Friday, March 05, 2021

Friday News And Views

The Message Does Not Match The Rhetoric:

As I scrolled through Twitter earlier in the week I came across a sponsored Tweet from the Mashable website featuring a new HPC (electrified bicycle) which was supposedly cool from a styling standpoint. It looked like a 'retro motorcycle'. 

Now you may shrug your shoulders and say, "Whatever. As long as people are out of cars and riding bicycles, I am good with it." End of story, we move on......

But hold on here a minute.... I watched the entire video Tweet and not once did the person on the machine make a pedaling motion. Not once. The message there? "It not only looks like a motorcycle, it is one". Now, of course, you may have to actually pedal this particular contraption to get assist, but that is not the visual messaging here, nor does it explicitly say in the video that "you have to pedal this". 

Next, I saw somewhere, (I apologize, because I should have a reference, but it wasn't cycling specific where I saw this), that recreational activities cease for most people surveyed recently when the temperatures get below 60°F. This also has been my contention- that if we think that cycling will become a major transportation mode, we're deluding ourselves. For the poor and less fortunate, yes- but they already are walking and cycling. That doesn't forgive our lack of infrastructure, but it isn't going to increase numbers of cyclists if non-cyclists can find easier ways to be mobile, even if we have infrastructure for cycling in a meaningful way. Electrified cars will pacify most people's feelings that we're 'environmentally conscious' (although I'd say its six of one- half a dozen of another from where we are now) and if you can afford a car- you will live in that mode of transportation every time over that of two wheeled varieties. Especially when everything is miles from everything else and weather is what it is for six months out of the year in the USA. 

Why? Because it is easier to roll with 'car culture'- even over an HPC/electrified bicycle, even if you only have to sit and coast around on it. That's why. Maybe I have a dim view of humanity, but go ahead- change my mind. The message I see being sent doesn't match what the cycling pundits are thinking. Speaking of messages sent, where are the ebike police on this one? Class systems will prevent HPC's from becoming motorcycles? Pssshaw!

New Riding Gravel Radio Ranch Episode #73:

Another podcast is up, which you can grab the link to HERE. But the big news I wanted to point out is that the podcast is now sponsored by Bike Rags. They are the Iowa based supplier of customized apparel for events, businesses, and brands. Mostly cycling related stuff here, but they do hats, t-shirts, and stickers too, so you could use Bike Rags for any promotions you have in mind. 

I'm stoked that we have a sponsor for the podcast now and we will be doing some cool things in the near future with Bike Rags, so stay tuned for that. 

In the meantime, check out the newest podcast and let me know what you think. We are planning on some new features and new ways to access what we do there, so I am excited about the possibilities. (Think visual) I am also proud that since a year ago now we have done twice the output of podcasts in that time than the six previous years combined. I was always a bit dismayed at the haphazard roll out of new podcasts in previous years and one of my goals for 2020 was to get that rectified. With the help of Andy of Andy's Bike Shop that goal was achieved.

The first 29"er- Wes Williams' Willits New Sheriff. Image courtesy of Wes Williams
22 Years Of 29"ers:

The other day on Facebook I noted where Wes Williams posted an image I'd seen several times before. An orange "New Sheriff"  model Willits bike sitting against a building in the snow. It was March 2nd, 1999. You may be saying, "So what?". Well, that bike, and Wes Williams, and a whole bunch of other people behind that bike- and especially "The Tire", ended up revolutionizing mountain biking as we know it today.  

Back in 1999 a bigger wheel for a mountain bike was unheard of. Literally- no one could have even conceived of such a thing. Well, that is unless you were Wes Williams, or some folks from WTB, or Bruce Gordon, or some other folks like Gary Fisher, and others like Bob Poor. Yep! It took a small village, but they got the ball rolling and now look at how things are. 26"ers? Gone..... As a real alternative size for most anyone, it is a dead thing. I'll tell you what- that is a small miracle. I still find it amazing. 

And give credit to 650B/27.5"ers. They helped eradicate 26"er MTB as well. But the 29"er was the thought, the idea that finally became reality, and through every adversity, prevailed and opened up a lot of doors and minds to something better. 

Want to know more? I wrote a history of the wheel size and you can read my page on it HERE

Fakes of real products are never made to the same standards.
This Blog Is Real:

Earlier in the week I saw that a deep-fake video had surfaced showing a visage that was purportedly Tom Cruise, but it wasn't. It was so convincingly realistic though that now experts are worried that technology can now be used to influence people by way of using faked images of real people saying and doing things that the 'real' versions of those folks had not ever conceived of saying or doing. 

