Saturday, June 30, 2018

Minus Ten Review- 26

The Pofahl with really swept back flat bars. It was supposed to have flat bars from the get-go.
Ten years ago on the blog I was gabbing about a few changes I find notable today. First was that the old Goodwill store which used to be on the East side of the shop where I work at was in the process of moving to the West side and into a refurbished/new space. Hard to believe that was going on ten years ago now.

The second thing I noted was that I got MG's tubeless recipe from him and used it to successfully convert some old WTB Vulpines to tubeless. Vulpines were never tubeless ready, so this was a risk, but they held up for years and I actually still have those tires. They are pretty good gravel tires even with today's gravel specific treads coming out.

The last thing was that I decided to ride out at Hickory Hills with the mountain bike. It had been about ten years since I had been out there previous to that, back when the shop I work at sponsored and ran a XC mtb race out there. Now, I cannot remember when I did the following, but I did explore every trail out there once. Yeah.....they weren't all open to cycling.... The reason I did that was that I wanted to know if what I had heard back in the late 80's was true. That Hickory Hills was the best spot for mountain biking anywhere. That was true ten years ago. Maybe not so much now, but...... With some tweaks and development, it could be. Will we ever know in my lifetime? Unlikely, as those that should be focused on prime land for the best, challenging mountain biking are focused on expanding river bottom trails that get flooded out consistently and require he-man loads of maintenance.

So, no. I don't see this happening anytime soon. Glad I rode it the time I did.

Minus Ten Review- 26

The Pofahl with really swept back flat bars. It was supposed to have flat bars from the get-go.
Ten years ago on the blog I was gabbing about a few changes I find notable today. First was that the old Goodwill store which used to be on the East side of the shop where I work at was in the process of moving to the West side and into a refurbished/new space. Hard to believe that was going on ten years ago now.

The second thing I noted was that I got MG's tubeless recipe from him and used it to successfully convert some old WTB Vulpines to tubeless. Vulpines were never tubeless ready, so this was a risk, but they held up for years and I actually still have those tires. They are pretty good gravel tires even with today's gravel specific treads coming out.

The last thing was that I decided to ride out at Hickory Hills with the mountain bike. It had been about ten years since I had been out there previous to that, back when the shop I work at sponsored and ran a XC mtb race out there. Now, I cannot remember when I did the following, but I did explore every trail out there once. Yeah.....they weren't all open to cycling.... The reason I did that was that I wanted to know if what I had heard back in the late 80's was true. That Hickory Hills was the best spot for mountain biking anywhere. That was true ten years ago. Maybe not so much now, but...... With some tweaks and development, it could be. Will we ever know in my lifetime? Unlikely, as those that should be focused on prime land for the best, challenging mountain biking are focused on expanding river bottom trails that get flooded out consistently and require he-man loads of maintenance.

So, no. I don't see this happening anytime soon. Glad I rode it the time I did.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Friday News And Views

Kansas can be serene or it can be violent. Tornadoes are a constant threat.
A Chance To Give Back:

Have you ever done the Dirty Kanza 200 and gone through a checkpoint town? The ride absolutely takes over these burgs for the day, and the citizens are all about supporting it, for the most part. It is an amazing welcoming in of a horde of cyclists that they don't have to do. Well, one of these towns, Eureka, Kansas, was struck by a tornado and suffered a lot of damage. Now, if you have ever benefited from the checkpoint towns in that event, you have a chance to show you care.

A fund raising site has been started to raise funds which will go to helping Eureka get back on its feet again. We have responded at RidingGravel.com and we ask that you join in and help these amazing, kind folks in Eureka.

Here's the link. No amount is too small. Please consider giving..... Thank you.

In addition DK Promotions is offering 20% of all DK merch sales made now through July 31st to Eureka's recovery efforts. You can check it out HERE 

High Tech Zip Ties v2
 Hip Lok Z Lok Combo & Z Lok:

I got a couple of these Hip Lok "zip tie-like" locks in to check out recently. They are kind of like the Ottolock  I reviewed on RidingGravel.com, but these have a few different characteristics.  

First and foremost, the Z Lok Combo, (the one with the black sliding "switch") is a LOT shorter than an Ottolock is. Secondly, it has a solid steel strap encased in plastic, whereas the Ottolock uses a stainless steel mesh inside the plastic outer. 

This makes the Z Lok Combo a lot stiffer and a lot tougher to use since you have to have a frame member right up against something you want to lock to. That isn't always easy to do. The stiff, steel strap isn't very pliable either, so slight twists and bends that an Ottolock can do, this lock cannot. 

While I don't have any data to back it up, I am betting the Z Lok Combo is tougher to defeat though. It just depends on if you can make it work where you need to lock the bike up for a few moments. Oh yeah, and due to its form factor, it isn't as easily stowed as the Ottolock either. But here's the kicker. The Z Lok Combo only costs $19.95. That's a big difference from the 18" Ottolock  which runs North of $50.00 on most sites. 

The smaller Z Lok is different. It has the steel strap core but uses a forked key to unlock it. I wouldn't rely on this ten dollar lock alone, but you can use it to lock gear to your bike, disable a wheel, and it compliments a Z Lok Cobo well in that role.  Together you could use both to temporarily lock up your rig to go inside a convenience store, for instance, to resupply on a gravel ride. Or use these to disable your bike while camping out on a bike packing trip. 

 Pink MCD Update:

I am patiently waiting for the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross Disc (MCD) frame and fork to show up, which is looking like mid to late July as of now. Yes, the frames land here in early July, but it takes time to pass through customs, get into Mike Varley's hands at Black Mountain Cycles, and then turned around and shipped out to eager customers like myself.  

According to the latest update provided by Mike this week, the run on the initial MCD frame order is intense. Many sizes are running out. No surprise here. If this MCD is anything like the quality and design which are evident in the OG Monster Cross frame and fork, this bike will be stellar. The word is out now, and the price that this frame and fork are going for is a great bang for the buck. And I haven't even seen or handled one, so that may sound like crazy talk. However; I have faith that this will be bourne out when the MCD gets here and many other folks feel likewise. 

Well, with that out of the way, the latest thing that is getting put together in advance of the frame and fork arriving is the wheel set. All I need to do now is to get an 11 speed cassette and mount my WTB Resolutes on the Irwin Cycling Carbon Aon GX 35 wheels. I kind of want to hold off on the cassette until I square away my choice for the crank set. Gearing will play a big role here, so cassette choice has to go along with that. 

