Thursday, January 10, 2019


NOTE: 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?

One of the reasons SRAM pushes 1X for gravel is this component.
 The New, 12 Speed Road World:

Pro road cycling is getting wound up and running already for 2019. With the early racing comes new, as yet unseen componentry. Part of this is the move to 12 speed road groups.

"Bike Radar" recently ran stories on SRAM 12spd E-Tap and on Campagnolo's new 12spd EPS electronic group. Obviously, Shimano is again seemingly one upped, but Rotor has them all beaten with a hydraulic 13 speed group.

One thing I noticed is that SRAM doesn't seem to be changing the overall architecture of its front derailleur for E-Tap. Now, the company who declared "front derailleurs are dead" might be expected to take a "meh!" approach to front derailleurs. I think that it is a mistake. Here's why.....

That front derailleur design pretty much precludes it from being used on many gravel rigs due to rear tire clearance issues. The battery is the big offender, with its rearward placement and thickness, it sits right where you don't need it in terms of using fatter tires in the 35mm-45mm range, and don't forget mud clearances. Most other electronic front derailleurs stack the motorized bit on top of the derailleur in a vertical fashion, keeping clearances good. However, SRAM chose to put a battery on each derailleur, making this vertical placement difficult for them to do with the motorized bit and a battery combination.

So, of course, SRAM is pushing a 1X solution for gravel. I don't agree that it is best, since the road style riding which is part and parcel to gravel riding really works best with close ratio gearing. Same for paved road riding, by the way. You are not going to get that with an E-Tap 1 X 12 set up, should SRAM decide to go this way. Not a 1X that has a decent range of gears for both speedy flats riding and winching up long grades and steep pitches. But SRAM have married themselves to a front derailleur design in E-Tap that renders this a non-functional design for gravel riding. Shimano is where it is at for electronic shifting for gravel bikes and looks to remain the top group for this niche for some time.

Could these roads be killing you?
 Slag Controversy Hits Muscatine County :

In a bizarre twist, a limestone substitute could possibly be harmful to the health of those who live, work near, and ride on some Muscatine County roads. A story circulating on Facebook reached me yesterday which causes concern for the health of riders, residents, and anyone spending time near or on roads treated with carbon steel slag, a byproduct of steel manufacturing.

The story can be seen here. Recently a County Board of Supervisors meeting was held in Muscatine County where several residents showed up expressing concerns over the use of the carbon steel slag. Residents are complaining that pieces of bolts and steel scrap in the slag are puncturing tires. However; what is even more alarming is that this substance may be harmful to the environment, due to run-off, and the dust produced from riding/driving over it may be inhaled with as yet unknown health concerns.

A scientist testified at the meeting recently that, "....the company did not perform a total metals test for mercury, cadmium or arsenic — toxic metals — and recommended the county have the test done." This according to the linked article. Furthermore, the article also states that the company that sells the slag sent out a "safety data sheet" with an advisement that, "Precautions including wearing gloves when handling slag and to avoid breathing slag dust..." were listed in the document.   

The carbon steel slag does save the County plenty of money in road maintenance since it runs a lot cheaper than limestone to buy. However; the environmental and health costs in the long term may not be worth the short term savings to the County. 

Design for a proposed C.O.G. 100 jersey.
 C.O.G. 100 Jersey:

The C.O.G. 100 is our event we are putting on that is single speed only, 100+ miles, gravel, and will be held March 30th, 2019. If you haven't heard about it, click this link.

We have gotten a bit of feedback from a few folks saying they might buy a jersey if we offered one. Of course, the "official" champ jersey is off the table. (You can see those in yesterday's post) However; I thought if we changed up the logo a bit, used a different color overall, and shot the idea out to you, we might be able to make this happen. Here are some ground rules that would have to be met to allow for us to get these out there.
  • Sizing: Check Bike Rags site, click to "Custom Jerseys" in the header there, and download the PDF catalog to see their sizing chart. Don't ask me about sizing!
  • Price: Thinking $60.00 We would handle this via PayPal. Details would be shared later if this becomes a go.
  • Ordering & Delivery: The jerseys would have to be ordered from Bike Rags before January 31st. All orders would be processed then and delivery of these would be either (a) at the C.O.G. 100 or (b), shipped to you via USPS. Orders needing shipped would be charged an extra $5.00 to cover handling and postage. Orders would be shipped around the end of March/early April. 
  • Minimum Requirements; We would need 10 committed folks to this, or more. If we do not see any response that warrants going forward, we won't do it. THIS IS THE DESIGN AND COLOR. No other options are going to be put forth. If you "would do it, but not this color", then don't bother. If we get a minimum of ten folks to actually commit to THIS design and THIS color, then this goes forward. 
  • Are You In? If so, send me an e-mail I will reply with a confirmation of the process, if it is a go, and will provide further details via e-mail. YOU HAVE UNTIL MONDAY, JANUARY 14th TO DECIDE!! After that, the offer is off the table. This gives me and whomever commits a couple of weeks time to get everything in order and get the jerseys ordered before January 31st. 
Questions? Hit that e-mail and ask.

Thanks for reading, as always.


hank said...

GT Howdy;

About the slag on the roads, I used to work for a transport co. that hauled Hazardous Waste. One job I was on was disposing of slag mixed with asphalt for parking lots roads and such in the Cambridge, Oh. area. The slag came from a Steel Plant and was being removed for Radiation problems (to high). Something folks might want to look into ...

Guitar Ted said...

@hank h- Thanks for that comment. This is getting pretty alarming. I think I am going to contact my representatives concerning this.

hank said...

GT, Howdy;

Time frame was about turn of Century 1999ish to 2001ish.


Unknown said...

It's always amazing how short sighted people are when it comes to health and the environment. It's like Flint Michigan but on gravel.