Sounds like science fiction? But it isn't, and it is truly worrisome. I've seen benign uses of this technology used to animate historical figures, like Frederick Douglass, American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman.It's creepy for sure, and I can see how this sort of thing could get out of hand. But what does faking real people have to do with cycling?

Well, due to the parts shortages, forgery of bike parts and bicycles themselves, while always having been a thing, is now a very big deal. People are more susceptible to falling for these scams when the 'real thing' is not available through traditional sources. This came to focus again when Mavic found that forgeries of Mavic wheels were being sold to consumers that were of such low quality that they had caused injury to at least one cyclist. This as reported by Furthermore; apparently Mavic tested these wheels after purchasing a set and found that they were so far below standard that they posed a risk of injury and death to anyone who fell prey to the companies that are foisting these fake Mavic wheels on the unsuspecting consumer. 

The lesson? Don't believe what you see celebrities saying and doing on social media and don't buy fake bike parts and bikes. If the sources are not verifiable, traditional retail, don't bite. Or even better- if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is

That said, this blog is real and I- Guitar Ted- approve these posts.

Sale On C.O.G. 100 Hats:

I've got a lot of C.O.G 100 hats left and I need to move them outta here. So, through the month of March, I will be knocking $5.00 off the price making these one-off hats fifteen bucks each plus shipping. See the link to the "Guitar Ted's Garage Sale Page" underneath the header image and scroll down a bit to see how to order. 

Mention this post and I will throw in a free hat if you purchase a jersey, also listed on the Garage Sale Page. 

There are not many jerseys left, so once those are gone- they are gone for good and the hat offer will end. So, if you want a piece of gravel grinding history, grab a hat or jersey and wear them proudly. Plus, it will help me get good stuff into the hands of people so it can be used up and I won't have to hawk the stuff here anymore so I can clear out space in my basement. 

And as long as I am here, I'll mention the link to the G-Ted Merchandise on the right column of the blog here. Hit that link and it will take you to Redbubble and my daughter's page there where the G-Ted merch can be ordered. A portion of each sale made there goes directly to my daughter to help fund her art work. Thanks for considering all of this.


Unknown said...

Perhaps your dim view of humanity is a bit too narrowly focused? It seems at least in our corner of human society that as the rich and powerful are allowed and encouraged to cannibalize those beneath that fewer and fewer will be able to afford e-cars, thus more on two wheels, full HPV's (human powered vehicles) or not. See what I did there - anyone can make up a stupid acronym. Will we continue to be run down, human roadkill, with impunity in such a society? Yes, yes we will. But more people can eventually bring more power, at least where the voices and votes of those are still counted.
Just had to point out when you said, "and if you can afford a car- you will live in that mode of transportation every time over that of two wheeled varieties.", that is literally where many, many thousands of people in this country do live. Kind of impossible to live in a two wheeler.

Guitar Ted said...

@Unknown - Thanks for your comments. You say, "Kind of impossible to live in a two wheeler." I say "Bingo" Exactly why, whether they are HPV's (nice turn of acronym there) or HPC's you cannot get out of the weather on two wheels, thus why my 'dim view of humanity' exists. People will choose to be out of the weather whenever possible, unless that weather is 'easy'.

And as far as costs go, what do you think? Electrified bikes are always going to be far more expensive to purchase and maintain over fully human powered bikes. (FHPB's- why stop with the "stupid acronyms" now?) The "rich and powerful are allowed and encouraged to cannibalize those beneath", right? Where is the equity there? So, it's really "kind of impossible to live on, or "in", a two wheeler if you cannot afford it. And for me, that's a big issue with Hybrid Powered Cycles as well.

Tman said...

You are right about peoples fair weather tendencies. I have said it for years that Ebikes are simply electric motorcycles. I do see a need for some people however, a couple years back a girlfriend had early onset Parkinsons in her 40s. An Ebike kept her going for another couple years. Probably even improved her quality of life.

As for the Willits, like I said on Wes' FB post. Some of were riding the 700x45 smokes offroad before that but jumped on the Nanos ASAP. The tire volume was just so much better. I outfitted my Bianchi with Nanos and had a blast until Grayboy hooked me up with one of the first Karate Monkeys.

Blain said...

I live 300ft elevation and a couple miles above town. I have an e-cargo-bike for errands and running kids to parks and daycare. Our cutoff is about 40deg F, mainly because suiting up the kids sufficiently is onerous when it's colder than that. I wouldn't take the bike nearly as often if I didn't have the electric 'kick' to get back up the hill while hauling 100lbs of humans and groceries around.

I do wish we could improve infrastructure for cycling to go with the extra range e-bikes allow. There are some places I simply won't take kids on a bike because you're forced onto a 4-lane highway.