thing. "So, do you guys have to marry your cousins?", the rider says! I couldn't believe it! My immediate reaction was to blurt out loud, "That's it!! Get out the shotgun!" (Yes, I really said that!) However; the Amish fellow, to his immense credit, answered the man patiently. I still can't believe some people are so ignorant!

Oh, and by the way, the six cookies I got for a dollar were wonderful!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Ragbrai Photo Blog Ride Report

Just got back from playing the "Ragbrai Game"! Have fun as you peruse the strategy behind a sucessful round playing Iowa's famous late summer cycling extravaganza!

It's Ragbrai time! Let's play the "Ragbrai Game"! Get it right, and you will find "nirvana". (You will also see lots of shiny tractors....strange, isn't it?)
Guitar Ted Productions

Keep right, signal, and obey all traffic laws. Abide by the rules or you will be forced to walk your bike back to the start town and begin the game again. This poor guy has seven miles to go!
Guitar Ted Productions

If you run afoul of the pre-ragbrai preparation rule, or if your sled just plain sucks, please avoid groveling or haggling with the Shop Rats. Offenders will be subjected to redicule and booby-trapped bicycles, repaired in such a way as to explode at the furthest point between towns.
Guitar Ted Productions

Avoid temptation to giggle and point. Offenders will suffer the wrath of Recumbent Geek Doode!
Guitar Ted Productions

Find the "real" trike, and advance to food court!
Guitar Ted Productions

Search for best food values in the pass-thru town. Resist urges to get on the Johhny-popper and go "put-put". Offenders will be forced to do a naked beer slide!
Guitar Ted Productions

After loading up on pie, bananas, Gatorade, and pork chop sandwiches, (not necessarily in that order) Go directly to the kybo lines!
Guitar Ted Productions

Find your place at the end of the line. Don't get caught staring! Gawkers let two cut in front!
Guitar Ted Productions

Find the fashion faux paux, and advance two places!
Guitar Ted Productions

Your final destination: Kybo Karnage! (This one's fer you, Jeff!)
Guitar Ted Productions

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More Alien Technology Appears! Part II

I think the "aliens" have gotten to Jeff! I caught him using this "bong" device today that is filled with this weird substance!
Guitar Ted Productions

Europa Cycle and Ski is a really weird place! I think Jeff has been abducted by aliens or something! I caught him on camera today taking this bong hit of this really weird green goo! He was actually inhaling it!!! I made him confess later, and he admitted that it was just something that was no big deal. He said that someday, we would all understand and that "we" are not ready for them yet. (????!!!) Yeah! How messed up is that! I know one thing, if he wins at the 24hrs of 9 mile this weekend, we'll all know why! Oh well, at least he isn't acting any weirder than normal. Ha!

Later, I found this residue! What could it be?!!
Guitar Ted Productions

Monday, July 25, 2005

Remembering The End of Another Era

I remember back in the early nineties when America's best cyclist, Greg Lemond hung up his cleats for the last time. I wondered if we would ever witness another American cyclist as dominant as Greg was. I remember a very young Texan, Lance Armstrong, who would show occaisional dominance on the U.S. cycling scene, only to fizzle at Le Tour. Hah! I was just getting back into cycling, and I addmittedly knew little about pro cycling. I didn't realize that you just didn't up and win that race- the Tour. So, I was thinking, would we ever see another American up on that podium? I guess he answered that question!

Now we are asking that same question. We are wondering, will we ever witness anything like this again? Perhaps. I just wonder, will the American people accept anything less? I hope so. I'm doubtful anyone will display such a dominance as Lance has in my lifetime. However, I am sure we will see another American do very well in France in July. It's a streaky race, that Tour de France. Consider; in the last 36 years, five men have won that race 25 times. (Merkx-5, Hinault-5, LeMond-3, Indurain-5, Armstrong-7) So, if another American gets there, there is a strong possibility he will win more than one tour- at least I think so.

Whatever happens, this has been a time marker in our lives, especially for sporting fans, and intimately so for us cyclists. I enjoyed the ride. I hope you all did too!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

"Hot" Topics of the Day

Well, against my own advice to you all, I went out for a ride at 12:30pm. today. Yeah, it was hot, but I was ready! I figured that since riding in the heat was one of my weak points that I should work on that. Thanks to ELETE and Mr. 24, (The areas de-facto nutritional expert) I set myself up with two large water bottles that were spiked with the single serving ELETE samples. One in each bottle. I also mixed in some Powerbar drink mix in one of the bottles. Okay, now for the wierd part! I had these two almost empty pouches of the single serve ELETE. I sucked 'em both dry right before I left! Straight up, pure ELETE. Yummm! Salty!

