The Gravel Ride. A cycling podcast

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The Gravel Ride is a cycling podcast where we discuss the people, places and products that define modern gravel cycling. We will be interviewing athletes, course designers and product designers who are influencing the sport. We will be providing information on where to ride, what to ride and how to stay stoked on gravel riding.

Craig Dalton

    • Oct 12, 2021 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 36m AVG DURATION
    • 123 EPISODES

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    Sea Otter Round Up Episode

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 12, 2021 24:44

    This week's episode is a quick round up from the 2021 Sea Otter Classic featuring quick conversations with BMC, Specialized, Alchemy Bikes, Kogel, Sage, USWE, Panaracer, CushCore, Scott and T9. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Sea Otter Round Up [00:00:00] Craig Dalton:  [00:00:09] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. If you're a regular listener, you may have been expecting part two of our fun Q and a episode. Building on last week's part one. I had the opportunity to head down to the sea Otter classic in Monterey, California on Friday. And I was able to pick up a few short interviews that I thought were worth sharing. There's some great imagery and stories coming out from that story to vent that I thought it would be good to share in a timely fashion.  [00:00:40] For those of you who aren't familiar with the Seattle classic. It's an event that's been going on for, I believe 31 years in Northern California. It's got a rich history, starting with mountain bike racing and later added almost every discipline you can imagine to its four day weekend calendar.  [00:00:59] It's also become quite a large consumer show for the bike industry. So there's booths from hundreds of manufacturers from around the world.  [00:01:06] I took the opportunity to catch up with some old friends and do some quick interviews with some gravel companies that I think you might be interested in. This will also serve as the jumping off point for a few longer form interviews i'll do later in the year. [00:01:19] This year is October date was pandemic related. The event normally takes place in April.  [00:01:24] So we'll be coming back around on our calendar shortly in 2022.  [00:01:28] Of note, the Sea Otter classic was purchased by Lifetime back in August of 2021. So this is the first edition produced by the seawater team owned by Lifetime.  [00:01:40] Regardless of what type of cyclist you are. If you don't mind a huge crowd, the Sea Otter classic is a great place to geek out over great parts. Watch some killer racing and enjoy the Monterey bay peninsula. With all that said let's jump right into my 10 interviews throughout the sea Otter classic  [00:01:59] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah, this is Andrew here with BMC USA. And what are we looking at here today? We're looking at our brand new URS LT gravel bike. That's ready for any trail you can throw at it. Yeah. Tell  [00:02:11] Craig Dalton: us about some of the features. [00:02:12] The frame's been in market for maybe a year last season, but it's got some significant upgrades that I can just tell by looking  [00:02:20] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): at it today. Totally. Yeah. So the new addition at the end of the name there LT for long-term. Comes with our new MTT fork, which is micro travel technology.  [00:02:28] Craig Dalton: The, tell us a little bit more about the  [00:02:30] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): suspension. So with the MTT on the rear, you have a carbon flex chain stay that allows for 20 mils of rear wheel travel, damned with an elastomer that's at the top allows you to maintain traction while you're on. But the new edition with the pork here is a new partnership with Hi Ride , which is a high-end a there come from the motor sport side of things, and they've made a new damper, which has allowed for 20 mils of oil dam suspension that allows it to not overheat like a spring driven system would be, and still has the capabilities of locking out all in a lightweight package. [00:03:03] That doesn't affect the geometry whatsoever. Now for  [00:03:06] Craig Dalton: the uninitiated, when you look at this bike, you may not notice where the suspension is happening. Can you tell us it's not the two telescoping fork legs? Can you tell us how it's happening?  [00:03:15] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Yeah. Happening all essentially in the steer tube. So the entire damper unit is at the base of this. [00:03:20] Makes it so that it's super clean, simple, doesn't disrupt the lines of the bike, but still has a super effective method of getting you a more traction on the trails. Nice.  [00:03:29] Craig Dalton: And the bike is made out of what frame material  [00:03:32] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): a to full carbon frame, and even the fork itself has carbon lowers. So carbon it's full suspension. [00:03:38] Craig Dalton: Nice. It's a great looking bike, great execution, and I appreciate the time.  [00:03:41] Andrew Sjogren (BMC): Awesome. Thank you for having me. [00:03:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and company name?  [00:03:45] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Yeah, I'm art with Kogel bearings.  [00:03:48] Craig Dalton: Thanks art. And what are you showing here at Sea Otter?  [00:03:50] Ard Kessels (Kogel): We have a line of fully gravel approved oversized gorilla cages. So we build them super stiff so he can take him off. We just introduced a line of custom colored titanium bolts. [00:04:01] So you can get your entire bike matched up.  [00:04:04] Craig Dalton: I was just talking to one of your colleagues. Cause one of the things from the outside, when I've looked at these products was the complexity of installing it. Could you describe like what you need to do to your existing rear derailleur to install the.  [00:04:16] Ard Kessels (Kogel): The installation of an oversized cage requires you to take your derailleur apart. [00:04:20] So not just remove it from the bike, but completely take it off in pieces. It's, there's no set procedure. So depending on your model of derailleur, some are super easy. Some are definitely recommended to bring to a bike shop,  [00:04:33] Craig Dalton: and it's really just removing the existing cage. And depending on how, whether it's SRAM or Shimano, how complicated they make that process, that's really what. [00:04:42] Complicated or not complicated. Is that correct?  [00:04:44] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Correct. Yes. And there is no line, one derailleur from a brand might be easy and the same derailleur from or another deter from the same brand might be complicated. And just  [00:04:54] Craig Dalton: really quickly, could you tell the listener, what is the advantage of going for one of these bigger polices? [00:05:00] Ard Kessels (Kogel): Absolutely. The idea behind it is to open up the chain. So by using a bigger wheel, the chain doesn't have to articulate as much as it has around a small pulley. Bending a chain takes it takes energy. So by this, you reduce the friction by about one or two Watts.  [00:05:16] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks Ard. Thanks.  [00:05:19] All right. Can I get your name and company?  [00:05:21] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, sure. My name is Ben Edwards. I work with Specialized and part of the road and gravel team.  [00:05:25] Craig Dalton: Nice. Ben, can you tell us about the new crux we're looking at?  [00:05:28] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, we're super stoked to bring the all new Crux to riders. This thing just dropped yesterday and I think people know the crux as a cross bike, right? [00:05:35] This is like a world champion for in cross bike, but the little, the kind of the dirty secret crux all has had is that it was a bad-ass gravel bike. And so the new. While it retains a lot of that performance heritage from the cross side is really embracing that, that gravel identity. But beyond that, we've used our Athos which of any of the writers know the Athos it's a 585 Graham road frame. [00:05:56] We found a way to make these crazy light and incredibly riding road bikes at a carbon. We've now taken those learnings to the crux. So the new crux, the frame set for S works 725. And you're looking at a complete bike at 7.2 kilos, which is almost unheard of on the roadside, with a stock bike. [00:06:16] And that's what we're doing in gravel now. So that's a key thing that makes that bike. The unbelievable ride quality it delivers is that incredible, lightweight, which is pretty unheard of. And gravel beyond that, we've added some incredible capability by making sure it has room for 47 C tires. So you can, Hey, you want to race on the 30 eights. [00:06:34] Awesome. You're going to get into some rough. It's got room for this 40 sevens on their incredible capability. For  [00:06:40] Craig Dalton: sure. Nice. I was going to ask you about some of the additional capabilities that have been built in this model versus the older kind of more pure crossbite crux that people had. [00:06:49] Bed Edwards (Specialized): Yeah, for sure. So that, that, that tire clearance is a big one. We know. For awhile there, 40 was thought of as Hey, 40 is the right size for gravel. We know now these bikes are capable of so much more. So we really feel like to unlock the bikes. Potential riders have to be able to say, Hey, maybe I want to put a 47 on it, or with a bike like this 725 grand frame. [00:07:08] It's pretty amazing on the road. If you wanna have another set of wheels and throw a set of 20 eights or thirties on it, you've got an amazing platform that allows you. If you thought  [00:07:16] Craig Dalton: about the gravel market on a spectrum from sort of a road plus bike to an adventure bike packing bike, where would you describe this new crux is sitting? [00:07:25] Yeah,  [00:07:26] Bed Edwards (Specialized): this thing is it's honestly the perfect compliment to our day. With that Diverge, you've got that incredible suspend, the rider, really compliance without any compromise with that future shock. So that's really what we're looking at. As I say, like adventure explore bike, or like crazy long miles when that comfort's key. [00:07:40] This is really sitting on that performance side of the spectrum, right? When you went that more stripped down, super new. Race day or just real fast gravel riding. That's really what that crux is holding down for us now, while we should also mention this is still what our world cup, cross riders are going to be on. [00:07:55] And we've had writers like Jed next D bar, world cyclocross champion. He'll be racing this bike as his key cross bike.  [00:08:01] Craig Dalton: Awesome. Thanks for  [00:08:02] Bed Edwards (Specialized): the time. Yeah, no problem. Thanks for taking in. [00:08:04] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and  [00:08:05] Jason (USWE): company? Yeah, Jason McCune with a USWE sports. Thanks, Jason. What are we looking at here today? Today we've got our line of epic hydration backs. We're looking specifically at the epic eight for those of you that are familiar with our brand our kind of our claim to fame as the hardest. [00:08:19] It's a one buckle harness system. You've got four way adjustability on all four sides and it's got elastic built into it as well. So you can really cinch it down and move around on the bike without the pack, moving on you that's really what people, who are riding mountain bikes and doing all these activities really want to. [00:08:35] Yeah. As I've seen  [00:08:35] Craig Dalton: some of the athletes like Amanda nom and ride it, that crossover strapping mechanism is what's most visually noticeable about the pack. And now that I've gotten the overview from you and looking at it more closely, I do see how that the sort of the hip side straps are highly adjustable and tuneable. [00:08:53] Jason (USWE): Yeah. So you can adjust from the sides that go into the yard. That come that way. And then also over the shoulders. So it's really nice. And even when you get it tightened up, up on you, it's got elastic. So when you're moving around on the. Yeah, it allows the freedom of your body to move. [00:09:08] And the packs just stand where it's at. That's the beauty of it. It's not bouncing all over the place. It's just becomes really part of your body.  [00:09:15] Craig Dalton: The first pack you showed me, do you still get access to a typical cycling Jersey pocket?  [00:09:20] Jason (USWE): So I'm glad you asked me that because yeah, like for, especially for like gravel enthusiasts and stuff like that, the packs are designed, so they sit up high. [00:09:28] So if you're running late, And you still want access to your pockets to get goose or something real quick. Yeah. All that stuff's totally accessible. And that's what makes that's part of the beauty of it. Awesome. Thanks for the time. Yeah, no worries. Thank you. [00:09:41]  [00:09:41] Craig Dalton: Okay. Can I get your name and your company?  [00:09:43] Bryce (Alchemy): I'm Bryce with Alchemy bicycles.  [00:09:45] Craig Dalton: Bryce, what are we looking at here today?  [00:09:47] Bryce (Alchemy): This is our all new alchemy rogue. This is the latest addition to our gravel lineup. We still have the Ronin, which is going to be our kind of racier, fast steeper geometry, gravel bike the rogue. [00:09:59] We want it to be more of an adventure offering. This bike is going to have a little bit longer wheel base Clint clearance for bigger tires. We wanted to build it with the SRAM, Ugh, H so that you get a little bit more peace of mind. You don't have to worry about throwing your chain. You don't have to worry about that rear drill. [00:10:16] You're taking knocks so much and a lot slacker geometry. So we've got a 70 degree head tube angle on this thing. So it can really be a lot more capable and stable on that. We also designed it to have a lot more compliance than the Ronan. So you'll notice the scallop seat stay as well as the drops or sorry, the scallop seat tube, as well as the drop seat stays. [00:10:38] That's going to give you a lot better comfort rugged terrain designed it with capability to run a wireless or hydraulic dropper post. Still has a big beefy bottom bracket shell. So when you get out of the saddle, you're going to have that powertrains for that you want. Nice.  [00:10:53] Craig Dalton: Can you specify what tire size, the speical at  [00:10:56] Bryce (Alchemy): least 700 by 50 C. [00:10:58] You could probably get a little bit bigger on that depending on your wheel and tire combo,  [00:11:02] Craig Dalton: plate size there, and talk a little bit about your manufacturing process and where you're doing that.  [00:11:06] Bryce (Alchemy): So we manufacture this bike in Denver, Colorado. This is a. Semi mana cock construction. We produce the tubes individually, so like the down tube and head to our one piece the bottom bracket, shell and C tube, as well as the chain stay, yolk are one piece. [00:11:23] And then we wrap those tubes together in an overwrap process to join them. So we also do all of our own painting house. This bike is completely fabricated from the design stage to finishing right in Denver.  [00:11:36] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Now this rogue model is, has stock sizes. Your own and model is also available in custom sizes. [00:11:42] Is that.  [00:11:43] Bryce (Alchemy): That is correct. So the rogue, we're trying to hit a little bit better price point and make the bike more accessible to people. We are offering a lot more stock sizes than we offer typically on our other bicycles. The rogue is gonna come in an extra small, to an extra large the Ronan is available in sock sizes, but we can do custom geo on. [00:12:03] This  [00:12:03] Craig Dalton: rogue we're looking at as a beautiful finish to it. Can you talk about the finish? I think there's something unique about the way it's  [00:12:08] Bryce (Alchemy): applied. Yeah, so we have started using cerakote. It's been around for a little while in the bicycle industry, but as far as I know, we're the first people doing it in house as a manufacturer. [00:12:19] Sarah coat is a pretty remarkable material in that. It's extremely thin and at the same time, extremely true. So we get a really lightweight finish. We get something that you don't have to worry so much about your tire throwing rocks up into, or leaning it against a tree. It's gonna hold up really well and it looks pretty phenomenal, too. [00:12:41] Awesome.  [00:12:42] Craig Dalton: Congrats on the bike. It looks great.  [00:12:43] Bryce (Alchemy): Thank you very much. [00:12:45] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your  [00:12:46] Jeff (Panaracer): name and company? I'm Jeff Zell and I'm with Panaracer. Jeff. Good to see,  [00:12:51] Craig Dalton: let's talk a little bit about the gravel king tire lineup. And specifically as the gravel king has grown in size and a recently introduced a 700 by 50. Can you just talk about the trends you're seeing and why panel issues go in that direction  [00:13:04] Jeff (Panaracer): now? [00:13:05] Yeah, it's a really good question because we've been around with gravels since really the inception or the idea of the concept of gravel riding. And at that time, a lot of people were using cross bikes or other bikes with lower frame clearances that even at 32 was big four, but as the popularity of the sport grew, and because we had seen what was happening, we were able to respond to that and create. [00:13:26] Wits that we're going to correspond with what frame manufacturers were doing because everyone wanted wider tires. So we went with a 35 people, thought we were crazy. We went with it with 40, and that we ended up doing a 43 with people. Thought we were really nuts today. 30 eights are really the goal, 30 eights to forties depending. [00:13:45] Who's making the tire are really the go-to for the tire with, for people. And we continue to see the need to go bigger, which is where the idea for the 700 by 50 came from what type  [00:13:56] Craig Dalton: of ride quality is a 750 providing for the rider? Is it, what type of solution is it creating sort of suspension and volume and traction are those, all the things you're keying. [00:14:06] Jeff (Panaracer): It is, and there's a little bit more to it than people really think one of the biggest questions that we always get or are, is what PSI should I ride my bike at? And so much of that is dependent on the type of riding you do, what kind of writer that you are what the terrain is that you're riding on and what you're looking to get out of it. [00:14:24] When you go to a 50, you're looking for something that's going to end up being a little bit more comfortable that you can run perhaps at a little bit greater pressure than you might normally. On a lower or sorry, on a smaller diameter tire. Sorry, not smaller diameter, but smaller width tire. And that allows for a little bit more room to dial in exactly what you want with it, and also load your bike up more for people that are wanting to take their gravel bikes more on adventures rather than just a two hour gravel ride or gravel event. [00:14:53] Yeah,  [00:14:54] Craig Dalton: I think it's really fascinating as the frame designers have began to embrace those bigger sizes. You may run a 700 by 50 during certain parts of your season. Maybe it's the off season when you're doing bike packing, and then you can easily go a little bit narrower and go back down to that 700 by 40 for your race  [00:15:09] Jeff (Panaracer): wheels. [00:15:10] That's exactly right. And we want to have a tire there for everybody's need.  [00:15:13] Craig Dalton: I'm a big fan of the gravel king and I'm a big fan of Panorai sir. And I just wanted to acknowledge and appreciate the amount of support you've provided the gravel events seen over the years throughout the pandemic. [00:15:23] I know that you guys continued to back a lot of the. Race course event organizers throughout the pandemic, and you've done it in 2021 and we'll continue to do it. So on behalf of this gravel rider and racer, thanks to Panorai, sir, for all that great support.  [00:15:37] Jeff (Panaracer): You're very welcome Craig, and thanks for what you do too. [00:15:39] It's great to have you getting all the news about gravel out there.  [00:15:42] Craig Dalton: Cheers. [00:15:43] All right. Can you tell me your name and company? [00:15:46] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, I'm Dan .  [00:15:47] Craig Dalton: Dan, can you tell us about CushCore and how the product is evolving to support gravel? Cyclists?  [00:15:52] Dan (CushCore): Yeah, so we launched a product or an insert for gravel bikes Kush cores engineered foam insert. So wraps inside your tire. So it's the tubeless system. [00:16:03] You still use sealant if you need it. And it's designed to do a few things. The obvious benefit is going to protect your rim from big impacts, but it's uniquely shaped and it's part of our patents like a wedge shape. So push it against the tire sidewall. So you get a stiff sidewall, even at low tire pressure. [00:16:21] So you can run the lower tire pressure without that getting a squirmy tire and also without dinging your room rim or getting a pit.  [00:16:29] Craig Dalton: Nice. And are you seeing riders run lower pressure now because of this type of  [00:16:34] Dan (CushCore): product? Absolutely. A lot of feedback we get from gravel writers is that they can definitely run lower pressure and not, like I mentioned, eliminate that squirm while cornering and and haven't got flats. [00:16:47] Yeah,  [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: that rigidity of the sidewall seems appealing. Cause obviously we've been lowering our pressure progressively to get more compliance, but there is a bottom line to that you can't go further than  [00:16:58] Dan (CushCore): for sure. That's another way we described the product as it was designed to solve the tire pressure dilemma. [00:17:04] So high tire pressure. Is good for stability and I stable tire and less likely to ding your rim or get a pinch flat, but it's a bouncy ride. So you actually, it's a high rolling resistance actually, because it's not conforming to the road. And then, but low tire pressure is great for traction compliant, tread patch for comfort, but it's the. [00:17:24] Pinch flat. It's easy to dinger him, et cetera. So with Kush core, you can solve both of those problems. Get the best of both  [00:17:31] Craig Dalton: worlds. What does the installation process look like? It's a completely sealed unit. So obviously I've got my raw rim and wheel in hand. What's next?  [00:17:40] Dan (CushCore): Yes. Yeah. Like you mentioned, the Kush core is made in the mold, so it's not zip-tied together. [00:17:44] Strapped together. And it's designed to fit tight against the rim. So we'll Mount the insert on the rim first and then basically draped the tire over that. And then start with one side by tucking the beat in with your hands. You get to the tight side, you might need a tire lever to finish that law was a little bit  [00:18:01] Craig Dalton: off. [00:18:02] And when I'm doing my sealant insert, I'm pushing that through the valve core. Is that still possible?  [00:18:09] Dan (CushCore): That's how we do it as well. And then our valves are unique. It comes with a set. It actually has three holes. The normal let's say longitude, no hole. And then there's whole holes that go crosswise. [00:18:20] So that allows the sealant to get in. It allows you to set the air pressure with the cush core would be normally on top of a valve. And then also that allows you to clean that out really easily. Right on. Thanks for the overview. Yeah. Thank you. [00:18:34] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company?  [00:18:36] Dave (Sage): My name is David Rosen and my company has Sage titanium bicycles, Dave. Good to  [00:18:41] Craig Dalton: talk to you again, I'll reference our earlier episode in the show notes for people, but it did want to stop you here at sea Otter. And just talk about the new storm king GP. [00:18:50] Excellent.  [00:18:51] Dave (Sage): Happy to chat. What.  [00:18:52] Craig Dalton: First thing since we're we have listeners, not viewers. You've got that Rudy suspension fork on  [00:18:58] Dave (Sage): there. Ultimate's this mentioned four. Yes, it's fantastic. It's 40 millimeters. That trap. Gravel fork. It's really progressive. Like it's not what I was expecting it to be. [00:19:08] It was in the past other suspension forks that I've dealt with are a little bit harsher in terms of the travel. This is a lot smoother and it just, it works great on washboards. That's the easiest way to describe it  [00:19:21] Craig Dalton: about the beautiful storm king that you brought to the envy show earlier this year. [00:19:26] How have you modified the storm king in lieu of the spec with the explore group? Oh, and the suspension fork.  [00:19:32] Dave (Sage): So this one, I actually suspension corrected the geometry of the frame. So the axle, the crown on this is taller than a standard envy adventure fork, which I would use normally on the regular storm Kings. [00:19:45] And so as the reason. I actually slackened out the head angle by a little bit, I think a quarter of a degree if I remember correctly. And then just changed up some of the other geometry measurements of the bike to really offset for the taller fork. The reach is actually similar on the handlebar reach on the regular storm king versus the GP is similar, but the actual top tube Blaine on the GP is. [00:20:11] So I'm having you run a shorter stem kind of more mountain biking style because of the suspension fork and just accounting for dive in the fork and larger tires and that sort of thing. So an evolution of the standard storm king. When you  [00:20:26] Craig Dalton: were thinking about the GP versus the storm king storm Kings was a very capable bike. [00:20:31] Still is an incredibly capable bike. What were you thinking differently? What type of rider were you thinking about when you came to the storm king GP?  [00:20:40] Dave (Sage): A similar rider. It's definitely for adventure style, riding bike packing, long days in the country, that sort of thing. GP actually stands for Gifford Pincho which is actually the Gifford Pincho national forest, which is in Southern Washington. [00:20:53] So it borders right up against Oregon. And it's, I forget the numbers, but I want to say it's hundreds of thousands or a hundred thousand square miles or something crazy. Look it up online Gifford Pinchot national forest, and there are the stats and, but there's plenty of gravel, plenty of mountains, streams, lakes, all that sort of stuff. [00:21:10] And it's a lot more back country adventure. And it's the same rider who was getting the storm king originally. But now with the added suspension, it gives you a little bit more comfort for further adventures of just going deeper into the woods kind of thing. And so that was the purpose. Building a suspension corrected bike  [00:21:29] Craig Dalton: right on Dave. [00:21:30] I appreciate you being progressive in thinking about the new types of riders that are entering the sport, the new types of things we're going to continue to do with these drop bar bikes as always the finished work is exceptional on the Sage bikes. I encourage everybody out there to go seek out a picture of this bike and UHIN. [00:21:47] Dave (Sage): Thank you very much. Yeah, it's up on our website, Sage Swam has it. There's it's floating around on social media. So just look for the storm king GP and it's the one and only right on. [00:21:58] Craig Dalton: All right. Can I get your name and company name?  [00:22:01] John (T9): I'm John D prey from both shield T9 [00:22:04] Craig Dalton: John. I have to stop by. Cause as I was just telling you T9 is my favorite lib. Can you just talk a little bit more about what's behind the T nine  [00:22:10] John (T9): loop? Absolutely. This is the thing about T nine is it's both the protection and the lube and it's good in dry or wet environments. [00:22:19] It's a wax base. The carrier evaporates away after a few hours and you're left with just a wax coating. So if your chain gets dusty, it'll just rinse rate off. If it gets wet, it'll sluff off. You can use it in the winter, snow won't stick to it. Everything good about T nine is everything that's good about T nine? [00:22:37] Craig Dalton: Yeah, just for clarity. It's a wax based loop, but it isn't the type of solution that you have to remove the chain, soak it in wax and put it back on. It's a lot simpler than that. It's  [00:22:46] John (T9): Old school in the sense that it's wax, but it's new school in the sense of the internet to dip it into a pan of wax on your stove. [00:22:53] Truth story.  [00:22:55] Craig Dalton: Exactly why I love the lube. I appreciate you coming out. I hope that you have a great weekend here at Seattle. Oh, cool. Thanks  [00:22:59] John (T9): man. Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy the event. [00:23:02] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you enjoyed those quick interviews from the sea Otter classic. [00:23:09] I'm really excited to dig in deeper on the BMC bike. We talked about the alchemy bike. And that Scott, hopefully we can get those guys back on the show and do a little bit deeper dive. Into the intention behind those bikes, all three of them were quite sexy.  [00:23:24] In general, I had a blast down at seawater.  [00:23:27] Between the 9,000 odd athletes competing in the hundreds and hundreds of spectators around it's quite a big show. So it's not the same as going off to some of those gravel events. We love often the mountains where you get the serenity. But if you're a fan of the sport and a fan of geeking out over bike parts, and you like to see the latest and greatest.  [00:23:46] The sea Otter classic is a great place to visit. It's like wandering around one giant bike shop. So that's going to do it for us next week. We'll be back with part two of our fun Q and a episode. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels.  [00:24:03] 

    In the Dirt 24: Part One - Questions and Answers

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 5, 2021 38:11

    This week we tackle our first Q & A episode from The Ridership Community. Randall and Craig tackle your questions in part 1 of 2 fun filled episodes. The Ridership Support the Podcast Book your free Thesis Bike Consult Automated transcription (Please excuses the errors): Episode 24 [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel. The ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. And i'll be joined shortly by my co-host rental jacobs In this week's episode, we're tackling our first Q and a episode.  [00:00:14] We've mentioned the ridership community on a number of occasions on this podcast. It's a community that's full of vibrant questions all the time. So we thought we'd put out an ask to say, what are the things you want to learn about what should Randall an IB discussing? And we were overwhelmed by. By the number of questions we received.  [00:00:34] So much. So in fact that we're going to break this episode down into two parts. So today we'll focus on part one. And in the coming weeks we're released part two. [00:00:44] Before we jump into this week's episode, I'd like to thank this week. Sponsor Thesis bikes. As you know, Randall Jacob's my co-host in these, in the dirt episodes is the founder of Thesis bikes. Which you might not know is it's the bicycle I've been riding for the last let's say year and a half.  [00:01:01] Over the course of this podcast, I've had the opportunity to ride many bicycles and I keep coming back to my Thesis. As my number one bike in the garage, it really does deliver on the promise of a bike that can do anything. As many of, you know, I operate with two wheel sets in the garage. So I've got a 700 C wheel set with road tires on, and my go-to six 50 B wheel set for all my off-road adventures.  [00:01:26] In the many, many hours of conversation I've had with Randall, I've really come to appreciate how thoughtful he was in designing this bike and everything that goes in the Thesis community. Randall and the team are available for personal consults, which I highly recommend you take advantage of. If you're interested in learning more about the brand and figuring out how to get the right fit for your Thesis bicycle.  [00:01:49] In a shocking statement. I can actually express that Thesis has bikes in stock. It's something we haven't been able to say about a lot of bike brands these days during the pandemic. It's October as we're releasing this episode and they have bikes available for November delivery with the SRAM access builds. They also have frame sets available.  [00:02:10] So I encourage you to head on over to, to check out more about the brand, the story. Cory and the product and book one of those free consultations with a member of the Thesis team. With that said, let's dive right into this. Week's. Q and a episode [00:02:25] Craig: Randall, how are you today? [00:02:26] Randall: I am doing well, Craig, how are you my friend?  [00:02:30] Craig: I am doing good. I'm particularly excited for this episode because it essentially came entirely from the Ridership community. We're doing our first ever Q&A episode.  [00:02:42] Randall: Yeah, people have a lot of trust in us, maybe too much in terms of our knowledge here. So we'll try not to get over our heads in terms of uh what we claim to know, but a lot of good questions here and hopefully we can answer most of them.  [00:02:54] Craig: Yeah, I think that's been one of the cool things about the ridership is I see these questions going on all the time and I quite regularly. See them answered by people Smarter than you and I in a specific area of the sport. They have particular knowledge about a specific region. So it's really cool to see those happening in real time, every day for the members of that community. [00:03:17] Randall: Yeah, everything from fit related questions where we have some experts in there. Professional fitters like Patrick Carey, who I just did the episode with just before this one, I was in there answering questions, but then also if you've got a question about tires, nobody's going to have ridden all of them, but somehow every one has been written by someone in the forum there. And it's one of our most popular topics.  [00:03:38] Craig: Yeah. And I've seen some really detailed, help transpire between members as well, just like random disc bait break problems or compatibility problems. And I'm always shocked when someone raises their hand digitally and start to answering a question saying, no, I experienced that exact same weird problem in combination of things. [00:03:57] Randall: Yeah, it really fits into the spirit of The Ridership in which embodied in that word was this idea of fellowship, like writers, helping writers. So it's been super cool to see that community develop organically. And so thank you all members who are listening, and to those who aren't in there yet, we hope you'll join us.  [00:04:15] Craig: Yeah. just head over to and you can get right in and start interacting as much, or as little as you want. I think the uniqueness of the platform is it is designed inherently to be asynchronous. So you can put a question in there give it a little time to marinate and a couple of days later Get lots of answers. [00:04:35] This is pretty cool.  [00:04:36] Randall: And in addition to that, there's also rides being coordinated. So myself and another writer here in the new England area or leading a ride. And we have about 10 or 15 people who chimed in wanting to join. And we've seen quite a bit of that in the bay area as well. So that's another use case for this in addition to sharing routes and general bicycle nerdery.  [00:04:54] Craig: Yeah, it's super cool. [00:04:55] So this episode, we're clearly going to jump around a bunch. We've tried to organize the questions, so there's, there's some pairing around them, but these are questions that all came in from subset of individuals. So They are what they are and we wanted to jump on them. So with that, let's let's dive right in. Okay.  [00:05:12] Randall: All right, let's do it.  [00:05:14] Craig: Cool. So the first question comes from Keith P E. And he says, every time I go out for a gravel ride, I think why is this roadie where I'm like Rhonda trails when there's no podium to win or anybody watching. What is this obsession with wearing skin tight clothing in a sport that resides in the dirt.  [00:05:31] Randall: I don't know about you, but I'm just showing off.  [00:05:34] Craig: Your physique.  [00:05:35] Randall: My, my Adonis like physique, sure. It's just more comfortable for me. And I like to go pretty hard and I'm sweating a lot. And if I had baggier gear on, I would tend to have, potential issues with chafing and the like so for intensity I definitely find that the Lycra is a lot more comfortable.  [00:05:54] Craig: Yeah, I'm sorta with you. Like I do I desire to be that guy in baggy shorts and a t-shirt, but every time it comes down to it, I'm grabbing the Lycra. I think for me, there's a couple of performance things, definitely on the lower body. I appreciate the Lycra just cause I don't get any binding and less potential for chafing. So I'm like, I'm all about a big short for riding, unless it's a super, super casual outing for me.  [00:06:21] And then up top. I think it comes down to, I do having the pockets in the Jersey. So that sort of makes me tend towards wearing a Jersey, even if it's just solely to carry my phone in my pocket.  [00:06:34] Randall: And if you really want to be pro show up to an elite race and like a led Zeppelin t-shirt and some cutoff jorts, and hairy legs and just rip everyone's legs off that would be super impressive. But for the rest of us,  [00:06:45] If you ha, if you have those sorts of legs,  [00:06:47] Yeah, it would be very impressed. Send pictures in to the ridership. If you actually do that .  [00:06:50] Craig: Yeah. So you'll see me. You'll see me. Rock a t-shirt you. As a performance t-shirt instead of a cycling Jersey on occasion. And I just jam stuff into bags, but yeah, nine times out of 10, unfortunately I'm that Lycra. Reclad. Gravel cyclists. [00:07:06] Randall: MAMIL, I think right.  [00:07:08] Middle aged man in Lycra.  [00:07:11] I'm right behind in the age category.  [00:07:13] Craig: Second question comes from Tom Schiele. And forgive me if I mispronounced your last name, he'd love to get our insights into winter riding, especially tips for those of us in new England who go out on cold dark mornings.  [00:07:29] I'm going to, I'm going to go out on a limb here and Randall and say, it's probably not the guy. [00:07:32] from California that should be offering this advice.  [00:07:34] Randall: Let's have you go first for that reason.  [00:07:38] Craig: Look. I mean you, new Englanders will throw hay bales at me and make fun of me, but I do find it cold here. And it's all about layers.  [00:07:48] Randall: Okay. [00:07:48] Carry  [00:07:48] Craig: all about layers.  [00:07:49] Actually, in fact, I just got some great gear from gore and I was Scratching my head because it's really designed for way cooler Temperatures. [00:07:58] than I have available to me. So a fleece lined tight is something that's just outside of the weather that I'm going to experience as much as I'll complain about it being cold. But I do appreciate a thermal Jersey for the Dawn patrol rides and things like that.  [00:08:12] But for me, it's always come down to layering. And as someone who's Been around. [00:08:16] the sport for a while, what I really do like about my wardrobe today is I think I have a really good understanding about what to layer on for what temperature And having been in the sport long enough. I've just acquired a lot of clothing along the way. So I even go down to having.  [00:08:32] Like a thicker vest. Than just a standard thin, vast, and they're very nuanced and it's only because of, I had decades worth of clothing kicking around that I've really started to understand and embrace how each garment is for a particular degree temperature. And the layers will get me to a certain point.  [00:08:51] Randall: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you on layers. I like to go like Jersey and then maybe a base layer or older Jersey underneath add to that thermal sleeves a vest that has a wind breaking layer on the front. A balaklava. Is also a great thing to have when the weather gets a bit colder, one to keep your head warm and your ears warm, and to keep the wind off your face, but then also you can breathe through it. So you're preheating the air and when it gets bitingly cold, which I don't know, you may not have experienced this, but I've definitely written around the Boston area and five degree temperatures and you got, ice crystals forming on the front of it, but at least you're getting a little bit of that preheating first.  [00:09:29] Definitely wants some wind breaking booties. Wind breaking layers on the front of the body. Generally when it gets really cold. If you must, you could do like heat packs on the backs of your hands. So over your arteries, delivering blood. If you're in real extreme conditions,  [00:09:44] Let's see, Tom also mentioned riding cold dark mornings, which means low pressures for grip. And then also lots of lots of lights, lots of reflectivity. You definitely don't want to be caught out and that's a good general rule, but especially riding in dark conditions when people might be tired.  [00:10:00] And then what else?  [00:10:02] Craig: Going to add the other big thing that I really enjoy is a thermal cap with the little flaps over the years, I find that really just, keeps the heat in there.  [00:10:11] Randall: Yeah, that's a nice intermediate solution before it's too cold to expose your face.  [00:10:16] Going that route. Other things pit stops with hand dryers. So I knew where all the Dunkin donuts were along my routes. I could just go in there on a really cool day and just dry off and heat up. People around here sometimes like in embrocation, gives you like a Burnie tingling sensation on the skin.  [00:10:30] Vaseline. It's actually a big one. It helps with insulation on exposed skin and helps it from getting dried and raw and so on. So I'll put Vaseline on my face and that actually makes a big difference in keeping me warm. And I don't find that it has any negative effects on my skin, my pores and things like that.  [00:10:48] I'm trying to think. Did we miss anything? Oh, tape the vent holes on your shoes. That's a big one. 'cause even with booties sometimes the holes will still, oftentimes the holes will still be exposed. And so close that up. Otherwise you just going to get air flow into the shoe and you'll know exactly where it's coming from. Once you get on the road.  [00:11:08] Craig: Yeah. And I remember. When all hell broke loose. I would even stick my foot in a plastic bag and then put it in the shoe.  [00:11:16] To get a little extra warmth. I don't necessarily recommend that. And I do know and aware em, aware that, you can get like Russ socks now in different kind of obviously wool is a great material to have underneath your shoe. It, yeah. [00:11:28] Randall: I love wool and I'll take like old wool sweaters and stuff and cut the sleeves and then put it in the dryer to shrink. So it's tight against the body and that'll be a base layer. Cause it's just great for loft and for wicking. So if you're trying to be cheap, that can be a way to go about it.  [00:11:43] Craig: I'm Now like off in my head, imagining sleeveless Randall in a tight fitting wool sweater. And it's more reading burning man then cycling performance.  [00:11:54] Randall: with the jorts, I might show up at a race near you.  [00:11:56] Craig: Our next couple of questions are from Alan Collins and the first one's around everyday carry. What do you always carry with you on every ride tools, parts, spares, pumps, hydration, snacks, gels, et cetera. Are you traveling light or packing an RV?  [00:12:14] Randall: So I'm now back in new England, so I'm often relatively near civilization, so I'm not as comprehensive as I would be say, like riding in Marine where I might be a good five, six mile walk over some mountains to get to anywhere. But critical things. I bring plugs like tire plugs. In my case, dynaplugs bacon strips, same deal.  [00:12:36] Spare tube. A tool that has all the critical things I need. If you're one of our riders, make sure you got a six mil on your tool because that's what you need for your through axles. What else? If there's any risk whatsoever. Me getting caught out in the dark. I'll have lights front and rear might as well.  [00:12:54] I'm trying to think of anything else that I always bring along. That's the key stuff. How about you?  [00:12:59] Craig: Yeah, I'm a mid-weight packer. Like I've really embraced that quarter frame bag. So I just tend to be ready for most eventualities that I expect. And obviously I gear up depending on the amount of hours I plan on being out. I tend to bring one nutritional item per hour that I'm going to be out. Obviously if I'm going out for an hour, I tend to be forgetful about hydration and nutrition. I don't really think too much about it.  [00:13:26] But I do think about it in terms of the number of hours I'm going to be out and then building Certainly my nutrition and hydration on top of that.  [00:13:33] my basic everyday carry same with you. I just want to make sure I can handle. [00:13:37] the most likely kind of repair scenarios out there on the trail. And I don't go overboard with it. There's probably many more things I would bring on a bike packing trip than I do on a five-hour ride.  [00:13:50] Randall: Yeah.  [00:13:51] And one thing I forgot to mention.  [00:13:53] Yeah, we did the everyday carry in the dirt episode nine. So listen there. That's where we go. Deep nerd on all the things. If you want a comprehensive list of what you might bring. The other thing, I don't know if I mentioned a pump. Duh. So I forgot that one there.  [00:14:06] Craig: Pump and CO2 for sure. [00:14:07] Randall: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:14:08] But otherwise it really depends on the ride. These days, I'm doing mostly like hour and a half, two hour higher intensity rides actually oftentimes even shorter, lower intensity rides. So I don't need to bring as much. But I'll where you are, you have micro-climates all over the place on Mount Tam.  [00:14:23] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. So. I'm always rocking like a full spare jacket in there, unless I'm going out mid day, which is rare these days. I just figure if I'm going downhill, I might as well be warm and it just makes it more pleasant. So that's why, again, like I have that quarter frame bag and I just jam it full of stuff.  [00:14:40] After our everyday carry episode, I did get a magic link. Cause it's it's nothing like this. Obviously no weight. And I just threw it in there. [00:14:48] Fortunately, I haven't had to use it, but it's there. If I ever did need it. [00:14:51] Randall: Oh, you don't have the technique for breaking the chain and being able to piece it back together without the magic link.  [00:14:57] Craig: I'm fairly skilled at that, But I don't have a chain breaker that I bring with me.  [00:15:01] Randall: Got it. Okay.  [00:15:02] Craig: Yeah.  [00:15:04] Alan's next question was, do you have any tips for prepping a gravel bike for competition in road, gravel mix or cyclocross?  [00:15:11] Randall: Don't do it the night before.  [00:15:14] Craig: Yeah. I I think there's a couple of different ways to go with this question, right? Obviously if you're a cross specialist, there's going to be lots of things you're going to do. For me, if I got the courage to raise cross again, I would just show up with what I got and I wouldn't really mess with it too much.  [00:15:29] Randall: Yeah, I would do basic checks. A couple of weeks out, I would just be making sure that I don't have anything that's about to fail because especially now parts are a challenge to find in many cases, even brake pads. And in fact, if you don't already have a set, get some extra brake pads, just have them around just in case.  [00:15:47] But otherwise checking chain lengthen and the lubrication making sure the sealant and the tires. I'm having all my gear and kit and nutritional stuff laid out, making sure the brake pads have have enough life in them. This sort of thing would be the basics. And I would do this several days in advance and I would make sure to get a ride in before I actually did the race, just to make sure that I didn't mess up anything that's going to bite me later. Like the worst thing you can do is be working on your bike the night before, or the morning of, and then, potentially miss something or break something or have to replace something.  [00:16:18] Craig: Yeah, I forget who I was listening to. It might've even been kate Courtney or perhaps a professional female gravel rider who was saying they arrived at actually the Sarah Sturm. Sorry. She arrived at the start line of an event and realized that her brake pads were totally thrashed. And her mechanic slash partner said. [00:16:39] I'm going to change them right now. And that would stress me the heck out.  [00:16:43] But he did add new successful. She's Thank God. because I never would have been able to stop on the way downhill. I was swapping bikes from one, the one I had written the other day and just didn't think about it.  [00:16:54] Randall: All right, everyone you've been warned.  [00:16:57] What have we got  [00:16:58] Craig: reminds me, I need to get an order in for some brake pads, because I'm definitely reaching the end of the life of the current ones.  [00:17:06] All right. So the next couple of questions are from Ivo Hackman, and he's asking thoughts on red bull entering gravel with a race in Texas. I don't know if you caught this Randall, but it was calling strict Lynn and pacing pace and McKell then. I have bonded together and are doing a race out of Marfa, Texas that red bull is sponsoring, which is, I a natural because both of those athletes are red bull sponsored.  [00:17:31] Randall: So I'm assuming like extreme gravel jumps, flips things like this. It's just the evolution of the sport.  [00:17:38] Craig: Exactly. I think, both those two guys are so grounded in the culture of gravel racing And in my opinion have been good stewards of conversation as we bring these mass star gravel events forward. I think it's great. I think the bigger question probably within this question is about is red bull coming in as an, as a quote unquote, an Advertiser and sponsor of the event. Is that somehow changing the Experience, is it becoming more corporate? Is it something other than the community wants to see? Again, with those two people involved. I think it's a positive thing.  [00:18:12] Randall: Yeah, I don't see it as a problem, even if it's not not any, my personal thing, for me, I love the really local. Really community oriented events that are much more like mullet rides and yeah, this is a little bit of a competition going on upfront, but it's not a huge deal.  [00:18:27] And, we definitely do see more of a professionalization of gravel. There's a space for everyone and there's a space for different types of events. So I don't see them displacing the events that are even more kind of grassrootsy. So yeah, I don't have a problem with it, especially if they end up doing flips.  [00:18:45] Red bull.  [00:18:47] Craig: The next question from Ivo is how to transition from weekend warrior to competitive rider.  [00:18:54] I feel like I'm better suited to answer the reverse question, to move from a competitive rider to weekend warrior. That one is easy.  [00:19:02] Randall: Yeah. Let's see. Step one. Have a kid.  [00:19:06] Craig: Yeah.  [00:19:07] Randall: That'll That'll take care of that in a hurry.  [00:19:09] Craig: Yeah. For me, this trend, it's all about structure.  [00:19:13] Like I, and I don't have any or much in My writing anymore, but I recognize in listening to coaches and Talking to them, it really is all about structure. And Even if that structure just means. You have one specific interval training session a week, and then your long endurance rides on the weekend to me, by my likes, I think you'll see a lot of progression. And as you progress, I think then you start to see the potential for coaching, more multi-day structured program in your week, If you're willing to go down that route. But to me, from what I've seen first stop is intervals.  [00:19:50] Randall: Yeah. Structure. Intervals is. Is one. And then within the context of a period iodized training program, Which is to say you do different types of training at different times during the season, based on the amount of training time you have available and the events that you're preparing for, because there's no sense in doing a lot of intensity several months out from a race and then, be firing on all cylinders, say, three months out and then just be totally kicked by the time your van comes around, you have that build, you do base training, and then you're doing more tempo. And then towards the events, your hours are going down and your intensity is going up and you're really trying to peak for that specific event.  [00:20:33] The book that was one of the Bibles when I was racing some time ago was Joe Freels I think it was called like the training and racing Bible or the mountain bikers, Bible or something. A book like that would be a good starting point. And then if you have the budget working with the coach, especially early on to really just accelerate your learning and to get someone to bounce ideas off of, and to use them as a way of learning your body. And that last part I would add at the very least heart rate monitor, learn how your body responds to stress, but then a power meter as well It's just a tremendously helpful tool and they're cheap. Now you need a four I power meter bonded onto a lot of cranks for 300 bucks. So there's really no reason not to make that investment if you're spending all this time to train and to, go to events, 300 bucks is pretty low lying fruit.  [00:21:25] Craig: Yeah, it is a great source of truth. Having a power meter. [00:21:29] For sure.  [00:21:29] Randall: yeah. One last thing would be a bike fit, actually if you haven't done it already, I think everyone should invest in a bike fit if you're doing any reasonable amount of riding, but if you're gonna be racing and training and trying to squeeze out every last bit and not get injured go get yourself a bike fit.  [00:21:44] Craig: Next question, moving on to what we've deemed at components category. JC Levesque probably pronounced that wrong. Sorry jC, appreciate the question he's asking. What about handlebars? There's a move towards wider flared bars and gravel and a few odd ones out there. There's the kitchen sink candle bar from our friends at red shift. The coefficient bar. From our friend, Rick Sutton. Obviously he's mentioned the canyon hover bar, although that isn't an add on it's integrated into that bike.  [00:22:14] But he asked him maybe worth going over the different expectations are for drop bar bikes that is tackling. Gravel versus pavement versus term.  [00:22:22] Randall: Sure you want to. Take a stab at this first.  [00:22:26] Craig: So for me, I think we're going to continue to see more and more riders explore Wider and flared bars. Like when I jumped on that trend and went out to a 48 millimeter with a 20 degree flare, I immediately felt more comfortable. My orientation as a gravel cyclist is towards rougher terrain, More like pure off roady kind of stuff. So I really appreciate. Appreciated that with.  [00:22:52] It is a pretty easy component to you forget about when you get a bike, right? So many things are going through your mind when you're buying a bike. The handlebars just the handlebar it comes with. If you're working with a good shop from a good direct manufacturer, they're going to ask you appropriate questions about what width you should get. But I do think there's going to be this continued trend towards exploring these different types of bars as the gravel market continues to see people ride these bikes in different ways.  [00:23:21] Randall: Yeah, I generally agree. And I think it's a good thing. I'm not sold on the extremes of flare. I just don't see it as necessary. There's not so much torque being delivered through the steering column when I'm riding, even on technical terrain that I'm finding myself needing more control. With a dropper post of course that's the big caveat, right? Cause that's lightening up the front wheel taking, mass off of that front wheel, putting it on the back, allowing the body to access suspension more. So that helps a lot in reducing the need for leverage. We do a 10 degree flare and I find that for me, that's the max I can do with a traditional flare and I was still having my hands in a comfortable position. And I actually find that flair is helpful in terms of my risk comfort in hand comfort.  [00:24:06] And you see this as a trend, actually on road bars to, four to six degrees of flare on road bars starting to happen. You also see a trend towards leavers coming standard with a bit of kick out a bit of flair at the lever itself which goes along with these trends. The thing that I'm actually really interested in is bars like the 3T Aero Ghiaia. I think that's how it's pronounced.  [00:24:26] This bar has a pretty compound bend. So it's relatively standard on the hoods, but then flares out below the hoods and gives you that extra leverage while at the same time giving you more of a roadie position on top. And I really like. Sticking with this one bike trend and making, keeping these bikes as versatile as possible, just because they can be. And in the case of that bar, it's also that arrow profile, I don't think is super important. Frankly, people overblow the value of arrow and we can talk about that. But, it's certainly not a problem. And that arrow profile probably gives it some more vertical flex.  [00:25:02] And I think that's actually a great way to get some additional compliance on gravel bikes is to have some flare in the wings of the bar.  [00:25:10] Craig: Yeah, I think you're right. I think people are going to continue to explore that. It's a market that I think is tricky for manufacturers to play in because people are so entrenched with what they know and have, and exploring some of these new trends can often be costly. It might be $100 to $300 to get a handlebar and try it out. [00:25:31] Randall: Yeah. For. $400 plus in some cases you can spend a lot of money on a carbon bar.  [00:25:36] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. A related question comes from east bay grants. Just question on Aero bars and gravel.  [00:25:42] Randall: Yeah. Pretty trivial gains. All in all. If you're going to be spending money on, even just on arrow, get an Aero helmet. I think that would be a bigger impact. Then arrow, handlebars. These are just very marginal gains and I wouldn't at all compromise ergonomics or control in order to go arrow. So if you're already getting a new bar and there's an arrow version and a non arrow version that you like. And there aren't any other compromises sure. Go with the arrow version, but I don't think that this is where your low lying fruit is.  [00:26:17] Craig: Yeah. I was reading it as arrow bar extensions on the handlebar and my perspective is it just depends on what you're doing at the end of the day. If you're hauling across the Plains for 200 miles, I understand having a variety of hand and body positions is required and useful, and I'm all for it. If you're ripping around Marin I think you're going to find that you never.  [00:26:39] You never set your arms in a gravel bar if you're actually in the dirt, but that's just where I live.  [00:26:44] Randall: Without, now that you've reframed the question. Yeah, they definitely has their place. And in addition to offering another hand position that's particularly useful if you're just bombing down a really straight road and into a headwind it can be a real aerodynamic advantage there. It also gives you another place to secure gear too. So if you're doing extended bike packing tour. It has that added benefit. There's a place for it, for sure.  [00:27:08] Craig: Yeah. Next question comes from our friend, Tom boss from Marine county bike coalition. He was out riding and he mentioned that he was thinking about how things get named in the cycling world. And how his gravel bike. If he thinks of as an adventure bike effectively, the way he rides it. And then he had a funny note is just about why clipless pedals are called clipless when there's actually no clip.  [00:27:32] Randall: Yeah.  [00:27:33] Craig: Actually. Yeah. So anyway. I think this is something you've been on about the naming convention in cycling, just about these bikes being adventure, bikes, more than anything else. [00:27:42] Randall: Yeah, it's really like adventure is what we're doing with it. Gravel is one type of surface that we're riding. And I like the idea, granted not only a subset of bikes fall into this category, but we call our bike a onebike. And I think bikes like the the allied echo, the servo, a Sparrow, and a few others fall into this category of being, an endurance road or even in the case of the echo,  [00:28:07] borderline, crit type geometry that you can achieve. While at the same time being very capable for adventure riding. And for that type of bike, you could call it a one bike, but then otherwise, what is being called a gravel bike on the more off-road technical end of the spectrum. I think it's an adventure bike.  [00:28:23] And in fact even if it doesn't has have bosses and other accommodations for bags and bike packing. A lot of these bags and so on, or you can strap on or mountain other ways. So you could go and do some adventuring with it.  [00:28:36] Craig: Yeah, I think they, these names. Of category starts to take hold at the grassroots level and then manufacturers just get behind them. And certainly in the early days of the quote unquote gravel market, It was just easy to call it gravel as opposed to road or mountain.  [00:28:54] Presently, obviously we can acknowledge there's so many, there's so many nuances there and there's this spectrum of what gravel means. So yeah, they are adventure, bikes, plain and simple. But I guess I understand where gravel came from.  [00:29:06] Randall: What's good though, is we have another category, right? So we can get you to buy an adventure bike and a gravel bike and endurance road bike, and a crit bike and a cyclocross bike. And even if all these bikes could be the same bikes. Let's not tell anyone because that gets them to buy more bikes. I think that's the marketing perspective on some of the naming conventions.  [00:29:26] Craig: Next up comes a series of questions from Kim ponders. And we should give a shout out to Kim because she's the one who really set this off. She actually recommended and suggested in the ridership forum that, Hey, why don't you guys do a Q and a episode? And I immediately thought that great idea, Kim, I'm all about it. [00:29:44] Randall: Yeah. Thanks, Kim.  [00:29:46] Craig: So our first question is what should I do not do to avoid damaging a carbon frame?  [00:29:52] Randall: So I'll jump in on this one. Carbon is strong intention, but not in compression, so never clamp it in a stand or sit on the top tube, use a torque wrench, always. And avoid extreme heat sources like car exhausts, which generally isn't a problem with frames because they don't end up in the main stream of the exhaust, but is definitely a problem with carbon rims.  [00:30:13] We've seen a number of molten rims. And it's usually they fail at the spoke holes first. Cause there's just so much tension on those spokes that as soon as the resin starts to transition. Into more of a liquid glass it immediately starts to crack at the rims that'd be my main guidance for carbon generally.  [00:30:32] Craig: And as we've talked about it a little bit before on the podcast, I think as a frame designer, You're layering in carbon, in greater, greater levels of material in more sensitive areas.  [00:30:44] But you are. Yeah. [00:30:45] So like your, your down tube and by your bottom bracket. They can take a ding from a rock and they're going to survive. [00:30:52] Randall: Generally. Yes. So if you're kicking up a lot of rocks, adding a layer of thicker film is definitely a good idea. We put a very thin film on ours. It's mostly to protect the paint. And then film on the insides of the fork plates seat stays and chain stays where the tire passes through.  [00:31:08] I can save you a lot of grief. If you end up with mud caked on your tires. Cause that'll just grind right through the paint and potentially to layers of carbon. So we do that stock for that reason. And it's a good idea. If you don't already have it, get yourself some 3m protective film.  [00:31:22] Craig: Yeah, and for me, I actually run it's essentially a sort of protective sticker layer from a company called the all mountain style and they just, in my opinion, do great visual designs. And check them out because personally, I love when you look underneath my, down to that, you see this. Digital cammo kind of thing on my nice pink bike.  [00:31:43] Randall: Yeah, it's rad. It's definitely a way to pretty things up.  [00:31:47] Craig: Next question from Kim is their basic regular maintenance checklists that I should be aware of. You things I should check every ride every month, every season, every year.  [00:31:57] Randall: Yeah. When you got.  [00:31:59] Craig: I think there's a lot there, obviously, we've talked about the importance of making sure your chain is lubed your tire pressure. Those are the things I check every single ride. Be aware of how your brakes are changing and performance. So keep an mental eye on.  [00:32:14] Your brake pads and how they're wearing, I'm not going around tightening bolts at all. Unless I've removed something, I'm not really messing with Any of that. I do find my Thesis to be pretty much ready to go. As long as I'm paying attention to the tire and the chain lube. [00:32:31] Randall: Yeah. Yeah, that's that's about right. I would add to that, check the chain length every so often. And there's a question in here about how to do that. Get one of these go-no-go gauges. I've got the the park tools, CC three.  [00:32:44] There's a bunch of good ones out there. And if it has multiple settings to check, go with the most conservative one. Swap your chains early and often, because it will save you a lot of money on your expensive cogs and cassettes.  [00:32:58] And it'll just make everything perform better. And then every so often, if you feel any looseness in your headset, that's a common thing that will come up over time, potentially just, just check that every so often. If you feel any looseness, you want to tighten it up early. So it doesn't start to wear down the cups or things like that.  [00:33:14] Craig: Yeah. And if you can afford it and you don't have the skills in your own garage, definitely bring it in for an annual tune-up. I think the bikes are going to come back working great and you've got some professionalize on them. [00:33:26] Randall: Yeah.  [00:33:26] Craig: Next question. Kim asked was what's the best way to pack a bike for air travel.  [00:33:31] Randall: So if you try to be. The cheapest option for the packaging. Cardboard box. And if you're not doing it frequently, that's a good way to go.  [00:33:41] Craig: Yeah, agreed. There's a reason why every bike manufacturer in The world is shipping with a cardboard box. As long as you protect the bike. Inside the box with some bubble wrap or some additional cardboard, they generally arrive where they need to go intact and safe. And I've had multiple occasions where I've used the cardboard box on an outbound trip and the box is Perfectly intact for the return trip. [00:34:05] Randall: And we should say specifically. Carbo box that a bike would have come in. Cause generally this'll be a five layer corrugated box. It'll be a thicker material. And if you need to reinforce it with some tape, At the corners and so on. And if you get, if it gets a hole in it, patch up the hole, but you can go pretty far with the cardboard box.  [00:34:24] I have a post carry transfer case, which I love, it's a bit more involved. I got to pull the fork and it takes me usually about 15 minutes or so. 20 minutes to pack it up, and to squeeze some gear in between the wheels and the frame and things like that.  [00:34:38] But I generally get past any sort of oversize baggage fees and I have the bigger of the two bags too. So oftentimes I don't even get asked what it is and if I get asked, it's oh yeah, it's a sports gear. Massage table. Yeah, whatever.  [00:34:50] Craig: That's the key for me that post carry bag or or, okay. This is another company that makes one of these bags where as you said, you've got to do a little bit more disassembly, whereas typically it might've been take the handle Bazaar off the pedals and your wheels, and you can get into a cardboard box. Would these particular smaller bags, you do need to pull the fork, which seems incredibly intimidating. When you first talk about it, but in practice, it's actually not. [00:35:15] Randall: It's not too bad. Probably the biggest issue is if you have a bike with integrated cabling, Then it can be a real nightmare. And in fact I might even go as far as to say, if you don't know what you're doing, don't mess with it. A bike with external cabling, or at least partially external, like our bike, you just have to be careful not to kink the hoses. That's the big, probably the biggest city issue, kinking the hoses, or bending the housings and cables in a way that affects the breaking or the shifting.  [00:35:44] Craig: Yeah. Yeah. If you've, if your cables are particularly tight, It then becomes a problem. I think my routing is just on the edge. I do feel like I'm putting a little bit of stress. On the cables when I'm disassembling in that bag, but so far so good. [00:35:58] Randall: Yeah. Yeah.  [00:35:59] And then of course you have the full sized bags where if you don't care about paying the airline fees, then get one of these was it Evoque I think makes a really nice one that has good protection there's a bunch of companies that make good ones where you just  [00:36:11] Craig: Yeah, I've.  [00:36:12] Randall: the front wheel and throw it in.  [00:36:14] Craig: I've got a Tulay one that is like bomber. It's got like a through axle slots, but one it's hard as hell to move it around. And two, I got dinged on both weight and access size on my trip to Africa. It's out. I was pretty ticked. [00:36:31] Randall: Yeah. And then the other thing is on the other end can you get it into the trunk of a cab. And so that's actually another advantage of bags like the post transfer case in the oral case ones is you can. I think I know the post one has backpack straps, and then you can fit it in the boot of pretty much any vehicle.  [00:36:49] Craig: Yeah, totally under emphasized attribute and benefit of those types of bags. Totally agree. [00:36:54] Like you can get into a sedan. With a, a Prius, Uber Lyft driver and make it in. No problem. [00:37:00] Randall: Oh, yeah.  [00:37:01]  [00:37:01] Craig Dalton: Pardon the segue that's going to do it for part one of our Q and a episode. I thought that was a great time to break and we'll jump into another half hour of questions and answers in our next episode of, in the dirt, which we'll release in the coming weeks. As always, if you're interested in communicating with myself or Randall,  [00:37:20] Please join the ridership If you're able to support the podcast, your contributions are greatly appreciated. You can visit, to contribute in any way you can to support the financial wellbeing of the podcast. If you're unable to support in that way, ratings and reviews are hugely appreciated.  [00:37:46] On any of your favorite podcast platforms. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels. 