The cock pit is getting squared away as well. I have already chosen some bits I have here to use on this bike. The Redshift ShockStop stem is going on with a Salsa Cycles Cowchipper bar. The seat post will be the excellent Salsa Cycles Ti regulator. The saddle will be a Brooks Cambium C17 All Weather. Tape will be Marque Cycling Diamond Tape in Pink. 

Really, the only missing parts are the head set and crank set/bottom bracket. That and cables, housings, and whatever smaller bits I need. I've got a few weeks to square this away. I'll need all that time, especially after the bill I paid to fix my truck, which came out of the bike fund. Yeah......ouch.  

Thanks for reading here! Have a great weekend and try to stay cool and hydrated! 

Friday News And Views

Kansas can be serene or it can be violent. Tornadoes are a constant threat.
A Chance To Give Back:

Have you ever done the Dirty Kanza 200 and gone through a checkpoint town? The ride absolutely takes over these burgs for the day, and the citizens are all about supporting it, for the most part. It is an amazing welcoming in of a horde of cyclists that they don't have to do. Well, one of these towns, Eureka, Kansas, was struck by a tornado and suffered a lot of damage. Now, if you have ever benefited from the checkpoint towns in that event, you have a chance to show you care.

A fund raising site has been started to raise funds which will go to helping Eureka get back on its feet again. We have responded at RidingGravel.com and we ask that you join in and help these amazing, kind folks in Eureka.

Here's the link. No amount is too small. Please consider giving..... Thank you.

In addition DK Promotions is offering 20% of all DK merch sales made now through July 31st to Eureka's recovery efforts. You can check it out HERE 

High Tech Zip Ties v2
 Hip Lok Z Lok Combo & Z Lok:

I got a couple of these Hip Lok "zip tie-like" locks in to check out recently. They are kind of like the Ottolock  I reviewed on RidingGravel.com, but these have a few different characteristics.  

First and foremost, the Z Lok Combo, (the one with the black sliding "switch") is a LOT shorter than an Ottolock is. Secondly, it has a solid steel strap encased in plastic, whereas the Ottolock uses a stainless steel mesh inside the plastic outer. 

This makes the Z Lok Combo a lot stiffer and a lot tougher to use since you have to have a frame member right up against something you want to lock to. That isn't always easy to do. The stiff, steel strap isn't very pliable either, so slight twists and bends that an Ottolock can do, this lock cannot. 

While I don't have any data to back it up, I am betting the Z Lok Combo is tougher to defeat though. It just depends on if you can make it work where you need to lock the bike up for a few moments. Oh yeah, and due to its form factor, it isn't as easily stowed as the Ottolock either. But here's the kicker. The Z Lok Combo only costs $19.95. That's a big difference from the 18" Ottolock  which runs North of $50.00 on most sites. 

The smaller Z Lok is different. It has the steel strap core but uses a forked key to unlock it. I wouldn't rely on this ten dollar lock alone, but you can use it to lock gear to your bike, disable a wheel, and it compliments a Z Lok Cobo well in that role.  Together you could use both to temporarily lock up your rig to go inside a convenience store, for instance, to resupply on a gravel ride. Or use these to disable your bike while camping out on a bike packing trip. 

 Pink MCD Update:

I am patiently waiting for the Black Mountain Cycles Monster Cross Disc (MCD) frame and fork to show up, which is looking like mid to late July as of now. Yes, the frames land here in early July, but it takes time to pass through customs, get into Mike Varley's hands at Black Mountain Cycles, and then turned around and shipped out to eager customers like myself.  

According to the latest update provided by Mike this week, the run on the initial MCD frame order is intense. Many sizes are running out. No surprise here. If this MCD is anything like the quality and design which are evident in the OG Monster Cross frame and fork, this bike will be stellar. The word is out now, and the price that this frame and fork are going for is a great bang for the buck. And I haven't even seen or handled one, so that may sound like crazy talk. However; I have faith that this will be bourne out when the MCD gets here and many other folks feel likewise. 

Well, with that out of the way, the latest thing that is getting put together in advance of the frame and fork arriving is the wheel set. All I need to do now is to get an 11 speed cassette and mount my WTB Resolutes on the Irwin Cycling Carbon Aon GX 35 wheels. I kind of want to hold off on the cassette until I square away my choice for the crank set. Gearing will play a big role here, so cassette choice has to go along with that. 

The cock pit is getting squared away as well. I have already chosen some bits I have here to use on this bike. The Redshift ShockStop stem is going on with a Salsa Cycles Cowchipper bar. The seat post will be the excellent Salsa Cycles Ti regulator. The saddle will be a Brooks Cambium C17 All Weather. Tape will be Marque Cycling Diamond Tape in Pink. 

Really, the only missing parts are the head set and crank set/bottom bracket. That and cables, housings, and whatever smaller bits I need. I've got a few weeks to square this away. I'll need all that time, especially after the bill I paid to fix my truck, which came out of the bike fund. Yeah......ouch.  

Thanks for reading here! Have a great weekend and try to stay cool and hydrated! 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Daylilies In The Ditches

Time to test this new Bolle' "The One" helmet out. My first go at an aero helmet.
Wednesday it was perfect for riding again. Maybe not as near as good as Saturday was, since there was a touch more wind, but really. Who cares? When it is good, ya gotta get a ride in. I cannot always do that, so Wednesday was a blessing.

I had a new helmet come in for a review on RidingGravel.com. It is a helmet from Bolle', who I know as a sunglasses maker. Now, I was pretty dang skeptical this would work out, and for good reason.

You see, I was blessed with a big melon head. My "official" hat size is 7 7/8ths. Something like 63cm or so around. So, most helmets don't fit me, most hats don't fit me, and most anything for your head, yeah......it doesn't fit me. To make matters worse, my head is really egg shaped. Not round at all. It makes fitting a helmet for cycling darn near impossible. In fact, I didn't wear a helmet for many years. There just wasn't anything that fit.

I ended up modifying a Shoei helmet back in the 90's by Dremmeling out some of the foam in the front and back of the helmet to make it "custom" fit to my head. Finally I came across Bell helmets which were an acceptable fit. Newer Bontrager stuff fits me okay, but nothing I've tried is really very good. Nothing. Every helmet I have ever had is a compromise and fit is not 100% right. Same with this Bolle', with one minor exception- It is the first helmet I've ever tried that fits and stays on my head without it being strapped at the chin. I can actually lean over and it doesn't fall off. So, it's closer to fitting me right, but it is not spot on.

