Friday, November 26, 2021

Friday News And Views

Apidura's Racing Hydration Vest.
 Welcome to this "Not Black Friday" edition of the FN&V. Hope that you all are having a great T-Day aftermath and are going to have a great weekend. (For those who observe the tradition)

Apidura Debuts New Hydration Vest:

There seems to be a new trend in hydration packs. The 'racing vest' type hydration pack typically integrates some storage capabilities via the front straps and a small-ish hydration bladder in the back. It's kind of a 'roadie's version' of a MTB'ers hydration pack. The traditional MTB type hydration pack being a bit bulkier and more roomy than these slimmed down versions are. 

Well, anyway, here's a new one from Apidura. It's similar to some others I've seen and does the same thing- provides easy to access hydration with some functionality for storage on the body. 

Comments: Remembering the very first Camelbacks, they weren't a whole lot dissimilar to these 'racing vests'. They only lacked the pockets and meshy side panels of their modern counterparts. Many of these new ones seem to want to allow you to access the jersey pockets. Well, this brings up one of the major complaints people had early on with hydration packs. The fact that those early ones, and these new ones, sit high on the back, which seems to not be the best place to put weight on a rider for some folks. 

This is where the hydration 'fanny packs' seem to have their fans. Weight is distributed across the hips where it is less fatiguing to carry. So the story goes. I have no dog in the fight, but I find the two schools of thought fascinating. 

My thought is that- at least when it is hot, I don't want anything on me that makes me hotter. Hydration packs anywhere on me do make it less than ideal for staying cooler. Run the motor too hot, well, you know what happens next..... Overheating can be tricky to avoid. So, either option for hydration, the vest, or the fanny pack, is out for me. Plus, I really despise having to clean out those hoses. Gah! Water bottle nipples can be bad enough. But that's just me. Where do you fall? Team Water Bottle or Team Hydration Pack?

State Bicycles 4130 Flat Bar.

State Bicycles Announces The 4130 Flat Bar:

Flat bar gravel bikes. I guess it is a 'thing' now with a few companies calling these rigs out in their lines for 2022. State Bicycle has one now which is a take-off on their popular drop bar bike for gravel. The Flat Bar 4130 will sell for $899.99 with one wheel set or you can get 650B and 700c wheel sets for an additional $399.99.

Comments: State Bicycle poses the question. "Are flat-bar gravel bikes really just 90’s mountain bikes?" Well, as a guy who actually was working in a bike shop and riding mountain bikes in the 90's, the answer to that is really easy: NO. These are much more like the 1990's version of a hybrid bike, which was a failed attempt at making a 700c version of a mountain bike. So, if these are 90's MTB bikes, they are failures out of the box. Well, for real mountain biking, which anyone with any sense at all already knows without question. So, that's a silly notion. I wish marketing wonks would just drop that line from their repertoire already.  

Otherwise this bike seems like a pretty good deal. I'm not sure I'd pay 400 bucks to get the second wheel set though. That's almost half the price of the Flat Bar 4130 in the first place, plus, that isn't going to be a wheel set to write home about. 

Question: Would You Take A Survey?

The other day a reader commented on the blog and stated that they followed my ride reports on Google Earth to see where I'd been on my rides. This prompted a thought for me. 

What do you readers like about this blog?

I have never really asked that question before, but I do know that at times some of you out there have offered your opinions. For instance, I recall one comment about not being all that into my industry and technical related pieces but that my personal posts and ride reports/adventures were what made that person come to the blog. Another person out there was more interested in my fleet of bikes and liked those posts. Another person recently let me know that he enjoyed my "large doses of "my opinion"...".

So, I wondered, should I post a survey? Or is THIS as good as a survey?

I guess to make it easy I would do more of a "Yes"/"No" question format and maybe leave a space at the end for comments. This wouldn't be a emailed thing or whatever. Just a post here that you would use the comments section to respond to it with. 

This wouldn't mean that I am going to quit doing things the way I am, but that maybe an emphasis should be weighted more toward certain aspects of the blog and maybe less weighted on others. 

What do you think? Hit me up in the comments on whether or no if you would take such a survey here.  (And maybe that's all we need. Just a response to the questions here on today's post?)

That's a wrap for this week. Look for the 'end of year' posts to start cropping up here next week and throughout December. Thanks for reading G-Ted Productions and have a safe, happy, fun weekend


Tim said...

