|Ten years ago I was extolling the virtues of single speed devices. Still am doing that.
I first was enamored of the idea of a barbecue/bike get-together when I read about what George Wissel was doing in Vermont via the old "Bike 29" blog. He was doing something he dubbed as a "Meat-Up", (where have you seen that before? Hint- Trans Iowa, and yes- I stole it from George!). The "Meat-Up" was essentially an excuse to gather up the 29"er faithful and have a hootenanny based loosely on the idea of mucking around on bicycles in the woods. It was all about fun. No real industry ties. No real organization necessary or desired.
The idea was perfect, and I was batting around the thought of doing something similar here in the Mid-West when my former head of operations at "Twenty Nine Inches", Tim Grahl, saw my meanderings on the subject and thought it should be something monetized for profit for the site. Well, we had a bit of back and forth, but with some industry interest voiced, Grahl's ideas won the day and the first "Big Wheeled Ballyhoo" was essentially an expo for 29"ers. Not my idea of a good time, although many of the Decorah people, where the event was held, tried to steer it in that direction. The event was kind of a dud, but there was enough potential there to encourage industry folks, Decorah folks, and Grahl to push for another go at it in 2008.
2008 was a disaster based upon the extreme weather and the effects it had on the expo/camping site. The event was cancelled. Grahl basically was no help whatsoever. He later basically abdicated all responsibilities for the websites he held later that year, and so the Ballyhoo idea was mine to do whatever I wanted to do with it. At the behest of MG and some other folks, it was decided to move the event to Potter's Pasture, although my initial idea was to put the event in Lincoln, Nebraska. "Fun" was back on the menu, but some industry interests pushed in and we had some sponsorship that year which was low key and cool. This was far more what I had in mind, but it wasn't to be.
As reported again in last week's "Minus Ten Review", my father in law suffered a stroke necessitating changed plans on my end. I could not attend. MG took over as the host, and no doubt the event would have been a success, but for the "wild card". The weather.
"Just got word that the site of the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo was dumped on with 12-14 inches of snow last night. They decided to bag it and the event is off. Too bad really, a lot of work went into this. A lot of sweat equity on the part of the folks in Nebraska too."
That paragraph above is what I posted the morning the Ballyhoo was to kick off. It was a freak snow storm, and in my mind, it was a sign to quit. It just wasn't meant to be. Besides, at this point, going into 2010, 29"ers were not weird anymore. They were "mountain bikes" and 26"ers were obviously on their way out. The unique factor was played out, and I couldn't see the point in basing an event on a gathering of "29"er freaks" when we weren't really freaks anymore. Which, in itself, was alright with me. I was happy to see 29"ers weren't going away anytime soon. Plus, I had enough crap on my plate to choke a horse.
So, thus ended the Big Wheeled Ballyhoo.