Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Getaway



<===I got something to remind me of Sunday's fun for awhile.

Mrs. Guitar Ted was on call, but working at home, so she urged me to take the opportunity to go ride my bike. (Does she know me or what?!!)

I owe her big time!

The single track showed no effects from the rains of mid-week. The dirt was dry, fast, and hard. I took advantage and went a little faster than I should have into a corner with the results shown here. It's okay though. No bikes were harmed in the making of these marks on my body!



<===The Dos Niner with the Spinner 2Nine RLC fork.

My bikes of choice for the day reflected the work I needed to do for Twenty Nine Inches. I am testing out this Spinner 2Nine RLC fork for the site. So far, I'd say it's a decent fork, but it isn't broken in, and it is way too early to make a call yet. I think, based on the early indications I see, that it will fare well though. I mean, it's a budget priced fork, so I have to keep that in mind.




<===Spiders are still in business out at the Camp.

When I signed in at the North Unit, there was a massive horse show going on. As I signed in, I noticed that three folks didn't bother to sign out on Saturday. Not good! Gotta follow rules, since this is a privilege that can be taken away if folks start circumventing the rules. I realize it is a hassle to sign out if you ride on the south side, but if I can manage to do it, then I don't see any reason why everybody can't do it. Heck, you could always designate a "sign out person" to do the dirty deed. All right........nuff said!

Anyway, I got outta "Horse Town" and went over to the south side to ride. What a great day to be in the woods! Super quiet and I had the place all to myself.


<===Sometimes you just gotta stop and count your blessings!

Like I said, the single track was fast and dry. The recent trail work has yielded an excellent flow and raised the fun factor a ton over here. While it isn't as technically challenging as some stuff on the north side, it isn't easy either. Especially now with the better flow, you end up going for longer stretches which taxes your body more. And of course, there are little sections that keep you on your toes. Like the little rocky outcropping on top of a little hill out there. It's rough, has a distinct line through it, that if you miss will stop you dead in your tracks, or cause a pedal strike. Both happened to me today on two separate laps.



<=== Anybody out there know what this is? It was sooo red, it was scary!

I was in such a hurry to get out to The Camp today that I forgot my water bottles. I ended up stopping in Janesville on the way up at a convenience store to get a gallon of cold water. Since I had to stop after each of my laps back at the car, it worked out okay. I took my Blackbuck out on my third and final lap of the day to check out the next fork in my testing. I had a Reba mounted up front, but not just a Reba. A Reba with a Chris King "Plus Five" base plate. That little gem gives your frame enough clearance to clear the control knobs on a fork's crown in case of a crash. I didn't need it on there, but I wanted to see how that might reflect on handling, since it gave me an axle to crown measurement of close to 500mm.



<===The Blackbuck with the extra long Reba!

In case you were thinking that this would "ruin" this ride, think again. It was one of the best handling combinations I have run on the Blackbuck yet. What a fun way to end the day. I actually thought the Blackbuck was faster than my geared Dos Niner today, although to be honest, with the trail conditions as they were, anything would have felt pretty fast.

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and this ride finally did. I got myself back home, cleaned up, and settled in to a big helping of spaghetti and meat balls served up by the best wife a guy could ask for. Thanks Honey!

I sure hope your weekend is going well too. One more day to enjoy this awesome end of summer weather we are having. Get out and get some!

Sunday Getaway



<===I got something to remind me of Sunday's fun for awhile.

Mrs. Guitar Ted was on call, but working at home, so she urged me to take the opportunity to go ride my bike. (Does she know me or what?!!)

I owe her big time!

The single track showed no effects from the rains of mid-week. The dirt was dry, fast, and hard. I took advantage and went a little faster than I should have into a corner with the results shown here. It's okay though. No bikes were harmed in the making of these marks on my body!



<===The Dos Niner with the Spinner 2Nine RLC fork.

My bikes of choice for the day reflected the work I needed to do for Twenty Nine Inches. I am testing out this Spinner 2Nine RLC fork for the site. So far, I'd say it's a decent fork, but it isn't broken in, and it is way too early to make a call yet. I think, based on the early indications I see, that it will fare well though. I mean, it's a budget priced fork, so I have to keep that in mind.




<===Spiders are still in business out at the Camp.

When I signed in at the North Unit, there was a massive horse show going on. As I signed in, I noticed that three folks didn't bother to sign out on Saturday. Not good! Gotta follow rules, since this is a privilege that can be taken away if folks start circumventing the rules. I realize it is a hassle to sign out if you ride on the south side, but if I can manage to do it, then I don't see any reason why everybody can't do it. Heck, you could always designate a "sign out person" to do the dirty deed. All right........nuff said!

Anyway, I got outta "Horse Town" and went over to the south side to ride. What a great day to be in the woods! Super quiet and I had the place all to myself.


<===Sometimes you just gotta stop and count your blessings!

Like I said, the single track was fast and dry. The recent trail work has yielded an excellent flow and raised the fun factor a ton over here. While it isn't as technically challenging as some stuff on the north side, it isn't easy either. Especially now with the better flow, you end up going for longer stretches which taxes your body more. And of course, there are little sections that keep you on your toes. Like the little rocky outcropping on top of a little hill out there. It's rough, has a distinct line through it, that if you miss will stop you dead in your tracks, or cause a pedal strike. Both happened to me today on two separate laps.



<=== Anybody out there know what this is? It was sooo red, it was scary!

I was in such a hurry to get out to The Camp today that I forgot my water bottles. I ended up stopping in Janesville on the way up at a convenience store to get a gallon of cold water. Since I had to stop after each of my laps back at the car, it worked out okay. I took my Blackbuck out on my third and final lap of the day to check out the next fork in my testing. I had a Reba mounted up front, but not just a Reba. A Reba with a Chris King "Plus Five" base plate. That little gem gives your frame enough clearance to clear the control knobs on a fork's crown in case of a crash. I didn't need it on there, but I wanted to see how that might reflect on handling, since it gave me an axle to crown measurement of close to 500mm.



<===The Blackbuck with the extra long Reba!

In case you were thinking that this would "ruin" this ride, think again. It was one of the best handling combinations I have run on the Blackbuck yet. What a fun way to end the day. I actually thought the Blackbuck was faster than my geared Dos Niner today, although to be honest, with the trail conditions as they were, anything would have felt pretty fast.

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end, and this ride finally did. I got myself back home, cleaned up, and settled in to a big helping of spaghetti and meat balls served up by the best wife a guy could ask for. Thanks Honey!

I sure hope your weekend is going well too. One more day to enjoy this awesome end of summer weather we are having. Get out and get some!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Saturday Night PostToasties!



<===Tubeless at the expense of corpulence.

Somewhere out there, (Boone area) they are riding their bicycles in circles..... Ahh me! How I wish I would have made that gig! Oh well, it wasn't to be. As a good friend of mine says, "Things happen for a reason.." How true.

Got some more rubber in and mounted. Hmmm......I seem to remember these XR's as being bigger than this. Yeah, these are 2.0's at best, maybe a 2.1 after they stretch a bit. Disappointed in that fact, but they are tubeless ready and they do roll pretty well. I heard that Bontrager is going to revamp the entire tire line for 29"ers to reflect the idiosyncrasies of the bigger diameter. Good on them! Let's hope that volume makes a big comeback in the future. Of course, it wasn't all that long ago that Bontrager tires were so voluminous that they wouldn't fit in the rear of Fisher 29"er frames. Perhaps what I have here is the solution to that problem. Hrrrumpf!

Hrrrumpf! 2.0: Due to scheduling at the hospital where Mrs Guitar Ted works, I now find out that I am "Stay at home Dad" for the day on Monday instead of "Ride my bike Guitar Ted". Rats! I had great hopes of going somewhere out of the locality, but now if I am lucky, it'll be the Scout Camp again. Things could be far, far worse.

