Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday News And Views

Spring Cleaning
Practical Cycling:

One of my favorite things to do is to figure out how I can use my bicycles for ordinary tasks. You know, like getting a gallon of milk. Grab the "townie" and pack the jug of moo juice home in a pannier. That sort of thing, but even on larger scales.So when Mrs. Guitar Ted said she had many bags of clothes to donate to Goodwill, I said that I would take care of that task. It was a perfect task for my Xtracycle.

One of my favorite things about the Xtracycle is that, if you put your mind to it, you can usually figure out how to carry some ridiculous loads. The one thing I hate about my Xtracycle is that those loads push it way beyond its practical capabilities.

See! This is why I need a Big Dummy! 

I know, I know..... "just go get one already!" I hear ya, but my "practical thinking mind" says that I already own such a beast, and that the wobbling, snaking down the road, flexy wheeled, poor braking beast is enough for me and my needs. Gah! I drive myself crazy with the back and forth of it all. Sometimes I wish the damn thing would just break, then my mind would be made up for me. Ha! Trouble is that this rig is like a cockroach. I cannot kill it. It isn't like I don't try to though......

How kingly art thou?
A Pretentious Name:

I got a pair of new tires for the Standard Rando to try out. When I first got the bike, almost a year ago now, to test for, it came shod with the narrower, 32mm Panaracer Gravel King tires. They weren't much fun on Iowa gravel, so off they went and I never looked back again at those tires. I knew at the time Panaracer was planning a 40mm version of the tire, so I held out until that tire was available, and here it is.

The really ironic thing about the whole Gravel King line up is that when it was introduced, the first tire was a smooth 28mm skinny-minnie that wouldn't do squat on gravel we have here but maybe cause you to work way too hard and pinch flat. "Some 'gravel king' that tire is!", I thought. Then the 32mm with tread appeared, and, well, that was another fail, at least here. So, now we have a 35mm, which I wanted to try, but was unavailable at this time, and this 40, which I expect to be more than capable. The testing will commence soon and be reported here and on

The thing is, gravel isn't the same everywhere, but here is my point. Gravel tires should be such that you can tackle anything and do it with relative ease. A 28mm tire is not a gravel tire you can take anywhere. No......fat road tire? Maybe. Heck, it is almost a "normal width" for a pavement road bike tire now. Now, a 35-40mm tire? we're talking. Is that overkill for some places? Sure it is, but you won't be wanting when you do go to those "other places". And....if your bike can handle big tires, you can always mount skinnier ones. Try that on your Trek Madone.  Okay, that's my rant on the name. It is silly, it doesn't make sense across the range, but whatever. It is what it is......

Trans Iowa v12 Update: 

This past week was spent mostly on dialing in cue sheets. The mileage, which we strive to get right, was off in one, small section, and it would seem to be easy to fix. However; you underestimate the complexity and enormity of the task if you think that.

With several turns, this way and that, markers for road crossings, and name changes, the mileages pile up. Figures differing only one digit or two are common, and it gets to be really easy to mis-transcribe numbers. However; what got us screwed up was our mapping program, which wanted to route back and forth over itself unless you dialed up the resolution on the map to the point you couldn't see the forest for the trees, so to speak. I missed one spot after map clean up and it made the route in one section a quarter mile longer than it should have been. Why the route making program didn't reconfigure the entire route a quarter mile longer, I don't know. I have a way of messing up these sorts of things.

The point is, finally we got the thing straightened out. It went back and forth over the period of a day, but between Jeremy and I, we got it. Now we just have to verify the route via recon the week before Trans Iowa, and print the cues, and..... Whew!

I've gotten a few drop out notices from riders, thanks! It saves us work on our end if we know ahead of time that you cannot make T.I.v12. 

New Logo from the Facebook Page Logo:

We've been working on a new look for lately, and we have been coming up with some awesome ideas. Sometimes though, the simplest idea can be way better than anything else you have been looking at.

Case in point: The traffic sign logo that my partner, Ben, came up with, is just killer. In fact, it was so good that he went right ahead and made it our Facebook page avatar. I think it is brilliant.

Now, this doesn't mean that our other ideas went in the circular file. No- It just means that this is the perfect way for us to depict what it is to be riding gravel. Rural, somewhat dangerous, and it is eye catching in a super simple format. I don't know- maybe I am all wrong here- but I like this and I think it fits really well. What do you think?

That's a wrap! Have a fantastic weekend and keep the rubber side down.


sniffer said...

good logo for sure.

Michael_S said...

those 40 mm Gravelkings are super fast rolling. Best tire in it's class IMO.