Generally I appreciate reading your perspectives. When you posted reports on events in which you participated, I would use it as a measuring device to guage my interest in future participation in said event. I am also a visual person. I find your photography delightful as it captures so much which words cannot express.

NY Roll said...

No Survey. If you start tailoring it to people who are you really blogging for? This is a free service, and I think your blogging is more for yourself than it is for the reader. If you know what people want, and you started going that direction, would that remove some of the shine you have for authenticity?

Djmack said...

I’m more of a road biker I read your blog every morning I like your reviews story’s about your rides. I live in the Northeast so your cold weather reviews on gear is helpful also. Dan

Jeff said...

I like things as they are, check in once a day or so and see what's new or what's getting under your skin. I don't fill out many surveys, really laugh at the ones with the scale of one to ten, where you really hated it, kind of hated it, liked liked it or loved it like a new puppy. Either you like it or you don't. That being said, thanks for what you do. Not sure how you find the time to ride, work and take care of the blog too. Sorry to hear about the bike store closing. Hope it works out for you. I vote NO on the survey.

hank said...

G-Ted, Howdy;
Check in here every morning to help get the day started.
Huge glops of opinion, thoughts of ..., pix of your part
of the country it all helps start my days.
The mix of subjects, imo, helps keep the entire blog fresh
as nothing stays "up front" long enough to get stale.

You've stumbled upon a great formula for keeping folk's
interest. To many 'things' get changed when they are great
to begin with. Things that shouldn't get changed. This is
one of those. If it ain't broke it don't need fixed.

Thanks for doin' what ya do. Lookin' forward to tomorrow's


Nebo said...

I will make it easy for you. I love everything you do. With so many blogs going away or becoming less frequent, I appreciate your regularity. You are a very talented writer/photographer that deals in a subject I love. Win/win for me.Thank you for your efforts.

teamdarb said...

I am agree with NY Roll.

I am in the water bladder camp. It has to deal with bike frame sizing and water bottle cage mounting locations. I am 5'4 with leg and reach equal, and the frames I ride tend to place the bottle way down at the derailleur mount and/or too low on the downtube. This makes reaching them impossible. Plus, I lose bottles all the time.

Exhausted_Auk said...

Always enjoy reading your input on new products and industry trends, both here and on Riding Gravel. Just keep doing what you're doing!

Unknown said...


Ben said...

I'll echo Nebo's thoughts...many cycling blogs I used to at least somewhat regularly check I rarely do anymore just because they post / update so infrequently. It's a pretty great resource to have a gravel cycling blog that I can check daily and know there's something new each day. I like the variety so I'd say keep doing whatever you want to do!

fasteddy said...

Keep doing what you are doing. You and your work is deeply appreciated.
That said if you are curious, you should ask. Mindful that the self-selected sample you get back isn’t necessarily representative of “your audience”. You’ve been so generous with your thoughts and time, it seems like we owe you a little thought in return.

But, really, keep on keeping on. Change when it seems the right thing to do.


Doug Johnston said...

I love reading all of your posts, but if it would help, then YES, i would take a survey.

Nooge said...

Another vote for if it ain’t broke don’t fix it (and it ain’t broke!). I think a survey is next to useless.

First of all, the people taking it are already here, so they must like what you’re already doing.

Secondly is designing a good survey is very hard. If you put an option for something new in the survey, many people are likely to vote for it. The trouble is, they may not recognize that they have to give something else up to get it. Unless you start posting more than once a day, something else would be reduced or eliminated to make room for the new.

I think most of us appreciate the variety we already get here. It’s the only blog like this that I know of. Keep on keeping on, please.

Marty said...

I have to agree with NY Roll: no survey. What interests you is interesting to me, and you've always been receptive to topics suggested by readers. I seldom comment but read your blog daily.

S Sprague said...

GT, I like the way you have cultivated your blog over the years and I have enjoyed your writing for many. I read it almost everyday, obviously I didn't read it on Friday since I wasn't working and home life takes over, which is part of my morning routine. I'm not a huge gravel rider, but I do like reading about what you're doing and things that could affect my riding or improve my riding. And your opinions are very appreciated! Keep them coming!

As you posted this morning, no survey and that's just fine!

Looking forward to more posts and great photos!

Guitar Ted said...

@S Sprague - Thank you!