    Kav Helmets - Custom 3D printed helmets with Whitman Kwok

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 36:34

    This week we sit down with Kav Helmet CEO and Founder, Whitman Kwok to discuss the companies' innovative 3D printing technology that can produce a custom fitted helmet for every rider.   Kav Helmets  The Ridership Support the Podcast   Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos)   Kav Helmets [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride. Podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton.  [00:00:08] This week on the show, we've got Whitman Kwok the founder and CEO of Kav Helmets.  [00:00:14] Kav Helmets may yet to be a household name in the cycling industry. But you'll learn. The team has a rich history in the cycling helmet market. They're innovative approach to manufacturing. Using 3d printing technology is a novel approach. And creates a uniquely custom helmet for each rider. I'll let Whitman get into the ins and the outs of the technology but i'm a big fan of the approach as additive technology just opens up a lot of possibilities for where material is laid in the helmet. [00:00:45] If you're planning on attending this year, sea Otter classic in Monterrey, California, the Kav team will be showing off their 3d printing technology. There they'll even be 3d printing, some key chains, which I think will showcase how the process actually works. If you're not in the area or not attending seawater, be sure to visit the Kav website as they're opening up orders for all.  [00:01:08] Before we jump into this week show, I need. To thank our sponsor. Today's program is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the health and wellness. Wellness company that makes comprehensive daily nutrition really, really. Simple. [00:01:19] With so many stressors in life, it's difficult to maintain effective nutritional habits and give our bodies the nutrients it needs to survive. Our busy schedules, poor sleep, massive gravel rides. The environment works dress or simply. Not eating enough of the right foods can leave us deficient and key nutritional.  [00:01:38] Areas. by athletic greens is a category leading superfood product. That brings comprehensive and convenient daily nutrition to everybody. Keeping up with the research, knowing what to do and taking a bunch of pills and capsules is hard on the stomach and hard to keep up with. To help each of us be at our best. They simply provide a better path to nutrition by giving you the one thing. With all the best things. [00:02:03] One tasty scoop of AG1 contained 75 vitamins minerals, and whole food sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin multimineral probiotic, green superfood blend [00:02:13] And more in one convenient daily serving.  [00:02:16] The special blend of high quality bioavailable ingredients in a scoop of AIG one work together to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet, support, energy, and focus aid with gut health and digestion and support a healthy immune system. Effectively replacing multiple products or pills with one healthy delicious Drink . [00:02:36] As many of you know, I've been an athletic greens subscriber for about the last five years. So I truly appreciate their support of the podcast. If you're interested in learning more, just visit athletic gravel ride. The team at athletic greens, we'll throw in a free one-year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs with your purchase.  [00:02:59] Again, simply visit to take control of your health and give AG1 a try today. [00:03:08] With that said let's dive right into my conversation with Whitman from Kav Helmets. It's. [00:03:13] Whitman. Welcome to the show.  [00:03:16] Whitman Kwok: That is correct. Really looking forward to our discussion. Yeah, me too.  [00:03:20] Craig Dalton: The manufacturing and additive tech geek in me is really looking forward to this conversation. [00:03:26] Definitely want to learn how calf helmets came about and what your journey is to creating this bike helmets. And more importantly, what the benefits are for riders in the gravel scene. So let's jump in and let's just in your own words, let us know about cab helmets, how it started and what the vision is. [00:03:46] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, absolutely. There's a lot of impact, even in that simple question. I think fundamentally the vision was. Oh, providing a concierge service to athletes. I had always, as a competitor cycles in college, tweak my gear, adjusted everything from crank buy-ins to handlebar lengths and all, everything to get the most performance and also just make the bike an extension of myself. [00:04:10] And I don't think anything has changed in the intervening years. And I think in all the sports that we talked to, whether it's a hockey players or something the gears are really important part of the athletic experience. And so for cab it was obvious to us that the helmet market is really large. [00:04:26] It is a largely at this point a undifferentiated product where there isn't a dominant player per se. There isn't a apple or a Tesla or a Peloton where people just all grab it gravitate to. And as long as you. For the last 30 years, there's been a lot of tweaking and incremental improvements on injection molded foam helmets. [00:04:46] And I think what we bring with Kav is this generational leap like Tesla's done with electric cars to a whole new mode of thinking around making a helmet or anything for that matter. That's completely custom to the individual. And the moment you do that there's a whole bunch of benefits that we're able to realize. [00:05:06] There's the obvious ones around comfort that there's 8 billion sizes that we can provide one for every man, woman, child on the planet. And but there's a huge number of performance. Benefits and protection is always top of mind when you're talking about helmets. And the fact that we can tailor the protective characteristics to. [00:05:23] And individual and how they ride, how fast they're riding the weight profiles, things like that gives a massive potential improvement in protection over just a standard kind of one or two or three size fits all. I'm fortunate. I have a number of co-founders and colleagues that we found in the company together. [00:05:42] And I think we all had different experiences, but the same. Echo and voice in the back of our head, that there's just a lot better way to do this. And so I'll do a quick shout out to there. And obviously there's a lot of different areas that we can talk through. But Mike Lowe is our VP of products and he was the VP of events, concepts at Euro bell. [00:06:03] He also worked closely with Ridell. He did early work with Lance Armstrong's time trial helmet, and worked on all the iconic bike helmets. Since. He's been just fantastic to learn from that whole industry or the homicide. There's a lot of honest, non-obvious quirks and things in the industry. [00:06:20] And it's a very close knit industry. And so there's a lot of great people that we've been able to meet and work through Mike. And on the technology side, they started migrating. Amazing technologists from Google small company called Google and relatively early employee there, I'm working on search quality and YouTube, one of their, two of their smaller products. [00:06:39] And and he brings this immense knowledge, not just in software, which ironically is where 78% of our IP is. But also a really great understanding of hardware and kind of physics and mechanical engineering. You really have to. That kind of polymath approach in order to build something like a superior helmet. [00:06:58] So anyway, it's a long-winded way of talking. It's on the people we work with our early vision and some of the high level benefits and can let you pick and choose your own adventure from there.  [00:07:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So I alluded a little bit to it in the intro, but just so we don't lose this concept right off the jump, because it's easy for the listener to think about this as a traditional helmet, but let's talk about how it's manufactured because you didn't specifically mention that. [00:07:24] And I think it's one of the most fascinating parts of the process.  [00:07:28] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no I do that a lot because I think we always think of it from the N and consumer's perspective. What did they get? And how we get there is really intriguing from an engineering perspective. And I often gloss over it. [00:07:42] Yeah, we we blended a bunch of material sciences additive manufacturing and software in order to develop the helmets. And I'll speak a little bit more of the additive manufacturing sites since you asked about it, but yes, each of these helmets is 3d printed here in Redwood city, California for the individual. [00:08:00] And so everything is made to order that has huge implications to everything. Not just manufacturing, but the whole customer. That's alluding to and being kind of concert servers are giving people exactly what they want. And so when an order comes in, we're taking measurements and we dynamically generate actually all the engineering terms, all the CAD files, the dimensions and everything for the helmet. [00:08:25] And it's not the case that we're just taking three or six or even 12, like shells and then like carving something. We are literally building the helmet from the inside out. So I think, whereas the current concept, the off the shelf is you get two or three sizes and you've got the shell that defines the helmet. [00:08:46] And then you got to force fit your head into that use foam padding, or several lock things to just sense your head loosely in this kind of bucket idea. And for us you're actually taking the meds. We dynamic create that we define all the offsets that we need to generate and ensure the level of protection than we want for that rider. [00:09:06] Then we send it through our own what we call printer management software. So we actually have a farm of these 3d printers. So you can imagine it being like analogous to like a data center except of having all these servers slotted in these racks. We've got 3d printers slotted in the. And it basically just creates like all the different parts that you need for your helmet. [00:09:26] And we have a QA process throughout to measure and make sure what we're printing is exactly meets specs of what we want. And we have to build a lot of that in dynamically because each helmet is custom. And then we do a kind of final finishing process that's done by hand. So you get the best of both worlds of this precision 3d printed. [00:09:47] But hand-finished and lovingly made here in our shop in Redwood city.  [00:09:51] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I imagine for some of the listeners, this might be a mind-bending discussion because a lot of people haven't seen 3d printing inaction, no one way to visualize it. And this may or may not be a great way, but since I have a seven-year-old in the house if you imagine sort of building from Legos and you're building from the ground, And you keep building successfully on top of each other. [00:10:15] It's in my mind how 3d printing works, right? You've got the material that's in this printer and it's being laid out layer by layer. And this is based on the very customized measurements that you've received from the future owner of the helmet. So again, the, in the interest of helping to visualize it's being built from the ground up around your individual, Once you've placed the order. [00:10:43] Whitman Kwok: That's right. And the analogy I like to use is making a soft cone right. Or going into the yogurt machine. And yeah we basically, it can imagine we're taking our proprietary polymers and it's coming out of this very high-tech yogurt machine. But rather than having, it dumped like eight ounces of yogurt into the cup. [00:11:00] We're a precision layering, at a fraction of a millimeter at a time. These very intricate engineered what we call energy management system and your helmet. And and so it's a little bit like growing the part on this bed. And we're, as you say, we're creating a slice at a time. [00:11:17] That's a fraction of a millimeter and kind of building up. And each layer is being laid down by this very sophisticated yogurt machine. And and at the end of the. Yeah, exactly. You have a helmet. That's not on a custom fit, but it's not solid. Like it's not like an injection molded part where you're just dumping a bunch of plastic into a mold or or foam where you're like exploding blowing up the foam into a mold we're actually creating like this really complicated, polygon and hex structure within the helmet which is designed to Trumbull really efficiently to provide good. [00:11:51] But also takes up the fraction of the weight because most of your helmet actually turns out to be air in this case.  [00:11:56] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's an interesting, you hear the phrase fits like a glove, but this is even the next level of that it's like fits like a glove that has been specifically designed for your personal hand. [00:12:08] Whitman Kwok: That's why it would be like an iron man glove, right? Like it's one thing to have a fabric that you stretched over your head. It's quite an honor to have this in case structure that still has the same sensation of a security right. And being fit like glove, but it's hard right on the outside to protect you. [00:12:25] And so it is a next level sensation.  [00:12:28] Craig Dalton: So when I think about, the helmet I have in the garage, I think about, it's got some internal kind of frame and a dial that helps it fit. I understand from your earlier discussion, I can throw that piece out because I don't need that piece anymore because the helmet is built to order to the shape of my personal head. [00:12:46] I then, if I think about the exterior of the helmet, I often have a hard plastic layer and then not knowing a ton about the interior, but it sounds like we're injecting molding. We're injecting foam. Into a Kavity that kind of creates that if you, if that's accurate and feel free to fill in any details there, but why don't you juxtapose what the outside and the inside of the cab helmet effectively, how that differs and how it changes? [00:13:15] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. I think the cycling analogy would be it's almost like a monocoque structure, right? If you have a psych, a carbon fiber cycling frame, where for all practical purposes, Like all the tubing and lugs and everything joined in a way where it just behaves as one monolithic well-balanced, machine in terms of and in the traditional process, like you said that in the higher end helmets, you have a, typically like a polycarbonate shell, that's a couple of mils thick and they injection mold, some EPS foam into that have some type of density or multiple densities and The nice thing. [00:13:49] And so each of those things play a part and they're trying to compensate for different deficiencies in the foam. And so is not it sticks to cement, right? And so you don't want that because it's going to cause bad rotational energies on impact. It's also not very durable and gets eaten up. [00:14:05] So you have to then create this one millimeter shell to protect it. With all the venting that you put in, it's pretty common now to put like a plastic interior chassis to keep the helmet together on impact. And so I just suppose that with additive manufacturing or 3d printing, because what we're doing is integrating everything into one coherent design, right? [00:14:26] And so when we're laying down each layer of plastic, we are actually. Integrating the shell with the crumple zone with the chassis, so to speak. And by integrating it just like a well-made carbon fiber frame, we can reduce all the interfaces. And so the helmet's more compact. You don't have air gaps, so to speak. [00:14:46] It's a lot lighter because we're only putting material where it's needed. It's like the old steel frames, or living on frames where they're double butted or triple butted. We can reinforce it in the right areas. And and it gives us a lot of ability to fine tune each aspect of the helmet. [00:15:01] So that instead of saying, having a universally, a universal density of foam across the helmet for different impact zones and we learned a lot of this actually from our experience in hockey we can tailor the impact behaviors, of the based on location of the helmet as well, It just gives us just like carbon fiber and forensic gives us a lot. [00:15:20] The analogy is like the layup, right? The carbon fiber. And what carbon fiber is you use and the residence. We have just a lot more control than just pumping a bunch of foam beets into a mold.  [00:15:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That's interesting. And maybe it goes back to some earlier podcasts I've had in discussion around carbon fiber frames and just talking about, how you. [00:15:40] Layer something differently where it needs more protection, maybe under the bottom bracket, whereas you don't need to use those same layers elsewhere in the frame where you want to have a little bit more compliance. So I imagine given the team's experience in helmet design, it was really liberating to just freely. [00:15:57] Think about how, and where do we want to put material, because really the sky's the limit, right? You can optimize around. What's going to be best. For impact protection, both on the, hard impacts like hard and fast as well as slower impacts. I imagine you can, you're free to really design something that performs well across a couple of different factors. [00:16:21] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, that's exactly right. Like we have a lot more control in the general use case. And I think in the future as we've done a little bit of this on hockey and we'll bring it into the bike market. What the individual characteristics actually matter a lot, because at the end of the day for a cycling helmet, we have, twenty-five maybe 30 millimeters of offset we can work with. [00:16:42] If we make it much larger than that people balk at what they look like, there's certain brands that are known for safety. But they're also known for making your head look like a mushroom, right? We don't want that. We want people to love, frankly, we're in the homeless. [00:16:53] We want to attract people who, frankly, don't wear helmets into the market. I'm gonna do that. We need a thinner profile. And so the way to actually make a safer helmet is have information about what they're riding, right? A commuter, ride with I commute every day and finish going like 1230 miles an hour. [00:17:09] That's a very different profile than. A road sort of groundwater going downhill at 30, 40 miles an hour. There, that's a factor of three difference in velocity. And if you think about kinetic energy, the velocity is a square root, right? So that's like a, that's a nine, almost an order of magnitude difference in impactful file. [00:17:27] So there is gain and exactly what we just talked about, but there's an even bigger gain because we know the athlete and we have that relationship like moving forward. Knowing that their commuter or their downhill racer and their weight, their mass makes a big difference to a kid who weighs a hundred pounds. [00:17:44] It's just going to be way different than someone who's 220. And again, you have a two X factor there that isn't something, that's a comedy for an issue where it's one size fits. All right.  [00:17:55] Craig Dalton: Now the business has been selling helmets for over a year and a half. Primarily in hockey and most recently in bike, do you want to talk about why hockey was the entry point and maybe some of the things you've learned across the customers you've been serving in that space? [00:18:11] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, no, absolutely. So there are a couple of factors that came into play. So one was frankly, what w what could get it to market the quickest. We just wanted to provide value to people as quickly as possible. The second, where was where's the biggest need? And between those two, and there was a little bit of a personal reason as well. [00:18:29] But the first two were clearly the overriding. From a technical perspective, it turns out making a hockey helmet is just easier than making a bike helmet. One of the characteristic reasons just wait is not quite as big of a factor in the hockey. And so we wanted to basically use the hockey market as our Tesla Roadster, right? [00:18:48] Knowing that it's a limited market, it's smaller, but people are willing to pay for the equipment. They're willing to pay the premium. And and we can launch quicker. The second piece of why they pay a premium is that as you can imagine, the concussion rate per activity hour in hockey is almost parallel or equal to. [00:19:03] And meeting quite high, whereas in cycling, it's somewhat incidental, right? If you get in a crash and get an, a concussion in hockey, 3, 5, 10 times a game, you're taking impacts to the head and getting pinned against the board and falling on the ice. And so we thought that the market would benefit significantly from our protective technologies in that space. [00:19:25] And. The third reason, which just made me very cognizant of it was my son plays hockey. And when we started the company, his team had six concussions on it. And they were only 12 years old at the time. And there was just an outcry, I think with the parents and all the clubs that I talked to did not feel like there was enough being done. [00:19:42] And the. Equipment manufacturers and hockey are generally about two to three generations on behind any of the other helmet markets as well. So the need was greater. The products were even further inferior and and we thought we could help people sooner in that market than any other market. [00:20:01] Craig Dalton: You talked about how as a company and the way you're producing the helmets, that you can evolve with the market and you're understanding. Yeah. Within the hockey market, since you've been there the longest, are you doing things differently for a child's size helmet versus the NHL players that you work with? [00:20:20] Whitman Kwok: Yeah yes. Besides the fit we've actually made modifications to, I should, I would draw the analogy that it's a case that a surprisingly large number of the benefits for either of those extremes helps. And so they now Joel users in the late nineties, early two thousands car manufacturers are realizing like women had difficulty like getting their groceries in the trunk. [00:20:40] And because the trunk actually came all the way up to the top of the back and they now if you open the trunk of a car, it, the trunk dips down past the lights right down to the bumper. There's this carve-out. And so you don't have to lift your groceries, like over a wall, so to speak, you can just slide it in. [00:20:53] Watching. Buy groceries at the time was like a motivating factor for that. But we found that obviously that benefited everyone. Like I don't, I'm lazy. I don't want to list the groceries I don't have to. And so I'll give a kind of example that, which is kids wears glasses, a lot. [00:21:06] And so we ended up putting in little cutouts for people wear glasses so that it actually just slides in. So a hockey helmet actually comes down further than a. And traditionally, there are pads that go up against your temple. And so you can imagine if you wear glasses, you're literally shoving these glasses into these temples and that the pads are forcing your, the sidearms or your glasses into your temples for an hour and a half while you play hockey really uncomfortable situation. [00:21:35] And we did that and that ended up bending, benefiting a bunch of adults rests and things that. It turns out like the ice rinks are really dry. So like wearing contacts, it's not always actually comfortable. So say, and vice versa, like there's been a bunch of benefits because obviously the professional levels that impact are taking it's just an extreme example and it really drives some of the protective technologies. [00:21:58] And even if they No, the squirts and mites don't necessarily have the same level of impact there. There's still a deeper understanding. I think of the types of checking that goes on that informed our products for the kids.  [00:22:11] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Obviously, given your pedigree as a cyclist and your co founders coming to the bike market was something that you were eager to do. [00:22:19] Can you talk about the introduction of the first bike helmet and what the goals were there and how for the list of. They should think about whether a cab helmet is right for them.  [00:22:32] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. It's interesting because the engineering side of me and product matter one, be very specific about the goals. [00:22:38] Oh, we want to hit this weight target and this usability. But what we ended up doing is taking a step back and asking the conceptually what do we want to, what's our mission, right? A reminder, what's our mission of the company on this build the best protective gear on. And as a very important corollary that the best gear is no use of no one wants to wear it. [00:22:54] So it's got adjust look and feel fantastic. And when we're doing these new technologies, I think it was important for us to blue sky it and not bound herself by certain things. So our goal is just make the best helmet possible. And this. An all road category, right? So with a focus really on gravel and road cyclist, but with the knowledge of knowing that, a lot of cross-country mountain bikers use road helmets, and a lot of commuters would ultimately use it. [00:23:24] But if we looking at personas and interviewing people, we focus on the road and gravel side of things. And then from there we really just built around it. And I think honestly I'm glad we've done it that way, because we found a lot of surprising things that I think if we constrain ourselves early on, we would not have done. [00:23:39] One of them being, for example our interior fit pad system is just radically different from a traditional fabric fit pack. And it would not have come if we said yeah, we just want sweat management, whatever way moisture at this level or thermal capabilities. [00:23:56] But anyway, I happy to go into the details of that, but what we ended up coming out with, I think is we've focused on fit and the protective qualities, what we ended up with was the ability to make something that as least as dynamic as other helmets out there is significantly cooler. Riding. [00:24:15] And has all the protective qualities. And again, it has some of these comfort features built in on the inside. That, again, we didn't necessarily envision, but the advantage of having a new prototype every week, that we're all riding is you tend to iterate quite quickly through, and I think we're on version 32 right now. [00:24:30] And 33 is like on the printing press. It's going quick.  [00:24:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah, I think that's one of those really cool things about doing both additive manufacturing and domestic manufacturing is that you can continue tweaking the product to optimize it based on consumer feedback which is really powerful.  [00:24:50] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. [00:24:50] Know that's right. We we have the benefit now that we're far enough along and we're starting to include like a larger and larger swath of people into the kind of the test. And so we had our Kickstarter about a month ago and we had a 20 plus like early adopters sign up through that. [00:25:05] And we were shipping out shipping helmets out to them and looking forward to get the next wave of feedback and and just improving. And in real time, before we ship out our production ones at the end of the year,  [00:25:16] Craig Dalton: yes. At the process of ordering is a little bit different than, traditionally you might use. [00:25:21] No your size, small, medium, or large, and put an order in, or go to your local bicycle retailer for the cab helmets. You're sending out a kind of measurement fit kit and actually working at a concierge level with the purchaser, right?  [00:25:38] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. We the fit process has been really interesting for us. [00:25:42] I think we're on our third version of the process. Fundamentally, I'm you sign up, we send you this fit kit and it's a caliper and a tape measure. And that allows us we take six points off of your head. And with those six points, we actually map it to a database of 3000 head scans that we've accumulated and basically a little bit of like machine learning type of thing. [00:26:07] Where we're then extrapolating footnote 16. Other aspects of your head in terms of, the curvature and more details and maybe those six points would initially seem to provide. And we then send out basically we call it like a fit cap and just fun looking, little cap that we 3d print. [00:26:24] And you can just literally stick it on and wear around the house and slept getting a fine suit, where you get your initial measurement, you put on that. And then you use just some minor tweaks oh, you know what the arm hole just a little bit bigger. Or for me personally, like I like it a little more snug, around the waist. [00:26:39] And so that, that fit cap gives us some of the subjective feedback, that, that individuals tend to have in terms of how they liked their helmets and fit. And then from there, yeah we generate the the helmet for them and send it to them and ride straight their doorstep conveniently. [00:26:52] And and then they can enjoy it. And. We've actually found quite a few hockey players. I'm surprisingly, I've gotten multiple helmets because they liked it so much. And it's not a common thing actually in hockey to do that. But they've gotten like different colors and versions of the helmet. [00:27:06] Craig Dalton: Interesting. Interesting. And then this sort of manufacturing geek in me asked to ask, so the, each helmet presumably comes out of one machine is built in one single process.  [00:27:19] Whitman Kwok: So we actually do you want to in parallel, so we break up the helmet into sub segments and that allows us to print individual pieces. [00:27:27] It also turns out it gives us some additional engineering design flexibility that you don't get when you print them all as a monolithic structure. And then we basically bond them together. Again, carbon fiber resident type of analogy, holds true here that there's a little bit of. Attachment mechanism and then we adhere everything together. [00:27:44] And the effectively the joints end up being, stronger than the sub-components and and then, yeah, and then we attach on the straps and do some final QA checks and literally sign off on the box and and then send it on its way.  [00:27:57] Craig Dalton: Nice. One of the sort of visual elements that you'll see for the listener when they go over to the website, which I can include in the show notes is there's a. [00:28:06] Honeycomb look across the sort of front and middle of the helmet. Is there a sort of design rationale behind the honeycomb?  [00:28:16] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, it is. It's it's an engineer circles. It's w it's known as one of the most efficient energy absorbing structures. It crumbles really well. Which is what you want, obviously in something like that. [00:28:28] And even better than foam because in foam, what you tend to have is what's called a densification phase where after the foam, if you've got, let's just say 20 millimeters of foam or 20 millimeters from once you start getting past about a third if you've ever been in an accident, looked at your home and you'll see this it'll crack. [00:28:46] And the foam doesn't compress any further. And so you can think of it like suspension on your mountain bike or your gravel bike. If you have suspension on it it's all about the travel, right? At the end of the day, to absorb the impact you want the most travel without bottoming out. So when you hit a bump, you want to utilize whatever the 30, 45 millimeters of travel that you got. And do you use the full 45 millimeters? You will have had the best ride that you could possibly have had, for that circumstance if you bought them out, obviously not good. Particularly we're talking about your head and if you only do 10 minutes, 10 millimeters of that trial, Then you're not fully utilizing your equipment. [00:29:19] And so foam has that issue where once it densifies at some point it doesn't compress any further. And so you tend to only get a fraction of that travel. The nice thing about the hacks is that you get nearly the full travel. So the full offset of the helmet can be used to compress it and protect you. [00:29:39] It also turns out to be quite. And has this other really important ancillary benefit, which is you may not necessarily always be able to see it when someone's riding, but the honeycomb structure extends into, on the interior as well, which means you have an open face structure on your head. And so he can dissipate really easily away from your head as opposed to foam, which is obviously known for beer coolers and other things that has insulating properties, that trap heat. [00:30:05] So we actually had early versus the helmet that didn't even have venting on it. And the helmet was actually quite cool. I wouldn't say it's the coolest, but it was comparable to the other eight helmets. I have sitting in my shed that I used for testing purposes. And then in the moment we opened it up and added the actual venting, like it's a game changer total game. [00:30:25] And particularly these last like week or two where we've had some hundred, a hundred degree days, you really feel.  [00:30:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. The the sort of follower of me on Instagram, might've seen me Dawn, one of these helmets a few months back when we were able to meet face to face. It is really, you can definitely feel the weight difference. [00:30:46] It's marginal, but it's absolutely there and our conversation around crumple zones and that idea of. Protection travel in a helmet is super fascinating via the honeycomb design for those listeners and may fall in this camp. What's the guidance by the industry in terms of how frequently you should replace a helmet? [00:31:09] Whitman Kwok: You know what I do think that varies. The most common I hear is somewhere in the range of three to five years. I think the challenge though, is it's like how often you need to change your bike. It varies so much by your circumstances, meaning if you're like me and somewhat klutzy and you're pulling your bike out and you're dropping your helmet and the process, or my helmet, I don't know how many times my helmet has fallen off my handlebars. [00:31:31] Every time it's fallen, like you could have, imagine that impact just compresses the foam just a little bit, right in that one area. And honestly, one or two times it isn't going to be the be all end, all. For me, it's a little unsettling to not know, it's not like my toothbrush that has a wear indicator. [00:31:47] It says, okay. Time to change those bristles. And so the nice thing with the 3d printing, the polymers that we're using, the design that helmet is that there's a step function aspect of it. Like we've designed it so that if you're dropping it casually, it doesn't activate any of that travel. [00:32:02] Like it, it stays rigid. And it's going to Maintain that performance indefinitely. And so you don't really have to worry about it. We offer a five-year warranty on our helmets and and because we're confident around that which I think is an industry leading whatever warranty. [00:32:20] So I think, again, I think that the. Wisdom is three to five years, but I think it varies really significantly and it, and I think it's tough to provide  [00:32:29] Craig Dalton: that, that makes sense. Yeah, that makes sense. I think, there's a lot of us maybe who have been fortunate to, to not have crashed and you don't see the. [00:32:38] Obvious bits of damage to your helmet, but I'm definitely one of those who, whenever I have a conversation about how much and how much the technology, I think to myself, gosh, almost everything in my garage is a PR is probably a pretty long in the tooth in terms of when I should be considering making a replacement. [00:32:58] Whitman Kwok: Yeah, that's right. It's it's one of those pieces of equipment that's easy to ignore, right? Cause it's not like your bike bond brackets squeaking. Your rim brakes rubbing. It's not going to do that and tell you right. That it needs maintenance or help. Yet obviously it protects the most important part of your body. [00:33:13] And so it is pretty critical to have at least inspect it and have some regular interval that you swap it out.  [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: Yeah, absolutely. It's a good reminder to everybody and women. I really appreciate you joining us on the podcast and talking us through this technology. I think the. The tech geek in all of us can really appreciate from listening to you how different the 3d printing technology enables you to think as a helmet manufacturer. [00:33:41] And it's very comforting to know that you've got smart people around you, including yourself and veterans of the industry who have just been thinking about this helmet from the ground. And how to make the best possible experience for consumers. So I know you I'll send people over to the website where they can find more information about the helmet. [00:34:02] Are these available for new orders at this point?  [00:34:05] Whitman Kwok: We will be taking new orders in about two or three weeks. I'm not sure when this is airing. We wanted to make sure that all the early backers on our Kickstarter were well taken care of. And so we've, we're in a good shape there. And then we'll begin opening up borders. [00:34:20] We'll be at the Seattle classic. So for anyone who's there it'd be great drop by our booth. Look out for us. You can see that the helmets firsthand and we'll be definitely taking orders at that point.  [00:34:31] Craig Dalton: Amazing. Yeah. I've seen that. I've seen a couple of people in my Instagram feed who were clearly some of your earliest supporters. [00:34:37] Who've gotten their helmets in already. So that's exciting to see. So once again, Whitman, thanks a ton for this overview. I really appreciated it. And I hope everybody listening got a lot out of this conversation.  [00:34:51] Whitman Kwok: Yeah. Thanks. Thanks Dan and Craig, I'm always happy to talk helmets or anything related to the cycling. [00:34:56] So thanks for having me.  [00:34:58] Craig Dalton: So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Thank you very much to Whitman and the cab helmets team for joining us and talking all about 3d printing helmets. I think it was a fascinating discussion. Definitely check out their website. They're over at calves, to see a little bit of behind the scenes about the process.  [00:35:18] The guarantees. Auntie's around the helmet and just what a custom fitted helmet could do for. You're cycling enjoyment. As always, if you're interested in giving us feedback and encourage you to join us over at the ridership. Our ship, just visit  [00:35:35] That is our free global cycling community for gravel and adventure, cyclists, to talk about the products and experiences and trails and events. We all love. If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful in the podcast game, our read everything that. You put out there and appreciate it very much.  [00:35:57] If you're able to financially support the show, simply visit buy me a gravel ride. I've put a number of options out there. From one-time support as well as a monthly subscription that simply. Helps underwrite this broadcast. [00:36:13] So that's going to do it for us. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under To your wheels

    Trek Travel - Girona Gravel Tour with Ewan Shepherd

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2021 40:11

    This week we sit down with Ewan Shepherd from Trek Travel to discuss their upcoming Girona Gravel Tour trips. We learn about the city, the cycling community and the abundance of gravel that surrounds the city. Trek Travel Gravel Tour Girona  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Trek Travel   [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.  [00:00:06] This week on the podcast, we're joined by UN shepherd European logistics manager for track travel. Based out of Girona Spain.  [00:00:14] As the longtime listener knows I've been super keen on the idea of gravel travel and super excited to see this industry grow up.  [00:00:22] We had an earlier discussion with Juan De La Roca about Southern Colorado and building that up as a gravel destination. And now we're seeing events like LIfeTime's Rad Dirt Fest crop up over there. We've also talked to event organizers over in Europe, around the gravel epic series that was conceived. During the COVID time and didn't actually get to get its races off the ground.  [00:00:46] But one of the locations we talked about in Europe was Girona. Now for road cyclist, Girona has long been part of the discussion about where professional athletes live. And there's a reason why they live there. Amazing road, riding all over the place. So I was really excited to learn originally from the gravel epic team about Girona as a travel destination for gravel cyclists.  [00:01:11] But even more excited to learn about this trip that Trek travel is putting together their Girona, gravel bike tour.  [00:01:18] They've got a couple more departures this year in November that you can still sign up for as well as a whole host of dates for 2022, starting in the spring.  [00:01:28] After talking to you. And all I can say is sign me up. It sounds amazing. I'll let him explain it in his own words, but it sounds like Jerome has a very special place for cyclists of all kinds.  [00:01:39] And the opportunities for gravel cycling are abundant outside the city center.  [00:01:44] I'm excited for you to learn more about Girona and gravel. With that said let's dive right in to my conversation with you and shepherd  [00:01:52] Ewan welcome to the show.  [00:01:53] Ewan Shepherd: Hey Craig, thank you very much for having me and thank you everybody for listening.  [00:01:58] Craig Dalton: I appreciate you joining us on a Friday evening over there in Spain, I'm super excited about the topic we're going to discuss today as the listener or the longterm listener has known. [00:02:08] I've talked about gravel travel as something I'm super excited about because as we all know, it's such a great way to explore the world and the idea of packing my bike and going somewhere exotic, like Girona Spain is super exciting to me. So when I got the opportunity to connect with Trek travel, Dig into this trip and dig into Jarana grab gravel jumped at it. [00:02:31] So you, and thank you for joining me. And let's just get started by a little bit about your background.  [00:02:37] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, no worries. Thank you again for having me. And I guess we share something in common that we both enjoy eating well by bike. So gravel travel is definitely evident between us all. Huh. So Bob, my background it's been varied. [00:02:50] I started off as a kid, not really enjoying the power of two wheels on my own preferring Moda, power of motocross, bikes, and motor sport, and pursue the a career in motor sport. I am, I'm only 29, so it's not, it wasn't a long career. And then I decided to jump into the cycle career really because my brother threw me on an old racing bike of hairs and said, we're going trick racing of what is this. [00:03:14] And yeah. That's how I got into cycling and kind of started to learn about it. Then love cycling, all things cycling really threw me on the amount of bikes for the first time. He threw me on a cyclocross bike for the first time, took me to attract for the first time. And just more and more, I ate it up and started falling in love with with cycling and And then I thought, why not help out in my local bike shop? [00:03:37] Because I was in between jobs and bugging the owner and the mechanic calling in on the bike and asking for them to help me with this, or could they get pots or for that? And then they were like, Hey, we need an extra hand here. And you're pretty mechanically minded. Can you want to come and help us out? [00:03:53] And that's how I, it. Wrenching in a bike shop. And from there, it took me to I was actually living in Australia at the time and working in a shop debt. And then I started working for the initial prompt and dealer in Australia, which was pretty fun and interesting. Little folding bikes, which were going all over kind of the Australasia and New Zealand even send a bite that prompted the Fiji. [00:04:17] And then I moved back to the UK and was starting working for old mountain bike brands that maybe some of your listeners have heard of head of pay cycles. They're one of the first UK monocyte grants set up by, by a young family at the time who did same as me. They love motocross and enjoy bike riding. [00:04:38] And they wanted a bike to, to train on during the time that they weren't racing on the road. And so they imported mountain bikes yet to important Gary fishers at the time, because there was nothing else in Europe and or in the UK. So he, Adrian is the main designer of the car. And he designed his own on mountain bikes. [00:04:57] Did y'all say 100, was that famous plus bikes, square tube. aluminum that they rooted out pots of the frame to make it lighter. So I started working for them after they did the whole amount of bike brand and we They had two shops at the time that they just started and started in rental centers. [00:05:14] So I joined them a running one at that shops. And then they got back into the frames. And that's when started to learn more about frame design, different bikes, and the whole Enduro scene was mounted bike and jurors scene was growing. And that was something that we were really interested in the time. [00:05:34] And. I was starting to cyclocross race at a time. I would go off a weekend, so cyclocross race and come back to work. And we were designing 29 S slack long, low amount of bikes. And we also had a total. Version cause Adrian and his wife happy love to go off to all sorts of places. [00:05:53] The, they did Chile, they went and wrote the Santiago combo skeleton and Northern Spain, all of these cycle touring. And he adapted one of the hardtail Enduro steel mountain bikes and put lugs on it. So he could take. And I was like, I liked the look of that bite, but I don't really I don't want to put drop bars on it. [00:06:14] Can I put drop bars on it? Let's try it. And so here I had a 29 mountain bike slack long, whoa, with with a draw bar on it. And I was like this pretty cool. And they were looking to, they already had an exi carbon bikes. I was like, can we do this a bit lighter? Because. Yorkshire is, I know you're you have family that Craig and it's up down. [00:06:35] Dale is Dale is a small valley and it's really steep at each side. And I live in between the two national products of the north York Moors and the Yorkshire Dales. And they have so many of these little Dales. So riding across that, you'd go down and it's like down 25% down to a flat valley, then literally back up the other side, 25 to 30%. [00:06:57] So I wanted something nice and light, but to go all day across the Dales and the malls And so we were making this and thinking, oh, this could be a cool and gravel was coming on the scene at the time. And I was interested in bike packing with it and just testing out something that was a good touring bike. [00:07:18] But at the same time, I just saw touring at the time as being something that my parents did or all the people did when they retired. So I wanted something fun cause I still enjoyed enjoy mountain biking. So I wanted to take it down some trails at the same time as doing a hundred K on it, which I certainly wouldn't do on my one 60 mil. [00:07:36] Enjoy a bike, do a hundred K, but so that's where I discovered this cyclocross gravel mix. That we all call gravel today. Which Adrian at the time was like, we used to race on my, on a bikes would drop handlebars XC and downhill back in the 1980s. Cause inventing anything new it's all coming round in circles, the wheels going round, as they say. [00:08:00] So that was really my early years in the cycling industry playing with that. And then. Being honest, Googled cool bike mechanic jobs in one places which took me back to Australia. And then I wanted to go back to Europe and it took me to the warmest place at the time, which was the Canary islands which was great for gaining some exposure of just massive cyclists all at once. [00:08:24] Thousands of people on the road, just riding the bikes, having fun on holiday guided, worked in rental shops. Love the Canary island lifestyle. And then I just stumbled across Trek travel. I told the global logistics manager at one day, I was like, I want to come work for you because I want to help out on some of your big trips. [00:08:41] They were doing tour de France and big Pyrenees trips and out trips. And I just really liked the idea of offering support to. To other people, not the I'd been guy, a guy that I wanted to support the guides. I knew all the tricks of all the problems of being a guide. So I wanted to help them most of all, help back help their guests. [00:09:04] And that kind of leads me to here where I'm the European logistics coordinator for Trek travel and in our home base of drones.  [00:09:11] Craig Dalton: Amazing. It's such a, it's so interesting. As people who have been around the sport of cycling for a long time to trace back when you first started doing the thing that later became gravel cycling. [00:09:25] Because obviously as you've indicated, as we've discussed before, People have been riding drop bar bikes off-road for a long time, but it was this kind of gradual progression of componentry, frame, design, methodology, tires, brakes, all these things combined to making what was once somewhat a hacky type experience where you were maybe bringing a bike that wasn't exactly suited for the job to where we are now. [00:09:53] That depending on where you are and how you want to set up your bike. There's such a wide variety of ways in which you can configure these bikes to ride on the roads and trails wherever you live in the world.  [00:10:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. It's always fascinated me coming from like a motor sport design element. [00:10:10] Always into aerodynamics working with formula two, formula three. And then I had to, I always had a love for kind of classic cause I raised something in the UK or Europe rally cross, which I don't think you have in us, but it's it's exactly that it's a cross between this second is gravel road and dirt, and you drive a little bit of each and we always used to race the classic mini Coupa's. [00:10:35] That was my classic love of cause. But yeah, that was a tangent. Sorry.  [00:10:40] Craig Dalton: No, it's an interesting perspective. I hadn't, no, one's brought that up before, but it's totally true. There's parallels in that experience because you had to have a car that drove well on the road. Capable off-road and presumably every driver, just like every rider had to make those difficult choices of, okay. [00:10:57] Do I want it to be higher performing on-road or off-road and what's that happy medium for me as a, as an athlete.  [00:11:04] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. And I think that changes with your with you personally, you may be a road cyclist, but you have that instinct to what's down there and it's a gravel road to go off road and explore it. [00:11:18] And you want to feel safe and comfortable. You don't want to necessarily take your 23 mil tires, cotton road bike down a. The track you want a bike that's comfortable and safe to do it all.  [00:11:31] Craig Dalton: Yeah, exactly. Talking about Trek travel specifically, obviously with the track name associated with it, people associated directly with the brand, but the company itself as Trek travel. [00:11:43] Can you tell us a little bit about its origins and how long it's been operating?  [00:11:47] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah it's actually a 20th year of fun. 2020 years since charter travel was thought up in the, in Trek itself where it started with just three people brought into to en enhance the experience that people were getting when they were not just buying a bite or buying into the Trek brand, which. [00:12:09] Is ride bikes, have fun, feel good. And Chuck just wants to get more people on bikes to have fun. And one of the ways was to offer them a trip of a lifetime of vacation, of a lifetime to somewhat. And that idea grew over the last 20 years studying in the U S and then Trek bought into the protein of yeah. [00:12:30] Trek. And they started running a VIP trips to the total France and bringing clients across. But that specifically to see the tour and see the classics that the ring in Europe have the outs to, to climb out west, to do Mon Von to go to the pyramids and do the tour of my life. The real bread and butter of your. [00:12:51] And that's grown just more destinations, more places to ride more great experiences by bike. And yeah, that's brought us to now at 20 years  [00:13:01] Craig Dalton: old. Yeah. And for those of you who have not done a bike tourism trip, it really is amazing. And a luxury. It's obviously a luxury to be able to afford it, but to be able to go over and do this and to have someone plan out the best of the best to plan out the best roads, the best routes when you're coming off the Tourmalet or a mom volunteer to knowing the right cafe to stop in having extra gear for you, having a guide that, speaks the language, but more importantly can help you get integrated into the culture in my personal experience, having done several trips over and yeah. [00:13:37] It was just such a great time. If you can afford to spend that time on your bikes, spend a week on one of these trips. It's just so amazing, which is why I remained super jazzed and excited to talk about the gravel tours that track is introducing. When did you first start to see gravel cycling as something that you could package a trip around? [00:14:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I don't know who or when the first kind of the idea here's what talks about it. Cause I'm sure it's been something we're always looking at new trends, new you, new ways to travel that that people want to do. And new experiences and to we're primarily on the road, we started with mountain bike trips. [00:14:20] Think I wouldn't say five, six years ago. And dos were in small pockets in Iceland, Norway, and that's a great way to get completely off the road. But then we found a a lot of people. They still want it to, they still want it to do a bit of everything. They want it to go on the road still. [00:14:38] They wanted to do the classic climbs as well as being off the road. So it was like that mix of, we took you to this beautiful forest, but actually you want it to be on the road as well in the same week. And, but you didn't want to do it on the amount of bike. And at the time there was no real bike that we had. [00:14:56] Do it and then as the Demani that tried to money evolve, it's got this name as being the, do it all bike. Whether it's ISO speed and its ability to take why the tires it's really comfortable Fabienne Cancellara famously designed the bike to to win Piru bay and and Flanders of all the couple and mixed terrain. [00:15:14] Yeah, this this is a bite that we can use for multipurpose. And three years ago we started using it as just guides and company. People would come to drone and all they say is, Hey, can we go right gravel with, we don't want to ride the road round here. We heard the gravel is amazing. So we'd stick some hybrid tires on the demand and off we'd go, just exploring off the beaten track. [00:15:36] And that's. Where it came from and grew from that with into a week long trip here in Barona. And yeah that's why I came. That's  [00:15:46] Craig Dalton: great to hear it. It's interesting to hear that it came from the riders up and great to hear that you, as a company, listened and started to build more experiences around that, as we've talked about a little bit offline, Girona for anybody who's follows. [00:16:01] Professional road. Cycling has always had this huge allure as a destination for a lot of pros live there. So we presume there's a lot of great road riding out there. Do you feel that in the city, is, are there a ton of road cyclists around every week?  [00:16:20] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I would say there's, I wouldn't say there's a ton of road cyclist. [00:16:23] I'd say there's thousands of cyclists in general. On any given weekend, you can see mountain bikers road bike as gravel bike is like trick bikers nowadays. But. All the time. You can see people on bikes. It's a city which has a big network of city bikes and like docs every way. When you can pick up the city bikes for three years, you can rent the bike for the day to ride around town. [00:16:47] It's not a no that we call it a town. Although it's a city, it's very, it's a small, condensed old town. So it's great to explore by bike with all this small streets and things. And yeah, as you said it's known it's gotten more well-known because of all the professionals that live here modern, the bike roads you name it, there's many triathletes Yan for Dino to name one of the big biggest triathletes pulls this, his house. [00:17:11] And it's yeah, in Europe, it's known as one of the places where particularly I'm going to say foreign writers come from Australia and New Zealand, Canada, us they use this, is that is that personal? And I'd probably say right now in Jarana you have upwards of 8,200 pro cyclists living here which is really high for any city in the world. [00:17:34] Given the amount of pros in general, living in Jonah, and you have three of the biggest teams here locally, you have EDS Israel cycling academy have a small base here. You have a couple of continental teams, a couple of the U S continental teams have their European basis here. So you not only have teams, you have sorry. [00:17:56] You not only have writers, you have the support here as well. And they say, if you just want a massage, it's the best place in the, in Europe. Go from mass massage because of the level is so high, they used the pros. You never get a bad massage here at all because the misuse could have been rubbing right. [00:18:14] Chris from the day before he attends to you, so you get pro service, whatever you're doing, and that's not just in cycling related. I'm sure we're going to talk about this, but the coffee scene, the food scene everything has that little twist towards catering. Which is amazing. Yeah. I think that's  [00:18:32] Craig Dalton: super interesting, obviously the writing I want to be doing is off-road, but as someone who's a fan of professional cycling in general, just having that be infused as part of the city, in addition to the culture, which maybe we'll talk about a little bit more. [00:18:46] It's just going to be a fun addition to that trip for us geographic challenged Americans, where Israel.  [00:18:53] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's in Spain. It's in the region of Catalonia which is to the Northeast. We border on Spain. We bought it with Spain and Dora and France. And. Yeah. [00:19:09] And the Northeast, and  [00:19:10] Craig Dalton: It's not specifically on the coast, but how far of a ride is it to the coast from Jarana city center?  [00:19:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, so Girona is it's probably for any cycling destination is really well situated. It's just a 40 minutes drive to them. And 40 minutes drive from the Pyrenees. [00:19:28] So yeah, slap bang in the middle of mountains and see and give you perspective in writing terms. I'm sorry, I'm going to talk in kilometers. But we're looking at about a nice 50 mile loop to the coast and back.  [00:19:43] Craig Dalton: Okay. And look at just having Google maps open as we speak, it looks like there is a lot of, kind of national parks base in green space, just outside the city. [00:19:53] Ewan Shepherd: literally the back of the town has a very famous climate song of UVS might be of huddle of L's angels. It's just over seven, 10 K climate just over 6% is always say to the first and last day, you're hearing Jerone. You're going to write this. If you don't write it every day. [00:20:10] And that leads into a beautiful national pocket, the bat at the back, which has miles of more, more challenging gravel all the way to the coast. And then on the inland side of Jerome, just straight into two massive valleys, which just keep going up and up and before, it you're in the parodies. [00:20:29] Craig Dalton: For those clients immediate,  [00:20:31] Ewan Shepherd: very little flat writing.  [00:20:33] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's going to ask for those climbs immediately outside of Dharana. How much elevation do you gain to get to a local peak? Is that a thousand feet or 200 meters?  [00:20:43] Ewan Shepherd: L's angels is about 600. Elevation was very, to the very peak the closest high point around here, you're looking at about a thousand meters up to the highest peak in Catalonia itself is just shy of 2000 meters. [00:21:00] So the elevation is not super high but you are going from sea level. Most of the time But it's all the little undulations. It's a rolling terrain. I would say, yeah.  [00:21:09] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. Yeah, it certainly sounds like those, they jet up pretty quickly as a lot of coastal ranges do so for the writing, when we talk about the gravel riding in Jarana, we've talked about how great the road riding is. [00:21:21] But what does it look like to get on these gravel roads and what are they like? Are they super chopped up or are they smooth or did you get a little bit of both? I'd love to just get a sense for what you're out there. Riding.  [00:21:33] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. I think you have a bit of everything we say, Girona is the Disneyland of cycling. [00:21:40] And I first experienced kind of the gravel, as I said, we just. Through some hybrid Taya, some 32 mil hybrid tires on a demise and went straight on lucky living out slightly outside of Toronto. So just 10 K from drone essentially itself. And it's mainly farm lands and going back to my kind of love for cycling in in the UK. [00:22:02] With the Dales and we have things called bridleways and I was in search of these things to start with because it's not well publicized gravel anyway. So you just go out the door and go, okay, take the first, left off the road. That doesn't seem like a road and see where it heads. [00:22:17] And sometimes you end up with a beautiful, smooth gravel track with that. Evidently to S at a, an extra road to people's houses all you get unlucky and you end up and it tends into single track and actually becomes quite flowing. This is actually it's maybe a mountain bike route, and you guys through a single track, really nice employee through the woods can be quiet Rocky in places. [00:22:40] This part of Spain is very Rocky with granite. I'm limestone. Costa brother, the literal translation is like a rugged coastline. So that is evident all the way through. But you have also what they call via Verde green routes, which are smooth, hard-packed almost manmade smooth gravel, Sandy tracks which becoming more and more common. [00:23:05] From Girona itself to the little towns, to get people off the roads from all levels of cyclists, from kids to families, you can see them just packed on these green ones. Which a fantastic to start a new route on, and then you head either to the mountains, or maybe you want to go to the coast and you can just hop off on to onto something. [00:23:24] As long as it doesn't say, don't go this way. Is such a friendly kind of feeling towards cyclists. The even if you I've ended up some days, just going along a little, same little track down a shoot and I'm in the back of someone's garden and raking up leaves. Oh, sorry. That's the end. To direct you back onto the track and you were meant to be down that I take you're meant to go that way, but yeah. [00:23:48] So it's a bit of everything. That's amazing.  [00:23:52] Craig Dalton: It's so cool that, to be able to leave the city and choose your own adventure and just have that ability to explore and find all kinds of different terrain that, that sounds like such a special area and not surprising why you guys decided to introduce the Girona gravel bike tour trip, which looks amazing. [00:24:13] Can we talk about that trip and what it entails?  [00:24:16] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So to give you an an idea of the overall of the trip, it's it's a one hotel trip based here in Jarana. Chose to base it right out of the center. We work with a really great hotel, Nord in the center. It's really cycling focused. And we do that. [00:24:33] It's based kind of off our right camp, which not to diversify what I'm talking about. It's all about eat, sleep, ride, repeat. So we make it nice and simple to focus on the writing and it's for four days of writing and it's designed to. The slightly taken on the more intermediate to advanced side of kind of people's levels. [00:24:55] So we say the most people should be have some experience. It shouldn't be their first time writing a gravel bike to get the most out of it. And we have easy days which are, like I say, just using these Greenways, getting out of the city, heading to see some of the beautiful, rugged coastline. [00:25:13] And then we have some more avid days which heads. What's the mountains. And we actually found some of our routes through used to calm. Are you still does? Comes here every year in the spring to do some training before he started his road season. And we'd always wait till he hummed, we see him here. [00:25:30] And then when we're looking on struggling, why did he go? Where did he go? Because he always seems to find some stupidly hard climbs, some great gravel climates. We didn't know that. And we actually introduced some of these to the trip and it's like a, like an outdoor as of gravel, just snaking switchbacks one after the other, up to this beautiful peak point with a big cross on the top. [00:25:53] Yeah. And then you're trying to work out where he went and then you look down the other side and oh, he went down there and you you try it. But then for. For many people, it's probably too much of a Rocky rock garden. So you end up heading back down like a beautiful the switching snaking all the way back down is the safest way sometimes. [00:26:14] But yeah, that's a, an overview of a gravel trip.  [00:26:18] Craig Dalton: Nice. I've done trips of my two trips. One. We were moving basically every year. And the second we had a home base and I have to say my preference is for that home base, because I think it allows you to just absorb the culture a little bit more and be a tourist in the city that you're staying in. [00:26:35] You don't have to pack your gear up every night. So there's something nice about having that hub and ride mom.  [00:26:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It definitely just opening your suitcase, getting it, your kid out, put it in the wardrobes and you don't have to pack it again. The following day to move on. I like that it's focused on eat, sleep, right? [00:26:53] Repeat, enjoy your writing. The guy. Take care of everything else. And you're in the center of the city and you're a Stone's throw from the old town. You can go for a walk on the evenings, your afternoons and evenings. yours your own to either relax, take a massage or wander the town, go sit and sip coffee. [00:27:12] Do all the locals. Do any afternoon, go have a beer and get ready for your evening meal. And and that's what people want.  [00:27:18] Craig Dalton: Now our writers on these trips typically bring in their own bikes or are you providing a bike for them?  [00:27:23] Ewan Shepherd: Just really most people take a bike from us, the Trek demonic. [00:27:28] You can bring your own bike. It doesn't does it affect price? It doesn't affect the price, but we do it because it saves you having to pack your by like in a box and all the hassle of bringing it to the building it. Yeah. All of that. You just turn up and on the first day, your bikes there, it's already set up with your measurements, to your bike from home and ready to go. [00:27:46] You don't need to worry about it. And our guides full train mechanics and take care of your bike throughout the whole week. And particularly as gravel can be hot on your bikes. And you don't want any problems with your own bikes, cause it's only going to compromise your riding,  [00:27:58] Craig Dalton: as someone who can be hard on the bike. I appreciate that. So at the end of the day, I can hand my bike off to someone and it's going to come back to me better than I left it.  [00:28:05] Ewan Shepherd: Yep. Every day, I'm sure the guides gonna look after that bike and and give you it in the morning. Like it's brand new, no issues,  [00:28:14] Craig Dalton: particular trip. [00:28:15] Are you providing the routes like GPX files? How does it work from a kind of a day-to-day practice perspective?  [00:28:22] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. So normally day to day, you'd wake up do your morning routine get dressed, go for breakfast. Get a hot tea, Catalan breakfast. Then head down to, to pick up your bikes from the bike room. [00:28:35] Your guides would meet you dad. Give you a kind of a morning briefing. The route has to go. We provide every guest with a Garmin, with preloaded GPS routes. And your guide is going to typically you have one guide on the bike, possibly two, and then a guide in a support vehicle following behind not only any issues that you have, but also by signature snack tables along the route. [00:28:59] So you could be riding through a wood and then suddenly. The van is just there and your guide has gone out a table and put some beautiful snacks out. So right in the moment when you're like, I wish I had put more water in my bottle, I wish that I brought an extra bar. That's when you're going to get to find your guides. [00:29:18] We know those spots well,  [00:29:20] Craig Dalton: nice. And, as athletes are going to be coming over with different ability, levels and fitness levels and sort of interest in flogging themselves levels. Is there an ability for, if we look at it a daily route and say I'd fancy doing a little bit more. [00:29:35] I want to come home with my legs broken every day. Are there those types of options and flexibility built into these things?  [00:29:41] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. It sounds like most of our guides they always want to go do more. So yeah, we yeah. Have a standard route for the day and then w what we call that the avid group for the day. [00:29:51] So I guess, Craig, this is for you the extra little add on which could be anything from an extra climb or an extra loop that you just hit the route on your GPS and adult. It'll take you. And we have a, an ethos of ride at your own pace. Yeah. I don't really ride. It's nice, right. [00:30:11] As a group, but also it's nice experience at your own pace. So we definitely encourage that. Guides will move around you rather than you having to stick to your guide. And they'll accommodate if if you've got slow riders or if you want to go up and do the route quite often you're going to have the guide wanting to go with you and show you that extra little climb or. [00:30:30] Take you on a, an extra level route or redo a route from two days ago because you, it was such an amazing experience. Definitely it does something for me.  [00:30:40] Craig Dalton: That's good to know. Yeah. For me, when I'm able to carve out this time in my life and I may be unique, but maybe not, when I go on one of these trips, since I don't have the responsibilities that I have at home, I don't have to care for my son. [00:30:54] I don't have to do, I need the things I need to do around the house. All I want to do is ride my bike and really, as long as I can prop myself up at the dinner table that night, that's about all I need to achieve in the rest of the.  [00:31:06] Ewan Shepherd: Yup. Yup. Did that have. A full vacation of a lifetime that's that's catered for you. [00:31:13] And that's definitely why I think people do a group trip or an organized talk because you mentioned that if you can afford to do it, but can you afford not to do it? If you've only got 20 days holiday a year, To spend spend your time planning for your holiday, and then once you get that to spend time working out, okay, what should I ride today? [00:31:34] Or where should we stop for lunch? Or where's the best place to have dinner tonight? It's all done for you. You can just make the most of what you want to do, which if you want to go on a cycling holiday and you want to ride your bike as much as.  [00:31:47] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I think it's, it's further complicated when you're trying to ride gravel. [00:31:50] So I did a self guided tour in the Alps and there were it was pretty easy to understand the road routes that were famous to the famous climbs and figure that out on my own. But when it comes to gravel and this is something I've spoken about a lot on the podcast, there's just so much to be gained from having a little bit of local knowledge. [00:32:09] Because you cannot look at a path necessarily. And know, is that a super Rocky path that I'm going to be going four miles an hour on? Or is it actually, a smooth, single track that I'm going 16 miles an hour. And we can't know that from the outside, without talking to cyclists in that local area, while we still want to have that sense of adventure and allowing the ride to unfold. [00:32:34] It's just really nice in my opinion, particularly if you're going to spend the money to go travel to a destination, to just have a little bit of this served up to you and be able to get out there, worry for you.  [00:32:44] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah, no, I definitely agree in something that you spend all the time working out, attract to go down and then suddenly it leads to nothing and you've wasted an hour of your ride to, and then you have to backtrack. [00:32:59] And that's yeah. With a small amount of time in Europe or wherever you're traveling, you want to make money. My  [00:33:06] Craig Dalton: Spanish is bad enough that if I end up in your garden, there's probably going to be an international incident. [00:33:11] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. But everybody's friendly hand signals are just, yes. It's I like, I think I've written in a lot of places in the world and definitely definitely Spain is a really good for.  [00:33:26] Craig Dalton: Yeah. When you have that many cyclists moving through a community, obviously the locals are experienced seeing these people and they realize, they're good for the community. [00:33:36] Hopefully we're good. Environmental stewards and polite cyclists. So it's just a symbiotic relationship for the committee.  [00:33:43] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah. Yeah. And as we are in a. Company we're based in Madison, Wisconsin. And we've also been in Jerone now for nearly six, seven years. So we have a good hold in the community. We employ, we have lots of people that work for attract travel, who live here locally. [00:34:00] Who are deep rooted in the community. So we often we work a lot with our subcontractors. We work really hard to find the best people who not only have the best winery or the best restaurant, but they have the best ethos to, to work with us and help our guests have the best experience. [00:34:19] It's not just about the product that serving, but how they're making our guests and us as a company feel. So it's really important that local aspect, but everything that's involved,  [00:34:29] Craig Dalton: such an amazing opportunity that travel affords the traveler, just the ability to see how things that are important in the culture. [00:34:37] Are manufactured and meet people who are doing them and, meet you, meet the restaurant tours. Like all of that is just what has kept me traveling my entire life and hopefully will have me continue traveling. So a couple of final questions for you. UN what is your favorite local cuisine? What can't we miss when we go there? [00:34:57] And what is your favorite part of Sharona from a tourist perspective?  [00:35:01] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, that's a definitely a hard question. I don't even have a closer prepared, good answer. Where do I want to start? Definitely Girona has a lot of local cuisine Catalan cutline cuisine. It's a very simple way of cooking in one aspect. [00:35:18] And why. One thing that people often. Think of it all. I'll Paya, no, throw that away. It's it's not Paya that you'd come to get here. They have something called pinch Hills, which is very similar to tapas and it's one of my favorite local it's not a particular dish. [00:35:37] It's a way of eating and. In the restaurant, you have lots of little plates on the counter with little chunks of bread with on top of them, either fresh fish with with all sorts of toppings or. Saw or booty FADA, there's the sausage which they do in many different kinds of blood sausages. [00:35:56] And lots of little dishes. And often you don't sit down at a table. This is going to freak people out in COVID at times, but it's a great social way of eating because you're taking small plate and you're taking it and you're just standing in a bar basically. With everybody else who's enjoying it, but it's that great atmosphere of eating together in the center of town, which often spills out into the streets on a Friday and Saturday of just people standing out on the streets with small plates and a little what they called Canada, a little glass of the local beer, which they have a lot of really good local breweries here. [00:36:30] Which I know a lot of people love to test out all the local. And Catalonia to the complete other scale of things has some of Europe's best Michelin star restaurants like per area, just in, in Rona, this small area, up to 45 Ks from the center, you have 35 Michelin star restaurants. [00:36:50] For gastronomy it's an amazing place because of all the local ingredients of the winery. You have a lot of cider production with apple and pear farms, which you ride through. One of my favorite rides to the coast air takes you through just miles and miles of apple orchards and tail orchards which is just going to be picked in about a half a month's time. [00:37:13] It's main picking season here. Delicious. Yeah, it's a, and I haven't even talked about coffee coffee, the culture of coffee, drinking. Was brought to your owner with cyclist, cyclists, need coffee, and they need good coffee. And the Canadian Chrystia and Maya was one of the more well-known people who brought the coffee culture and his own roastery of the service costs. [00:37:34] And Lamatsia his his coffee shop. And from dad nearly 10 years ago, it sprung into. That each corner was developing its own taste for coffee. And as the locals really have a passion for it now at brewing really good speciality coffee, which, like I said, we can't live without it. [00:37:51] They definitely have a captured audience. Indeed.  [00:37:54] Craig Dalton: This is amazing. Girona has always been tops on my list of places to go and it certainly remains. In that post COVID top slot for me, I can't wait to join you on one of these trips. At some point, I know there's a couple trips left this year. [00:38:09] It looks like November 7th and November 14th are available for departure dates. And obviously once again, in the spring in 2022. So for all the listeners out there, you can just visit Trek, and just write search for Jeronica dry gravel. And you'll see the trip we've been talking about. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun and you can almost guarantee you that I'll be there one of these days. [00:38:32] Ewan Shepherd: Yeah, I will look forward to it. Look forward to meeting in person and hopefully you'll get to experience your own home and it won't be your last visit to drone, or I can assure you for that much.  [00:38:44] Craig Dalton: Thanks for all the great information you and I appreciate you joining us.  [00:38:48] That's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Big thanks to you and for joining us and telling us all about that great trip that Trek travel has organized. Again, those dates are November this year. As well as throughout the Springs to go, please visit truck To figure out what itinerary might work for you. I hope you're stoked. Like I am.  [00:39:10] I'm desperate to get my tires overseas. And sample some of that great gravel in Spain and elsewhere in the world. We'll leave it at that for this week. If you have any questions, feel free to join us over at the ridership. Just visit to join that free community. [00:39:29] If you're interested in supporting the podcast, ratings and reviews are hugely helpful. It's something easy you can do to support what I'm doing. And if you have a little bit more energy or means feel free to visit,  [00:39:44] To help underwrite some of the financial costs associated with this broadcast. Until next time. Here's to finding. some dirt onto your wheels

    BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2021 54:51

    This week on the podcast we tackle Gravel Bike Fit 101. Randall interviews Coach and Fitter Patrick Carey about the fundamentals of fit with key takeaways for every rider.  Patrick / Speed Science Coaching Website  The Ridership Support the podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): BikeFit 101 with Coach Patrick Carey [00:00:00] Randall: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm Randall Jacobs, and today I'm joined by Patrick Carey. Patrick was on the pod with us in February of 2021. Craig and him had a conversation about the five skills every gravel cyclist needs to master.  [00:00:17] Patrick wears a few different hats. He is the founder of speed science coaching. He does full-time training for cyclists and endurance athletes. He's a skills coach with Lee Likes Bikes and Ride Logic, and he travels all over the country, teaching bike skills. He is an SICI. I train bike fitter and their approach is very much integrating some of the thinking from the medical and physical therapy fields into bike fitting. And in a previous lifetime, he was a mechanical engineer, so he really understands how mechanical systems work, including, biomechanics. [00:00:45] Before we get started. I'd like to remind you that if you'd like to support the podcast, there are a few different ways you can do so. Firstly, you can go to and make a donation or become a recurring supporter. [00:00:58] All proceeds, go directly to Craig and offset his costs in producing the pod. Secondly, you can join The Ridership and contribute to the conversations that are happening there.  [00:01:06] And lastly, if you'd like to support the work that I do, thesis currently has a limited number of build kits for complete bikes for delivery this fall. If you're a friend you're interested now, it'd be a great time to schedule a consult so we can work together to create the perfect spec for your unique fit, fitness and terrain.  [00:01:21] And with that, Patrick, welcome back to the podcast.  [00:01:24] Patrick: Hey, thank you. I'm so happy to be back. This is going to be a lot of fun. [00:01:27] Randall: Yeah, this is a conversation I've been wanting to have with you for quite some time. So let's just dive right in. How do we even define a good bike fit?  [00:01:34] Patrick: I think that's a great place to start. My take is that every good bike fit starts with the bike fitting the rider, not the other way around. And unfortunately, oftentimes what happens is people are shoehorned onto their bikes and that's really the opposite of what we want to happen.  [00:01:50] We want to set every bike up for each rider so that the rider just naturally falls into position on the bike. There's no pain points. You're not running into impingements and you're also not contorting yourself in any way you're not overreaching. You're not bending your wrist some awkward way, and in that same idea, if something hurts when you ride your bike, it's not right. Don't ever let someone tell you "oh, that's just how riding a bike is. It's supposed to be a little uncomfortable". No, it's supposed to be joyful and it's supposed to be wonderful. And when you get your bike set up correctly for you, it can be that.  [00:02:25] Randall: This is very much aligned with what I often talk about. We're not creating a bicycle. We're creating a cyborg. And the interface between the animal and the machine is how you achieve that. Let's dive in even further. So different approaches to fit.  [00:02:37] Patrick: Probably what most people have been used to it's the throw a leg over it approach.  [00:02:41] You literally stand over the bike. If you can clear the top tube, that's probably a good place. And then, when you throw the word fit in there usually what ends up happening is, you eyeball the saddle height, the stem maybe, gets flipped. It probably does not get changed. And then also, a lot of that is relying on fit charts, right? So bike companies put out the fit charts that says if you're five, seven, you should be on this size bike. If you're five, 10, you should be on the size bike. And I personally believe that very often, unfortunately, results in people being on the wrong sized bike. Typically a bike that's too big.  [00:03:17] Which means that they are overreaching on that bike and you ended up chasing the front end of the bike. So the front end become somewhat fixed in space and you can always shorten the stem so much. So then that rider ends up being shoved way, way forward on the bike. And yeah, bikes are meant to create enjoyment. This takes away from it. [00:03:35] Randall: And when you go with too short of a stem. It does take some of the mass off the front axle. So for say high-speed canyon carving that front end is not gonna feel as planted. Works fine. Say for gravel. But in a road application, it can really make the bike feel vague upfront. So it's this handling issue as well.  [00:03:53] Patrick: It can work okay for gravel, I think one of the beauties of gravel bikes is their versatility. [00:03:58] For me personally, I have a couple of dedicated cyclocross race bikes, mostly because they're the ones that I blast with a pressure washer after every race. But my gravel bike has become my only other drop bar bike. I have wheel sets that I switch around so that I have a set of road tires a set of gravel tires.  [00:04:14] But that bike has amazing versatility. And so what you don't want to do is compromise the handling to a point where, okay, it feels good when you're sitting up going slow on a dirt road, but then boy, it feels nervous at speed, down that same dirt road or on pavement.  [00:04:28] Randall: Yeah. Let's keep going with this. So we have the throw the leg over it approach. What would be a better approach? Let's go soup throw nuts starting with a new machine. [00:04:36] Patrick: Okay. So if we call the throw leg over the approach the worst case scenario, the best case scenario as a coach and fitter would be to work with someone before they ever buy a bike. So work with the athlete and figure out first what they want to do with the bike. What their ideal setup would be, but then look at their body completely separate to the bike.  [00:04:55] First thing we would do is a functional movement screening. And this is something I do for any bike fit, where I'm actually looking at people's ranges of motion. I'm looking at any impingements they have. We're looking at their specific body proportions. [00:05:09] There's a great book called Bike Fit by a guy named Phil Burt, and he worked for many years with Team Great Britain, which is a pretty dominant force in the cycling world, and he starts the book off right away by saying that if you look at just average proportions and you define things off of average proportions, you're only catching about one third of the population you're catching the middle of the bell curve. So you're right away missing two thirds of the population. Okay. If you take that then into bike fit, if you just look at, say someone's height, that doesn't take into account their arm length that doesn't take into account their inseam versus their torso length.  [00:05:47] So that's really important to factor in any kind of bike fit and the beauty. When we're talking about this approach is that we can really factor that in because the next thing I would do after that functional movement screening is I would put someone on a fit cycle, which barely looks like a bike. Other than that, it has crank seat and handlebars, but it allows you to move those points in space in the X- Y axis, and that way you can adjust and find someone's ideal position, right? The position where they just fall right onto it. They're able to comfortably generate power. They're able to ride in that position for a really long time. And then we take that position. And we can now compare those points in space against actual bikes and come up with a list of bikes that fit them. So someone might come to me and say, I'm looking at these three different bikes, right?  [00:06:37] Either, they tick the boxes. I like the idea of them or they're available right in this day and age. And so then we can say, okay, this is the size for that particular bike. This is the size for that particular bike. And it's quite often they're not the same size, right? Because that sizing, as we will talk about a minute, that sizing is oftentimes misleading, meaningless, right? Doesn't refer to real measurements. So we're able to go by actual, stack, reach measurements like that. And then, depending on what someone wants to do, we can come up with a complete custom build all the way to their custom crank length bar with, everything, or they can buy a bike off the shelf and, we can say, okay, this is going to get us the closest possible, and then we're going to change the stem and that's going to get us there. Or maybe, for some particular proportion that you have, you really do need to change the bars or something like that. But that really would be best case scenario because now you're totally eliminating the risk of someone ending up on the wrong size bike from the start.  [00:07:41] Randall: Yeah. And fit cycles the most advanced ones, have quite a few degrees of freedom in terms of what you can adjust. Everything from crank length and Q factor and stance. And you can adjust all these variables in real time, as you're seeing the rider pedal and that ability to calibrate the machine to the rider and see the rider in motion is vastly superior to just having, static measurements and trying to graph them onto the bike. It's a good starting point, for sure, especially if you're trying to just select a bike and know if a bike is going to work at all, you could start that way, but going and getting this functional analysis, this analysis in motion is just next level. I can only go so far. For example, when I'm doing a bike consult for one of our bikes and I can get everyone, somebody the right frame size, crank length. Handlebar with and those types of parameters through asking some questions and having them take some measurements, but stem length I can't get for sure, because that's an output of all these other variables that need to be locked in first, the crank length, saddle height, saddle for- aft and so on. And then also I'm not able to see, what you had mentioned about their flexibility and looking at their physiology and then seeing them in motion.  [00:08:50] There really is no substitute for this sort of analysis with somebody with a scientific mindset and a lot of experience seeing lots of riders on bikes.  [00:08:59] Patrick: Absolutely. And this is probably some of the best money you could possibly spend. If you're going to make the investment in a bike. We're talking in the range of two to $300 probably is what a complete, pre- purchase fit like this would cost, and that's going to a professional fitter that has a fit cycle. That's going to spend.  [00:09:19] Upwards of a couple hours with you laying all this out. And then it's also going to be available to you to walk through the process of buying your bike. Because maybe you come up with some ideal setup and then. Ugh that bike's not available. So now you have to go back to the drawing board. That person will help you through that process.  [00:09:34] That is the best money you can spend because even if that represents a significant percentage of what you're going to spend in the total in the end, right? Like maybe you're going to, maybe you're going to spend. $1,500 or $2,000 on a bike. Spend $300 upfront and that bike will fit you better. You will enjoy it more. You will have it forever.  [00:09:54] As opposed to you don't spend that money, make a mistake on something and now it's never what it could have been.,  [00:10:02] And the other extreme of this is the person who spends a lot of money on their gear, gets the Aero wheels, the Aero helmet, and, carbon rail saddle, and all of these things that are really marginal gains at best. [00:10:13] A bike fit, it's not something that you can show off to your friends. It's not something where you can hand the bike off and have people pick it up and be like, Ooh, it's so light. It's so fancy. But it is this animal machine interface and having that just be as dialed as possible unlocks performance in a way that no components can. [00:10:32] Track 2: Absolutely. And I see all the time, I'm always at events, I travel around the country coaching and it's just so often it's actually rare for me to see a person who's bike is totally dialed for them. [00:10:42] I hate to say it, but it is rare. And I oftentimes see people are like, wow, like they would enjoy riding so much more, riding would be so much easier for them. Even if it's as simple as cut that stem length in half. You oftentimes see it, people have their seats slammed as far back in the rails as possible. And it's surprising. Sometimes it just ends up that way and they don't know any better or it came that way from the shop and they didn't know they could change it. And oftentimes you're talking about close to free as far as some of these changes. [00:11:13] Randall: Yeah. And if you have to spend a few bucks to swap a stem or something to get that dialed fit again, some of the best money you can spend.  [00:11:20] So we've talked about two extremes. One is how most people end up on the wrong size bike with the throw the leg over it approach the other is this really ground up clean slate sort of approach. But what if you already have a bike, how do we make that bike fit better?  [00:11:33] Track 2: Yes. And to be fair, this is probably 80 to 90% of the people that I work with as a fitter. And and this is also probably 90 plus percent of people out riding in the world. We're talking about, if you have a bike that is close to the right size for you, right? Maybe you could have split hairs and said that you should have a slightly smaller, slightly bigger bike, but this is how I work on a regular basis with riders as they come to me for this. We would confirm that bike is a close starting point. And I always use reach as that cornerstone. And reach in the sense of the stack and reach those two measurements to define where the top of your head tube is. That's the thing on a bike you can change the least, reach then affects where your front end is. And yes, you can absolutely can and should change stem length and amount of spacers above or below, or flip the stem, but. Compared to say saddle height, where you can telescope that seat post up and down a tremendous amount, reach actually is the least adjustable thing on the bike, your front end. So we would always start there.  [00:12:37] Randall: And how's reach measured. We should probably talk about that.  [00:12:39] Track 2: Oh, yeah. Thank you. So reach, if you were to take your bottom bracket, which is the spindle that your crank spin on, and if you draw a line vertically up from that, It would be a measurement from that line horizontally to the center of your top tube. And usually that oftentimes includes the headset cap as well. And then stack is if you measure up, it's where those meet. So it's how high the front end of your bike is above the bottom bracket. So that gives you X, Y coordinates for where your head tube is. That's your starting point.  [00:13:14] Randall: yeah. Center of the crank spindle vertically to the line that intersects with the height of the center of the headset bearing. And there's some other measurements out there that people will talk about virtual head tube. Seat tube. We've already debunked the idea of sizing being universal, but let's talk about that a little bit.  [00:13:30] Track 2: Oh, yes. I'm glad you brought that up.  [00:13:32] Used to be, years ago when we were talking about road and cyclocross right before what we now think of as gravel bikes, road bikes generally speaking had the exact same head angle and the exact same seat angle almost across the board. And you could use quote unquote standard sizing and before that bikes were also what they were called square, meaning the length of the seat tube and the length of the top tube were the same. Some were along the way in the last 20 years that has moved away. A lot of it is that there's no need to have the top tube cranked all the way up. We can get better stand over that way.  [00:14:10] But then bike companies have also been shifting around the angle of the seat tube. And so The horizontal top tube measurement can become a seriously misleading thing. If your seat tube is pressed way forward. It's going to create a shorter, horizontal top to measurement. If it's pushed way back, it'll make it longer.  [00:14:32] To make it even more confusing for riders, unfortunately, companies have clung to putting number sizing on their bikes, right? So they call a bike, a 54.  [00:14:43] Or a 56. And if you look at the actual measurement chart for that bike, or if you take a tape measure to that bike, it's not uncommon that nothing on that bike measures that dimension anymore. They call it virtual sizing. And unfortunately, I'll use myself for example, I'm five, 10, somewhere along the way. Someone told me that someone who's five, 10 belongs on a 56 centimeter bike. So for years and years, I was riding 56.  [00:15:11] And I could not understand why, no matter what I did with adjustments, I had all kinds of neck and shoulder discomfort. I'm talking tingling hands, right? All kinds of tension. And somewhere along the way I went, dammit like all this fit stuff, it's not actually correct. Some of this stuff is definitely outdated. And I got a 54 and lo and behold, it was super easy to get that bike to fit me well,  [00:15:35] So that's an important point for riders too. If someone told you in the past that you're a particular size, don't let that guide your future decisions.  [00:15:45] Randall: And I want to take a second to hit this from a different angle, and then I can cue you up. One of the things I also want to make clear to listeners that a lot of companies still use number sizing. They'll quote things like virtual top tube, or top tube length or seat tube length, all of these parameters can change without changing the reach, or the stack. And the reason why we use reach primarily, and then stack secondarily, is because these variables don't change. Even when you change the seat tube angles such that the seat tube angle is more slacked back, you could always run the saddle further up on the rails or flip the saddle clamp to allow a more forward saddle position and your points in space would be identical. So this is an important point that people really need to understand. All these numbers that are quoted, most of them are entirely irrelevant. reach most important stack is number two and then stand over just to make sure you have enough clearance. And that's really it. And the rest of it is really getting into how the bike will feel and perform and handle given how your points in space are grafted onto it.  [00:16:50] Does that resonate with you?  [00:16:51] Track 2: Absolutely. It does. Absolutely. It does. And one more thing that I see, we're finally moving away from it, but there was a period of time companies were making quote unquote women's geometry bikes. Because again, they were looking and saying if you look at the typical woman's proportions. Long legs, short torso. Longer arms. Okay. But if you look at the cross-section of the population, there are so many people that don't line up into that. And there's plenty of guys that line up into that.  [00:17:20] I think it's very important to not let labels cloud that don't say I'm a female, I must need a women's bike or I'm a guy I must. Luckily companies are actually abandoning a lot of that whole shrink it and pink it idea which I think a lot of people were really misserved by.  [00:17:38] I think that's super important. You are a human being. You are not a man, a woman, a six foot tall person. You're a human being and you have unique proportions that we can address by finding those right points in space. [00:17:50] Randall: Yeah, women's specific was much more of a marketing ploy than anything else.  [00:17:55] Track 2: Yes, that's all it was. And I'd like to say too. Most of it was defined by a bunch of six foot tall dudes, right? I always love when those people absolutely are convinced that they know the experience of a five foot two woman.  [00:18:09] Randall: Hmm.  [00:18:09] Track 2: Okay. Yeah.  [00:18:11] Randall: Yeah, I may have seen some of that behind the scenes.  [00:18:14] Let's continue on. What's next.  [00:18:17] Track 2: Okay. So if we said, okay, we've got the right size bike, we're in the ballpark. Now let's actually come up with a bit of an actionable list of steps. And this first one is probably gonna seem very counterintuitive because it doesn't have a lot to do with the bike. And that would be that your bike fit actually starts with your foot.  [00:18:34] If you think about it, you have five total touch points on the bike, right? Two hands, one, but two feet. Your feet are responsible for all your power transmission. Every time you stand up on the bike, they're bearing all your weight. So if we don't have proper support in the form of the correct shoes, and also support in the shoes, you may have issues that will never be addressed by any other part of the fit process. And on that, if you ever go to a bike fit and they don't look at your feet, they don't look at your shoes, they don't leave your cleat position, they just put you on the bike and start adjusting things, they missed a lot. And that's a question you can ask before you even go to a fit. What's your process. And if they don't talk about this, that should be a red flag.  [00:19:17] So first and foremost, if you were going to buy shoes, go to a shop, go to a brick and mortar shop. Ideally have your feet measured. If you remember the old Brannock device that we all used to get our feet measured as kids with. I still use one as a bike fitter. They make a Euro sizing Brannock devices.  [00:19:36] And that tells you the length of each foot and it tells you the width of each foot. So go to a shop and get the right size shoes. It's so common for me as a fitter to have people come and they've got shoes that are one, two sizes too big. And then they're crushing those shoes down to try and take slop away. It's putting the cleats in the wrong position. And then when I say, how did you arrive at these shoes? They say I bought them online, I tried to match my street shoe size. I bought them online.  [00:20:03] Don't do that. Go to a shop. Buy the shoes from that shop, pay them the money because they had the inventory there. They're providing you that service. [00:20:11] Randall: Yeah. you really need to try on the actual shoe and see if it is a good fit for your foot. The measurements may even work out, but it just doesn't feel right. And that is enough reason not to buy a shoe.  [00:20:22] Track 2: Absolutely. And some brands are higher or lower volume, a wider or narrower lasts. Yes. You want your foot to slide in. And the closure system is there to just do the final snugging. It's not there to. To crush the shoe around your foot.  [00:20:37] Randall: Great.  [00:20:38] Track 2: Yeah. And then just by carbon soles if you're going to ride clipless pedals where carbon soles it's only the lightest riders that can get away with either a carbon plate or a thermoplastic sole. You're talking about putting a lot of power transmission and a lot of force through a pretty small area with that pedal.  [00:20:57] It's just worth it. And they'll last longer. Sometimes the thermoplastic, so we'll be stiff enough to begin with. And then they will start to gain flex over time and over time, it'll feel like you're standing on golf balls. Because we're talking gravel. Some riders like using flat pedals and shoes.  [00:21:12] That works great. Everything we're going to talk about still applies. Use good pedals that have grippy pins. Metal pins and then aware of bike specific shoe, like a five 10 or something like that, because that shoe is actually going to be built in the same idea of transmitting power and supporting your weight. Not to mention, it's going to stick to the pedal. Now you've got these great shoes, right? You've spent real money on them. Don't cheap out here, spend if necessary, spend another, whatever it is, $40, something like that on proper insoles that support your whole foot. If you look at how our feet are made to move, our feet are built not for bike shoes. Feet are built for running, walking. Where you would, your foot would naturally pronate. And I think of that as you would land on the outside of your heel and your foot is going to roll across and your arch is going to flatten as you leave off your big toe.  [00:22:04] That's just normal pronation. That's how our feet are built to move. The problem is on a bike you're in a constrained plane of motion and if your arch collapses, what ends up happening is now your ankle collapses to the inside your knee, collapses to the inside. Sometimes that can translate all the way up to your hips, and a tremendous amount of discomfort that people have is just simply because maybe they have higher arches and they don't have high arch insoles.  [00:22:30] Randall: And just as a sidebar here this is often the source of a lot of pain and repeated stress injuries. So to the meniscus or to the IT bands or what have you. So this is a an issue that I used to have, and I tried everything I could, but there are other parameters of the bike. And finally, I got some custom insoles made and everything aligned. [00:22:50] Track 2: And I bet you've had those insoles forever, too. [00:22:52] Randall: Coming up on 13 years.  [00:22:54] Track 2: There you go. So they probably an expensive investment to begin with, but man, they've changed riding for you over the  [00:22:59] Randall: Yeah, I even run within souls and it makes a world of difference.  [00:23:02] Track 2: Same here. And so just to put a bow on, that if you pull a rider's insoles out and marks individual marks from their toes that means that they're calling inside the shoe to try and create stability. That can be solved with proper insoles. Sometimes people have a verus twist to their forefoot. I think I forget what the percentage is. It's approaching half the population has this. I certainly do. And so I put a very thin angled shim under my forefoot. Inside the shoe between the shoe and the insole. And the goal here between all of that is to create so much support for your foot, that you pushed down through the entire sole of your foot. And there's no arch movement.  [00:23:41] Everything can just move smoothly. You don't want any kind of tension in the foot, the ankle, the knee to try and stabilize that motion.  [00:23:50] Randall: So we've talked about shoes. We've talked about insoles. What's next.  [00:23:53] Track 2: And now the last part of that is how does that connect to the bike. So cleats and pedals. If I had to put money on what I'm going to see when someone comes to me for a fit, it almost always includes that their cleats are slid too far forward. We're typically talking about mountain bike shoes for people riding on gravel, so if you look at the underside of your shoes, there's two sets of threaded holes for whatever reason most people put their cleats in the front set of holes and then they might even be slid forward from there because there is some sliding adjustment. If you want a catch all for the easiest thing to do, put them in the rear set of holes and slide them all the way back.  [00:24:29] They're very few shoes that actually have adjustment ranges that will allow you to put it back further than is comfortable. And you'll know that you're feel like you're peddling behind the ball of your foot. But even in that case, there's no downside to pedaling from a midfoot position.  [00:24:44] But there are a lot of downsides to pedaling with the cleat towards your toes. If you think about it, you don't walk upstairs by putting the tips of your toes on the stairs. Cause that would add all kinds of tension to your calf, just to be able to walk up the stairs. So why do we want to pedal from the front of our foot where we're going to have to tense our calf and our ankle with every single pedal stroke.  [00:25:07] It's amazing oftentimes just by moving someone's cleats you'll they'll have a history of calf cramps. Just go away.  [00:25:15] Randall: Or tendonitis in the Achilles, which was an issue that I had until I made that adjustment all those years ago.  [00:25:21] Track 2: Yup. Absolutely.  [00:25:23] Randall: I'd add in addition, this is really why getting the right size shoe is so critical because if you have a shoe that's too big, you're not going to have sufficient rearward adjustability in that clique in order to get this optimal position.  [00:25:34] Track 2: Absolutely the longer your shoe is the further forward those cleats go and you can't get them back far enough. And then the last part is the pedals themselves. this is this pretty simple, I always recommend people onto an SPD style nothing wrong with the others that are out there. But the reason that I do, if you look at either the Shimano XT or the XTR pedals, and I have no affiliation with them  [00:25:57] They have these two small machined areas on either side of the mechanism on the pedal itself. Those are for the tread of your shoe to sit on. So you actually get a massive amount of contact area. I don't even ride road pedals anymore. Again, I said my gravel bike is my only drop bar bike, but I'll go on 200 kilometer rides with my SPD pedals. Because you're getting such a big bearing surface. It's like you have a big road clean. You're essentially getting the best of both worlds. [00:26:27] Randall: Yeah, I definitely second that the SPD style with a bigger platform to interface with the tread of the shoe is really the way to go. I could see some opportunities to improve on that, but maybe that's something that I explore in the future.  [00:26:40] Track 2: I would love to see that. Okay. So those things aren't going to feel like they're super connected, but if you miss that, you're going to have potentially knees wobbling all over the place. You're going to have all kinds of little problems that you may never be able to chase out otherwise. So let's come up with an actionable list as far as what would that process look like? This is something you can do at home.  [00:27:03] The very first thing to do would be get your rough satellite correct. In my fit studio, I use motion capture software. I use angle measurement device. I do all kinds of things. All of those line up with the heel method where you need to be balanced against a wall or even better on fixed trainer, but the idea is. Be in the saddle and unclip from your pedal. And now push the pedal all the way till it's at its furthest point away from you at the bottom of the stroke and with a totally straight leg, your heel should just be making contact with the pedal. If you're making firm contact your seat's too low, if you can't touch the pedal, your seat's too high.  [00:27:45] And when you get it in that range, what happens is when you bring your foot back to the ball of your foot's on the pedal, you end up with a pretty nice knee bend. So that's a really good starting point. And depending on your flexibility, you can adjust up and down from there, but it's pretty darn easy for anybody to get their saddle correct that way.  [00:28:04] Randall: Yeah. I'd like to add to this that it can be good to say backpedal and make sure one, you don't have any leg length discrepancies, but also that you're not rocking your hips or otherwise reaching While you're doing that one legged check. So backpedaling we'll help you to ensure that you really got that dialed as well as possible given the method being used. There's another way that this can be done that I often use in virtual fits, which would be the 92% of barefoot inseam. Again, this isn't gospel. This is just a starting point for getting the appropriate saddle height.  [00:28:35] But in this case, barefoot against a wall jam, a hardcover book between your legs firmly so it bumps right up against the bottom of your pelvis, make sure it's square and then take that measurement. and 92% of that would be a rough approximate saddle height.  [00:28:48] Track 2: Where would you measure that satellite from, and to when you translated that to the bike? [00:28:52] Randall: So center of the crank spindle, along the seat tube to the top of the saddle. Now as you can see depending on whether the fat saddles more four or more AFT, it's going to change the effective distance to the sit bones, right? So it's not a perfect method. It's no substitute for actually going to a fitter, but it gets us in the ballpark in the same way that the bare foot inseam does and combining these two methods, one can have a nice checking effect on the other.  [00:29:20] Track 2: I totally agree. And then we're going to talk about some things too, that should hopefully help you tune in from that standpoint? As far as okay. If I'm experiencing this, what do I do?  [00:29:29] So the next step, once we've got the rough satellite, we would want to set rough draft. And if you're doing to the measurement that Randall mentioned, you probably want to do this first. So that, that way you're setting to the same point. Years ago. I'm thinking late nineties, early two thousands timeframe, essentially all the leading minds and fitting. Had this idea that we wanted our saddles as far backwards as we could get them so that we would be able to bear all of our weight on the saddle. And this is a case of where they were thinking in terms of physics, not biomechanics.  [00:30:03] That really is outdated. What ends up happening is you're pulling your hips back and you're closing up the angle between your thigh and your torso. Most people don't have phenomenal hip flexibility. And what ends up happening is if you're pushing yourself into the back seat like that, you're closing that angle up and you run out of your active range of motion.  [00:30:26] And you end up now starting to stretch your hips with every pedal stroke. And if you've been behind a rider and maybe you've experienced this yourself, but it's easier to see it on someone else. If you're riding behind someone down the road and you watch their knee come out to the side with every pedal stroke.  [00:30:43] That's their hip angle being too closed up. Now it could either be that their saddles too low, or what I see very often is that their saddle is too far back. [00:30:52] So if we want a good starting point. Start in the middle of the rails. But be mindful too, of how much setback your seat post has. If you have a seat post with, say 15 to 20 millimeters or setback, you may have to set your starting point pushed forward. I'm finding more and more.  [00:31:09] That that most riders are best served with a zero setback seatpost, and when you have that, now the saddle generally falls right in the middle of the rails. Okay, so next step, as you're doing this, don't stress out over your knee- over pedal spindle. One it's pretty darn hard to measure yourself, but two, if you use that as a guiding principle, it will oftentimes push you back too far. And you'll, again, end up with those hip impingement issues. I measure knee over pedal spindle at the end of a bike fit, but I don't drive the fit around it. Whereas years ago you would set everything using that.  [00:31:45] Randall: And using and doing it in a way that actually ended up putting more strain on the front of the knee. Used to be you would take a plumb Bob from the front of that bony protuberance just below the knee cap and wanted that to go directly through the center of the pedal spindle. that puts more strain on the front of the knee. The newer thinking on this, which is something I've adopted long ago. And I use in my remote fits is a slightly higher and more forward saddle position opens up the hip, and that ends up putting more of the center of the joint over the center of the spindle. Not that it has to be perfectly there, but that more forward position ends up seeming biomechanically more sound, more comfortable or efficient.  [00:32:26] Track 2: Absolutely. And it's, and you're just, you're running into these impingements so much less, so it's much easier to get the pedal over the top of the stroke. It's much easier to get into the downstroke, the power stroke. And we want no dead spots in the peddling. And we don't want to be creating them with some of these artifacts of fit.  [00:32:43] And then as far as where your knees are tracking, I mentioned before knees flicking out to the side, that's usually a saddle that's too low or too far back. If your knees are diving to the inside, that's usually Back to support inside your shoes. But don't chase those things with side, decide adjustments on the bike.  [00:33:04] Certainly never use adjustments in your cleats to try and constrain your body into a certain path of motion. And on that same idea. We all have a natural stance. Some people their toes are pointed out when they're just standing. Some people, their toes are pointed in. There's no good, bad, right wrong there.  [00:33:24] Unless you're trying to force yourself out of that natural stance. So don't say okay, I'm naturally a little bit of a pigeon toed, so I'm going to try and crank my cleats or my adjustment to try and straighten that out on the bike. That's the worst thing you can do, because that is how your body was built.  [00:33:41] That's okay. And don't let people say, oh, your heels need to track behind your toes. No, your body needs to track how it naturally does. [00:33:49] Randall: Yeah. And forcing it is really where injuries come into play.  [00:33:53] And so having your cleats dials right into the center of the float for that cleat pedal system is ideal. There should be no restrictions whatsoever in your natural motion is essentially what you're getting at there.  [00:34:06] Track 2: Okay. We've got the saddle in the right spot. So we'll move on to the front end. And this will set the rough handlebar position. And this is the thing it's. It's very difficult to do by feel yourself. It's much easier if you say film it or have someone take pictures or help you eyeball these things.  [00:34:25] What you on the bike? Them standing there. In the terms of our goal for upper body position. No matter how high or low your front end is, we want to get about a 90 degree angle between your upper arm and your torso. Within a gentle bend at the elbows. When you do that, you end up naturally bearing your weight so that your shoulders are being pushed back, your shoulder blades are being pushed together.  [00:34:52] This carries your weight really comfortably. You don't have to have tension. You don't have to to engage muscles, to hold yourself there. One of the most common ways I see people go wrong here. Is that if you're feeling, say discomfort in your hands or your shoulders or your neck, They will shorten up their reach and they will sit themselves up higher. And the idea is we're going to get more weight on the saddle. We're going to get weight off our hands.  [00:35:19] The problem is not weight in your hands. The problem is how you're carrying that weight. And when you close up that angle between the upper arm and the torso, right? When you take that from 90 degrees and you start shrinking that angle. Now if you picture your arms down more close to your sides, when you push up, push your elbow up.  [00:35:39] It's now hunching your shoulders. That's not a comfortable place to be. So what you end up doing is you tense your shoulders and your neck to hold your arms back down. And now try holding that for a couple hours at a time, through bumps and while you're always trying to stabilize a pedal.  [00:35:56] And so it becomes this losing battle. Oh, I still have a sore neck and shoulder, so I'm going to shorten it even more. And then it never goes away. In this case, don't be afraid to go a little longer and certainly don't be afraid to go lower. I very commonly lower riders front ends, especially if they've been playing this game, as far as trying to get away from that pressure. What ends up happening is when you move yourself into that position of carrying your arms, your upper arms at 90 degrees. From the torso, all your weight almost feels like it disappears. And if you were to do the physics free body diagram of it, there's more weight in your hands. There's more weight pushing through your arms, but biomechanically you're carrying it in the way your body was designed to carry it.  [00:36:42] Randall: And that in turn has an impact also on handling.  [00:36:46] Because one, if you're not comfortable, it's hard to handle the bike over a long duration ride. That's one thing. But then too, in terms of the planted ness of the front end, if you're constantly going. More and more upright taking mass off the front end. That can work in a straight line dirt descent, but if you're trying to plant the front end on a high-speed road turn, for example it's exactly the opposite effect that you want. So having your body balanced on the bike, so the bike can dance under you in a way that maintains optimal control is also something that comes into this fit component too.  [00:37:15] Track 2: Absolutely. And if I put on my bike skills, coach hat for a moment one thing that I see very often when riders sit too far upright, or they push themselves into the back seat, they extend their arms completely. And what ends up happening is when your arms are totally straight, you can't really lean the bike very well.  [00:37:33] You end up having to steer instead, and bikes really are not built to be steered. They're built to be leaned. And then the geometry of the bike takes over and does the appropriate amount of steering itself? So by getting a little bit lower and by getting a nice, comfortable, say, 15 degree bend in your arms, and also, then when it's now cornering time, get that little bit lower.  [00:37:57] You now have room to reach and lean the bike, which makes a massive difference in how confident the bike feels. And it will essentially, the way it would manifest itself is if your front wheel is constantly washing out on you, you're steering, not leaning.  [00:38:10] Randall: That's a great pointer. Let's continue here. So what else? What's next from here? [00:38:14] Track 2: Okay. So now when we're still on the bars There is an ideal angle for your handlebars, and there's an ideal angle for your hoods. And there are two independent things, meaning just because your bike came, with the hood set at a certain place, the hoods, meaning the shifter brake levers. Just because they came in a certain place and they're all taped up and beautiful and neatly packaged does not mean that someone was thinking about you when they set that up. Most of the time, those hoods are too far down, they're tip too far forward, and what ends up happening then is you have to cock your wrist downward. So it almost be like you're pointing your thumb downward and you're creating this pressure in your wrist.  [00:38:57] That is not something you want to be doing for hours on end. And when you're on gravel and you're handling bumps like that, man, that is not fun. It can result in a lot of discomfort.  [00:39:07] Randall: Or injury. There's a on the carpal bones at the base of the wrist.  [00:39:10] I've definitely made that mistake and had to rotate things back to, to alleviate it.  [00:39:15] Track 2: Yeah. So the, if you truly don't feel comfortable on taping your bars, you can roll the bars themselves back, but I'm here to tell you don't be scared of bar tape. It's it's very easy. You actually only have to untape as far as the hoses themselves. And then the hoods just have a simple band clamp that holds them in place.  [00:39:34] Bring them up to a point where you can put your hand just naturally falls right onto it.  [00:39:40] Don't want to have to cock it up down. What you'll also find too. It because it's now coming up a little bit more. You will have a far more secure grip on it. All of my drop our bikes, just by coincidence, have the SRAM hydraulic levers. They have a big horn on top, that can feel pretty secure. Most of the time. It feels like a joystick. When you have them tipped up like I'm talking about.  [00:40:02] But on say a Shimano lever that's got a much more subtle horn. When you're going down bumpy stuff, if you feel like your hands are slipping off the front of the hoods, this will make that go away because you'll bring it up to a place where you're actually catching the web of your hand in that.  [00:40:18] Randall: Yeah. And one thing I want to throw out for folks too, is that if you have an existing bike, If you're reaching in order to get your hands into that natural position on the hoods, if you're having to stretch and you find your hands sliding back when you are going in a straight line and relaxing that means your front end is probably too long.  [00:40:35] And so that would be one way to get some anecdotal indication that your stem length is off or some other fit parameter is off.  [00:40:43] Track 2: Yeah. I would absolutely agree with that. And I see that, like I mentioned, most people come to me on bikes that are on the big side for them. And then their hands, their happy place where they're hands naturally fall, was somewhere between 10 and 30 millimeters behind the hoods.  [00:40:59] So you want to adjust where your front end is using the stem. That way the web of your hand every time naturally falls right into the bend of the hood, where you're just naturally locked in there and you're not having to grab the hell out of the bars to have a good purchase on the bike. [00:41:15] Randall: Yeah. And you're not constantly moving your hands back on the bars to, to, get comfortable because the natural position is on those hoods. Cause they're positioned properly. Now. There are some other things that, that people can do to get a more dial fit. And I think especially for smaller riders, one of these things is crank length.  [00:41:32] Track 2: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Our traditional crank lengths. I'll just go out and say, if they're too long for most riders And the only reason that this stuff sticks around is because we have not as a community been asking the industry consistently enough for shorter stuff. that's really what it comes down to. And so people don't know that they should be on shorter cranks. I'll give a personal example. I just went down a three week rabbit hole, trying to find a set of 1 65 millimeter cranks for my mountain bike. Partly, I was trying to gain a little bit of clearance off the ground with it because it has a low bottom bracket, but mostly I was trying to smooth out my pedal stroke. And I'm someone, I'm five, 10. I literally am a professional writer. That's what I do for my living. I ride bikes and and yet I was finding that one 70 fives, even with decent flexibility, they were just too long for me.  [00:42:26] So I finally found one set and bought them. And man, it is like an instant difference. Pedal strokes, moved out, comfort increased. I can spin up faster. It's mind blowing.  [00:42:39] Randall: And I'm going to jump on this this soapbox with you for a moment and just say that. from my perspective crank length is the foundation of fit. Meaning you start with crank length in that circle, you get the foot position dialed, then you get your saddle position, dial and then you get your hands in the right position and that determines frame size and so on. But really that circle that you're spinning in is a key driver and should scale proportionally. Saddle height is a good proxy. So the ratio that we use is a 22%. Ratio of crank length to a properly set saddle height. And that works for the vast majority of people.  [00:43:14] Now some people will be concerned about, oh, I'm losing torque.  [00:43:16] Every five millimeters at that scale is only a 3% difference in torque, but at the same foot speed, your cadence is 3% higher. So you're not really losing power. Torque is not power. Torque is torque. It's a component of power.  [00:43:29] So really this is one of those areas that for riders of our scale, I'm writing one seventies, I think you're writing one 60 fives. It has some benefit. Are you on five 11? You're five, 10.  [00:43:40] But for smaller riders, especially a lot of component brands don't even offer anything below 1 65. So just finding something that is proportional scale, I do find it an entirely different vendor and then push them hard to create a whole new tool, to create a 1 55 length crank so that we could accommodate smaller riders properly. And that's really unfortunate because there's a pretty large market for riders who are, five foot. To five six that are not being taken care of currently by the market.  [00:44:08] Track 2: No. And unfortunately too, if you don't know any better, you just assume that the bike must come with the appropriate size. So in my coaching, I work with a lot of women and I work with a lot of women who happened to be on the petite side, in the five foot to five, four range. And we've had this conversation and they are very frustrated that their bike, an extra small bike is coming with 170 millimeter cranks. And actually, I was just working with one of my athletes this weekend and she was getting low back pain. And she notices that when she rides the pike with one seventies, she gets a low back pain when she rides pike with one sixties. And I'm sorry, not even one 60 fives. So tiny difference note and we have the Fitz dial. It's really just the matter of that, that longer crank really does push out beyond the natural range of motion. [00:44:57] Randall: Yeah. And this plays into gearing. If you're using a one by drive train, and you're concerned about the jumps if you're using a proportional crank, then you're able to spin at a wider range of cadences more comfortably. And so the concerns with jumps go away.  [00:45:09] Also when you're pulling your leg up to go over the top of the pedal stroke you're working against your glutes. And so if your crank links are too long, your glutes are pulling even more against you trying to get your foot over and thus impacting your power over time. So there's a lot of benefits that come from going with proportional and for the vast majority of people. Shorter cranks that I guess I'll step out, step off the soap box. At this point, we can move on to the next  [00:45:34] Track 2: No. What I appreciate though, there is like you put your money where your mouth is there on that. In that you actually did go out and develop short cranks, right? You were not satisfied with what was available. You spent considerable time and effort to go out and develop short cranks. Actually, when I was going down that rabbit hole, I was like, God, I should just put thesis cranks on my mountain bike. And the only reason I didn't was because the spindle would not be long enough to fit a boost mountain bike.  [00:45:58] Randall: Yeah, I believe FSA does a good job here that they recently released some shorter length crank. So if anyone's looking that might be a good place to start. And now hopefully other brands come around on this as well, because it's a place where a significant gains can be had. So what else would we like to wrap up with here in terms of fit considerations?  [00:46:14] Track 2: Yeah. Let's see. It. Even though it does not necessarily determine the geometry of your fit. I think a dropper post actually is a contributor to good fit. Reason being, if you're talking about a gravel bike that you want to be able to handle comfortably, in chunky terrain then.  [00:46:31] You don't want to run a lower saddle height all the time with a fixed post, just to have more comfortable handling. It's much better to have a dropper post that you can then push down to an even better position. But then the rest of the time, spin on an optical satellite.  [00:46:48] Randall: Yeah. I'll often tell folks who are concerned about the weight that you're adding say three quarter of a pound. to be less than half a percent. and you're gaining by having the appropriate saddle height. You're probably gaining more than that half a percent in terms of efficiency and comfort and the sustainability of being in a given position for a long period of time.  [00:47:07] And so it's one of those ways along with certain other, other things, wider rims and so on. Bigger tires were adding weight to your bike can actually improve your speed and your performance.  [00:47:18] Track 2: Unquestionably. Yup. I absolutely agree.  [00:47:21] Randall: How about saddles?  [00:47:22] Track 2: Yeah. Saddle shouldn't hurt, man. And I really mean this to female riders as well, because I think that oftentimes, some dude at a bike shop tells them yeah, it's just how it is. Your saddle hurts. No.  [00:47:36] Unquestionably no. And this is from also a medical standpoint too, and an injury standpoint. If you have discomfort that you are enduring for hours on end, that can lead to tissue damage, that can lead to blood vessel damage. No, to not do that.  [00:47:52] You don't have to spend a fortune on saddles. What you need to do is find one that works for you. And this is again, another place where your local bike shop can really come in handy.  [00:48:03] Saddle right. have demo fleets of saddles where say a company will send them one of every kind of saddle in every width, and you can take that saddle home and ride it for a few days and say, oh, okay. I like this, except it's not wide enough. I like this, except it's not padded enough or whatever those things are. And they can help you tune in so that you're not spending money only to find out that you don't like that.  [00:48:30] Randall: Yeah.  [00:48:30] Track 2: And just, oh my gosh, the seats that come on, a lot of bikes are oftentimes downright horrible. And do not assume that just because your bike came with a certain seat means that seat should be comfortable for you. This is a case of spend a few bucks and you will change your experience drastically. [00:48:48] Randall: Yes. And the other end here is that if you have a saddle that's not comfortable while it may not be the saddle, there's some adjustments. Some tilt adjustment in particular that may need to happen in order feed a, find your sweet spot on that saddle and the right angle and the like.  [00:49:03] Track 2: And those adjustments are really minor.  [00:49:05] When I'm doing fits, I actually use a digital level because you oftentimes can't see how fine the adjustments are required to make a change. I'm usually making about a half a degree change at a time. You cannot see a half a degree. If you're making adjustments by eye, you're probably oftentimes overshooting.  [00:49:23] Randall: Wide nose saddles. The specialized power was one of the first ones there. back  [00:49:42] There's a bunch of different ones out there that are using the same philosophy ours included. And these generally can work for a wide range of riders. And they got their start in the triathlon world where you're in that extreme position for a really long period of time. So comfort is that much more important there, but now you're seeing them adopted, in road, in, in cross and gravel and even in the mountain bike spheres.  [00:50:03] Track 2: Yeah. And to that point, I actually ride the exact same saddle on every one of my bikes. Once I found the right one that really works for me, I then put it on every single bike. And that includes mountain bike cyclocross. Gravel bike. Find the right one for you because it's out there. [00:50:19] Randall: What about someone's considering getting a new handlebar for whatever reason, maybe it's comfort or maybe they want to try a new flare so on how do they determine bar with.  [00:50:26] Track 2: Okay, so this is super common in the gravel world. I think the easiest way to think of it is you want to match your bars to your shoulder width. You can go wider, I would say up to about 20 millimeters. And that would be the measurement at the hoods, that would be your center to center measurement at the hoods. if you want to measure that, what you would do.  [00:50:46] Is put your hand on the outside of your shoulder and you'll feel like you're in soft tissue. And then work your way up, just creep your hand up until you come over and you'll feel all of a sudden, a bony protrusion, you'll feel where your arm goes in. And your shoulder bone comes out. Find that on either side. And have someone else measure that on you. you can't take this measurement by yourself. You want your bars to match that and they can be up to about 20 millimeters wider. [00:51:15] Now I'm sure you've seen all the fashion trends in gravel bars lately.  [00:51:21] But what's your take on that? [00:51:22] Randall: wider bars. Um, but But if you're looking for my philosophy with these bikes is I want a bike that is going to perform well on road.  [00:51:35] And on dirt. And I don't find that I have any handling deficits, even on the most technical dirt that I can tackle with my six 50 by 47 tires and dropper posts, which is some pretty rough terrain. And. What you gain from going wider is that you have more leverage. But if you are shifting your weight down and back over the rear axle and lightening up the front end while you're reducing the torque loads that are being applied through your steering column by the terrain as you're traversing it.  [00:52:05] And so really a dropper posts negates the need to go super wide there. But there were other considerations. Some people just prefer it. That's fine. Wider is better than too narrow is a problem. And then also if you're a bike packing and you want to have a huge bar bag up there that can be another consideration as well.  [00:52:20] Track 2: are coming in with really flared bars.  [00:52:27] I find that oftentimes those lead to more compromises than they than they help. And I'm talking about bars that are 15 to 25 degrees of flare what ends up happening with that? Or in the drops.  [00:52:46] But it's very difficult. And it requires a tremendous amount of iteration to try and get all of the positions on the bars, comfortable with those. And then it also, oftentimes even if you can get it there you're crushing your hands with the brake levers when you squeeze the breaks in the drops.  [00:53:02] My personal take, I'm riding bars that are 10 degree flared which is not insignificant. But I think that's about the the widest flare, you can go to have really natural use of all the positions on your bars. [00:53:14] Randall: Yeah. I'm with you there. All right in closing, anything that we didn't cover today that you want to bring up.  [00:53:19] Track 2: No, I think we went pretty deep. I hope this spurs a lot of thought and some questions in the community. And then, what I'd like to do is keep the conversation going. Let's all get better at this. together. And what's that's a big part of what's so cool about gravel is that, that growth in the community. Do what I say and you'll be happy. This is let's all learn together.  [00:53:45] Randall: Excellent. Can you take a moment, just tell folks where they can find you. [00:53:48] Track 2: I made it super simple recently. It's just coach And so from there you can find all the different things that I do and and all the social links and you can interact with these super easily through that. [00:54:00] Randall: Yeah, this is the bike fitting. This is the coaching. This is the skills camps. And so on.  [00:54:05] Track 2: Absolutely. [00:54:05] Randall: Also Patrick is a member of the ridership, so if you have questions, you can definitely jump in there and we will have the episode posted in some conversation around that as well. So if you have questions or feedback on some of the things that we covered today would love to have you join us in that conversation. [00:54:18] Patrick, thank you very much for joining me today. It's been a pleasure chatting with you and catching up, and I look forward to seeing you this summer and hopefully revising my personal bike fit using your expertise.  [00:54:30] Track 2: Yeah. I think we're gonna be able to be together in a month or so. I'm really looking forward to that. [00:54:33] All right. My friend. Be well. [00:54:35] Track 2: you very much. Thank you. Thank you. 

