The shock heard ’round the world.

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By now the world knows what the world already knew, or possibly thought they knew, or maybe even doesn’t know anything at all.

For you see, I’m writing this with my head buried solidly in the sand, and also, I don’t really care what Lance and Oprah have to say to one another because I don’t care about Lance or Oprah.

What I do care is what Olympic gold medalist and World Champion Nicole Cooke has to say on the matter. And for those would like to delve even deeper into her perspective, might I direct your attention to this article in the Guardian.

Not only is she one of the greatest female cyclists of her generation, she’s one of the greatest cyclists of her generation, and her retirement is little more than a footnote, except on this site, (which itself is a bit of a footnote) where I intend to do right by her and her achievements by declaring today as ‘INTERNATIONAL NICOLE COOKE DAY‘ (assuming there’s not already one of those).

So to Nicole and her impressive career, I say job well done, thank you for everything, and I appreciate you this much;
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What troubles me the most about all of the hoopla surrounding Lance, his victories, and his ultimate disgrace, is this is all a bulk of society knows about bicycling. The average person doesn’t know about Nicole, or the Rwandan cycling team, Ride For Reading, or any of us… It’s just Lance and ‘Premium Rush’, and that is a goddamned shame.

What America does know, is football, and since the majority isn’t making any attempt to understand what it is we do, I opted to make the first step, and wrap my mind around the intricacies of America’s second favorite ball sport. (I’d say you should feel free to insert Lance references here, but at this point it’s low hanging fruit.)

With that in mind, I offer this;

I’d fight for this man. He’s got a frisbee…” I concur.

As we back pedal to other news flashes that had me laying on the floor in an attempt to figure which way was up, apparently disk brakes on cross bikes might not be the shiz everyone thought them to be.

Now before people start hurling the old “don’t worry about what people ride. Just ride your bike, etc.” chestnuts around, this concerns me for a couple of reasons. One in particular being that over my years in the world of bikecycles, I have watched trends come and go, and have been reluctant of most of them until all of the turds have been scooped out of the punch bowl leaving the final revisions to prove me wrong.

Admittedly, I was well off the mark about clipless pedals and suspension forks for mountain bikes, but when those two items were first introduced to the fat tire world, I sat warily on the sidelines with my clips, straps and rigid fork while I watched the bushing pedals, inversion forks and AMP Research designs come and go.

I’ve never been one to trust what the industry claims to be infallible because 1) I choose not to throw my money into a garbage can and 2) they are often times wrong. Why, even Magura has its reservations about disk brakes on skinny tired bikes.

The bicycle world is born and bred in an environment of planned obsolescence, and because the industry that’s attempting to sell an idea says it’s the bee’s knees, is the very reason I will continue to wait on the sidelines with my money securely in my pocket simply due to the fact that they are the ones trying to convince me that it’s something I need.
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Until the day comes when it’s proven with consistency, I’ll continue happily adjusting my cantis and calipers. If in five year’s time I’m ultimately proven wrong, I’ll be the first to admit it. If I’m proven right however, I won’t say anything because I’ll be too busy patting myself on the back.

In the meantime however, I have back pats to spare, and one of which I will now offer up to Cedar Cycling. It was just this past spring when they very graciously gave me one of my very own jerseys to stank up and give a whirl to;
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Initially I just sort of took it as a nice wool jersey (of which I have many) and left it at that, but in the months of using it, it’s become a go-to and one that I’m consistently impressed by. I’ve abused it, washed it, muddied it, slept in it, not washed it, and all of the other things one does in a comfy piece of clothing, and through it all, the fit has stayed perfectly consistent. For a wool garment, this is high praise indeed.

I would suppose that my perspective might seem a bit disingenuous due to the fact that they advertise on this site, so you can take my opinion or leave it, but for the record, if I didn’t like it, I would make no bones about saying so, because if there’s one thing I truly love, it’s hating stuff, and my Cedar jersey, I absolutely do not.

As a matter of fact, I hate how much I like it, but as the cycle goes, and to my previous point, I love how much I hate how much I love it, so take that as you will.

As long as I’m doling out tips of the hat, I should offer one to another Maximo Supremo resident, Rubena Tires.

I first received a set of their Krantos twenty-ninering tires back in August and even wrote a hard hitting journalistic tour de force where I like, covered price and did weight comparisons and junk.

Like most reviews however, that doesn’t really tell anybody jack about the product. So in the four and a half months they’ve been in my possession I’ve used them in summer and fall conditions on my Hunter until I had to strip that down and send it back to the factory for a refurbish, at which time I put them on my Ventana.

As I noted in this post, I was curious to see how quickly I could wear through them, and how they responded to the varying dirt seasons that the Bay Area has to offer. (In order starting and ending with with summer- dry, hero, muddy, hero, dry.)

So far their wear has been negligible, and I’ve gotten to try them in all three conditions, and though hero dirt is my favorite to ride in and tire choice really gives one little advantage, the proof has been in the pudding. The snot-slick, and eyeball packing pudding;
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Of course I’m not talking about trenched out mud bogs, because for the well being of the trail I steer clear of such things, but during the wet season, one naturally is going to be treading across occasional soggy patches of terra firma, and having the advantage of knobbies that keep you upright and traveling in a forward direction is one I’ll gladly take.

In my humble estimation, the Krantos(es) are a superior all season tire and because of their casing, weight, price, durability and versatility, thus far have achieved the highest marks and won them the revered award of five bloody pentagrams;
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Just as I have regarding that of Lance and Oprah, it’s a gesture I’m sure the good people at Rubena will happily ignore.
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15 thoughts on “The shock heard ’round the world.

