Monday, September 11, 2023

Two Things

Twisted and scarred spokes .
I've been dealing with some backlash from heat related riding over the past week and so riding has been on the down-low. Urban riding, mostly here, just to stay fit. So, I've no "Country Views" to share today, but a couple of things on my bench motivated me to write another "Two Things" post for your consideration today.

#1: Since I've taken the job at the Cedar Valley Bicycle Collective, repairs have been predictably similar in nature. I don't see a lot of things on my stand that I used to see on a regular basis. That's why when two identical wheel issues cropped up within days of each other, it made an impression on me. 

I should note that these were both off the clock, non-CVBC deals. I do get the occasional ask from friends and acquaintances for help with repairs, and this is what these two things were about. Both were related to over-shifted chains and damage to spokes as a result. I like wheel repairs, so these were nice diversions from replacing bottom brackets and stringing new cables and housings. 

I also like that I have bicycle mechanic friends and that I am able to lean on them from time to time for advice. This time I went to wheel builder Ben Witt, who is the owner of Heath Creek Cycles . He sent me in the right direction on one of my repairs and he can certainly build you a great wheel set. Check him out if you are in the market for a nice custom set of wheels. 

The other job was a much more straight forward deal and so I completed that one on my own. Now with both jobs done, who knows when I'll be breaking out the wheel tools again? But it's nice to know that I have the capability to help out friends and acquaintances when they are in need. 

Can we stop putting hardware in plastic?
#2: So, the other thing I noted was something I saw when cleaning up my bench a bit. Plastic bags, bits of shredded plastic bags, and just plastic in general. Can we, as bicycle folk, ask that brands and manufacturers quit using plastic to put their hardware bits in? 

I think we should.

The bicycle industry is a supposed "green" industry, focusing on human powered, non-fossil-fueled transportation and recreation.  The bicycle businesses have made a big deal in some cases about using less plastic in packing bicycles going to shops, but there still are all these itty-bitty plastic baggie, heat sealed packages that are ubiquitous throughout, not only the complete bicycle packaging, but within brands selling accessories as well. 

I wager that tons of these plastic baggies get thrown in the trash on a daily basis. That's criminal and totally unnecessary. I suggest we go to old-school paper envelope type hardware packaging that used to be common 60-70 years ago. Paper is easily recyclable, environmentally friendly (compared to plastic) and could easily be implemented tomorrow in our cycling world. 

So, a challenge to all bicycle businesses- Ditch plastic baggies, use paper, make our world better.

And that's "Two Things" for your Monday.


Matt Boulanger said...

It was certainly a bourgeois purchase for me, but I really liked how the Klampers I bought from Paul this summer came in wax paper bags in cardboard boxes.

Years ago I was shocked working at a chain outdoor retailer when the Patagonia restock would come in and we would spend an hour shucking capilene pieces out of individual plastic bags.

Guitar Ted said...

@Matt Boulanger - Paul Components are quality items and I happen to love everything about them, but that price, which on my budget I cannot justify. That said, it makes me very happy to hear that they package their products thusly. Thanks for letting me know that.

I know many people would be shocked to see the amount of plastic waste generated in the outdoor industry. From apparel packaging to hardware packaging, plastic is used across a wide range of "green" leaning, outdoor activity segments. Sad but true....

Obviously paper and cardboard isn't as cheap or as protective as plastic can be, but at least give us recyclable, or reusable plastic if it has to be plastic. For instance, I usually keep any zip-top plastic bags and repurpose them. That's at least keeping those bags out of the garbage for a while, if not indefinitely.

NY Roll said...

I vote for Rice, Bamboo or some other fast growing paper source. I am not opposed to wood, but only if made from mill by product. I was thinking this past weekend on how are we not mining land fills yet for these precious metals. I listened to a podcast on how Ore is extracted from rock, and I suddenly thought, why are we not re-opening landfills and doing a filtration of the waste. I know I know, but what if we had automated earth movers, and we will need to sort this out as our globe divides it self into another weird cold war.

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - Yeah, makes sense to me.