I did a re-con of the Green Belt. Not good! They blasted through the flotsam and jetsam from the spring floods with a crude blow. The city, strapped for cash as they are, (although my rising property tax bill says otherwise), decided to go through the Green Belt with an end loader. Yeah...........one of the big ones! Slash and burn like General Sherman, I tell ya. I don't even recognize some parts of the trail. Of course, the scouring of the bucket has obliterated whatever single track there was.

I suppose it was the most cost effective way to "get er duuun", but the trail is a complete disaster area and in some spots unrideable. After shock had turned to anger, I decided that if it is ever going to be anything to be worth riding again, it's going to take an effort from the locals to make it so. I don't know what that will look like, because honestly, there isn't much support for that area from cyclists, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see it get paved in the near future. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm sure it will. What a shame!

News Bulletin: Concrete and asphalt isn't the answer, people! I guess that's "Hrrrump 3.0"!

Anybody catch my famous Iowan reference in today's "post"? (That's another clue!)

Have a great weekend, ya'all!

Saturday Night PostToasties!



<===Tubeless at the expense of corpulence.

Somewhere out there, (Boone area) they are riding their bicycles in circles..... Ahh me! How I wish I would have made that gig! Oh well, it wasn't to be. As a good friend of mine says, "Things happen for a reason.." How true.

Got some more rubber in and mounted. Hmmm......I seem to remember these XR's as being bigger than this. Yeah, these are 2.0's at best, maybe a 2.1 after they stretch a bit. Disappointed in that fact, but they are tubeless ready and they do roll pretty well. I heard that Bontrager is going to revamp the entire tire line for 29"ers to reflect the idiosyncrasies of the bigger diameter. Good on them! Let's hope that volume makes a big comeback in the future. Of course, it wasn't all that long ago that Bontrager tires were so voluminous that they wouldn't fit in the rear of Fisher 29"er frames. Perhaps what I have here is the solution to that problem. Hrrrumpf!

Hrrrumpf! 2.0: Due to scheduling at the hospital where Mrs Guitar Ted works, I now find out that I am "Stay at home Dad" for the day on Monday instead of "Ride my bike Guitar Ted". Rats! I had great hopes of going somewhere out of the locality, but now if I am lucky, it'll be the Scout Camp again. Things could be far, far worse.

I did a re-con of the Green Belt. Not good! They blasted through the flotsam and jetsam from the spring floods with a crude blow. The city, strapped for cash as they are, (although my rising property tax bill says otherwise), decided to go through the Green Belt with an end loader. Yeah...........one of the big ones! Slash and burn like General Sherman, I tell ya. I don't even recognize some parts of the trail. Of course, the scouring of the bucket has obliterated whatever single track there was.

I suppose it was the most cost effective way to "get er duuun", but the trail is a complete disaster area and in some spots unrideable. After shock had turned to anger, I decided that if it is ever going to be anything to be worth riding again, it's going to take an effort from the locals to make it so. I don't know what that will look like, because honestly, there isn't much support for that area from cyclists, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see it get paved in the near future. In fact, now that I think about it, I'm sure it will. What a shame!

News Bulletin: Concrete and asphalt isn't the answer, people! I guess that's "Hrrrump 3.0"!

Anybody catch my famous Iowan reference in today's "post"? (That's another clue!)

Have a great weekend, ya'all!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Little Late.....

Hey everyone! I'm a little later than usual today due to a technical glitch here at Guitar ted Laboratories. Seems that the wireless router has a mind of its own lately. Anyway............

More Tire Goodness: I've gotten a set of Maxxis Ardents and a set of Bontrager XR Tubeless Ready tires within the last two days. So you know what that means! More riding, more testing, more writing. It's all good. Initial impressions are that neither tire is as big as advertised, ( an all too common thing) and the Bontragers being the worst of the offenders. We'll give them a day or two and see, but in no way do the Bontragers represent the girth of the original XR's that came out three years ago or so. I got the fast set up on the XR's: Two fronts, running them on the rear is a fast way to go, almost a race tire set up. With these new treads looking to be spot on two inchers, they might just be great racing tires after all.

Labor Day Weekend: Big end of summer bash for a lot of folks which includes racing for some. Sadly, I am not going to be one of the fortunate few. My wife has "on call" duty this weekend and the two kids need a parent at home while Mom is away. So, I will be going on an "Adventure" with the two little ones instead. It'll be a good time. Sunday may see me get out for a local ride, since Mrs. Guitar Ted can work from the house. Monday is wide open, so that's my target day. I hope everyone else gets their groove on riding a bike somewhere this weekend!

It Is A Busy Time: Lots of things are cranking up around here now. Appointments for Interbike, possibilities for test/review items for Twenty Nine Inches, trying to arrange some out of town riding/testing opportunities, and the regular things surrounding my everyday life. September lately seems to last about five minutes and the next thing I know, I'm wearing wool and watching the leaves blow around my local trails. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I have to hook up with d.p. and get Trans Iowa details sewn up before winter sets in. I vote for an extra month in between September and October. Any takers?

"Cagey McCagerson": This is a nic-name that has been given to a certain someone in the bike industry by a certain someone else I know. (Yes, now I'm the one being cagey!) It is sort of an unspoken code in the industry where everyone you meet has something they are busting at the seams to tell you about, (because they are dyed in the wool bike geeks) but can not due to marketing/company rules, or for maintaining relationships, so instead they give you this wink, a smile in an odd place, or maybe a highly veiled tidbit of info meant to lead you on towards the discovery of what they are so excited about. It can be really frustrating at times, on both ends of the equation. I only bring it up because I find it a fascinating part of how bicycle industry people relate to other bike geeks. Right now, just before the trade show season, this sort of micro-culture communication is at its highest form and use. Pretty strange stuff, and I admit, I am right there in the midst of some of it. So, stay tuned as a lot of this "caginess" gets diffused over the coming month. It'll be a good time!

A Little Late.....

Hey everyone! I'm a little later than usual today due to a technical glitch here at Guitar ted Laboratories. Seems that the wireless router has a mind of its own lately. Anyway............

More Tire Goodness: I've gotten a set of Maxxis Ardents and a set of Bontrager XR Tubeless Ready tires within the last two days. So you know what that means! More riding, more testing, more writing. It's all good. Initial impressions are that neither tire is as big as advertised, ( an all too common thing) and the Bontragers being the worst of the offenders. We'll give them a day or two and see, but in no way do the Bontragers represent the girth of the original XR's that came out three years ago or so. I got the fast set up on the XR's: Two fronts, running them on the rear is a fast way to go, almost a race tire set up. With these new treads looking to be spot on two inchers, they might just be great racing tires after all.

Labor Day Weekend: Big end of summer bash for a lot of folks which includes racing for some. Sadly, I am not going to be one of the fortunate few. My wife has "on call" duty this weekend and the two kids need a parent at home while Mom is away. So, I will be going on an "Adventure" with the two little ones instead. It'll be a good time. Sunday may see me get out for a local ride, since Mrs. Guitar Ted can work from the house. Monday is wide open, so that's my target day. I hope everyone else gets their groove on riding a bike somewhere this weekend!

It Is A Busy Time: Lots of things are cranking up around here now. Appointments for Interbike, possibilities for test/review items for Twenty Nine Inches, trying to arrange some out of town riding/testing opportunities, and the regular things surrounding my everyday life. September lately seems to last about five minutes and the next thing I know, I'm wearing wool and watching the leaves blow around my local trails. Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I have to hook up with d.p. and get Trans Iowa details sewn up before winter sets in. I vote for an extra month in between September and October. Any takers?

