|Proposed anniversary t-shirt design|
So, if you recall late last year I was pondering doing something along the lines of a t-shirt to celebrate 15 years of blogging, hi jinx, and tomfoolery here. Well, you can see here what I have in mind to offer.
It's just an idea. If I get enough feedback I will move forward on it. Of course, they will have a price and the more interest I get the cheaper they will be. I figure I'd need to see close to 40 folks bite on this, or otherwise I'll let it slide. I am not going to produce a small number of t-shirts and have them cost 20+ bucks a pop.
So, if that idea doesn't fly, I may just back waaay off and offer the logo as a sticker, which would obviously cost a LOT less money. If stickers are how I end up rolling, I will likely have a couple more designs made which reflect other things I've done here and sell the series of stickers in packs. Probably three designs: The "Cube", seen on the tee, a "Real.American. Gravel. sticker, and something marking the 14 year run of Trans Iowa- design yet to be determined- if I go that way.
So, at any rate, this is just for kicks. I'm not trying to make a bunch of money, and this would be a one-timer deal. I'll determine what to do finally by the end of March or so, because the anniversary happens in early May. Got a comment, advice, or question? Hit me up at email@example.com or write a comment below.
|Trying to understand the logic in HPC for gravel....|
As many of you know, I take a very critical stance when it comes to HPC's (Hybrid Powered Cycles) because many of the claims that people make for them are....well, hard to make any sense out of, or are just platitudes regurgitated from rote memory. I'd rather take a critical view and see what really holds up, and what is basically "marketing BS", for lack of a better term.
So, I try to seek out information with a critical eye, but an open mind. The Kinesis Range has just been introduced, so I thought, hey! This is a highly respected UK brand so let's see what they are saying about this bike for gravel.
First off, let me say that this rig has the geometry spot on. Well done there. It has a Fazua Drive system, and "up to 55K range". Hold on.....what? "Up to" a little more than 34 miles? And it depends upon your selected boost, and how often you use it.... Hmmm.... Keep this in mind.
Then I read that the assist disengages above the legal 15.5mph limit. So.....if I am cruising at 16mph, or faster, (not at all uncommon), I get.....nothing. Well, hold on! No, I get "something", because now I am pedaling a 33+ pound bicycle. That's what I get. Obviously, the point is to boost the climbs, and suffer the weight everywhere else. A full 10+ pounds over what any of my bikes weigh? No thanks. See, this makes no sense. And it costs a LOT more too. $4,300.00 plus, to be exact. Equivalent models in a true bicycle, fully human powered set up would weigh sub-20lbs for that money.
Now what about maintenance? No one speaks about this factor. The drive mechanism for the motor is at the bottom bracket. What happens when I roach that with dust and mud and water? I imagine this will cost a lot more than your typical bottom bracket overhaul. Safe bet there. Not to mention battery maintenance, and eventual replacement/disposal fees. Controllers are also susceptible to failure in harsh environments as well.
So, I fail to see where the advantages are here. If I go slower, I get more assist, but less than a half an hour ride, most likely. Otherwise I am pedaling a behemoth of a bike at over 33lbs with higher maintenance costs and I have a battery to maintain. Forget about portaging that, plus attendant gear, across a mile of muddy Level B Road. Sorry, but the HPC gravel bikes are going to have to do a LOT better than that for north of four thousand bucks.
|From the 2019 GTDRI|
First of all, in case you didn't know, the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational is happening again on July 25th, which is a Saturday, of course, and the last day of RAGBRAI, because, well.......because! That's how I roll.
Anyway, we're going to do something a little different this time and go through several small villages instead of doing a ton of dirt roads. Oh! Don't you worry! There will be Level B Roads. Just not a whole lot of them.
That means a different course, and a course I've never used before. Yep! Brand new! It'll follow the Cedar Valley, roughly, to the Southeast, and back again on the opposite side of the Cedar River for a bit. I am figuring on around 110-120 miles at the moment, but that could change once recon starts.
I will be starting recon ASAP on this route and that may include some pretty long rides. That all fits in with my plan to do just that this year. At any rate, I want to go see this area because I've not ridden most of my proposed course. The course we did last year was really hard, given the weather and the amount of hills. I expect that this course will be somewhat easier. Not so many big hills, and more flat riding. But as for the weather, well.......That's out of my hands!
Stay tuned for more updates.
|This bike path probably doesn't qualify, but many in W'loo/Cedar Falls do.|
Sunday we awoke to the bad news that a cyclist had been killed by someone using a car on a local connector road between Cedar Falls and Waterloo called Green Hill Road.
This happened after the bicyclist got off work late at night and was commuting home. He was a car-free person, and was hit and killed then the driver left the scene. The rider was lit up like a Christmas tree, was very aware of commuting by bike issues, and took precautions when possible. (He was a customer at the shop I worked at) Where he was hit was along a four lane road after mid-night. This road had a bicycle path, but Cedar Falls does not clear its bike paths in Winter.
I'm not going to get into details on the death, but I do want to say my piece on how this area, and the nation, does not look after its most vulnerable citizens as they travel. I know I'm preaching to the congregation in that most of you that read this will be understanding of my take. That said, we all need to be talking more about this. Too many people are dying, and since I commute by bicycle and walk a lot, it could be me someday. It could be you too. Also, I get the unpleasant irony between this and the item above, so let's just leave that be.
But the important point here is that the cyclist who was killed by the person driving a car was forced to ride in the street. Had the bike path been cleared, as many are in Waterloo, by the way, one would be led to believe that perhaps this all could have been avoided. But it is an issue wherever pedestrians and cyclists have to travel within this city. I'll keep my comments to Waterloo/Cedar Falls, but I know many of you have similar situations.
In fact, I had several "closer than I wanted" calls where another major throughway between the two cities had another four lane project going on. This was, and always has been, a very heavily used artery by walkers and cyclists. This past Summer, while work was being done to renovate the area, there were no provisions for pedestrians or cyclists to cross at two heavily trafficked intersections. I personally witnessed handicapped folks and other peds having to try to get across the road, Frogger style, with absolutely no mercy shown by drivers. It was, in a word, disgusting. And construction workers did nothing to help either. I could go on.....
Cedar Falls has been repeatedly asked to plow the major connector bicycle trail between Waterloo and their fine city, but they say "there is no money". Even offers of volunteer snow clearing have been rebuffed by the City. Now, perhaps, a husband, father, and contributor to the economy of this area who was mowed down by a careless driver and is dead could have been spared had the City found that money. One life. It was worth more than whatever it costs to clear that bike path, don't you think?
That's all for this week. have a safe and enjoyable weekend.