Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday News And Views

What is it specifically?
What Is It?

Okay folks, today I am putting out a challenge to you who are mechanics or "bike saavy" out there. The challenge is to identify specifically what these three parts are in the image. One might be easy for some of you, one might be a little tougher, and the last may be the stumper of them all.

I think the general idea of what two of these parts are is easy, but the third may need a hint to help you out. Here is the only hint you get.....

One part here is manufactured by SRAM

That's all yer gonna get outta me.

No prizes, just a fun way to waste part of yer day on this Friday if you are stuck at work. The parts identities will be revealed on Monday, and I will give you the back story. If you work at Europa Cycle & Ski, you are disqualified from this friendly competition. (So yeah.......Andy, you cannot answer this one!)

Speaking of work, the RAGBY takes place starting Sunday, and we're all good on repairs for that, so I am pretty happy to have that behind us, (mostly) now. Typically this is the zenith of activity in the shop, so now a slow roll down to less and less to do until November when I will likely have cleaned my toolbox for the umpteenth time looking for something to do. That's the way the ball rolls in the shop when you are a bicycle mechanic in Iowa. Oh.....and all you RAGBY riders have yerself a good, safe ride. Okay?

The mosquitoes almost carried me away!
Jungle Love:

The other day I did a "dirt home from work" ride. It was the first I'd done in months. I kinda knew what I was in for, since it is July in Iowa. That means big vegetation and mucho mosquitoes. As in lots of undergrowth with lots of blood-sucking vermin.

The trail is the one along the Cedar River between Lower Hartman and the 218 bridge over the Cedar River on the Southern/Western side of that river. It's new-ish to the scene and fits in with my direction home bound from work, so I like to hit it up from time to time. The other thing is that since it is newer than much of the other local stuff, it hasn't gotten widened out, short-cutted, or been "dumbed down" with removal of rocks, etc. It is wearing in though, and that is something you cannot change. If you were ever wondering what the old school trails were like "back in the day" around here, this trail is about as close as you'll ever get to those times. So, yeah......I kind of enjoy it, despite its lack of elevation change.

I'd tell you the name of the trail, but it doesn't matter, since they aren't marked and only a handful of folks even know the "names" of these trails anyway. That's a whole 'nuther story.....

Anyway, it was classic July conditions out there with the green only being broken up by tree trunks and the sliver of dirt clear enough to pilot your bicycle down it. I stopped to grab the image here and the 'skeeters were out in force. They jumped up outta that greenery faster than lightning and were buzzing me something fierce. Now, if you were somebody that is prone to being bitten by these critters, you'd be in a world of hurt out there. Me? I have been blessed with flesh unsavory to 'skeeters, for whatever reason, so they are a huge nuisance to me, but I almost never get a bite. Anyway, the only way to get outta that brown insect fog was to keep moving and quickly! That I did and eventually made it out without further incident.

So, once again I get reminded why I usually wait until September to start riding single track locally. Vegetation and insects. I guess I could buck up and put up with that, but there are too many other great rides out there to do so I don't see the sense in doing the jungle rides unless I'm desperate for some single track and I'm short on time. That's just me though......

The GTDRI won't be anywhere near this flat!!
Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational Update:

With a little over a week to go until this little no-drop gravel group ride, I have some tidbits for ya'all that might be thinking this over to chew on.

First off, the ride start is at Backbone State Park where the main East-West park road goes across the Little Maquoketa River. We'll be taking off at 5:30am, and if you want to show up to ride, you are welcome to. There is parking right to the North of the meet up place along side a North-South road that has an intersection with the aforementioned road on the West side of the bridge. There is also camping available at the Park which is a very short bicycle ride away from the meeting/ride start.

Plan on a very long day in the saddle with frequent stops and scenic views. We will be going through Strawberry Point first. It isn't far into the ride, so I don't expect we will stop there for anything.....this time. The route then will go West, then North, around the hills surrounding St. Sebald Church, and then down into the picturesque valley of Volga. We won't likely stop there either, as it doesn't have much on offer. We will then follow along the Volga River a bit, then out into more hills as we work our way over to Wadena, and our first resupply stop.

Leaving Wadena West then North, we will work our way over some rollers towards the Turkey River Valley just East of West Union, then a long stretch East along the river to Elgin, and then to Elkader. We will stop for sure in Elkader to eat at "Two Mits" hamburger shack, (or wherever you'd want to grab grub there), and sit down for a bit. You'll need every minute of respite because the East and then Southward trek to Garber will severely test your legs. After dropping into the Turkey River valley again via the infamously rough Impala Road, we will go through Garber where we can resupply if necessary. After this, it will be a super-scenic, but super tough slog over some mighty hills to pass just East of Edgewood and finally to a significantly smoother stretch of road leading us back once again to Strawberry Point. There we will have one last chance to grab some water or treats before the final few miles back to the cars in Backbone State Park.

I figure it at about 118 miles and it should take all of 12-14 hours to get 'er done if we don't kill ourselves with a high pace. Of course, the weather could play into that as well. Speaking of which.....

If it looks as if it may rain at some part of the day, I will still be going. Bring any rain gear if you still want to ride. I only will call this off if it looks to be severe, or if there looks to be some lightning for the day. Stay tuned to weather and be attentive to the blog Friday the 24th for any updates in case of possible weather related cancellations.

I have promises from two new folks to this ride to show up, and I think a couple "veterans" are showing up as well. There are always surprises when it comes to folks showing up for this, so who knows? I'll be glad to have anyone else come that has a mind to.  Questions? Hit me at

And for now, that's a wrap. Have a great weekend and keep the rubber side down!


Michael Lemberger said...

That one thing is a bearing.

Sorry I can't make the Death Ride this year. My niece's wedding is that day. Safe riding and hope to see you next year!

Guitar Ted said...

@Michael Lemberger: Aww...... We'll miss ya being there, but have a good time at the wedding. And you are spot on with the one guess! :>)

coastkid said...

Hope Fatsno rear hub axle that has failed?, quite a few have, it seems to be them failing from being made of alloy rather than steel like in the hubs by Salsa etc...?

Guitar Ted said...

@coastkid: It is a fat bike axle, but not a Hope.

Capncavedan said...

I'm likely going to miss it after Wed/Th/Fr riding RAGBRAI with my kids. Safe travels, and have fun!

Unknown said...

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