Friday, December 04, 2020

Friday News And Views

So the other day my daughter showed me a site where you input your art and then anyone can go to the site, choose an item to have said artwork emblazoned on, and get a t-shirt or what have you to sport around with the artist's artwork on it. The artist gets a cut, the merch company gets a cut, you get something for yourself. That's how it works. 

Well, my daughter offered to put my art work on her account at this site and this makes it so that you- the readers of G-ted Productions- could have a G-Ted logo'ed item of your very own to have and to hold. Why you'd want that, I cannot say, but just in case you do, there ya go.

The site is called Redbubble and the 'store' with the stuff you could get is HERE. A couple of points need to be made here. First- I have no idea what the quality of the merch is. I should get a t-shirt or something coming for myself to check it out, but just know that I have zero knowledge of this company's quality of t-shirts, etc. Secondly- the money goes partially to Redbubble for the merch and the remainder goes to my daughter. NOTE- I am not making anything off this. Not one penny. So, if you buy, part of your money goes to support my daughter. 

I need another t-shirt like I need a hole in my head, but I will get one coming and see what the deal is. Plus, it will be cool as far as celebrating 15 years of blogging. So, if you'd rather wait to see what I end up with, stay tuned, otherwise, if you are a risk taker, have at it. Like I say, it doesn't support me directly, and it's just for fun. 


Barns For Jason. (From the mega-barn find ride recently)
An Update On "The Quest":

As many of you know, I am nearly finished with "The Quest", my attempt to ride every gravel road in Black Hawk County. I have been shot-gunning posts every week lately on this attempt and you may have noticed a lull in the action this week. Well, there is a very good reason for that.

It's too cold!

We had a bit of an Arctic air outbreak here and with little daylight to counter-act the effects of this cold blast, it only gets 'barely tolerable' for a country ride for a few short hours every day now. This has made it so that I have to be very picky about when I attempt a ride. To add difficulty to this, hunting season will be impacting my choice of day to ride also. Here are the finer details:

Okay, the good news? I have ONE RIDE LEFT TO DO! WooHoo! Yes, it's true. I have one longish ride in Southern Black Hawk County near LaPorte City to do and I will have completed my goal for the year. Now, I have a bit of leeway in terms of the exact day, but not too much. I mean, it could be snowy and cold already! So, here's what I am looking at for a window. 

 The next week, week and a half has a few choice looking days if the temperatures hold up. Highs into the mid-40's works for me. However; one of the better looking days is Saturday. But why is this an issue? Deer hunting, that's why. It's the first day of shotgun deer season, and I've been out on that day on gravel before and it is no fun! Plus, it could even be dangerous. Not for me! So, another day will have to do, and right now that might be next Wednesday or......??? 

I cannot wait too long because at any moment this could get really ugly with snow, cold, and frozen, icy roads. So, the sooner I get this knocked out the better. Stay tuned.........

This was my 'flat bar' gravel rig in 2005 used at the first Dirty Kanza 200.
Flat Bar 'Gravel Bikes'? Nothing New!

 Recently I've seen a few bits about how 'flat bar' gravel bikes are a thing now and that these are causing a 'big stir' with some keyboard warriors out there and all. Well- Two things to note here. One- Flat bar 'gravel bikes' are not new, and have been around since the onset of 'modern gravel' events. Secondly, all this hullabaloo concerning what people think is just click-bait nonsense. 

See, I happen to have been around in 2005/2006 when all this crazy stuff got started, and guess what? There were flat bar bikes, drop bar bikes, bikes with suspension, no suspension, and old and new bikes. You 'run whatcha brung' and no one cared or gave a second thought to what you rode. So, when I see an article rebuffing certain internet commenters for not being "open-minded' about flat bar gravel bikes, well, how about we just go back to the way things started out? We were doing just fine for years before the digital desk jockeys at the big time cycling media joints chimed in. I think some of the "controversy" is a bit manufactured for 'traffic's sake', if you know what I mean. 

So, the bottom line is that if you don't know the history and where this all came from you don't understand much. Making ill-informed comments for or against flat bar gravel bikes, or anything else having to do with gravel/back road cycling, with a shallow view of history is a recipe for making foolish mistakes. It's so bad in some cases it cannot be passed off as even being funny. But it won't change, I am sure of that much.

Just know that much of what you see in the niche cycling media about 'gravel' anything is usually coming from a source that isn't very deep or well informed or both. At least, I've noted this in the last several years. 

The Revonte design echews typical bicycle drive train parts. (Screen grab from Revonte's video)
HPC Innovations Point To More "Moto" Style Features:

In the slow progression from motorized bike with pedals to a fully automatic, no pedal 'motorcycle' -which we have been witnessing for the past five years- another new 'innovation' from a company called Revonte has been released for our consideration. It is, essentially, an automatically controlled drive system that eliminates the need for a traditional bicycle drive train. 

Revonte doesn't say explicitly what is going on, but from listening to a video that they published, it appears that this drive system may be a constantly variable transmission. Riders do not have to control any facet of the torque application mechanically, as sensors relay to the motor what level of torque the rider is applying to continue at their desired speed, and adjusts power accordingly. So, it applies more torque when going uphill and less when going down, depending on the speed the rider tries to maintain. At least that's how I understood it. That would make sense if the system was a constantly variable transmission. 

But the news here isn't how it does the power application, it is the elimination of a "bicycle" feature and the introduction of a moto feature- the single chain and two cog drive system. This is a further distancing of a direct connection to the rider, which traditionally has supplied power, and control over that power, to a two wheeled vehicle.. This is further enhanced by being fully autonomous from the rider in terms of 'gearing' choice. However; the system can be configured to work with a "virtual gearing" set up via a Bluetooth app on a smart phone. Revonte says this may be desirable in difficult terrain which might confuse the auto torque sensing feature. 

Furthermore, this elimination of typical bicycle drive train parts means that this system doesn't have to rely on a typical bicycle supply chain, traditional bike mechanics, or  traditional bicycle design which must accommodate for certain 'standards' which derailleur based drive trains are constrained by. In other words, a system like this doesn't even have to resemble a bicycle in any way anymore with the obvious exception of two wheels and the "Tyrannosaurus Rex-like arms" which are the cranks and pedals. In other words, once you've made the easy leap to fully automated rider experiences, pedaling will be seen as even more of an annoyance. The evolution will continue......

 That's a wrap for this week! I hope you all stay safe and get outside and recreate some! Iowans- BE CAREFUL! Saturday is opening day of shotgun deer season. Stay outta the woods! Thanks for reading!


graveldoc said...

Wear your blaze orange helmet and/or jersey.

MG said...

Yeah, I finished the second DK200 on my singlespeed Salsa El Mariachi and of course it was equipped with a flat bar. At that point in my life, I was wholeheartedly against riding drop bars. However, with the release of the orange Salsa La Cruz, and then the Fargo, I began down the long road to drop bar lover, and now I ride drop bars most of the time on gravel. YMMV.

Have a great weekend, Brother!!