It worked out great! I attacked a 25 mile loop that I do that is punctuated with several short, steep climbs. The kind that hurt the legs and make my head go ker-thump! Well, not today! I really felt good on the bike. I'm sure it was the ELETE product that Mr. 24 is pimping. See him for more details. His words are golden, ya know.

Check out the picture below. That hill is known by the old timers as Sheep Barn Hill. Some younger folks may remember the hill where the old waterpark used to be by Evansdale. Whatever you call it, this thing is a wall! It really kicks skyward about halfway up. I think you gain about a 100 feet in about a half a city block. It hurts! Check it out sometime if your in the area on your bike. The really tough part is that you don't get much of a run up because you usually have to stop to cross old highway 20 right at the base of the hill. Fun times!

The rail yard picture was taken in Waterloo. Any guesses as to where I took that picture? Give it a try, you locals! Anyway, have a safe weekend! Congrats to Lance! Are you ready to embark on the post-Lance era? Starts tomorrow at about 2pm. CST. Good Luck! Good Journey!

A View of Waterloo's Train Yard for You Train Lovers Out There!
Guitar Ted Productions

"Sheep Barn Hill", "Waterpark Hill", whatever! It's steep!
Guitar Ted Productions

Friday, July 22, 2005

Crazy With The Heat!

Spit-tooey! A home made spitoon mounted to the frame of a recumbent trike! YIKES!
Guitar Ted Productions

Check out that picture! Ta-back-kee product user has mounted a "spitoon" to his recumbent trike! Just when you think you've seen it all! Awesome!

Heat Advisory out for our area this Saturday and Sunday. You South-westerners may laugh, but ya'all don't have the hyoo-midda-tee that we have up here. 80% predicted humidity levels combined with upper 90 degree temps put the "it feels like" temperature at about 115-120 degrees! It won't let up at night either, like it does in the Southwest. By the way, if we didn't have the humidity, it would get into the hundred and teens anyway! The moisture keeps a lid on how hot the actual air temps get here. Anyway.....the point is, be VERY CAREFUL out there this weekend! Ride in the early am., or at night. Drink LOTS of fluids, (Specifically, water, water mixed with ELETE, water, and any electrolyte replacement, such as ELETE!) No kidding! This is the weather that KILLS! Check on your elderly neighbors! Stay cool!

Sounds like Ragbrai will be swelterin'! Ha ha! Glad we don't have to travel around with that circus anymore! We have been busy enough at the shop anyway! I thought Jeff was going to have a nervous breakdown. He was pretty bent about having to spend his Saturday with L.O.W. See, if your working with the chief, you are pretty much down about half a man as he tends to gab a little too long with the customers. It gets a little frustrating when people are standing three deep at the counter. I know how it goes! Oh well! Maybe the heat will keep things a little more sane for Mr. 24! It'll be hard to coax people outta the A/C tomorrow!

Early am. ride, before the heat sets in tomorrow! Ride safe! Be Smart!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Looking Forward to the Weekend

Hmmm.......Gotta use this!
Guitar Ted Productions

Getting geared up for some riding on this coming hot weekend! I had to get a ride to work yesterday, as the ominous clouds promised to make my commute a soggy affair, if I dared to ride. The leading edge of the storm was spectacular. The clouds looked like a knife edge made out of agate! One of those "wish I had my camera" moments. Due to the mornings situation, I was obliged to walk home, which was a four mile step. I went at a brisk pace, but it still took an hour. I awoke this morning to some tight hamstrings, no doubt due to my little jaunt. I've been stretching them all morning. Good thing I don't have to work till noon!

I'm planning on using that little card in the photo to ride up at Camp Ingawanis. Thanks to Paul Meyermann for letting me have the free pass! The trails up there are very hilly, and challenging. Very good, long loop of single track! I can't wait! The Camp is holding a race again in the late part of August, so stay tuned for more info on that as I get it. Other than that, I plan on getting a longer roadie session in on my "dorky" Trek 420. (Ha ha! Jeff!) Then, I'll probably have to mow the lawn somewhere in there, along with getting the kids out to a park, and celebrating my son's second birthday on Sunday. Whew! That's going to be alot!