  1. in the rainforest nothing goes to waste, as gravity works with bio processes to turn discarded nutrients into true trickle down gold nugs for various creatures. as stevil and I sift through the industries’ detritus at the base of some heroic craigslist ironwood, shaded and comforted by mighty limbs and silos of malted bevs, we loves us the brave who cast off their sweet sweet passe parts.

    • It really is my absolute pleasure. Thank you for everything you have done, and continue to do to help make the world a little bit nicer place to live.

  2. Your comment about having your head in the sand reminds of a joke about Aussies, Kiwis and Sheep……
    And speaking of jokes, I wonder what Cheryl thinks of it all?

  3. I have been a bit more of early adapter if said innovation made sense to me…
    Front suspension ’92 (Rock Shox; I think it was a quadra 21)
    Clipless pedals ’94 (Onzas then Times ever since)
    Full suspension ’98 (URT, amazingly I did not hate it, but then a Heckler sold me)
    Single speed ’99 (Still miss that BASS)
    Disc brakes ’99 (Champagne Hayes)
    20mm thru-axles ’00 (‘Zoke QR 20)
    Height adjustable seatposts ’05 (Gravity Dropper and now a Reverb)
    On mountain bikes I would not trade any of them for the days of yore. Alas, they all have their place. I firmly believe that a reliable road disc system will be available shortly. The cable-actuated and the hop-up kits to run hydros are heavy, inconsistent as well as ugly and dumb. However, a road specific designed hydro with the nice modulation available in modern mountain systems would be great. The safety issues arising from carbon rim brake failures would be worth it. On cyclocross bikes? I think the potential is there, but to my knowledge no one has lost a CX race due to lack of brakes. Then again, I am not an industry guy; I just ride.

  4. Dear Bike Industry,

    I’m beginning to feel that you don’t have myself and my fellow rider’s best interest at heart, all you seem to be interested in is creating new “standards” and try to force people to buy them under the auspice that the new “standard” is better than before. I would like to think that most cyclists are a savvy bunch, but we do glom onto new tech with eagerness, a fault that you (the bicycle industry) seems more than happy to exploit.

    Every year there’s a new bottom bracket “standard”. Something becomes a standard once it is in wide, common, and accepted use like a square taper bb. I have never felt the need to put any of these new, false standards on my bike instead of using a tried and true standard. I think you need to think about how you label all of these pointless bottom bracket options out there. The advantages are nominal to the rider, and only serve to create more niche markets and confuse new riders that get overwhelmed by all the “standards” that have been made. Shame on you. The people that can really gain any benefit if at all from any of these alleged improvements are pro racers, and pro races get their bikes and parts for free, we, the majority of the bike buying public have to pay for our stuff. Did my square tape bb suddenly stop working after years of loyal service and 1000’s of miles? No, it did not. My mountain bike is old for sure and my friends that have newer bikes are still behind me just like they are before they had a new bike with all of the new “improvements” in technology, I expected them to leave me in the dust being that I have only 21 speeds and they 30, but alas it did not happen. I also find it funny that I having 21 speeds never once thought I could make this traverse or climb that section of trail if I only had some more gears, and now you try and sell me less gears in the form of a 2 x10 drive train for more money than my 21 gears, do you take me for a fool? Shame on you bike industry. I can go on, how lame and pointless 31.8 bars are and how ugly they look, or how a 200 dollar seat post that drops can’t beat a 10 buck quick release seat post clamp and to take the 10 seconds to take in the view before you drop in is worth way more than another lever do-hickey on your bike, are you really that lazy? And the 29 wheels, really? Every time I see some poor 5.5” guy on a 29er, I just feel like the bike industry is made up of carneys and we are it’s willing dupes. And these massive head tube bearings they look like the wheel bearings in my van, there’s no way you can convince me I “need” that junk. At some point I just feel like you think I’m an idiot they will buy anything that you put before me, I think you think so little of us as a group that one can keep changing things endlessly chasing one’s tail in the pointless quest of improving something that needs no improvement, even the bike magazines are getting weary of your cavalcade of falsehoods, they are usually your ever loyal heralds but that is even changing.

    I turned away from mountain biking magazines for few years and when I came back, mountain bikes no longer existed. There are xc, all mountain, free ride, downhill, etc. but there are no “mountain bikes” anymore. I still own and use a mountain bike, I understand that by creating labels and slicing the pie in ever-smaller slices you can perhaps sucker someone into buying a bunch of bikes that only get used for one type of trail. I guess that’s clever marketing and sales go up, but I think in doing so you alienate the beginner that will certainly be confused and intimidated by all the jargon and techo-babble when they go to their local shop and want a “mountain bike” Shame on you bike industry, I think you need a time-out to think about what you’ve done.

    • Wow- I have to say I’m all for 68mm threaded BB shells and rim brakes on road bikes but my 1986 Bridgestone MB2 is not 1/4 the mountain bike my 2011 Giant Reign is. Give me 3lbs lighter, 6″ more travel on either end and a dropper post to boot. More fun on the way up and way more fun on the way down. I’m sorry if you live somewhere where mountain bike riding is stuck in 1986, but for those of us with nearby progressive trails designed for modern mountain bikes a modern mountain bike is a hell of a lot of fun. I’ll stick with rim brakes and downtube shifters on my road bike and still stay with the group but I’m 100% sure I couldn’t hang with a group MTB ride on my antiquated “mountain” bike.

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