Friday, October 13, 2023

Friday News And Views

Luke Hoffman, Executive Director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition. (Image courtesy of the IBC)
 Iowa Bicycle Coalition Hires New Executive Director:

Recently the Iowa Bicycle Coalition announced the hire of Luke Hoffman to fill its Executive Director position after former Executive Director, Mark Wyatt announced his departure. The Iowa Bicycle Coalition, an organization that promotes safe cycling in Iowa, educational programs, policy change at the government level, and growing a support community amongst cyclists in Iowa, now looks to Mr. Hoffman to drive these initiatives. 

Hoffman, a life-long cyclists from Iowa, will transition into the executive Director role with the aid of former Executive Director, Mark Wyatt who is staying on briefly to smooth out the change in leadership. Hoffman is already hard at work learning about the influencers and important issues in the Iowa cycling scene. 

Comments: The Iowa Bicycle Coalition mostly has been felt, in my experience, as the organization that implements changes at the Iowa Statehouse level through lobbying. The organizer also generally has a big presence at the Iowa Bicycle Expo, with their Iowa Bicycle Summit, usually held in January in Des Moines, Iowa. I spoke at the Iowa Bicycle Summit in 2017. 

Mr. Hoffman has already reached out to me, which I found pretty impressive since I don't generally see myself as being "that big of a deal", which...... I probably should, but I don't, generally, so the call caught me by surprise a bit. But since I've started working at The Cedar Valley Bicycle collective my aims have been more in alignment with what the Coalition is all about, so this is a good thing. 

Good luck to Mr. Hoffman in his endeavors! I loo forward to possibly meeting him at some point in the future. 

Time to dig back into this.
Second (Third? Fourth?) Chances:

You may not have noticed but I have not been using a GPS computer for cycling since early Summer. Boy! I gotta say that the rides I have gotten in have been just fine without that frustrating device. 

But a recent chat with a local runner in the Cedar Valley has me thinking I need to either figure this out or move on and never be a part of you folks that use GPS stuff. least not until things get figured out better.

See, the local runner, unprompted by myself, brought up a lot of the same things that drives me nuts about GPS units. His experiences were very similar to mine, plus he had some that were maybe more related to running that I did not have experiences with. 

But the chat did serve to bring to mind that I need to definitively figure out where I am headed in the near future. Either I use these things or I do not. I want to make up my mind and move on. The issue cannot be left undecided or I will end up wondering "what if" and that's no good. 

So, here are a few reasons I do not need GPS: Training, racing, navigation, data, and communication. I can do all of that stuff without a GPS at all. Would GPS computers like the Wahoo I have make things easier? Maybe..... It hasn't so far though. 

You might be thinking that I definitely need a GPS to do an event with. No, not really, I don't. While it is true that many race courses guidance is only provided via GPS, those tracks are almost always made available far ahead of the event on sites like Ride With GPS, and guess what? You can download cues for those, or, most likely, I'd write my own up and use the hard copy during the event. 

Oh yeah, and I don't do Strava or anything like that. I find that to be totally uninteresting. 

You might think that a GPS computer distance data would be more accurate than my hard-wired computer. Actually, that answer is "no" as well. Even my running friend, who used a traditional distance roll-out device to set up a quarter mile interval training route, has seen GPS not get the 1/4 mile splits correct on several other runners GPS units. And my roll-out measurement on my computer yields results that have consistently been dead-on with Iowa DOT mile markers. So, no- you don't need a GPS for that either. 

So the scales are tipped heavily against GPS in my view. Not only that, but I still have not been able to get one to work consistently well enough to be convinced otherwise. But I am going to try again. Stay tuned....

Speaking Of Technology...

The landscape for logistics for long, ultra-endurance events is changing due to technology. It's something that seems obvious when you stop to think about it. 

Maybe the pandemic put this sort of an idea on people's radar, but whatever it was, finding food and water became a heck of a lot easier than ever. It used to be that if you missed a store during open hours you were out of luck. But not anymore!

Riders have figured out how to leverage technology to gain an advantage over the long distance cycling challenges which are "self-supported" type events. Phone apps are one way this is being done. 

Call ahead and have an order placed outside in a bag with your name on it. Boom! When you get there, you have some savory vittles and maybe water waiting for you. Of course, it's risky. The village mutt might take advantage of your late arrival, but hey! It's take that risk or go without. 

Want to geek out on exactly how far down a rabit hole people go with regard to this? Check out THIS LINK and be amazed. Heck, I don't even understand half of that! It does reinforce my assertion that people will find every way possible to make an event easier within the rules, and sometimes outside of them.