    Spooky cycles - the return of aluminum gravel bikes with the ROVR

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2021 22:20

    This week we sit down with Adam Eggeberecht from Spooky Cycles to talk about the resurrection of the brand and how modern day aluminum is crafted for gravel bikes. This episode is presented by ENVE. Spooky Cycles The Ridership Support the Podcast 

    The Gravel Lot - Repost of Craig Dalton interview

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2021 88:36

    This week we are republishing an interview from The Gravel Lot podcast where your host, Craig Dalton gets to share a bit of his journey into podcasting and community building with Jon and Doug of The Gravel Lot fame. The Gravel Lot Web Support the Podcast Join The Ridership 

    repost gravel gravel lot
    In the Dirt 23: First time gravelers, Rooted Vermont, gravel suspension and more

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2021 40:06

    This week Randall and Craig catch up on all things gravel. We discuss introducing friends to gravel riding and events, suspension on gravel bikes and comparative bike geometry. Geometry Geeks Support the Podcast  Join The Ridership

    Sage Titanium - Dave Rosen Founder / CEO

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2021 34:43

    This week we sit down with Dave Rosen, founder and CEO of Sage Titanium. After connecting at the ENVE Custom Builder Round Up, we sat down to talk about the Titanium Storm King, its performance goals and the multiple finishes that adorned this show bike. This show was presented by ENVE. Sage Titanium Website / Instagram  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): ENVESage Titanium  [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. [00:00:07] This week on the podcast, we've got Dave Rosen, CEO, and founder of Sage Bicycles out of Oregon. Dave. And I happened to meet at the ENVE builder Roundup, and this is one of five episodes related to the NV Roundup that happened at the end of June in Ogden, Utah. I have to reiterate. If you're known for the company, you keep.  [00:00:29] ENVE is known for exceptional relationships. That room was filled with outstanding builders from all over the world that chose to spec their custom creations with ENVE components and parts, including their adventure fork stems bars. And of course their wonderful gravel wheels. If you haven't already followed ENVE on social media channels.  [00:00:54] Definitely do. And I highly highly recommend you seeking out imagery from the grow Dio event. So many beautiful bikes, so many beautiful paint jobs really worth looking at and keeping on your calendar for next year. If you happen to have the opportunity to race the grody. Event. It was an amazing ride out of Ogden, Utah.  [00:01:18] That really checked a lot of boxes for me. It was both technical and challenging and scenically. Beautiful. Definitely one to have on your gravel calendar for 2022. With all that said let's dive right in to my interview with Dave Rosen, from Sage bicycles. Dave, welcome to the show. [00:01:39] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks Craig.  [00:01:40] Craig Dalton: Great to see you. After seeing you in Utah at the ENVE builder, Roundup, what a, what an event. It was.  [00:01:46] David Rosen (Sage): It really was fantastic. I had such a good time. It was so much fun. [00:01:49] Just being able to reconnect with friends. Doing industry stuff. Again, it just, it was way too long. And to be able to, meet new customers and that kind of thing, it just, it was just, it was great. And then just riding bikes, it was all about bikes. Just everything we did from to the little short track event, it was a really good time. [00:02:08] Yeah. I thought it was  [00:02:09] Craig Dalton: funny that some of the builders were actually taking the bikes they built and racing them or riding them in the grody event.  [00:02:15] David Rosen (Sage): The next. Yeah that's what I did with mine. It was just, that's why I brought it. It was it's meant to be written. It's meant to be raced. [00:02:22] Although I really wouldn't classify my writing as racing so much as it was surviving at my own pace. So I can make it back in time for beer. There was a bit  [00:02:31] Craig Dalton: of that survival strategy in my day as well, but it was a great reminder and seeing all these great builders that I've wanted to have more of these conversations and particularly excited to talk about Sage Titanic. [00:02:43] So why don't we just start off with learning a little bit more about what led you to start the company and when it was started?  [00:02:50] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, so I started the company officially on paper in 2012. My first inventory was produced in 2013. At the time the original intent with the brand was to actually make the frames overseas. [00:03:06] For that in the beginning with the idea of offering a lower cost price point, competitor to what was out there. I knew I wanted to do titanium. It was always about titanium. I've been in love with titanium as a frame material for ever since the eighties, when I would see, titanium, Italian bikes rolling around and, central park, New York city, which is where I'm originally from not central park, mind you, but New York city. [00:03:28] And for me, it was always about Thai, but in this instance, I thought, it might be good to do a price point. And what I realized is over the course of that first year is the quality suffered. And, the reality is you get what you pay for. And yeah, the pricing could be cheap, blah. [00:03:44] There's a reason why it's cheap. And so the quality of the bikes suffered, the stuff we put out was fine, but we had more failures than we had successes. And, we've taken care of all of our customers that have had issues. And then there are others. Never heard from him. Everything's fine. [00:03:59] Wasn't it. Dave, was there a particular  [00:04:01] Craig Dalton: style of bike that you targeted at that time? It was a bit early, obviously for gravel in those days in 2012.  [00:04:07] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, we did actually a while we did have a road bike it was more about the cyclocross bike and we actually had a commuter bike that would be the precursor to the current gravity. [00:04:20] It was designed around larger tires. Not as massive as what you're seeing today and their geometry was more relaxed than a road bike, similar to a cross bike, but with a longer wheel base. So it really was very versatile and we actually marketed it more as a commuter bike both a drop bar and a flat bar version, basically the same frame, just different builds. [00:04:40] But it showed the versatility of the bike for what it is. Gotcha. So in  [00:04:44] Craig Dalton: that first year, you were unhappy with the production partner in China that you had. Yeah. It could very easily have been the end of Sage titanium at that point. But what did you do?  [00:04:54] David Rosen (Sage): I basically just stepped back for a moment and analyzed what was going on. [00:04:59] People, customers. The concept of our brand. They liked what we were doing as a small builder, or, the just the ability to offer it's this Oregon, the Oregon brand connection, all that sort of stuff. The bikes were authentic. The designs were good. But it was just, they liked what we were doing, but they didn't necessarily like the maiden China aspect. [00:05:21] And so it really. Yeah, you're absolutely right. We could have folded up right then and there and not known what to do, but instead I made the decision to push forward with maiden USA. And so in 2014 is when I pivoted the brand. And instead of being more of a budget focused, mid tier titanium brand, I was like, we're going all in on the premium stuff. [00:05:43] And that's when we started our relationship with ENVE and instead of buying. Shimano 1 0 5, we're now buying Shimano duress. And it's all carbon this, then it's just, we're going high end and frames are made in USA. That is always the key and being able to push that out and and get that out there. [00:06:00] And then as we've, as the brand has moved along, we've been able to slowly evolve it. So the designs have gotten better. The line has expanded. We found our niche. Gravel bikes in particular. And then the mountain bikes are doing really well for us. But then we've been able to expand with now our finishes. [00:06:16] And so we've been able to continue to evolve the brand over these past from where it started nine years ago, to where it is now, the brands, It's a complete turnaround. Other than the name there, there's not much, that's the same between the two,  [00:06:29] Craig Dalton: interesting. So can you talk to the listener a little bit about why you love titanium as a frame material with a particular eye on the gravel market and what makes it a great material for gravel bikes? [00:06:40] David Rosen (Sage): So the reason I love titanium is it was always for me growing up, it was that space, age material, it was the stuff that was used in the space shuttle and, fighter jets and that sort of thing. So it's got this mystique about it, if you will. It was back in the I'm trying not to date myself, but back in the eighties, it was like, It was sexier. [00:07:04] It was it. Wasn't nothing wrong with steel. I love steel. I love aluminum. I love carbon. Everything has its place for where it should be, but the tie bikes back then there was just something mystical about them. You'd see plenty of steel bikes riding around plenty of aluminum bikes, but it was very few titanium bikes. [00:07:22] When you saw one, it was special. And so that always made an imprint on me kind of thing. And that's where I initially fell in love with it. The. What has drawn me to it from a builder standpoint? And the reason why I only focus on titanium is because of the durability of the material. [00:07:38] The the, how far it can bend the fatigue, resistance of the material. If the fact that it's rust-proof it's, I live in the Pacific Northwest, steel bikes are awesome, but they can rust if you don't take care of them. And if you take care of them, they're fine. But if you don't, they can rust titanium. [00:07:55] Doesn't rust. Titanium has a higher fatigue resistance point where you can bend the tube farther in titanium and it'll snap back before it breaks versus steel or aluminum for that matter. So inherently, then it then gives itself this ride quality. Again, maybe this is an old term, but it was called the magic carpet ride because it just smooths everything out. [00:08:19] And it's one of those things that when you're on it, if you ride a carbon bike on chip seal or an aluminum bike on chip seal or even steel for that matter, but then you write a tie, it there's a vibration, but if you ride titanium on chip seal, it mutes it out. It's just, it's really amazing what the material can do. [00:08:36] And the fact that it can be repaired easily. It's the forever bike. You're going to have a tie bike for 20, 30, 40 years. The only reason to change it at some point is just because it's outdated and that's, and even then, that's not really a reason to change it. Cause there's always, the desire to keep those historical bikes. [00:08:55] So yeah, my  [00:08:56] Craig Dalton: father's got one sitting in the garage with, I think a mag 21 fork on it and cantilever lever brakes.  [00:09:02] David Rosen (Sage): And he'll never get  [00:09:03] Craig Dalton: rid of it, a reason for him to replace it, other than he doesn't know what he's missing, because he's never written disc, disc brakes at this point.  [00:09:11] David Rosen (Sage): Exactly. But beyond that, it's just, it's a bike he's going to keep, and he's got a lot of good memories for it. [00:09:16] So  [00:09:17] Craig Dalton: early it's at Sage, thinking about the cross-market and the commuter market. When did gravel start to become a thing? When did you start to see those trends start to appear and what your customers were asking for?  [00:09:30] David Rosen (Sage): I would say I started to see it in 2015 2014 and 2015. So the, our first USA frames were 2014. [00:09:38] We had a road, we had a road frame and a cross. Which we brought up, we improve the designs based on what was originally made in China, made some refinements to it okay, we've took, we've taken our learnings and move forward. The commuter bike we dropped. And it just, it wasn't where I wanted the brand to be it. [00:09:54] Wasn't where I wanted the brand to focus on. And so drop that and just started with the two bikes to begin with. But it left this hole in the line of where I felt we needed to another bike in place to round things out. And my friends and I, at that time would go out on these rides. We take our cross bikes and we were going and doing gravel rides on our cross bikes. [00:10:15] Some guys would use their rode bikes and they, 25 mill tires was considered a fat tire back in 2014 and 2015. And we'd go out and go ride gravel. And, some buy, somebody would get a flat sometimes. You wouldn't and sometimes, we'd get into some gnarly stuff and that's why you wanted a crossbite, cause it had bigger tires, but then the road bikes always beat you to the gravel, and so it was just this weird mix of what's the right bike. And there were quite a few events. Grind Duro is a great example of one where it was very much about choose your weapon. And because there were, there's plenty of paved road and grind. But then there's plenty of crazy stages of, single track and gravel road and what's the right bike. [00:11:01] And so people were bringing all these different bikes and there was no specific bike that you could just point to and go, that's the type of bike I need for this event. And there was, it was a wild west kind of mentality, which is really kinda cool. And I still think the gravel segment the way it continues to evolve. [00:11:18] Exhibits that kind of, bring what, run what you got thing and, and modify what you can, but it was around them that I started seeing that desire for something along those lines. And for me here for where I live in Beaverton, Oregon, which is just outside of Portland, I'm a little west of Portland. [00:11:34] Yeah. There is, there's plenty of good gravel, like 10 miles from my house. So I'm not going to drive to the gravel. I'm going to ride my bike to the gravel. So the initial gravel bike I designed was really around the concept of, I wanted it to be fun on the road. And when I got to the gravel, I could tear up the gravel and then go ride for 40 miles on the gravel and then come back home for a 20 mile paved ride or whatever it was, wherever it dropped me off. [00:12:00] And so that was the Genesis of the first gravel bike. It was, you had to ride it to the gravel. It wasn't, I get people have to drive sometimes, that was the idea. And was  [00:12:09] Craig Dalton: that the  [00:12:10] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow? That was the Barlow correct.  [00:12:13] Craig Dalton: And so what sort of tire size capacity did the bar  [00:12:16] David Rosen (Sage): Barlow accept? [00:12:17] It's always accepted 40 millimeter tires. 700. Or six 50 by 50. There weren't a lot of tires in that size when it first came out. I use the ENVE all road fork as the fork of choice for the Barlow, because it was it's designed around a 38, but we can actually squeeze in a 40. So we've done it. [00:12:34] It's certain tires, it works great. Some tires not as great because the fork is designed for what it is. The frame clears a 40 no problem. But it's, the fork is a little bit of a. But we designed the bike around that. And so that gave us the ability to really push the envelope. So where everybody's saying, oh, 30 and 32 millimeter tires of the gravel, I'm throwing 30 fives and who's got the fattest 40 millimeter tire I could find. [00:12:58] And at the time that was great. And so the Barlow was really ahead of the game in that regard. And then  [00:13:04] Craig Dalton: subsequently you introduced an, another model, the storm chaser. When did that come into the world? Sorry, storm. Storm king my bad. When did the storm king come into being and what were the sort of the drivers from the industry and riders that you were seeing that said, okay, the Barlow is one thing, but the storm king is going to be this other thing. [00:13:25] David Rosen (Sage): So I, I have a rider I sponsor he's a retired former world tour pro and he. He w he still races for me kinda thing. He does mountain, and he does gravel, and those are his focuses. And he took the Barlow to Unbound before it was relaunched as Unbound when it was DK. [00:13:44] And this was back in 2018, I believe if I remember correctly. And he took the Barlow there and he used, he was using the Barlow and all the gravel events that were popping. And he was encountering challenging terrain would be the best way to put it. Just, big rocks big, just nasty, just eat your tires up rocks kind of thing. [00:14:07] And he came back and he said, okay here's my opinion on everything. We need bigger tires. And I need a little bit more of an upright riding position as opposed to not quite as well. Cause the Barlow is is a little bit more aggressive. It's not as aggressive as our road bike, but it's definitely slacker and a little bit more upright. [00:14:25] But he wanted it even more. And so that was the main driver because it was based on race input. So it was, is doing skull hollow, one 20 and DK at the time were the two big ones, other events, it was working great. But for these other events these, just these handful of them. Where the terrain was nuts. [00:14:44] He said, we need something bigger. And I saw the writing on the wall as there's more of these crazy events that are starting to pop up, we're going to need a bike. That's going to be able to compete in those events. Not just SBT is a great example of the Barlow's perfect Belgian waffle ride. The Barlow works perfect. [00:15:02] It depends on which Belgian waffle ride right now. But anyway, that was the gig. I find that  [00:15:06] Craig Dalton: fascinating for someone at that end of the spectrum of the sport, a professional athlete, noting that bigger fatter slacker is actually going to be faster in these events, because I think it is something that the listener can really take away. [00:15:20] It's really easy for you to think, oh, being on one of these road, plus bikes is what's going to make me faster, but in a lot of these events and particularly for the more average athlete who spending a longer time in the center, A more comfortable bike, a more stable bike with buy bigger tires could actually be the bike of choice. [00:15:38] I  [00:15:38] David Rosen (Sage): would agree. If you think about it, if you're choosing between a 32 millimeter tire versus a 40 millimeter tire or a 36 and a 50, whatever it may be. And you're thinking the smaller tire is going to be faster because it's less rotating weight and it's going to roll faster for the tread, whatever it may be. [00:15:57] Yeah. You're probably right. How many flats are you potentially fixing and how much time are you going to waste with flats? Whereas the rolling resistance of the larger tires, isn't really that far off of the smaller tires. Yes. You're carrying more weight, but if you have more assurance that you can go faster through the rough stuff without damaging the bike, you're going to be faster overall. [00:16:18] You look at the, you look at some of the pros like Ted king and those guys, I think they're always trying to push as big a tire as they can run without it being. So early slower,  [00:16:28] Craig Dalton: that seems to be the trend. And for me, like I'm spending 30, 40% more time out there on these courses than the pro athletes are. [00:16:35] So I've got to think about the general wear and tear. My day is probably more akin to an iron man triathlon than American Don,  [00:16:42] David Rosen (Sage): you and me both 12 hour days for you. Exactly. Yeah, me too.  [00:16:47] Craig Dalton: So let's talk a little bit more specifically about the storm king and the type of tires it can access.  [00:16:52] David Rosen (Sage): So it's designed around a 700 by 50 six 50 by two point. [00:16:58] Oh, I'm sorry. 2.2 is usually pretty good. Because we can make, because we make each storm king individually, one at a time, the customer really has the opportunity to specify, I am going to run this size tire kind of thing, so we can modify the rear end of the. To accommodate the tire, obviously picking the right fork is always key. [00:17:19] Of course. In instances we just had a customer, he sent us the wheel, the full wheel and the tire, and it's okay, great. And then we just, we throw it in the frame and make sure it fits. So this way we can truly customize it to what's the worst case scenario you're going to run on this bike. [00:17:34] Craig Dalton: Do you have a stock chain stay length that on the storm king or does it going to modify based on those criteria that the customer entrance.  [00:17:43] David Rosen (Sage): It's gonna, it's gonna modify based on it's this no, no stock chain stay length. It's gonna modify based on the based on the wheel size, the tire size and actually the drive train and the dry train specifically. [00:17:57] So is it GRX? Is it Eckhart? Is it force wide? Is it Altegra stuff like that kind of thing? All of those factors we actually play in to to designing the chain, stay length because if you get it wrong and you make it too short, you run into clearance issues that it's you're stuck, but if we know what you want going into it, we can build it specifically. [00:18:19] And we really we're dialing in the process. We continue to do it every day or making it,  [00:18:23] Craig Dalton: That might be a good segue into just describing for the listener. What does that customer journey look like if they want to get on a storm king, what does the process look like? How long does it take to get one? [00:18:34] David Rosen (Sage): So the process usually begins with the customer, listening to this podcast, seeing a review online or an ad in a magazine or something along those lines. And then pretty much reaching out through the website is usually how it works. It's very rare. As crazy as it sounds that somebody will buy a bike, sight unseen through the website, it happens, but it's, a complete stock build. Here you go. This is what I want. And that sort of thing. That's, it's rare because this is a very personal purchase. And so usually the customer is going to reach out through the contact form on our website. [00:19:10] Usually usually it's me who is responding, but it could be one of our other folks here. But nine times out of 10 it's usually me that everybody's speaking to. And they'll reach out through email, I'll respond back and we start a dialogue and it could be a case of let's get on the phone and talk it through and what's understand what the build is you're looking for. [00:19:30] And we can really customize the spec and the bill. You know of the complete bike. Some customers are only looking for a frame or a frame set, and that's fine too. And it's, let's go through the specs of that. And the process is quite a bit of email quite a bit of phone calls if needed. When the customer's ready to move forward, they put a deposit down and then the design process begins. [00:19:51] Usually if the customer has a fit that they've done recently and they want to use those fit numbers, then we use. If they're here local in Portland, then we have them see our fitter and we get, they get a professional fit done. And if they want to come into town, I've had a couple people actually fly in from Northern California, for example and have fits done here. [00:20:10] And then I get the numbers and, go to town on designing the frame and lead time on frames right now, I'd say is about four months from when we actually, when the design is. So that doesn't include the lead time. It doesn't include the time that we spend talking prior to and dialing in all that sort of stuff. [00:20:28] When the design is handed off to my welder right now, we're at about a four month lead time for framework.  [00:20:34] Craig Dalton: Are there limitations in terms of the areas of the bike that can be customized? Head tube, size, top tube lent anything that's off the table or is everything on  [00:20:42] David Rosen (Sage): the table now everything's on the table. [00:20:44] I've had one or two customers that have been very vocal about, I want the head tube to be this, and I want this to be the seat angle and that sort of thing. And it's a process we go through and I'm more than happy to accommodate the customers if they're, sure. That's what they want kind of thing. [00:20:59] But usually it's a case of, if I get your X, Y coordinates from your fit, I'm going to build you a storm king. And that's what it's going to be. If you want something that's completely dead. I'm working on an iron man bike for somebody right now. And that's a totally different bike than anything we offer. [00:21:15] So then that's much more of a personal process of what are you looking for and how do you want it to be, rather than I know what I want the storm king to be, and I'm going to make a storm king that fits you. Gotcha.  [00:21:25] Craig Dalton: Let's talk about that. Beautiful storm king. You brought to Utah, it had a lot of different finishes on it. [00:21:31] It did. Really and is that is for, we didn't have paint on it as well. It had cerakote. Okay. So let's go through, I think it's amazing that the number of options you offer and certainly the execution on that bike I'll post a picture of it because it was beautiful. Everybody needs to look at it, but let's talk about the different options for finish on a titanium frame. [00:21:50] David Rosen (Sage): We have four different options. We let's see, let's start with the standard finish that you see on most of the bikes on the website is our brushed finish. It's a raw titanium. It's very silvery looking. It's shiny. It's great for just durability. If you scratch it, you can take a Scotch-Brite pad and little shoeshine motion, then you can buff it out. [00:22:12] It's a great it's a great finish and it's just the classic titanium finish. That's finished. Number one, finish number two is bead blast where we basically put the frame in a giant cabinet, if you will, a sealed cabinet and we shoot it with a what's called media and media can be anything from glass beads to Walnut shells. [00:22:33] It just depends on what. And it, it impacts the frame and it changes the appearance and the finish and the texture of the frame itself. It doesn't damage the frame in any way, but it changes the finish. So a bead blast is usually a it's just, it has a different look to it. It's more of a dull look to it from there. [00:22:53] We then start getting into colors and that's where we've really exploded this year for the options and the custom work that we've been doing. If you look through our social media feed and as well as our custom page, we have a custom bike page where every custom bike gets a photo shoot and we do all that sort of stuff. [00:23:08] You can see the differences, but we've been doing a lot more with cerakote and with anodize for the frames anodize is if you seen the Chris king parts, they're blue they're purple. They're good. That's all anodized aluminum kind of thing. It's dipped in a bath. That's electrified. It comes out at a certain voltage. [00:23:26] It gives you a color.  [00:23:27] Craig Dalton: I think it's interesting David to drill into. I've seen some super intricate anodized look. Unlike the Chris king headset, which is, orange or red or whatever they do, you seem to have a technique in which you've got the titanium frame, which is maybe the, the brush titanium or whatever, and then small areas that are animated. [00:23:45] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah it's just a matter of the artwork that we do every custom frame that we do short of it just being, I just want logos done, but if there's artwork involved I have a graphic artist on staff. It has been in the art world for quite some time. He's a cycling buddy of mine. We've known each other for years, but he's an artist, a true artist kind of thing. [00:24:06] Like he does art shows and all that sort of good stuff. And he designs all the bikes. So every single bike is never repeated. Each individual bike is a rolling piece of art. If you want the bike, you're seeing the show bike that we have on the website, I can do something similar, but it'll never be that again. [00:24:23] It'll be it'll be sister bike. It won't be an identical twin kind of thing. But yeah we get a little crazy with the finishes that we do. And then we mix all of that in with Sarah code, which is we've. We been using paint, wet paint for quite some time. And paint's awesome. It, you can color match with it and we still do wet paint. [00:24:41] If a customer requests it, you can color match very specifically. To a specific item. If you have it, you can mix colors and that sort of thing. What we found with paint though, and with gravel bikes in particular, is it's not as durable as we would like. And the problem is that if you get a rock strike on your titanium, gravel bike with paint it is possible. [00:25:02] It could chip. And so that's not really an ideal situation. So we switched to cerakote, which is a ceramic coat. That's cured onto the frame and it's actually used on guns tanks, rocket parts, jet fighters. As whenever you see the paint that's on these vehicles and these, munitions, if you will that's cerakote and it's super resistant to heat damage from any sort of debris flying out of it. [00:25:29] I Heck if somebody can shoot a gun at a tank and the, the tanks spine cause of the Seroquel. That sort of thing. I'm pretty confident the bike is going to be okay from a rock strike. And and yeah, our painter is able to actually mix all of these all of these four different finishes together. [00:25:44] And we're able to make these incredible bikes of just total variety of just really just pushing them. The  [00:25:51] Craig Dalton: cerakote was the one I was least familiar with. And a couple of builders were using it out there in Utah at the end of the builder Roundup. How has it actually applied? Is it applied like a paint or a  [00:26:02] David Rosen (Sage): no it's more of a paint it's sprayed on. [00:26:05] So there is a masking process that goes on. The masking actually takes the most time for the bike itself for the actual paint work to be done. And basically once the bike is massed up, you pretty much split. As, you peel off the layers and as you spray it and that sort of thing. And then when all is said and done, you cure the bike it goes into an oven to cures and it can be sprayed in the morning, cured by lunch and ship out in the same day in the afternoon. [00:26:30] And it's done. Like you don't have to worry like the paints, soft, or it needs to still time just it's ready to ship. So it's pretty crazy. And it's super. And is  [00:26:39] Craig Dalton: it something that you can apply, in almost any design on the bike to any part of the bike,  [00:26:44] David Rosen (Sage): just about any design? It's really the limitation of the, of my artist and of the painter and being able to mask it. [00:26:51] Sometimes there are issues with tube shapes and that you're people thinking, people think of art and they think in a two dimensional sense as a flat canvas and the arts applied to it. But the reality is bicycles are three-dimensional rounded. There is no hard point to start and stop here and there. [00:27:10] So sometimes you have to make decisions and you have to make choices about how the artwork is going to lay on the frame itself. Because sometimes it may not work even the best intentions. It's eh, just not going to look right. And the tubes aren't exactly large like a canvas. So you have to think those things. [00:27:28] Yeah. I think that's  [00:27:29] Craig Dalton: The value in having. Artists be also a cyclist. They understand how the bike is constructed and the tube shapes and everything and also how it plays out, how it's going to look visually from within a Peloton to out there on the gravel road.  [00:27:42] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, absolutely. [00:27:43] No he's fantastic about making the bike stand out for sure. And this particular show bike is I think it's, I think it's one of my favorites, period. There are some others that we've done that are pretty amazing as well. It would be hard honestly, to stack them all up next to each other and pick one. [00:27:59] So it's a rough thing. So I'll take this one for right now and go. This is my favorite for the time being nice. Are  [00:28:05] Craig Dalton: there other trends in the gravel market that you're looking forward to exploring?  [00:28:09] David Rosen (Sage): I think I'm interested to see where suspension goes. It's I'm not saying I'm fully. [00:28:17] Committed to suspension and I think it should be on all bikes. I think it's certain applications in certain arenas and I don't necessarily think it should be a mountain bike fork. For example, that's just slimmed down. I think it needs to be its own technology because I think gravel is different. And I think there needs to be different engineering behind the design of the fork itself. [00:28:40] It needs to be lighter. It does need to be sexier. And it needs to, it's minimal travel. We don't need, you don't even need a hundred millimeters. Yeah. Travel for a gravel bike. It's, at some point again, I always go back to the original. My Barlow of you have to ride, you could ride from your house on the pavement to the gravel ride back to the pavement, ride back home. [00:29:00] So the bikes should be able to handle both. Other than that, if it's just only good off road, then it's really a drop bar mountain bike at that point. I'm interested to see where that goes. I think dropper posts will continue to I think that's more of an immediate trend that's coming. [00:29:16] I just, I see the value of it and, I saw it a grow DEO. There were guys that were just bombing down those descents baby head rocks, and just blasting down them on 50 mil tires and the dropper posts because they got the saddle out of the way. And it. It, it does add to the capability of the bike. [00:29:32] And then when we got out on the road, they pop the seat back up and everything was fine. Yeah.  [00:29:36] Craig Dalton: That was my technique. I knew I was going to get gapped off on all the climbs, but I had a hope, I had a hope if I rode my bike card with that dropper post down on the dissents, but I might just bridge back up to the group that just dropped me. [00:29:47] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, exactly. No, it  [00:29:49] Craig Dalton: works great. I too. And the listener well knows. I'm fascinated by the idea of suspension in ground. All your points are spot on. It's going to have to be this delicate balance, to not take away the capabilities. We're not trying to build mountain bikes here. They still need to be bikes that can get fast on the road, but to each their own in terms of gravel, right? [00:30:09] We've got listeners all over the world whose experiences are dramatically different. And what I hope is that it just becomes this type of thing, where you look at someone who has a more aggressively set up gravel bike. You just understand that's probably what they have in their backyard and someone who's, riding the Barlow with 30 twos on it, that could be totally capable. [00:30:30] It could be overkill for the types of gravel roads they ride, but to each  [00:30:34] David Rosen (Sage): their own. Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. It's, it's we see the same sort of thing with mountain bikes. There's this trend towards not a trend. It's here. I wouldn't call it a trend and I'm a big fan of it. [00:30:45] Big hit long travel bikes with slack, that angles that basically five years ago were downhill bikes. And now they're single crown and Duro bikes. And guys are, we're doing, I'm doing crazy jumps on the weekends and all that sort of stuff, but does the person in Florida, for example or Texas where it's pancake flat for the most part and I'm sure there are technical steep places where you need it. [00:31:07] So I apologize. Not, I'm not trying to characterize the entire state that way, but generally speaking Florida is pretty flat. So do you need a long travel, slacked out bike? Probably not thing. And to your point about the gravel, there's places where that, a 32 mil tire is going to be perfect there, and there's other places where a 50 mil tire and it's their backyard. [00:31:28] So yeah, I would totally agree with that.  [00:31:30] Craig Dalton: You'll start to get that feedback next season in 2022 for people running time. Front suspension, forks on their bikes. And it would be curious to see, much like your professional athlete gave the feedback that ultimately led to the storm king. We may see that feedback coming back saying having a little bit of suspension on the front simply makes the bike faster. [00:31:52] And if it's faster, people are going to go for it from a race perspective.  [00:31:56] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, I would agree. At some level it is 1990 for mountain bikes. But at the same time, it's the gravel bikes of today are far more capable than those. What were mountain bikes back then? And it's pretty impressive with how the bike is evolved. [00:32:10] Yeah, I totally  [00:32:11] Craig Dalton: agree with you. I had that same feeling back in the early nineties around mountain biking that every year, every month it seemed like a new idea was being put forward and people were testing and learning and it took, it was this great and super enjoyable journey. If you were involved in it to watch it out. [00:32:28] David Rosen (Sage): Yeah, no, absolutely. It was a lot of fun. And it's, I think gravel is going through the same sort of, evolution  [00:32:34] Craig Dalton: actually. We're all here. We're all listening. We're all involved the communities as all eyes on the innovation. Super exciting time. I appreciate you joining me today, Dave, and giving us a little more of an overview, a deep dive into Sage titanium. [00:32:48] I loved the work that you showed in Utah, and I wish you all the. [00:32:52] David Rosen (Sage): Thanks. I really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.  [00:32:55] Craig Dalton: Cheers.  [00:32:56] Big, thanks today for joining us this week, I have to say, I really do love that storm king. It takes a lot of boxes for me, the finished work was beautiful. The clearances are right up my alley, and I think it would be a hell of a lot of fun to ride that bike. Also another big, thanks to ENVE for sponsoring the podcast this week. And for sponsoring this entire series, it's really been a pleasure. Getting introduced to a lot of their partners around the world, looking through their componentry and touring their factory. I've mentioned it on earlier podcasts, but I was very impressed with the amount of testing they do. In-house and just the fabrication process in general, in Ogden, Utah, the attention to detail.  [00:33:40] The passion of the employee base. And everything about ENVE's work there in the United States just really makes me happy. So be sure to check them out.  [00:33:49] When you support our podcast partners, you're supporting the podcast itself.  [00:33:53] I wouldn't be able to continue doing what I'm doing without their support.  [00:33:57] And I wouldn't do this without your support. The gravel community has been super embracing of what I've been doing.  [00:34:03] And I've loved getting to know some of you in in-person events. But more broadly through the ridership community. If you're not already a member of this free community, just visit We'd love to have you. And if you're interested in supporting the podcast further, please visit buy me a gravel ride.  [00:34:24] There's any number of ways in which you can support what I'm doing here. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