It varied from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy but the temperature and humidity were not bad.
Enough about helmets. I slapped that Bolle' on my head and headed North. I haven't been North of town in awhile, and even though I didn't check the weather, I hit it just right. I'd have a tailwind on the way home.

The other thing I hit about perfect was the blooming of the daylilies in the ditches. I love wild flowers, so I look forward to the yearly blooming of the different flowers. This year's daylilies are fantastic.


There were a lot more than this, but that should give you a good idea of how it looked out there. Pretty spectacular in places where both ditches were filled with that distinctive blazing orange color. These will last for a week or so, if we're lucky, and then they will start fading. But other flowers are coming on, so the show isn't over just yet. Get out there and enjoy it while you can!


Red Winged Blackbirds were busy trying to harass me again, but the heavier winds were keeping them at bay. The other thing I noted was odd, to me anyway. Those birds are beginning to flock together again. Usually that is a sign that migration is happening soon. I'm not super familiar with when Red Wing Blackbirds leave Iowa for Winter, but I am very aware of when they come. Maybe they always leave around now? Don't know......

I ended up with about 30 miles. I had to get home for a dentist appointment. Nothing major- just routine maintenance. Passed with flying colors. Next big ride should happen this Saturday when N.Y. Roll is putting on a 75 miler featuring a lot of Level B Roads. Should be a scene.

Daylilies In The Ditches

Time to test this new Bolle' "The One" helmet out. My first go at an aero helmet.
Wednesday it was perfect for riding again. Maybe not as near as good as Saturday was, since there was a touch more wind, but really. Who cares? When it is good, ya gotta get a ride in. I cannot always do that, so Wednesday was a blessing.

I had a new helmet come in for a review on RidingGravel.com. It is a helmet from Bolle', who I know as a sunglasses maker. Now, I was pretty dang skeptical this would work out, and for good reason.

You see, I was blessed with a big melon head. My "official" hat size is 7 7/8ths. Something like 63cm or so around. So, most helmets don't fit me, most hats don't fit me, and most anything for your head, yeah......it doesn't fit me. To make matters worse, my head is really egg shaped. Not round at all. It makes fitting a helmet for cycling darn near impossible. In fact, I didn't wear a helmet for many years. There just wasn't anything that fit.

I ended up modifying a Shoei helmet back in the 90's by Dremmeling out some of the foam in the front and back of the helmet to make it "custom" fit to my head. Finally I came across Bell helmets which were an acceptable fit. Newer Bontrager stuff fits me okay, but nothing I've tried is really very good. Nothing. Every helmet I have ever had is a compromise and fit is not 100% right. Same with this Bolle', with one minor exception- It is the first helmet I've ever tried that fits and stays on my head without it being strapped at the chin. I can actually lean over and it doesn't fall off. So, it's closer to fitting me right, but it is not spot on.

It varied from mostly cloudy to partly cloudy but the temperature and humidity were not bad.
Enough about helmets. I slapped that Bolle' on my head and headed North. I haven't been North of town in awhile, and even though I didn't check the weather, I hit it just right. I'd have a tailwind on the way home.

The other thing I hit about perfect was the blooming of the daylilies in the ditches. I love wild flowers, so I look forward to the yearly blooming of the different flowers. This year's daylilies are fantastic.


There were a lot more than this, but that should give you a good idea of how it looked out there. Pretty spectacular in places where both ditches were filled with that distinctive blazing orange color. These will last for a week or so, if we're lucky, and then they will start fading. But other flowers are coming on, so the show isn't over just yet. Get out there and enjoy it while you can!


Red Winged Blackbirds were busy trying to harass me again, but the heavier winds were keeping them at bay. The other thing I noted was odd, to me anyway. Those birds are beginning to flock together again. Usually that is a sign that migration is happening soon. I'm not super familiar with when Red Wing Blackbirds leave Iowa for Winter, but I am very aware of when they come. Maybe they always leave around now? Don't know......

I ended up with about 30 miles. I had to get home for a dentist appointment. Nothing major- just routine maintenance. Passed with flying colors. Next big ride should happen this Saturday when N.Y. Roll is putting on a 75 miler featuring a lot of Level B Roads. Should be a scene.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Criss-Crossing Town

This is actually one of our bike trails. Unpaved. I REALLY like it that way!
Well, "The Truck With No Name" is repaired and back in my possession. I had to commute across Waterloo from end to end to get it. This made me think about our current bicycle infrustructure.

As a commuter who uses a bicycle, I find that the routes made for and designated as bicycle paths are really not practical. Recreational? Yes! That part is wonderful, but since where I have to go isn't served by good bike paths that are practical, I have to know the city well.

There are some good bike paths though, don't get me wrong. Plus, unlike a fellow cyclist I saw on Facebook who toured through here yesterday, I find the high ground out of the flooded areas and mosquito infested pools. That's what is good about paying attention to your surroundings and living in an area where Native American and Pioneer trails were preserved by traffic paths today. Routes exist that are useful and that are not high traffic or high speed (or both) throughways.

Plus new stuff that is useful is coming on-line all the time here. I hit up the trail on the North side of the Cedar River for a bit since that took me right where I wanted to get to, which was a residential area that had streets that paralleled the old main drag from Evansdale to Waterloo. Then it was an easy-peasy ride to the repair shop and my reuniting with my repaired truck.

I dropped in here to a bit of newer trail on the North side of the Cedar River through Waterloo.
I did have some "might-as-wells"fixed and maintained while the truck was there. Funny thing was that a small annoyance, the drivers side door lock, was the most expensive repair, and it wasn't even an electronic door lock! Fully manual! I suppose had it been one of those fancy-pants, key fob, touch pad entries, it would have been a LOT more money, so I am not complaining! My truck is back and good to go with a functioning, safely secured gas tank, a good working door lock, new belts, and an oil change.

And yes.....my bank account is a LOT emptier! 

Criss-Crossing Town

This is actually one of our bike trails. Unpaved. I REALLY like it that way!
Well, "The Truck With No Name" is repaired and back in my possession. I had to commute across Waterloo from end to end to get it. This made me think about our current bicycle infrustructure.

As a commuter who uses a bicycle, I find that the routes made for and designated as bicycle paths are really not practical. Recreational? Yes! That part is wonderful, but since where I have to go isn't served by good bike paths that are practical, I have to know the city well.

There are some good bike paths though, don't get me wrong. Plus, unlike a fellow cyclist I saw on Facebook who toured through here yesterday, I find the high ground out of the flooded areas and mosquito infested pools. That's what is good about paying attention to your surroundings and living in an area where Native American and Pioneer trails were preserved by traffic paths today. Routes exist that are useful and that are not high traffic or high speed (or both) throughways.