"Cagey McCagerson": This is a nic-name that has been given to a certain someone in the bike industry by a certain someone else I know. (Yes, now I'm the one being cagey!) It is sort of an unspoken code in the industry where everyone you meet has something they are busting at the seams to tell you about, (because they are dyed in the wool bike geeks) but can not due to marketing/company rules, or for maintaining relationships, so instead they give you this wink, a smile in an odd place, or maybe a highly veiled tidbit of info meant to lead you on towards the discovery of what they are so excited about. It can be really frustrating at times, on both ends of the equation. I only bring it up because I find it a fascinating part of how bicycle industry people relate to other bike geeks. Right now, just before the trade show season, this sort of micro-culture communication is at its highest form and use. Pretty strange stuff, and I admit, I am right there in the midst of some of it. So, stay tuned as a lot of this "caginess" gets diffused over the coming month. It'll be a good time!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

This Is Gonna Be Huge!

With the "trade show season" upon us, there is always speculation that something really big is going to be shown that will blow us all away. You know, "The Next Big Thing". Who knows what that will be, or even if it will be.

Last year it was "urban bikes", this year it could be that again. Commuter/urban/fixie/utility rigs that people think are going to "save the planet". (Another misguided notion if there ever was one) Anyway, that doesn't really concern me. I'm not going to be focused on that part of what is being shown this year anyway.

While there really isn't any "big thing" in 29"ers coming for '09, there are lots of really great bikes that are coming. Some of them I already know about. I'm sure there are plenty more that I don't know about. Let's just say that I'm going to be very busy working for Twenty Nine Inches at Interbike. It may not be about covering "The Next Big Thing", but I know it is gonna be huge!

This is an Interbike that I predict will be the best show in terms of 29"ers since 2006. And you know what? I bet it is bigger for the 29"er crowd than that pivotal year was. That doesn't include Eurobike, which generally doesn't show that much 29"er product anyway, but I'm sure even there we will see some surprises.

Just wait, don't take my word for it. I'm betting you guys and gals out there will be blown away by a few of the new rigs. Just the few I already know about would be fodder for much press coverage and internet chatting. It is hard not to let on what I do know, because it is that exciting! Just know this: I would be seriously in debt if I bought every one of the new rigs that are coming out that I know I could use. Not just the ones I would want, these are bikes I could really use in the stable!

Oh yeah! It's going to be a good trade show season for 29"er freaks everywhere!

This Is Gonna Be Huge!

With the "trade show season" upon us, there is always speculation that something really big is going to be shown that will blow us all away. You know, "The Next Big Thing". Who knows what that will be, or even if it will be.

Last year it was "urban bikes", this year it could be that again. Commuter/urban/fixie/utility rigs that people think are going to "save the planet". (Another misguided notion if there ever was one) Anyway, that doesn't really concern me. I'm not going to be focused on that part of what is being shown this year anyway.

While there really isn't any "big thing" in 29"ers coming for '09, there are lots of really great bikes that are coming. Some of them I already know about. I'm sure there are plenty more that I don't know about. Let's just say that I'm going to be very busy working for Twenty Nine Inches at Interbike. It may not be about covering "The Next Big Thing", but I know it is gonna be huge!

This is an Interbike that I predict will be the best show in terms of 29"ers since 2006. And you know what? I bet it is bigger for the 29"er crowd than that pivotal year was. That doesn't include Eurobike, which generally doesn't show that much 29"er product anyway, but I'm sure even there we will see some surprises.

Just wait, don't take my word for it. I'm betting you guys and gals out there will be blown away by a few of the new rigs. Just the few I already know about would be fodder for much press coverage and internet chatting. It is hard not to let on what I do know, because it is that exciting! Just know this: I would be seriously in debt if I bought every one of the new rigs that are coming out that I know I could use. Not just the ones I would want, these are bikes I could really use in the stable!

Oh yeah! It's going to be a good trade show season for 29"er freaks everywhere!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's All About Bikes, Ya'all!



<====Roadie versus......

Ya know, I ran into this again on mtbr.com the other day and every time I see this, it makes me wonder. "Why can't we all see, it's just about bikes?" How is it that we have to look down on "X" type of cyclist?

Really, I don't get it and I'm not buyin' into it.







<===.....Urban hipster versus.......

Ya know, it's two wheels, a crank set, a chain, and rear cog(s). Something to tie it all together and somewhere to sit, (or not, as the case may be)

Some folks draw the lines between those components in different ways, but really, they are still all just bicycles.





<===....Sixty-Niners versus.......

Even I have been accused of "the hatred" on occasion. Now while it is true some "claims" I take offense to, or disagree with from time to time, the end result of anything I have to say is that it is just a bike. Go ride it and be happy. It may not be my version of "what works", but I applaud anybody that chooses to ride two wheels. That works every time.






<===...versus Twenty-Niners. Whatever!

There are about as many ways to travel on two wheels by means of human power as there are humans. All of them are bicycles. Get over yourself. You are a bicyclist. Part of a big peloton of two wheeled freaks and fanatics. It's all good.

Whatever you may think of Trek and Lance Armstrong in particular, their latest propaganda is spot on when they say, "We believe in bikes."

Not just mountain bikes, road bikes, recumbent, 69ers, all mountain/freeride/down hill bikes, cross country bikes, BMX bikes, Wall Mart bikes, urban/fixie bikes, or what ever.

No, just, "We believe in bikes."

Amen!

It's All About Bikes, Ya'all!



<====Roadie versus......

Ya know, I ran into this again on mtbr.com the other day and every time I see this, it makes me wonder. "Why can't we all see, it's just about bikes?" How is it that we have to look down on "X" type of cyclist?

Really, I don't get it and I'm not buyin' into it.







<===.....Urban hipster versus.......

Ya know, it's two wheels, a crank set, a chain, and rear cog(s). Something to tie it all together and somewhere to sit, (or not, as the case may be)

Some folks draw the lines between those components in different ways, but really, they are still all just bicycles.





<===....Sixty-Niners versus.......

Even I have been accused of "the hatred" on occasion. Now while it is true some "claims" I take offense to, or disagree with from time to time, the end result of anything I have to say is that it is just a bike. Go ride it and be happy. It may not be my version of "what works", but I applaud anybody that chooses to ride two wheels. That works every time.






<===...versus Twenty-Niners. Whatever!

There are about as many ways to travel on two wheels by means of human power as there are humans. All of them are bicycles. Get over yourself. You are a bicyclist. Part of a big peloton of two wheeled freaks and fanatics. It's all good.

Whatever you may think of Trek and Lance Armstrong in particular, their latest propaganda is spot on when they say, "We believe in bikes."

Not just mountain bikes, road bikes, recumbent, 69ers, all mountain/freeride/down hill bikes, cross country bikes, BMX bikes, Wall Mart bikes, urban/fixie bikes, or what ever.

No, just, "We believe in bikes."

Amen!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Trans This- Stage Race That

With the thoughts of Trans Iowa V5 running through my, ( and a lot of others) head lately, I have been perhaps a bit more attuned to what is going on elsewhere that is similar. I have always been a bit amazed at the interest in such events.

There is talk of several such events in places like North Carolina, Georgia, and even perhaps a route devised by Trans Iowa mastermind "J-kove" in Colorado. Multi-day, stage race type events are also being talked about in places like Colorado and California. There is a new stage race taking place in Mexico, and the list goes on.

Of course, big loops, grand time trial/tour events, and gravel road epics are still as popular as ever. (Within a certain niche group, that is) There just seems to be a bubbling up of interest for competitive/adventure/endurance type events all across the nation. I think that some of the things I have touched upon are part of this phenomenon. The desire to challenge oneself and compete against others, (not necessarily both at the same time) on a scale once thought unimaginable seems to be becoming a reality for more and more people. They are taking that desire and (at least thinking about) turning it into action in the form of events.

This is going to start to become evident in the equipment used to do these epic events. I know that some companies are going to bring bikes geared to this sort of stuff to market very soon. I suspect others will follow. Accessory makers and component makers will be, or already are taking notice. What might become of that is yet to be seen. I suspect a lot of product development will be driven with these sorts of events in mind, at the very least.