    Chris Mandell - SRAM / Zipp / RockShox and the new XPLR gravel line up

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2021 61:00

    Exclusive interview with SRAM's Chris Mandell discussing the new XPLR line of product for gravel.  We dig into the SRAM XPLR components, the RockShox REVERB AXS wireless dropper post and finally RockShox's new gravel suspension fork, Rudy. Support the podcast Join The Ridership Full automated transcript (please excuse the typos): SRAM - Chris Mandell   [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Craig Dalton. Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host, Craig Dalton. [00:00:08] We've got a big show for you this week. So I'm going to keep the intro short. I'm welcoming Chris Mandel from SRAM [00:00:14] To the show to talk about the new explore series just launched today, August.  [00:00:19] This is really three shows in one, as we talk about grupos dropper posts. And suspension forks. [00:00:25] I'm super excited to dive into this conversation. I've been testing the products a few weeks down here in Topanga, California. And really excited to bounce my ideas off of Chris.  [00:00:36] And get his insights about the new XPLR line.  [00:00:39] So with that, let's dive right in.  [00:00:41] Chris, welcome to the show.  [00:00:43] Chris Mandell: Thanks for having me. I'm real excited to be here.  [00:00:45] Craig Dalton: This is a conversation that I feel is eight or nine months in the works.  [00:00:49] Chris Mandell: Yeah, for sure. That's that's generally how these things go, your word developing and working on products for quite a long time before they actually make it out into the world. [00:00:59] Craig Dalton: So yeah, I'm really excited for this discussion and I'm super stoked that this is on the day of the big launch. So if you're listening on August 10th, which is when this podcast is first released, SRAM has got some things to talk about today. But before we get into that, I always like to get a little bit of information about you as a rider where you're living and how'd you get into the sport. [00:01:22] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Thanks for that. I've been a passionate cyclist for a really long time, my dad did a bit of road racing back in the day and we always had bikes around. Yeah. But I got distracted with American football in high school, and then ended up going to college to play American football and found really quickly in college that I did not want to keep playing at that level. [00:01:44] And so I stopped that and was really lucky in that the town that I lived in McMinnville, Oregon had a small but strong mountain bike scene. And the people there took me under their wing and I started mountain biking with them. And then eventually started working at the local bike shop Tony's and just fully embraced it and was obsessed with it. [00:02:02] And then after I graduated from college, I got a job working full speed ahead, which took me up to Seattle which was great. Cause there was ton of really good cross country riding outside of Seattle, but there was also. A lot of like free side and downhill riding. So at that point I branched and was, writing a commuter to, and from work riding and racing cross country, race bikes, and then also going up to the Whistler bike park and riding that as much as possible kind of fast-forward became a product manager at Kona bikes and developed full suspension bikes at cone bikes for a long time. [00:02:38] And then eventually made the jump to become the rear shock product manager at RockShox. Which had me moved from Bellingham where I was working for Kona, Bellingham, Washington to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and had a great four and a half years living in Colorado Springs, Colorado being really detailed, focused on full suspension, mountain bikes and what it takes to. [00:03:02] Tune shocks and developed shocks for OEM customers like specialized or Santa Cruz. And then at a certain point, unfortunately, due to some family reasons my wife and I needed to move back to Bellingham to be closer to her family. And so we, when we made that shift I switched over from working in product development, to working on the PR side of things, which is what has me on the phone with you. [00:03:25] But in this, in a similar timeframe, we also, I, had a child and I was getting a little bit older and I'd always like commuted and like dabbled in, in rode bikes a little bit, but I'd never really rode bikes. Never really grabbed a hold of me, but gravel bikes started to grab a hold of me. [00:03:42] And it was about that time about when I had, when we had our child that I got a gravel bike and really started riding one pretty consistently. Fell in love with a lot of what, the early days of cross country riding, where for me, which was exploring your local area and like finding the different nooks and crannies and gravel roads and going to the places that you hadn't been to before. [00:04:07] But also really being able to like physically push myself, on, on a mountain bike on one hour mountain bike ride, you go up and then you come down, but on a one-hour gravel ride, you're basically peddling your brains off the entire time. So like the fitness side of that was really helpful for me. [00:04:22] In addition to connecting with the original spirit of what caught me in the cross country, mountain biking back in the day. So yeah, and so now living in Bellingham and I started that gravel journey in Colorado. Which is a really excellent place for gravel riding, but now living in Bellingham, Washington, which we're obviously very well known for our mountain bike trails and the mountain bike trail network is super expansive between, Galbreath mountain, which is the hill with a lot of mountain bike specific built trails, right in town. [00:04:52] And then the Chuck nuts, which is a little bit south of town, which is more hiking trails with some bikes specific trails, but a much bigger, longer area. But there's actually quite a bit of graveling to do here. This area I'm actually mountain bike got started here in, in logging terrain. [00:05:07] It's all working for us in this part of the country. And in order to have a working forest you have to have fire roads. And so there's just fireworks roads running in every possible direction. And then a lot of those thyroids have single track connections to them. So you can really get out and go quite far on your gravel bike from your door and have some pretty, pretty amazing adventures and get to be able to see some pretty big mountains. [00:05:31] Craig Dalton: Amazing. What do the climbs look like in your neck of the woods? Are they long hour long climbs? Are they short and punchy stuff?  [00:05:39] Chris Mandell: Yeah, it really depends what really depends what you want. There's definitely like hours long, slow grinding climbs, and then much to my friends. [00:05:48] Dislike. One of my favorite climbs around here is this climate called pine the theater. And it's basically just straight up the hill for about 25 minutes. And you're pretty much searching for traction on your gravel bike the whole time. Cause it's the climb. So Steve, so yeah, it's all of that. [00:06:03] It's long slow slogging fire roads, and then there's also just straight up the hill hiking or single track climbs.  [00:06:10] Craig Dalton: Nice. It sounds like a great place for gravel riding. Cause it sounds like you can pick and choose whether you want just a logging road that doesn't have a lot of technical requirements, but you can also push your limits on the single track and mountain bike style trails. [00:06:23] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah, that's exactly. I think that's exactly the case, like from my house is about 12 minutes to Galbreath on a rails to trails, an old railroad grade that they've converted to an inner urban trail. So I can take that over to golf. Which is crisscrossed with fire roads and then single track. [00:06:42] And so I'll generally climb up single track and then descend down the fire road on my gravel bike, because, my perspective is a lot of the times like it's capable as a gravel bike is do do having my mountain bike on the single track a lot of the time, but it's like a great in terms of options and my friend. [00:06:58] And I'll always joke. Cause we can, you could look down at the dirt here cause we get quite a bit of moisture in a normal time and you can see how many people are starting to gravel bike on the hill because you can tell the gravel bike tires.  [00:07:11] Craig Dalton: That's amazing. Yeah. I love that. I If you're in the fortunate position of having both the gravel and a mountain bike and live in a place where you can take all these different, make all these different choices, it's so much fun. [00:07:22] Cause you just pick and choose your own adventure. I could go on and on talking and learning about Bellingham, because it's an area that I've heard a great things about, but we've got so much ground to cover with Schram's announcement today about the Explorer series. And I'd love to get into it. [00:07:38] I think we'd look at the componentry first and the wheels, and then we get into the hotly debated stuff that we'll talk about later.  [00:07:46] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I I think the round out the gravel side of things, the last thing I'd add there is I think the other thing that's nice about having a gravel bike and a mountain bike is you can get so much more out of your mountain bike if you spend time on your gravel bike, because your fitness just goes through the roof. [00:08:02] And that's one of the things that's been, I've been loving about having a gravel bike alongside the mountain bike.  [00:08:07] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I also imagined, from, if I go back to my origin story and mountain biking, riding orig rigid bike, there's a certain skill level you acquire by learning how to pick your lines when you're riding a rigid. [00:08:19] Or a lightly suspended bike as it were versus when you jump on a full suspension bike, you can start off being pretty sloppy.  [00:08:27] Chris Mandell: Yep. For sure.  [00:08:28] Craig Dalton: Yeah. So let's talk about explore.  [00:08:32] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So this is pretty exciting moment for us. It's really three, three of our big brands coming together. [00:08:40] In a way that we think is really going to allow the gravel rider to have more complete experiences on their bikes. So from the Zipp side we're bringing a gravel specific wheelset from the SRAM road side of things. We're bringing a gravel specific drive train, and then most new to the market would be on the RockShox side of thing. [00:09:06] We're going to bring a fork and a seat post that are gravel specific into the market. And I think it's really cool that these three brands were able to come together and make this specific explore products collection. But I do think it's also important to note that we still think our entire product line is totally relevant in the gravel sphere. [00:09:29] So we have this specific collection of products that we designed for gravel use, but we have a ton of other products that will end up on gravel bikes. And we don't think that those parts shouldn't end up on gravel bikes. It's just, these are the ones that we've specifically designed for.  [00:09:45] gravel  [00:09:47] Craig Dalton: Interesting. [00:09:48] I'm sure there's someone who immediately heard the word suspension on gravel bike and is already hitting the internet to start a debate. We won't get into that listener. Don't worry. I'm super excited. I've been riding the fork and I have my opinions on, it's a super excited to talk to Chris further about it, but Chris, why don't we start off with that? [00:10:06] We'll set.  [00:10:08] Chris Mandell: Yeah. This has been in the gravel market for quite some time with the product line that we offer today, specifically the 303 S and the 303 Firecrest both of which are excellent products for gravel riders to use like their light. The internal width are appropriate for a larger size tire. [00:10:30] And they provide a good balance of aerodynamics. However, we recognize that there's like a full spectrum. Travel experiences out there. And there are people who are going to push the limit a little bit more on the aggressive riding side of things. And for those riders, they're looking for a different setup in terms of, like balancing comfort and control on the trail with aerodynamics. [00:10:58] And so that really pointed us to what we're already doing with zip on the mountain bike side of things, where we have the zero three Moto rim, which is a single wall, not Mike Ram that was designed to allow the rim to have what we call ankle compliance. So the rim is able to work with the tire to provide the rider with more control and conform to the ground better. [00:11:26] As we have that have had that wheel in the mountain bike side of things for a long time, we have a lot of customers and a lot of interest in like bringing something like that over into the gravel side of things. And so that's what we're doing with with the 1 0 1 wheel set and really what it gives the rider is the ability to have a wheel set. [00:11:44] That's going to decrease their fatigue when they're out riding because the rim is gonna work the terrain with the tire in a way that allows the rider to keep the bike going in the direction they're going to want and isolate the rider from a lot of the vibrations and other like hits to the rider that are to the overall bike system that would create fatigue. [00:12:06] Craig Dalton: So is there some sort of suppleness built into the rim? Is that what you're saying?  [00:12:11] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. So the way that the rim system is able to work is that the spokes are run through the center of the room. And because it's not a box section, then it's a single wall run. The rim is able to use what we call ankle compliance. [00:12:27] So when it sees a hit say on the left side of the rim is able to move up and out of the way a little bit and allow the front axle and the whole bike to continue to carry forward, but give a little bit in a way that provides more comfort and more control and becomes less fatiguing to the right. [00:12:46] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And that 27 millimeter wide internal profile is that wider than the 3 0 3.  [00:12:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah. We've actually got like really nice steps from the 300, three S all the way up to the one-on-one. So the 303 is 23 millimeter. The 303 Firecrest is 25 and then the one-on-one is 27 inner. And really that's just optimizing for those different sizes of tires that you're going to have on there. [00:13:15] You're able to use quite a small tire on the one-on-one. But it's also going to give you a lot of good stability on the larger side tire.  [00:13:23] Craig Dalton: Yeah. We've had a discussion about that on the podcast before, and it seems like this trend towards that 27 millimeter is really beneficial for the gravel rider in terms of the contact patch of the tire and just how the overall rim performs. [00:13:38] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. And I I think it's, it's preference in tires and it's there's so many factors that go into what tire pressure you run with tires you run and all that stuff. And I think, having options is good in that space. And we really look at like the one-on-one. [00:13:53] If you're looking to take on more challenging terrain, if you're going to be spending long, long periods of time in the saddle over, not so great conditioned paved roads or rough gravel roads that extended period of time, but one-on-one is really going to bring a lot to you because it's going to save a lot of energy and it's going to, it's going to stop the vibrations and all the things that fatigue you on a gravel ride from getting up to you. [00:14:21] Craig Dalton: Nice. And for the listener, I'll just note that it's available in 700 C and six 50 B.  [00:14:27] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah.  [00:14:29] Craig Dalton: Did you want to talk about the G 40 exploratory?  [00:14:33] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah, we can mention that one real quick. So the G 40 is a tire that we've offered for a while now, but we are rebranding it explored to fit into the rest of the collection. [00:14:45] And it's a pretty sweet tire. It's sitting right there in the middle at 40, which is I think a very common tire size for people to be using. It's got a nice center line rolling tread, which is really great for efficiency, but then it's got good, not too aggressive, but just aggressive enough cornering logs. [00:15:04] So you've got the grip in terms or when the ground gets soft, you're still able to dig into those cornering lugs and hold align really well. And then the thing that as a mountain biker I really appreciate it is it does have a robust sidewall, so you're not looking at getting getting flat tires that often. [00:15:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Nice. Let's move on to the driver.  [00:15:26] Chris Mandell: Yeah.  [00:15:28] Craig Dalton: So tell us about that. XPLR, drivetrain, and how it fits in you gave a little bit in your opening about it, but just contextualize it a little bit further and talk some of the details about what you guys are providing.  [00:15:40] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I think if we look at where we're at with drive trains today, we offer a 10 36 1 by drive train, and we offer and through the access ecosystem, we're able to take our road hoods and connect them to a 10 50 mountain bike drive, train to provide, two pretty good experiences for the gravel rider. [00:16:05] The one by gravel rider looking to have either, very lightweight set up with the 10 36 and tight gearing stuff. Or with the 10 50, bigger gear steps, but a huge range which is greatly beneficial when you're like waiting the bike down or living in a place where there's really steep climbs. [00:16:22] And you're looking to just go straight up the hill, but for sure, we recognize that there's space in the middle of it. And for us, the one by experience is really what makes it makes the most sense on a gravel bike, where you're just looking to keep things clean and simple and straightforward. [00:16:40] Maybe he's got a dropper posts on your bag too. That's a whole lot of thing, different systems that you're managing on the bike and for the gravel rider, the one bike is a really good solution a week, but we saw that gap in between the 10 36 and the 10 15. We knew that there were writers who spend time in the mountains and need range, but also spent a lot of time on the tarmac and the tight gear steps. [00:17:04] And that's what brought us to this. 10 44 cassette and as well as a derailer that goes along with it and allows you to have a one by specific trailer, which will shift that 10 44. And we're offering that trailer hat red force as well as rival. So you can get in all three of those access price points and really be able to complete your experience from pavement to growl. [00:17:31] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. So these ones with the explore moniker on it are exclusively one by correct. They  [00:17:38] Chris Mandell: are exclusively one by, and a good way to think about that is when you're developing a derailer, you've got to optimize it for the cassette that it's running across. And then like how much chain it needs to take up. [00:17:50] So when you have a front derailleur system, you've got to think about the chainring moving between two pretty big sizes. So we changed the way we developed the cage and where we placed the pulleys. So it helps us provide a better shifting product and a lighter weight product. If we are able to divide those up a little bit. [00:18:08] So for this derailleur, we did end up making it one by specific, and we specifically built it to work with a 10 44 cassette, but it does also shift a 10 36  [00:18:18] Craig Dalton: cassettes. Gotcha. And for clarity, you mentioned this before SRAM's other group PO's are mix and match compatible. So for my friends like Jason at the Gravel Cyclist who rides to buy all the time, you've got a two by setup. [00:18:35] That's totally suitable for the gravel market.  [00:18:38] Chris Mandell: Yep, exactly. Yeah. And if that rider wanted to switch to one by specific setup or maybe like dabble in it. Yeah. You could take those same controllers and you could add one by rear derailleur to them and they would work just fine. It would just be a matter of repairing it to the new derailleur. [00:18:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. It's been interesting. The demo bike that you provided to me, which is a canyon Grizl, we've set up with a mullet setup. And while I've been on SRAM on my personal bike for many years, this was the first access bike that I've had for a prolonged period of time. So it was fascinating to play around with the app pair, the different things that were on the bike in the app, and just understand that system a little bit more. [00:19:24] Chris Mandell: Yeah. And it seemed like it was pretty straight forward and working pretty easily for you. And that's really what we're going for with this, like we want to make this as user-friendly and. It just things like the shift log logic, like it's very easy for you to understand in your brain. [00:19:39] Oh, I pushed the left shifter to get the chain to move left forward on the cassette. And I pushed the right shifter to get it to move right on that cassette and all those little details and all that little, like ease of use stuff adds up to a better experience for everyone in the channel, from the person who's ending up riding the bike to the bike shop and setting it up. [00:19:59] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for sure. And the fact that, and we'll get into the dropper post later, but the fact that the dropper post and the rear derailleur are using the same battery just gives you that comfort. Should you ever get caught out of pocket? You can swap the battery around and give power to the rear derailleur and take it away from your dropper posts, for example. [00:20:17] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah. And that's a perfect example. I actually, probably because I was driving around with my bike on my car the other day I had to do that exact thing and it was totally fine. Took two seconds and I was back out on my bike and riding again. And to, like the batteries are real small. [00:20:33] And so you can actually just get an extra one and throw it in your pocket.  [00:20:36] Craig Dalton: The other fun thing you told me, that was a mixed sense, but I didn't realize it right off the bat was that there's a mini accelerometer in all the componentry, so that it wakes up essentially when it's, when you're moving and goes to sleep if it's in your garage. [00:20:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah, exactly. So the way all the access systems work is they add little, as you mentioned, little accelerometer in them and to save power they go to sleep, but they're like checking in and. When you grab your bike and, move it out of the stand or wherever you have it set, those components are able to wake up and immediately respond to whatever you're trying to get them to do. [00:21:15] And that allows us to save a lot of battery life so that you're not wasting battery when the bike is just sitting in the garage, but also allows us to immediately respond to your needs as a rider.  [00:21:24] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And the additional pro tip you shared with me is if you've got it on the back or top of your car, take the battery out, put the little safe plastic piece in there. [00:21:33] So it doesn't think it's awake for your six hour drive to a ride.  [00:21:37] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah, definitely take that step.  [00:21:41] Craig Dalton: You mentioned. The sort of mixed compatibility of explore group a with everything else. And I definitely appreciate it as running the mullet setups and having some components from the mountain bike side of your lineup, everything visually works together. [00:21:56] There's no standing out of the explore versus the mountain bike side of things.  [00:22:02] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So we definitely feel like the full suite of products that we offer should all be able to come together and work cross-functionally as much as they can. And one thing you'll notice on all of the explore products is the explore. [00:22:18] Call-out is pretty small and pretty subtle. And I think your bike is a good example of that is a gravel bike. It doesn't feature the 10 44 cassette. For you attend 50 was a better solution, but you could actually have a 10 44 set up for that bike and very easily just remove the cassette and the derailer and the chain, and then add a 10 44 set up to it with the trailer and the chain and the cassette, and then repair your shifters and go out and ride that 10 44 setup. [00:22:51] Craig Dalton: What's the difference between the chains in those two setups?  [00:22:56] Chris Mandell: So the Explorer 10 44 drive trains use the flat top chain that we have on the roadside. And then the mullet drive train that you're using the 10 50 and the Eagle rear derailer use a standard 12 speed.  [00:23:10] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And not to get too much in the weeds, but I was curious about this the way SRAM's, what are referred to as a magic link works to put the chain together. [00:23:19] Is it true that you can pretty easily pop those off and take the chain out?  [00:23:25] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So you can pop those off and take the chain out. The one thing to keep in mind with that is we don't recommend that you reuse that quickly. And the reason we don't is if it's a press fit and that's what holds it together. [00:23:36] And when you break that link, you will, you do wear that pressed it up a little bit. So we don't recommend that you reuse that quick link, but it is like a really easy way to be able to take your drive, train apart without making your change shorter or anything like that. And in fact, park tool and a few other tool manufacturers actually make a tool that's specifically designed to, install the quick link, but also on installed the quick. [00:24:01] Craig Dalton: Ooh, I might have to take a look at those I, one of the things that tripped me out, I was on a trip with some of the guys from VeloNews and saw that one of them was riding access and in his bike bag, he had taken the chain off and just remove the derailer. And it was just, he, in fact, he traveled with the derailer in a separate bag, which was just a trip to me when he pulled it out of the box and was putting back all together. [00:24:24] And it's just such a handy, protective way of transporting the bike.  [00:24:30] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I do the exact same thing when I travel, just because, even with a mountain bike, flying with a mountain bike that derailleurs like in a vulnerable place and those bike bags, and it's not supported by the rest of the system. [00:24:42] And I actually do the same thing and take it off the ticket off the bike. And, I'm able to put it in inside of a bag somewhere else inside of my bike bag, which is a great way to.  [00:24:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah let's get let's shift gears and let's start boiling some of the listeners blood by talking about dropper posts and suspension. [00:25:01] Let's start with the dropper posts.  [00:25:04] Chris Mandell: One, one not to jump ahead to our not to pull us back. But one thing I do want to mention really quickly is we will we, in addition to the 10 44 cassette and the 10 44 specific red forest and rivalry trailers that we'll offer for, with XPLR we will also offer a one by specific cranks. [00:25:26] So same crank arms at the red enforce and rival level, but it has a new lighter weight single ring, and it's available on 38 through 46 sizes. So yeah, just quick touch that  [00:25:37] Craig Dalton: way, jumping in the suspension. Yeah. So let's talk about the access reverb dropper seat. [00:25:47] Yeah, so draw, look, this is no surprise to anybody who listens to this podcast. I am pro dropper all the time for almost every situation.  [00:25:59] Chris Mandell: And what do you feel the dropper gives you when you're out riding your bike  [00:26:07] Craig Dalton: when I'm descending and this descending is not just oh, I know I'm going to be bombing downhill for 25 minutes. [00:26:13] It's basically anytime I'm going downhill, being able to lower the saddle ever so slightly and create a greater area of space in my, underneath my undercarriage between my undercarriage and the saddle enables me to corner with greater confidence. Pretty much do everything with greater confidence.  [00:26:35] Chris Mandell: Yeah. [00:26:36] Yeah. And that's the same. That we would, when we would speak to what you get out of a dropper post on the mountain bike side of things it's the same situation because you're able to move wherever you need to move from the front of the bike, to the back of the bike without being obstructed by your seat post or your saddle rather lends a huge amount of control to you because you can waste the front tire as you need to, you can weight the rear tire as you need to without worrying about catching yourself on the satellite as you're making those motions. [00:27:08] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And I like, go ahead, Chris,  [00:27:14] Chris Mandell: you got it.  [00:27:15] Craig Dalton: When when I talk about using the dropper post, I'm talking about it in not the extreme mountain biking style stuff exclusively. I use it all the time. So descending on the road, like I think the advantages are there. When you do get into the hectic stuff and a local rider here in Southern California tipped me off to this trail called horse drop, which I finally hit the other day. [00:27:39] And as the name would dictate, there was a bunch of drop-offs. It was truly a hectic trail for a gravel bike, but a ton of fun. And there's no way, I shouldn't say there's no way it would be super challenging to do those drops with your saddle fully extended and even using the 50 millimeter drop AXS. [00:27:59] REVERB I had, it was plenty of space to get the bike underneath me and allow it to come up to me as I was handling those drop-offs.  [00:28:10] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that makes total sense to me. And I think circling back to even in less extreme terrain, it still makes a huge difference. Like you imagine hitting the apex of a road corner. [00:28:23] You're going to want to be in a different position on your bike versus the way you entered the corner. You have to move your center of gravity and your body weight around to get the bike, to track well through a corner. And like any flat corner on a gravel bike where you're trying to use a little bit of subtle body English to move the bike through the turn. [00:28:45] If you have to, all of a sudden, move from the front of the bike, to the back of the bike and then raise your center of gravity up to move your body up and over your saddle, that's going to disrupt your grip on the ground. And I think it's one of the advantages of having a dropper  [00:29:00] Craig Dalton: posts. [00:29:01] Yeah, a hundred percent. I think in my mind, it's the number one upgrade in terms of how it will affect your performance on the bike that anybody can do. So this post, obviously rock shock has been making. Dropper posts for the mountain bike sizes for a long time and has a full range there. This REVERB AXS XPLR is in the 27 2 millimeter diameter. [00:29:24] It comes in 400 millimeter lens as well as three 50, the three 50 has a 50 millimeter drop. And I think the 400 has a 75 millimeter drop that. All correct, Chris?  [00:29:35] Chris Mandell: Yeah. The 400 is actually available also in the 50 millimeter drop. So you can get the 400 either in 75 or 15.  [00:29:43] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And how did you guys decide on those length drops as being what you want it to be? [00:29:49] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that, that really came from riding these types of bikes around and thinking about how much they needed and then listening to rider feedback on how much they thought they needed. So it really was those two sides of us doing our own work internally. And then listening to rider feedback on it. [00:30:12] And I think too, before we already get too close to the tech side of things and, I think we just had a really great conversation on the advantage of a C post. I can go from top out to bottom out. When we were looking at the gravel market and thinking about what we needed to bring to the table, we did not think it was enough just to make a post that dropped, like for sure that was going to be an advantage for the gravel rider. [00:30:37] But we recognized that it was a different use case and we needed to bring more to the table to get a gravel rider, to understand the benefit of having a dropper post and want them to take that leap. And so one of the things that we did with is we actually Came up with a new internal design which allows us to have what we call active ride for anywhere from top out to when the seat post achieves full travel. [00:31:06] So that means like if you move the seat post and a millimeter, the seat post is giving you what we call active ride, which is a bit of compliance in the post so that the rider is able to stay seated through rough terrain and continue paddling without having to stand up and get their butt off the saddle. [00:31:26] So at full top out the post is rock solid, but anywhere after full top out the C post features active ride. And that is one of the things that we see as a huge advantage to a gravel rider. Who's going to spend a ton of time paddling across rough terrain, needing to stay on the gas and needing their butts to stay on. [00:31:49] Yeah,  [00:31:49] Craig Dalton: that's super thoughtful element of the design. If you think about riding across stutter bumps or anything where you're going to be needing to peddle being on the saddle, just being able to take it down a millimeter, which is likely what you'd like. Anyway, you get some advantage out of having a little bit more space there to have that sort of suppleness built in is gotta pay dividends over longer rides. [00:32:14] Chris Mandell: Totally. Yeah. One of the, one of the initial test riders for this post actually set his, see post height a little bit too high, and then he would just move the CBOs into the travel so that he was always riding in the active ride position, which is a great way to do it for me personally. I do having the, from top out and we think a lot of writers are going to want that. [00:32:34] So we actually, like just with the CBOs, you get to have your cake and eat it too.  [00:32:38] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. I think that for me, my setup's always been, I'm probably like that rider and yeah. My I set my droppers up slightly higher, maybe ever so slightly. So it feels comfortable early on in the day, but oftentimes I find myself running it a little bit lower as a more fatigued or just cruising home at the end of the day. [00:32:58] Chris Mandell: Yeah. I totally sad for me. One of the other things that I've really enjoyed about having a dropper post on a bike too, is a gravel bike is just like ease of getting on and off the bike because you do end up having to get off your gravel bike in difficult terrain sometimes. And it's helpful to be able to like, get the seat down before you finally step off the bike. [00:33:20] Craig Dalton: Totally agree with you there. And for clarity for the listener, this is an access product, which means that it has a wireless activation to it.  [00:33:29] Chris Mandell: Yep. Yeah. So this lives in our active ecosystem. So again, it uses the same battery as the drive trains. We were just talking about. And uses the same communication protocol. [00:33:40] One of the things that's huge advantage of that is that it's, we leave it open to the end user in terms of how they want to activate the system. So you can use a standard reverb access shifter on a flat bar setup to activate this seat post on a drop bar setup, you can use double click on the sh on the road shifters to do that. [00:34:05] And then if you have force or red shifters, you can get one of our blips or multiplex and plug that into your shifter and then use that to control your dropper posts. And then lastly, you can also get a blood box and plug a multi-client or a blip into that, and then use the blip blocks to flip the box, to control the seat post. [00:34:28] So there's a ton of options in terms of how you interact with a post. Craig, I think you have double tap on your bike right now. Correct?  [00:34:40] Craig Dalton: Yup. Yeah. And it's, it's interesting. I was laughing with you the other day that I found that I actually do have scenarios where I'm activating the dropper post with one hand, which seemed crazy. [00:34:50] Wow. We were talking about it, but I was out on the bike again yesterday. And it's oftentimes where I am. I'd be grabbing a sip of water while, beginning to start a downhill, not a, on a fire road or something. And then I found myself historically with my other SRAM bike where it's cable activated, I would swing the left lever and drop my post in anticipation for putting the bottle down and hitting it on the descent. [00:35:15] So it's funny to get used to that. So I am interested in trying the blip set up and I do think it's interesting that the blip box exists. So if you're a writer that maybe not be, is not on an access group oh. Today on your bike, but is looking forward. I think. Investing in this product and just getting the blip box so you can control it on any bike that does not have electronic shifting is a good future proof system and investment because when you do upgrade to the access shifters, you can easily repair it and remove the blip box from the scenario. [00:35:51] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally super good solution. And it's the flexibility that we're given through access.  [00:35:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Any more comments on the dropper posts that you wanted to relay to the listener?  [00:36:04] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah. I think the last thing I would touch on there is obviously, we hit on it's available in 50 and 75 millimeters of travel. [00:36:12] And then three 50 and 400 millimeter lengths. One of the other things too, to keep in mind with that C post is that the rail clamps are compatible. I don't know a meter or standard rounds or oval seven by nine. And then there is a separate clamp available for seven by 10. So we have all of the rail configurations covered in that oral as well. [00:36:34] Gotcha. Pretty excited for the CBOs to get out there and people will be trying it.  [00:36:38] Craig Dalton: Yeah, for sure. You ready to make people really mad?  [00:36:43] Chris Mandell: Yeah.  [00:36:45] Craig Dalton: So RockShox is introducing their Rudy explore suspension fork for gravel bikes today. [00:36:51] Chris Mandell: And I think, it's interesting making people mad cause I think it's also good. I think this is going to expire a lot of people too, if we go back to the origins of mountain biking, there was some hesitation and even moving to suspension in the first place on a mountain bike and. [00:37:05] We kinda know exactly how that ended up not suspension is the name of the game on a mountain bike these days. And I think, from RockShox perspective and from where we're coming to it, we look at any time a bike is getting off-road or even on a rough road as an opportunity for suspension to play a role and to really allow for more comfort and control and traction, which at the end of the day can equate to more speed or can equate to more fun. [00:37:37] And I think, we're all really riding our bikes at the end of the day to have more fun. However, you slice it's on me winning a race. That's what it means, but it means you need to go faster. So from the RockShox perspective, we looked at that and that was really what drove us to develop this part. [00:37:54] Craig Dalton: Yeah, it's clearly a natural place for part of the market to go. And I think you and I would be the first people to state that it's just part of the market, just as we've seen a trend towards bigger and bigger tires, wider handlebars, all these different configurations that riders around the world are discovering to customize these gravel bikes for their local terrain. [00:38:18] No one will sit here and say that bigger tires, wider handlebars suspension forks are for everybody. There's certainly vast parts of the country and world that riding without a suspension fork. And in fact, riding a glorified road bike is totally suitable for the gravel in your backyard, but as someone who rides mostly in Marine county or here in Southern California in the Santa Monica mountains, like I'm really embracing this product and seeing some huge advantages, just five or six rides into. [00:38:54] Chris Mandell: Yeah. From our side, we don't think there's a wrong way to gravel every time someone's getting on their bike and taking it from tarmac to gravel, to single track, and then back onto the tarmac, like that's their experience. And as a components manufacturer, what we're really looking to provide users with is the ability to tune their experience. [00:39:22] So the best that fits what they're trying to do and what's fit their needs. I think one of the things that's really interesting is with, and it's it's not totally unique to grab the gravel space, but it is like an interesting thing that's like pretty pure in the gravel side of things is you almost really build your bike. [00:39:39] You can build your bike really to you. Where you're lacking. So if you do you, aren't a good defender, but you're a great climber, that current for today, like that would point you to putting much bigger tires on your bike and trying to get more traction and get more control and a dissent just by, by putting bigger tires on your bike. [00:40:00] After today, that rider is able to go back to a smaller tire and use suspension and use a dropper post to get a lot more control in those situations where they feel anxious, because they don't necessarily have the confidence to, to be taking their bike down, down horse drops or whatever it is but using suspension and using a dropper post is another way to get that control back into the writer's hand and regain calm. [00:40:30] Yeah,  [00:40:30] Craig Dalton: exactly. I feel like I, the more and more that I advise people on how to get, how to purchase a bike and how to think about what gravel bike makes sense to them. There's all these levers that you're pulling. And it comes down to where you're riding, as you said, what your comfort level is and descents. [00:40:46] I can't tell you how many people I see out there who just are exceptional going uphill, but the moment they go downhill, they start to get terrified and really tense up and, white knuckle, the handlebar, and really have a bad experience on the bike. Whereas adding some elements of suspension, whether it be this fork or larger tires or suspension stem, like all of these things help alleviate some of those challenges, if that's where you're deficient as a cyclist. [00:41:14] Chris Mandell: Absolutely. And the Rudy. So the fork we're bringing is part of the Explorer product line is called the Rudy. And it really is. Bill with the gravel cyclist in mind in terms of providing more grip, getting more control into the rider's hands and allowing the rider to save their body for later in the ride and for pedaling and providing much more control and steering confidence in Russ stuff. [00:41:46] But honestly, even just bombing the regular tarmac road in America, you're going to get a better connected front tire to the ground and you're going to be able to carry more speed through that.  [00:41:58] Craig Dalton: Yeah. One thing I can say, and this is probably the least controversial thing I'll say all day is unequivocally with this fork on your bike, you can go down a hill faster. [00:42:07] So if you think of yourself as a six out of 10, in terms of descending skills, I think you've automatically bumped yourself up to a 7.5.  [00:42:17] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that's great. I love him.  [00:42:19] Craig Dalton: Yeah. And then I would say that, I did play around a lot with the lockout. Totally bombed, totally locked in. So if I was out on the road with this fork it's pretty easy to reach down. [00:42:29] I think just because of the geometry of gravel bikes, it was actually easier to reach down and reach the lockout lever than it was on the mountain bikes that I've written recently. And very easy, obviously to swing it back the other way I tended to climb off-road with it open because I've found that having the tire just be able to roll over the things that were coming in front of me was advantageous even on the climbing. [00:42:52] And I, I did not feel like I was losing a lot to set the stage for the listener. We're talking about 30 or 40 millimeter trout as the travel options in terms of what this fork provides today and tire clearance up to a 700 by 50.  [00:43:10] Chris Mandell: Yeah. So that's a good jumping off point to talk through some of the spec details on this fork. [00:43:16] So as you mentioned, 30 or 40 millimeters of travel is an air spring. And as an air spring that was specifically developed for the Rudy. And our vision with this air spring was to keep this air spring really supple and sensitive off the top so that the writer's hands felt good on the bars. And they were able to have good traction. [00:43:36] We also knew that we didn't want to have it bottoming out harshly at any point during the ride experience. So there's a big bottom out bumper in this fork, which catches it in the second half of the travel and really provides a lot of control as you're going towards Baltimore. The other, another feature that's really specific to this gravel and I think shows how much attention we were paying to the needs of the gravel road. [00:44:04] And we've got two different levels of vendor compatibility. So we have a short fender that we make and sell that bolt-on with three bolts to the arch of the lower leg. And then the fork features threaded holes at the bottom of the lower leg, which allow for standard full coverage vendors to Mount onto this fork as well. [00:44:28] And so no fender, a short fender or for the winter riders, full coverage fenders. We really tuned that in for the gravel experience.  [00:44:38] Craig Dalton: Gotcha. And from a visual design perspective, I found the fork to be as subtle as it could be. Obviously it's got telescoping legs and it's, it is what it is. [00:44:49] But I do find as you're glancing over the bike, it's not sticking out like a sore thumb in any way in my life.  [00:44:57] Chris Mandell: Yeah, that's great to hear. I think we spent a lot of time and effort in the work on this fork, refining it and making it as light and free moving as we possibly could so that it had the best suspension performance and the lightest weight package that we could get on it. [00:45:15] But we did pay attention to the fact that it was going to end up on mostly carbon fiber gravel frames, and it needed to have a clean aesthetic to it. And so we did spend a good deal of time looking at the existing carbon forks were out there on the market today, knowing that we wanted to build this fork in a traditional magnesium, lower leg, aluminum, upper tubes and aluminum crown fashion, because that provided us with the most opportunities for re refining the overall performance with four, in terms of weight and sensitivity. [00:45:49] And so we really spent a lot of time on that. So it's really great to hear that from you.  [00:45:53] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Awesome. And you've also got some OEM partners that are you're working with on this today, and I'm sure more will be dropping in the coming months.  [00:46:02] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. So we definitely have had a lot of OEM interest in uptake on this product, the canyon is one of those partners and they will have models dropping with this fork on it. [00:46:14] And we're pretty excited that they're working with us on that front. There will be numerous other OEMs who are out there also dropping dropping bikes featuring this product and the full product line. Yeah. I  [00:46:25] Craig Dalton: think it's going to be important that riders are able to test and take a look at these products and getting them out there on more bikes and hopefully bikes that might be out there and demo fleets in the future will be great because I think it's it's counterintuitive. [00:46:39] Bike performs with this fork on it. You think, you might think certainly if you have a mountain bike background that certain things are going to happen, you're going to experience certain things in a certain way, but it's clear that you guys had a ground up mentality to make this fork fit. [00:46:54] Gravel bikes.  [00:46:55] Chris Mandell: Yeah. Yeah, no, totally. I think that's an important thing here. That the RockShox is invested in improving the rider's experience on the trail or on the road. And we know and understand that like when we build a cross country fork, that means that we need to be laser focused on the needs of the cross country riders. [00:47:18] And then when we build a downhill race fork, we need to be laser focused on the needs of a downhill racer. And we brought that same approach when it came to developing the Rudy and developing the Rudy as a hyper-focused. Gravel product. It doesn't mean that we didn't pull from our experience on the cross-country and Enduro side of things. [00:47:42] We definitely pulled from that heritage space, the damper. So the thing that provides control on compression and control on rebound in this fork is a scaled down gravel specific version of our race day damper, which you find in our Sid and sit FL cross-country race corks. And that was really, and we developed that damper. [00:48:08] It was really a revolutionary, super lightweight, but very high performance in terms of the control it provided in open and then the way the lockout function. And we took that damper and we scaled it down. And tuned it to the needs of the gravel rider. Both in terms of the functionality for rebound and compression performance, but also just made that thing even lighter than it was before. [00:48:32] And that's the hard work and the nitty gritty details that we put into the forklift, into the Rudy to make it specific for gravel.  [00:48:41] Craig Dalton: Nice. I want to revisit something you commented on earlier. Cause I do think it's important. It's going to be interesting to see over time. Just the idea of suspension forks, helping with overall rider fatigue, obviously as you're going down super technical stuff, like it's immediately apparent what that looks like, but I also think it's going to be interesting over time that as we see these forks on beneath riders who are tackling 200 mile gravel events, et cetera, To see how they're walking away from those rides in terms of how their upper body feels and how that equates to their overall time and experience on these long courses. [00:49:23] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. I remember a conversation that I had with Meg Fisher he's an ambassador for us. And it was right when she found out that we were making this product and she was ecstatic on the phone. Cause she was telling me about how, in some of the longer gravel races she does, she ends up with blisters on her hand from the amount of like bumping and just like carnage. [00:49:46] That's getting transmitted from the road up through the entire system, to, to our hands on the bike. And she was really excited about trying to Rudy because she felt like that this is a way that she can isolate our hands and the rest of her body from those rough vibrations. Even on just a gravel road, race scenario. [00:50:09] Craig Dalton: Yeah. Yeah. Now it's going to be interesting. Right. And I, I'm always encouraging event organizers to add more sort of off-road technicality to their courses. Cause I just think it becomes more interesting when you see writers of different disciplines excelling in the events. I'm always a fan of the mountain bike background guys and girls doing well in these gravel races because of their technical skills, because I think they should be rewarded and course designers should continue to push those limits. [00:50:39] So I do think it's going to be super fascinating to see when we start seeing these Rudy forks underneath riders and who they are, are they elite athletes trying to gain a competitive advantage on a particular course? Or are they the rank and file athlete who is just looking to have a more pleasurable experience and less fatiguing experience over these long runs? [00:51:03] Chris Mandell: Yeah. I think without a doubt, you're going to see all of that. This, what this means for a rider is less body fatigue because you have less energy coming up from the road into the rider and you have more control as a rider. Your tire is going to be stuck to the ground more often. And that increase in control will give the rider more confidence and enable them to have more fun on their ride and allow them to push harder, allow them to go faster. [00:51:31] If they want to go faster or have more fun that the speed that they're going. And then the other thing, and I touched on this a little bit in the last one, but like more traction means that it's going to the bike is going to predict or is going to handle it in a more predictable fashion. And you are going to know more often than not where the front tire is. [00:51:54] You're going to be able to get it to where you're going. And you actually touched on earlier. Like obviously that plays a role in the sense, but even on, challenging climbs being able to keep your front wheel exactly where you want it to be is pretty important. And this fork allows for that, even on the Quan,  [00:52:12] Craig Dalton: the final area I wanted to explore with you is just the use and sale of this fork in the aftermarket. [00:52:20] So you've mentioned a number of companies are building kind of ground up designs around this fork, but what about the many listeners who have a bike that was designed prior to this date and time, and prior to the knowledge of the Rudy fork existing, how should they think about the changes in geometry they might experience when running one of these forks? [00:52:42] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. Just re I'll run through a couple they, aftermarket detailed side of things. So as you mentioned, it will be available in 30 or 40 millimeter. The Rudy fork will be available in 30 or 40 millimeters of travel. It will come in 45 offset. The come in two different colorways that will come in like a gloss black or what we call quicksand, which is which is a tan colored product that fits with our overall explore product line. [00:53:10] So what do you want to consider as you're looking to upgrade your existing bike with this fork is in most cases, it probably will resolve and that increase in the axle, the crown. [00:53:24] That is something we want to watch out for, but it's something, the thing that we think is actually a benefit. Gravel bikes today are built around the idea that you're going to be changing your tires around. You're going to be, maybe trying six 50 and then, or using 700. [00:53:40] So there's a whole lot of flexibility inside of the existing gravel frame. And there may be a result in an increase in actual crown versus the rigid fork that you have on your bike today. But in our testing so far, what we've seen is people appreciate that and the handling of the bike because of the added suspension element improved versus a rigid fork on the bike. [00:54:04] You do want to check with your manufacturer to make sure that their warranty covers having a suspension product to the frame. That's a good first step to do, but really at the end of the day, It's a matter of you decided that suspension is a good path for you. Riding out on an existing demo bike or taking the plunge and adding it to your friend it's available in and 1.5, our inch and a taper to 1.5. [00:54:29] So you're looking at needing to have that head tube on your  [00:54:32] Craig Dalton: bike as well. One of the things that we had discussed offline was, in my particular case, I tend to run, I couldn't say off the top of my head, but a fair number of spacers underneath my headset. And as this fork will naturally lift my head to about higher. [00:54:48] The very on-point suggestion you made was if you take those spacers out and slam the stem lower down in that stack, all of a sudden you mitigate some of the rise in handlebar position.  [00:55:03] Chris Mandell: Yeah, totally. And that's a really easy one to do, you just take it. The actual, the crown of your existing for today and subtract the actual, the crown of this fork. [00:55:12] And that's how many space or, whatever that number is. It's 10 millimeters. You just, move 10 millimeters of spacer from underneath your stem to above your stone.  [00:55:21] Craig Dalton: Yeah. That I think on my personal ride that would effectively be completely possible. And I think that's interesting. [00:55:30] And I think the point around, the changes in handling being pretty subtle, it's worth noting, but it also is worth noting that, your riders have not really commented much on the changes in geometry, on the bike.  [00:55:44] Chris Mandell: Totally. And I think, another important aspect of that is keep in mind, like these gravel bikes are built with a lot of this in mind. [00:55:51] We, I run 37 C tires all the way up to 45 C I have run all the way up to 45 C tires. The same gravel bike, so a lot of these bikes you're switching from like pretty big changes entire sizes. And that's what the bikes were built to accommodate. And it's it's no different on the fork side of things. [00:56:11] Yeah. Yeah.  [00:56:12] Craig Dalton: And anything else on the fork that you wanted to share, Chris?  [00:56:16] Chris Mandell: I think that covers it pretty well. You made the point about 700 by 50 being the tire clearance. And I think we've touched a lot of the points. I'm really excited for the Rudy. And I think it's going to be a, I think it's going to Herald the new age in the gravel experience. [00:56:30] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I share that enthusiasm. I think it's good for the market. I think there's going to be a lot of debate online about the existence of this product and what it means, but I guarantee that over time, People are going to see the advantages of a product like this. And we're going to see more and more bikes come straight out of the factory with suspension built into them because the advantages are super high for a lot of different types of riders in the gravel market. [00:57:00] Chris Mandell: Absolutely. And even with this product out there, like not every bike is going to end up with a Rudy on it, but the bikes that do end up with a Rudy on it is going to open a bunch of doors to a rider that would have been shot previously. So I think, there's no wrong way to gravel. And if this is something that makes sense to you as a rider, because you have the defense is a place that you struggle or on longer rides your stand start to hurt, or you just want to be able to. [00:57:29] Keep up with your friends a little bit better or drop your friends in certain instances, this is a great great way to have a little bit of fun on your, a little more fun on your gravel bike and add a little bit of capability. And, we didn't, I touched on this a little bit, but this is one of those things that can allow you to run a smaller, lighter tire because you don't need to rely on the tire as much as you were previously and what other doors can moving and trying suspension unlocked for you. [00:57:54] Craig Dalton: Yeah. I had that in the back of my head, cause we had talked about that earlier and I hesitated to open yet another can of worms around tire sizes, but point well taken like all these advances in technology. Whether it's the fork that dropper posts, et cetera, they're all changing things slightly and changing the considerations for any individual rider says, you said what might have driven me to a 50 millimeter tire previously, I may be able to draw back on that because I don't need the suspension elements of the fork, all sorry of the tire. [00:58:27] All of a sudden I'm getting that in the fork. So it's yet another thing as we've talked about time and time again, there's this long spectrum. And I think it can, it's even getting even longer today between a road pro plus style of gravel bike and something that's very, off-road, iSTYLE gravel bike. [00:58:44] There's not a definitive solution. That is the best for everybody across the world. But to your point, very early on in this conversation, SRAM RockShox zips. You're trying to be there for all those riders and give them a wealth of compatible componentry to build the rigs that are going to make them stoked to ride. [00:59:09] Chris Mandell: Exactly. Yeah. I, we are cyclists at strand and we are having the same writing experiences and want to have the same range of experiences. And you can just see that easily from our locations. The team in Chicago has thoughts. The team in Colorado Springs has thoughts. The team in San Luis Obispo has thought the team in Vancouver, British Columbia has thoughts. [00:59:30] The team in Taiwan has thoughts the team in Germany, out of Sox and all those come together and really push us to make products that allow writers to have full breadth of experience.  [00:59:42] Craig Dalton: Chris, thank you so much for all the time. Congrats on the explore launch. Super excited to get this out.  [00:59:48] Chris Mandell: Thank you so much for the time. [00:59:49] And I'm really excited to hear more about your rad experience on that bike. [00:59:54] Craig Dalton: Big, thanks for Chris for that long detailed conversation about the new XPLR series from SRAM, super excited about what they're bringing to the table.  [01:00:03] Natural. I'm particularly excited about the suspension fork.  [01:00:07] To be an exceptional product for some. for everyone, but I think it's going.  [01:00:14] And I'm confident it's going to continue pushing the gravel industry forward.  [01:00:18] As always thank you for your support of the podcast. Dot or even become a member. ride to make a one-time contribution. I t's a free global cycling community for adventure and gravel cyclists. Deals. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels [01:00:52]   

    Scarab Cycles - Nicolas Serrano

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2021 20:19

    This week we sit down with Nicolas Serrano from Colombia's Scarab Cycles. This episode was recorded at the 2021 Enve builder round up. We learn about the brands origins, ethos and manufacturing process.  This episode is presented by ENVE. Scarab Cycles Instagram and Website Support the Podcast Join The Ridership: Automated transcription (please excuse the typos): SCARAB_Nicolas Craig Dalton: [00:00:00]  Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.   [00:00:06]This week on the podcast. We welcome Nicolas Serrano from Scarab cycles in Columbia. I met Nicolas at the envy builder Roundup earlier this year and  [00:00:16]Was super impressed with the bike. They brought to the Roundup, the paint job, and even more impressed once I learned the story behind scarab cycles.   [00:00:24]This episode is brought to you by our friends at ENVE composites. [00:00:27]ENVE has been a huge supporter of the gravel industry producing  [00:00:30]Products since the inception of this type of riding. Up of exceptionally quality. their seat posts. And of course their lineup [00:00:39]Of gravel wheel sets. Envy across all social media channels.  [00:00:44] And check out for a dealer locator. I know it's always great to go into your local bike retailer and get your hands on these products and even better yet,  [00:00:53] Maybe getting out on a test stride on some of these components.   [00:00:57]Out to all the new members from  [00:01:05]  [00:01:05]It means a ton to me that you've selected to support me with your dollars memberships, start at $5 a month. So big, thanks to John Rankin.  [00:01:14]Two.   Nicolas Marzano, high Plains, drifter mark S just a few of the most recent members to the buy me a program.   [00:01:24]And further, thank you to the one-time contributors.  [00:01:28]With that said let's dive right in to my interview   [00:01:31] Nicolas: [00:01:31] hey, it's Nicolas from Scarab cycles from Columbia, [00:01:34] Craig Dalton: [00:01:35] Welcome to the show.  [00:01:36] Nicolas: [00:01:36] Hey, thanks. Thanks for inviting us. And we're pretty happy to be here.  [00:01:40] Craig Dalton: [00:01:40] And I'm pretty excited to talk about that bike. I just saw downstairs here at the NV Roundup. [00:01:45] It's totally beautiful. But before we get into that, why don't you just tell us a little bit about your background and what led to the formation of the company and a little bit about the company?  [00:01:55] Nicolas: [00:01:55] Of course. So, as carb cycles has started back in the day, six years ago our founder Santiago Toto, who started the company with a local frame builder, it used to have another name before. [00:02:05]And then in migrated toward nowadays is described cycles in as the name, it started in 2018 with the name script cycles, but we've been building bikes since 2000 16, more or less. And tell us  [00:02:17] Craig Dalton: [00:02:17] about where the company  [00:02:18] Nicolas: [00:02:18] is located. So our company slug is based in in the outskirts of managing it's  Antioquia it's a more or less 30 minutes from aging, which is the second biggest city in Colombia . [00:02:29] Craig Dalton: [00:02:29] And does Columbia have a large bike building scene?  [00:02:33]Nicolas: [00:02:33] Not a bike building scene, but it's home of the world known as kind of house, which is basically the we explored world-class cyclist. So we've been there's not a strong bike building scene. There's couple of our one or two or three frame builders in the country. [00:02:48] But mostly what we have in our country is Cyclists. There's a strong love for the sport. The bicycle itself, it's a very strong object or thing for the Colombian culture. So it's not only a way of transportation. It's a, it's not only a sport. It's just a way of life, a way of being, and it's an element, the bicycle that connects us all as Colombians, you can go to a road and meet you can be with us. [00:03:12] With farm guy, a company CNO, which he's just training in his Sunday ride and you can actually be writing with a pro. So these two guys are going to have the same own time, and they're just like shredding their ass off a very high speed. Or you just can have on weekdays, a kid going from his very small town moving to a, another small town to go to school. [00:03:32] So basically the bicycle is a very strong element in the Columbia.  [00:03:37] Craig Dalton: [00:03:37] That's awesome to hear football and soccer, obviously big sports as well. How would you rank cycling? I mean, obviously like with NARIC and Tanya going back five, six years and all the emerging Colombian superstars today, was that sort of the generation where cycling really took hold in the culture or did it, does it date back further than that? [00:03:53] It  [00:03:53] Nicolas: [00:03:53] comes very, it comes back way that with a load, like when we started having a world-class cyclist . Going to two, two big races in Europe winning the winter. Spania for example, that's when we started like getting a name of a cycling and that's where. When they started starting calling us this kind of office, this climbing little box that goes up and up a hill without any problem he just is very good for claiming, so it go, it goes back to the eighties, nineties when everything started seventies, eighties, and nineties. [00:04:23]But there has been a new hype since NATO containers, as you mentioned it since 2000 five eight but back before from that, it was we had another hype with, for example, cyclists, like Santiago taro, which was which was on our he was the Olympic champion for time trail, individual time trail. [00:04:40] And then he won as well. The polka dot a Jersey and a tour de France. So there's a lot of history behind cycling, but nowadays I believe it's, as you asked at the beginning of the question if it was soccer or. I bet we're having a very good and strong hyper on cycling. Not only because of the results, but the pandemic has moved people towards this sport. [00:05:02] So nowadays everyone in Columbia has a bicycle and it's riding around maybe four or five years ago. It was just like a couple of hundreds of people. Now it's thousands. The streets are packed with cyclists in all of the levels. Like you see very good cyclists, like pro classes. And amateur cyclists and like everyone's riding a bicycle from kids 10 years old to like people 60, 70, 80 years old, just sharing the road. [00:05:27] It's amazing. It's crazy. And we also have another very good thing is that we, Columbia it's divided by three mountain ranges, so there's mountains everywhere. So there's 86 kilometer climbs old paved, which is called Algolia. There was this well, a hundred kilometer, gravel appeal rights, which is called for example, [00:05:46] So you go from almost zero meters above sea level to 4,000, 200 meters above sea level. That's 12,000 feet. Incredible elevation just in one. Right? So there's many aspects, a little bit of history, a little bit of good results with NATO Cantana egg and Bernard and all those cyclists doing very good in the cycling scene. [00:06:05] And of course the topography of a country and the culture, which has very deeply embedded the bicycle in its culture. So tell  [00:06:13] Craig Dalton: [00:06:13] me a little bit more about the brand and when the brand came together, what type of bikes were you intending to make? What types of materials were you using at the time? [00:06:23] Nicolas: [00:06:23] Yeah, so we've always used we've always been fan or we're always been. Very happy with the results we can have with steel bikes. So we've always been using steel used to, we've always been using, for example, a Columbus steel, which is what we still use. Nowadays we're mixing a little bit doing some blends, for example, Columbus and  or Colombian sand Delta Chi, which is an Italian manufacturer of steel as well. [00:06:47]And when it started we, our first bikes were mainly meant to stay on tarmac, but giving the conditions of the country where 90% of our roads are secondary roads. That means it's a ground country. So it's basically a gravel paradise where we used to ride our road bikes in gravel conditions take into account that they were very good steel. [00:07:06] There wasn't a problem with that. But then we started diving into the gravel section. And then our first model was born maybe three and a half year, four years ago. It was called MERITO. MERITO is a town that's located in in in one of the, in the central mountain range, which is called the [00:07:22]So it's, it lays almost 4,000 meters above sea level. So it's the town that you can only get there by. So that was our first model. And then it evolved to where this town is located, which is a Panama, Panorama is an ecosystem. That's lies between 3000 meters, 3,200 meters above sea level to 4,200 meters above sea level. [00:07:40] And that's basically the source of all of our water or Edric sources come from the Panamas. So it's a very fragile, yet unique ecosystem. You can only get there by secondary roads or gravel roads. So that's where our bike came from. It comes more, it comes out of function and then function follows form, which is why we create a little bit, a big, bigger tire clearance a little bit more of responsive wheel base a little bit longer to have more fun when you're going down. [00:08:07] So then we had to do a little bit of twitches in the aspects of the frame. And then w Westwind the Paramo was board, which is our actual ground.  [00:08:16] Craig Dalton: [00:08:16] So the model name for the bike that I'll show in a picture and linked to you in the show notes, which model  [00:08:20] Nicolas: [00:08:20] is that? So that's the upper Buena, which is Santee likes to call it. [00:08:24] It's a road bike with a track shoes, trekking shoes. So it's a road specific bike. Well, not, that's not a road specific bike. It's an old road bike, but it has the. Reactiveness the stiffness, the responsiveness, our road bike bad. It has tires. It can fit tires from 32 to 38 millimeters. So it's very good. [00:08:44] If you're running on tarmac the time of ends, and then you want to go around for trails or a hard-packed gravel. You're going to have. For example, this morning, we did some of the trails with the guys in that bike. And it was perfect. Well, not the perfect bike for that condition, but we did it and it was fun. [00:08:59]So that we have three models at the moment, which are our road bike which is called  it's named after the longest climb in Columbia, longest paved climb in Columbia, which is 86 years. That's a road bike, a proper road bikes, TAFE fun, reactive there's this rim brake model, and then comes the in-betweener, which is the old road. [00:09:18] It's a mix between road bike and grab a bike. So it's this in between, or that has a tight curious for from 32 to 38 millimeters. It's called. Which it's it means road in Spanish,  in you know, an indigenous tongue in limitations language. So that's where Poona comes from and then comes to Panama, which is a proper gravel bike men for like proper backpacking, shredding killing, getting the decents going uphill. [00:09:45]Everything you want, that's the undestructible bike. Let's  [00:09:48] Craig Dalton: [00:09:48] talk about the tire clearance on that particular  [00:09:50] Nicolas: [00:09:50] bike. Perfect. Yeah, that one, since all our bikes are custom made, it depends on what the client needs. It can be optimized either for 700 C 700 by 48, or it can be optimized for 6 50, 6, 50 by 50 millimeters. [00:10:06] And depending on SIM, in some case, we run bigger. It depends on what the client wants. So there's, there comes some people with the specific requirements. Yeah. I want this. I'm going to fit six 50 bees by 55. We can manage to it. Or most of them like standards six, we recommended six 50 by 48. If they do  [00:10:23] Craig Dalton: [00:10:23] go to those larger sizes, 50. [00:10:25] What type of modifications do you need to make to the frame in order to accommodate that kind of big tire on?  [00:10:30] Nicolas: [00:10:30] So that's basically the change stays a little bit more of about a white capability and we will upgrade to the NB envy adventure fork, which has a bigger tire clearance for the front and for the back. [00:10:42] Will you just have a bigger space for the, in the chain stays for the  [00:10:45] Craig Dalton: [00:10:45] You may not know this figure off the top of your head, but what is the chain stay length turned out to be for a 50  [00:10:51] Nicolas: [00:10:51] ish fish? No, I'll tell you that. I'm not sure I kind of recall like the numbers for that specific geometry. [00:10:56]But we usually have well, it depends on the customer. I rather have a short chain stays. It makes a little bit more of a fast bike and reactive by. Yeah.  [00:11:04] Craig Dalton: [00:11:04] Yeah. It's been something that I've been thinking about a lot lately because I just got a demo bike. Longer chain stays and the most sluggish. [00:11:12] Yeah. I'm trying to internalize the personality of this new bike and understand it. So it's been really interesting for me and now I'm keying in on. That length when I'm talking to other builders, just to try to understand what are you building around? And obviously, as our listener knows, when you go to the big tires, there has to be some compromises. [00:11:30] You need to make the room  [00:11:32] Nicolas: [00:11:32] somehow to make the room somehow. And that's that's the first button. That's one of the first questions we ask our clients, what are you going to use this bike for? But usually you don't have a right answer for that because I might be doing some really fast trails when I buy this bike. [00:11:46] But then I discovered by. Or backpacking races across the world, or just I don't know, very long races or like very, I went to have something very comfortable with a bigger tire clearance, so it might change over the time but usually focus, always center on what the client needs and what you went and w and where do you want to take your bike to? [00:12:02] Yeah.  [00:12:03] Craig Dalton: [00:12:03] Can you talk me through the beautiful paint job on the bike? We saw downstairs,  [00:12:06] Nicolas: [00:12:06] just amazing thing of our bike. First we're launching the Poona, which is the old road. And second, we're launching our new pain ship called humbler, which means jungle. And it's basically inspired  in the Western part of the country. . We have a very deep jungle, which is called the Chaco and rainforest. And it's one of the most biodiverse was there by libraries, places on earth. It's home for lots of species found and flora. Many are endangered many and demic many are unique in that area. And there's just, there's just a couple of roads or basically one road that leads into the jungle. [00:12:39] It's a 120 kilometer gravel ride. Very muddy. It depends on the time of the year you go. But usually it's very muddy because it's rains a lot. It's the place with most precipitation on earth, basically. So it's rain, it rains every single day. Wow. So when you're riding towards it, You just see a huge deep green sea, it just looks green and very steamy. [00:13:01] You just see a big green shade. And were you sort of paling towards that? You start to discover there's a lot of detail and there's a lot of immensity into the jungle. And then you start to discover a lot of different trees. Lot of different leaves, a lot of different indigenous groups around walking. [00:13:17] Maybe you don't see them, but if you look close enough, you see people that are absurd. There is somewhere hidden in the path or in the road. Same as animals. You, if you stop by at a waterfall to fill your bottle up, you might not look carefully enough to see there's a small, poisonous frog besides you. [00:13:35]So you have to be very careful and look very deep into the forest and enjoy what you're seeing to be able to discover what the forest has to offer you. So basically that's a, it's a whole much to that Shaquan forest. And that's why when you look at the page you see a green by white bike with green panels, but if you look deep and close enough, you start discovering a little bit of animals flamingos here and there, turtles humbug whales, which do their mating season in this part of the world, in the Pacific ocean, the Columbia Pacific ocean in the Gulf of [00:14:02]So basically that's where our inspiration came from that, for that paint job. It's a whole, much to that Shaquan, right?  [00:14:09] Craig Dalton: [00:14:09] It's absolutely gorgeous. And I think your description did do it some justice, but I'll put a photo up, please sign for people to see, because as you said, there's just a ton of intricate detail in there. [00:14:20] Little things you discover when you get closer and closer. Whereas as you said, if you're, you know, 10 feet away and you just see this white bike with green panels, so it's incredibly well  [00:14:31] Nicolas: [00:14:31] executed. Exactly. That was the idea that was the exact idea. And that was what we felt when we were peddling towards. [00:14:37] Chuck forest, who were like, wow, this is a huge green in mirrors. See you just see green. You not is between one tree and another. And as soon as you start going in, you're just like, wow, this leave is very different from this one. And there's this animal and this and that. And there's a lot of detail as soon as you get into it. [00:14:55]So same when you look at the bike wide bike with green panels, and then when you look in, when dive in, there's a lot of detail behind it and that's one of our. One of the best things, that's kind of cycles that we focus on, not on the painting, on every detail. Everything we do in scrub cycles is done. [00:15:12] In-house so painting is done. In-house the welding, all of the parts everything's done in-house so we have enough time to, to dedicate to every detail of the painting. So that's one of our crazy ones. We have some, of course, a more sober ones with basic colors. Nice finishes maths glossies with a basic lettering from scrub cycles, but that's one of our crazy details. [00:15:36] Craig Dalton: [00:15:36] I love it. I love it. Chips. Yes. For the listeners who are getting excited about buying one of these bikes. Now, what does that process look like for a north American customer to work with you, to get one of these bikes built? Okay.  [00:15:47] Nicolas: [00:15:47] So basically we have a worldwide shipping. We have our shop in factory in Ethiopia, but we have of course shop as well. [00:15:55] From Windstar shipping facility for worldwide orders. So if you happen to live in San Francisco and you want to order a bike, it's just drop us an email. We have actually a 18 week lead time and that's where all the process and the magic starts with an hi email quoting. And then we accommodate according to what you want, depending if you want a full bike or a frame set starts at 2,800 and full build start at 4,000. [00:16:22] So depends on what you want. You can first select your model, and then we start to talk a little bit about what you need. What are you going to ride if you're living in San Francisco, what kind of grabbing writing are you going to do trails or are you going to do just a hardcore gravel or bike packing or long trips or just aggressive racing? [00:16:39]The first four to five weeks to decide a little bit of a, about the geometry we present to you that you are meant to, and we both decide what's best for. Then comes the fun part or what I call the fun part, because it's the paint part. So you decide one of our paint, chimps seasoned paint chips. [00:16:54] For example, it can be a humbler can be achiever, which is an another of the over crazy pain teams or one of our stock, normal pain shapes. You just think a little bit about the color pallette. We're sending some samples, some pictures of samples, then you decide the colors and then the process starts or in. [00:17:10] For the fabrication in week 16, we get your bike ready. We ship it to Miami. And then from there, it ships to San Francisco  [00:17:17] Craig Dalton: [00:17:17] and with the customer, if they've ordered a full bike, will it get built up in Miami and then  [00:17:22] Nicolas: [00:17:22] disappear Miami? Yeah. And some assembled in Miami and then shipped very right to San Francisco. [00:17:27] Yep. It's just out of the box. Just put the front wheel, put the handlebars and just run.  [00:17:33] Craig Dalton: [00:17:33] Awesome. Well, as you know, I've had the pleasure of seeing one up close in San Francisco, one of our local riders, Patricia.  [00:17:40] Nicolas: [00:17:40] She has a very amazing bike. This white with pink, a pinkish or yes, a bike it's.  [00:17:47] Craig Dalton: [00:17:47] Yeah, it's very stunning. [00:17:48] So if you want to say hello, she's a listener. So you might  [00:17:50] Nicolas: [00:17:50] Patricia, we're glad to have you there in San Francisco. We're very happy that you're shredding our bike the proper way. So we're good to know that we have a happy side. Hi peas. It's corrupt cyclist in San Francisco. Yeah,  [00:18:02] Craig Dalton: [00:18:02] absolutely. [00:18:02] Well, it goes, thank you so much for the overview. Congratulations on this bike here at the ENVE builder Roundup, it looks phenomenal. And can't wait to see more of them out  [00:18:10] Nicolas: [00:18:10] there on the trails. Great. Thanks for the invite to the gravel ride podcast. Keep, stay tuned for more upcoming podcasts about this show because it's been pretty amazing what they've got here. [00:18:20] No doubt. And we're more than happy to help any, if anyone needs something about scrub cycles, we're more than happy to attend your inquiry. Awesome. Great. Thanks again. Okay, man. Thanks. [00:18:29]Craig Dalton: [00:18:29] That was amazing to get to know Nicolas A. Little bit and a little bit more of the story behind Scarab Cycles. I remember getting introduced to riding in Columbia back in episode 75. When Matt, Katie was talking about some of the bike packing routes that he had developed in that beautiful country. And he just relayed so many great stories about the off-road terrain.  [00:18:52] The mountains and everything else about the Colombian experience. So to get to sit down with Nicolas here in the United States, when he was over for the ENVE builder, Roundup was a huge pleasure. Definitely, definitely, definitely go out and seek some pictures of what scarab cycles does with their bicycles.  [00:19:11] The paint jobs are exceptional. The quality of work, just a lot of dedicated craftsmanship under the hood there. Huge. Thanks to envy for continuing to support the podcast. It's been a pleasure interviewing all these builders and seeing the NV components highlighted. Across all these bicycles.   [00:19:32]If you are interested in supporting the show, sharing it with a friend is very much appreciated. Ratings and reviews are hugely helpful in the podcast game. And obviously visiting buy me a gravel ride is a direct way to financially support what I'm doing here at the podcast. If you want to get in touch.  [00:19:53] Please hit me up over at the ridership. If you're not already a member to this free global cycling community. Just visit for your free invitation. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels

