Friday, January 24, 2014

Friday News And Views

I rode this bike about a 100 miles before I made any opinions on it.
Concerning Reviews:

Of course, if you've been here for any length of time, you already know I do reviews on products for Twenty Nine Inches and Gravel Grinder News. Sometimes I even do a review or two here.  (If you didn't realize this, you should.) Next- I will say that by training, (ie: in the college training sense of the word), I am not a "journalist", but by definition, what I do fits that term more closely than not. You be the judge. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what anyone wants to call it to me. However; I do take what I do very seriously, and I try my level best to do a good job and to keep getting better at it. Again- let the reader be the final judge in such matters.

All that to say that I have seen and read a couple things lately that I have found to be.......hmm, how shall I say this- disappointing? Incredible? Sad? Well, anyway, here is a video that is an example. Another example in the written form comes from a well known magazine and can be read here. My jaw dropped open at this line:

"We found a five-mile out-and-back trail in East Saguaro National Park that was fast and hard-packed with enough sand, ruts, and steep uphills to put the gravel steeds through their paces."
Five miles? Really? Please go back and ride the DK 200 on it, then we'll talk........or at least do multiple days on the thing with rides lasting over an hour or so before the pronouncements come down about how "this or that" is awesome. Anyway, I'd like to think that at least they would put a huge disclaimer on that piece saying it was a brief impression, and not a.........well, whatever it is. It certainly isn't what I would deem as a review. But maybe I am all wrong here.......

Riding on gravel- Reaching For A Slice Of That Pie
The Marketing Of "Gravel Grinding": 

Many years of riding gravel by cyclists have happened before I came along, and many have happened since then, but now bicycle companies have taken notice and they want you to think it is "new and exciting".

Mostly I do not have any issues with marketing saying stuff about "gravel grinding" as long as it is based in truth and not just some re-packaged component or bike being flaunted as a "gravel grinding" product. But that's another story......

My point today is that the overall bicycle market base is not expanding. This means that companies are fighting tooth and nail for your cycling dollars. Gravel riding has become much more popular in the last six years. Marketers have aimed their promotional machines at the gravel segment and are firing up all sorts of ideas to attract you to spend your hard earned money. This should not surprise you. It's how the economy works these days with any market.

You also will see folks grousing, (getting angry, actually), and saying all sorts of crazy stuff in reaction to this phenomenon. In the end, none of what they say will matter. Folks will continue to ride gravel roads despite the hype because they want to. I would suggest that no matter what the "newest, greatest thing to hit cycling" is you will hear this negativity when the marketers get ahold of it. (Fat bikes?, enduro?)

So, I would suggest that if you "get" what riding gravel is all about, cool. If you learn about it and try it, again- cool. If you don't get it, and think it is stupid, that's cool too. Marketing will happen despite how you feel. It is the way of this world. Not worth bothering about it all, really.

Three years ago......
The Return Of The Snow Dog:

No, it isn't some mash-up of J.R.R. Tolkien and Rush, (although, that sounds rad), it is the rebirth of my first fat bike.

Three years ago I received a Muluk and matching Enabler fork for my birthday, (which happened again yesterday, by the way), and I was stunned. Several friends and folks I had not even met yet all contributed to the cost to purchase this frame and fork so I could build my very first fat bike. To say that this gesture, objectified by the Snow Dog, (which is the name I gave to the frame/fork), was very much appreciated is an understatement. It means more than I can say...

I paid that forward when I stripped much of the running gear off the Snow Dog last year to get my son on a fat bike, which has worked out brilliantly. However; since then the Snow Dog's remains have been hanging from a hook, waiting to be re-assembled again into a working fat bike. Well, the time has come and work has begun to revive the ol' Dog and get it rideable once more.

There will be some switcheroos going on between this bike and the titanium one, but plans are to have one be the "wide track" bike and the other a 4"er.  I'll have an update soon, I hope.

Stay warm! Get outside and be active!

1 comment:

Ari said...

Happy Birthday to you from all of us on the other side of the river!!!!
Ari and the Gang.