Monday, January 11, 2021

Bonus News And Views

 Note: With a plethora of news coming out the first week of 2021, I didn't have room to run it all in the "FN&V" last week, so the spill-over is here today for your consideration.

Forager Cycles Cable Cherries (Image courtesy of Velo Orange)
Cable Doo-Dads Hearken Back To 90's:

Back in the hey-day of MTB in the 1990's,we had anodized everything for components, there were wild full suspension ideas, and we had  accessory dress-up parts that were all the rage. One of those categories used to fill up the counter at the first shop I worked at. There were anodized cable ferrules in all the colors, top-caps for "Ahead Set" equipped bikes, and valve caps that looked like skulls, cue balls, and of course, "chromies". One of the most unusual items we sold back then were cable end doo-dads which kept your cut cables from fraying. They were available in every anodized color, in many forms, and all attached via a small 2mm grub screw. 

Well, Forager Cycles, a small company which makes a couple of accessory items, has these "Cable Cherries" which work on the same principle. These items have been picked up now and are distributed by Velo Orange. They will have them in silver, Gold, Black, and Forest Green. (Right now they show no stock) Check these out here. A pair, when available, will set you back about seventeen bucks. 

The nice thing about these is that they are re-usable. The bad thing about these is that they can be knocked off in rougher terrain and you are out ten bucks, or more if you lose both. (Ask me how I know) I still have some of these items from 'back in the day' that weren't quite so well made in a box somewhere in my Lab. When I saw these Cable Cherries, it reminded me of those halcyon days of MTB in the 90's. Maybe you are too young to have those memories, but this product is but the tip of the iceberg for items that used to be around like this. 

The Ritchey Outback TandM Breakaway (Image courtesy of Ritchey)
Tandem Gravel Action:

This came across my radar last week, and while it really isn't 'new', it isn't well known, so I thought I'd share. it is a tandem, and while that in itself isn't a big deal, this is one that could do gravel travel. It is the Ritchey Outback TandM

Most folks looking for a gravel compatible tandem are seeking out a used Salsa tandem, (because they quit making them a while back), and maybe a custom or a repurposed MTB tandem from years ago. This Outback TandM might make more sense to those who are looking at doing a tandem challenge on gravel, but need that bike to do everything else too. Because let's face it- tandems are really expensive and niche. The likelihood that a couple would have multiple tandems for road, off-road, and MTB are slim. 

And the Outback TandM is a Breakaway model too, which makes packing this thing up and taking it places a lot more attractive. only takes up to a 40mm tire, but I think many could make that work on gravel, and of course, that's plenty for road going too. 

Anyway, I thought it was an interesting option maybe some of you didn't know about. 

Unbound Gravel Announces Lottery Application and Event Dates:

Life Time Fitness' new gravel event, Unbound Gravel, has announced its lottery application and event dates. This is a similar deal to "That Former Event In Emporia That Shall Not Be Named" in that they expect a lot of applicants- more than they can accept. So, they are thinking they will need to have this lottery process to draw names from. 

There will be two weeks to put your name in the hat from January 15th till the 30th. If you are chosen you will be charged $240.00 for the chance to ride 200 miles of Flint Hills gravel. It should also be noted that due to COVID -19 issues, the Unbound Gravel event will not be like previous iterations of "That Former Event In Emporia That Shall Not Be Named". There will be limitations on people's access to various parts of the event, like packet pick-up, the finish line, and the rider meeting may very well end up being a virtual affair, not in the Granada Theater as used to be the case. See the protocols in place and possibilities of other actions HERE. 

Even the start will be different with masking required and social distancing in waves will be enforced, so be prepared to see a very different sort of experience there, if they can have it at all, which, in my opinion, is a very tenuous possibility given the predicted pandemic/vaccination situation going into the Summer. 

Also- if the the price for this event is too dear for you, remember- you have other Emporia Kansas based options to ride the Flint Hills. There is the La Grind event, and a new, grassroots styled event called "Flint Hills Gravel" which you can also check out.  Of course, keep in mind all this may go up in smoke due to the pandemic. As an example- Industry scuttlebutt has it that Sea Otter, traditionally a mid-April event, is rescheduling for Fall 2021. These Kansan events are scheduled in April-earliest of June. So, keep your ears to the ground if you are thinking about these events.