    Lily Williams - Olympian USA Cycling / Rally Cycling

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2021 36:17

    This week we sit down with Olympian Lily Williams who will represent the United States on the Women's Pursuit team. While track cycling is not our typical fare, Lily has a cyclocross background (and a maybe a gravel future).  In addition to representing our country, Lily is the Communications Director of Bike Index.  Lily Williams Instagram USA Cycling Olympic Track Schedule Support the podcast Automated Full Episode Transcription (please excuse the typos): Craig Dalton: [00:00:00]   Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.  [00:00:10] This week on the podcast, we've got Olympian, Lily Williams, joining the show. Lily's got a bad-ass background as a cyclist particularly as a cyclocross racer after a career as a collegiate runner. [00:00:24]Team. Lily races professionally on the road with the Rally Cycling, [00:00:28]And caught the attention of USA cycling and was brought to Colorado Springs for some performance testing on the track. I'll let her explain what happened next but a pretty amazing journey from someone who just found cycling after college. [00:00:41]Like many professional cyclists, Lily also holds down a full-time job, full disclosure. We work together at the nonprofit bike index. And we'll talk a little bit about that. And the mission bike index is on.    [00:00:54]Before we get started, I needed to thank this week sponsor Athletic Greens, who also happens to be a sponsor of USA cycling.  [00:01:04]Athletic greens is N S F certified for sport. Meaning they take their product seriously. Consistently testing and auditing it to ensure what's on the label is actually in the pouch. As you can imagine, that's critically important for Olympians and professional athletes and gives us average athletes the confidence to know what's going in the body.  [00:01:27]I'm actually drinking my post ride athletic grains right now, my personal way to prepare it. I like two big heaping scoops of ice, and then a heaping spoonful of Athletic Greens.  [00:01:39]Athletic Greens is a complex blend of 75 vitamins minerals, and whole food sourced ingredients. Athletic greens is green powder engineered to help fill the nutritional gaps in your diet. Their daily drink improves everyday performance by addressing the four pillars of health energy recovery gut health and immune support  [00:02:00]I've said it before. I'm a little bit embarrassed at times as to how poor my diet can slide when I get stressed out. But with athletic greens being packed with  for recovery. Probiotics and [00:02:12] Digestive enzymes for gut health, vitamin C and zinc [00:02:17]For immune support, it's just an easy all-in-one solution to help your body meet its nutritional needs. And boy, I could use all the help I can get. My program, I'd take one scoop every morning, and then I'll typically do two glasses on days where I've depleted myself through a big gravel ride. It's keto, paleo vegan. Dairy-free and gluten-free. All in a drank with less than one gram of sugar that tastes great over ice . [00:02:45]So, whether you're looking to boost your energy levels, support your immune system or address gut health. Now's the perfect time to try athletic greens for yourself. Simply visit athletic growl ride to claim my special offer today and receive free. K-12 wellness bundle with your first purchase.  [00:03:05] That's up to a one-year supply of vitamin D as an added value. When you try, they're delicious and comprehensive daily, all in one drink. You'd be hard pressed to find a more comprehensive nutritional bundle anywhere else. Again, that's athletic gravel ride. Would that business of supporting our sponsors behind us. Let's jump right in to my conversation with Olympian Lily Williams.  lily. Welcome to the show.  [00:03:31]Lily Williams: [00:03:31] Hey Craig. Thanks for having me  [00:03:33]Craig Dalton: [00:03:33] Our weekly calls. Aren't enough , Lily and I work together at the nonprofit bike index. [00:03:38] So we are in frequent communication.  [00:03:40]Lily Williams: [00:03:40] It's true, but nonetheless, I'm happy to be here.  [00:03:42] Craig Dalton: [00:03:42] And in the context of this conversation, huge congratulations for being selected to the Olympic team for the United States.  [00:03:49]Lily Williams: [00:03:49] Thank you. Yeah. So exciting. How many people have told me I'm fulfilling a dream and I'm just like, forget how  [00:03:56] cool it is. [00:03:57] Craig Dalton: [00:03:57] I think it's absolutely amazing. And I'm one of those people who constantly feels the need to remind you what an amazing journey you've been on.  [00:04:04]Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate it. Thank you. For the  [00:04:08] listener. I want to be clear, unfortunately, this is not the Olympic gravel cycling team.  [00:04:12]Lily Williams: [00:04:12] Not yet, but what might  [00:04:15] Craig Dalton: [00:04:15] happen? [00:04:15] This is the Olympic pursuit team on the track.  [00:04:19]Lily Williams: [00:04:19] Yes. Yeah. Which is about as far from a gravel race as you can get. But that doesn't mean I don't have a passion for all things off-road as well.  [00:04:27] Craig Dalton: [00:04:27] Is this true? And we will get to this Lilly. There is a tie into gravel cycling and dirt riding. For Lily. And we'll get to that. [00:04:36] In fact, where I wanted to start the conversation. I know you were a division one runner in college and transitioned and went into grad school, found the bike, but why don't we start there on your journey about where you started riding the bike, what you started getting excited about. And then we have to, for the listener, figure out a way to show them how you ended up. [00:04:56] Being on the Olympic track team of all things.  [00:04:58]Lily Williams: [00:04:58] Yeah. That might be worth some explaining. Yeah, so I started, I got my first bike as an adult, I think my sophomore year of undergrad. Maybe no, it was my freshman year of undergrad and I just had a bike that I was riding around campus. And then I was running track and cross country for my university. [00:05:14] And anytime we had an off week, I would ride my bike around town. So I definitely really enjoyed. Riding the bike, didn't wear a helmet or flip flops. Wasn't a cyclist, just was a person, bobbing around getting to the grocery store. And then I moved to Chicago for graduate school. [00:05:30]And that's where I really started writing. I started working at a bike shop and got a road bike and pimped out my computer so that I could get to and from class, which was downtown and I lived in the north. Northern part of the city. Yeah, I really started as a commuter, even though I was an athlete before in a different sport. [00:05:48]And then, because I was working at a bike shop, my coworkers coerced me into trying to become an athlete again. So that's where it started in 2016. So as I  [00:05:58] Craig Dalton: [00:05:58] understand it, your collegiate running career was. Maybe challenging for you in terms of what you thought it was going to be and what it turned out to be. [00:06:07] Were you looking for another athletic career at this point?  [00:06:11]Lily Williams: [00:06:11] No, my collegiate sport experience was pretty terrible. And a lot of it was just like me not knowing how to balance being basically a full-time athlete, which is what division one athletes are and getting, going to school and not failing. [00:06:24]And I also just yeah, socially, there's so much fun things to do at school. And you just find a way to prioritize the thing you like the least, which at that time was sports for me. So I was pretty ready to not be an athlete ever again. When I went to grad school and that lasted all of four months before I found cycling. [00:06:42] Craig Dalton: [00:06:42] So you found cycling at the, you said in the context of a road bike, but quickly discovered that cyclocross was an interesting part of the sport for you.  [00:06:51]Lily Williams: [00:06:51] Yeah because I was living in Chicago people may know that the Chicago cyclocross cup is a pretty big deal. There's a bunch, I can't remember how many, 10 ish race, weekends, all within driving distance of city throughout the course of the fall and winter. [00:07:06] And the money's really good and the it's just a really good time. And the competition is pretty good. And quickly started borrowing a demo bike from the shop that I was worked on. Shop that I was working at and was taking it to cyclocross practices in town just after class, just to, I don't know, just hang out with people and have a good time. [00:07:28]And then doing the races to have a good time as well. And I started having a lot of success in cyclocross, at least locally which kind of motivated me to want to try to do some of the bigger events as well.  [00:07:40] Craig Dalton: [00:07:40] And so you use that. Springboard. And I think you had mentioned there was a really good shop in Chicago land that leans into cyclocross and had a good team that you could get to be a part of. [00:07:52]Lily Williams: [00:07:52] Yeah, 100%. So initially I was aware being at Turin bicycle, which is a shop in Ravenswood, which is the neighborhood I was living in. And then I did just a season with the club team based out of Turin which is called bonkers cycling. And. Then I also did a few races for Northwestern because I was at Northwestern for school and was able to compete and cross and on the road and cyclocross for Northwestern. [00:08:18]And then that would have been in winter of 20 16, 20 17. And then my partner and I at the time wanted to do a full UCI calendar of cyclocross the next winter. And we approached the pony shop, which is in Evanston, which is the city immediately north. Of Chicago and they hooked us up. [00:08:37] They helped us get all of our equipment and kit and race entries and everything. And we just jumped head first into a full UCI calendar. And it was awesome. Like we got on some podiums and we got UCI points and it was really fun, a fun program. That's still going by the way and is growing. [00:08:54]Craig Dalton: [00:08:54] That's amazing. I remember getting introduced to the idea that Lily is going to be my coworker. And I think our coworker south basically said that Lily she's based in Chicago, she likes, she races. Cyclocross was very sort of unassuming introduction. Given what you've subsequently been able to achieve. [00:09:15]Lily Williams: [00:09:15] Yeah Seth and I, we just bombed around town and had a good time. And at the point that I knew Seth in Chicago, we didn't really I did not have any aspirations to be a professional athlete. I was really just looking to meet new people and enjoy like exercising for fun, crazy concept. And yeah, over the years, even since you and I have been working together, I think it's changed quite a bit into something a little more serious than what it was initially. [00:09:39]But yeah, I thought I was going to full gossipy, a cyclocross, a pro, and race in Europe and be sick over there. So things have just changed drastically, as you may assume, have assumed.  [00:09:50] Craig Dalton: [00:09:50] And after those results in 2018, you signed on board with rally cycling on the road.  [00:09:57]Lily Williams: [00:09:57] Is that right? In 2017, late 2017. [00:10:01] So I had already done. Oh man. I'm like already losing sense of the timeline. It's been four years and I can't even remember what I've done. In, so even before I had really done a full UCI cross calendar, I had been racing on the road and doing all the professional road races. And so in 2017 I reached out to Hoggins Berman Supermint and then signed with them for 2018. [00:10:26]As my first pro road contract. And then, so before I ever raced with Superman, I did after I signed, but before I raced, I did a full winter of cyclocross racing for the pony shop. Yeah. And then the following the subsequent year, I continued with the pony shop and did another full season of UCI cyclocross and one of my first UCI race. [00:10:44]And then after 2019 Superman, I signed with rally cycling for 2020 cause Superman folded.  [00:10:54] Craig Dalton: [00:10:54] Gotcha. And at what point did you start getting the interest from USA cycling to introduce this idea of riding on the track?  [00:11:01]Lily Williams: [00:11:01] Yeah, so it seemed so you got a new women's endurance head coach for the track program after Rio. [00:11:09] And his name is Gary Sutton. So he's our coach now. And he was just bringing people in from the road since he got to the U S so the team was really strong. They were defending world champions, Olympic silver medalist. But Sarah Hamer, who was one of their key riders retired. And there were just a few spots that they needed to fill. [00:11:25]So he was bringing people in just based on who was doing well on the road. So in late 2018, so this would have been after cyclocross nationals, two of 2018. So the first one was in January and Louisville, Kentucky, or excuse me, Reno, Nevada. And then the second one was in December in Louisville. I flew two days after Louisville out to Colorado Springs to do some testing as one of many people. [00:11:50]And then realized I might be able to be good enough and then started pretty heavily coming to the track starting early 2019. So I was coming to Colorado Springs for camps once a month, at least before my first race in July of 2019,  [00:12:06] Craig Dalton: [00:12:06] the identification testing look like. So you go to Colorado Springs and they make you do something. [00:12:10] What do they make you do? And what are they looking for?  [00:12:12]Lily Williams: [00:12:12] I was like, yeah. So I was trying specifically for the team pursuit. Like I knew that going in because I'm literally,  [00:12:20] Craig Dalton: [00:12:20] why did you know that? I'm just curious.  [00:12:21]Lily Williams: [00:12:21] I guess I didn't really know that I just assumed that, but I was a 1500 meter runner in college, which is a four-ish minute event, like four minutes. [00:12:30] 20 seconds or whatever. And then the team pursuit, the world record is like a four, 10, great Britain has it. So I knew that there was an event that was similar to what I would be doing. And then I came to USA to the us Olympic training center and did some power or testing on a watt bike. So I did like a sick test, 32nd test, four minute test, just to see where you are. [00:12:53] I think my six second test was the worst test they'd ever recorded. And then my four minute test was like the best test they'd ever written. So they were like, there's something here. We don't know what it is. And then when I got on the track, so I actually wrote the track. They put me on a pursuit bike. [00:13:08] So with the arrow from run end and I was doing pursuit specific efforts, just like riding the bike behind the motors. The motor and then like doing some flying 32nd efforts, ish, just to see how quickly I can cover ground without falling off the bike was of course I'd never written one before. [00:13:23]So yeah, it was like two or three days. And then they were like, if you want to come back we'd love to have you, but obviously, like you have to want to do it. And at that point it would require me giving up my cross program and potentially missing a lot of road, which I ended up doing. But yeah, so it's been pretty full gas since. [00:13:39] Probably January of 2019.  [00:13:41] Craig Dalton: [00:13:41] Yeah. I can only imagine how challenging it was getting on a track bike for the first time.  [00:13:46]Lily Williams: [00:13:46] I guess that's not really a true rule. I have written it Northbrook, which is the velodrome. And once again, just north of Chicago, but just two or three times, just for the summer series. [00:13:55]I borrowed one of the bikes they have at the track. I had no idea what gear was going on it, I think I probably switched the seat height between me and my friend riding the same bike the same night. So I didn't really know what I was doing. I was just like, I'd been on a bike, but not really. [00:14:12] Then I remember  [00:14:13] Craig Dalton: [00:14:13] you got to try over the course of our relationship. You would ask for things like, Hey, I need to reschedule a call because I'm going to be in Lima, Peru, and then you'd come back and say, oh, we won this medal. And then you said, Hey, I have to go to Berlin and not knowing the track schedule as well as I might know, road scheduling. [00:14:33] I didn't realize it was the world championship. And lo and behold, I see. Oh, I came back with the gold medal, wearing the rainbow striped Jersey on the track.  [00:14:43]Lily Williams: [00:14:43] Yeah. I remember that night I was in bed in the hotel doing some work and you were like can you just stop and go celebrate for a little bit? [00:14:51]I'm busy. I have to answer my email. Yeah, it's cryptic, especially in the U S where there really aren't that many velodromes to race on. I don't think people, I certainly didn't know what. What I was doing or what track cycling was about. And it was only until I started going to the world cups, which I got pretty fast tracked into. [00:15:07] Did I see what a track cycling is and it's the, how it's popular in other countries and what events there are. But yeah, we've gone to some interesting places. We spent 10 days in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which was that like 10,000 feet for a race. So it's kinda cool.  [00:15:23] Craig Dalton: [00:15:23] And for clarity, you race on a four woman pursuit team. [00:15:28] Can you talk about those team dynamics and what you're looking for? Because I know over the process of the Olympic selection process, there were multiple women vying for spots, and I'm imagining as a coach, you're trying to factor in certain things. I'd be curious, like what things were they trying to factor in? [00:15:44] And what's important in the dynamic between you and the other athletes.  [00:15:48]Lily Williams: [00:15:48] Yeah, that's a great question. So you're right. It's four people and you basically just want to maximize the four that you have. So everyone in the group is going to be doing something a little bit different from, starting position one to starting position four, or, if you're Chloe you're spending the last three laps on the front, when someone else in line might only be able to do. [00:16:11] Three laps, total of the race. So you really have to maximize the four that you have in a combination. That's going to be the most effective and that's completely different for every team and is completely different depending on the combination of riders that you have. We set out a schedule the night before, or the morning of the race and say, this is where you're going to start. [00:16:29] This is how much time you're going to spend on the front. We like go over our communication strategy because things can always go wrong and you have to be able to tell whoever's on the front, what's happening three wheels back. And then we'll have the coach walking the line on a certain pace. [00:16:43] So we always know where we are relative to the other team. And we always know exactly what pace we're riding to equate or the final time. So for something that's relatively simple there's quite a bit that goes into it. And there were seven women on it. The team pursuit, long team and five women were selected. [00:17:03]So even though it seems like there were a pretty, if you were on the long team, you had a pretty good shot of making it even getting on the long team was a big challenge because you had to either have podium at a world cup or written a certain time standard. It was definitely a tight selection. [00:17:19]Craig Dalton: [00:17:19] Within there are limits to figure out how to phrase this. So for clarity, everybody in this particular event needs to finish at the same time. So your time is taken on the last rider going across the line.  [00:17:30]Lily Williams: [00:17:30] Yes. So you start with four and you only have to finish three writers. So for most countries the starter who does the most work at the beginning of the race does not finish. [00:17:40]Our starter is a woman named Jen Valente, who Usually finishes the ride. She's pretty good. So is there a benefit  [00:17:47] Craig Dalton: [00:17:47] for her hanging on throughout the rest of the ride?  [00:17:49]Lily Williams: [00:17:49] Not necessarily, but she's good enough at it that she can still do more with the start. Those of us who are newer and not quite so strong. [00:17:57]So it, the time is taken on the third rider across the line. So in theory, you're. Your three writers come across at the same time, you like fan up and all right across the line together. Sometimes it goes wrong. Somebody gets dropped or you crash or something. So you start four, but time has taken on three. [00:18:14] Craig Dalton: [00:18:14] And so that starter that you alluded to with maybe slightly different physiology, is it just sheer power and Watts to get up to the speed? The team needs as quickly as possible.  [00:18:23]Lily Williams: [00:18:23] Jen is the best starter in the world. She has a really, she's probably got the longest track background of anyone on the team. [00:18:28]She definitely does. And she is has a history in doing the sprint events too. So she's by far the quickest of all of us over the, just getting out of the gate and getting us up to speed. The us will typically start almost a second faster than. Some most of the other teams, which is not insignificant when races are won by tenths of seconds,  [00:18:50] Craig Dalton: [00:18:50] your stacks up the track and she starts, and then you've got, obviously everybody else is starting at the same time. [00:18:56] And you've got to, you've got to tuck in. If Chloe is your cleanup batter, so to speak, is she expanding a little less energy at the start? Because she can fade into the fourth slot.  [00:19:07]Lily Williams: [00:19:07] No, because she normally, yeah, I'll start second, which is the second most challenging position because you're getting up to speed basically at the same pace as the starter, and then the starter pulls off and you have to do your turn immediately. [00:19:20] Whereas say at worlds, I started in fourth position. I had three people's terms before I had to take my first turn, so I could settle into the ride and then do my turn. Whereas someone like Chloe, who is. Next level world-class she can do the star behind, P one and then also, take her pole right away without any recovery. [00:19:41] Craig Dalton: [00:19:41] Okay. And then as far as when you peel off from the front, how many rotations would you typically get in an event?  [00:19:47]Lily Williams: [00:19:47] It usually it totally depends. We've tried a bunch of different structures, I think. If you look at any of our footage from past races, normally we do two to three on the front depending on where you start in line. [00:19:59]So for me, it's always been two. I think I'll be able to contribute quite a bit more after an additional year of training, but traditionally the races I've done, I would take two turns on the front.  [00:20:10] Craig Dalton: [00:20:10] And is it you, I think you mentioned that is likely decided the morning of the event via your coach and you're just following a plan. [00:20:18] Lily Williams: [00:20:18] Yeah. It's pretty much based. Yeah. It's based on a plan that's laid out. We have some input as well if we want. Which is really nice because I think of course we all know each other in our own bodies very well. And yeah, the structure as we call it, or the schedule is usually not. Sent out until pretty close to race time. [00:20:35]Which is good. I think it minimizes the stress of thinking about it and it always is very logical. There's never anything crazy in it. Like they would never say Lilly are doing the eight laps in the middle of the race. So we all know what is going to happen? How many  [00:20:49] Craig Dalton: [00:20:49] laps total are we talking about? [00:20:50]Lily Williams: [00:20:50] So a track is a track that we would race on is 250 meters. And we'll do 16 laps. From a standing start. So it's four kilometers total for the team  [00:21:01] Craig Dalton: [00:21:01] pursuit. Another team on the other side of the track starting at the same time, right?  [00:21:06] Lily Williams: [00:21:06] Or is that not the case? Yeah, so to, to confuse it even more, there were three rounds in the first round is called qualifying in. [00:21:14] The second round is called first round. The third round is called finals, but qualifying is just for time. So the, at the Olympics there'll be eight teams. And you will all ride individually with no other team on the track to set a time. And then they seed you based on the time that you have written and qualifying. [00:21:35] So there's a there's then three man, and I really don't even know, like I really should know this. But then there are then in first round, they race, I believe they race first and fourth from qualifying together against each other. And the winner of that ride goes onto the gold medal round and then they race second and third in the winner of that ride also goes on to the gold medal round. [00:21:59] And then whoever gets S whoever gets seconds in the, yeah. [00:22:07]Yeah. I really don't even know. I'll be honest with you. I know that. I know how you get to the gold medal round, but I don't really know how you get to the silver or to the bronze metal round, so I never have to learn it. But yeah. And then they'll slot the fourth, fastest time from quals in or a fourth fastest time from first round in to the final in that bronze medal ride, I think, or maybe from the non. [00:22:34] Yeah, but I don't know.  [00:22:35] Craig Dalton: [00:22:35] So I'm curious, you mentioned something about being able to take clues from your coaches about the timing. Are they flashing you up, assign each lap about where you're at?  [00:22:45]Lily Williams: [00:22:45] He'll stand on the line that we started. So if he's in front of the line, it means we're going too slow and he's behind the line. [00:22:51] It means that we're up. There'll be different things. It's a different part of the race. So like the first part of the race, he'll be standing on the line based on the time that we set for ourselves. And then later on, he'll be walking the line based on how far ahead or behind we are the opposite team. [00:23:04] So yes, as I forgot to mention, quals is an individual just for time ride. And then first round and finals are with another team on the track. So you are thus pursuing each other.  [00:23:16] Craig Dalton: [00:23:16] So for that qualifying round, you presumably the coach has in his or her head, this is the time we need to hit in order to seed ourselves one or two or whatever you're going for  [00:23:27]Lily Williams: [00:23:27] in theory. [00:23:28] But it always ends up just being full gas. If we were really up in. Calls is always full gas. Cause you want to set the fastest time because you want to automatically be seated in a first round ride. That'll get you into the gold medal final. Yeah. And then first round you definitely, all you have to do is beat the other team to move on, but at the same time you are still going pretty much full gas because it's hard to beat the other team, there's not as much strategy in it as you would think. And then of course finals is full gas too. So it's it's pretty much three. Three, all out rides. That seems  [00:23:58] Craig Dalton: [00:23:58] what I could imagine. It's just, you're going to be going hard and fast and it's hard to take it up to the next level. Even if someone's saying you have to, because you're behind. [00:24:08] Lily Williams: [00:24:08] Yeah. Yeah. It's interesting because calls is first as one day. So you do that and then you know where you're at. And then first round and finals are on a together on another day. And when we won worlds in Berlin first round felt easy. Like we, four of us finished and we were all just this is interesting. [00:24:25] And so we moved, went into the final feeling, pretty confident. Even though sometimes it feels easy, but you're really still going very hard and accumulating fatigue. But yeah, you kinda just have to take it one round at a time. Yeah. That's  [00:24:37] Craig Dalton: [00:24:37] interesting. Are there, which countries are you looking out for the most in terms of competition for the Tokyo Olympics? [00:24:43]Lily Williams: [00:24:43] So great Britain has won great Britain, won London and Rio, and the U S got second in London and Rio. And then we won worlds and great Britain was second, which is what happened before Rico as well. So the U S women were world champions, and then I got to great Britain at the Olympics. So we know that great Britain always comes to the Olympics prepared like they do a full four year cycle with the really, the only goal of winning an Olympic gold. [00:25:07] So they're certainly the ones who are on paper, the best to be. But Germany set a pretty fast time at worlds as well. So we know that they have at least one really fast time in them Oz Australia or the world champions in 2019. I'm sure they will be on good form. And knowing our coach, Gary, who came from Australia knowing how good of a coach he is, you have to assume that. [00:25:28]Whoever is coaching those women now also knows how to make them best. And then New Zealand is very fast. They almost broke the world record in 2020, and rumor has it that they almost broke it again in training this year or at nationals or something. And then Frank, it's had a couple of really fast rides two years ago. [00:25:47] So there is really, the eight teams that are there are really. All metal capable on Canada. Canada got bronze in in Rio and consistently podium at world cups. So there's a lot,  [00:26:02] Craig Dalton: [00:26:02] it sounds like you're going to be looking over your shoulder at basically everybody who's on the opposing end of the track. [00:26:07]Lily Williams: [00:26:07] Pretty much. Yeah. I'm trying not to get overwhelmed by how stressful it is, but I also feel very confident in our group. I take a lot of solace in that. And I  [00:26:17] Craig Dalton: [00:26:17] believe I saw from our friends that felt that they've got a pretty sweet track bike for you guys to race.  [00:26:23]Lily Williams: [00:26:23] Yeah. So they built it for Rio. [00:26:26]And it's left side drive. And sometimes I pull out my road bike, my normal felt road bike. And I'm like, why is the crank on this side? And then I remember that's what a normal bike is like. Yeah, so it. Pretty much the same as a regular track bike, but in theory, the left side drive decreases drag because it's traveling the shorter there's drag on a shorter distance, if that makes sense. [00:26:45] So the inside of the track is shorter than farther up on the track. So if you have the cranks or if you have the crank set on the inside the drive train, then it's spending less time in the wind. And we have some other secret stuff that we're developing on the bikes right now, or just fitting the bikes out with. [00:27:05]It's going to be exciting. Everyone shows up at the Olympics with at least so I've heard because I've never been with crazy new bikes and equipment and skin suits. And it's people don't realize that track cycling like the cutting edge of all of this arrow stuff that USU and the. [00:27:20] Are you shun in the gravel world? But a lot of it's pretty, pretty cool. And arrow bars are, people are using arrow bars on the gravel now, too, so I can empathize.  [00:27:29] Craig Dalton: [00:27:29] Yeah. It's definitely one of those things I always look out for when the Olympics come around to see what kind of snazzy new tech or bike is going to be introduced. [00:27:37] I know as you mentioned, the UK always seems to introduce new, fast looking bikes. And that felt like with the drive train on the other side is just But when you talk about marginal gains, like that little bit of moving it from one side or the other.  [00:27:49] Lily Williams: [00:27:49] Yeah. Yeah. We're talking like half of 1%. [00:27:52] So in my opinion, I'm just like, okay, I'm going to work so hard that none of those one percents matter, so that nothing can go wrong and I don't have to think about anything else. But they make a big difference. They all add up and especially when you're trying to get an Olympic medal, you really have no room to let other teams. [00:28:07]Take extra from you where you could be doing the same thing. Yeah. I  [00:28:11] Craig Dalton: [00:28:11] mean, we want all you athletes to feel fast in your clothing, your bikes, your helmets, everything, right?  [00:28:17]Lily Williams: [00:28:17] Yeah, absolutely. And there's a lot of thought that goes into it. I don't think people realize quite how much time and money and energy is spent on making sure we have the best of everything. [00:28:28] Yeah.  [00:28:28]Craig Dalton: [00:28:28] It's going to be awesome. I'm excited. I'll put links to where people can watch the stream. I think I looked it up correctly. Is August 2nd sound right? For one of the start of the events. Yeah. And it sounds like it's going to be around 11:30 PM. Pacific time to watch.  [00:28:43]Lily Williams: [00:28:43] I hope so. I looked it up on NBC. [00:28:46] I'm not sure it'll even be aired because most people are at once again are like, what is track cycling? But hopefully, especially if. We have multiple events that are metal capable. NBC has some incentive to yeah. Just show it. Exactly.  [00:28:58] Craig Dalton: [00:28:58] There's nothing worse than my, my, my past when I've stayed up at night to watch something on the Olympics and they're covering something totally different than the sport that I wanted to see. [00:29:07] Lily Williams: [00:29:07] It's like a question or something and you're like, dang it. Yeah. But this is going to be awesome. Olympic trials yesterday. It's finally happening. It's  [00:29:15] Craig Dalton: [00:29:15] exciting. Definitely. Wow. I'm excited to be along for the ride with you. I know you've worked tremendously hard to get to this point and we've already said we don't want you working on bike index stuff while you're over there. [00:29:28] Yeah.  [00:29:28]Lily Williams: [00:29:28] Yeah. We'll try. I'll try really hard. I'm going to have to shut down slack and some other things are also being really tempted. I get on and talk to you guys.  [00:29:36] Craig Dalton: [00:29:36] If it's relaxing, talk to us. If not we'll survive.  [00:29:40]Lily Williams: [00:29:40] Yeah. Sometimes it's so nice to have a tie to normalcy. I'll be perfectly honest when all you've done is be at the track all day. [00:29:46] And you just want to talk to someone about something that isn't splits or which drink mix to put in your bottle or which gear to put on the bike or whatever. Yeah. So  [00:29:55]Craig Dalton: [00:29:55] In what may seem like a giant leap for the listener bike index is a nonprofit where a stolen bike, sorry, where a bicycle registry and stolen bike recovery platform. [00:30:06] So at its basic level, You register your bike, it's free to use. You can do that as a, as an owner. You can do it a lot of times, right? At the shop level when you purchase your bike. But the really interesting things that Lily and I get to see are on the stolen bike recovery side. And I thought it might be fun just to share a couple of stories of some of our favorite recoveries that we've seen on bike index. [00:30:29]Lily Williams: [00:30:29] Yeah. I'll steal our favorite one. We have recovered a bike that somebody reported stolen on bike index when they were an undergraduate. I think in Iowa, I think at Iowa state or a university or some, one of the universities in Iowa, and then. I think it was six or eight years later, they were back at the same school for their medic getting their medical degree. [00:30:51] And they recovered the bike that they had reported stolen when they were there for undergrad. So that was a pretty fun. Yeah. Yeah. It's always  [00:30:59] Craig Dalton: [00:30:59] incredible. Basically once it's indicated as stolen on the platform, it's just going to sit there. And as a nonprofit, we've got a pretty wide community of volunteers that are looking out for it. [00:31:10]If they see something that's. Listed on offer up or Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. That looks too good to be true. Oftentimes our volunteers will just check bike index and be able to reconnect with the owner and at least give them a heads up. Hey, I think we've seen your bike here, or I think it's being sold there and it gives you a fighting chance to recover your bike. [00:31:29]Lily Williams: [00:31:29] Yeah, 100% or recovery rate is growing from around 10%, which is the highest reported recovery rate of any registration service. And yeah, not only volunteers, but law enforcement officers and members of the community of which we have hundreds of thousands are all looking out for stolen bikes and sending messages to people just out of the goodness of their hearts about. [00:31:53] If they see your stolen bike somewhere, they can let you know where it might be, so you can recover it. So it's pretty successful.  [00:32:00] Craig Dalton: [00:32:00] And while we can't talk about the details in this context and listener, I do trust that you won't you won't share this too widely until we tell you it's available, but we have been tracking this absolutely massive theft ring ranging all the way from Northern California. [00:32:16] Into Mexico and we've traced over $500,000 worth of bikes to one seller. We've got active police investigations in a number of different cities and counties in California that are all triangulating around this same effort. We've got a national publication. That's been following it along with our partner who focuses on stolen bike recovery. [00:32:38] And it's going to be the biggest bicycle theft ring I think ever uncovered in the United States.  [00:32:44]Lily Williams: [00:32:44] Yeah. Pay attention. But like that really galvanizes people, I think when you rely on your bike as transportation or your way to get to work or your sole opportunity for recreation it's really a problem. [00:32:55] And hopefully it, we are here to make it better. Yes.  [00:32:58] Craig Dalton: [00:32:58] So thank you for your continued efforts on that behalf, Lily.  [00:33:01]Lily Williams: [00:33:01] Of course,  [00:33:03] Craig Dalton: [00:33:03] but time to focus on the Olympics, we have high expectations for you. We can't wait. We're all standing at your back and I appreciate you sharing with our listeners. I'm sharing this because you started in the dirt. [00:33:15] You're going to go into metals. I think you're going to come back to the dirt and we're going to see you at some of these big events in the future.  [00:33:21]Lily Williams: [00:33:21] I think you're probably right. I've paid close attention to a lot of them. And I'm just wondering, like when I'm going to bite the bullet and do Unbound or one of the other big races domestically or as I was telling Craig earlier pseudo dirt, Go over to Europe and hopefully rice, the first ever women's Perry Ruby in a few months here, if my team rally cycling gets the invite. [00:33:43]So yeah, I did one gravel race in 2017. I did Barry Ruby up in Michigan. And it was for reasoning. It was like 40 degrees and raining, so it wasn't cold enough for it to be snow. And it was just wet and miserable the whole time. But I did win. So I think that I will come back at some point and I'll probably bring the arrow bar. [00:34:04] Craig Dalton: [00:34:04] Oh, controversy right there.  [00:34:07]Lily Williams: [00:34:07] I feel like that's an old controversy now. There's always something new and arrow bars are just like part of the litany.  [00:34:14] Craig Dalton: [00:34:14] Yeah, exactly. Cool. Thanks for all the time today, Lily. I appreciate it.  [00:34:18]Lily Williams: [00:34:18] Yeah. Thanks Craig. It's good to talk to you as always.  [00:34:22] [00:34:22] Craig Dalton: [00:34:22] Huge. Thanks to Lily for joining us on the show this week. I'm so proud of her for making the Olympic team and so excited for the women's track team in Tokyo. Her event is starting on August 2nd, Monday, August 2nd, the first rounds, and then the finals will be on August 3rd. [00:34:42]Make sure. And send USA cycling and Lily, your support over social media. I'll put her handles. In the show notes. I know it can be funky finding cycling on the streaming and television networks. But do what you can. I think for the USA cycling program. We've got a great shot at gold in the women's pursuit. and i can't wait to follow the journey. [00:35:03] [00:35:03]Thanks again to this week's sponsor athletic greens. Remember visit athletic gravel ride to obtain that special offer. And thank you. Thank you for all the new members. Thank you for all my one-time supporters. When you visit, buy me a gravel ride, that's your way to directly support what we're doing over here at the podcast. We couldn't be doing what we're doing without the support of members. Like you.  [00:35:32] And also the generous sponsors from the industry. And outside the industry.  [00:35:38]One final ask would be, if you have a friend or a group of friends that are getting into gravel cycling, please share the gravel ride podcast with them. I'm endeavoring to create a body of work. That'll take a new rider on a journey and take an experienced rider through some deep dives. We want to create content that just helps people stay stoked.  [00:35:57] On the sport of gravel cycling. Until we speak again. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

    Tony Pereira - Breadwinner Cycles from the ENVE Builder Round Up

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2021 33:14

    This week we sit down with Tony Pereira of Breadwinner Cycles to learn more about this Portland, OR based custom builder. Tony was part of the 2021 ENVE Builder Round Up in Ogden, UT. This week's podcast is generously sponsored by ENVE. Breadwinner Cycles  Support the podcast The Ridership Automated Transcription (Please excuse the typos): Breadwinner Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Tony, welcome to the show.  [00:00:01]Tony Pereira: [00:00:01] Thanks for having me, Craig.  [00:00:02] Craig Dalton: [00:00:02] It's great to see you virtually from your office there. [00:00:05]Tony Pereira: [00:00:05] It's funny now that we're all accustomed to this it's it makes it really easy.  [00:00:08] Craig Dalton: [00:00:08] Yeah. It really is. If you don't have your setup dialed at this point, I don't think you ever will.  [00:00:13]Tony Pereira: [00:00:13] Yeah. Right.  [00:00:15] Craig Dalton: [00:00:15] So let's start off a little bit by getting to know you and what led you to becoming a frame builder [00:00:21] Transcribing...  [00:00:22] Tony Pereira: [00:00:22] It's been a while now. [00:00:23]I worked in, I started out in the outdoor, your industry, I started working in ski shops when I was 16, which was in 1985 and grew up working in ski shops. And then in college, I started working in a bike shop and after college, I moved to Utah and skied and rode and worked in bike shops there. [00:00:44] And I got really active. Like community when I lived in salt lake did that for quite a while. Eventually got bored of being a bike mechanic, just hit my limit on that and what I've always been a tinkerer. Playing around in the garage, working on cars and motorcycles and of course, bicycles. [00:01:01]I learned how to breeze a little and weld a little bit from a friend of mine. And then just brought all those things together. And I was a fan of the old mountain bikes, the, IBUs and salsa. And of course the Richie's, the Richie has always had those beautiful, huge fillets. [00:01:18] And and I'm like, I knew how to braise. So I'm like, I wonder if I could make a mountain bike and, it was, that was two, this was 2002 or so, so almost 20 years ago. The internet was there. We were using all like listserv type communication. But there's a pretty active frame, builder listserv. [00:01:37] It's still exists. But I got on there and started figuring it out, build a couple of mountain bikes and I, after building one, I was like, oh man, I gotta do this. Bringing my love of bikes together with making things and And I just, I was hooked for sure. Riding that first bike is such a joyous,  [00:01:54]it's gotta be an amazing feeling to ride something that we've actually made super gratifying. [00:01:59] It sounds like you and I came up in the same era, which was that period of time where there was a lot of great mountain bike, frame builders and custom steel bikes. Every state seemed to have a builder of some notoriety. Yup. Yup. So how did you teach yourself? Was it really through, obviously you had a little bit of hands-on experience from your father's friend to teach you how to weld and, know what equipment was needed. [00:02:25]Craig Dalton: [00:02:25] Were you able to glean some of the basic fundamentals from that list? Serve and ask questions?  [00:02:31] Tony Pereira: [00:02:31] Yeah. Yeah, it was great. I know I, Richard Sachs is one of the. More professional frame builders that was on there. And he's always been really generous with his time. And there were a number of others as well, but I remember him in particular, but yeah, there was a great group of people that, that I, you know, some of them I'm still friends with. [00:02:49] Remember Steve  from Coconino was getting started exactly the same time. And the two of us were like bouncing things off of each other. And just getting our feet wet, but I, I'm fortunate to have, I have a natural aptitude for using tools and problem solving and, figuring things out. [00:03:08] So yeah, I was able to teach myself, with the help of that listserv, obviously how to make it all come together. And, I look back on those early frames and I still have a couple of them and they were pretty bad. The first there's 20 or so that I built for me and my friends. So they were pretty rough, I should say rough. [00:03:25]They weren't, the finish was rough. They worked fine. But I started building bikes for customers after about the first 20 or so bikes mostly worked, went to my friends and. And they were starting to get pretty good by that.  [00:03:36] Craig Dalton: [00:03:36] And did that just happen via word of mouth with the 20 out there, people would see it and say, where did you get that thing? [00:03:42] I had some, I had a core group of friends in salt lake that worked in the bike shop with me, or were associated with the bike shop called wild rose. It was a, early mountain bike scene, mouth bike shop. And two of my friends, Alex and Jeff. They were all, they were 100% on board with me. [00:03:59] They were like, yeah, you got to do this. And we're going to help you build a, some bikes, let's go racing. And we went out, we were all mountain bikers. So we were out riding a single speeds and the inner mountain cup series in Utah, which is a, I think still exists was a really popular mountain bike series. [00:04:18] There were, I think there were 10 races around the whole state. And we got out there and we were top five races. In the single-speed category we started doing that and we would do 24 hours of Moab every year. So we just got out there, we just put it out there and we were having fun and people liked what we were doing. [00:04:33] And I know our very first, my very first customer, he was a guy that we beat in a race and he came up to me at the end of the race. He was like, you guys are having fun. I want one of those.  [00:04:43]That's awesome. Were you operating under the breadwinner brand at that point? No. That was Pereira cycles. [00:04:50] The names, namesake brand at that point.  [00:04:52] Tony Pereira: [00:04:52] Right. So that was in Utah and in 2004, or so, and then I moved to Portland in 2005. And when I moved here, I decided not to get a job and go in full-time building bikes. I had a few orders under my belt. And I just, I went for it and it worked out. [00:05:11] Craig Dalton: [00:05:11] And did you stay under your namesake as the  [00:05:13] Tony Pereira: [00:05:13] Brandon? Yeah, it was prayer cycles until 2013. That's when I hooked up with IRA, we've been building under his name, I Ryan, and and we started breadwinner.  [00:05:26]Craig Dalton: [00:05:26] What about that partnership with IRA made it attractive to you to bring different perspectives and skillsets to the team? [00:05:33] Yeah.  [00:05:33] Tony Pereira: [00:05:33] Yeah. Different types of riders, but have a like-mind as far as there are eye for style and quality, we both worked with the Rafa clothing company and their very early years, we were friends with the guys that got it going here. And when they were based in. And our friend Daniel conceived of this project called the continental. [00:06:00] And it was a group of writers, originally six writers and IRA. And I were two of them who wrote around first in the Northwest here. And, we have a photographer along with us and they'd made some beautiful images and created that whole brand. That's now Rafa. And like a lot of that, the imagery that they still use is of that same stuff. [00:06:20] But like big mountain rides and we're actually doing a lot of gravel riding on 23 millimeter tires and our road bikes. But riding some really cool round, the epic kind of rides that everybody makes fun of Rafa for now.  [00:06:33]Craig Dalton: [00:06:33] I certainly remember that era when those finished visuals and videos came out and they were. [00:06:38] They were certainly evocative of where ultimately gravel slotted in this big mountain adventure, not your Saturday group, not your normal Saturday group ride type of riding.  [00:06:49] Tony Pereira: [00:06:49] Right yeah, that was super fun. And out of that Rafa asked us to build, they decided that they were going to get five bike companies. [00:06:58] We were the smallest one and market alignment. That was all through their website. They took the orders and then we would, we build the bikes and I can't remember. I can't remember exactly. It was like Cinelli I know Chanel Lee was one of them. It's they're slipping my mind now, but they're all like big bike brands. [00:07:17] And then it was me and IRA and we were the only ones that were on that continental team. So we called that bike, the continental. And it had my logo on the right side of the down tube in Iris on the left side of the down too. He built mostly with lugs. So it had a lugged head tube and a talk to C2 junction. [00:07:37] And then the bottom bracket was Phillip raised, which is my style,  [00:07:40] Craig Dalton: [00:07:40] interesting collaboration  [00:07:42] Tony Pereira: [00:07:42] together. We sold 22 of them. So not very many, but out of that, we've found that we really liked working together. And we were like, all right and honestly, we made some good money off of it. Like building that money. [00:07:55] That was how many bikes each of us would build in a year. Right back then I was building 25 likes a year or maybe even a  [00:08:01] Craig Dalton: [00:08:01] little less. Yeah. It's funny. In talking to other builders, you talk, you think about the pace in which these bikes get built. If you're building them all by yourself. Two three weeks to build a bike is, about what it takes and do the math. [00:08:14] You can't do much more than 20, 25 in a year, and  [00:08:18] Tony Pereira: [00:08:18] you nailed it. We were doing the math and we're like, all right, we can't scale what we're doing now anymore. Some people can, there's a few builders out there that can crank them out, but we couldn't. So we're like, let's figure out a way to keep building bikes, but make more of them. [00:08:34]And maybe make a little bit of a. And the breadwinner name was really something that we hung on that first Rafa project. It was just what we used to open a bank account. You've never had any plans to make it a brand. It was a, kind of an inside joke.  [00:08:51] Craig Dalton: [00:08:51] Yeah. I love that. Yeah. We can't make bread any other way. [00:08:54] This is the breadwinner project.  [00:08:55]Tony Pereira: [00:08:55] Yeah. Yeah. My S my son had just been born. IRA had just gotten married and we were. We got to figure something out here and we started calling breadwinner. It was again, a joke between us, but a year or two later actually a year after the Rafa thing we got approached by the folks that were starting up Shinola. [00:09:14] Yep. Just now mostly a watch  [00:09:16] Craig Dalton: [00:09:16] company. Sure. I remember those bikes. Were they, were you behind them? Bikes as  [00:09:20] Tony Pereira: [00:09:20] well. And we designed there. And bill built some prototypes for that. And we got paid well for that. And we took that money and started breadwinner.  [00:09:33] Craig Dalton: [00:09:33] Okay. Yeah. You know it, I imagine it's always a challenge as a frame builder. [00:09:38] Once you have the knowledge of all the different types of machinery that could make your process more efficient. Acquiring said, machinery is a big financial outlay. So having those rare opportunities like with Shinola. Rapha before that I'm sure, really accelerated your ability to be a builder that can kick out more than 20 a year. [00:09:58] Tony Pereira: [00:09:58] Yeah. And it helped them. It gave us a little bit of time to come up with some new ideas. Like we could sit back and go, okay, what do we want this, what do we want this thing called breadwinner to be? And we realized that a lot of our customers. If we're waiting a year, sometimes two years to get their bike at the end of that long wait, they were often not happy. [00:10:21]There are lots of opportunities for things to go wrong and or for them to just lose interest or, just, it just it's too long. So we said, all right, with breadwinner, we're going to deliver the bikes in eight to 12 weeks. And that we've tried to do that the whole time. We've done pretty well until this. [00:10:39]And now that's completely out the window. It's six months now.  [00:10:43] Craig Dalton: [00:10:43] Fortunately, everybody's waiting that long for a group of, at this moment. So you're all right.  [00:10:47] Tony Pereira: [00:10:47] Yeah. The frames, we can turn around, we can build the frames in the same amount of time. If we can get materials, there's, we're run out of tubes. [00:10:55] We run out of head tubes or bottom bracket shells or whatever it is. And we've had moments where we just have to stop. We can't build bikes in the last year. That's really been unusual, but then our painters backed up because, there's this bike boom. So he's extra busy and but anyway, yeah, so it's a little longer now, but yeah, excuse me. [00:11:17]IRA's always been more of a a road rider and a gravel rider. He won the first trans, Iowa gravel race. And I've been a mountain biker. I started mountain biking in 87 and started riding a road bike. When I wrote with those Rafa guys,  [00:11:31] Craig Dalton: [00:11:31] you said it sounded like at the inception of breadwinner, did you see the market opportunity being a little bit more adventurous road, bike style? [00:11:39]Tony Pereira: [00:11:39] Not particularly. We, that was just. So our first lineup, we didn't have a gravel bike. Sure.  [00:11:48] Craig Dalton: [00:11:48] Yeah. And was it a mountain frame? Go ahead.  [00:11:51] Tony Pereira: [00:11:51] Bye. The continental, which is a classic steel fork road bike, we still have that the low lows, our road bikes still are our mainstay road bike. [00:12:00]We have the JV racer, which is our cross country mountain bike. And then a city bike called the Arbor lodge, just the neighbor neighborhood we lived in. And we had a touring bike, which we don't actually don't offer anymore. So that was it. Six bikes that first year. And I believe it was the next year when we came out with the B road, which is now our most popular bike. [00:12:20] And that was our first ground.  [00:12:22]Craig Dalton: [00:12:22] Interesting. So how long did, what did that look like in terms of the proportion of which frames were selling and when did you start to see that? Hey, the be road is actually the bike that is most appealing.  [00:12:34]Tony Pereira: [00:12:34] At first we didn't have it. So it was, we were mostly selling Lolo's. [00:12:38] That was our logo was a Continentals, definitely on the road. And then we put the B road out there and the low the road bikes were still more popular for that first. So that would have been 20 14, 15. I think in 2016 it started to shift significantly. And then it was like 50% road or gravel bikes. [00:12:58] And then we came out, I think we came up the G road, the following year. And now. 60 or 70% gravel bikes, gravel slash bike packing bikes. Yep.  [00:13:09] Craig Dalton: [00:13:09] Yup. Yeah. That's in that, that tracks, what I imagined would happen, it seems on point I was imagining that based on your sales stats, you would have your finger on the pulse of where, and when that gravel product started to break and break free of the pack. [00:13:25] Yeah.  [00:13:25] Tony Pereira: [00:13:25] Yeah, no, it's been, yeah. It's. Four years or so where it's been clearly the front runner. And I feel like this year we did a few more road bikes and some of those were people that had bought gravel bikes from us. And they were like, all right, now I want to road bike. Yeah. People still have their quivers and the gravel bikes have been, real quiver, quiver busters. [00:13:45]A lot of people use those bikes for everything. When you come around and you're like, all right, I want a real fast bike too. And then you get that  [00:13:53] Craig Dalton: [00:13:53] road bike. I think, as we were talking about offline, the geometry changes in mountain bikes have made them a different beast than what we were riding in the late nineties and a hell of a lot more fun. [00:14:06] Yeah. And I imagine that's a, kind of a growing segment of interest because people are looking for something special to have underneath.  [00:14:14]Tony Pereira: [00:14:14] For in the mountain bike world. Yeah. I would love to sell more mountain bikes, but the reality of it is that we it's a niche thing for us. So we do a handful of mountain bikes a year. [00:14:24]I love them. I are good. Water's my all time favorite bike. But those it's designed around the plus tires. So I've been running two sixes or two eights on it lately. But man, that's just such a fun bike for all, all around riding and yeah, you're right. The geometry has changed. I think because forks have gotten longer, it's forced us to change the bikes, but the other thing that's changed a whole lot is the trails. [00:14:48]We went from old hiking trails that were Rocky and not necessarily flowing. Just go pick in your way through, through these trails to trails that are built for bikes, the bill for around bikes, with berms and jumps and rollers and all kinds of features. So the bikes have had, had to evolve with the trails. [00:15:07] Yeah. But yeah, I love riding the hard tails and the the they're super fun. That's, it's been a good, that has been a fun evolution to be, to feel like I've been.  [00:15:16]Craig Dalton: [00:15:16] Let's talk about the mountain bike. One of the bikes you're bringing out to Utah for the envy builder Roundup. I know some of the listeners have probably caught pictures of it already, but why don't you talk us through that model? [00:15:25]Tony Pereira: [00:15:25] Sure. I told you about my friends, Jeff and Alex that helped me get started mountain bike with breadwinner or with prayer cycles. Jeff, his name is Jeff Bates. He passed away. A number of years ago of skin cancer. And so the first mountain bike that we made was called the JB racers named after him. [00:15:43] We still, and we still have it. That's our classic 20 Niner hard tail, cross-country machine. And we've, we'll always have that in our lineup. It's very similar to the bikes I was making under the Pereira banner. Talking about this trail evolution a few years ago I started riding a bunch at a trail system here near Portland called Sandy Ridge. [00:16:03] And it's this new Invus style flow trails are built just for mountain bikes. And that cross country bike is not the right bike for that. So I'm like, all right. And I'd had this in my head for a few years. I'm like, I think I want to build something that's more slack. It's a bigger. It's still a hard tail. [00:16:21] It was there weren't a lot of them happening at the time. But finally I'm like, all right, I'm building this thing. And so pretty slacked out. I think at the time that was a 66 degree head to bangle with a 1 64. It was around 27, 5 wheels. The first-generation about Otis and we started. [00:16:39] So we came up with the design and when it came time for a name, I thought about my buddy, Alex, who was the other guy that helped me start get started. And he's a funny guy. He'd always come up with these funny sayings and give everybody nicknames and just have these funny phrases. And he, one of them was when. [00:16:58]You'd see a cool bike or something. You'd say, dude, that's bad Otis. There's out of nowhere, I don't know where it came from, but he just used to say it all the time. So I'm like that's a great name for a bike. I'm going to call the bike bad Otis. So called the bike bad Otis. You bring it to the two north American handmade bike show, which was in, I don't remember where it was that year Sacramento. [00:17:23] Environmental. Yeah. Yeah. I think it was. Brought the bad odors to Sacramento, big hit. We got some nice press on it. A couple of weeks later, I get a note from a guy on Facebook and his name, bad Otis. He's Hey, like I see bad odors pop up in my messenger. Hey man, why do you have this bike called bad Otis? [00:17:47] That's my name? I was like, I don't know who you are, but all tell me why that's your name? And it turns out he's a fairly well-known artist in the punk rock world. Interesting. In the LA punk rock, like old school, seventies, eighties, he was like the t-shirt artists that did like the circle jerks and black flag. [00:18:10] And like all those I might be wrong about some of those bands, but He, if you see his work, it's like it's of that era and he's still working artists. And we had a conversation. I was like, I'm like, man, I don't know anything about you. I wish I did. Cause I'd want some of your, I would've wanted some of your stuff back then, This is just the name that came out of nowhere from my friend. [00:18:32] And he was like, all right, that's cool. He was totally cool about it, but he thought he's been ripped off over the years. Yeah. Like people that work in that realm there's counterfeit, there's making rip offs of his old t-shirt designs from the eighties and he's had enough of it. So he saw his name pop off and he's oh, here's another one. [00:18:50] And it turns out there was, it wasn't that wasn't the case. But Long story that has nothing to do with the bike, but funny about the name. Anyway, last year, we've seen this long travel hard tail, so big fork, hard tail, a ball over the past few years. There's a lot of them out there. [00:19:10] And just like with the full suspension bikes to get really slack and the head tube angle tend to have a long. Front center so much longer talk to you, but with a steep C2 which gives you a lot more stability when you're in the air, you're diving into berms or going down really steep stuff. And, we said, Hey, we should try this. [00:19:29]I guess maybe a year ago we built a bike cry there was for a Chris king event and and he's been riding that for the past year. And so just again, slacker, I think we went to a 64 degree head to bangle or something like that. His really steep, like 76 degrees C to bangle. [00:19:47]So it climbs you get your weight far enough forward that the front end doesn't want to walk you're around. Okay. But then once you put your dropper down, you stand up, you've got that hard charging, like super slack.  [00:19:57] Craig Dalton: [00:19:57] Yeah, I find it really interesting. Just it helps looking at those bikes helps me think about gravel geometry in many ways. [00:20:03] Not that there's any parallels between the two, but I've often. Yeah, I had trouble like figuring out, what is the steepness of a C2 bangle do? What does the head tube angle do? And the more I play around with different bikes and different equipment, you start to see. And some of these things creep their way. [00:20:18] Some of these philosophies, not these extremes creep their way into gravel bikes in one shape or form IMS.  [00:20:24] Tony Pereira: [00:20:24] Yeah. Yeah. W you've got the, I forgot what it's called, the transition. They have that  [00:20:28] Craig Dalton: [00:20:28] crazy that isn't the slack evil Shammy, Hagar. Exactly. Tony let's talk about the gravel bikes in your lineup, and I'd be curious for you to describe to the listener, the different models and the different tubes that's that you use. [00:20:43] And, with carbon being like the material,  that a lot of these bikes get pumped out. Yeah. Why don't you talk to the listener about what a steel bike can do and how it feels and why it's so special? Sure,  [00:20:56] Tony Pereira: [00:20:56] sure. I think cars, there are many wonderful carbon bikes. There's nothing wrong. I'm not like a agnostic. [00:21:03]Gotta have steel. Steel is real guy I have been, but I've left all that behind, I think. Many great materials for bikes. The thing that, that keeps us making steel bikes is how great it is for custom bikes. Yep. And small production, small scale production. So there are, I don't know how many hundred hundreds of different tubes to choose from so we can really vary the. [00:21:34]The ride of the bike based on the two parameters. So your two parameters are the diameter, the wall thickness, and then the, but pro budding profile. So steel tubes are thicker on the ends. We call that the, but everyone's heard of budded tubing. Most people don't know what it means. But they're just, they're thicker on the ends where you do your welding is the welding affects the strength of the material. [00:21:57] So it has to be a little bit stronger where you. And then the middle of the two where you don't heat, it can be a lot thinner and a lot lighter. So you save some weight. And then each tube comes in a certain length and the butts are a certain length as well. You removed some of that to get your finished to blank. [00:22:12] So you, we can really tailor each individual to, for each bite and dial in, optimize the weight of the bike and optimize the ride quality, mostly through the diameter mall, thickness of the tube to the field. Optimize it for weight and strength.  [00:22:30] Craig Dalton: [00:22:30] Is there in that sort of get to know the customer process, you're learning their weight and riding style. [00:22:36] Exactly. And you can make adjustments to the way the bike feels based on what they're telling you. How  [00:22:43] Tony Pereira: [00:22:43] exactly. Exactly. Yeah. We have people come to us, oh yeah. I used to be a football player and I'm pretty big and I stomped on him. What I want to really like, bike, packing bike, and we're like, all right we're going to make it a little heavier and we're going to use a little bit bigger tubes and it's going to give you the best ride, and then on the other side, we have somebody that's a hundred pounds and they don't, they, and they don't want the bike to feel like a dead brick. We can either use a smaller van or two to where later to tailor to that, to their style and their size and their.  [00:23:16]Craig Dalton: [00:23:16] For most of the listeners, I'm imagining that they aren't custom bike owners as someone, when they're going through the purchasing process, obviously the sky's the limit to blends things like that, that you can help work with them on how do you help guide people to get to the right spot? [00:23:33] Tony Pereira: [00:23:33] Yeah. Yeah. The way that we work we've we try to make it approachable and easy. That was another goal of ours with breadwinner was. When I'd made my Pereira cycles, I was like, what kind of do you want, and I would make you a road bike or a cross bike, or they didn't have names. [00:23:49] There was no model names of any kind, but, and I realized that was, that made it hard for people to come through the door. So now we have like our gravel bikes, our first one was called the be road and be roads are like rural roads in the Midwest where I grew up. And And so you would say, okay, I want to be road. [00:24:06] And that has a carbon fork and a steel frame. And we work with people on there with their fit and everything and how they want the bike to ride the design side's all on us. The customers, our customers, sometimes they want to have more say in what goes, where, and, but we've got a pretty good idea for what works and the materials we should use. [00:24:25] So we have all that. And then, yeah, and then the component. Whenever you  [00:24:29] Craig Dalton: [00:24:29] want. So that be road model sounds like maybe it was the gravel bike extension of that continental. That was it more in their kind of road plus world than that to a cross bike.  [00:24:41]Tony Pereira: [00:24:41] Yeah, we based it on our cross bike. Mostly because at the time the carbon forks you could get, it would fit a wire tire we're cross forks. [00:24:49] Yeah. So it kinda just fit into that realm. And we were we're very limited in what tires there were that time. And there was the the panel racer Passilla was really popular Yon Hina from  [00:25:01] [00:25:01] Renee Harris, which was compass, which before that was something else I can remember what he called it, then they had, and there was another name before compass. [00:25:10]Those tires were around anyway. They weren't very wide. I think our first B road had 30 twos on it, which is like a big road tire now. Yeah. So yeah, we did the D road for awhile. I think two years. And then people started asking for, six 50 V with wider tire and said, all right how are we going to do that? [00:25:28] There wasn't a carbon for two years. So we've talked to our friend, Chris Iglehart who's across the street from us over here. And he's been making those segmented forks since he was at fat city  [00:25:40]Craig Dalton: [00:25:40] back in the eighties. That's so the moment you said that, and I've got a picture up of that fork right now, and you're absolutely right. [00:25:47] That was the fat fork.  [00:25:49] Tony Pereira: [00:25:49] Yeah. So Chris was the guy that made all those forks. Amazing. Yeah. And he's now across the street and he also welds all our bikes. So IRA and I have, we still touch every bike and I tack weld all the bikes, but Chris does our finish welding. Gotcha. We build three bikes a week, so we can't have a welder on staff. [00:26:10] We can't, you just can't have somebody. That's not a full-time job. Yeah. So ever since the very beginning of breadwinner, we built over, we built going on 900 bikes. Now Chris has welded every one of them. And so when we decided we were gonna, we were gonna do another bike Soon to be called the G road. [00:26:27]We went to Chris and Hey, how about we use an I go for it? And he was all for it. And man, those forks, he's got some magic dust in those forks. They are they're spectacular. And they look like the old fat forks, but they're not they're just the same style. He has a custom drawn fork leg made by Reynolds. [00:26:48] It's a one inch heat treated steel tube. The fork blades are made out of. And he has his own little gussets that he uses and is the way that he puts them all together. Just their magical fork. They've a really fantastic ride quality. And to go back to your earlier question about why steel it really, hasn't been a fantastic ride call it's springy and lively. [00:27:12] It's stiff when you need it to be, but compliant enough, it's really comfortable. I feel. It's everything that a carbon bike designer is trying to, and trying to work out. You're  [00:27:24] Craig Dalton: [00:27:24] probably right there.  [00:27:25] Tony Pereira: [00:27:25] Yeah. Yeah. If, oh, if we could only make this bike ride like a steel bike, it, and many of them do, some of those carbon bikes are beautiful. [00:27:31] They ride great. But anyway, but yeah the G road steel fork is fantastic. And that's still what differentiate differentiates the B road from the G road. It'd be roads, the carbon. Gravel bike erode the steel for both can be built with 700 C or six 50 B wheels. The B road. We now use that the envy the G series for the gravel for which works with six 50 B. [00:27:54] And it's got the mounts for cargo cages and internal wiring for life. Got all that stuff that we couldn't get before. And that's, that was what got us going with the idol for the idle fork, it's got a straight intranet, an eighth steer tube, so it has a different aesthetic to it. [00:28:11] It's a more slender bike. It looks like an old school mountain bike. We usually set them up with drop bars, but sometimes we do a flat bar too. And man, a flat bargy road feels a 1993. Bad city fat  [00:28:24] Craig Dalton: [00:28:24] chance. That would be an amazing bike to have in your clinic.  [00:28:28]Tony Pereira: [00:28:28] Probably a little lighter than that bike was just because the tubes are better now. [00:28:31] Yeah. But yeah I I love that. I love that style of bike. It's really fun to ride. Yeah. It brings me back to those early mountains.  [00:28:38] Craig Dalton: [00:28:38] And which one will you be riding in the  out in Utah.  [00:28:41] Tony Pereira: [00:28:41] I've got I've got, it's actually the bike that we brought to envy last year. It's the it's a be rode with. And last year was when they launched that adventure for, I guess that's what it's called. [00:28:52] It's called the adventure for, and so yeah, the road with the adventure fork and I've got six 50 B, you've got these G won the Schwalbe, the G one bite, the two, the 2.0. That's such a fun tire. And again, it's like a really lightweight old-school cross-country tire reminds me of a, like an old continental damn. [00:29:13] What was that? The vertical. You remember that time? I don't remember that one before,  [00:29:19]Craig Dalton: [00:29:19] but I do. I do. And appreciate that tread pattern. I'm a Panaracer  gravel king plus guy were asking me the STK for the most part, and I love the way it rides on the road, but it's super capable. Off-road so you'll see that on my bike out. [00:29:33] And you great. Yeah. Cool. Tony, I appreciate the. I'll have links to all the bikes and the pictures and everything the listener needs to get to know Breadwinner a little bit better.  [00:29:43] Tony Pereira: [00:29:43] Excellent. Thank you so much.  [00:29:44] Craig Dalton: [00:29:44] Cheers.  [00:29:45] [00:29:45]