Hope you all have a great day! Ride your bike! Hug a loved one!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The "Punk Rock" Choice for the "Rag" Stage

1989 Trek 420 This years model for the "Rag."
Guitar Ted Productions

Well, here it is in all it's low-tech glory! My Trek 420, True Temper CrMo framed sport touring rig. I capitulated and decided to forgo riding one of the two fine old Italian made steel racers I have in the "stable" here at the Guitar Ted Labratories. Following is the Three-one-one on the four-two-ohhh, ya'all.

This is a fine example of what happens to most bikes sold at bike shops. They get ridden maybe once, put in the garage, and then pased down, given away, sold at estate, or traded in for a new bike years later. This 420 had about 50 original miles on it, according to it's original owner, when it got traded in at Europa. I bought it for about a quarter of it's original sale price. Sure, it's old school. But with a name like "420", and being almost new, how could I resist? (By the way, I do not partake of the hippie lettuce, just in case yer wundrin') So, it's a pretty pristine, original example of a late 80's road rig.

Component highlights are as follows: Shimano Sport LX bio-pace chainring triple, brakes, levers, shifters, all Sport LX. I switched out the very suspect post for the rare, and beauitiful Avocet post, which features so much set-back I can position my derrierre in the next county. The saddle is an old umma-gumma grey Specialized Pro-long. Stock Trek tires. And, finally the old white bar vinyl was swapped out for this tape that was supposed to look like white carbon fiber. Instead, it looks like duct tape! Punk Rawk, doode!

So, that's the chosen rig for the stage of "that ride" next week that I'm doing. I'm going to have a rousing report from the field for ya'all, so be on the look-0ut. Bonus: This years edition features "service times", which for all intents and purposes indicates the shut down time for each pass thru town. The route "services" will only be available from 6am.-6pm., which should work out really well for the bar-to-bar crowd!

Hot enough for you? Just wait till Saturday, when the forcast high is close to 100 degrees! That'll be pretty neat along with the humidity, should get that index reading upwards of 120. Drink water, take it easy! Don't need you to go a-dyin' on us! Ya hear?

Monday, July 18, 2005

This could be very, very good! Part II

Another 29 inch wheeled frameset is coming our way! Yippee! Those dudes at Kona are getting it right with the up-coming Unit 2-9. This baby has got it all! Triple butted CrMo frame, sliding dropouts, (Really good idea that allows the tensioning of a single speed chain, the use of disc brakes, and quick release rear wheels) also featuring full braze ons for gearie duty, an optional driveside sliding dropout with the integrated derailluer hangar, and all painted up in a metallic sage green! Price will be $425.00, which is crazy! A Project Two rigid CrMo fork will be made available later for an extra $50.00. Available at your Kona Dealer in October. (Dang! wish Europa was one!)

Extra added FLUFF for your reading pleasure!

1. WAY BUSY today at the shop! Crazy ragbrai riders! Wait till the last minute to buy/ fix their stuff! Well, it is good for business, I'll say that! Drives me kinda nuts! It'll all be over really soon, and before I know it, it'll be slow again! Must be crazy to ride a bike after ragbrai, I guess. Color me crazy then!

2. Somebody musta made Mr. 24 really mad! I saw his notes at the meeting today! That somebody then went and bought Jeff some new tools, as a sort of peace offering, I guess. I can't really say who this somebody is, or what it is this somebody leans on, but Mr. 24 knows!

3. I got some more suggestions for Trans Iowa '06. They were really good ones from a highly respected source! There will be changes based on this guys ideas. Very good! Keep it tuned to these pages for a future update!

4. Carlos the Jackal has a rather intriguing situation brewing up at the Scout Camp. Veddy inta-restink! I feel for him! It is a bad situation! But Carlos will pull through it! See his blog, maybe he'll divulge!

5. Took the Schwinn commuter/ trailer towing rig to work today. Felt good to be back out on a bike again. I get all depressed when I can't ride my bike. You probably do too! So go ride then, already!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


1. HOT! Mowed the lawn, and rested today. I am playing in the church band this weekend, which is always a big energy drainer. You wouldn't believe how much energy you use playing two practices and four music sets in a weekend! Well, maybe you would, if you are a musician.