Whatever happens, it is fun to be a small, tiny part of it here with Trans Iowa. Of course, d.p. and I are doing this because we think it is fun. That others are going this route with events, or considering it just tells me that we aren't the only nutcases out there. I guess that is somewhat comforting! (Or maybe we should all be worried. Very worried!)

Trans This- Stage Race That

With the thoughts of Trans Iowa V5 running through my, ( and a lot of others) head lately, I have been perhaps a bit more attuned to what is going on elsewhere that is similar. I have always been a bit amazed at the interest in such events.

There is talk of several such events in places like North Carolina, Georgia, and even perhaps a route devised by Trans Iowa mastermind "J-kove" in Colorado. Multi-day, stage race type events are also being talked about in places like Colorado and California. There is a new stage race taking place in Mexico, and the list goes on.

Of course, big loops, grand time trial/tour events, and gravel road epics are still as popular as ever. (Within a certain niche group, that is) There just seems to be a bubbling up of interest for competitive/adventure/endurance type events all across the nation. I think that some of the things I have touched upon are part of this phenomenon. The desire to challenge oneself and compete against others, (not necessarily both at the same time) on a scale once thought unimaginable seems to be becoming a reality for more and more people. They are taking that desire and (at least thinking about) turning it into action in the form of events.

This is going to start to become evident in the equipment used to do these epic events. I know that some companies are going to bring bikes geared to this sort of stuff to market very soon. I suspect others will follow. Accessory makers and component makers will be, or already are taking notice. What might become of that is yet to be seen. I suspect a lot of product development will be driven with these sorts of events in mind, at the very least.

Whatever happens, it is fun to be a small, tiny part of it here with Trans Iowa. Of course, d.p. and I are doing this because we think it is fun. That others are going this route with events, or considering it just tells me that we aren't the only nutcases out there. I guess that is somewhat comforting! (Or maybe we should all be worried. Very worried!)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Singing In The Woods





<===Twas a bright, sunny day, and the Blackbuck was out of the house...

It was another ride at the Camp on Saturday morning, but this time it was a group effort. The call went out to meet up at 8pm at the kiosk on the North unit, (which is the main site of the Boy Scout Camp). We gathered there and found four of us ready to ride: Captain Bob, The Deerslayer, Casey, and myself. (We gotta get you a cool nic-name, Casey!)

Anyway, Casey had already warmed up on the North units trails and was saying how much work needed to be done there yet. Yep! And we should all pitch in, (If you are local) because these trails are well worth the efforts!

I was riding the Blackbuck with the Willits W.O.W fork on it. The colors almost made me feel "punk rockish" with that sickly green hue, black, and pink accents. Too cool! We decided to ride over to the South unit, about two and a half miles, I suppose, and so we got our groove on in the sunny but coolish weather.







<===An almost perfectly round spider web glistens in the sunlight. Natures cosmic ray deflector!



We got out there and took to the trails with a miss step through some nettles and other various itch weeds right off that bat. Well, now we have that out of the way at least........

It wasn't long before these local fast guys were working me hard. Of course, I did have the low gear of the bunch, and one of them had gears! Still, I gotta work on my climbing harder than they do because I'm such a tank. (A nice way of saying I'm fat. ha ha!) So it was that I often found myself bringing up the rear and that was okay. I got some time to look around and get some cool shots with the camera.







<===Captain Bob is shooting me shooting him. That's Casey in the middle and the Deerslayer on the left.



Captain Bob's "cuz", MTBidwell, was supposed to meet us out there, but he had run into trouble with his car and was going to be late. In the meantime, Casey had to depart for a company picnic, so we bid him adieu.

The three left of us went out on another loop. During that time, Captain's cell rang. It was MTBidwell saying that he had made it and was at the gate. We agreed to finish our loop and have him back track on it to meet up with us. When we did finally run across MTBidwell, he was bummed because his Blackberry jumped outta his shorts and landed somewhere on the trail.

We brainstormed an idea up. Captain Bob would continuously call MTBidwell's Blackberry and we would scatter up the trail that MTBidwell hd ridden listening for his ring tone, which was Radiohead's "Creep" So, we were running around doing this weird form of geo-cache' with our only clues coming from MTBidwell's directions. Finally, after about twenty minutes, the Deerslayer said, "I found it!"







<=== The Deerslayer belting out an a capella version of Creep in the woods.

It was one of those, "you had to be there" moments that was a gut busting good time. (Hopefully Captain Bob gets his bit of video up from this!) Anyway, MTBidwell was relieved and we all had a good laugh. Onward through the trails for some more fun!

We made a couple more trips, moved some offending blow downs, discussed some trail refinements, and had a great ride. These trails on the south side are so flowy, fast, rooty, rocky in spots, and generally super fun that I can't stop going here. It's a great single speed trail system too. Casey and the guys sawed up a few offending trees that had blown over and now you can really rip through here. It's much more challenging to the ol' motor now! Well, at least my motor!

If you ever are in the area, you should hit these trails up. They are well worth the trouble.

Singing In The Woods





<===Twas a bright, sunny day, and the Blackbuck was out of the house...

It was another ride at the Camp on Saturday morning, but this time it was a group effort. The call went out to meet up at 8pm at the kiosk on the North unit, (which is the main site of the Boy Scout Camp). We gathered there and found four of us ready to ride: Captain Bob, The Deerslayer, Casey, and myself. (We gotta get you a cool nic-name, Casey!)

Anyway, Casey had already warmed up on the North units trails and was saying how much work needed to be done there yet. Yep! And we should all pitch in, (If you are local) because these trails are well worth the efforts!

I was riding the Blackbuck with the Willits W.O.W fork on it. The colors almost made me feel "punk rockish" with that sickly green hue, black, and pink accents. Too cool! We decided to ride over to the South unit, about two and a half miles, I suppose, and so we got our groove on in the sunny but coolish weather.







<===An almost perfectly round spider web glistens in the sunlight. Natures cosmic ray deflector!



We got out there and took to the trails with a miss step through some nettles and other various itch weeds right off that bat. Well, now we have that out of the way at least........

It wasn't long before these local fast guys were working me hard. Of course, I did have the low gear of the bunch, and one of them had gears! Still, I gotta work on my climbing harder than they do because I'm such a tank. (A nice way of saying I'm fat. ha ha!) So it was that I often found myself bringing up the rear and that was okay. I got some time to look around and get some cool shots with the camera.







<===Captain Bob is shooting me shooting him. That's Casey in the middle and the Deerslayer on the left.



Captain Bob's "cuz", MTBidwell, was supposed to meet us out there, but he had run into trouble with his car and was going to be late. In the meantime, Casey had to depart for a company picnic, so we bid him adieu.

The three left of us went out on another loop. During that time, Captain's cell rang. It was MTBidwell saying that he had made it and was at the gate. We agreed to finish our loop and have him back track on it to meet up with us. When we did finally run across MTBidwell, he was bummed because his Blackberry jumped outta his shorts and landed somewhere on the trail.

We brainstormed an idea up. Captain Bob would continuously call MTBidwell's Blackberry and we would scatter up the trail that MTBidwell hd ridden listening for his ring tone, which was Radiohead's "Creep" So, we were running around doing this weird form of geo-cache' with our only clues coming from MTBidwell's directions. Finally, after about twenty minutes, the Deerslayer said, "I found it!"







<=== The Deerslayer belting out an a capella version of Creep in the woods.

It was one of those, "you had to be there" moments that was a gut busting good time. (Hopefully Captain Bob gets his bit of video up from this!) Anyway, MTBidwell was relieved and we all had a good laugh. Onward through the trails for some more fun!