Plus new stuff that is useful is coming on-line all the time here. I hit up the trail on the North side of the Cedar River for a bit since that took me right where I wanted to get to, which was a residential area that had streets that paralleled the old main drag from Evansdale to Waterloo. Then it was an easy-peasy ride to the repair shop and my reuniting with my repaired truck.

I dropped in here to a bit of newer trail on the North side of the Cedar River through Waterloo.
I did have some "might-as-wells"fixed and maintained while the truck was there. Funny thing was that a small annoyance, the drivers side door lock, was the most expensive repair, and it wasn't even an electronic door lock! Fully manual! I suppose had it been one of those fancy-pants, key fob, touch pad entries, it would have been a LOT more money, so I am not complaining! My truck is back and good to go with a functioning, safely secured gas tank, a good working door lock, new belts, and an oil change.

And yes.....my bank account is a LOT emptier! 

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Old Shoes- New Shoes

Me wearing my trusty Shimano three strap shoes at the 2015, DK200 Image By A. Andonopoulous
Shoes. You don't give them much thought unless your shoe string is untied, and calamity strikes. Or maybe if your foot hurts, gets hot, is too cold, or is sticking out of a hole in said shoe. Wait a minute........ I guess we do think a lot about our shoes! 

Anyway, cycling shoes are maybe less thought about, because you likely have only one pair and they either work or they do not work. Well, one of my several pairs, (yes, a cycling shoe fashion plate!), wore out Saturday. My favorite pair, actually. A lowly pair of Shimano three strap Velcro closure shoes. I got them......I don't know for sure....maybe five-six years ago? Pretty sure it has been a while.

Anyway, it is a wonder they lasted as long as they did. Commuting and gravel travel are tough on equipment. But some of the days I had with those shoes on should have taken out a lesser shoe. I mean, just take the 2015 Dirty Kanza, you know- the "Mud Year", for instance. Or how about that one muddy year at Odin's Revenge? Then there was that cesspool we walked through a couple of years ago at Gravel Worlds. Well........you get the picture. 

So, I had a twinge of nostalgia when I opened the dust bin to toss them away. I had all those crazy adventures flash before my mind's eye. No.....I threw them out. The last thing I need around here is another pair of dead shoes. I already have a pair of Sidi Dominator's from 1997 I think I'm going to resurrect someday.

The new shoes have been ordered.
In fact, I've already ordered a new pair of shoes to replace my old ones with. They are the new Shimano XC500 shoes in the limited edition "Camo". Yeah....... I have no idea what you'd be blending in with wearing these shoes, but whatever it is, I'm sure it would mean big trouble, and I never want to see it. Whatever "it" is.

I just like the "not-blackness" of them and they kind of remind me of the old Sidi Dominator colors, which were blue and Hi-Viz yellow. And the pattern is something that I'm attracted to, so they work for me. Besides, they won't stay looking like that for long!

I'm sure a few muddy Level B roads, some rainy rides, maybe some snow, and lots of gravel are in their future, not to mention the occasional dirt ride. That said, if they are half the shoe the old Shimano shoes were, I'll be a satisfied customer.

Maybe I'll toss out those Sidi shoes after all..........

Old Shoes- New Shoes

Me wearing my trusty Shimano three strap shoes at the 2015, DK200 Image By A. Andonopoulous
Shoes. You don't give them much thought unless your shoe string is untied, and calamity strikes. Or maybe if your foot hurts, gets hot, is too cold, or is sticking out of a hole in said shoe. Wait a minute........ I guess we do think a lot about our shoes! 

Anyway, cycling shoes are maybe less thought about, because you likely have only one pair and they either work or they do not work. Well, one of my several pairs, (yes, a cycling shoe fashion plate!), wore out Saturday. My favorite pair, actually. A lowly pair of Shimano three strap Velcro closure shoes. I got them......I don't know for sure....maybe five-six years ago? Pretty sure it has been a while.

Anyway, it is a wonder they lasted as long as they did. Commuting and gravel travel are tough on equipment. But some of the days I had with those shoes on should have taken out a lesser shoe. I mean, just take the 2015 Dirty Kanza, you know- the "Mud Year", for instance. Or how about that one muddy year at Odin's Revenge? Then there was that cesspool we walked through a couple of years ago at Gravel Worlds. Well........you get the picture. 

So, I had a twinge of nostalgia when I opened the dust bin to toss them away. I had all those crazy adventures flash before my mind's eye. No.....I threw them out. The last thing I need around here is another pair of dead shoes. I already have a pair of Sidi Dominator's from 1997 I think I'm going to resurrect someday.

The new shoes have been ordered.
In fact, I've already ordered a new pair of shoes to replace my old ones with. They are the new Shimano XC500 shoes in the limited edition "Camo". Yeah....... I have no idea what you'd be blending in with wearing these shoes, but whatever it is, I'm sure it would mean big trouble, and I never want to see it. Whatever "it" is.

I just like the "not-blackness" of them and they kind of remind me of the old Sidi Dominator colors, which were blue and Hi-Viz yellow. And the pattern is something that I'm attracted to, so they work for me. Besides, they won't stay looking like that for long!

I'm sure a few muddy Level B roads, some rainy rides, maybe some snow, and lots of gravel are in their future, not to mention the occasional dirt ride. That said, if they are half the shoe the old Shimano shoes were, I'll be a satisfied customer.

Maybe I'll toss out those Sidi shoes after all..........

Monday, June 25, 2018

It Started With A Bang......

Temporary fix, but not good enough for 10 hours of driving.
Thursday I was getting everything organized after work. I had caught up with repairs, so I wasn't necessarily needed on Friday at the shop. I was planning on bugging out to Lincoln Friday morning instead. I had to get the "Truck With No Name" gassed up and then get home to pack.

The tank was full, and as I pulled out from the convenience store, I heard a loud clunk. I thought my front suspension had maybe made the noise. Then I heard rattling underneath the truck on the 10 block drive home. "Dang it! Something is wrong!"

I got home and inspected the underside of the truck and then I saw it. My gas tank was hanging weirdly. A strap broke that holds it in. There was no way I could use the truck to drive to Lincoln Nebraska in this condition. My wife needed her car, so no use trying that idea. My trip to the Solstice 100 was over before it even began. To say I was bummed would be a massive understatement.

