The U.S.A's Longest Glow-In-The-Dark Trail:
| Nathan's Miles: Vinton's Glow-In-The-Dark Trail (From Baker Ent. Facebook page)|
A bicycle trail that glows in the dark? Yes, and it is located just South of where I live about 38 miles away. The trail, claimed to be the longest of its type in the U.S., has aggregate embedded in it which glows in the dark when exposed to sunlight.
Apparently it only needs 15 minutes of direct sunlight to glow for 15 hours! This trail should get a lot of attention here in Iowa over the next several years. It has a glowing section of approximately two miles in length, (the trail is three miles overall), and it passes by a couple of Vinton's schools which were attended by a former resident and Vinton city employee, Nathan Hesson, who first dreamed of this trail. He died, unfortunately, before this trail could be realized, and it is dedicated in his memory. Called "Nathan's Miles" trail, the City of Vinton dedicated and opened the trail just this past Tuesday.
I'll have to scoot down there again someday to check this out. I was last through Vinton on my aborted century ride last Summer but I did not see anything of this new trail at that time. Maybe I can even time it right to go through in the dark and see what this trail can do.
First Annual "UG" To Occur This Weekend:
You know, this event is big, and it is following the coat tails of one of the original gravel grinders of the modern era, the Dirty Kanza 200. (That was its name, whatever your politics/thoughts are on that.) This 'new' event happens for the first time
this next weekend. (Thanks to "RonDog" for catching my mistake!)
Here are my thoughts concerning this. I'm probably the only person that thinks this way, so never mind me, but here we go....
The whole kerfuffle with the DK name and the ouster of its former original co-director, (the other co-director, Joel Dyke, voluntarily left DK around 2011), was driven by social justice issues and with an aim to remake the old event into something which would not resemble much of the heritage of the past DK event- Things which were deemed to be offensive. Okay, that is a valid and understandable action which leaves us with a new name and new race directors, none of which are related to the old DK event with the exception of Kristi Mohn.
Okay, so now you have an odd situation. The former name and former race director, Jim Cummings, were largely responsible for the event's effects on the community of Emporia, Kansas, which were deemed to be positive. These gains in tourism, economic impact, and let's not forget prestige in the international racing community, were things which the new owner of the event, Life Time Fitness, and the community business folks did not want to have 'go away'.
How do you separate the one from the other? On the one hand, you have a 'turning of the page', a new event, for all intents and purposes, and on the other, you have people and business entities wanting to hold on to the money, (let's be honest here, that's the bottom line), which has great potential to benefit said entities and concerned people. Things which that old name and the old race director brought to the area. Actually, you can do this. But Unbound Gravel seems to be wanting to walk the fence on it.
On the one hand, they haven't said that this event is a new beginning and that any and all ties to that past event which shall not be named are now cut. They could do it like this: "That part is over. The Past. We now, for the first time, begin a new event with better ideals and with the same focus on challenge, etc....." But no, we get uncomfortable references to the DK200, and in some situations, it is painfully obvious that there really is no 'cutting of the ties' to the Dirty Kanza 200. Especially when 'the continuance' of certain ideals are being carried over in terms of things the old DK200 did for rider recognition, the references to this being whatever year it is of the event, and so on.
I just find that all totally unnecessary. Just stop it. Make a full cut from the old and start again with this being 'Year One' and make your own heritage. But no, the uncomfortable truth of the matter is that fear of losing economic impact and prestige makes for words and actions that say one thing but hold the hand behind the back for the cash on the other.
And that's just my take. Like I said, I may be the only person on Earth that sees things that way, and I am fine with being told I'm crazy and wrong if that's the case, but that's how I see it.
UPDATE on the Wesley Martin YouTube Channel: I was made aware on Wednesday that the link in my story called "Just Passing Through" about Wesley Martin for his You Tube channel was not working. I fixed it, but here it is again in case you tried and missed last Wednesday. I apologize for the inconvenience. But go check it out, like, and subscribe to his channel. It's a great little look at everything he is seeing on his 3000 mile bicycle trip which will eventually take him and a friend to California.
Just as a sample, he rode a mystery trail before meeting his traveling companion and it is a hilarious episode. I won't say more, but do go check out his channel.
WARNING: Self-Plug Coming! If you listen to his Day 15 entry you'll hear Wesley heaping praise on Andy's Bike Shop. I guess he was pretty impressed by us and said as much in that entry. It is nice to hear it, honestly. After years of pretty much no feedback on my work at the old job I was pleased to get some positive commentary and it made me feel pretty good. Also, Andy gave him one of the shop shirts and he was wearing it for the next two days! Pretty cool all in all.
So, Wesley, I doubt you'll ever read this, but if you do- "Thank you!" And also- Here's to a safe, adventurous, memorable trip for you and your traveling companion. I'll be following along on the You Tube channel to see what happens.
Ross Bicycles Returns, Has Gravel Bike, (Of Course!) :
|The WAR brand is part of the new Ross Bicycles.|
Rumors and bits of news had been coming for a few years in the trade papers that Ross Bicycles was coming back. You may remember the brand for their chromed out early 80's mountain bikes. By the late 80's/early 90's Ross Bicycles seemingly faded away, never to be heard from again.
Well, now they are back and they do (or will) have mountain bikes again. However; as you are all probably well aware by now, Gravel® is what you HAVE to be selling, so Ross Bicycles has a gravel model dubbed the Evader GSR under the W.A.R brand of their company.
Comments: It looks to be a consumer direct brand and the prices are okay looking, nothing spectacular here for an aluminum frame/carbon fork and SRAM Rival bits. The frame looks a LOT like the Viathon from Walmart, what with the big dropped drive side chain stay and lowered seat stay design. The geometry is what I would expect- not very inspiring, to me at least, and so this isn't anything that trips my trigger. It is just interesting that Ross Bicycles is behind this and that the brand is making a comeback.
Okay, that's a wrap. This is a BIG weekend in the U.S.A. Stay safe, have a great holiday, and roll some wheels somewhere! Thank you for reading!