Friday, March 20, 2020

Friday News And Views

The full announcement made Tuesday of this week.
Viruses and Gravel Don't Mix: 

As you all know by now, everything is cancelled that is fun. That or postponed. I don't care if I don't hear "cancelled" or "postponed" again for.......years! I'm getting pretty worn out by it all now, as I am sure many of you out there are as well.

However; there are always consequences. That's one thing we haven't looked at much yet. One of the MAJOR consequences of all these postponements and potential postponements is that the month of October, for whatever reason, is getting all the rescheduled dates I am seeing. Iowa Wind And Rock, is one of the major ones doing that here. But many other events nationwide that should be happening now, or in April, are looking to October now. Why October?

I'm going to take a stab and say that insurance is one reason why. Many policies for events let you slide a date, but only for so long. October may be as late as some can push their events back to. School starting and other concerns may also play a part here, and of course, weather plays a factor here as well. But I know from our C.O.G. 100 rescheduling choices that October is really an attractive choice, but my concern is that all these Spring events are going to essentially cannibalize the already scheduled Fall events. You know, there are only so many things a person can do, and since Spring is, for all intents and purposes, going to be devoid of events, and maybe even the beginning of Summer, (who knows?) everyone is looking to Fall to push their event to and hold it, despite what is already going to be happening anyway.

The big domino yet to fall is the Dirty Kanza. If- and I stress IF - they decide to reschedule, and IF they choose Fall to do that, (and all bets would be pretty sure if you place them on a cooler Fall day for that location), then that event will suck away a huge number of potential riders. Not to mention college football, high school football, school, and other fall activities like cyclo cross. Ya know, I don't see it working out real well if everybody chooses a Fall date. Might be better just to write off 2020 as a complete loss and go to 2021.

But we'll see.

Industry papers are reporting that Europe factory closures are further damping HPC sales.
HPC Production Further Hurt By Factory Closures In Europe:

The COVID-19 effects roll on as not only has Chinese production taken a hit, but now it is reported that the big electric Hybrid Powered Cycles (HPC) manufacturers are being affected in Europe by factory closures. While sales were expected to increase over last year by double-digit percentages, I would assume expectations are being tempered somewhat by the closures.

This news should also affect saddles and shoes for cycling, not to mention clothing, all of which comes from Northern Italy where the pandemic has hit pretty hard. What the results will be are yet to be seen, but I wouldn't be surprised to see disruptions in supply over the course of 2020 and perhaps into next year depending upon how long this lasts.

Seat post testing: Here the Noble Bikes GX5 is set up with the Specialized C-GR post.
Seat Post Testing: 

Seat posts have the potential for being a vibration absorbing component on many gravel bikes, especially with the extensions many gravel bikes require. All that bare seat post can be effective in making for a smoother ride if the post is designed correctly.

I am using a few posts now which promise to have a nice, vibration absorbing ride. The PRO Dyneema Carbon post was first. Now I've got the Specialized C-GR post cued up and I've ridden it a little bit. My impressions so far are that it is slicing hairs to compare these things. I have also been running a Whiskey carbon post along with the Ti Regulator Salsa post for some time. Really........I gotta say that they are all pretty similar. Maybe one is feeling nicer on one day and a different one feels better on another day. That's how blurry the lines are between all these posts.

I'll continue to explore the differences as the gravel roads get better and the weather warms some more. But I suspect I am going to find that there isn't a hill of beans of difference between all the carbon/titanium posts and they all will compare unfavorably to the suspension posts. There is just a huge difference in feel once you go to a full on mechanically suspended post.  Traditional passive flexing posts just don't match up here.

So, the bottom line will likely be that if you are seeking relief from vibrations and bumps in terms of gravel riding, then go suspended on the seat post. The best a passive flexing post can do is take the zing out of a hit or maybe damp a little bit of the frequency range. I'll come back with a final write up on this subject and I will also give you reasons why a suspension seat post may be a bad idea.

From last year's GTDRI
 Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational 2020 Cancelled:

In light of our new realities here, I am going to go ahead and cancel the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational for 2020. It is my belief that it would be irresponsible to hold such an event in light of the suggestions that the COVID-19 pandemic may not be 100% wrapped up by that time.

And even if it is, which right now would be a minor miracle, I am going to clear this event off people's radar so that they can make other plans, just in case I am wrong. My belief is we won't be out of the woods yet by late July.

My suggestion is that we all do our own adventure rides and get used to being alone, or maybe with another companion. But practicing social distancing in a group is not workable. Not in my opinion. (See yesterday's post)

My intentions are to ride the course to vet it out and then, if it works out, I will use this route I have planned for a 2021 ride. We will see how that all works out. Look for posts concerning this throughout Spring and Summer.