We made a couple more trips, moved some offending blow downs, discussed some trail refinements, and had a great ride. These trails on the south side are so flowy, fast, rooty, rocky in spots, and generally super fun that I can't stop going here. It's a great single speed trail system too. Casey and the guys sawed up a few offending trees that had blown over and now you can really rip through here. It's much more challenging to the ol' motor now! Well, at least my motor!

If you ever are in the area, you should hit these trails up. They are well worth the trouble.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Blog Tag

Blog tag............whatta-ya-gunna-do? Brendan from Siren Cycles tagged me, and I didn't even know it! (I suppose there ought to be some sort of notification of "tagging". Ha ha!) So for your enjoyment........





What was I doing ten years ago? 1998? Well, I was in my second full year of wrenching on cars, working 60 hours a week. I just met my beautiful wife, and life was looking much, much better than it had for several years.

What are five non-work things on my to-do list today?


#1: Ride my bike (Only partialy non-work related, in reality!)



#2: Go to the guitar shop to pick up some plectrums.



#3: Spend some time with my kids, Izabel and Jacob.



#4: Put some nine volt batteries in my stomp boxes.


#5: Play my guitar at church in the evening


Snacks I enjoy?

Hmm.........nachos, popcorn, and nuts.


Things I would do if I were a billionaire.



I would be very generous with my money. I would dabble in frame building and guitar making. I would take measures to help my family in the future.


Places I have lived:

All in Iowa: Charles City, Cedar Falls, Swisher, and Waterloo.


Jobs I have had:


Paperboy, dish washer, grocery clerk (6 years), jeweler (ten years), bike shop employee (nine years and counting), car mechanic (five and a half years), and professional writer (three years).


Okay, this is the part where you "tag" some others. Here goes! Blue, Captain Bob, Mtbidwell, and Carlos.


I wouldn't blame any of you for not playing along, but I figured I'd play nice at least once. Don't count on it again! I'm going back to my normal curmudgeonly ways in regards to blog tag after this!

Blog Tag

Blog tag............whatta-ya-gunna-do? Brendan from Siren Cycles tagged me, and I didn't even know it! (I suppose there ought to be some sort of notification of "tagging". Ha ha!) So for your enjoyment........





What was I doing ten years ago? 1998? Well, I was in my second full year of wrenching on cars, working 60 hours a week. I just met my beautiful wife, and life was looking much, much better than it had for several years.

What are five non-work things on my to-do list today?


#1: Ride my bike (Only partialy non-work related, in reality!)



#2: Go to the guitar shop to pick up some plectrums.



#3: Spend some time with my kids, Izabel and Jacob.



#4: Put some nine volt batteries in my stomp boxes.


#5: Play my guitar at church in the evening


Snacks I enjoy?

Hmm.........nachos, popcorn, and nuts.


Things I would do if I were a billionaire.



I would be very generous with my money. I would dabble in frame building and guitar making. I would take measures to help my family in the future.


Places I have lived:

All in Iowa: Charles City, Cedar Falls, Swisher, and Waterloo.


Jobs I have had:


Paperboy, dish washer, grocery clerk (6 years), jeweler (ten years), bike shop employee (nine years and counting), car mechanic (five and a half years), and professional writer (three years).


Okay, this is the part where you "tag" some others. Here goes! Blue, Captain Bob, Mtbidwell, and Carlos.


I wouldn't blame any of you for not playing along, but I figured I'd play nice at least once. Don't count on it again! I'm going back to my normal curmudgeonly ways in regards to blog tag after this!

Friday News And Views



<===Monster Cross/Adventure bike models will be coming your way soon!

A couple of days ago I mentioned the "Adventure Bike" concept. Here's some more proof that other folks are thinking along the same lines. Seems that VooDoo is playing with the idea and this "test mule" is based off of their 28"er Agwe model.

Look for more things to start popping up from other established cycling marks soon!




<===Another versatile, budget minded 29"er fork.

Last year, Twenty Nine Inches tested a RST M-29 fork. This year we have the opportunity to test a Spinner 2Nine Air RLC fork. This fork is another "under the radar" choice for budget minded 29"er riders. We'll be doing a full test on this fork on Twenty Nine Inches, but my initial impressions are that it is a pretty decent fork so far.





<====As far as mini-pumps go, this one is pretty impressive!

I also have the honor of testing out this little gem, the Lezyne Alloy Drive S. I have a bit of a write up on this at the site called The Bike Lab that I scribe for.

It's a well made, well designed pump that features that little hose which makes the pump a lot easier to use without bending or breaking a valve stem. I like that. It seems to push a pretty decent amount of air with each stroke too. I'll have some further updates coming at The Bike Lab.


<===The Blackbuck with another "shorty" fork on it.

I'm still testing forks on the Blackbuck. I have one more rigid fork to go before I move on to the suspended forks I have in mind. I don't mind saying that I've gotten pretty speedy and good at fork swapping this summer!

The other thing is, I've gotten a lot of ride time on the Blackbuck. What a great rig! I certainly do not regret getting this bike at all. Too bad it doesn't come in more sizes than this, because I think this bike would be a lot more popular than it is. I guess that isn't the point though. The frame is a nice blend of stiffness and steel ride quality. Just right for single speeding, I'd say. You can gear this bike up, but I just don't ever see myself doing that. I've got another bike for gears that could be a single speed in the El Mariachi, which I don't ever see making into a single speed. Funny how that works!

The week has been a kind of a hectic one. Change of schedules for everyone make things a bit stressful. Transitioning into fall is a bit tumultuous, it would seem. Hopefully things are smooth where you are. I hope to get a ride in Saturday morning at the Camp. I've got another fork on the Blackbuck and it is time to ride it!

Have a great weekend and ride your bike till yer stupid!

Friday News And Views



<===Monster Cross/Adventure bike models will be coming your way soon!

A couple of days ago I mentioned the "Adventure Bike" concept. Here's some more proof that other folks are thinking along the same lines. Seems that VooDoo is playing with the idea and this "test mule" is based off of their 28"er Agwe model.

Look for more things to start popping up from other established cycling marks soon!




<===Another versatile, budget minded 29"er fork.

Last year, Twenty Nine Inches tested a RST M-29 fork. This year we have the opportunity to test a Spinner 2Nine Air RLC fork. This fork is another "under the radar" choice for budget minded 29"er riders. We'll be doing a full test on this fork on Twenty Nine Inches, but my initial impressions are that it is a pretty decent fork so far.





<====As far as mini-pumps go, this one is pretty impressive!

I also have the honor of testing out this little gem, the Lezyne Alloy Drive S. I have a bit of a write up on this at the site called The Bike Lab that I scribe for.

It's a well made, well designed pump that features that little hose which makes the pump a lot easier to use without bending or breaking a valve stem. I like that. It seems to push a pretty decent amount of air with each stroke too. I'll have some further updates coming at The Bike Lab.


<===The Blackbuck with another "shorty" fork on it.

I'm still testing forks on the Blackbuck. I have one more rigid fork to go before I move on to the suspended forks I have in mind. I don't mind saying that I've gotten pretty speedy and good at fork swapping this summer!

The other thing is, I've gotten a lot of ride time on the Blackbuck. What a great rig! I certainly do not regret getting this bike at all. Too bad it doesn't come in more sizes than this, because I think this bike would be a lot more popular than it is. I guess that isn't the point though. The frame is a nice blend of stiffness and steel ride quality. Just right for single speeding, I'd say. You can gear this bike up, but I just don't ever see myself doing that. I've got another bike for gears that could be a single speed in the El Mariachi, which I don't ever see making into a single speed. Funny how that works!

The week has been a kind of a hectic one. Change of schedules for everyone make things a bit stressful. Transitioning into fall is a bit tumultuous, it would seem. Hopefully things are smooth where you are. I hope to get a ride in Saturday morning at the Camp. I've got another fork on the Blackbuck and it is time to ride it!