Speaking Of Cancellations Due To COVID.....

Friday on Facebook The Heywood Ride, the ride which grew out of what once was the Almanzo events, once again cancelled their ride for 2021. This would be the second year in a row that the inaugural Heywood Ride has been cancelled. The page cited COVID-19 restrictions in their announcement:

 "In keeping with the City of Northfield and State of MN guidelines, based on today's conditions there is no way we can in good conscience proceed with the event. It breaks our hearts."

The announcement also included plans to hold a virtual event on May 15th, at 9:00am CST. No further details on the virtual ride were released but the announcement said details on that would be forthcoming. 

Comments: Unfortunately it appears that 2021 will be 'the same song, second verse', at least for the first half of the year. Restrictions on events are becoming commonplace for anything from these cycling events to racing, and for other stick and ball sports as well. I expect further news of event cancellations/postponements to be commonplace throughout the Spring. 

Gravel Worlds News:

Last Saturday Gravel Worlds released the list of 100 riders who are scheduled to take part in the "Long Voyage", a 300 mile course being set up by the Pirate Cycling League. The list of names was published on their Facebook page.

That list has some very interesting names on it. One name I have to wonder if many of the current crop of gravel riders even knows about. That name would be John Stamstad.

He was pretty much the "OG" ultra-endurance off-roader. Back in the '90's he was noted as the first to solo a 24 hour MTB event, he did the first known solo time trial of the Great Divide Route, and was a principal figure in the early ultra-MTB scene. He has been off the radar for well over a decade, so I suppose you can be excused for not knowing who he is, but he definitely has a pedigree and is a historical figure in grassroots cycling.

Then you have Jay Petervary, who is John's contemporary in the ultra-endurance ranks. Alexandera Houchin, a female who has turned some heads with her on-bike performances and also with her social views on certain events in the gravel community, is also on the list. There are a lot of former Trans Iowa riders in the field, including my Brother MG. It's always heartwarming to see those former T.I. nutcases on these rosters for the big events. 

This coming weekend, on the 16th, Gravel Worlds opens up registration for their 150 mile, 75 mile, and short recreational distance rides. Be on-point if you want in because this will fill up fast this year.  The registration time is 8:00am CST

That's about it, have a great Monday! 


MG said...

Thanks Brother – I’m really hoping that by the time we’re lining up for the Long Voyage at Gravel Worlds in August, we’ll be on our way to recovery from this craziness. I know I’ll be ready, but it’ll be hard not to be a bit starstruck on the start line. I love riding into, through and out of the night, so it’s going to be a fun one and I hope you’ll be able to join us for it all!

Have a great week!!

fasteddy said...

Always a thoughtful mix of news and views! Thanks so much for the best read of my morning, every morning, Mark!

FWIW I think Alexandera spells her name slightly differently.

Cool to see some of those names put their hats in the ring.

Be safe,

S.Fuller said...

I looked at that Ritchey when it first was announced. Just staring at it again and looking at the paint job, it's too bad that it couldn't be made in such a way that it could be both a single bike and a tandem if the captain wished. Lots of engineering involved in that I'm sure, but an interesting thought (at least I thought so).

Rydn9ers said...

IMO Velo Orange really missed the mark not making a RED Cable Cherry but maybe that's just me.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - Yeah, I hope to be signed up for Gravel Worlds and to be able to see you and the rest of the folks. It'll be a scene if we can!

@fasteddy - Thanks, another person alerted me to that off-line as well. I always get that wrong! Thanks for pointing it out.

@S. Fuller - That would be pretty cool, but with all the crank oddness you'd have to account for, (gearing for a single rider might be radically different than for two riders) it maybe would not make sense.

@Rydn9ers- Well, you hit upon why manufacturers don't like anodized parts and why everything went 'black' at the end of the 90's. People are fickle about what color they'd buy, but it seems everyone is fine with black ano.