To make matters worse there was something wrong with the driver's side door lock and I just about broke off the key. Fortunately I had a spare, but that would also need looked at. Friday morning I spent jerry-rigging up a strap to hold the tank in so I could drive the truck to the repair shop. Parts are ordered and as of this writing I am still truck-less. Probably will be till later this week. At least I ended up going out and having a wonderful evening and dinner with Mrs. Guitar Ted Thursday night.

Saturday I went out and rode by myself to assuage my disappointment. 


So, new plans were laid to go out with my family later on Saturday to see a movie. Saturday morning the weather was perfect for riding, and I got out and headed down South for whatever I could grab for a ride. I didn't know how I would be with fitness or how the roads would be, but at least the winds were a non-factor, being very light.

The gravel was extra chunky and thick in Tama County in places.

I ended up having to do battle with some very aggressive Red Winged Blackbirds, to start out with. Twice I had to dismount and throw rocks at the devils before they'd let me pass. Then I learned something about their behavior which I used to my advantage. Well, two things, really. One- they don't bother you at 14mph and above. Second, they do not like it if you can see them coming. They will abort their attack if they see your eyes. So, I was bobbing and weaving at times trying to make sure I stayed in eye contact with these birds because they know how to get into your blind spot. Once they see you are on to their game, they leave you alone. It was kind of like dog fighting aircraft. Actually I was having fun with that.

That was on Aker Road. Then, inexplicably, once I got off Aker that never happened again. So, I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon bird-attack free.

Two miles of Level B roads- no muddy mess! Surprising!
I went through Buckingham on new pavement, which was nice, then back into really chunky gravel west of there. I got North far enough to catch some more adventurous roads. I thought heading up the Level B road on 110th in Tama County was a fools errand, since we'd had so much rain recently. However, I only had a few sticky spots and the rest was fast, albeit a bit soft. I was pretty surprised I made it all the way to the west end of that stretch. Then I decided to go through Reinbeck and see what was happening- (not much)- and I headed out West on the Pioneer Trail back to gravel.

I saw this pretty pink flower and lots of others Saturday.
The roads either side of Reinbeck were "hero gravel". Super smooth and very fast. Earlier in Tama County I had encountered lots of deep, chunky gravel, but this stuff around Reinbeck made me forget about that. This area also was my third county ridden in for the day. Once I left Grundy County it was back to Black Hawk County's chunky goodness.

Barns For Jason
While riding out of Reinbeck I figured I could get in a half century and still be good for the movie time. So that's what I ended up with. 52 miles to be exact. It wasn't the Solstice 100, this wasn't a race report, but it was something. I'll take it. No reason to be down about the situation. It was out of my hands anyway.

And while it wasn't what I was expecting, while it was disappointing not to see all the friends and acquaintances I have in Lincoln, Nebraska, it maybe was just what I needed. I had an issue at about Mile 40 with my shoulder, the perennially problematic left one, getting pretty sore. (I blame the non-flared drops on the Jamis), and I had all I wanted in the 52 miles I did ride. Could I have finished the Solstice? I'll never know, and it doesn't matter. I got a wonderful ride in and it was a near perfect day out.

It Started With A Bang......

Temporary fix, but not good enough for 10 hours of driving.
Thursday I was getting everything organized after work. I had caught up with repairs, so I wasn't necessarily needed on Friday at the shop. I was planning on bugging out to Lincoln Friday morning instead. I had to get the "Truck With No Name" gassed up and then get home to pack.

The tank was full, and as I pulled out from the convenience store, I heard a loud clunk. I thought my front suspension had maybe made the noise. Then I heard rattling underneath the truck on the 10 block drive home. "Dang it! Something is wrong!"

I got home and inspected the underside of the truck and then I saw it. My gas tank was hanging weirdly. A strap broke that holds it in. There was no way I could use the truck to drive to Lincoln Nebraska in this condition. My wife needed her car, so no use trying that idea. My trip to the Solstice 100 was over before it even began. To say I was bummed would be a massive understatement.

To make matters worse there was something wrong with the driver's side door lock and I just about broke off the key. Fortunately I had a spare, but that would also need looked at. Friday morning I spent jerry-rigging up a strap to hold the tank in so I could drive the truck to the repair shop. Parts are ordered and as of this writing I am still truck-less. Probably will be till later this week. At least I ended up going out and having a wonderful evening and dinner with Mrs. Guitar Ted Thursday night.

Saturday I went out and rode by myself to assuage my disappointment. 


So, new plans were laid to go out with my family later on Saturday to see a movie. Saturday morning the weather was perfect for riding, and I got out and headed down South for whatever I could grab for a ride. I didn't know how I would be with fitness or how the roads would be, but at least the winds were a non-factor, being very light.

The gravel was extra chunky and thick in Tama County in places.

I ended up having to do battle with some very aggressive Red Winged Blackbirds, to start out with. Twice I had to dismount and throw rocks at the devils before they'd let me pass. Then I learned something about their behavior which I used to my advantage. Well, two things, really. One- they don't bother you at 14mph and above. Second, they do not like it if you can see them coming. They will abort their attack if they see your eyes. So, I was bobbing and weaving at times trying to make sure I stayed in eye contact with these birds because they know how to get into your blind spot. Once they see you are on to their game, they leave you alone. It was kind of like dog fighting aircraft. Actually I was having fun with that.

That was on Aker Road. Then, inexplicably, once I got off Aker that never happened again. So, I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon bird-attack free.

Two miles of Level B roads- no muddy mess! Surprising!
I went through Buckingham on new pavement, which was nice, then back into really chunky gravel west of there. I got North far enough to catch some more adventurous roads. I thought heading up the Level B road on 110th in Tama County was a fools errand, since we'd had so much rain recently. However, I only had a few sticky spots and the rest was fast, albeit a bit soft. I was pretty surprised I made it all the way to the west end of that stretch. Then I decided to go through Reinbeck and see what was happening- (not much)- and I headed out West on the Pioneer Trail back to gravel.

I saw this pretty pink flower and lots of others Saturday.
The roads either side of Reinbeck were "hero gravel". Super smooth and very fast. Earlier in Tama County I had encountered lots of deep, chunky gravel, but this stuff around Reinbeck made me forget about that. This area also was my third county ridden in for the day. Once I left Grundy County it was back to Black Hawk County's chunky goodness.

Barns For Jason
While riding out of Reinbeck I figured I could get in a half century and still be good for the movie time. So that's what I ended up with. 52 miles to be exact. It wasn't the Solstice 100, this wasn't a race report, but it was something. I'll take it. No reason to be down about the situation. It was out of my hands anyway.