Andy's Bike Shop Video: Earlier this week I promised you all that I would post that link to the video we did reviewing a couple of Giant Revolt gravel bikes. If you care to see that, here is that link. WARNING: They tell me I have more of a "radio face", so be prepared! Ha!

Remember CIOCC?  They are back in the UK.
Italian Speakers Will Laugh Now:

When I first got into working on bicycles, the shop I worked at had a large selection of Italian made frames for sale. There were the "common" Bianchi frames, Colnago, DeBernadi, Gios, and more I cannot remember.

Among all the Italian marques though, the most mysterious one to me was CIOCC. No one seemed to know a whole lot about about them, and then the heck do you pronounce THAT name?!!

Now there were a few people that had those bikes in the area back then and we tried pronouncing the name to the best of our Mid-Western ways. We arrived on something that sounded like "chee-ohch". Well, since no one I knew spoke Italian, how were we to know back in the 90's? It wasn't like we could look it up on the innergoogles, ya know!

So, the other day I get a press release for this brand announcing their return to the UK market. The press release tells how to pronounce the name! So, apparently it is like saying "church" without much of the "r" in that word. Try it. Once you say it, I think a green light will go off and it will make sense. How we used to say that name in the 90's never sat right with me.

Anyway, the bikes! They have a gravel bike, of course, which is steel and is quite fetching, as seen here in brown. But they also do steel classic road frames, titanium road frames (gorgeous, by the way), and carbon fiber. All of Italian manufacture, and all beautiful to look at. Too bad we won't see them over here.

I apologize for the bummer FN&V this week, but it is what it is now. Hopefully better news is on the horizon. Stay safe and stay positive!


Tyler Loewens said...

That is a gorgeous CIOCC!

fasteddy said...

October was already stacked in Iowa. Snaggy Ridge 105 on the 3rd. Jingle Cross 9th- 11th (which has a gravel grinder and sucks a lot of riders away on that weekend) ICGravel on the 17th. There are more I'm forgetting. I hope there are options that allow some promoters to keep their powder dry for another year if it is the best thing for their event. Feeling pressured to put on an event that puts you in untenable competition with the rest of the calendar isn't good for anyone. Sadly, like other businesses, some events won't survive this.

S Sprague said...

I look forward to your seatpost comments. The Specialized post always intrigued me but then my Moots post is pretty comfy. Thanks for taking this up!

Scott Cotton said...

Interesting Dirty Kanza tidbit. Apparently Life Time lawyered up and made the Spinistry change the name of the race that they hold in North Texas on the same weekend as DK. So the formerly Kantdu Kanza is now the Kantdu Kansas. I guess Life Time figured that it was such a good look when Specialized went after Cafe Roubaix, they might as well get in on the action. I would have renamed it to Kantdu Kansass, but I'm kind of a jerk.

"Life Time - A healthy way of life"

teamdarb said...

I enjoyed and laughed at the Italian brand name. When I was young I exclusively rode BMX bikes.... plus being so darn short made sense. I recall a Bavarian BMX frame maker that had a funky name which later learned it was simply pronounced like "done".

Anon said...

@Scott Cotton, I think the Kaw Nation should send a cease and desist to DK.

Cory said...

This article was spot-on Ted. I couldn't agree more with every single sentence you wrote. We can't just take six months of cancelled gravel events and try to cram them into a two and a half month span in the fall that already has prior commitments on the schedule. There is entirely too much stuff going on. I'm waiting till the end of April and if things aren't any better I am just going to cancel SWIGG for the year. I think it would be wise for other events to do the same. It would seem a little greedy to cram a big corporate event into the fall and take away from other smaller events just as you stated. God bless.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tyler Loewens - I know! Something about the way Italians do bicycles gets to me.

@fasteddy - Yeah, perhaps there will be fewer events going forward. Those "self-proclaimed" gravel experts that were saying there were going to be 700 events on gravel in 2020 don't look so prescient these days.

@Scott Sprague It will be fun to see if what I am thinking plays out. Stay tuned....

@Scott Cotton - Thanks, yes...I saw that. I think your reaction is a fairly common one and growing in numbers daily.

@teamdarb - It loses that special something when you finally figure out how to really pronounce the name! Well, sometimes.

@Anon - Well, actually...... There was talk of that happening from some corners of the cycling world already.

@Cory - Thank you for your comments. I hope that we can just be free of all this crazy stuff that is happening and that we can get on with life sooner than later. Events and whatnot, well....that's pretty secondary to what really matters now. God bless you as well.

S.Fuller said...

In our cae, Wind and Rock scheduling was driven by us already having that date on the calendar for Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra. It won't be "THE" Wind and Rock experience from a navigation standpoint, but it will be long, and it will be difficult. A Winterset Gravel Weekend. :)