Friday, March 26, 2021

Friday News And Views

Do I have to "Throw the Horns" if I ride tires made of METL? (Image courtesy of the SMART TIRE Co.)
SMART Tire Company Wants To Deflate Your Tires:

"Here we go again!", I thought to myself as I read the press release. More airless tire nonsense! But wait! This is NASA level tech used for rovers on foreign planets. It might be a bit different, and, as it turns out, it is very different. 

The tires are called METL and are, of course, made out of 'metal'. A Nickle/Titanium mixture, to be exact, and are made in a mesh. Think 'microphone screen' and you might get an idea, if you've ever pondered the cover of a Shure SM-58.  The mesh can deform and spring back, in a manner better than a fine bicycle tire's casing, the company claims. 

The tires use no air, and are claimed to have a lifespan greater than that of your bicycle. Of course, whenever you hear 'great things' you can expect some 'not so great things' are probably following not far behind. So, as a for instance, the SMART METL tires for bicycles will have an outer tread of rubber which can wear away and will need regular replacement. Ah.......okay? And, of course, no weights were given and no prices were revealed. you install them wasn't mentioned. 

Comments: There is too much unrevealed here for me to really give a take on these, but the fact that much important information was withheld for the time being says that I should be very skeptical of this being a workable solution for my bicycle. Another obvious thing about the SMART Tire Company is revealed right in their mission statement: "....The SMART Tire Company, with hopes of becoming the next, great American tire company..." 

The 'next great American tire company', eh? So, bicycles are really just a proof of concept exercise? Sounds like it to me. Maybe I'm being too cynical. We'll see........ 

My Apple Watch face on March 22nd, 2021.
A Time Marker:

Lots of people are marking dates now with regard to the ongoing pandemic. "It's been a year since....." whatever happened in relation to COVID-19 type reminisces have been filling social media. Well, I haven't been one to be any different in that regard. This was, and still is, kind of a 'big deal' in my life. 

I'm not sure what ever prompted me to start a streak to fill all three 'rings' of activity monitoring on my Apple Watch on March 22nd, 2020, but I bet I had some personal challenge in mind having to do with keeping my mind focused on something positive during that dark time. Whatever the motivation was, it stuck.

Monday I completed all three rings- Move, Exercise, and Stand, for the 365th consecutive day. A full year. This challenge I undertook has changed me. I did gain fitness, for sure, but more importantly, I gained a new habit or two, and I am able to tear myself away from social media, website work, and be free from technology without feeling like I am missing something, or feeling the least little bit guilty about it. 

To me, that is huge. But trust me, I have a long way to go yet. I have seen a little bit of 'the Light', if you will, and it is tantalizing. If I can move away from this seat I am sat in as I type this more during 2021 than I did in 2020 it will be counted as another goal and a success. You may be thinking I should include my mobile smart phone in this, but I forget about that thing far too often as it is. In fact, I lose it about three times a day and it doesn't bother me. Well, it doesn't until I have to find it!

So, where do I go from here? I figure I may as well keep on truckin'. Why not? It has been a good thing and I don't see a downside. Also- I am already at peace having set a year straight goal and achieving it, so if a day comes where I get sick or injured and cannot do one or all three 'rings' of activity, I am okay with that too. No worries now. But heck- why not go for two years straight? So, that's the plan for now. We'll see how it pans out in a year. 

Shimano Celebrates 100th Anniversary Of Business:

Shimano is the big bicycle parts manufacturer from Japan which we all might be familiar with, but do you know what their first bicycle part was? It was made in 1921 and it was a single speed free wheel called the "3.3.3.". Shimano also went on to make internal gear hubs, and of course, they were the first into MTB specific parts and the first to market a gravel specific group, amongst many other fine accomplishments. Some of you also may not know that Shimano is a big player in the fishing reel segment. I happen to own a fine example of an 80's era Shimano spinning reel. 

Want to check out more Shimano history? They have a special Centennial website here.

