|The Teravail Sparwood|
The research into how a tire interacts with gravel was a big part of how these tires came out the way they did. The claim was that the tread pattern actually helps the tires go over the gravel as opposed to squirming around on it. This interaction between gravel and the tires usually causes gravel to squirm, and a result of this can be gravel bits shooting out from under your tires. This is a loss of energy that causes higher resistance to rolling, it was claimed. The new Teravail designs are said to interact with gravel in a way that helps cause less of this loss of energy and a gain in speed and energy to the benefit of the cyclist.
|The 38mm option dubbed the Cannonball|
The new tires have been ride tested in the Flint Hills by cyclists and the reports are good. Now these tires are finally available for gravel riders everywhere.
The 29 X 2.1" version is dubbed "Sparwood" and was the tire that Jay Petervary used during his run at the Tour Divide this past Summer. Jay reported that wear was remarkably low. This tire would be a great option for those running 29"ers and especially for something like a Fargo. It is tubeless compatible as well
The other model in the line up that looked interesting to me was the 38mm Cannonball. This obviously is the tire that would benefit a large portion of the gravel/back road riding community. The tubeless compatibility is there, and it comes in two options, one with lower TPI count and less puncture protection, and a higher, 120TPI thread count with more puncture protection.
There is another option, which I am not a big fan of, honestly, and it is called the Galena. This is a 32mm wide tire, (the part I am not big on), and otherwise looks like a down scaled Cannonball and comes with all the same options. Perhaps a great tire for places with tamer gravel, smooth dirt, and for lighter weight folks. Obviously, a good cyclo cross option as well.
I hope to obtain at least one pair of these soon and check them out. Stay tuned.....
|Riding the River Bottoms, November 2008|
This issue may not mean anything to many of you, but in the context of what passes for "progress" and "access" these days, I think it might just find meaning elsewhere. You can be the judge of that.....
The "River Bottoms" is the unofficial name for the unofficial trail that runs along the Minnesota River in the Twin Cities metro area. This land that runs along the river is prone to flooding, and was left as "useless" by developers for well over a century of the Twin Cities history. Somewhere along the line, (some say 20-25 years ago), off road cyclists and hikers forged a trail through here that runs about 10 miles or so through fens, woodlands, and hard against the backwaters of the Minnesota River.
I was introduced to this little gem of rustic beauty that is hidden in the heart of the urban landscape by Salsa Cycles' crew and specifically, their then head honcho, Jason Boucher. I was able to ride the entire length of this on maybe three different occasions and my takeaway from it was that this was a perfect foil to living in a big metro area. You literally almost forgot that within a mile from you at any time was a bustling community full of cars, pollution, and all that goes with that. I remember folks on the ride marveling at this. I thought it was too good to be true, and I knew that if I lived up there, the River Bottoms trail would have been very close to my heart.
Well, apparently, it was too good to be true. Jason told us back in 2008 there was a plan to pave parts of that area and for a connector bridge at the point where the old Cedar Highway once crossed the river. It seemed like a pipe dream back in 2008. Now, that "pipe dream" is about to become a full fledged paved trail through the area with work slated to begin next Spring. (See a story on this HERE)
I get why there are many sad folks and I get why officials want to see this get done. However; I often wonder why, as a nation and culture, do we feel the need to "urbanize" wild areas for the "benefit of getting more users" to that area. Why is it "unfair" that this area is not served by a paved pathway? How does creating a man-made path through this wild area benefit the wild area? What is the "real" reason that the officials really want to pave this? Tourism? Money? Is that a good enough reason to do this? What about maintenance, as mentioned in the linked article. Seems like that might be a big deal with regard to flooding and whatnot. I know our local State Park's paved pathway, and the paved pathway along side the river opposite of that both suffer damage on a yearly basis due to river flooding issues. I suppose all these questions are hashed out to death concerning the River Bottoms, but what about where you live? Maybe these are questions to ponder.
Maybe I am a Luddite that is "anti-progressive". Maybe..... I do like my gravel and dirt roads, so there ya go.
|Bought and paid for with my own damn money.|
Take a look here at the newest addition to the fleet. It's that Twin Six Standard Rando I was testing for RidingGravel.com back this past Summer.
I did not buy the wheel set that came on it though. See, I am what you might call a wheel snob, and I wasn't 100% on board with Stan's hubs and rims. (Which is what the bike was shipped with, by the way.) I want something more suited to my tastes in wheels, so I sent that wheel set back. I have my own wheels as a placeholder in the image here. Those won't be the wheels this ends up with. I need to get an 11 speed wheel set built up, since this bike has SRAM Rival 22 and as you may or may not know, you cannot put 11 speed cogs on a ten speed free hub body. Won't fit. So, I have to build a set of wheels.
Anyway, more on wheels some other time. Let's talk about this bike, shall we? I bought this because the Standard Rando really rides that good. I once had a test bike back in my Twenty Nine Inches days that rode so good. Actually, there are two I can think of right off the bat, and both were single speed 29"ers. Anyway, I was offered to buy one of them at a cut rate, but I did not do it, and I have regretted it ever since. You just don't come across very many bikes that just "hit you the right way", for lack of a better term, and the Standard Rando was one that did. However, there is one other thing about the Standard Rando that made me go cross that line to purchase it- and that was its low bottom bracket.
Now I've had commenters say that I make these geometry statements and am slicing it down to millimeters and that this doesn't matter.Whatever.... It does, and I put my money where my mouth is. Nuff said....
I am going to really get on with this bike, and I look forward to many adventures on it. So, stay tuned for that and the wheels I build up for it will all be documented right here.
That does it for today. Have a great weekend and get some riding done!