Have a great weekend and ride your bike till yer stupid!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Seeing The Trail In A Different Way

Normally I take my Wednesdays and do work and test rides for Twenty Nine Inches these days. That didn't happen quite that way yesterday due to my cities wonky school scheduling. My children, ages seven and five, start school today. On a Thursday! That meant that our summer schedule of daycare ended last week and for three days now we've had alternative daycare, which included me yesterday.

I told my kids we were going on an "adventure". What I had in mind was to go back down to Hickory Hills and scout out the loop I ride down there while I walked the kids through the woods. I think both missions were a success, but I found out something that I didn't expect.

My mind sees everything from an "on the bike perspective" and that didn't work out well when on two feet. Especially when the little people I was with were working a lot harder than I was!

The loop we walked on doesn't seem very long on a bike. It is one of those trails you have to do two to three times to make it seem "worth it". Otherwise it is over before it starts and you seem like you just got going.

So it was as we were walking along that I found myself saying to my kids, "Aww, it'll be okay! The end is just right up here a little bit." Uh-huh................sure it is! What I found out was the trail is fairly long in reality, at least from a "feet on the ground" perspective! My children were, shall we say........less than pleased with my prognosis of finding our final destination. I think I was able to make it fun for them in the end, but lets just say that they were both pretty worked by the end of it all.

As for me, I saw the trail from a whole new perspective. Especially the down hill, where I was able to take the time to see lines that I wouldn't have time to consider flying by on a bike. I noticed the terrain off to either side, and was able to take in more of the natural beauty of the place at the slower pace I was going than I can while on a bike.

There were some disadvantages though. First being that you can not "sneak up" on wildlife while walking with two kids! Just a bit louder than a bicycle coming down the trail. Then there is time. Where I could do three loops of that trail, I could only do one. Of course, my kids weren't up for a round two anyway. They would have mutinied before going back out a second time!

In the end, we all learned some new things, enjoyed each others company, and had an "adventure". A good way to spend the last day of summer vacation, I think.

Seeing The Trail In A Different Way

Normally I take my Wednesdays and do work and test rides for Twenty Nine Inches these days. That didn't happen quite that way yesterday due to my cities wonky school scheduling. My children, ages seven and five, start school today. On a Thursday! That meant that our summer schedule of daycare ended last week and for three days now we've had alternative daycare, which included me yesterday.

I told my kids we were going on an "adventure". What I had in mind was to go back down to Hickory Hills and scout out the loop I ride down there while I walked the kids through the woods. I think both missions were a success, but I found out something that I didn't expect.

My mind sees everything from an "on the bike perspective" and that didn't work out well when on two feet. Especially when the little people I was with were working a lot harder than I was!

The loop we walked on doesn't seem very long on a bike. It is one of those trails you have to do two to three times to make it seem "worth it". Otherwise it is over before it starts and you seem like you just got going.

So it was as we were walking along that I found myself saying to my kids, "Aww, it'll be okay! The end is just right up here a little bit." Uh-huh................sure it is! What I found out was the trail is fairly long in reality, at least from a "feet on the ground" perspective! My children were, shall we say........less than pleased with my prognosis of finding our final destination. I think I was able to make it fun for them in the end, but lets just say that they were both pretty worked by the end of it all.

As for me, I saw the trail from a whole new perspective. Especially the down hill, where I was able to take the time to see lines that I wouldn't have time to consider flying by on a bike. I noticed the terrain off to either side, and was able to take in more of the natural beauty of the place at the slower pace I was going than I can while on a bike.

There were some disadvantages though. First being that you can not "sneak up" on wildlife while walking with two kids! Just a bit louder than a bicycle coming down the trail. Then there is time. Where I could do three loops of that trail, I could only do one. Of course, my kids weren't up for a round two anyway. They would have mutinied before going back out a second time!

In the end, we all learned some new things, enjoyed each others company, and had an "adventure". A good way to spend the last day of summer vacation, I think.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Dreamers Ideas To Make Mountain Bikes More Affordable

With the news that 2009 bicycle prices were going to be significantly higher, I was left wondering how much it might cost now for someone to get into mountain biking, and 29"ers in particular. Of course, it never has been really cheap. Mountain bikes, all terrain bikes, or what ever you want to call them, have always been a bit pricey. At least what I like to call "real mountain bikes".

And maybe that is the problem. Just what is a "real mountain bike" anyway? I mean, some folks are "mountain biking" on department store rigs, right? Well, for the sake of this discussion we will assume that the equipment must be serviceable, durable, and have a reasonable level of high performance off road. A bike that could be expected to give years of service with basic maintenance. The ability to fit at least two inch wide tires is also a prerequisite.

Okay, so what do you suppose a bike like that costs? $400.00? $500.00? Somewhere around there? I'm going to say that with today's future pricing in mind, you are looking at $500.00 and up.

That's a lot of cabbage.

Especially for those that these bikes are aimed at: the first time buyer/novice cyclist. Don't bother talking accessories. That will make the price even higher. Before I go on, I get that mountain biking is an equipment intensive sport. However; if we want to continue to grow the sport, (and I think that by all of the trail advocacy efforts I see, it is fair to assume that we do), we need to re-examine pricing and just what an "entry level" mountain bike should/could be. Here are a few suggestions and ideas to that end.

Make It Basic: First time riders are not "tech intensive" for the most part. Usually you are talking about someone that is concerned about durability, price, and having fun. A decent frame, a drive train that lasts and doesn't need to be fiddled with, and tough wheels. What would be so wrong with this: Develop an all aluminum seven speed drive train. Make it like the old STX RC stuff maybe, (although that had a bit of steel in it here and there), and get rid of the front suspension. Give it linear pull brakes. Give it a decent, tough frame. These days it seems aluminum wears well, but for this project, I would like to see a steel frame and fork. Give the customer a single speed option.

I know some companies are doing this already. It just needs to be given a wider audience.

Make It Versatile: Make the bike not just an all terrain bike. Make it a commuter ready bike. Sell it with skinny tires on it right off the floor. Rack mounts, fender mounts, a place for a kickstand. Again, I know versions of this have been and are out there, but the drive train usually isn't up to snuff, well.........because what I am talking about doesn't exist! Not from Shimano or SRAM. That said, I know Marin did the Hamilton single speed in this vein and by all accounts I've heard, they sold well. (They also had a geared version, as well.)

Make It Upgradeable: Sell this "basic all terrain" bike, but give the customer an "upgrade" option. Sort of a "good, better, best" set of packages that could be bolted on at purchase by the bike shop. Or at least a model that could be upgraded into a full on mountain bike hard tail at some point. Include disc brake tabs, suspension corrected geometry, decent handling traits. If it is the single speed bike, give it a derailleur hangar too.

Those are my thoughts. Would it be enough to get the price down? Would any company be willing to manufacture this "generic bike"? Could we ever hope to get a really nice seven speed drive train from Shimano or SRAM? That is a tall order and those are questions I don't have answers for. My guess is that you would say I am a dreamer and there is no way this would work.

Who knows. I can dream at least!

A Dreamers Ideas To Make Mountain Bikes More Affordable

With the news that 2009 bicycle prices were going to be significantly higher, I was left wondering how much it might cost now for someone to get into mountain biking, and 29"ers in particular. Of course, it never has been really cheap. Mountain bikes, all terrain bikes, or what ever you want to call them, have always been a bit pricey. At least what I like to call "real mountain bikes".

And maybe that is the problem. Just what is a "real mountain bike" anyway? I mean, some folks are "mountain biking" on department store rigs, right? Well, for the sake of this discussion we will assume that the equipment must be serviceable, durable, and have a reasonable level of high performance off road. A bike that could be expected to give years of service with basic maintenance. The ability to fit at least two inch wide tires is also a prerequisite.