You're always on my mind....
Can't Stop Thinking About You:

Back in my 20's, I often would get a feeling come around about August time. The way the Sun light hit the grass, and the smell of a fresh-cut lawn would send my mind back to football practice. Two-a-days and humidity, sore muscles and running, running, running....Those memories haunted me every Fall for several years. And to think I only played organized football games for what? Five or six seasons? That memory really stuck with me for quite a while into my early adulthood though.

So, it should come as no surprise to me that every Spring the sights, sounds, and smells take me back to something I did for 15 years. I put on an organized bicycle event that exacted a lot of energy and emotion. Such was the case over this past week as the grass started turning greener and the smells of earth and whatever aromatic sensations are carried to me by the stiff Spring winds began to stir thoughts of organizing gravel events. 

How I did things still rolls around in my head from time to time. This past week it was how I organized the logistics regarding navigation for the event. Things that were getting to be a concern, and would be now, prompted a thought for a solution. It was exciting, if I am honest, to wonder how this new idea would play out. 

But don't get too aroused out there folks. I am not going to come out of retirement anytime soon. It is just that since I have been doing that thing for so many years that it is hard to just throw the switch and turn it off. Frankly, for me at any rate, that isn't possible. My mind will probably be permanently altered due to all those years of thinking about gravel events and how to do them from a director's viewpoint. 

Oh well.....

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Gravel Worlds has just announced that they have received approval from their local Health Department and have added 250 extra roster spots as a result. From the press release:

"Lincoln, Neb. (Mar 25,2021) — The Pirate Cycling League has received approval from Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to hold Gravel Worlds 2021 as an in-person event the weekend of August 21, 2021. The LLCHD also approved 250 additional rider entries, bringing the total number of participants to 1,600."

Go to to register.

That's a wrap for this week! I hope you all have a safe and enjoyable weekend , hopefully on bicycles.


MuddyMatt said...

The thing with 'smart tyres' is... they are not even a little smart.

No way to change the rebound characteristics (i.e. air pressure equiv.) to suit terrain for a start. And highly unlikely to be cheaper to make, lighter, easy to swap etc. If you need an outer tread to provide grip characteristics then that comes with further costs and trade-offs. It's nonsense from the tech-bros, again.

The NASA solution was created to solve a specific NASA problem, whereas tyres need to perform against a number of differing parameters - weight, weather, surface, reliability, safety.

Flat tyres is an issues largely fixed already by a number of methods (puncture protection/armouring or tubeless being the most popular). Flat tyres are not the reason people don't cycle...

Guitar Ted said...

@MuddyMatt - Excellent point concerning the ability to change air pressure. I hadn't thought about that in relation to this mesh tire idea.

I often am reminded that best and brightest minds of the late 19th Century, using math and science, came up with the pinnacle for mechanical efficiencies, in terms of theories and ideas, back then. Only the materials technologies of their day held them back. Sometimes engineers and thinkers feel they can improve upon those highly refined ideas, but in almost every case, they are up against a monumental, (some would argue an impossible) task.

Perhaps this idea of a pneumatic tire is one of those instances where the idea has such a high degree of refinement that to "best it" is impossible.

Dad said...

Reminds me of aluminum drum sticks. You have to add the replaceable plastic outer skin. Very damaging to cymbals. Hmmm...$250 Zildjian crash or $10 wood stick?

Nooge said...

@MuddyMatt you are correct. NASA literally couldn’t use rubber tires due to the extreme temperatures on the Moon and Mars. So they reinvented the wheel two completely different ways, one of which is used here. For anyone interested search YouTube for “Real Engineering NASA Wheel”. It’s really neat technology.

Excellent point also on the lack of tuning characteristics. These were meant to be robust to temperature and light, not provide ultimate traction and comfort, where these will surely fall short of rubber tires unless they add a full rubber tread. At that point, you might as well just use normal tires and full foam inserts as they will likely perform the same but cost much much less.

I’ve never seen better examples of why not to reinvent the wheel (METL) and why sometimes you have to (NASA).

baric said...

Sounds like a damned expensive proposition not to mention harsh riding. You wouldn't have to worry about lateral stiffness or rolling a tire off the rim anymore though.