2. My daughter is returning after a week spent with her Grandma. We also are celebrating my son's second birthday on Sunday. Going to be too busy to get a bike ride in probably!

3. Trans Iowa suggestions are coming in slowly. I already am getting gas for wanting to make it harder! Well, too bad! I don't really see the logic in such complaints anyway. Got some good advice from frame builder Matt Chester. He said to keep it on the down-low, under the radar, and all that. Punk rock bike race for hardcores. Sounds good!

4. Sweating the decision about which bike to ride on the Thursday leg of ragbrai that I'm going on. Stupid! I've got way too many bikes- obviously! The "brain dead" option is the steel Trek 420. 28mm Conti tires and I'd be off. Should do it.

5. The Scwhinn High Sierra project is painted, and decal design is done. Gotta get the decals done up next. I was going to single speed this bike, but now I'm not so sure. I picked up an old skool XT rear derailluer that was pretty scuffed. I am highly modifying it for use on this bike, probably. I got some On-One Midge drops procured-finally! Those are destined for this bike, eventually. Only after they do a tour of duty on the Karate Monkee! Got the all important roller cam brakes all polished up purty for this one, as well. Pics should be coming!

6. I picked up a set of Super Record sew-up wheels recently. I probably will only be using the hubs for a future Campy-ization of my Schwinn Voyaguer touring bike. That'll be awhile though. I just couldn't pass up these hubs, they came way cheap!

7. Shout out again to "The Chad" on his recent marriage! Congratulations, my friend! I hope your getting all settled in with your new bride.

8. The Tour. Tomorrow is D-Day for anyone that wants to unseat "The Lance" from his tour lead. The GC contenders cannot time trial with the exception of der kaiser, and he ain't within striking distance.......yet! Tomorrow is the day, and the only day left that Lance can lose the Tour with the possible exception of a freak accident. And guess what? I won't see it! Oh well! I'm sure you cycling freaks will all be glued to the media of choice, cuppa java in hand, sweatin' it all out. Enjoy it! Next year, we will probably not be as interested. Such is the power of Lance!


Friday, July 15, 2005

Why Wait Till November.......

Jeff and I would like to thank all you customers that leave your toys that make noise on your repair bikes for us to play with! (Jeff gettin' off on the machine gun death ray noize!)
Guitar Ted Productions
.......When you can give thanks now! Realizing that some things were getting too negative here on Guitar Ted Productions, Jeff helped me out by lightening things up a little! Here are some of the joys of life that we mechanics have recently experienced! Thanks! Thanks to all of you! We couldn't do this without you!

Jeff and I would like to thank Carlos the Jackal for lettin' us "huck" this sled offa da loadin' dock!
Guitar Ted Productions

I'd like to personally thank Leans On Wood for the salty nuts!
Guitar Ted Productions

Thursday, July 14, 2005

A/C Creatures

It's the A/C season again in Iowa. That means that most people are ducking from one airconditioned atmousphere to another, spending as little time inbetween as they possibly can. Have we gone soft, or what? I am just as guilty as the next guy though. I am sitting here banging this out on my keyboard as the window A/C whirrs in the backround. I guess I should be glad we even have A/C. It just kind of makes me think about how things like that have gone from, "oh that's a nice thing, we're so blessed.", to "Where the #@^* is my A?C?!! We hafta have it!" We as a country are so screwed up that way! Anywho...........

Looks like the On One Inbred 29er that I pictured awhile back has been given an inventory number at our supplier. That doesn't necessarily mean they are coming in, but it's hopeful! The entire first run of frames is tagged for U.S. sale, and with the 29er hoards waiting with their tongues lolling out of their grills, you can bet they won't last long! Who knows when and if they would re-stock them. Add to this the news I got that Trek maybe producing a 29er, that Fisher is going to sell a "budget" priced 29er frameset, and the Surly Pugsley is already available, you might se where I would be in a quandry as to what geared hardtail I should be riding! (Don't even say "all of them", I'm not filthy rich, just filthy!)

I get to be a Europa Cycle and Ski "Night Monkey" for tonight, and tomorrow night. Wahoo! I'd expect it to be pretty busy tonight, as the evenings have been lately. On a Europa related note: I'd like to say that my thoughts and prayers are with Melissa, as she was admitted to the hospital yesterday. Don't know what's wrong- if anything, but I hope yer out and okay by now!