Okay, so what do you suppose a bike like that costs? $400.00? $500.00? Somewhere around there? I'm going to say that with today's future pricing in mind, you are looking at $500.00 and up.

That's a lot of cabbage.

Especially for those that these bikes are aimed at: the first time buyer/novice cyclist. Don't bother talking accessories. That will make the price even higher. Before I go on, I get that mountain biking is an equipment intensive sport. However; if we want to continue to grow the sport, (and I think that by all of the trail advocacy efforts I see, it is fair to assume that we do), we need to re-examine pricing and just what an "entry level" mountain bike should/could be. Here are a few suggestions and ideas to that end.

Make It Basic: First time riders are not "tech intensive" for the most part. Usually you are talking about someone that is concerned about durability, price, and having fun. A decent frame, a drive train that lasts and doesn't need to be fiddled with, and tough wheels. What would be so wrong with this: Develop an all aluminum seven speed drive train. Make it like the old STX RC stuff maybe, (although that had a bit of steel in it here and there), and get rid of the front suspension. Give it linear pull brakes. Give it a decent, tough frame. These days it seems aluminum wears well, but for this project, I would like to see a steel frame and fork. Give the customer a single speed option.

I know some companies are doing this already. It just needs to be given a wider audience.

Make It Versatile: Make the bike not just an all terrain bike. Make it a commuter ready bike. Sell it with skinny tires on it right off the floor. Rack mounts, fender mounts, a place for a kickstand. Again, I know versions of this have been and are out there, but the drive train usually isn't up to snuff, well.........because what I am talking about doesn't exist! Not from Shimano or SRAM. That said, I know Marin did the Hamilton single speed in this vein and by all accounts I've heard, they sold well. (They also had a geared version, as well.)

Make It Upgradeable: Sell this "basic all terrain" bike, but give the customer an "upgrade" option. Sort of a "good, better, best" set of packages that could be bolted on at purchase by the bike shop. Or at least a model that could be upgraded into a full on mountain bike hard tail at some point. Include disc brake tabs, suspension corrected geometry, decent handling traits. If it is the single speed bike, give it a derailleur hangar too.

Those are my thoughts. Would it be enough to get the price down? Would any company be willing to manufacture this "generic bike"? Could we ever hope to get a really nice seven speed drive train from Shimano or SRAM? That is a tall order and those are questions I don't have answers for. My guess is that you would say I am a dreamer and there is no way this would work.

Who knows. I can dream at least!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Spirit Of Adventure And Big Wheels


<=== The Call of the Road Less Traveled....
I have a belief that there is a growing interest in something I am calling "Adventuring" in regards to cycling. Actually, when you think about it, elements of Adventuring have been with us for quite awhile now. I just think that these elements are being drawn out and that the focus on a certain category of bikes is going to make it a full fledged "trend", if you will. Let me explain......
There was a big move away from XC mountain bike racing back in the 90's and it could be argued that it is still happening today. The experience was too short, the costs too high, and the attitude that pervaded the scene was, well.......less than fun in many cases.
Then the long distance, 24 hour type stuff came about which for a lot of folks put "Fun" back into mountain biking in a big way. Maybe too much fun, maybe too high an entry fee, maybe too many people. The reasons vary, but there was something missing, even though this was a step in the right direction, and for a lot of us, still a good thing. However; there are a few of us that wanted more. A lot more.
This is where things like the Great Divide Race captured peoples imaginations. Some of us got to "thinkering" about how we could experience something like that, and lots of events and rides have been spawned off of that. Now it seems that even the competitive part of riding is being left by the wayside for more of the "adventure" side. The part that seems to have a grip and call on a lot of our hearts and souls.
I know this may be a bit simplistic, so please bear with me. This is a blog for crying out loud, not a novel! That said, I believe that throughout this progression there has been an effort made to distill the bicycle into a tool more effective for "adventuring" than the common XC inspired hard tail. In many ways, it has come full circle.
Just think back to the early 80's. Mountain biking was populated by lots of folks that were "adventuring" on two wheels. Call it off road touring, klunking, plunking, or whatever, it seems that we are coming back to a sensibility, (at least in many areas) that is leading us back to using bikes designed for such purposes. Bikes that in many ways have their roots in mountain bike designs of the early 80's mixed with modern updates.
My belief is that the monstercross/adventure/touring/29"er elements are all coming together in certain designs that are about to be unleashed on the market soon. The bikes that will ignite ideas in many of us, inspire many of us, and start a new "trend".
A trend that has been going on quietly all along, really. I'm excited to be a small part of it.
Lets ride!

The Spirit Of Adventure And Big Wheels


<=== The Call of the Road Less Traveled....
I have a belief that there is a growing interest in something I am calling "Adventuring" in regards to cycling. Actually, when you think about it, elements of Adventuring have been with us for quite awhile now. I just think that these elements are being drawn out and that the focus on a certain category of bikes is going to make it a full fledged "trend", if you will. Let me explain......
There was a big move away from XC mountain bike racing back in the 90's and it could be argued that it is still happening today. The experience was too short, the costs too high, and the attitude that pervaded the scene was, well.......less than fun in many cases.
Then the long distance, 24 hour type stuff came about which for a lot of folks put "Fun" back into mountain biking in a big way. Maybe too much fun, maybe too high an entry fee, maybe too many people. The reasons vary, but there was something missing, even though this was a step in the right direction, and for a lot of us, still a good thing. However; there are a few of us that wanted more. A lot more.
This is where things like the Great Divide Race captured peoples imaginations. Some of us got to "thinkering" about how we could experience something like that, and lots of events and rides have been spawned off of that. Now it seems that even the competitive part of riding is being left by the wayside for more of the "adventure" side. The part that seems to have a grip and call on a lot of our hearts and souls.
I know this may be a bit simplistic, so please bear with me. This is a blog for crying out loud, not a novel! That said, I believe that throughout this progression there has been an effort made to distill the bicycle into a tool more effective for "adventuring" than the common XC inspired hard tail. In many ways, it has come full circle.
Just think back to the early 80's. Mountain biking was populated by lots of folks that were "adventuring" on two wheels. Call it off road touring, klunking, plunking, or whatever, it seems that we are coming back to a sensibility, (at least in many areas) that is leading us back to using bikes designed for such purposes. Bikes that in many ways have their roots in mountain bike designs of the early 80's mixed with modern updates.
My belief is that the monstercross/adventure/touring/29"er elements are all coming together in certain designs that are about to be unleashed on the market soon. The bikes that will ignite ideas in many of us, inspire many of us, and start a new "trend".
A trend that has been going on quietly all along, really. I'm excited to be a small part of it.
Lets ride!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Few Observations From The Weekend

With the Trek Show behind me now I have a few observations to make concerning the aftermath and reactions I have seen so far. In no particular order, here they are......

A Bike Ride Sooths All Ills: Some of you industry types will relate to this. There is a lot of fun to be had looking at bikes, talking about bikes, and having bikes as part of your daily job, but riding a bike........ Ahhh! That's where it's at! I got out on the KMFDM (Karate Monkey Fixie Death Machine) yesterday and had a good one. What a relief from all that walking around Monona center and the windshield time to and fro. Whew!

Fisher Road Bikes: I suppose this will be the biggest story out of the Trek World show. I thought it was an odd thing for Trek to do, but after thinking about what some of the Trek and Fisher guys had to say about it, it makes sense. It makes sense in a sort of twisted, non-roadie way. I can totally get into it, if they pull off what they intend to do for 2010, when I hear the real deal will hit the show room floor. It should be a wild ride. As for the line up for '09? Uhh........yeah, the lack of time to get this done shows. I would say, "Don't pass judgement based upon 2009 stuff. Wait till 2010 product rolls out. Then we'll see what cards they are holding.