    In the Dirt 22: Flip chips, fit and in-house manufacturing

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 13, 2021 38:40

    In the Dirt 22 with Craig Dalton and Randall R. Jacobs. This week we drill further into the discussion around bike geometry, flip chips and fit in our continued exploration of the sport of gravel cycling. Geometry Geeks Support the podcast  Join The Ridership

    Rapha - Jon Freeman and the Explore Powerweave gravel cycling shoe

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 6, 2021 36:35

    This week we sit down with Jon Freeman, Rapha's Head of Hardgoods to discuss the Explore Powerweave gravel cycling shoe. We look at what it takes from a design perspective to build a shoe and what gravel cyclists should be looking for in a shoe. Rapha Explore Powerweave Shoe  Presenting Sponsor: Athletic Greens Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Rapha      [00:00:03]Craig Dalton: [00:00:04] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the show, we've got Jon Freeman from Rapha, joining us to talk about shoes. I've wanted to talk about shoes for a while now, and really dig into the ins and outs of what makes a great gravel shoe. [00:00:21]I'd been riding a comfortable, but not maybe high performance shoe. That was great for all day rides. Great for hiking. But I was curious to get into something a little bit more high performance without giving up that comfort. [00:00:33]So it was great to hear from an expert about how the shoe was designed. We talk about the Explore power weave shoe from Rafa. One of their most recent models focused on the gravel   [00:00:45] Before we jumped in, I needed to thank this week sponsor. This week, the show is brought to you by Athletic Greens, the most comprehensive daily nutritional beverage I've ever tried. You've heard me before and I'll say it again. I've been an Athletic Greens customer for a number of years. It's my go-to kind of nutritional baseline that I take every day, just to make sure with all the corners I may cut in my diet that I'm getting what I need.  [00:01:12]Athletic Greens is definitely part of my big ride day plans. I'll do a drink in the morning just to get on top of my hydration early, before the ride. And then when I come back, I know I'm always crushed and really depleted. I'll do yet another serving of Athletic Greens. One scoop of Athletic Greens contains 75 vitamins minerals and whole food sourced ingredients.  [00:01:34] Including a multivitamin multi-mineral probiotic, green superfood blend, and more. They all work together to fill those nutritional gaps in your diet. Increase energy and focus aid with digestion and support a healthy immune system.  [00:01:48] [00:01:48]All without the need to take multiple products or pills. That's what does it for me, it's just simple one scoop every day. And I feel like I've got my bases covered.   [00:01:58]So that's my pitch for Athletic Greens.  [00:02:00] You know, I love it. You know, I recommend it. Simply visit Athletic gravel ride. And get your free year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs today. Again that url is Athletic gravel ride. [00:02:18]Big, thanks to Athletic Greens for their continued support. And thank you for going to check them out. With all that said let's dive right in to this week's interview with Jon from Rafa. [00:02:29] [00:02:29] Jon welcome to the show. [00:02:31]Thanks.  [00:02:32] Jon Freeman: [00:02:32] Thanks, [00:02:32] Craig Dalton: [00:02:32] I haven't me.  [00:02:32] Yeah. I'm excited to get into shoe technology with you. It's something that I think I've ignored a little bit in my gravel life. I used to think a lot about it from a road shoe perspective and a mountain bikes you perspective, but it took me a while to come around to really understanding what I wanted out of a gravel shoe. [00:02:48] So why don't we start by just getting a little bit about your background and what led you to Rafa?  [00:02:53]Jon Freeman: [00:02:53] Yeah, sure. I think there's Two parts of that, really. So it's my background in design. And then a background in terms of bikes and it basically converged at Rapha, which is A great thing to be able to call a job. [00:03:03] Cause they're two big passions of mine, but yeah. And bikes have always been a part of my life. I grew up riding DMS never to any kind of great level, but just as a teenager, it was really immersed in that sort of culture of BMX building dirt jumps, hanging out in skate parks, that kind of thing. [00:03:18] I grew into mountain bike a bit as I got older. I always loved taking bikes apart and building bikes and learning the mechanics of how bikes work as well. And I think that sort of passion for taking things apart and problem solving led me down the degree of or the road of kind of a degree in industrial design. [00:03:37]So I, yeah I studied and industrial design and graduated and then went on to work for one of the. Large design agencies here in London working on a broad range of industries, different product categories. That's the nature of agency work is that it's super varied, but I spent quite a while back and working on a lot of things have been consumer electronics, wearable tech, and those kinds of other areas. [00:04:01]Just getting an understanding of what, where am I kind of passionate land design, but at the same time, I. I purchased the road bike and had my eyes open to just like how much further and how much faster you could travel on a bike with kind of skinny tires and drop bars. And that was just this like spotless passion for road riding, and I started down that journey of just becoming. Really immersed in the sport and the culture and trying to consume everything that goes along with it. So it became this thing where I was working in, in, in design, but I was writing was everything else outside of work. [00:04:37] And it was waking up early to get training rides in before work and then sneaking off early to go and race like local criteriums and that kind of thing. It was everything. And I think around the same time, I. Got introduced to the then creative director at Rapha and I knew of raffle. [00:04:52] I was really aware of them, but I think like purely as a sort of an apparel brand at that point. And they were doing really well at the time kind of rappers always. And on this quite, quite steep growth card, which is great. And they were starting to think more seriously about expanding into other categories outside of apparel. [00:05:11] So we started discussing this and yeah, after a while I basically ended up making the jump to joining Rafa full-time and then helping them to grow the side of the product offering that we categorize as hard goods and accessories. So it's essentially everything that sits outside of the apparel. [00:05:27]And covers a number of different categories, but a big part of that's definitely been the kind of push into footwear.  [00:05:34] Craig Dalton: [00:05:34] Nice. What were just out of curiosity, what was the first kind of outside of apparel product that Rafa released  [00:05:43] Jon Freeman: [00:05:43] very first? There's always been bits in the range, I think like from a small accessories point of view and things and there's has always. [00:05:51] In an ambition to have parts alongside the apparel. It's like this idea of dressing the rider from head to toe. And so there's been packs and things like that there for a while. And I think w when I joined actually the main focus was in Iowa. So we spent quite a bit of time trying to think about how we could transition into like fully on bike performance, Iowa. [00:06:11] So that was quite a focus. And I think that was where we. The first time we really started thinking like ground up, in-house kind of development about a true kind of hard, good product.  [00:06:22] Craig Dalton: [00:06:22] Gotcha. Then when you decided as a company to move into the shoe category, is my recollection collect the correct that you were working with another manufacturer to realize the design originally? [00:06:34] Jon Freeman: [00:06:34] Yeah. Yeah. That's right. Yeah. So she's been in the range for quite a while. 2012 I think was the first. Our first kind of entry into the market and yeah, you're right. That was in collaboration with Giro in those early days. Yeah, that was a great partnership. I think, creating around footwear comes with a lot of like unique complexity and there's a lot of investment involved in the tooling and things like that. [00:06:56] So it was really good for us at the beginning to be able to collaborate with someone who had, have those expertise and had some parts in place that we could share essentially. So the basic premise of those early early styles that we had was using the Giro sole units and narrow on they're lost, which is the part of the shoe or the part that, that the shoe is built around, then it defines the fit. [00:07:18] So we were using those kinds of elements from them and then creating our own unique offers to go on the shoes. So yeah, that, that was before my time with Rafa, but I think, yeah. The approach to those styles was definitely the same as how Rapha entered into the apparel market in terms of just like seeing a category of product that was visually quite cluttered and over branded and just trying to simplify and refine. [00:07:44] And I think we saw the same opportunity in footwear, and that was what led the design of those early shoes. But GT shoes, The first one. And I think, yeah, I think that, I think it's really stood the test of time. We still see people in that shoe today. And I think it's really good. [00:07:59] And largely what we've gone on to do since it's been an evolution of that, is that it  [00:08:04] Craig Dalton: [00:08:04] that's interesting when you talk about that design process and as you were describing, collaborating with Giro on that foot bed makes a lot of sense to decouple having to tackle every element of the shoe. [00:08:17] I think as the listener, if you can look down at your footwear right now, you can start to see the different parts that we're going to be talking about and how the sole and the foot bed might be one thing. And the uppers might be another thing. And taking on that entire design challenge, particularly with all the size ranges of shoes, seems like a pretty monumental challenge. [00:08:35] Monumental challenge from the jump.  [00:08:38] Jon Freeman: [00:08:38] Yeah. Yeah, it is absolutely. It's massive. And it's got quite a lot of unique complexity versus other kinds of categories. Yeah, you need to know what you're doing, going into it. And I think, yeah, as I say it was, yeah, we're really proud of the work we did with JIRA. [00:08:52] I think it was a great kind of way of starting out. We learned a lot until we came to the point in mid 2016, when he decided we were a place as a company where we'd grown and. And we built the confidence in the category through those collaborations to say, okay, I think it's the right time for us to move away from this partnership and go alone into footwear. [00:09:14] So can't started down that road of creating our own kind of built from the ground up in house range of shoes. Now  [00:09:23] Craig Dalton: [00:09:23] imagine part of any partnership decision and product development decision there's economics, right? So there's the economics of working with a third party for that foot bed. And that soul was it, was there parts of the design that you could not realize because it was someone else's foot bed that led you to bringing it into your own house and developing it from the ground up? [00:09:44] Jon Freeman: [00:09:44] Yeah, I think so. Yeah. That's yeah, I think definitely like you, you are working with. A fit that someone else is defined when you're working in that way. And Jerry, she is a fantastic, there was nothing that we were struggling with really. [00:09:58] But I think we just, yeah, we had our own opinions through the things that we'd learned and we had our own kind of vision for where we wanted to take footwear. So yeah, going it alone and making those investments in the tooling and the. The molded components of the shoe does enable you to, have the scope to define everything with regard to how that shoe performs  [00:10:19] Craig Dalton: [00:10:19] with that particular partnership with JIRA. [00:10:21] Had you introduced to gravel Shu at that point or was the gravel shoe a ground up Rafa design?  [00:10:27] Jon Freeman: [00:10:27] Yeah, we had an, that was a ground up one. We had the GT sheet, which is a good, our grand tour shoe. So it was very much road specific or round shoe. And then later on, we'd followed that again with Giro with the climate issue, which was a lighter weight version of that shoe intended for kind of those big days in the mountains, weight saving focus. [00:10:48] So yeah, we just had those two with JIRA.  [00:10:50] Craig Dalton: [00:10:50] And then when do the gravel shoe come into the lineup?  [00:10:53]Jon Freeman: [00:10:53] So yeah, it was in 2016. We decided we were. Looking to do our own footwear and what we first launched with the classic and Explore shoe. So they were They were the first two models and Explore is the category, which we define as adventures off-road. [00:11:09] So that kind of a big part of that is gravel kind of encompasses that. So that's a big focus of what that Explore shoes intended for. So let's break  [00:11:18] Craig Dalton: [00:11:18] down gravel shoe technology and what the listeners should be thinking about when choosing a shoe. Do you want it in pick wherever you want to start? [00:11:26] If you want to start from the uppers or the soul?  [00:11:29] Jon Freeman: [00:11:29] Yeah. Yeah, sure. I think it's interesting when you think about what gravel means in relation to, to footwear is there's definitely some crossover with other disciplines and kind of cyclocross and cross country mountain bike shoes. But then at the same time, it's, there's definitely some really unique requirements for gravel specific shoe. [00:11:48] I think one of the main things That's should be a fundamental consideration that kind of applies to all cycling foot lab before we're just specifically gravel is the sets. And I think, shoe brands are going to have a slightly different set and different approaches to fit. [00:12:04] And feet vary massively even with one size bracket. So I think for anyone looking to, to purchase a gravel share, it's super important that kind of really considering the fit and. Taking the time to probably try different brands, and that's why getting into your local store, trying out different shoes and wherever you can try on different models yeah. [00:12:24] Spending the time to do that, obviously can be, not always possible to ride in those shoes, but even just putting them on and walking in them can tell you a lot about how they're going to work for you. It was an individual. And I think, in gravel, that fear is even more important because. [00:12:40] There are, the shocks from the road that you're experiencing repetitively over the duration of a long ride can really like, be quite tiring on the foot and accentuate any issues that might be there that you might not experienced saying on the road ride so much. So it's super important, I think as well that walking in the shoes I think it brings you onto a second point, which is really relevant to gravel riding. And that's the kind of walkability of the shoe is actually, the kind of traction off the bike is a really important thing. So a lot of the times in gravel, you can find yourself having to navigate sections where it might be like hike a bike or something where you're not riding. [00:13:17]And so it's really important that the shoes comfortable for you in those situations as well. Sometimes a shoe that's focused entirely on. On kind of pedal efficiency and power transfer can be really unforgiving if you try and walk in it off the bike. As well if you're camping overnight or if if that's the kind of, part of the gravel ride, then having something which, you can wear the whole time and not having to take an additional pair of shoes can. [00:13:43] It'd be a huge benefit. So yeah. Yeah. I feel  [00:13:45] Craig Dalton: [00:13:45] like the modern road shoe is basically this sheet of carbon fiber that doesn't flex on the bottom whatsoever.  [00:13:53] Jon Freeman: [00:13:53] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And a lot of times gravel shoes that kind of go down the same road with a little bit of token tread on there. But really, I think when you look at gravel as a whole it it does often encompass that time off bike. [00:14:05] So I think that's really important.  [00:14:07] Craig Dalton: [00:14:07] Yeah, I was just going to ask. In the soul, you mentioned shock absorption as part of it as well. Are you changing the amount of carbon fiber or material in the soil or increasing the padding in some way so that you can get some, shock absorption in the shoe?  [00:14:21]Jon Freeman: [00:14:21] It comes down to the fit, really? [00:14:23] Both of our Explore shoes have. Have a carbon sole. And then there's the insults when we have varying arch supports in there to make sure that the foot is properly supported. But it's not tuned per shoe necessarily, but there are some kind of things that we're doing specific to, to that come for off bike within the soul. [00:14:42] Craig Dalton: [00:14:42] Yeah. Obviously you've got, it looks like maybe two different durometers of rubber and the sole on the Explore shoe.  [00:14:49] Jon Freeman: [00:14:49] Yeah. Yeah. So we've got a front and a rear section of the rubber outsole on that shoe. Yeah. And we've also got the carbon footplate that sits under the rubber is cut a little bit shorter at the toe and at the heel. [00:15:03] And the intention for that is so that you still have that real, a strong connection between the foot and the cleat with the carbon plate. Cause the other part. With this, you're constantly trying to balance the walkability, but with paddle efficiency. So you want to make it comfortable off the bike, like I mentioned, but you don't want to make it feel really sloppy and not well connected when you're paddling. [00:15:25] So with the plate that we've created, the idea is to make sure that you've got that real Steph carbon connection under the ball of the foot, but then it stopped short at the toe and the heel. So that you're just as you roll throughout the throughout the motion of walking onto the toilet onto the talent on the Hill, you're just putting your weight down on that rubber section. [00:15:45] And it's able to flex a little bit more, which just helps a little bit.  [00:15:49] Craig Dalton: [00:15:49] Yeah. This seems like it's yet another one of those parts of the gravel sport that you just, you need to make choices based on what you're looking to achieve. So if you're only looking to race in a shoe, you might go towards something super stiff. [00:16:03] If you're only looking to walk in a shoe, you're going to get something way Lexi and somewhere in the middle is probably the right choice for most riders.  [00:16:11] Jon Freeman: [00:16:11] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. It's really true. There's so many different kind of Mindsets, within gravel that they, there are different products that cater to those different sort of approaches to the discipline, I think. [00:16:23] Yeah. And it's all,  [00:16:24]Craig Dalton: [00:16:24] This better than anybody it's in design, it's all trade offs.  [00:16:28] Jon Freeman: [00:16:28] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And those are the other, when you, what are the other considerations, when you think about what you're looking for a gravel shear, you get into that place of How much do you want to spec up or spec down the purchase and what are the unique kind of things that you're looking for? [00:16:41]Do you really want to optimize the performance that you're going to get out of the shoe in terms of you really looking to eat out every little bit and seeing it? Yeah. It's a, an all out like high end yeah. Race shoe. Or do you want something which kind of maybe prioritizes the comfort a bit more and there's a bit more of an all around shoe. [00:16:58]That influences a lot of the decisions. I think you need to make with regard to materials and closure systems and those kinds of things.  [00:17:05] Craig Dalton: [00:17:05] So speaking of that, so on the Explore shoe lineup, you've got two models. The, I think it's just the regular Explore and then the power weave. Do you want to talk about those two different uppers and the effect on performance? [00:17:18] Jon Freeman: [00:17:18] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that's right. They're the two that we've got. So the They Explore. She was the one that came first. And then we more recently followed that with the Explore pathways and a lot of the a lot of what kind of informed the Explore power wave actually came from the learnings that we made when we created the pro-team sheet. [00:17:36] So a few seasons before we released the protein shoe, which was we worked really closely with a lot of our protein athletes on the development of that kind of. One of the insights that came from them really early on was that they wanted a shoe that could fit like a glove. And you would essentially feel like you're wearing nothing at all on your feet and which it seems quite obvious, but it's actually quite interesting when you think about an athlete at that level, that name priority is comfort. [00:18:06] And so we've hold sort of direction that we've built around foot wear. And particularly within these later models is. Prioritizing comfort without kind of sacrificing performance. We're looking at it from a comfort first point of view and how that can enable you to perform better. [00:18:23]I think it's all well and good. A lot of the like creating the lightest shoe in the world or the Steph Fest out on the market. But a lot of the time in pursuit of those kinds of things, you end up like, for kind of weight saving, for example, you ended up looking at issue and thinking, what can we afford to remove here? [00:18:44] And it becomes this game of trying to take things away and inevitably, like you do sacrifice a bit of comfort when you're going down that road. And I think you might reach that bar of the lighter shoe, but, if you're. As a customer, if you're ATK into a long ride and something really starts to neglect you, then we'll experienced how frustrating that can be and how that really does affect your performance on the bike. [00:19:08] So we really focused in on how we can achieve this performance through comfort and That kind of took us down this road of developing this power we fabric, which is essentially like trying to create something which would fit incredibly close to the foot and really be supportive and hold the foot, but have this sort of sock like feel. [00:19:28]And so power weave is a it's an engineered woven upper that we produce. It's a single layer construction. And yeah it's very close fitting to the foot. It breves extremely well and also repels water from getting in. So it's it was a really good development that we came up with the protein that we were quite proud of them thought that was a lot more scope to grow it. [00:19:51] And that's where we came away thinking, okay what else can we do with us? And we started looking to how it could lend itself to off-road performance. And so then we started a new development working with the same process of weaving the material that was specific to the demands of off-road riding. [00:20:08]So that's where the Explore power weave was built out of, in terms of the materials that were actually. Weaving in a really highly durable kind of coated yarn into that alpha, which just makes the shoe much more resistant to scuffs and abrasion. And then in addition with dash, that style versus that the Explore style, it's it uses the double boiler dial, which is obviously another kind of element that, if you are looking to really if you're a rider, who's looking to push that on a performance on gravel and seeing it as a terrain to essentially like a new terrain to kind of race on and ride as flat out as you can then having that, like on the fly adjustment that, that the bullet dials afford is. [00:20:52] It's really K there's not, that I was pretty leading in that regard. There's not really another closure system where you can get that level of kind of fine tuning on the fly. Yeah that's why we've incorporated those pilot dials into that model as well.  [00:21:06] Craig Dalton: [00:21:06] Gotcha. Yeah. [00:21:07] Two comments about my experience with the shoe thus far, you mentioned this notion of it feeling like a sock, the guy named to the first ride on Strava that I did testing out some new slippers. Because it very much did feel it could flex with the bones in my toe as I was moving around, but I felt with the double boa system, very secure and on the first long ride, I was out for four, five hours on them. [00:21:35] And I do remember, like I made an adjustment on the lower Bo because it was, I sorta over tightened it at the time and it was a really great adjustment to be able to make that.  [00:21:45] Jon Freeman: [00:21:45] Yeah. Yeah, definitely  [00:21:48] Craig Dalton: [00:21:48] the execution of the bow, as I have another set of shoes with bow as that that's the lacing system seems to be connected throughout the entire shoe. [00:21:56] Whereas having the two separate lacing systems on this shoe, I think is great because I can really make more micro adjustments to what's going on then having the, my whole foot bed grabbed by the, the boa  [00:22:08] Jon Freeman: [00:22:08] system. Yeah. Yeah, definitely. There's kind of lots of different configurations that you can do with the Butler dials. [00:22:15] And we've settled on the one that we have as being optimal and we have it on both of the models that we have on the Explorer and the protein. And just like you say, it gives you that opportunity to really lock the foot down, both kind of the But it's in step the mid foot and then towards the toe at the front as well, and have kind of adjustability at both of those points. [00:22:37] Yeah. And then  [00:22:37] Craig Dalton: [00:22:37] on the standard shoe, it's a lace-up shoe with one Velcro strap, right?  [00:22:42]Jon Freeman: [00:22:42] Yeah. That's right. So it's got the tow strap that we have, which is yeah. The idea there is that the tow strap is something that you set and you might set it when you first get the shoes and then you sometimes call it this kind of set and forget sort of fixture. [00:22:54] So you tune it to yourself and then you can actually come in and out of the shoe without always having to undo that quite a lot of the time. So it's just like a way of fitting it to you and controlling that volume in the toe of the shoe. But, and then the license become your main closure and laces. [00:23:11]Fantastic closure. That, that pretty unrivaled in terms of not creating any bulk on the upper, there's no requirement for molded parts when you have a laced setup, so you can get a fit, which is like incredibly supple and moves with the foot.  [00:23:31] Craig Dalton: [00:23:31] Thank you for that additional description. [00:23:32] I remember when I think it was Giro maybe with their empire shoe kind of re-introduced laces into the world of cycling. Obviously they've been around forever, but that's interesting that, that feedback from a design perspective about what you don't have to do when you put laces in and obviously laces give you a ton of flexibility in terms of how the shoe is going to fit to your foot. [00:23:55]Jon Freeman: [00:23:55] Yeah, absolutely. And the amount of. Contact points you've got through the, just the number of eyelids that go down the throat of the shoe. It means that you've got that, a lot of very well distributed tension down the shoe, which is which is great. Yeah. And it's yeah, I they're fantastic. [00:24:12] It's interesting. Actually, we on the pro-team shoe that we have, we started out with the notion of that being a laced shoe, because. There are so many benefits to it. We feel that we actually found out pretty early on from working with our athletes that kind of, for them, for those guys who are like, taught level, the requirement for Butler is a non-negotiable. [00:24:33]So for that shoe we changed tact and went down the Butler route and it was the right decision. That on the fly adjustability, as I mentioned is it's key for that kind of riding, but Yeah. Licensed definitely have their place as well. I think I ride lace shoes a lot and love them. [00:24:49] Craig Dalton: [00:24:49] Yeah. You always see the pro tour riders on the road in the last two kilometers who are gearing up for the sprint reached down and strap that bow a dial.  [00:24:57]Jon Freeman: [00:24:57] Yeah, definitely. I think part of that's a psychological, as it is it definitely like gearing in flat five and spread,  [00:25:04] Craig Dalton: [00:25:04] right? [00:25:05] Exactly. It's signals. It's on people. Yeah. Development of the shoe, obviously. I don't imagine. Are you developing these in Asia? Is that where the manufacturing happens?  [00:25:17] Jon Freeman: [00:25:17] Yeah. So that w we're producing and yeah, we're producing in China. We work, it's yeah we have some parts that are made in Europe and then we're finally producing in China. [00:25:28]Yeah the power we fabric, for example, that were weaving that in Italy with a partner there. And then we assembled the shoe in China. We have a really close relationship with the factory over there. Yeah. It  [00:25:40] Craig Dalton: [00:25:40] seems like it's one of those things like tires that at a certain point, you're all in because you've bought the tooling. [00:25:46] You've put the pieces together and, I imagine there's a limited amount of tweaking you can do at that final mile.  [00:25:52] Jon Freeman: [00:25:52] Yeah. Yeah. There's definitely a point where you have to make that leap to committing. And like I said before, the tooling is pretty significant. When you think about shoes, when you consider all of the different sizes. [00:26:04] So yeah, you want to be confident that you've that you're happy with it and it's. Performing how you want before you press that button on on opening the tooling. So we stay in one size quite a long time, actually like at the beginning. So to, to really refine before you spread it out to all of those all those other sides. [00:26:21] Craig Dalton: [00:26:21] Oh, got you. So you might have a 42, that's your sample size and you keep drilling on that one until you get the product that you want and then expand the molds out to the other sizes.  [00:26:31] Jon Freeman: [00:26:31] Yeah, exactly. Yeah. That's the normal process and yeah. If there's a specific when I test the rock fleet that we want to work with, who is a different size than them? [00:26:39]Kind of invested, not that size earlier on, but yeah, normally a 42 is the starting place. And then we have a kind of Network of people that we've got built up over the years who are that size and who can give us really reliable feedback. Yeah.  [00:26:54] Craig Dalton: [00:26:54] Did you have some athletes on the gravel and adventure side that were working with you early on in the shoe? [00:27:00] Jon Freeman: [00:27:00] Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So we yeah, we worked with a range of athletes. It's, we there's kind of stages to the testing, I guess it's we're lucky in London, we're in normal times, it's 200 quite engaged cyclist under the roof and in London, which is, a really great resource to have. [00:27:16] It's not a requirement that you're a cyclist when you join Rafa. But yeah, that helps. And I think those who are quite quickly get swept up by it. And yeah as a kind of resource for testing, that's amazing. Cause we've got people from complete novice through to domestic pro levels. [00:27:32] [00:27:32] Craig Dalton: [00:27:32] So as you send your CV and do you have to indicate your shoe size  [00:27:37] Jon Freeman: [00:27:37] definitely helps definitely. On the foot wet. Yeah. Yeah. No it's brilliant. Having that kind of like pool of people to work with and everyone in the buildings, on the payroll as well. So they have to test things, even if it fails on them. [00:27:51] So that's normally our sort of starting point, and once we built up the confidence that, and we'll move into athletes because you don't want to do that too soon because those guys are got jobs to do and they don't want, they want to be sure that the product is going to support them in that. [00:28:07]Yeah, we worked internally with the team in the company and then like a group of. Kind of writers who are just close to the brand, who we know are really reliable and can give really good feedback at the beginning. And then yeah, once we get to that point of confidence, then we'll open up to, to ask. [00:28:25] Yeah. Yeah. And we did, we definitely did on the Explore shoes. We work with, so we have the protein ETF, Nepo who, where we sponsor, and then we have a really good kind of, quite a long relationship with those guys now. And we've often. You use them for testing. Lack of Morton, I don't know if, he's a super strong, dedicated writer, but also just a really interesting character and just a great guy. [00:28:49] And like me, we worked really closely with him on the testing actually. And he's one of these pros is like really up for just trying stuff and also really able to. Articulate feedback quite well. And I think that's really important because sometimes pros and like understandably, so can be a little bit reluctant to change that care, which, completely get that. [00:29:11] But others are just they love it and they want to try stuff and see how it works out. And he's definitely testing stuff, which is brilliant insights. Yeah, we work closely with him on. On the Explore shoe in particular, actually I can remember we so he, we've been working quite closely on him with him on this alternate Palander, but then if you've seen that we've released in partnership with BF where it's the idea is to allow writers to take part in other events that sit outside of the normal calendar and just to let them encourage them to do the things that. [00:29:43]That passionate about and bring out that characters through, through these sort of events. And so Lachlan identified quite early on. I think they wanted to do the Badlands race, which is like a 700 odd K unsupported, gravel race in the South of Spain. It's like crazy kind of intense that it goes across like the only desert and in Europe, I think it's it's pretty serious ride. [00:30:09] At the same time as he was gearing up to that, we were at a point with Explore power where we'd we were quite confident in them through that internal testing. And we decided to get them over to him and said, these are early prototypes. First time we've gone to an athlete and get familiar with them, take them for a ride, be interested to know what you think. [00:30:29] And. Quite quickly got a note back just saying, yeah, I love them. I'm going to ride bad lines with them. It was like I'm home and I'm like, okay, you sure that's going to be great feedback, but like quite, hope they lost hope. They're not going to be the cause of you having to scratch midway. [00:30:45] Yeah. I'm sure you  [00:30:45] Craig Dalton: [00:30:45] all looked around the design team and said I hope we got this one, right?  [00:30:49] Jon Freeman: [00:30:49] Yeah. Yeah. Use this arm if it speeds or wok toss it for him. But yeah. Yeah, no, yeah, I think he wasn't the only one having sleepless nights during the race, but I mean he ended up like obliterating, it just like smashing the rest of the field. [00:31:02] I think he came in a day ahead of like second place. It was incredible performance. But I think the video is out there if anyone's not seeing it as worth watch, but yeah, it was fantastic. And sometimes you need those moments. I think in the process to really. Validate an idea. [00:31:18] Like we were really confident in them, but it can take that for the company to be like, okay, like these are legit. Like we, we need to move on this. There's a real kind of, if they've performed at that level, then they're doing the job and we need to. Get them out.  [00:31:32] Craig Dalton: [00:31:32] Yeah. [00:31:32] That's great to hear all this backstory and great when companies invest so much in the athlete community to get the real world feedback. It's not these aren't marketing strategies of putting different bits and bites on the shoes. It's really about what's the highest performing thing our riders would want to wear. [00:31:47]Jon Freeman: [00:31:47] Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. We spend a lot of time with them just trying to get an and you saw it on that as well. And Yeah, it's exactly that it's building the relationships with the ones who are really thoughts coming with that and can articulate exactly what they're having. [00:32:01]A lot of people can say it's uncomfortable here, I'm having an issue here, but really being able to explain that and articulate why they're experiencing that is, is really valuable for us. And it's amazing with those athletes, like the. The level to which they're in tune with their equipment is just they're riding their bikes all day, every day, pretty much. [00:32:21] So they there's the tiniest little difference. They can pick it up and things like us mere mortals probably wouldn't even register, they, they can flag exactly what's different.  [00:32:32] Craig Dalton: [00:32:32] Yeah, exactly. Particularly as you're pushing this category forward, these real nuanced tweaks to the shoe, or what elevates the shoe to the next level. [00:32:41] And yeah. I think I'd be a loss it's expressing like what my footwear is, where it's pinching me or what it's doing. And I could see that lining up with athletes who can really understand how to speak the design language is critical.  [00:32:56] Jon Freeman: [00:32:56] Yeah, no, it definitely is.  [00:32:58] Craig Dalton: [00:32:58] Yeah. Jon, I appreciate the overview of the shoe. [00:33:00] This was amazing. I loved getting the backstory of the design process and how the athletes weave in there. So I appreciate all the time.  [00:33:07] Jon Freeman: [00:33:07] No, no problem. It's absolute pleasure. Yeah. Thanks.  [00:33:10] Craig Dalton: [00:33:10] Cheers. Great, Jon. That was fun.  [00:33:13] Jon Freeman: [00:33:13] Yeah, that was really good. Thanks very  [00:33:15] Craig Dalton: [00:33:15] much. Yeah, I appreciate that. That, that, that was great. [00:33:17] I loved all the backstories.  [00:33:20] Jon Freeman: [00:33:20] I realized one thing as I was going, and I didn't want to backtrack, but actually I mentioned that we hadn't done an explosive with GRI, but it was before my time. And that was a, that wasn't a cyclocross shoe kit in collaboration with GRI. Sorry, that's going to be a bit of a inaccuracy there, but I don't know if there's a way we can. [00:33:40] Yeah, I don't,  [00:33:41] Craig Dalton: [00:33:41] I don't think it's particularly important or game changing in the discussion. I think. If you hadn't sung the praises of the Giro partnerships so strongly, like maybe it would be worth correcting in some way, but I you were very clear that you admire what they do and the partnership was great. [00:33:56] So yeah, no, I think we're good there. I think I'll ping Ryan on the marketing team and include you on it. But I think since Ryan was saying the shoes were coming back in stock, so I wanted to get the episode out, I think at the end of the month,  [00:34:11] Jon Freeman: [00:34:11] Yeah. Yeah. They all, yeah, that'd be great timing. [00:34:13] Yeah.  [00:34:14] Craig Dalton: [00:34:14] Yeah. Cool. Have you been riding in them? I have, yeah, I've put two, maybe three rides in them and I'm really enjoying them. I, it's funny. I had very high end road shoes and I had mountain bike, race shoes, and I was just riding gravel in some Enduro shoes that JIRA had given me. [00:34:31] And I just picked this shoe versus that shoe. There's a very noticeable weight difference. And I'm excited to take these out on longer days just to test that concept of, is this an all day shoe for me? Because it's definitely going to be stiffer than the one I had been riding. [00:34:48]Yeah. But so far so good. I felt great, like to be able to do four hours right out of the box and was a good sign.  [00:34:55] Jon Freeman: [00:34:55] That's cool. Yeah. I'm glad to hear it. Yeah, definitely. Let us know if you, what you find as you spend a bit more time with than this. So it's really helpful. [00:35:02] We're thinking about where we go with them next as well. So yeah, it'd be really appreciated. Yeah.  [00:35:07] Craig Dalton: [00:35:07] Yeah, absolutely. pleasure Jon, thanks again for the time.  [00:35:11] Jon Freeman: [00:35:11] Yeah. Cheers [00:35:11]Craig Dalton: [00:35:11] I hope you appreciated that deep dive into gravel cycling shoes. As much as I did. I learned a heck of a lot in terms of how they're constructed and Rafa was generous enough to supply me with a pair of the power. We have Explore shoes and I've been riding them for about a month.  [00:35:28]I've been super impressed with the comfort level of the shoe. I'm really enjoying the boa strap system and how it's been implemented. I feel like I can get a lot of fine tuning. So I've been out for at least a five-hour ride at this point with the shoes and I've made some micro adjustments along the way, but it does have that all day comfort that I was worried was not going to be there super happy with these shoes. [00:35:51] I understand they've just come back on stock online on the Rapha store. So check that out online. I'll put a link in the show notes or go check out your local Rafa clubhouse. That's going to do it for us this week. If you have any feedback for the show, please visit the We'd love to have you as part of the community.  [00:36:11] I'm always looking in, getting recommendations for new areas to cover on the show. And it's been an exciting community to be a part of. So please join us. Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels.    [00:36:29]  