Lots of people will be out and about on their bikes this weekend getting ready for "that ride"- you know! The one sponsored by that rag in Des Moines? Yeah, like these folks ever ride any other time of year! So, watch out! Lots of noobs out there now and they aren't noted for their bike handling skills! Clear a path people! Here comes the keg! The keg on the child trailer! The one with blaring 80's hairband music emanating from it! Look out!

Trans Iowa is still turning up in the news! Check out Mr. 24's latest posts for details! I am still checking out course options for the '06 version. I have found a few websites that allow viewing of airial photographs that are coming in handy. I just can't quite determine the terrain features, though, and I have to narrow down my choices yet. Suffice it to say that for now, Trans Iowa '06 will be hillier, and it will have more "B" roads, or other similarly heinous passageways! It also will be slightly longer, and have a longer time to complete the route. I'm still hashing out decisions and details, so that's all I got for ya on that! Be a volunteer for '06 Trans Iowa! Let me know if your interested!

Now I would like to send a shout out to "The Chad", and to dirtram, my bruthas from otha muthas! Hope the silly bike season is treatin' ya'all well!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Somewhere in a Shop Near You!

Mr 24 demonstrating the debilitating effects too many silly questions from customers.
Guitar Ted Productions

Ever wonder what it might be like to work in a bicycle shop? The sheer amount of cycling goodness that we get to immerse ourselves in on a daily basis is pretty awesome. However; we get the seamy underside of retail life, as well. The mind numbing questions, the failed logic, and the department store bikes! Those are the worst! Yeah, we get in on some pretty cool stuff, but nobody wants to talk about the bicycle shop's dirty little secret. It's called "mind suck", or cranial micro-cellular reversal. A condition most often suffered by retail service people at the hands of fools. It's not really a severe ailment so much as it's a pain in the neck, or slightly above there! Jeff was smitten by an attack of this malady just today. The above picture is an illustration for identification purposes, so that you might recognize one of the more visual side effects of "mind suck". If you see a service person, salesman, or employee of a retail outlet in this condition, accompanied by a slow babbling gurgle from the mouth, please feel free to give them a swift kick in the junk! This might just bring them back to reality! Either that, or you might recieve a similarly applied pressure to the groin! I really need to say that the above is all in jest? Well, as I always say, never underestimate the stupidity of mankind! Sometimes people make me so crazy, I see cross-eyed!

Monday, July 11, 2005

More Tails From The Shop! II

The area of the shop known as "The Swirling Vortex of Misfit Bikes" in full "suck" mode!
Guitar Ted Productions

The madness continues unabaited as the season careens headlong into it's frenzied climax, known by the foul acronym of ragbrai. Hundreds of two wheeled contraptions to be repaired so that the so called cyclists can imbibe in their chosen poison. Alchohol, tobacco products, and other possibly illegal substances,(allegedly!), are to be consumed en-masse with the bicycle being used only as a means to an end, which for some may be coming sooner than later! (The end, that is)

Today's featured pics portray the two facets of the day's craziness most prominently displayed. Customer relations, as shown by Mr.24, below, and the ever mounting piles of junk that seem to be sprouting up around the shop like weeds in a summer garden. Too bad they don't make a "Round-up" type product for this menace. That'd be great! Spray on the pile of trash, and it withers away and dies! Awesome!

While it is apparent that I hold the cycling event held at the end of July in this state with some disdain, (Okay- alot of disdain!) There are those that are reasonably pure in their efforts. I acknowledge you with a tip of my cycling helmet. The courage you display by associating with the debased cycling hordes that surround you is admirable. I also will join forces with you in a gallant showing of true cycling for a day. July 28th to be exact. A ride report will follow!

Well, it's time to replenish my diminished energy reserves! Later!

Mr.24 "on point" @ the front counter. "How may I pleasure you?"
Guitar Ted Productions

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Could Be the Next "Big Thing" For G.T.

Picture courtesy of Brant at On One Cycles
Guitar Ted Productions

This is an early production proto-type for On One's Inbred 29 inch wheeled frame. One of our distributors at the shop where I work is slated to get the first run of these in about a month and a half, or so. Sliding dropouts, cable stops, and mech hanger for gearie duty, or I can run it single speed. Maybe, just maybe this may see its way into my stable. The price is supposed to be around what my Karate Monkey cost me, which is do-able. Time will tell! (Maybe it will also be painted to compliment both a pink Chris King headset and a Surly purple disc hub hubset.)

