Tuesday, August 27, 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?

The Fargo has new - old - shoes. 
 Fargo Back Up & Running:

This past weekend I got the Fargo sorted with some different tires that actually worked. The solution I found worked super easily. I forgot I had a pair of used Donnelly MSO 700 X 50mm tires. They went on the i23 Team Frequency rims with a burp from an air compressor and have been rock solid since mounted.

I tried the Schwalbe G-Ones on that wheel set that is based upon a Stan's rim dimension and, while I got them on with a plastic tire lever, they are what I would deem as being too tight. Not good if anything were to happen that required a tube to be inserted to continue going. But, that mere fact that the tire went on a Stan's dimension rim tells me it would definitely be too loose for most modern tubeless ready rims. Again- in my opinion- this is inexcusable in 2019.

My Schwalbe may have been an outlier, maybe from a bad batch? Hard to say, but for what I spent on them, I am not willing to take another shot at trying anything from Schwalbe. That brand has been struck from my "willing to buy" list. In 2019, and beyond, there will be, and are now, many, many choices in tires that will work as advertised set up tubeless easily. I know this because I get to try a LOT of tires out in my reviewing gig. If a tire takes multiple tries to get set up the first time, and then will not set up at all after one dismounting, well...... Hard pass. Nuff said.

Rendering of a Scott's Oriole
A Bird Lost? 

(NOTE: This isn't about cycling. So, it is even more random!) Sunday I walked out on the porch and I saw a flash of yellow and black. It was a bird I spooked out of the flower bed. It was so stunning and outstanding in appearance that I thought I had seen a vision. But it was real. It quickly hid in the thick cover of a tree across the street. Hmm...weird, but maybe just something I dreamed up? I still wasn't sure that I saw what I had seen. It was just so yellow and intensely colored that it didn't look real at all.

Then Monday, my wife and I walked out onto the porch and the same thing- An intensely yellow colored and black patched bird jumped out of the flower bed and quickly took cover in the same tree across the street.  Okay- this time I had a witness. I wasn't crazy. There was a weird bird and neither one of us had seen anything like it.

I did some checking online, and the closest thing I could find to what we had seen was a rendering of a Scott's Oriole. It seems to have the same pattern and intensely yellow coloring of the bird we saw. However; the range for this species is no where near Iowa. In fact, it is over a 1000 miles away from its Northernmost range to Iowa. Is this a Scott's Oriole that we had seen, or maybe something else? Is it a lost bird? Maybe.

I wish I would have gotten a picture, but as skittish as this bird was, I am lucky to have seen it twice!

Another drop bar hits the market.
The Off-Road Drop Bar Becomes Commonplace:

With over ten years of blogging here I can go back and see how things have changed over time. One of the things that's changed a ton is the amount of off-road, flared drop bars that are available.

When Trans Iowa started, and when I started riding a lot of gravel, you had about two choices for this type of bar. I used an On One Midge bar. You could get an Origin 8 Gary Bar, (the original one), and there was the odd WTB bar which had survived and were going for $150.00 a pop.

Now that gravel has become such a "thing" we have soooo many more flared drops that it is bewildering. A new one is out now from Shimano's PRO Brand which is called the Discover Big Flare Bar. It's an interesting handle bar that has some cool features- the 30° flare, the nice sweep- and some straight up roadie drop bar parts, like the weird radius to the drop and the shorter extensions. It's an unique bar in that it has such odd bits paired together.

I've yet to use it on gravel, but I'm sure it has its good and bad features there as well. The funny thing is, every bar has to be different, or it is a copy, and that won't do now, will it? No. So we get these weird things put out there at times that, well........they just do not work. And that's the thing with these flared drops. Not all of them really work, and so you get just a few that become the "standards" of the industry. Bars like Salsa Cycles' Cowchipper and Cowbell, which have spawned more than a few near-ripoffs. Or the previously mentioned On One Midge Bar, which spawned an almost perfect knock-off bar by another company, and inspired a few other bar designs. 

Once in a great while you get the super-weird bar and it works, for some reason. The Woodchipper and Luxy Bar come to mind here. But those are certainly acquired tastes, and it is easy to see why those bars are so polarizing.

Anyway, what a long way we have come! I never would have guessed that in 2019 there would be so many choices for off-road and flared drop bars as there is now. I'm still amazed by it all.


Jon said...

I will buy those Schwalbe tires from you, if you don’t want them. I still run tubes, so they should work for me.

DT said...

Could it have possibly been an American Goldfinch? That is the only bird I can think of that matches your description and range. Fairly common in Western NY, and brilliant in color!

Guitar Ted said...

@DT- No, I am pretty sure it isn't a finch. The Goldfinch is Iowa's State Bird, and are prolific here. We see them all the time. They are a much smaller bird than what we saw.

Salmon said...

Could the bird have been a Meadowlark? Belly is bright yellow, with a black V across the chest. I see them all the time in northern Colorado and their range extends to Iowa.

Guitar Ted said...

@Salmon- I am sure it wasn't the Western Meadowlark, which you are right about- we have them here and they are plenteous. I love their whistle and it is my favorite bird call. They have a lot of grey/white mottling/pattern on their back. This bird did not. It was solid colors all the way, and bigger than a Meadowlark. Furthermore, I heard this strange birds whistle and while a Meadowlark may have a different call than what I am used to hearing, the two were distinctly different.