Friday, March 29, 2024

Friday News And Views

 Cost Of Crushed Rock At Historically High Levels:

Crushed rock, or more commonly known as gravel, is getting expensive. A recent story by, a radio station in Floyd County, Iowa, claims that Floyd County will pay an estimated 1.5 million or more in 2024 for crushed rock for their gravel road maintenance. 

The price per ton two years ago was $13.88 and the price today has risen to $15.28 per ton, the highest amount the county has ever paid for rock for their gravel roads. 

Comments: Obviously a lot of things have increased in price, but I feel as though there are some things we can point to which have caused counties to have to maintain the roads more often than in the past. 

One thing is the drought. Dry conditions seem to cause the gravel to break down more quickly, but I could be wrong about that. It just seems that way to me. Secondly, heavier agricultural equipment and the widespread use of semi tractor-trailers for grain transportation have wreaked havoc on the roads. Finally, Winter plowing grinds off gravel and pushes it into ditches. In years past such aggressive snow removal tactics were not employed. 

All this means now is that taxes extracted from residents will be stretched to cover higher priced materials to maintain the public roads. Paved roads cost even more, so paving everything is not the answer. In my opinion, farmers need to bear more of the responsibility for what their equipment does to roads. 

Image courtesy of Hayes/Manitou

Manitou Throws It Back To The 90's:

Manitou, who were there at the beginning of the suspension revelotion in mountain bikes, has announced a special edition Mattoc Pro fork all done up to look like Manitou's famous elastomeric suspension fork from the early 1990's. 

Those early Manitou forks were black and silver with a reputation for being rather flexy and having nearly no damping characteristics at all. but then again, most early suspension fork efforts were pretty dismal compared to the wild technology we have today. 

At about $1100.00, it is not cheap, but it surely is about 1100 times better than the original the fork is made to look like. 

Manitou doesn't get the "love" these days like Fox and Rock Shox, but they do make nice things which I think more folks should be taking a look at. Take this Mattoc Pro, for instance. It comes out of the box set at 140m of travel, but any user can adjust that at home with a simple procedure to go anywhere from 110mm to 150mm of travel making this 1750 gram fork versatile from XC to light enduro riding. 

Image courtesy of Esker Cycles
Houchin To Ride Esker Ti Japhy For 2024:

Ultra-distance athlete and single speeder Alexandera Houchin was announced as a sponsored rider by Esker Cycles this week. 

Houchin rides single speed a lot, but will also be using geared and possibly full-suspension bikes from Esker Cycles range in the future, according to a statement in the press release. 

Houchin is a well known and accomplished rider in the off-road ultra-distance field. She has set, or holds several records including the fastest single speed ride for Women and first woman overall at the 2019 Tour Divide, a record setting and winning ride in the Women's category at the Colorado Trail Race, plus many more wins and records. Alexandera has logged an incredible 6 consecutive Colorado Trail starts and finishes. Along with 3 consecutive Arizona Trail Race 800 starts and finishes. 

The Guitar Ted Podcast Episode #42: The Mid-South Review

I know many of you already waded through my written version of things concerning the Mid-South,
and if you did read that report, thank you

But if you are game for more, or would rather listen to two old dudes gab, the podcast version can be accessed HERE or wherever you get your podcasts from these days. 

There is a bit more content here concerning riding bandit, as well as some banter about the "fast folk" doing things that could be seen as unfair. 

Plus we do a Gravel Amplifier on two events also. What's that? Oh....well it is my opinion that mainstream cycling media thinks there are only Pro level gravel events. I don't adhere to that take, so N.Y. Roll and I search out smaller, affordably priced gravel events in places we think a lot of people would find interesting. We talk about that instead of hyping all the European and North American events the pro riders are doing. They get enough amplification.

Also, I'll throw it out here that we are always looking for events to bring to our audience's attention, so if you have any gravel events you think should get some run on "The Guitar Ted Podcast" then you can send me the information to:

Image courtesy of Race Face

Race Face Introduces ERA Carbon MTB Wheels:

Race Face introduced a new mountain bike wheel set yesterday called ERA. This is an all-new wheel with Race Face's Vault hubs and a 30mm internal rim width. The wheels are available in 29" or 27.5" sizes.

The big deal with these rims on the ERA wheel set is the compliance Race Face has tried to engineer into the wheels. Race Face believes that vertical compliance is a good thing, but that lateral compliance is also key to a successful ride off-road.

They point to how a rigid wheel with no give laterally will "ping" you off rocks and trail obstacles, knocking you off-line and causing handling to go out the window. The ERA wheels are designed to absorb some of that energy that would otherwise be sending you in a new direction.

Will it work? That's the big question here, but you have to give it to Race Face for trying. You can find out for yourself by ponying up $1599.00USD. 

That's a wrap on this week's news and views. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading the Guitar Ted Productions blog!!


Rydn9ers said...

Not sure about where you live but here I feel that the use of gravel is a bit excessive and could be cut considerably. IMO not every road needs to be gravel and certainly not laid down inches thick like it is now. If the roads are dry the dirt roads often ride and drive better than the heavily graveled ones, in wetter weather route over a mile or two and catch a better maintained road. Not all roads need to be paved and not all county roads need to be gravel.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - I LOVE that philosophy, but it ain't gonna fly in Iowa where we have BIG ag money influencing politics and policies. Farmers would riot if we started turning gravel roads back into dirt ones!

And given the size and weight of their equipment now, I cannot imagine how it would work to have less gravel.

But putting less gravel on less often? Might be a choice idea there.

That said, during Trans Iowa v7 recon we came across several roads in Jasper County that year that had gravel that had been pulverized into dust about six inches deep due to all the semi-tractor travel some of those roads were bearing. Especially around Baxter, Iowa. It was BAD!

This is why I think farmers need to bear more of the burden for the damage their equipment causes. Either via a tax, or more preferably, a licensing fee for their heavy equipment to be used on the gravel roads.

shiggy person said...

But how is that wheel going to react with a tire mounted? There is no way I’m going to use it as RF illustrated it.

Guitar Ted said...

@shiggy person - Seems counter-intuitive, right? Especially when people are running tire inserts to get the pressures down. The tire AND the rim are going to deflect, and at different rates? Sounds like a disaster to me, but what do I know......

NY Roll said...

Well I am more in line with thinking if the costs of gravel goes up, counties will re-evaluate the roads and useage. Upon completion of that, they will make more Level Cs and re-assess some roads as Level B. Bother directions will lessen the maintenance costs of the highway departments. We may see more roads become part gravel, then the other half become level B.
Long term view I am not to sure farmers would riot if it hinders urban sprawl. If you make the grid difficult and inconvenience to travel fast on, people tend to avoid it.