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Nits and Bits

Lack of organization on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. Well, maybe............
Guitar Ted Productions

Here are some recent "nits" and bits that are on my mind this weekend.

1. Mr. 24: Hope he's gettin' his groove on @ the 12 Hours of Winter. Also, I hope he doesn't forget my "dirt-in-a-bag" that I collect after his races.

2. Our boss, Leans on Wood, decided to take a 4 day vay-kay at the busiest time of the season- brilliant! The top of his desk looks like the aftermath of a snowstorm, it's so covered with notes. My prediction: temporary paralysis brought on by overstimulation and stress of his nuero-transmitters. Oh! Wait! I forgot, he doesn't have those, (allegedly)...forget it!

2. No-Tubes: Not Stan's either. I mean, we are running out of tubes! This week coming up is gonna be hard if we don't get some, fast! Weird!

3. Touring bike guy: I spent over a year, off and on, talking to this young guy about buying a touring bike. I give him tons of info, and he even sends his buddy in, who buys a bike from us, and then.......He goes and buys his rig somewhere else! It didn't matter to me where he bought his bike, but I know he couldn't have without the knowledge he got from me! Thanks, Buddy! Guess that's how it goes, these days! At least his bike is a cool color. Sage green '06 Trek 520.....nice!

4.Discovery Channel Team- a no-show! Strategy, or is the jig up for Lance? I'm votin' for the conspiracy theory. These guys running the show at the Discovery Team are well known for bluffing and crafty strategies. This team has been sittin' back on it's heels ever since the team time trial, and I don't believe for a second that the whole team, sans Lance, has developed a sudden case of suck at the same time. This is too finely crafted a machine for that! Look for a dramatic turn about in the days to come!

M'kay, that's a-nuff fer now, I feel mo-betta! Thanks fer readin'!

Friday, July 08, 2005

A Viking Fan in Cheeseland

Today Jeff leaves for a 12 hour race up near Green Bay WI. Just want to say "Good Luck", and hope he has an awesome race! Of course, this means I, Guitar Ted, will be sacrificing some weekend time down at the shop, but hey! Anything that helps Mr. 24 is cool with me! Just don't go disrespectin' my teams home turf, doode! Ha, ha!

Back on the home front, we will be very shorthanded today, tomorrow, and Sunday due to the departure of Leans on Wood for other territories. Mr. 24's abscence makes things even worse, but we'll soldier on, and things probably will get interestin', if ya know what I mean!

All in all, it will be good to have another nice, sunny weekend. Enjoy it! Summers on the wane. So, get out and ride! You can mow the lawn in September, I won't mind!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Internet Commerce, Ted Style

One man's junk is another man's treasure.
Guitar Ted Productions

You know, I thought I'd be the last guy to make a sale on the internet. Well, there I go thinking again! Seems that I let on about my Klein bar/ stem combo while posting on an internet vintage mountain bike disscussion forum. The interest in it was sudden and surprising! Seems some folks were waiting for this moment! Anyway, to make a long story short, this piece of my mtb history is heading over the pond to jolly ol' England, where it'll be mated back up to a vintage Klein mtb in the same color scheme. This is probably a good thing, as it had been sitting up in the floor joists down in my basement labratory for many a year! Yep, one man's they say! Hmmm.....wonder what else I should mention next? Gonna hafta dig around down there fer a nuther gem! Well, see ya later. I'll be down in my mine, diggin' fer a spell!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

More Tails From The Shop!

This pretty much sums up how the days are going. Twisted, metal maelstrom!
Guitar Ted Productions

This is it. The time of the year in this lattitude that you either are busy beyond all belief, or you are checking the help wanted adds. We here in the Iowa bicycle shops have the added "bonus" of Ragbrai. ( The annual bachanalia of bikes traversing the state in a general west to east direction every last week of July) Things are heating up, business-wise, and attitude-wise. Let's take a sampling, shall we?

1. A great "JRA" story! JRA is an acronym for "...just riding along...." Usually followed by some responsibility absolving reasoning concocted, no doubt, in a pool of sweat the night before they arrive at the shop counter with their broken machinery. Okay? So, this individual has the ubiquitous left crank arm failure. Yeah, you know, the arm "just fell off" thing, with the inevitable distorted square taper that renders the ol' left arm useless. Well, I tried to explain that this was not uncommon. to which this person replies, "Well, in 8 years of riding bikes I've never had this happen before!" Ummm.....rrriggghhhtt! Once again, customer's a beautiful thang! You know, if he would have just said that he was angry, and that he thought that he shouldn't have to pay to have it fixed, I would have had some sympathy for him. But no, we have to delve into the jar of twisted logic and angry eyes! Whatever! He payed for the arm, and got the labor, missing crank bolt replaced, and the calmest demeanor I could muster for free!

