Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Randomonium- Vans, Single Speeds, & T.I. Radio

People on Facecrack were going ga-ga over this pig of a vehicle. Why?
Okay folks, if you haven't been around long enough here to know what a "Randomonium" post is, then here is the deal. I ramble, rant, and randomly moan about all things cycling in one, incohesive, bizarre post. "Randomonium", okay?

Yesterday I was amazed by a weird post on Facecrack about a van on Craigslist. People were going nutso over this pig of a Chevy van and thinking it would be the bees knees for adventuring around in. Frankly, I just do not understand why. I know, I know....... "Van life". But this Vandura? Really?

Maybe it is the recent "Dirt Rag" issue that came out extolling the purported virtues of "van life" and cycling. C'mon people. Living out of a van? Have y'all gone Matt Foley on me here? I cannot think of a worse way to spend a weekend, much less a month, going around to cycling destinations. I know, because I have done it.

And I know that the Vandura that the folks were falling all over themselves to "like" on Facecrack is a giant turd of a vehicle to drive, and to work on. I know this because I have done both with and on Vanduras and their variations. See, I used to work at a car repair shop for five and a half years. I am fully aware of what's under the "doghouse" in a Chevy van. It ain't pretty either.

Gah! Just the thought of those vans brings back all the smells and feels. Uggh!

Oh so wrong, antiquated, and stupid. Ah.....yeah. Whatever!
I read another amusing bit that, for all intents and purposes, is likely just clickbait to inflate the "" website's numbers. It was about why single speed mountain bikes are stupid. The following quote was my favorite:

"These things are all terrible in that they simply don’t need to be that way any more. Nowadays we have inflatable tyres, commercial jets and simple cash. We have the technology to change gears."

I liked it because it exposes the flaw in the logic of the piece. You see, if single speed mountain bikes are terrible and one of the reasons why is because we have "better technology", then by that measure all human powered vehicles are to be regarded as stupid. Because "technology", right? I mean, at that point, why pedal at all when you don't have to? Why do we not review all bicycles as being technologically backward? 

See, that whole line of thinking is what is really stupid. It is so obvious, and I know all the health, "green", and community enhancing benefits as well as you do. That is why that article is clickbait and why I am not going to link to it. You'll just have to go look for yourselves if you want to see it, but keep in mind, that's playing right in to their hands. Besides, if you want the real low down on why single speeding is a bad idea, just follow me on a gravel ride in hilly territory someday. I'm sure you'll come to understand quickly.

Home of Trans Iowa Radio
And now for something completely serious and maybe even.....useful? Yes. Useful. 

My partner, Ben Welnak, has decided to sacrifice a weekend of time he'll never get back and facilitate "Trans Iowa Radio". I did not ask or cajole him in to doing anything. He offered to do it again of his own volition, and honestly, had he not, I would have completely understood. Trans Iowa Radio is a huge time commitment and while I know Ben would say it is "no big deal", it is a big deal. Trust me. 

I know this because back in the early days of Trans Iowa I did "Trans Iowa Radio" as kind of a way to have fun and pass the time while driving around Iowa's backroads like some stray dog on an all night bender. I made up fake sponsors and did fake commercials. I had noisy toys and sounds that led into vague updates and quasi-serious rantings on course conditions and progress of the leaders of the event. I didn't think anyone was taking any of it seriously.

Boy! Was I ever wrong about that!

People would send me angry e-mails after the fact because I wasn't covering their second cousin who was in the event. They would tell me I was doing it all wrong and would tell me what they thought I should be covering and how often and when. It was completely annoying, unnecessary, and the whole intent and purpose for Trans Iowa Radio back then was completely misunderstood. I vowed not to do it again several times. Then I would do it and get another round of criticisms. 

The thing got set in stone once the mini-documentary, "300 Miles of Gravel" came out since my TI Radio updates were sprinkled throughout the piece. Ben came along shortly afterward to facilitate Trans Iowa Radio on his Mountain Bike Radio site. That's when it started to open up to having rider call-ins and it didn't have to be something that relied on myself stopping to call in occasionally. Ben helped put things to right with the "audience" and what it was they wanted- updates from people they wanted to hear about, straight from the "horses mouth". It has freed me up to do what I do and not have to be concerned with trying to please every listener. It has been a great arrangement.

That said, I know it is a huge investment for Ben in terms of time and energy. That is why I cannot ask him to do this. I know how taxing it is. So, if you have the chance, give him a shout and let him know that you appreciate the efforts. I know I sure do. 



50voltphantom said...

That MTB is rad. Would ride.

jkruse said...

Hmm, my single speeds always did leave me feeling a little funny after rides. Glad the experts at "bike radar" have cleared that up for me! Off to the dumpster I go. Or maybe I could trade it in and put some money down on an E-Bike!

Kate Geisen said...

Trans Iowa Radio and the rider call-ins are (as a non-participant) my favorite part! Glad it'll be around this year as well. Otherwise my husband would have to miss out on my frequent excited updates about people he's never met.

Skidmark said...

Is there a way I can unplug from my internet connection-permanently?

Salmon said...

I really like the Trans Iowa radio and appreciate that's it coming back, thanks to both Ben and yourself for facilitating it.

BTW, been rocking my new Riding Gravel kit, the meadowlarks have taken notice and compliment me as I ride by

Rydn9ers said...

I'd be interested in watching the 300 Mile of Gravel documentary but it seems like it's nowhere to be found. Any idea where someone could find it?

Daniel said...

That bikeradar article was pretty dumb. I like gears on my road bikes but I like having only 1 gear when I'm on a mountain bike. Its just simpler.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rob E: Yeah, when I linked to that documentary I noticed it wasn't available on Amazon anymore. I would try contacting Jeff Frings, the filmmaker, and maybe there is a link for an e-mail on that blogspot site I linked to? I don't know. Worth a try.

Rydn9ers said...

Email has been sent, we will see what becomes of it. Saw MG in the trailer, looks so young back then.