That said, the '09 stuff is solid, work horse road bike material. It looks flashy, like a Fisher should, I suppose. The highlight for me? The Presidio cyclo-crosser. True Temper steel and cantilever braked goodness. A real cyclo-crosser. Hopefully they can get it out before September is over!

No Carbon Fiber Single Speeder Fo You!!: The employees of Trek and Fisher dealers were offered a special price to get a limited edition Superfly single speed frame, Fox fork, headset, stem, and seat collar. I mean it was a smokin' good deal. One time only, and would not be sold to the public. Exclusive, cheap, carbon fiber........mmmmm! Yeah, well...........I passed it up! Yep! I showed restraint. You can call me nuts if you want to, (and you would if you knew the price), but I have my reasons for letting that one go. And no..............I ain't sharing all of them! I'm just going to say that I am holding out for something spicy that I hope is coming down the pike soon. That's all I'm gonna say!

Bontrager Shoes and Clothing?: In another stunner, Bontrager is now a shoe and clothing company. Sounds goofy? Well, I can't argue that, but the stuff is the real deal folks. I tried on the shoes and they are top notch. They even fit my skinny lil ol tootsies, which in itself is a marvel. Bontrager claims that their research led them to this foot bed/insole concept that they believe will fit the vast majority of riders out there. I say, if they can fit me, and some of the more normal footed brethren out there, mission accomplished! I was impressed.

The clothing was well thought out, but more importantly, it looked like stuff you would want to wear. Nothing goofy, no weird colors, no crazy logo emblazoned jerseys. Just sensible looking stuff. The shorts benefited from the Inform saddle project and their chamois showed it. It doesn't look anything like what I've seen before and features some high tech procedures. It will be interesting to see what riders think of them.

Commuter Me This Riddle, Batman: Commuter bikes are the rage all over and Trek/Fisher are all over this segment. Some bling-a-riffic fluff, (District) and some serious, (Allant) was shown. What wasn't widely known was that Fisher showed a select few dealers a long bike concept called a El Ranchero. Okay, long bike cool, ,,,,,name? Umm, did these guys steal the idea file from Salsa? That name isn't a Fisher kinda name. In fact, it makes m hungry for eggs with green sauce for some reason. Anyway......it is a cool concept and with the right mods, I like the bike. It needs a bit of tweaking though, before it is ready for prime time. You can check out some shots of this rig here. Why doesn't Fisher, or Trek for that matter just do a straight up version of this and get it out there? I don't know, but now is the time, and this is the place.

What's Up With That 29"er Line?: Well, not much news there. The Mamba is a new sub-grand 29"er and it looks pretty hot. The rest of the line gets dressed up in new graphics and colors with a few components custom colored to match. Nice.........but just that. I look for 2010 to be a pivotal year in the Fisher 29"er line. Other 29"er news came out of the Bontrager camp where I found out that a 29"er G2 version of the Switchblade carbon fork is in development and will be for sale by next summer. It's going to be an all new design too. The word is that the the old offset will still be supported too. Also, there was a new, all out, no holds barred racing tire shown called the XR 1. It will be a 1.90 wide tire with an Expert or Dual compound Team version available. Don't expect durability to be it's forte' as I heard that the race team said, "We don't care if it wears out in one race." You can check out my full report on this with pics here.

Okay, that's my take for this morning. First show of the Fall season done. Next up: Eurobike. No, I am not going. I'll just have to watch it all unfold over here like the rest of ya'all!

A Few Observations From The Weekend

With the Trek Show behind me now I have a few observations to make concerning the aftermath and reactions I have seen so far. In no particular order, here they are......

A Bike Ride Sooths All Ills: Some of you industry types will relate to this. There is a lot of fun to be had looking at bikes, talking about bikes, and having bikes as part of your daily job, but riding a bike........ Ahhh! That's where it's at! I got out on the KMFDM (Karate Monkey Fixie Death Machine) yesterday and had a good one. What a relief from all that walking around Monona center and the windshield time to and fro. Whew!

Fisher Road Bikes: I suppose this will be the biggest story out of the Trek World show. I thought it was an odd thing for Trek to do, but after thinking about what some of the Trek and Fisher guys had to say about it, it makes sense. It makes sense in a sort of twisted, non-roadie way. I can totally get into it, if they pull off what they intend to do for 2010, when I hear the real deal will hit the show room floor. It should be a wild ride. As for the line up for '09? Uhh........yeah, the lack of time to get this done shows. I would say, "Don't pass judgement based upon 2009 stuff. Wait till 2010 product rolls out. Then we'll see what cards they are holding.

That said, the '09 stuff is solid, work horse road bike material. It looks flashy, like a Fisher should, I suppose. The highlight for me? The Presidio cyclo-crosser. True Temper steel and cantilever braked goodness. A real cyclo-crosser. Hopefully they can get it out before September is over!

No Carbon Fiber Single Speeder Fo You!!: The employees of Trek and Fisher dealers were offered a special price to get a limited edition Superfly single speed frame, Fox fork, headset, stem, and seat collar. I mean it was a smokin' good deal. One time only, and would not be sold to the public. Exclusive, cheap, carbon fiber........mmmmm! Yeah, well...........I passed it up! Yep! I showed restraint. You can call me nuts if you want to, (and you would if you knew the price), but I have my reasons for letting that one go. And no..............I ain't sharing all of them! I'm just going to say that I am holding out for something spicy that I hope is coming down the pike soon. That's all I'm gonna say!

Bontrager Shoes and Clothing?: In another stunner, Bontrager is now a shoe and clothing company. Sounds goofy? Well, I can't argue that, but the stuff is the real deal folks. I tried on the shoes and they are top notch. They even fit my skinny lil ol tootsies, which in itself is a marvel. Bontrager claims that their research led them to this foot bed/insole concept that they believe will fit the vast majority of riders out there. I say, if they can fit me, and some of the more normal footed brethren out there, mission accomplished! I was impressed.

The clothing was well thought out, but more importantly, it looked like stuff you would want to wear. Nothing goofy, no weird colors, no crazy logo emblazoned jerseys. Just sensible looking stuff. The shorts benefited from the Inform saddle project and their chamois showed it. It doesn't look anything like what I've seen before and features some high tech procedures. It will be interesting to see what riders think of them.

Commuter Me This Riddle, Batman: Commuter bikes are the rage all over and Trek/Fisher are all over this segment. Some bling-a-riffic fluff, (District) and some serious, (Allant) was shown. What wasn't widely known was that Fisher showed a select few dealers a long bike concept called a El Ranchero. Okay, long bike cool, ,,,,,name? Umm, did these guys steal the idea file from Salsa? That name isn't a Fisher kinda name. In fact, it makes m hungry for eggs with green sauce for some reason. Anyway......it is a cool concept and with the right mods, I like the bike. It needs a bit of tweaking though, before it is ready for prime time. You can check out some shots of this rig here. Why doesn't Fisher, or Trek for that matter just do a straight up version of this and get it out there? I don't know, but now is the time, and this is the place.

What's Up With That 29"er Line?: Well, not much news there. The Mamba is a new sub-grand 29"er and it looks pretty hot. The rest of the line gets dressed up in new graphics and colors with a few components custom colored to match. Nice.........but just that. I look for 2010 to be a pivotal year in the Fisher 29"er line. Other 29"er news came out of the Bontrager camp where I found out that a 29"er G2 version of the Switchblade carbon fork is in development and will be for sale by next summer. It's going to be an all new design too. The word is that the the old offset will still be supported too. Also, there was a new, all out, no holds barred racing tire shown called the XR 1. It will be a 1.90 wide tire with an Expert or Dual compound Team version available. Don't expect durability to be it's forte' as I heard that the race team said, "We don't care if it wears out in one race." You can check out my full report on this with pics here.

Okay, that's my take for this morning. First show of the Fall season done. Next up: Eurobike. No, I am not going. I'll just have to watch it all unfold over here like the rest of ya'all!