2. Black Spokes: Are these things the absolute worst idea to come along, or what? A great customer buys a bike to get into commuting, which is awesome. More of you need to get into this! Anywho! She keeps getting broken non-driveside rear spokes. Weird! So, by now she is getting cold feet on the commute, thinking that she may not make it because her new bike is breaking all the time! AArrrgggh! This is definitely no good! All the while, this customer is just being real with me about it. No "JRA" crap, no twisted logic. Fortunately, I was able to get the whole wheel rebuilt using my fave Wheelsmith spokes, and more importantly, this customer back riding in a day! See how it works, be nice- very nice- and I will bend over backwards for ya! Oh, by the way, the whole thing was done gratis! The manufacturer even picked up the costs for us! Cool!

Not every story, or every customer for that matter, is one way or the other, as I have portrayed. It's just that some people really make things way harder than they have to be. Hey, we all have problems! It's how we handle 'em that cuts things one way or the other for us, ya know? Be Cool!

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Air Heads

It never ceases to amaze me how poorly people understand the principals of bicycle tires, tubes, and wheels. Take this sampling of problems from today's work.

1. BMX bike brought in by a father that had NO BEARINGS in the front wheel. The wheel wobbled and banged around in the fork like crazy. Question: Did those bearings all leave at the same time? I think not! (Well.....there is the possibility that "Johnny Home Mechanic" pulled them out, but the axle was assembled too well for that!) So, hmmm..........when did we notice that something was wrong?

2. The tire and tube must be bad! I just got them, and the darn tube keeps going flat! Uhh, dude! Check the rim strip? Yeeeaaah! That's what I thought! (Rim strip was WAY too narrow, exposing some spoke holes. - the best part was that the customer claimed that he hadn't had a flat in years until the tire and tube was replaced, and the whole reason he had them replaced was because he was getting too many...............flats!) Gotta love customer logic!

3. Another flatting problem: This time the customer is complaining of chronic flats, and can't figure it out. Hmmm.........did'ja check the tyre, fer...ya know! Furrin' ob-jecks? Riiigggghhht! That's what I thought! So, I do the tube diagnosis thing. Find the hole, orient the tube to the tire, look in the inside of the casing in that general vicinity, and..........lo and behold! A small wire sticking inwards! Pulled that puppy out of the tire casing, and whattaya know? No flat, no more!

4. The Daily Sermon: Air pressure! It comes as a major surprise to most folks that the common tire, be it tubeless or tubed, has to regularly have it's air replenished. Yep! Some folks don't even know that most bicycle tires have tubes in them! Amazing! I suppose the fact that their tire sidewalls bulging, and the increasing difficulty that they have in pedaling their bike must be due to some form of black magic, the Republicans, or gasp! a terrorist plot to overthrow Major League Baseball!

5. Speaking of Conspiracy Theories.... The ongoing valve debates! Presta vs. Schrader, or in laymans terms, "that funny, skinny valve vs. the standard, car tire one." How many times have I had to recount the the answer to, "Why do they even have those!" (Ever wonder who the collective "they" are?)

Well that's a minor sampling. I'm sure anyone with any shop experience at all can relate. To those of you that don't toil in the shops of bicycling goodness, become a evangelist of Air. Spread the word amongst the brethren! Air- it's good! Roll on it! Give your tires the love that is Air! Understand their tubey nature! Get to know how to make them better, and let everyone else know too! Please! There are WAY too many air-heads out there, if ya know what I mean!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Red, White, and Blue

In a twisted way, here is my tribute to the good ol' 4th of July............

RED, Eric Dekker put in a He-man type effort at today's Tour stage #3, but came up just short! When you put out that many watts, you turn a nasty shade of red! Check out the story, and tech news on .

WHITE, Okay, anyone that knows who Bob Roll is, well.... you know that screwy, nutty weirdness is stuck on that dude! Check out his latest whack at . NOTE: I'll say it again....Be prepared for extreme, nutty, nudity, and weirdness! And don't forget to check out the trainers too!