And while it wasn't what I was expecting, while it was disappointing not to see all the friends and acquaintances I have in Lincoln, Nebraska, it maybe was just what I needed. I had an issue at about Mile 40 with my shoulder, the perennially problematic left one, getting pretty sore. (I blame the non-flared drops on the Jamis), and I had all I wanted in the 52 miles I did ride. Could I have finished the Solstice? I'll never know, and it doesn't matter. I got a wonderful ride in and it was a near perfect day out.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

The Touring Series: Approaching The Big Lake

A Guitar Ted Productions Series
 Welcome to "The Touring Series". This series is a re-posting of a story I told here on this blog in 2008. The story is about what I named the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour". This was a fully loaded, self-supported bicycle tour from just Northeast of Waterloo, Iowa starting in a little village named Dewar and the goal was to get to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada in one week's time. The plan called for us to be picked up there and taken home by car.

  As mentioned, cameras, smart phones, and the like did not exist for us in 1994, so images will be few. There are some though, and I will sprinkle those in when they are relevant. I will also sprinkle in any modern images of places we visited when applicable and when I can find images that convey the same look as 1995. 


We join the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" as it embarks from Gillett, Wisconsin to begin Day Six.......
___________________________________________________________________
As Troy, Steve, and I got our things packed we looked at the maps and decided that we would need to get East in as straight a direction as possible. That meant hopping on to the State highway that ran straight east after leaving town on the northern end. We got geared up and set off in a thickening fog on a cool morning.

After setting off down the road from Gillett, it was obvious that our choice was a rather sketchy one. Even though we had our "blinkies" on, the fog was so thick that we didn't see cars coming from the other direction until they were nearly on top of us. We all knew what that meant, even though we hadn't communicated about it. We were nearly invisible to cars!

Well, we hadn't gone down the road far, in pretty constant traffic, when we heard the unmistakable sound of an air horn being applied from behind us. The driver didn't just toot it either. He was laying on it, and it was getting louder and louder from behind us. First Troy bailed off the road, then Steve shortly after. I contemplated holding my ground, but with the deafening noise of the air horn seemingly right in my ear, I thought better of it and steered for the ditch. Good thing too. A huge dump truck went by in a blur right down the white line where we were riding just moments before.

Well, that had us pretty shook up. We gathered ourselves up, and pulled out the map to find some sort of way out of the death trap we had found ourselves in. There was a little discussion and then it was decided to go to a county road leading northwards off the highway not more than a half a mile up the road. It wasn't to Troy's liking, since we didn't take the time to figure out where to go after the turn, but Steve and I were insistent that we get off the busy highway as soon as possible, then we could talk. Troy wanted a plan laid out so we wouldn't have to stop, but our desires won out.

Once we found the northward road, the moods changed dramatically, and the quietness of the back road was a welcome reprieve from the mayhem of the highway. We found a straight road east not far from us, so we headed out in search of it and the next town up the road. Once we got rolling we found the fog lifting, but it was very calm and cool this morning. Eventually we rolled up to an intersection and a town just across from it.

It was a little town called Lena and as we rolled through we caught a waft of fresh pastries. That was a siren call to stop. Even Troy fell to its power and thought getting something to eat would be a great idea. We all were very pleased with our purchases and devoured them accordingly. It wasn't long before we were back in the saddle again heading eastwards for a turn northwards towards Peshtigo, where we hoped to be before noon.

After anxiously looking for what we thought was our turn, we stopped right in the middle of the road and consulted the map. I don't think we had encountered a car since leaving the highway out of Gillett, so we all felt confident in stopping right there in the road. We were all confused, because we felt that our mileage was enough to have carried us eastward to the turn off, and very near Lake Michigan, but we couldn't see anything. The fog was to blame partly, as it wasn't right on the ground anymore, but caused enough haziness as to make sighting anything around us very difficult. Suddenly, as if the veil had been lifted from our eyes, what we thought was a field of grass in the distance in front of us was finally seen for what it was- Lake Michigan!

We now knew where we were. The turn was found, and we headed northwards to a highway and our final run in to Peshtigo. It was about 11:30 am and we were looking for a bite to eat. We found a small cafe, where there was a waitress that struck me as being sad, with far away eyes, but I really had no other reason to mark her out. Something about that look in her eyes. Anyway.......

We got on our way after much delay. Troy was very anxious to put in some miles towards our Canadian destination. Time was running out, with only one more day to go for the tour. Troy wasn't going to let this slip away without a fight. I thought I knew what that meant, but I was in for a surprise or two!
_____________________________________________________________________

After all these years this is one of the days from that 1994 tour I often am reminded of. That foggy morning was super sketchy! Traffic was heavy on a narrow, two lane highway on a Friday morning. I imagine we escaped by the skin of our teeth that morning, but what was really crazy was that Steve and I had to practically argue with Troy to get him to not go back to that madness again.

Ironically the peaceful morning stop for pastries was met with gladness by Troy and the vast difference in feel to that point from earlier made it seem that these two memories happened on different days now.

Then the mirage-like appearance of the Lake, Michigan, was amazing. That is something that seemed magical and I won't soon forget that day just because of that. Then the slog into Peshtigo was reminiscent of our departure from Gillett. Many cars, stressful, no fun at all.

Lunch was a respite, we lingered a while in that small cafe. I still can see that waitresses eyes......

Next Week: Speed Touring

The Touring Series: Approaching The Big Lake

A Guitar Ted Productions Series
 Welcome to "The Touring Series". This series is a re-posting of a story I told here on this blog in 2008. The story is about what I named the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour". This was a fully loaded, self-supported bicycle tour from just Northeast of Waterloo, Iowa starting in a little village named Dewar and the goal was to get to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada in one week's time. The plan called for us to be picked up there and taken home by car.

  As mentioned, cameras, smart phones, and the like did not exist for us in 1994, so images will be few. There are some though, and I will sprinkle those in when they are relevant. I will also sprinkle in any modern images of places we visited when applicable and when I can find images that convey the same look as 1995. 


We join the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard Tour" as it embarks from Gillett, Wisconsin to begin Day Six.......
___________________________________________________________________
As Troy, Steve, and I got our things packed we looked at the maps and decided that we would need to get East in as straight a direction as possible. That meant hopping on to the State highway that ran straight east after leaving town on the northern end. We got geared up and set off in a thickening fog on a cool morning.

After setting off down the road from Gillett, it was obvious that our choice was a rather sketchy one. Even though we had our "blinkies" on, the fog was so thick that we didn't see cars coming from the other direction until they were nearly on top of us. We all knew what that meant, even though we hadn't communicated about it. We were nearly invisible to cars!

