Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday News And Views

Iowa Gravel Expo- Pop Up Series: 

Over the last two years N.Y. Roll and I have put on an "Iowa Gravel Expo/Bike Party" which was a one day event. I covered recently how this was going to change and turn into a series. Well, we have details now to share. 

This time we have a sponsor and venue in Second State Brewing Company. We also have another sponsor in Andy's Bike Shop. The series will have four dates- two in January and two in February, so hopefully a lot of the area gravel grinders can attend at least one of these- or all if you are so inclined. Here are the dates, which are all Wednesday evenings starting at 6:30pm at Second State Brewing Co.
Each session should last an hour-ish or a little longer. We are also inviting Iowa gravel event promoters to come and speak at these since one of our aims is to promote Iowa gravel events. In lieu of promoters, should we get an evening where we do not have any, or weather prevents them from attending, we will do a short presentation for selected events on our own.

Specific gravel related topics: N.Y. Roll and I will also serve up tips and recommendations on various gravel related subjects during each session. The plan is to make each session unique, so you may want to attend several of these. The main point we have is to celebrate Iowa gravel events, and as a community of riders, just get together and have a good time through a part of the year that is typically when we aren't out there doing what we really like to do.

So, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns about these events, please comment here, or go to the Facebook page, (Link in red above) and leave us a comment there. Thanks! We hope to rub elbows with a lot of you this Winter.

Patent application drawings for Lauf's rear sus ideas.
Lauf Working On Rear Suspension For Gravel:

A recent "Bike Radar" article revealed that Lauf, famous for its leaf sprung, backwards looking forks, is working on an idea for rear suspension using leaf springs.

Comments: Showing three different ideas, it is clear that Lauf is still in the development stages of this idea, but it bears watching, as the gravel segment of cycling is still heating up, and is one of the only bright spots in the sport now. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see something fast-tracked to prototype stage to be shown at various gravel events in 2020.

To my way of thinking, the idea that Lauf is pursuing is much more acceptable than where Niner Bikes went by using more "traditional" telescopic suspension with the complex rear linkage system. Minimal amounts of suspension travel, in this case less than 80mm, lends itself to more simplistic designs, and when executed correctly, it can be a superior riding experience.

This Lauf idea is very intriguing. In my opinion, the direct competitors to Lauf will be those that use suspension seat post designs. While what Lauf is doing will be activated anytime a rider in on the bike and moving, where a suspension seat post is not, (only works while seated), the Lauf idea has some concerning limitations. For instance, how do you account for differing rider weights and styles? The design has to work similarly across a wide size range. That's not going to be easy to pull off. Plus, it cannot infringe upon anyone else's patents, a definite limitation.

Those are not insurmountable obstacles, but I have to wonder, why didn't Lauf apply what they are doing with the fork on the rear of the bike? Yes- it wouldn't look traditional. But that didn't stop them from making the ugliest fork in the road bike market. So.....?? Anyway, this will be interesting to follow.

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End Of Year Changes:

Next month brings a close to 2019, and obviously I have been doing a lot of thinking about that and how it relates to what I do here and professionally. I kind of do this every year- I take stock of where I've been and where I want to go with this. First of all- Thank you all- each and every one of you, for reading this stuff I put out. I could never thank you all enough.

Secondly- This blog will continue, so no worries there. 

With that out of the way, I think 2020 will be a great year to do a few things differently. It will mark a new era, as I will have closed out 15 years of blogging in May of 2020. So, I want to do a little celebration of that.

Part of that will include a change to one of the longest running series on the blog. The "Minus Ten Review", which covers the happenings here from ten years previous, will change slightly. Part of the intentions there were that I wanted to document, in a weekly fashion, what I did to develop the blog. However; that morphed into me riffing on a theme and telling stories. Many times this did not have anything at all to do with ten years ago.

Since I feel I have gone over the beginnings of the blog, covering the initial four years here, I thought that maybe it was time to just admit that I want to tell stories based upon things I've done over the past 15 years here and riff on that. So, the "Minus Ten Review" will morph into something else. Something based on the 15 year idea. I've got a pot full of themes here and some deserve some refreshing, retelling, and expounding upon. So, look for that idea to start up next January.

Other than that, the blog will pretty much remain the same. I think you'll notice some new twists though. There are plans on the horizon for multi-media connections. I may have my own, "Guitar Ted-centric" podcast dealing with the blog stuff. Maybe even video. I will definitely be doing more on the podcast/video/live stream side in connection with something new I will be involved in for 2020. That's exciting for me on several levels. I cannot wait to release this news.

There will also be some major changes professionally. Things ending. Things beginning. I cannot say anything more than this right now, but a clearer pathway into 2020 is forming now and I am pretty happy about that.

Stay tuned folks. It's going to be a bumpy ride!


graveldoc said...

As Mr.Dylan penned in his popular song: "The times they are a chang'n". I've been reading GTP daily since Gravel Grinder News. It's kind off like my daily "newspaper" read. I appreciate all the effort you must go to to provvide this daily publication. Thanks, Mark and all the best for your your future endeavors!

DT said...

GT Podcast?? Heck yes!
If Ben isn't available to help out, I'm sure Matt from JRA could lend a hand on the media/tech side of things

Guitar Ted said...

@graveldoc- I truly appreciate that you read my blog, Sir! Thank You!

Guitar Ted said...

@DT- I've had this on my radar for about a year. It's just that..... Let's just say that 2019 has been a struggle and now the strings and chains are falling away. I'm excited and I think it will be a lot of fun going forward. Stay tuned.....

jdc said...

I read the blog, way up here at our shop in Canada, every day on my lunch break. If the shop is too busy for lunches, I sneak it in anyways!

Guitar Ted said...

@jdc- Thank you!