Redshift Sports Expands Seatpost Offerings:

Redshift Sports makes a nice suspension seat post, but it only came in one diameter- 27.2mm. Well, now that will no longer be the case going forward. 

Redshift ShockStop Seatposts will now come in a few popular sizes and in some longer lengths. This should be of particular interest to fat bikers who ride in Winter on post-holed trails as this sort of seat post will totally change your riding. 

It should be noted that some of the sizes will not come into stock until late December of this year and January of 2024. You can check these out HERE. Note- This is the original ShockStop seatpost. The "PRO" model does not come in any other size but 27.2mm. 

Comments: Besides my take on these posts for snow riding with fat bikes, the ShockStop seatpost is a really well done suspension post. I like that the original is adjustable. You can make it really compliant or stiffen it up as much as you'd probably ever need to. (I mean, if you're going to make it nearly rigid, why bother at all

These are also a great post for bikes that do not have a lot of exposed seat post and allow some "give" to those riders with bikes like that which you wouldn't otherwise have available to you. Of course, these aren't for everyone, but this is a nice expansion in offerings for a suspension seat post in terms of sizes.

That's all for this week! Have a great weekend and get out for a ride if you can!


NY Roll said...

I hope the change in leadership of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition is good and a change of direction occurs. Non-Profits and NGOs are what we called self licking ice cream cones. They see a problem in the world, address the problems with words, and do just enough to resolve the problem to say progress is being made, while always asking for money.
I do know your efforts at CVBC actually make a difference on the 1 on 1 level. You have made it so people can move about in the community by bike, either to work or to the grocery store. I see your efforts as the way to go about spreading awareness. It is a long effort, and I have been disappointed in the efforts of Iowa Bicycle coalition in recent years.
The bicycle industry mantra of more buts on bikes has always annoyed me. Just because you get your numbers up doesn't mean you gain awareness. I have a friend here in NY I just talked with last night. She pulled here 30 year old bike out of the shed and is riding a local gravel rail trail and is re-discovering cycling. She can not afford a new bike, but you and I will be in touch about upgrading what she has ;) To me that is a win, we have another person on a bike and they want to be on the bike. She is hesitant to ride off trail and on the village streets, that is where we need to go in the long term. That is the space I felt Iowa Bicycle Coalition messed up on. They fought too much in the legislation space in lieu of putting more effort in to infrastructure.
Again, Maybe I all wet on this one, but anytime I got any information from Iowa Bicycle Coalition it was an ask for money and what efforts they did in the State Assembly. I hope the change in leadership is a good thing and change in direction occurs.

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - I would agree with you in general as far as the IBC goes. That was my take on them,that they were all about legislation and not so great with practical means of using a bicycle in cities and towns. (Infrastructure, safe routes, etc)

The new commissioner called me, actually, and I relayed that my thoughts were that Collectives and their missions to fulfill needs and address practical means for cycling and cyclists were top of mind for me and the commish seemed to be excited about that.

We will see how he/the IBC comes through.

Matt Steele said...

Hey, that’s my article about ordering a pizza on gravel worlds!

For what it’s worth, I wasn’t looking to gain any performance benefit with the project. If anything, it probably slowed me down as I was spending time futzing with the GPS, watching for alerts, etc. And all the time I spent programming could have been spent in the saddle and improving my fitness…

There’s certainly a category of communication that’s focused on getting an racing edge. Folks carrying burner phone on Unbound to communicate to support crew, it’s much closer to road racing tactics, and dilutes the “everyone’s riding the same race” that I love about grassroots gravel.

Guitar Ted said...

@Matt Steele - Yeas, that was your article ;>) Thanks for chiming in.

Your point about burner phones/two-way communications is a valid one and has been employed via many different ways for several years now. Even a simple cell phone can track another persons phone these days which can lead to actions "against the rules" from a support standpoint.

That all said, we've relied for many years on an honor system in gravel events that was self-policed. However; now that gravel events can lead to lucrative sponsorships, social media fame, and sometimes actual prize money and paychecks, we are seeing cheating going on that promoters aren't addressing. Riders cannot be expected to enforce those rules either.

Again, my stance has always been that if you disobey the rules you should get "spanked" and to my mind that's getting kicked out immediately from the event and not getting invited back again. But many promoters see that as to Draconian a response and don't have the "wherewithal" to make such decisions and perform such actions.

So, cheating will be a part of the sport going forward.

If promoters did DQ and not invite Pro,semi-pro, and even rank and file riders back after a cheating incident, you'd see a lot less of that cheating going on. Would it 100% eliminate cheating? No. I may be accused of having a very dim view of humanity, but I have no other reason to believe that people won't cheat.