Well, we hadn't gone down the road far, in pretty constant traffic, when we heard the unmistakable sound of an air horn being applied from behind us. The driver didn't just toot it either. He was laying on it, and it was getting louder and louder from behind us. First Troy bailed off the road, then Steve shortly after. I contemplated holding my ground, but with the deafening noise of the air horn seemingly right in my ear, I thought better of it and steered for the ditch. Good thing too. A huge dump truck went by in a blur right down the white line where we were riding just moments before.

Well, that had us pretty shook up. We gathered ourselves up, and pulled out the map to find some sort of way out of the death trap we had found ourselves in. There was a little discussion and then it was decided to go to a county road leading northwards off the highway not more than a half a mile up the road. It wasn't to Troy's liking, since we didn't take the time to figure out where to go after the turn, but Steve and I were insistent that we get off the busy highway as soon as possible, then we could talk. Troy wanted a plan laid out so we wouldn't have to stop, but our desires won out.

Once we found the northward road, the moods changed dramatically, and the quietness of the back road was a welcome reprieve from the mayhem of the highway. We found a straight road east not far from us, so we headed out in search of it and the next town up the road. Once we got rolling we found the fog lifting, but it was very calm and cool this morning. Eventually we rolled up to an intersection and a town just across from it.

It was a little town called Lena and as we rolled through we caught a waft of fresh pastries. That was a siren call to stop. Even Troy fell to its power and thought getting something to eat would be a great idea. We all were very pleased with our purchases and devoured them accordingly. It wasn't long before we were back in the saddle again heading eastwards for a turn northwards towards Peshtigo, where we hoped to be before noon.

After anxiously looking for what we thought was our turn, we stopped right in the middle of the road and consulted the map. I don't think we had encountered a car since leaving the highway out of Gillett, so we all felt confident in stopping right there in the road. We were all confused, because we felt that our mileage was enough to have carried us eastward to the turn off, and very near Lake Michigan, but we couldn't see anything. The fog was to blame partly, as it wasn't right on the ground anymore, but caused enough haziness as to make sighting anything around us very difficult. Suddenly, as if the veil had been lifted from our eyes, what we thought was a field of grass in the distance in front of us was finally seen for what it was- Lake Michigan!

We now knew where we were. The turn was found, and we headed northwards to a highway and our final run in to Peshtigo. It was about 11:30 am and we were looking for a bite to eat. We found a small cafe, where there was a waitress that struck me as being sad, with far away eyes, but I really had no other reason to mark her out. Something about that look in her eyes. Anyway.......

We got on our way after much delay. Troy was very anxious to put in some miles towards our Canadian destination. Time was running out, with only one more day to go for the tour. Troy wasn't going to let this slip away without a fight. I thought I knew what that meant, but I was in for a surprise or two!
_____________________________________________________________________

After all these years this is one of the days from that 1994 tour I often am reminded of. That foggy morning was super sketchy! Traffic was heavy on a narrow, two lane highway on a Friday morning. I imagine we escaped by the skin of our teeth that morning, but what was really crazy was that Steve and I had to practically argue with Troy to get him to not go back to that madness again.

Ironically the peaceful morning stop for pastries was met with gladness by Troy and the vast difference in feel to that point from earlier made it seem that these two memories happened on different days now.

Then the mirage-like appearance of the Lake, Michigan, was amazing. That is something that seemed magical and I won't soon forget that day just because of that. Then the slog into Peshtigo was reminiscent of our departure from Gillett. Many cars, stressful, no fun at all.

Lunch was a respite, we lingered a while in that small cafe. I still can see that waitresses eyes......

Next Week: Speed Touring

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Minus Ten Review -25

I got this old El Mariachi from a friend at the time. What a great bike that was!
Ten years ago on the blog here I was gabbing about all sorts of things. I got an old El Mariachi demo fleet bike from a then friend of mine. That was a great bike too. Then later in the week I was up in the Twin Cities for the media launch of the Salsa "Big Mama" full suspension bike. Remember that one? It was pretty rad at that time, but it quickly fell off the back as geometry, standards for frames, and more were quickly changing for 29"ers. For instance, the Big Mama had a head tube angle of 71°. Imagine a bike with that steep of a head angle today!

Then there was a move to ban bicycle group rides in Dallas County by way of making the requirements to have such a ride so burdensome that the ordinance would effectively wipe out any chance of organized rides happening in that county. Here's a snippet from back then:

On June 24th at 9:30 am the Dallas County Board of Supervisors will meet at the Adel City Hall, 301 S. 10th Street Adel, IA 50003, to discuss an ordinance that will require bicycle events to obtain $1 million insurance policies for bicycle events. This could effect rides as small as 10-20 people.

Fortunately that never happened!

Then a significant date in Trans Iowa history happened, which was a bicycle ride and blog post about it that had nothing at all to do with Trans Iowa. You can read that post HERE.  If you click that link you will read about the day that the second Big Wheeled Ballyhoo was to take place in Decorah, Iowa, but did not happen due to the raging flooding that affected Decorah and Iowa that year in general. 

How in the world is this tied to Trans Iowa? Well, after that blog post was published, I received an e-mail from a disgruntled, influential member of the Decorah cycling community who shall remain nameless here. Who it was doesn't matter today. The person in question was offended greatly that I had suggested certain things were the way I described them in my post. I had a back and forth e-mail conversation with the individual to settle our differences, but, this individual asked that I ".....not consider Decorah for any future cycling events." With the situation being what it was in 2008, and my initial plans for doing another Trans Iowa out of Decorah for 2009, I had to stop and reconsider those plans. I discussed the situation with my then co-director, David Pals, and we agreed that this was now not a welcome home for Trans Iowa. Such sway this person held over cycling matters in Decorah at that time would have made planning difficult at best. So we decided to move Trans Iowa's start for the second time in its history.  

That story will come up later this year....... 

Minus Ten Review -25

I got this old El Mariachi from a friend at the time. What a great bike that was!
Ten years ago on the blog here I was gabbing about all sorts of things. I got an old El Mariachi demo fleet bike from a then friend of mine. That was a great bike too. Then later in the week I was up in the Twin Cities for the media launch of the Salsa "Big Mama" full suspension bike. Remember that one? It was pretty rad at that time, but it quickly fell off the back as geometry, standards for frames, and more were quickly changing for 29"ers. For instance, the Big Mama had a head tube angle of 71°. Imagine a bike with that steep of a head angle today!

