Tuesday, June 06, 2023


 NOTE: Okay folks, if you haven't been around long enough here to know what a "Randomonium" post is, then here is the deal. I ramble, rant, and randomly moan about all things cycling in one, incohesive, bizarre post. "Randomonium", okay?

Jeff Kerkove Speaks:

Over the years since November 2004 when the idea of Trans Iowa was hatched, Jeff Kerkove has not had a lot to say about the event, its influence, or my participation in Trans Iowa for 14 years. Not that he had to say anything at all, but I always thought it was curious that he did not lay some claim to coming up with the idea that helped to spark a movement in cycling that has changed just about everything. 

After our ride together last week, Jeff broke his silence regarding Trans Iowa, his part of gravel events, and my part in the gravel scene, in a Facebook post. I'll reserve comment until after his quote:

"I am a firm believer that Mark Stevenson and myself are the catapult of the modern day gravel movement. It was all because of Trans-Iowa, which was a good bad idea hatched while wrenching on bikes one afternoon at Europa Cycle and Ski in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Without Trans-Iowa there likely never would have been Unbound Gravel as well as the first mass produced gravel bike(s) from Salsa Cycles. While I only had my hand in Trans-Iowa for around 4 years prior to taking my job with Ergon Bike, Mark kept its momentum rolling forward for over a decade - earning that much deserved Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame spot. Most of you reading this now know what “gravel” in the bike universe has become.

Today, for the first time in like 16 years, Mark and I got to pedal some gravel together in Emporia, KS at the Gravel Hall of Fame shake-out ride. All the warm-fuzzies were felt seeing what that good bad idea has become over the last 20ish years. No one ever would have imagined 5000+ people from all over the world would be coming to Kansas in June to ride gravel farm roads "

I cannot say that I disagree with him here. It is kind of weird to have finally read hiopinion of things, but I am grateful that he feels that way because I've always felt Jeff had a hand in this deal. I don't like taking any credit for things as they have shaken out, but besides Jeff, I had two other people literally pointing a finger at me and telling me I was responsible for what was happening in Emporia and beyond last week. Like emphatically shaking their index finger at me and underscoring the "fact" that I was responsible, and one of those people was a bar owner in Emporia! 

Color me humbled. And THANK YOU Jeff! 

Bike Shops In Turmoil:

Following the retail situation for bicycle shops reveals a tale of two extremes. on the one hand, service work seems to be coming in at a higher rate than pre-pandemic days. I have heard and read about mechanic shortages, overwhelming repair schedules, and good labor sales overall. However; the overstocked conditions which are plaguing the sector of retail bicycle sales is still a big problem. 

Trek and Specialized are still trying to dump off inventory and I would not be surprised if that is not the case with most brands. Distributors are also seen doing sales yet which would indicate to me that stock levels are crazy high at places which are servicing the retail bicycle trade. 

As a side effect this situation is going to delay new product introductions, which was evident at Unbound, where a lot of people were expecting to learn about new products for gravel, but the only notable thing that occurred was a "leak" of the new 12spd Shimano GRX, which wasn't really an introduction either. 

A You Tuber I watch who is located in Florida stated that there are a lot of shops in trouble, some even to the point of going out of business due to lackluster sales and too much inventory in stock. Interesting days to be sure.

Skies full of Canadian wildfire smoke as seen in Iowa.

Unwanted Canadian Import:

There have been more than a handful of days this year that I have chosen not to ride due to wildfire smoke. Smoke that is emanating out of Canada has polluted our air. You wouldn't think that smoke from something burning over a thousand miles away would cause me to not ride, but....

This stuff burns my eyes and stinks in my nostrils. It cannot be a good thing to be breathing. heck, as I type this I can smell the smoke inside my home. 

Look Canada, I like some of your imports. Canadian bacon, hockey, maybe even Brian Adams, but this smoke thing has got to be stopped. This is ridiculous. The first no-wind day in weeks and the skies are full of your acrid smoke. Bah! It drives me crazy...

My schedule is hard enough to deal with and now this? take your smoke back, Canada! I don't like it. But seriously, this is a major issue this year, and we typically do not have to deal with wildfire smoke. Hopefully this ends soon for all concerned.


flying_sqrl said...

As a Canadian, I’d like to remind you that we didn’t start the fire.
Billy Joel reference intended.

Guitar Ted said...

@flying_sqrl - Touche'!

baric said...

Other than the usual suspects that are usually around here bicycling and even so less of them as of late, haven't seen many bicycle riders lately in this part of Iowa. The local bike shop guys have said they have been booked ahead on repairs and work but they for a long time have only been open for four and a half days a week. What I have seen is more of, but by no means not all of them; idiots on E- bikes who seem to have no knowledge of or seem to have no common sense or regard whatsoever for trail etiquette, pedestrian right of way or traffic laws, especially regarding stop signs, no motor vehicles allowed areas, tearing down sidewalks full tilt boogie in high traffic areas and being totally oblivious to their surroundings and the people around them. Not to mention most of them aren't even pedaling !! Sorry for the rant on that last part !! ....

Guitar Ted said...

@baric - I've noted here in Waterloo that sort of behavior on e-scooters which are sitting around for hire here. The bird ones. That and since e-bikes are still quite expensive I see a lot of bicycles converted to gas motors. They act in a similar manner as well.

But there are some e-bikes, of course. And of those I see, not a one that is riding them is pedaling. This confuses me because advocates of e-bikes tell me that riders of e-bikes get the same or even more physical benefits from riding that I do on my human powered bike.

Someone please explain this magic to me. It's not making any sense at this point......