BLUE, Waiting for the skies to turn that color! I am anticipating a ride, probably on the tarmac today. I get the urge when the Tour is on! Maybe I'll even break out the old Colnago......we'll see!

Okay! That's today's lame-o attempt at hee-you-more for ya! Hope you are enjoying your holiday, and don't forget the brave individuals that fought for our freedoms- both past and present- in your thoughts and prayers! Now, go ride your bike and think about that!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Gear Jamming

Hey, it's Tour de France time again! Some "guy" is going for his seventh straight win in the event. Whatever! Check out all the cool gear, and tech that's going on! That's where it's at, baby! For instance, I thought it might be fun to see if any of you out there might be able to figure out if Campy has it's rumored 12 speed gruppo on any of the racers bikes yet! That's right! 12 speed! The gear wars esculate again! Lance's new TT bike was a little ostentatious! What's with all the icon crap anyway? Messed up an otherwise classy looking bike, in my opinion. Also, Campy has been testing it's electronic shifted gruppo for most of the spring. Will it make a Tour bow? Tubeless road tires, anyone? Last year, only two teams took the risk of testing the waters of tubeless technology. I haven't heard anything yet on it for '05. Looks like the "Lance" type TT bars are catching on with the pros. Interesting to see that Lance is using aluminum constructed bars this year. Probably lighter than carbon fiber ones. Anything else? We'll just have to wait and see. There is always the super lightweight mountain climbing hardware that will be upcoming soon. Probably some other surprises, as well. I'll try to get as much as I can on this site, once the cats are out of their bags. Enjoy the Monday holiday! Go Lance!

Friday, July 01, 2005

Rants on Reviews, and Other Nonsense

There is a great thread on the product review process linked from the Blue Collar blogsite. The short of it is that some of us feel that magazine reviews are "bogus", slanted, or otherwise not totally honest for whatever reason. What do the readers of this blog think? Following is my opinion/ rant on the subject.

I think that for years the product review segment in magazines was anemic, low quality, and specious. I lamented the lack of depth, quantity, and the quality of most magazine reviews. The exception being Dirt Rag, and the first year/ year and a half of Bike magazine. The lack of time spent with equipment was what really chapped my hide. I can't count the times that a product that was reviewed highly upon it's release was an utter failure after a few months of use. Of course, had the magazine actually used the product for a few months, they would have discovered that for themselves, and hopefully, reported it. However, that's usually not possible for a number of reasons that I won't go into here.

For the above reason, and many others, I am of the opinion that magazine reviews are not relevant in today's culture. People are looking for real world results, from real people, in a real hurry! That is where the internet has taken over. Specifically, sites like for the mountain biking set. However, examples can be cited for any number of products or services. I can access hundreds of real world reviews, opinions, tips, and hints about any product currently available in the cycling world now! I don't have to wait for a magazine review to show up in my snail mail that is effectively two to three months behind the times. (The typical lag time print media deals with) I not only can evaluate the information, but I can contact the users, ask specific questions, and recieve feedback quickly. Try that with the magazine parked next to your toilet! ( Aww, come on! You read in the bathroom, admit it!)

Now, while it's true, you can't believe everything you read on the internet, you never could believe everything you read before the internet arrived on the scene. So, what's the difference? The difference is that based on the sheer number of opinions, users, and their situations, it's much more likely you'll find something closer to the truth about a product than you ever would from one single corporate magazine article. Are those rags influenced by their advertizers, associations in the industry, or other corporate means? I don't know for sure. The likely hood is there, though, and I suspect it does occur. I do know that I'd trust "John Doe's" opinion of a new Fisher Paragon that he's had for a few months for no other reason than that he plunked down his own hard earned cash on it. Of course, because of that, he is not going to be totally impartial as a reviewer, but at least I know that! I am not so sure where the latest shiny rags editors veiws biases are coming from! And, since I too have been the proud new owner of a new product, I can at least separate the wheat from the chaff....well, at least a little bit!

Where does this leave the print media? Well, in no man's land, if they don't change. The print media will always have a better fix on where products and services are going, trend wise. They will always have the inside track on the newest developements, the innovators, and shapers of the cycling world. I think this is where the print media needs to focus their energies. By the time they could use a product effectively, write about it, and get it to me in print, it's old news!

Rant mode off! Thanks for reading, if you got this far!