Then there was a move to ban bicycle group rides in Dallas County by way of making the requirements to have such a ride so burdensome that the ordinance would effectively wipe out any chance of organized rides happening in that county. Here's a snippet from back then:

On June 24th at 9:30 am the Dallas County Board of Supervisors will meet at the Adel City Hall, 301 S. 10th Street Adel, IA 50003, to discuss an ordinance that will require bicycle events to obtain $1 million insurance policies for bicycle events. This could effect rides as small as 10-20 people.

Fortunately that never happened!

Then a significant date in Trans Iowa history happened, which was a bicycle ride and blog post about it that had nothing at all to do with Trans Iowa. You can read that post HERE.  If you click that link you will read about the day that the second Big Wheeled Ballyhoo was to take place in Decorah, Iowa, but did not happen due to the raging flooding that affected Decorah and Iowa that year in general. 

How in the world is this tied to Trans Iowa? Well, after that blog post was published, I received an e-mail from a disgruntled, influential member of the Decorah cycling community who shall remain nameless here. Who it was doesn't matter today. The person in question was offended greatly that I had suggested certain things were the way I described them in my post. I had a back and forth e-mail conversation with the individual to settle our differences, but, this individual asked that I ".....not consider Decorah for any future cycling events." With the situation being what it was in 2008, and my initial plans for doing another Trans Iowa out of Decorah for 2009, I had to stop and reconsider those plans. I discussed the situation with my then co-director, David Pals, and we agreed that this was now not a welcome home for Trans Iowa. Such sway this person held over cycling matters in Decorah at that time would have made planning difficult at best. So we decided to move Trans Iowa's start for the second time in its history.  

That story will come up later this year....... 

Friday, June 22, 2018

Friday News And Views

Riding off into the Sunset.......
Hold On A Min......

 Just when you think you've left it all behind you, then this..... A blog about a Trans Iowa v14 experience, but not just any experience. This was from one of the riders that got DQ'ed, Stefano Tomasello. You should grab a cuppa whatever, and settle in, because despite what Stefano may think, this is a compelling read. (Click Here)

First off, I appreciate his transparency and his honest feelings. I had imagined that he was going to be disappointed and then doubly so when he found out I wasn't going to do another Trans Iowa. Apparently I was right about that, judging from this blog post of his. As for myself, I already said my piece about the incident in my race reports here on the blog immediately following T.I.v14. But here is a quote which sums up those thoughts and feelings that I had about the incident which I pulled from my report:

"I felt sad. Sad that this happened, but I didn't place any blame. None of us did. What actually happened amongst those three riders which precipitated the decision they made is only a story they know. I'm not really interested in the full story, to be honest. It is what it is."

Of course, I know a little bit more about the story now, but my mind hasn't been changed. It is what it is. I find what people do after they DNF, or as in this case, get DQ'ed, is what is fascinating. So, for me, Stefano's telling of that bit was of great interest to me. The pre-event happenings were also shocking to me. Amazing things happened to that man. It is a wonder he even made it to the start.

Anyway, a great story, and I was glad to have been able to read it. Thank you, Stefano. 

A Pirelli tire
 Will The Bicycle Tire Market Be Changed By Big Players?

One of the sub-stories of 2018 is that two large tire makers, known more for their automobile, truck, motorcycle, and other vehicle tires, are entering the bicycle tire marketplace. In both cases, for a second time.

Pirelli and Goodyear seem like oddballs in the cycling world, but both companies are communicating a serious effort will be made to be a "player" in the marketplace. There are a few folks taking this message seriously in the industry. I am less convinced.

I don't know, color me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe that high performance cycling aficionados will be taking a "car tire company" seriously. I know that seems like a specious statement, since Continental makes automobile and motorcycle tires and many other Chinese made brands, like Maxxis and Kenda also do vehicle tires. Somehow Goodyear seems different. Pirelli? Maybe..... I could see that.

But I also can't help but wonder if the interest some motor vehicle companies are showing in e-bikes isn't the real motivating factor here. Yamaha already has e-bikes and Ford Motor Company is talking a pretty serious e-bike game as well. Could it be that these motor vehicle related tire companies are getting a foot in the door to be players in a marketplace where vehicles with two wheels are electrified? Wooing folks off pedelecs fitted with these brand's tires and onto full on e-motorcycles will be a pathway for these brands and others to stay players in a post-internal combustion vehicle future.

Wolf Tooth Component's new bags for stuff.
Wolf Tooth Introduces Bags For Bike Storage:

In the old game of bicycle bags, there are so many players you cannot keep track of them all. Bikepacking, (or "Amateur Homelessness:, as one blogger calls it), has fueled the bag rage to insane heights. Now Wolf Tooth has entered the fray with accessories to it's "B-Rad" system.

The "Pump Bag" holds a 12" pump, but can carry more things than that, of course. It will mount off a B-Rad base, but it comes with straps to mount to frame tubes as well. The other bag is a roll top affair dubbed the........wait for it......."Roll-Top Bag"! It is dropper post compatible and also can be mounted to a B-Rad via an adapter plate or directly strapped to frame tubes.

I like these ideas since many bikes, and especially gravel/all road bikes, have inaccessible water bottle mounts which seem like perfect places to mount "other stuff". Tool kits, extra clothes, etc all can be toted onboard with easy access. This could be a space saver and make room for other things in hydration packs or seat bags and top tube bags. You can check out both bags HERE on Wolf Tooth's site

"On the water" soon!
Pink MCD Update:

I got word mid-week that the pink MCD frame by Black Mountain Cycles is sitting in a container waiting to be loaded onto a container ship bound for the U.S.A. soon. Proprietor, Mike Varley, says the ETA is around July 2nd.

I have a link to track the ocean going vessel as it comes across the Pacific Ocean. That isn't the typical "dot watching" I would normally be engaged in, but this seems like a good diversion for the meantime as I gather more bits and pieces together to get this rig road worthy once it arrives.

I forgot to mention that I decided on some Marque Cycling pink bar tape to put on the Salsa Cowchipper Bar I already have sitting down in the Lab. Those will be fitted with Gevenalle levers which will be retrofitted with some 11 speed Shimano bar end shifters I have squirreled away. Those levers will also pull some TRP Spyre calipers I have sitting around and I may look into some Center Lock rotors to go on the Irwin Cycles Aon Carbon GX 35 wheels. If not Center Locks then I already have the adapters to go six bolt style.

Well, there will be a lot of parts acquisition going on soon, so stay tuned for all of that......

In the meantime, have a great weekend and stay rubber side down!