    ENVE Builder Round Up - builder interview mash up

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 29, 2021 52:41

    Interviews on-site at the 2021 ENVE Builder Round Up and Grodeo. We grab interviews with custom builders: Falconer, Holland, Inglis, Mosaic, No.22, Pine Cycles, Sage, Salt Air, Sycip and Wies. Episode presented by ENVE Composites  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos) ENVE Builder Mash Up Episode Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to a special edition of the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.  [00:00:07]I'm releasing this week's podcast, just on the heels of returning home from Ogden, Utah. I was visiting this week. Sponsor ENVE composites. [00:00:16]ENVE was hosting their annual builder Roundup showcase. As well as a new event called Grodeo  [00:00:22]The builder Roundup is a who's who of ENVE partners from around the world. I saw a ton of gravel and adventure bikes. A few mountain bikes, fat bike. An electric bike and all sorts of amazing things.   [00:00:37]The words you'll hear in this podcast will be challenged to really express. How truly unique and gorgeous and impressive. The craftsmanship on all these bikes were. I encourage you to seek out these pictures  [00:00:50] On the web on Instagram of posts, some on my account. But really look at the details of these bikes because it's clear these craftsmen are exceptional. At their work. I wanted to get you an opportunity to hear from some of the craftsmen in their own words. So I did some mini interviews about a dozen of them that I've cobbled together in this episode.  [00:01:14] You'll notice some variation in the audio, as some of the interviews were held in a room while others were on the show floor. But i really wanted you to hear from the builders themselves so i'm just going to let them fly and hopefully any ups and downs in the audios will be okay when you walk away from the totality of this episode [00:01:34]Before we begin just a couple more words about our sponsor and V composites. I got to do a full factory tour while I was out there to see. The rim manufacturing, handlebars. He posts. And also the full frame set from ENVE,  that we talked about with Neil Shirley a few episodes ago. [00:01:53]A couple of things to share about that tour. That really impressed me. First of all, all the manufacturing is done in house.  [00:02:02]We got to see the raw rolls of carbon fiber come in the templates in which those rolls and carbon fiber are cut. And laid into molds to create the various products that you know so well. [00:02:12]We also got to see the elaborate in-house testing labs. That they run and the various machines that they torture these products with to make sure they. Obtain the standards that ENVE is known for around the world.   [00:02:26]From my vantage point, these machines absolutely abused the products. We saw a frame being torked to know, and we saw spokes being ripped out through rim holes. We saw the impact test machine for rims. It was really impressive. And clearly when NV gets some feedback from the road, someone saying, I was just riding along, they can safely say, there's no way you were just riding along with that impact. You must have been hit by a truck because we know our products are tested to such an extreme standard. So that was really cool.  [00:03:03] I am a sucker for U S manufacturing. So I was super geeked out and stoked to see. Not only all the machinery but all the craftsmen and women that were operating in ogden utah and just the passion that they have as a company for creating exceptional products in the marketplace. [00:03:22]After the builder Roundup on Friday was Saturday mornings Grodeo event. It was a 200 Ryder event and my first mass participation event. Since the pandemic began. So it was very excited to toe the line. But quite nervous. The stated course had over 8,500 feet of climbing. And I believe was supposed to be clocked at around 85 miles.  [00:03:46] I had a little ride in from the hotel. So at the end of the day, I rode a hundred miles. Did that 8,500 feet of climbing.  [00:03:54]My total ride time was just over eight hours and 30 minutes. So it was a huge day out on the bike for me. Hats off to Neil Shirley and anybody else who had a hand in course design. It was really a showcase of the area. We had some beautiful canyon road rides. Single track. Tough Rocky fire road, climbs and descents.  [00:04:16] Very beautiful surrounding just when you thought you were done Neil through a couple of loops on the way back into town. On some interesting single track that Ogden had to offer. It was really one of those courses that in my opinion, tested , every element of you as a gravel rider.  [00:04:35]Sarah was hard, beautiful and challenging. A perfect gravel course.   [00:04:40]With all that said, let's jump right into my dozen mini interviews. They're going to jump around a bit. So just follow along, you'll catch up. Each builder introduces themselves and their brand. And gives a little bit of an overview of the bikes they brought to the Roundup. I've also got four more long form interviews coming up.  [00:04:59] Off the top of my head Breadwinner Cycles, Scarab out of Columbia. Spooky and most likely Sage titanium. So keep an eye out in your feed for those as well.  Let's dive right in All right. Can you tell me your name and the brand?  [00:05:14] Cole Bennett: [00:05:14] My name is Cole Bennett and I run Weis manufacturing.  [00:05:17] Craig Dalton: [00:05:17] And where are you located?  [00:05:19] Cole Bennett: [00:05:19] In Brooklyn? New York. [00:05:20]Craig Dalton: [00:05:20] So tell me about this very special bike here at the end. ENVE Builder a Roundup.  [00:05:23]Cole Bennett: [00:05:23] This is our gravel SL model. It's a 7,000 series aluminum construction and with a carbon seat mast. [00:05:33]There's like a gravel racer that we build. It's got. A lot of details. If you look closely pretty much everything we don't use any off the shelf parts. So all our dropouts bottom bracket tattoos, we design and see have CNC made for us. And a lot of our tubing profiles are also custom. So yeah, I don't know. [00:05:53] It's been a lot of work went into this thing.  [00:05:55] Craig Dalton: [00:05:55] It's hard to over the microphone. Describe the backend of this bike. Can you try to do it some justice?  [00:06:02] Cole Bennett: [00:06:02] So basically all of our frames have an asymmetrical rear ends. This is a trickle-down from our first frame model, which is a racing track racing bikes. [00:06:11]So the asymmetrical rear end is a stiffer driver's side. It's bigger diameter, tubing, and a drop stay. Just like you'd see in a lot of race bikes, but they do that on both sides. So yeah, the gravel bike also has that.  [00:06:26] Craig Dalton: [00:06:26] What is the process look like for a customer wanting to get one of these.  [00:06:29]Cole Bennett: [00:06:29] Right now it's I've actually closed the orders. [00:06:32] So the process right now is get on the mailing list and wait for us to release some frame slots. But basically the way the process goes is that they're working with me. It's a small operation, it's me. And one other person that's helping me. And yeah, from start to finish, it's a customer experience is a big thing for me. [00:06:50] So from start to finish, I'm with the customer. Talking through custom paint, custom geo, everything soup to nuts.  [00:06:58] Craig Dalton: [00:06:58] And are you in that discussion, if they come to you and say, Hey, I want a six 50 by 50 millimeter, tired versus somebody who wants more of a road plus bike. Do you make modifications? [00:07:09]  [00:07:09]Cole Bennett: [00:07:09] I've actually started to put my foot down a bit on that kind of stuff. [00:07:12]Because basically what I tell customers is look, we put a lot of R and D into figuring out tire clearances, everything that's good. So let's not alter the basic platform of the model, but we're happy to do custom geo to really dial in your fit. But if you want to grab a bike, we have a gravel model. [00:07:31] If you want a road bike, we have a couple of road models and so on.  [00:07:34] Craig Dalton: [00:07:34] Gotcha. Cool. What's an absolutely stunning bike that you've  [00:07:37] brought here. So the congrats.  [00:07:39] Cole Bennett: [00:07:39] Thank you. Thank you. Falconer [00:07:41] [00:07:41] Cameron Falconer: [00:07:41] Hey, my name is Cameron falconer, my company falconer cycles, and I'm in Quincy, California. Good. Save there, here at the ENVE builder Roundup before the party starts I make custom TIG welded, steel bikes, and most of what I make is pretty simple and pretty straightforward. [00:07:59]Definitely function. The bike I'm showing here today is an odd one. It's a coaster brake 700 by 50 millimeter flat bar bike. So what is it? Well, I don't know. It's meant to be a tribute to pneumatic tire safety bicycles of the 1819. And these were the bikes that were the first spikes that would appear to us as modern cyclists with pneumatic tires and equally sized wheels and a chamber. [00:08:28] Yeah. And the visual cue is the really tall head tube and the one back bars and the sloping top tube, you see, you saw this in the 1890s and that sort of era, and I've always liked that sort of aesthetic. And finally decided to make something. So it is the couple of things that are interesting on it. [00:08:47]The front hub is a Paul from Chico, California, but I had to make an axle for it to make it work with the through axle. And the front rack is an idea I had and it's made from two curved pieces of titanium sheet metal welded together, and the curves reinforce each other. So it creates rigid. It's designed to hold something pretty small and light like a sleeping bag. [00:09:10] And then the rear hub is an American made Bendix from the fifties. You still can't give this finer a Custer brake hub. So thanks for listening. [00:09:19]Inglis Cycles [00:09:19]Curtis Inglis: [00:09:19] Curtis Ingliss from Napa, California. I build under retro tech in Inglis cycles. What I brought to the NV open house this year is a retro tech fund Durham in titanium. So we have been doing over the years, we've made titanium bikes, a couple of different versions but. [00:09:36] Long-term and we've always just stuck with steel. So we're attempting to play with Ty again. And we were working with simple up in Portland, so I do all the bending so far, the two, two batches we've done. I've went up there and helped build them as well. But I do all the bending in house in California and then drag everything up there and then we build them at the simple factory. [00:09:54] So  [00:09:55] Craig Dalton: [00:09:55] is there anything specific about the geometry of this bike?  [00:09:58]Curtis Inglis: [00:09:58] This is pretty standard funder. So long front end slack head angle fairly short chain stays, but not you know, crazy short. The idea is trying to like, not make, I'm not racing towards the most extreme geometry, you know, the slackest head angle and all that. [00:10:11] I still want a bike that can be written across country. And handled everything pretty decently but not definitely not shooting for like the most extreme, you know, downhill hard tail bike. I'm looking for a bike that's like fun to ride uphill and down.  [00:10:25] Craig Dalton: [00:10:25] And have you seen a difference, like when you're riding your steel funder versus this difference in the way it feels that you might advise customers to think of? [00:10:33] Curtis Inglis: [00:10:33] That's a great question. I haven't actually written a mountain bike type in titanium in my gravel. I have a steel one and a Taiwan. And other than being a slight hair lighter, I both red green, or I don't know. I enjoy both. The geometry has changed a little bit on the new bike. So it's more, I can't tell you. [00:10:54] I haven't tried the mountain bike yet. So  [00:10:56] Craig Dalton: [00:10:56] I'm sure for most people, there's just a certain allure of titanium that makes it a dream material to eventually get  [00:11:01] Curtis Inglis: [00:11:01] to. And why I built myself when I built six customer's bikes and the seventh bike was mine, and I had just built myself one so that I could have this answer. [00:11:09] I just can't keep, I can't, I never feel comfortable making something that I haven't tried. Usually when I try something new in geometry or whatever, it's on myself or a good friend, so I can get good feedback from them. And on these, I wanted to make sure that like I was the one trying it out and seeing how they rode and if there was going to be tweaks that I needed to do for different sized people and that sort of stuff. [00:11:28] Perfect. Thanks  [00:11:29] Craig Dalton: [00:11:29] for the overview. Yeah. [00:11:30]Sycip Cycles [00:11:30]Jeremy Sycip: [00:11:30] Hi, my name's Jeremy Sycip with Sycip designs. I'm up in Santa Rosa, California. And this year for the ENVE show, I brought a it is a, an electric assist mountain bike, but using an ENVE har rigid fork. But it's mainly the main purpose of this bike is to carry. Kind of whatever you need your needs are. [00:11:49] And in this case I have a barbecue in one of these bags and and it's the hall drinks and some to cook with, to trails. And that's what the purpose of this bike is. And it's basically our carry all electric assist, bike it to help, you know, to help you peddle up Hills and stuff, because it's going to be fully loaded. [00:12:05] Craig Dalton: [00:12:05] Nice. And you've so you've got the, is it the ENVE adventure fork on the front?  [00:12:08] Jeremy Sycip: [00:12:08] This is not, this is their mountain. Because it's the built, the frame is built around mountain bike, geometry. And so at 29 or wheels and it fits up to a 2.6 tire. Yeah, so it's just one of those just showing off that I can do custom frames and they build all different kinds. [00:12:19] So this is just one of  [00:12:20] Craig Dalton: [00:12:20] them. Can you tell us a little bit about the brand and how long you've been doing it?  [00:12:24] Jeremy Sycip: [00:12:24] So the brand was started my brother and I started the company back in 1992 and we were in in San Francisco area. Until 2001, and then recently, or not recently, 2001, we moved to Santa Rosa, California. [00:12:37] So it's next year it's going to be our 30th year anniversary. So that's going on for awhile. Okay.  [00:12:42] Craig Dalton: [00:12:42] Amazing. And what type of frame materials are you usually using?  [00:12:45] Jeremy Sycip: [00:12:45] So these days I've actually offered titanium recently the last few years. So steel aluminum and titanium and building any kind of custom bike, basically tandems rode mountain bikes. [00:12:55] Gravel bikes. You know, I have my commuter line, which I call them my Java boy, Java girl blind. And then these are the one I brought here to S E bike is basically like an like a specialty bike, custom bike lane where it can do whatever people want, basically  [00:13:08] Craig Dalton: [00:13:08] on the gravel bikes. Are they always a hundred percent custom? [00:13:11] And how do you what's that process look like when you're working with the custom. [00:13:14]Jeremy Sycip: [00:13:14] Yeah. So all the bikes these days are all custom. So I work with an individual person, one at a time. We do a full fitting if they're near our area or they send me their body measurements. And I kind of work from that and design a frame around what their needs are, you know, tire size components. [00:13:30]And then we come up with a bike, CAD drawing and you know, when they find it, when they okay, it, the customer okays, then it looks to be what the. And that's designed around their body measurements. And then that's how the build actually starts to happen at that point.  [00:13:44] Craig Dalton: [00:13:44] Can you tell me about one of the signature features on the bike that I've seen on? [00:13:48] I think is it all your bikes that I see this on? Yeah.  [00:13:50] Jeremy Sycip: [00:13:50] So the wish, well, basically it's a wishbone stay that I do. And and I use pennies to cap off the tubes. So that started back in the nineties, like early mid nineties, maybe. I think I was trying to get I used to co cap them with steel caps that I used to make. [00:14:06] And then I realized that Penny's fit over there and it cost a penny each. So it was a lot cheaper than having them fabricated somewhere or a machine shop to make those caps. So that's what started that. And and so the gravel and cross bikes, if the customer wants a wishbone stay, I use dimes to cap off the tubes because there are 16 mil stays and the mountain bikes use a 19 mills day, which has a penny size. [00:14:26] Cap that go on there. So you don't feel it. Our mountain bike, it's a 2 cent rebate and the gravel vice Guetta and the across vice get a 20 cent rebate. So you get some money back at dam, the only frame builder that offers money back. When you buy frame, [00:14:38]Craig Dalton: [00:14:38] you heard it here first. If someone's looking to order a gravel bike, w what kind of turnaround time do you have for custom bikes? [00:14:43] Jeremy Sycip: [00:14:43] So right now it's about four to five months, a little longer for titanium. And then if it's a custom paint job, it also takes a little longer, but most of the bikes get a one color powder coat. Yeah.  [00:14:53] Craig Dalton: [00:14:53] Perfect. Thanks Jeremy. Yeah. [00:14:55]Sage Dave Rosen: [00:14:55] So I'm Dave and my brand is Sage titanium. Okay.  [00:14:58] Craig Dalton: [00:14:58] We're at the eENVEthe builder, Roundup wanting to tell the listener about what we've got in front of us.  [00:15:03] Dave Rosen: [00:15:03] So the bike we have in front of us is our storm king gravel bike. This is the, do it all quiver killer monster gravel race, bike that you can also take adventure, bike, packing stuff on kind of thing. [00:15:16] Like it's just, it does it all. It was designed around 700 by 50 millimeter tires. It's a pretty aggressive geometry in general, but the reality is every bike is built custom one at a time for each individual customer. So we can actually customize the geometry to the individual. So if somebody really wants a storm king to be more relaxed for more loaded touring. [00:15:39] Sure. No problem. But the general nature of the bike itself is more race oriented kind of thing. And yeah, so that's the storm king for where we're at. and let's,  [00:15:50] Craig Dalton: [00:15:50] let's talk about the frame material and what you guys typically work with.  [00:15:53]Dave Rosen: [00:15:53] All of our bikes, you know, a hundred percent USA made the storm king in particular, we make in our shop in house in Portland we only use titanium three to five, you know, us source. [00:16:03]Straight gauge across the board for the storm king no, no budding or anything like that. But of course, if a customer has a request, we're more than happy to accommodate. And you know, the frame itself has a variety of finishes that we can offer as well. So generally really we offer a brushed finish with maybe standard decals as a easy way to just get you out the door. But we do from a custom finish standpoint, we can offer everything from paint to Sarah coat, to anodize the bead blast to, you know, mass graphics like across the board. [00:16:36] And so the show bike we have. Is a combination of just about everything we do. So we've actually got cerakote finish fading to a bead blast with raw graphics, raw titanium, mixed in and anodized logos on top of it. So it's really it's four different finishes on one frame, which is insane, but it came out  [00:16:56] great  [00:16:57] Craig Dalton: [00:16:57] though. [00:16:57] Yeah. It's very visually interesting. It's not over the top, but you can see when you get up close. The level of detail and the changing techniques that you've used it to the finish the bike.  [00:17:08] Yeah. Yeah,  [00:17:09] Dave Rosen: [00:17:09] no, it's are our pain or just outdid himself. You know, I, the thing I love about the fade for example is that it actually is a true fade when you actually get close up on the bike. [00:17:19] I've seen a lot of fades where it's a much harder edge and this just, it blends so naturally kind of thing. It's just, it's great. And then just being able to match in the Sarah. We actually cerakote all of the NV components so we can cerakote carbon, which is a bit unusual that it's not in order to cerakote carbon in order to cerakote something, you actually have to cure it at, I think it's 350 or 360 degrees and carbon doesn't like being heated up. [00:17:44] So our paint shop has figured out a way to, to actually cerakote the carbon and. And it's all good to go. And we've been Sarah coding, customer bikes for a while now, forks, bars, stems, everything, and everything's been great. So we were, we went over the top with this one with just really just making the graphics  [00:18:01] Craig Dalton: [00:18:01] pop on it. [00:18:02] Well, you definitely got to show up with your, a game here at the builder Roundup seriously.  [00:18:06] Dave Rosen: [00:18:06] I mean, it's like the level of bikes around here. You can't come slacking off to this show. It is full game on it's a game or go home. So  [00:18:14] Craig Dalton: [00:18:14] thanks for the overview, Dave.  [00:18:15] Dave Rosen: [00:18:15] Thanks. Appreciate it. No.22 [00:18:17]Craig Dalton: [00:18:17] All right. Can you introduce yourself and the brand you're representing today?  [00:18:20] Tony: [00:18:20] My name is Tony Bren Dottie, and I work with number 22 titanium bicycles out of Johnstown New York.  [00:18:27] Craig Dalton: [00:18:27] And tell me about the break you've brought to the ENVE builder  [00:18:29] Tony: [00:18:29] Roundup. So this is our titanium all road bike called the great divide disc. [00:18:36] What makes this particular one unique is the fact that we used NVS integrated front end. So there. One piece bar in stem and headset that allows the brake lines to be run internally through the head tube and steer tube so that all the lines are hidden inside the handle bar as well. Yeah, that gives  [00:18:56] Craig Dalton: [00:18:56] it a very kind of striking and unusual look when you eliminate all the cables from the front end of the bike,  [00:19:03] Tony: [00:19:03] really leading into that, making it look different. [00:19:06] We also adopted the use of cerakote on this particular one. So this is actually called Stormtrooper white cerakote. And we also did our, what we're really known for is our anodizing finish. And this is gold. Ano  [00:19:23]Craig Dalton: [00:19:23] Can you describe what serotonin that finish  [00:19:25] Tony: [00:19:25] is? So Sarah coat is a ceramic coating that goes over the tubing in contrary wet paint is a very similar process, but in its makeup, it is entirely. [00:19:40] This is durable. It's incredibly thin. It also allows us to do different things that wet paint doesn't do, like being able to put it in places that are a bit more flexible because paint can't flex the same way. A lot of cerakote coatings. Can  [00:19:58]Craig Dalton: [00:19:58] I can't let you go without asking about these fenders on this bike,  [00:20:02] Tony: [00:20:02] the titanium vendors are definitely unique. [00:20:05] They really bring this bike together. They're full titanium. We even down to the package of making the small little brackets and bolts that attach it to the bike, those are all titanium. And those that we could analyze we did.  [00:20:18] Craig Dalton: [00:20:18] Now this model is erode plus model. Can you talk about the gravel models that you have in the number 22  [00:20:23] Tony: [00:20:23] lineup? [00:20:24] So the gravel models that are a bit more, you know, big tire oriented, like 700 by 40 fives, we've got the drifter and the drifter. Drifter X is a bit more race oriented, a little bit more aggressive geometry. It also has a tapered head tube and a titanium ISP. So it's very visually striking for those that are looking for a little bit more of an adventure style, gravel bike, the standard drifter uses a traditional seatpost, which a lot of people like, because some end up using dropper posts as well as a slight. [00:20:58] More relaxed geometry. So it's more adventure based your bike packing things where people like to get a little bit more out in the woods and  [00:21:07] Craig Dalton: [00:21:07] for a customer looking to get a number 22 bike, how long do they  [00:21:11] Tony: [00:21:11] need to wait? So at the moment, we're at 22 weeks lead time and that's a moving target. We have been able to get all the parts that we need for complete bikes, but we still need to make the frames. [00:21:21]Our sales have been increasing. Outpacing what we can manufacturer, but that's a good problem to have.  [00:21:29] Craig Dalton: [00:21:29] Absolutely. And the manufacturing is in-house in  [00:21:31] Tony: [00:21:31] New York, it's all done in Johnstown, New York. So basically halfway between Montreal and New York city.  [00:21:39] Craig Dalton: [00:21:39] And w is the customer buying from a stock selection of frame sizes or are you a custom  [00:21:43] Tony: [00:21:43] shop? [00:21:44] We do both. We have the standard sizes and stock options, but we also do custom options and custom could be down to. You know, getting the fit details from a customer and the overall, even just the visual appearance could look better with a different size head tube, for example, or if it's somebody who is a slightly larger writer, we can change certain tube sizes to make it stiffer or ride within what we expect of that frame that we designed. [00:22:12] Craig Dalton: [00:22:12] Awesome. Thanks for that overview,  [00:22:13] Tony: [00:22:13] Tony. No worries. Anytime. Pursuit [00:22:16]Craig Dalton: [00:22:16] All right. Can you tell me your name and the brand?  [00:22:18] Carl Strong: [00:22:18] Yeah. My name is Carl Strong and the brand is pursuit cycles more out of Bozeman, Montana. I've known for titanium bikes, strong frames, but I've recently started a company called pursuit and we do custom modular monocoque carbon fiber frames that we make entirely in house in Bozeman, Montana. [00:22:37] Nice.  [00:22:37] Craig Dalton: [00:22:37] And this particular gravel bike that's in front of us. What are some of the attributes?  [00:22:41] Carl Strong: [00:22:41] Well, we call it an all road because the max, our size is a 40 on a 700 wheel or a 50 on a six 50. So it's a little more towards the road end of the spectrum versus something that might go more into the adventure. [00:22:53] And so it does, it's a perfect race bike for something like Unbound gravel. I'm riding it here on mountain bike rides, like crazy. And it's performing flawlessly. We're real excited about that, but some of the attributes are, is custom sized. We can tweak the geometry. It's got we do custom lamps, custom paint, custom parts picks the features that we're most excited about are we have the internal bearings on a tapered head too. [00:23:18] We've chosen to bond in a titanium threaded bottom bracket. It's a T 47. So there's no squeaking or pressing issues that you get with a lot of carbon frames. For the same reason, we bonded in a mandrill wound seat tube. So you have a perfect fit for your post. We use an external clamp, so you there's no fussing around or fiddling with a saddle or the posting put we do. [00:23:40]Compression, molded dropouts, which allows us to machine the brake for a perfect brake alignment brake machine, the brake surface. And then we bond in titanium axle guides so that there's no wear and tear on the on the dropouts. When you put your wheel in and out, we've also sandwiched that drilling. [00:23:58] Between the hub and the dropout, so that it stiffens up the rear derail your hanger, which gives you better performance with electronic shifting, because that puts a lot of force on. So what is the customer  [00:24:11] Craig Dalton: [00:24:11] journey look like when they call you up to order a bike like this?  [00:24:14] Carl Strong: [00:24:14] Well, they start by placing a deposit that puts them in the queue and it kicks off what we call our design. [00:24:20] And so the first thing we do with our customers is we figure out what method we want to use to determine their fit profile. Do you have one, do you have a fitter you like to work with that can provide us with one or do you want us to do it once we need to figure out which one of those we're going to do? [00:24:36] We do it. We generate a fit profile. And from that I'll draft them out a schematic of a bike with their fit profile. So that we can discuss all of the little nuances of their fit, the way it integrates with the bike, their priorities, and and desires. Once we get the fit nail and the geometry nailed, we talk about layup, which is going to determine the way the bike feels. [00:24:59] And then we moved from there to the finish. That's a big thing. We have a lot of finish off. We have design services. They can choose to go with it. They want something that's custom made by our professional graphic designer specifically for them. And then after that we do the whole parts pick and then build it delivery time is usually when you can get parts about three months from start to finish, if they're quick on their decision to make. [00:25:24] And we try not to speed anybody up in the process. We want them to work at a comfortable rate of speed, making their decisions, not feeling under pressure. And we want to make sure that they're confident that when they do finally sign the, okay, they know exactly what they're going to get and it performs exactly as they expect. [00:25:43] Perfect. Well, this is a  [00:25:44] Craig Dalton: [00:25:44] gorgeous looking by. Congratulations. Thank  [00:25:45] Carl Strong: [00:25:45] you very much. Yeah. Appreciate it. [00:25:48] Pine Cycles Craig Dalton: [00:25:48] Can I just get your name and your brand?  [00:25:49] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:25:49] Yeah, my name's Kevin McClellan. My brand is pine cycles.  [00:25:52] Craig Dalton: [00:25:52] I hadn't heard of pine cycles before brand new, right.  [00:25:55] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:25:55] We are a new brand launching today at the MV builder Roundup.  [00:25:58] Craig Dalton: [00:25:58] Yep. [00:25:59] That's awesome. Tell me about the bike we just looked at.  [00:26:01] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:26:01] So this bike is our attempt to make the most versatile bike that we possibly. Some of the unique design features of it is it has a custom dropout that has unique inserts that you can interchange depending on how you want to ride the bike. So the insert on the bike is 12 by 1 42 flat Mount for disc brake use. [00:26:21] And then we also have a standard QR dropout for if you want to run the bike with rim brakes, and then you can swap the fork or attract dropout if you want to run single speed or fixed gear. Not only that, but the bike also fits three separate tires. So it fits 700 by 35, 6 50 by 47. That's on the bike here and then 26 by 2.3. [00:26:42] And those all work together really well because they're all roughly the exact same outer diameter. So the geo is not changed. It's not compromised when you change over those wheel sizes. Amazing.  [00:26:51] Craig Dalton: [00:26:51] So all the way out to a 2.3 is that we said, yep, incredible. I wouldn't have, I wouldn't have gotten that. [00:26:56] Just looking visually at the rear end of the bike. That's pretty impressive. Feat.  [00:27:00] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:27:00] Yeah. It's I mean, because the title. You know, that is a little bit smaller size as the chain stay in seat, state tapers. It allows for more clearance with the same sort of chain state length. And it's a pretty short chain states of four 18 mill chain state. [00:27:12]So very much should sporty road geometry riding bike, and then  [00:27:16] Craig Dalton: [00:27:16] on the front end of the bike, which ENVE fork are you rocking?  [00:27:19] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:27:19] We're actually running an allied all road dysphoric made in the USA. And the reason that we do that is. Meets the exact geometry of the whiskey long reach rim brake fork. [00:27:29]It's a 3 75 mil, so that those two forks can interchange with the frame for when you want to run it rim, brake, or disc brake.  [00:27:37] Craig Dalton: [00:27:37] I don't think I asked you about the frame material you've chosen for the  [00:27:39] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:27:39] spike. So it's a steel frame it's made out of Columbus zona tubing the entire frame, every single every single tube is Columbus donut. [00:27:48] Craig Dalton: [00:27:48] Nice. And what type of, you know, if you were advising the listener as terms of the ride quality of the bike, that, that type of tubes that delivers, how would you describe it?  [00:27:56] Kevin Mcclelland: [00:27:56] Yeah I mean, zona is slightly on the lower end within Columbus's line. So a lot of the bikes that you'll see in the show are going to have a life or spirit, which are really nice, really lightweight tube sets. [00:28:09] So ours is a little bit more budget. But still provides that really amazing steel ride quality. It just may be a slight bit heavier than some of these really nice steel bikes that are, and you guys are  [00:28:19] Craig Dalton: [00:28:19] based in salt lake city, Utah. Yup. Exactly. Nice. Yeah. Cool. Well, Kevin, thanks for the overview. [00:28:24] I appreciate it. Absolutely. Thank you, sir. Yeah. Congrats on that. Great looking bike. I appreciate it. [00:28:29]Mosaic  [00:28:29]Cool. Let's start off. Why don't you give me your name and the brand you're representing?  [00:28:33] Zack Spear: [00:28:33] My name is Zach Spear. I'm at mosaic. We're in Boulder. We make titanium bikes. We do maybe one steel road bike a year, but everything else is yeah. Straight titanium. We're on track to do maybe mate, we're crossing our fingers, hoping for 200, 250, maybe 2 75 frames. [00:28:52] Craig Dalton: [00:28:52] That's amazing because every one of them, ones that I've seen come out of the mosaic shop is super special and unique, at least aesthetically.  [00:28:59] Zack Spear: [00:28:59] Yeah. It's it's good. I think so, too. I'm setting up the fixture for each and every frame we do. And usually I'm talking with mark trying to get a picture of who we're doing this bike for, and he's always got a cool story of you know, this person may have hurt their back or this person's like a big crit racer, six foot six rower from Stanford. [00:29:15] He needs big tubes. He's putting down big Watts. So we're getting there. You know, we're making frames for people. It's cool. I love  [00:29:21] Craig Dalton: [00:29:21] that feeling. She started on that thread. I always like to ask the question, like what's that customer journey look like for someone who picks up the phone and gets in contact with mosaic? [00:29:30]Zack Spear: [00:29:30] Typically we like, we, like when our bike shops are putting the frames out cause they can we're starting to get a big influx of orders and it helps when our bike shops can do some of that upfront work for us and figure out how the Bill's gonna look. What cranks are we using? What tires of this guy want. [00:29:45] And then yeah, mark a whip up a geo he'll start talking paint with the customer. And then when it comes into my hands, we have a total idea of exactly how this bike's going to look. What kind of pain we're going to do. Head badge is going to be mirror, finished everything. Then I build it. Aaron welds it. [00:30:01] We QC it. Make sure it fits all the everything's right. It's to spec. And then we send it over to paint. And that's when you. The moneymaker paying jobs.  [00:30:10] Craig Dalton: [00:30:10] What does that what does that look like from a timeframe perspective? I know it varies all over the place, but right now ask  [00:30:15] Zack Spear: [00:30:15] me that I'm not at Liberty. [00:30:17] No we're slammed right now. I think for me personally, I'm doing, I average about one and a quarter frames per day. And I'll try to do big batches of prep work and then batches of frames and One in a quarter. So like I'll do two frames a day for a week and then I'll start prepping frames the next week. [00:30:35] But that's about my timeline.  [00:30:36] Craig Dalton: [00:30:36] Gotcha. And tell me about the beautiful bike you've brought to the end of the  [00:30:39] Zack Spear: [00:30:39] build around, up. Yeah. This guy named Charlie in Chicago, he went through Vela Smith. They put you tap in V on it and it's a GT 1 45. He's got some oversize tubes on it. He wants to drive some Watson to that frame. [00:30:54] So he's got a. 19 millimeter see stays. He's got a 44 millimeter down to a 34, 9 seat too. It's going to be good and stiff for him. If it's a 45 millimeter tire, pretty slam geo it's going to handle pretty snappy. It's like almost like a gravel crit bike, so you can really shred some dirt with, and he wanted some green in there. [00:31:14] He was talking with mark and mark was thinking, man, let's do a Tri-Faith for this. And we made it like a mango Tri-Faith and. Before it went to paint. Mark got the idea of do let's throw some basketball sparkle in there. And when you see that thing in the sun has got there's some purples in some greens in, in the orange part of the Tri-Faith. [00:31:33] It's beautiful.  [00:31:34] Craig Dalton: [00:31:34] Yeah. It does really pop as a show bike. It's gorgeous. And how cool is it that's an actual customer bike that's going to be delivered presumably weeks after the  [00:31:41] Zack Spear: [00:31:41] show. It's a, I think it's really cool. I mean, I've never been at mosaic when we've purposely built a show. W everything we're doing is customer bikes. [00:31:50] And it's cool that our customer bike is a show bike and vice versa. You know, we're getting to that level where every bike has dialed coming out of the shop. We'll take any of them to the NBA, open house and be proud of what we're bringing.  [00:32:01] Craig Dalton: [00:32:01] Yeah, absolutely. I mean, the weld quality is just always top. It's  [00:32:04] Zack Spear: [00:32:04] amazing. [00:32:05] Yeah. And he's got way more than those 10,000 hours, you know, he's good that I can weld. He can slap a beat down. Cool. Well, I appreciate  [00:32:12] Craig Dalton: [00:32:12] the overview. This is awesome.  [00:32:13] Zack Spear: [00:32:13] Awesome. Yeah. Good to meet you.  [00:32:15]Salt Air [00:32:15] Craig Dalton: [00:32:15] All right. Why don't we start off? Just give me your name and the brand name.  [00:32:19] Matt Nelson: [00:32:19] Yeah, Matt Nelson. Pretty much the builder at salt air cycles. It's just me. And where are you located? Salt  [00:32:25] Craig Dalton: [00:32:25] lake city. And tell me about the types of bikes you like to build.  [00:32:28]Matt Nelson: [00:32:28] It's pretty much gravel. I mean, when I started building it wasn't necessarily called gravel, off-road mixed terrain bikes with Dropbox. [00:32:36] It's been my forte and that's what people come to me for the most part. I mean, I do hard tails occasionally. Like I, I love mountain biking. I have a couple of hard tails myself, but yeah, it's, you know, sometimes it'll just be like a road bike that takes 30 twos. But it's mostly, you know, something to take up to a 40 sometimes more yeah, with drop bars. [00:32:56] Craig Dalton: [00:32:56] And is it a completely custom operation?  [00:32:59] Matt Nelson: [00:32:59] It is. Yeah, I don't do any production bikes. And to be honest, my price point doesn't really yet reflect full custom. But they're all, you know, they're, one-offs, you know, so my price point basically will include custom geometry, custom sizing just because of the way I am. [00:33:16] Great. And  [00:33:17] Craig Dalton: [00:33:17] how long have you been building  [00:33:18] Matt Nelson: [00:33:18] bikes for? I built my first bike in 2000. I went to a UBI, the United bicycle Institute in Portland. And at the time I was a, an architect and I just had the bug and built my first bike really loved it, came back home to salt lake and just wanting to do more. [00:33:38] So building for friends and just getting more experience. And then in 2014, I think I registered as a business with the salt lake. But I still had a full-time job as an architect. And then it just grew from there. And then as of January, 2016 on my full-time job and tell  [00:33:55] Craig Dalton: [00:33:55] us about the frame materials you'd like to use PRI  [00:33:58] Matt Nelson: [00:33:58] primarily steel. [00:33:59]I occasionally I'll do some stainless like full stainless frames but it's a lot of Columbus Sometimes Reynolds, but yeah, I've ventured. I've done. I did do one stainless frame with carbon yeah. CMASS, which actually collaborated with NBN. But yeah, steals my thing and I'm actually a braiser so I don't, well, I'm not a TIG welder, so I do fill it braised bikes lug bikes for people that like the classic look and then sometimes mix and match. [00:34:26] Like I'll do a Bilan.  [00:34:29] Craig Dalton: [00:34:29] And tell me about the ride quality. If someone calls and asks about, you know, what's the output? What do you, what's the feeling the writer's going to get on one of your bikes?  [00:34:37] Matt Nelson: [00:34:37] Yeah. So I mean, a lot of people will think of steel or what's been circulated out. [00:34:42] There is like steel is real and you know, it has a great ride quality, especially for off-road. And that's true. I mean, you can build a steel bike. That's. What's the right word. I mean, it's more forgiving. It's going to flex in all the right parts, but you can also build a very S stiff frame you know, say someone wants to do crit racing or whatever, and they just want a stiff frame, you know, that they can race on for 45 minutes. [00:35:05]It's just there's. I mean, the tube technology that Columbus and the other brands Reynolds have continued to push even when after aluminum and then car. Became the top performing materials. They've continued to make their toot differ stronger and thinner wall. So they can be lighter. But yeah. [00:35:28]So to answer your question, I mean, I, my personal, like for mixed dream writing is a bike. That's like an, oh, what they call oversize tube standards. So in these days, if you look at the bike and it looks like a skinny tube bike, but yeah. It's actually pretty stiff depending on the size, but it can you can do, you know, it feels great. [00:35:50] It doesn't beat you up on a long 90 mile, 8,500 feet climb, mixed train ride. And then again, for a bigger writer that might be flexing a frame that, yeah. You know, someone who weighs 150 pounds, you can up-size those tubes and. You can tune the ride, you can tune the quality of the ride.  [00:36:08] Craig Dalton: [00:36:08] Is that sort of, part of the customer journey with you? [00:36:10] If I call you up looking for a bike, do we work through what I'm looking for? What my body, weight and  [00:36:14] Matt Nelson: [00:36:14] sizes. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I mean, I want, there's a big thing I want to hear from you. Like how do you plan on using the bike? What kind of writing do you like to do? Aesthetics comes into, I mean, I do get customers who are like, you know, I love steel, but I don't want to S I don't want one of those skinny tube. [00:36:30] Or old school looking bikes. And you know, like Columbus came out with their Cento tube set, which is like their a hundred year anniversary, I think in 2019. And that's probably the stiffest that tube set alone is probably the stiffest steel tubes that I've ever seen. It just has a massive 44 millimeter down tube and, you know, tapered seat too. [00:36:53] Oversized integrated head too. And then the the chain stays are actually much taller. I think they're like 36 compared to the standard 30 oval design. So it makes a super stiff bike, still relatively light as well, depending on what size it  [00:37:08] Craig Dalton: [00:37:08] is. Can you tell me about the bike that you've brought to the NV builder? [00:37:11] Roundup?  [00:37:12] Matt Nelson: [00:37:12] Yeah. So that bike is, I mean, I'm calling it the rodeo, especially all it's set up to do these, you know, 60, 70, 80, 90 mile gravel grinders, mixed terrain. I mean it's a lot like a cyclocross bike, but through some water bottle losses on it, a a little bit more clearance for a bigger tire. [00:37:31] So the one I brought too is, you know, can fit up to a 4,700 seat by 40. Again, this one's a Phillip race bike actually. Most of my frames, I send to Colorado to get painted. But I went did a liquid job locally and it turned out really well. I, this bike is actually for a local writer who w he's going to ride tomorrow and it's going to be his first time. [00:37:54] Right. But I think he'll be he'll be stoked on it. And he's he's a mountain goat here. I think he's going to really Excel on this bike and on this course tomorrow.  [00:38:03] Craig Dalton: [00:38:03] Nice. Thanks for the overview. I appreciate it.  [00:38:06] Matt Nelson: [00:38:06] Yeah, you bet. Thank you. [00:38:07]Holland Cycles [00:38:07]Craig Dalton: [00:38:07] Let's start out by getting your name and the company [00:38:09] you  [00:38:09] work for.  [00:38:10] Cody Stevenson: [00:38:10] Cody Stevenson from Holland cycles out of San  [00:38:13] Craig Dalton: [00:38:13] Diego, California. And tell us a little bit about Holland.  [00:38:15] Cody Stevenson: [00:38:15] So Holland has been in business now for 47 years building frames. It's bill Holland. And I came on into the fold with bill about 10 years. [00:38:25] And  [00:38:25] Craig Dalton: [00:38:25] when he started out, was he starting in a steel bike?  [00:38:28] Cody Stevenson: [00:38:28] Exactly. He did steel frames and then he went through, into the titanium realm back with Eisentrout many moons ago. And and then we also offer in the last 10 years here, we've offered a carbon option as well.  [00:38:43] Craig Dalton: [00:38:43] Interesting. Tell me about the show bikey brought to ENVE. [00:38:46] Cody Stevenson: [00:38:46] He had a show like that. We brought is it's our HGT. I, so it is a, it's one about gravel models. This one is a two-by system with clearance for 50 mil tires. It's got a real sweet, so the AR 3.4 was on it. It's my personal bike. So I get to rip it up tomorrow when the Graziadio and you know, just a lot of the features that you want to touch on with with a gravel bike. [00:39:08] You want it to be able to perform, obviously you want it to be comfortable. And you wanted to. That's  [00:39:13] pretty  [00:39:13] Craig Dalton: [00:39:13] big tire clearance. How are you able to achieve that?  [00:39:17] Cody Stevenson: [00:39:17] Lots of bending. Yeah, just bending stays and placement of of the stays at the bottom bracket. Just really honing in on how can we get the best of both worlds in regard to clearance for the tire and also have enough clearance for your  [00:39:32] Craig Dalton: [00:39:32] chain rings. [00:39:33] What does the journey look like for a customer who wants to get a Holland titanium frame?  [00:39:37] Cody Stevenson: [00:39:37] First thing that a customer needs. Pick up the phone and give me a call and we set up a feeding appointment. We're really big on doing the feedings. In-house we have people flying all over the country to come and do the fitting because we feel that the fitting obviously is the first piece of it, but we also like to figure out. [00:39:54] The individual wants from a ride quality and a handling perspective, because there's so many options that we can do with the frames. And then obviously anything with custom it's hurry up and white. You get put into the build list. We do complete bikes or frame sets and obviously lead times were much easier to decipher 18 months ago. [00:40:15] And right now We are in a nice position of being able to still get blacks out the door. But obviously with the influx of ordering where nine to 12 months out on delivery at this  [00:40:27] Craig Dalton: [00:40:27] point. Gotcha. Was there a point in time going back a few years since you've been there 10 years, that you started to see this influx of, Hey, I want a bigger tire. [00:40:36] Hey, I'm writing this off.  [00:40:38] Cody Stevenson: [00:40:38] Absolutely. And I I mean, I'm a roadie per se, but I grew up racing BMX. So I love to taking my bike off road, even though it was a road bike with caliber brakes. And definitely we we got more and more of the, sort of the murmurings of you know, can we put it 28 on this? [00:40:55] Can we, you know, whichever. Was this, you know, some astounding width tire and you know, can we run 90 PSI? And you know, so from there, it, obviously they evolved into, you know, let's get rid of calipers and where we're all in on, you know, whatever whatever clearance we can get for options. I mean, if you can get as much clearance, you can always put a 32 or 35 times. [00:41:19] If  [00:41:19] Craig Dalton: [00:41:19] you had to hazard a guess, what percentage of the bikes are tending towards gravel?  [00:41:22]Cody Stevenson: [00:41:22] Basically for us, it's almost split directly down the middle. So we offer our gravel blocks with titanium and then we have a carbon road frame as well as an option. And we actually still do that in a rim brake option. [00:41:34] So remain disk in on the carbon roadside of things. But yeah, I mean, if we get a call for a titanium frame, it's a Graebel frame.  [00:41:42] Craig Dalton: [00:41:42] And are you on the carbon side? Forgive me if I missed this, but is it exclusively on the roadside or do you make carbon gravel bikes as  [00:41:49] Cody Stevenson: [00:41:49] well? We do not make a carbon Graebel buck. [00:41:51]We feel that titanium is a better material, just from an impact perspective. We do our road bike has clearance for 35 mil ties, but it is not a graveled life. Right.  [00:42:02] Craig Dalton: [00:42:02] That makes sense. Since I'm curious. And you mentioned it earlier about that internal process, right? Making carbon fiber frames out of San Diego. [00:42:11] Can you just talk it? I sort of high-level for the listeners, so they understand, I mean, it blows my mind that the carbon fiber is coming in these sheets and you're going from there.  [00:42:20] Cody Stevenson: [00:42:20] Sure. So yeah, obviously with the carbon fiber road friends, we use lugged system to customize it. So we have obviously individual chews that are laid up just like any tube. [00:42:31]And and then we have lugs, which are, as part of the matrix are designed to accept certain angles and Wolf thicknesses. So there's 86 different molds to make all of the custom frames and all of the custom sizes. And  [00:42:46] Craig Dalton: [00:42:46] is the, are the lugs made out of a different material?  [00:42:49] Cody Stevenson: [00:42:49] No, Barbara as well. [00:42:51] And so yeah, it's a completely common, yeah. And the nice piece about it is that the ride quality that we get out of the lug design is that you get a vibration damping quality when you have a material. Two dissimilar materials put together. And the poxy that's bonding the carbon together at the lug dissipates vibration. [00:43:12]You get a really nice subtle right out of it. And you can make the frame really nice. And fortunately region  [00:43:18] Craig Dalton: [00:43:18] as you're manufacturing the tubes, are you going back to that customer discussion? Right? You know, this is a 180 pound person, and they're looking for this ride quality and making modifications to the weeds. [00:43:28] Absolutely.  [00:43:28] Cody Stevenson: [00:43:28] We have zero stock of anything, carbon fiber, except for the carbon fiber sheets themselves. Everything is laid up for the individual. We use different modulates for the individual. We do obviously different bias. I mean the whole nine yards. Everything is for the individual, not just from a sizing perspective, but ride quality and. [00:43:50] I  [00:43:50] Craig Dalton: [00:43:50] think that's super cool. I mean, a lot of times when you think of buying that custom bike, historically, it was going to be a metal bike and you thought about the person welding it, et cetera, but it is mind blowing to imagine that you can weave the carbon fiber tube based on my personality. [00:44:04] I want the bike to it.  [00:44:05] Cody Stevenson: [00:44:05] Absolutely it is. And the big reason behind being able to do that is that we have Mike Lopez on board with us who. Reynolds composites back in the day, the Reynolds ouzo pro fork came out of the same shop that our carbon is coming out of. He built all them, the Vici with Serrata all of the carbon that was on Serota otros. [00:44:27] It came from Mike Lopez and he is the brains behind all of that. And we're really fortunate to be a team working.  [00:44:33] Craig Dalton: [00:44:33] Amazing. Thanks for the overview. I appreciate it. You're very welcome. Thank you. [00:44:37]Allied [00:44:37]Okay, why don't we start off. Can you tell me your name and the company you work for?  [00:44:41] Drew Medlock: [00:44:41] Yeah, I'm drew Medlock CEO at ally.  [00:44:44] Craig Dalton: [00:44:44] Drew. Tell me about that beautiful allied echo that I just saw.  [00:44:49] Drew Medlock: [00:44:49] Cool. Yeah, actually it's my bike. We even are not. It's my personal bike that has now turned into a show bike. [00:44:55] That's a good feeling. It is a good, it's a good ability to get, to show it off all the time, but I haven't got to ride it.  [00:45:00] Craig Dalton: [00:45:00] It had to stay clean for this event, I imagine. Yeah. Will it get dirty tomorrow, like rodeo? Maybe  [00:45:05] Drew Medlock: [00:45:05] I think rodeo tomorrow sounds more like an able run. So if I'm reading that one correctly. [00:45:10] So I think there'll be bigger tires than the echo.  [00:45:13] Craig Dalton: [00:45:13] Let's talk about the echo as you and I were talking about offline. It's a really unique beast in the gravel market because it bridges that fine line between super capable road, bike, and super capable. Off-road.  [00:45:27] Drew Medlock: [00:45:27] Yeah, absolutely. When we designed it, we were actually trying to start ground up with a amazing road bike that also could do gravel. [00:45:34] And we really worried that you'd arbitrary and the performance really on a grand tour level road bike. So we were thinking like, this is why you should compete against a tarmac at a grand tour, but then also be able to run up to 40 millimeter tires. And that's from the aesthetics and also the performance that's really what we  [00:45:50] Craig Dalton: [00:45:50] were going for. [00:45:51] So let's talk about that unique. Chip technology that kind of enables this to happen.  [00:45:57] Drew Medlock: [00:45:57] Yeah. So the bike uses a flip chip, which, you know, from mountain bikers out there know that's nothing new, right. That's been done a lot. But what it allows us to do on this bike specifically is lengthen the chains day by one centimeter. [00:46:10] So you go from like a grand tour, erode geometry, super short chain stays to a centimeter longer and run 10 millimeters, more tire volume. And then on the front raises the axle to crown by one centimeter. Greases the tire volume.  [00:46:23] Craig Dalton: [00:46:23] And does that change the head tube angle?  [00:46:25] Drew Medlock: [00:46:25] So it slackens out the geometry of the bike just a little bit. [00:46:28] So you actually do get a true different geometry for road and gravel mode. I think for me personally, I've written a lot of bikes that are like a gravel bike that you can also put road wheels on. And for me that somebody is designed to work with bikes. I always feel like the road bike, you know, I'm riding a gravel bike with small tires on it. [00:46:46] It really doesn't handle the way a true road, race bikes. And so we wanted something that really could do both.  [00:46:52] Craig Dalton: [00:46:52] So on that flip ship, on the fork, it's a vertical movement. Correct. And then on the stay it's a horizontal, correct? Yeah.  [00:46:59] Drew Medlock: [00:46:59] So just links into the chase day or raises the axle to crown.  [00:47:03] Craig Dalton: [00:47:03] And then tell me about the adjustment that you need to make on the brake caliper to achieve that movement and how you've  [00:47:09] Drew Medlock: [00:47:09] executed that. [00:47:10] Yeah, so basically the breakout per the chip actually is on a It's mounted to the fork. So the caliper is actually mounted to the piece that moves. So the caliper on the front doesn't actually have to be readjusted at all, given that if you're using it we'll set with the same hub, right? When you shut, swap away, same for the rear. [00:47:28]The rear, you do have to take one caliper, bolt out to move it, but the caliper still stains in the same position. So if you're using the same set of hubs St. Brander rotors, you probably will not have to change your readjust your brakes after swap.  [00:47:41] Craig Dalton: [00:47:41] When you're in gravel mode, what type of tire clearance  [00:47:44] Drew Medlock: [00:47:44] do you have? [00:47:45] 40 millimeter actual. And the tire cleaners is at that peace of mind, cause everybody like what your tire says on a hot stamp on side has nothing to do with actually what size it is. So for all you all writers out there, it's a good thing to know. I've seen 40 millimeter tires that measure 38, 40 millimeter tires at wizard or a 44. [00:48:04] So we are measuring actually 40 millimeters attire. And that's including four millimeters of additional parents at the rear of the bike as well. Right. You know, Collin actually ran bigger than a 40 at Unbound gravel that a lot of people notice he's running in 42 specialized Pathfinder. [00:48:19]So it does fit because we actually do have clearance, but he was in the our safety zone for parents that we'd like to keep for everyday years or so with mud and, you know, Yeah. Junk fluids through your frame, just to make sure you  [00:48:32] Craig Dalton: [00:48:32] protect it for it. Yeah. That's what Collin mentioned to me. He said he's like on a dry day, I stuck a 42 in there. [00:48:37] I didn't have a concern, but I wouldn't be doing that in a muddy course. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Well, I mean, it was super exciting to see him ride that bike on Unbound 201 weekend and then Tulsa tough criteria I'm  [00:48:51] on  [00:48:51] Drew Medlock: [00:48:51] the road. Yeah. That was nuts and completely unexpected. And you know, it was even going to Unbound. [00:48:57] He was really like. You know, different bikes, he was gonna ride the able, or the echo. And in the end he'd been putting most of the miles on the echo and he felt the most comfortable on it. And it's a lower front end. So he's got a lower profile on the bikes. So it was probably a little faster on the bike as well. [00:49:12] So that was the call to go with the echo. And then, you know, for Tulsa tough, like manage, like we said, we designed that thing as a road racing machine, you know, with the road setting for the geometry. No problem. When he was in the breakaway and crab crybaby hill. So worked out pretty good. [00:49:25] Craig Dalton: [00:49:25] You expect interesting and new things from allied at Unbound every year. So the pressures just keep, keeps getting amped  [00:49:32] Drew Medlock: [00:49:32] up. Well, we did have a skip year, so that gave us a little bit of breathing room. So  [00:49:37] Craig Dalton: [00:49:37] that's true. So you might be on an every two  [00:49:39] Drew Medlock: [00:49:39] year cycle. Yeah, we'll see. think we've got some new stuff come up or sleeve, so we'll see what the timing looks like. [00:49:44] Craig Dalton: [00:49:44] Awesome. And it's worth noting. You're manufacturing in America. See, it's all under one roof now, is that right?  [00:49:50] Drew Medlock: [00:49:50] Yeah. Everything's under one roof far full manufacturing team is located in Northwest Arkansas and we build everything from the ground up there. The echo is a real special bike for us, not just because of the performance, but also that bike was developed all by the new team after we moved to our new factory and Rogers, Arkansas. [00:50:08] And so it's a huge achievement for our team and this being able to put it off. No just performance and sports stuff out there, but also all our, you know, maturity and our, their manufacturing techniques together for the spike. And so we're really excited about it. And we're building, you know, almost every single part of that bike in house, including all the alway flip chips and dropouts and the stem. [00:50:30] So it's super exciting.  [00:50:31] Craig Dalton: [00:50:31] Nice. What does a customer journey look like to get their hands on one of these  [00:50:34] Drew Medlock: [00:50:34] bikes? Yeah, so I go, does it as an ally cycle works. You can actually jump on and we have several different bill options and you can check it out and actually configure, you know what wheels you want, paint, you want all that stuff online and then you can hit us up directly. [00:50:47] Or if you have a good local dealer you can open them up too.  [00:50:50] Craig Dalton: [00:50:50] And what does turnaround time look like these days  [00:50:53] Drew Medlock: [00:50:53] for echos? We're running between eight to 10 weeks delivery. Of course, that major caveat there is on lead times for parts. Somethings we are better on than others right now. So that's always, you know, the tricky questions because we're good at making echoes within eight to 10 weeks, but Shimano and Schramm are not very good at delivering REITs right now. [00:51:14] Craig Dalton: [00:51:14] Yeah. It's you can throw extra labor at building something fast, stay up late, really hit that customer delivery date, but we can't control global supply chains.  [00:51:23] Drew Medlock: [00:51:23] Yeah. Unfortunately  [00:51:24] Craig Dalton: [00:51:24] we can't. Yeah. Well, congrats on the execution of the ACA I think it's a great bike and I'm super excited to see where it goes. [00:51:31] [00:51:31]So that's going to do it for this week's episode of the gravel ride podcast. [00:51:35]I hope you enjoyed those mini builder interviews. And got a little bit of a sense for their process and what it's like purchasing a custom bike. There are a ton of great options out there. All the builders represented in the NV partner network are creating exceptional products. Some of them, one of a kind.  [00:51:54]Take a look at some of the websites, take a look at some of the videos out there online.  [00:51:59] You won't be disappointed at what you see from the ENVE builder Round-up.   [00:52:02]Huge, thanks to ENVE for their support of the podcast and a huge thank you for them putting together this event. I know, I look forward to seeing it every year and to be out there in person this year, followed by that massive grody or ride was a real pleasure. Until next time here's to finding some dirt under your wheels  

    Ian Boswell - UNBOUND Gravel 200, Migration Gravel Race Kenya

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 22, 2021 43:16

    This week we sit down with UNBOUND 200 winner Ian Boswell. We get to unpack his big win, but also dig into a new partnership between Wahoo and The Migration Gravel Race / Team Amani in Kenya. Wahoo  Migration Gravel Race Team Amani Breakfast with Boz Podcast Support the Podcast Automated Transcription, please excuse any typos:   Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the podcast, I'm excited, very excited to welcome Ian Boswell to the show. [00:00:12]We scheduled this interview many months before Unbound, knowing that Ian was participating. But certainly not expecting that he was going to end up with the top spot on the podium.  [00:00:22]This episode also kicks off a new relationship for the podcast and Wahoo.  I've been a longterm Wahoo customer on the computer side. Having first started with the ELEMNT BOLT and now using the ELEMNT ROAM. I've also been a big fan of the Wahoo frontiers series on the web. I love the videos and getting access to these writers, having adventures and just the stories behind it so when i connected with the team at Wahoo and learned about some of the initiatives they have going this year i was super super stoked to bring them on board as a sponsor. [00:00:56]On the podcast, we'll get the opportunity to talk to some of these Wahoo athletes and get a little bit of the behind the scenes. Look. At some of the adventures they'll be having this year [00:01:05]I'm very much looking forward to these conversations and I hope you will be too. For those of you who don't know Ian Boswell, Ian had a career in the world tour riding for teams like Sky and Katyusha before retiring and moving on to a full-time role with Wahoo as an employee. [00:01:25]Additionally, he set his sights on participating in the gravel racing scene. I don't know about you but i recall that time the beginning of 2020, just questioning where ian would fit into the roster of these pro tour athletes who were moving into gravel and what the impact might be on the sport. [00:01:44]We all had to wait quite a bit longer than we expected to find out what that impact was going to be. So when the 2021 season finally kicked off, And Unbound was on the calendar. It was inevitably going to be thrilling to see where Ian was going to fit in. And to see him win. The biggest race on the calendar this year was quite exciting because it really couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.   [00:02:08]We get to dig into a little bit of as experience at the Unbound 200 this year. But equally important, we get to dig into a new initiative from Wahoo [00:02:18] In conjunction with the Migration Gravel Race in Kenya, East Africa. I won't get into too many details in this introduction, because I want you to hear from Ian. And with that, let's dive right in to this week's episode.  [00:02:31] [00:02:31]Ian.  Welcome to the show [00:02:33] Ian Boswell: [00:02:33] thank you for having me. [00:02:35] Craig Dalton: [00:02:35] It's funny. I cannot believe that your win at Unbound is going to be the second, most exciting thing that we're going to talk about today. [00:02:41]Ian Boswell: [00:02:41] Yeah, it's yeah, it's been a very fortunate couple of weeks I've had and more fortunate for what's coming up. [00:02:48]Yeah, excited to chat about, Unbound, but more importantly, the next couple of weeks of of travel and racing and cultural experience. Yeah, absolutely. [00:02:56] Craig Dalton: [00:02:56] Yeah. So let's get into your victory at Unbound. What was your mindset going into Unbound? Obviously, when you retired from the pro tour and expected last year was going to be your first year as a quote unquote gravel athlete. [00:03:10] It didn't go as planned and you had to wait a long time to get to a start line. Let's talk about what your mindset was going into Unbound. I know you had one an event, the rule of three under your belt previously, but Unbound being the sort of world series or Superbowl of gravel is really a next level experience. [00:03:29] Ian Boswell: [00:03:29] Yeah.  In hindsight, in all honesty, it probably benefited me that I didn't race last year, cause I had just come off of, seven years in the world tour and I don't know, 10 years prior to that, racing road bikes, and trying to climb this ladder to the top of the sport on the roadside. [00:03:45] And, I retired and was very much, still felt like a racer. I took a position at Wahoo, so I just had less time to ride and move back full-time to Vermont where the weather is not the south of France, where I was living for the previous seven years. So there was very much this constant underlying level of not stress or anxiety, but just oh, I'm not doing what I used to do. [00:04:06]And it was very much a transitional year where, I was still had this mindset and this, feeling, whether it was, internal or psychological of  I'm not training the way I used to. And lo and behold no race has happened. So I spent the first ever, I guess probably is the longest I had spent in one place since I was 14 or 15 years old. [00:04:25]Just riding in Vermont and my mindset over the last, I guess throughout 2020 really shifted a lot to very much alright, I'm at a very different chapter in my life now I'm not a professional world tour, a road cyclist. There are things in my life that are, far more. [00:04:42] No, I don't say important, but I just, I became interested in so many other aspects of my life. Things I've always longed to do, garden and, we got chickens and we got a puppy and I joined the volunteer fire department. That's actually where I am right now with the volunteer fire department. [00:04:55] Cause we have terrible internet at our house. So I got involved in all these other kind of aspects to my life and, Which kind of led to, the return to racing this year. And I was very much of the perspective of is I'm looking forward to races happening again, but if there's another year of kind of pandemic and no events, great, I get to spend another year at home and riding and, maybe going for some KOMS here and there and doing some, some small group rides. [00:05:17]So my mental state. Long answer here, but my mental state going into Unbound was very much have that mindset. Hey, this is an awesome opportunity to be here, but I'm no longer, a athlete or an individual who's putting my sole focus and soul and time and energy into performance at the highest level, which. In all honesty is probably a great way to approach a 200 mile race because, you can burn a lot of nervous energy early on in a race that is going to take 10 hours and you can finish three or four hours in and just feel like I am mentally fried. And, I very much had a fun and enjoyable. Race just because I was so happy to be there. I'm so curious about. [00:05:59]   I think that's the other thing is there is a culture and the etiquette to gravel events that I'm still very much learning, so I'm much more. An observer than I am a kind of a leader or, someone like Strickland is very much a, a patrol of the Peloton, he knows what's going on and people respect him. [00:06:16] And, there were countless people that I met, the day before, or even at the start line. And, they had no idea who I was and like, that's great. I'm happy that no one knows who I am, but where I've come from, because they're not gonna look at me to take a big pole or control the Peloton or attack. [00:06:29]Which was great, but I don't think that's going to be the case in events going forward. [00:06:33] Craig Dalton: [00:06:33] I think you're right. I think you might be a mark man at this point. Those are really interesting comments. And I really appreciate what you're saying about mindset and I can't help, but ponder, if some of the other sort of. [00:06:45] Quote, unquote, big name athletes that showed up at that event. Might've had more of a race mindset. And when the terrain, when the course, when the other competitors dictated something unexpected, they really didn't have the mindset to thrive that you've clearly acquired in your time and run up to the event. [00:07:06] Ian Boswell: [00:07:06] Yeah, definitely.  And it was the first event, I was there almost a week in advance to do some other stuff with specialized and with Wahoo and, it was the first time really since probably the tour de France in 2018, that felt that not nervous energy, but just There was a lot happening, and it was, and I think for a lot of people, whether it was myself or, someone like Amity Rockwell who had won before, it was the first time in a year for most people that there was this, just journalists and interviews and, people wanting to take picture of your bikes and ask you questions about your equipment and all these little things But yeah,  I just, I didn't have to answer too many questions in detail because I was just in very, in a very simple way. [00:07:44] I was almost naive to the event.  I had Pete stepped in as mechanic lend me a pump on the start line because I didn't pump up my tires in the morning which is brings it all back down to earth. It's rather than being worried about my start position or, the first 10 miles, I was like, oh cool. [00:07:58] Like I should probably pump up my tires right now because tire pressure I guess, is awfully important and gravel. And I had pumped off the night before, but I just didn't have a pump in the morning to put air in them. So I was like, cool. This is a nice distraction to put air in my tires at the start line. [00:08:12] And it's also, there's I had other missions on the start line as well. I had 10 of the trans pride. Sweat bands with me as well. And so I was trying to find, some people who I knew wanted one and some people who I thought, would appreciate receiving those. [00:08:26]I had other kind of things on my mind at the start, which, brings it back full circle to thinking about the bigger. Topics around the event rather than just the race and being worried about my performance and my kind of expectations internally. That's great. [00:08:40]Craig Dalton: [00:08:40] And I just want to pass along just a personal note on that front, a close personal friend of mine been in the bike industry for a long time, reached out to me and just, he knew I was interviewing you today and yeah. Acknowledged how important that was to him and his family that you made that gesture and having listened to your interview with Molly Cameron on the breakfast with boss podcast, it just came full circle. [00:09:03] And I think it was, it's little gestures like that, that show your character and the type of things you believe in and are willing to put forward in your life. [00:09:12] Ian Boswell: [00:09:12] Yeah I appreciate that and very much wasn't a PR stunt or something I was doing to get attention, cause if I had finished even second or third or hundreds, no one cares, just by nature of winning people pay attention to it, it has become something that I'm more aware of and, back to this whole mentality over the last, 12 months in pandemic and just reflecting on my life up to this point and realizing, how incredibly fortunate I have been and, realizing that so many people haven't had that same life experience that I have, and just been more aware of, different people from marginalized communities or backgrounds or upbringings and realizing that, There's a lot of people who are suffering a lot in this world and are fighting for something far more important than a victory at a gravel race. [00:09:55] And, just to be able to shed a little bit of light on, on those topics and those, movements and groups, it really does bring me a lot of. It makes me feel so good just to receive messages from people and, hear their stories. And it opened up this whole dialogue of conversation, which is so amazing that, such a simple gesture and, really my response to most of these people, it's it's literally the least I can do. [00:10:14]I spent a hundred dollars on wristbands and passed them out. It's that's nothing, but. It's created this, just dialogue and really awareness, which I think, for me, it was the first step in just, learning more of it's just awareness. And I think that's really, can make the industry and just the world and, so many people more informed and more connected and more understanding just to. [00:10:34] To be aware of these different, points in our society and our culture and our world. I think if we can just open our eyes a little bit and be a bit more aware, then it's going to be a better place for all of us. Yeah. [00:10:44]Craig Dalton: [00:10:44] It's so true. It's the cycling industry, the world, it seems to move so slowly towards these things. [00:10:50] And I think it is these baby steps that are critically important. [00:10:55] Ian Boswell: [00:10:55] Yeah. And it really is, and having spoken with Molly, I, realized that more. That, Molly's in this for the long run, this isn't something where we're going to wake up tomorrow and there's going to be radical, change and reform. [00:11:06] But if there is a critical mass, and I think, for individuals like myself who have come from a very privileged background can just be aware that people have had very different life experiences. And to be understanding to that, that, we can. Move in the direction of change and it, it really does just start with that with conversations and with, knowledge, that's such a powerful tool that we have in our quiver. [00:11:28] Craig Dalton: [00:11:28] Yeah, absolutely. And I'll put our link to your breakfast with BAAs episodes, because I think it's important for everybody to listen to that one while you're at the start line, how different was it to line up with another thousand athletes at the same time, that's gotta be one of the largest races you've ever started. [00:11:45] Ian Boswell: [00:11:45] Definitely. Yeah.  Most you think most world tour races are races. I had done as a junior, under 23, most maybe you have 200 riders. Yeah, it's it was crazy, thankfully I was able to be near the front just to, squirm through the first few turns, but, with, and I had a friend who had done the event a couple of years ago and he said, man, just make sure you look back at some point. [00:12:02] And we'd had a couple, L turns early on and, because you're in these relatively flat open Plains, looking back with the sunrise and just seeing as far as you could see. A group of riders. That is cool. And that was like the first time I think, in the event that I really realized what a special  day it was going to be. [00:12:21] And you're not just for performance and trying to win, but just how many people decided to, travel to employ Kansas, to take part in this event. And, I really didn't understand what it was and what it meant until I looked back early on and just saw this, Stretching Peloton as far as the eye could see. [00:12:38] And that was yeah, it was cool. Definitely it was nice being, being near the front cause you just have less chaos to happen in front of you. But very quickly from there, it turned from, alright, this is beautiful and gorgeous to okay, like the pace is picking up and I should probably keep my eyes on the road in front of me and make sure I'm in somewhat of a reasonable position to make sure I'm just stay out of trouble. [00:12:58] Craig Dalton: [00:12:58] What did those first 50 miles look like? I imagine that at that point, there's still a lot of jockeying for position and whether you're a pro or a talented amateur athlete, there's still a lot of people around you. How did it start to break up? [00:13:12] Ian Boswell: [00:13:12] Yeah.  To be honest, and I know multiple writers have said that the beginning was fairly sketchy and I think there were a few crashes and punctures and whatnot. [00:13:19]I didn't find the first, I think 26 miles was the first unmaintained section. Up until that point, I felt relative, surprising. I felt actually really comfortable in the Peloton. I hadn't done a big race like that and I did the rule of three, but that started on a hill and broke up instantly. [00:13:34]But because it's flat, it stayed together really up until that first section. And because it has gravel roads and the surfaces are different, the Peloton is just naturally more, there's more space within the group. And, having raised in the world to where we have, someone's hip on your handlebars and someone else's handlebars on your hip, I was like, wow, there's actually a lot of space in, in the bunch to move around and, a lot mutual respect that all change when we did hit the first section at mile 26, because then people start seeing red and that's when the race picked up and people start taking these risks and forgetting the fact that they have a hundred and. [00:14:07] 75 miles to go, but it's that was kinda where the race first started to split up and people started flatting and puncturing and crashing and, having mechanicals my, again, even up until that point, my mindset was still very much just find a safe spot in the Peloton. [00:14:21] You're not gonna, You're going to be much better off making it through here safely with your wheels and tires and intact than you are, on the front of the bunch, taking, taking risks that you know, could potentially in your race. So that was very much my strategy. [00:14:35]Did I didn't really discover until we got to that point, but just having not done it, I didn't really know what to expect and what the Peloton was going to be like. But yeah, I found myself pretty far back compared to the other contenders early on, but just knowing it was such a long event and there's no, teamwork or team dynamics I was happy to just surf the surf, the wave for the first, I guess probably 30, 35 miles. [00:14:57] Yeah. [00:14:57]Craig Dalton: [00:14:57] And then 35 miles to 65 miles, did separations begin to occur? And did you find yourself having to hop and bridge up to different groups? [00:15:06] Ian Boswell: [00:15:06] Yeah.  Separations happened a lot quicker than I had thought just through crashes and the level of rider is big at a race like that. [00:15:12]You think you have someone like, Quinn Simmons or Mateo Jorgensen who, he just came off the Jiro one of, the, probably the hardest races in the year up to this point, regardless of the surface. And then, you have people who, have been training five, 10 hours a week at, in the same Peloton. [00:15:27] So it broke up fairly. Quickly. And it wasn't really until, probably around nine 40, when we, the group got down to maybe 30 riders and, just kept becoming, it's funny to say it's a race of attrition in a very much is, but the fact that 40 miles and you're already starting to see this, people sir come to the conditions was a little bit puzzling. [00:15:48]But again, I think a lot of that just has to do with the expenditure of nervous energy and, people over exerting themselves. I don't wanna say unnecessarily, pushing harder than they need to make these splits. But yeah, we rolled into the first aid station at mile 68. [00:16:02]With probably only 15 riders. And I thought it was going to be much bigger than that. I thought it was going to be a group of a hundred people and it was going to be chaos rolling in there because there were so many writers, but yeah, a relatively small group after, just 60, some odd miles. [00:16:17] Craig Dalton: [00:16:17] Yeah. I imagine at that point, the incentive to work together was pretty strong for the remaining riders. [00:16:22]Ian Boswell: [00:16:22] Surprisingly not definitely. Yeah. I was really surprised with that. And, we had, there are people who are definitely rolling through and, hats off to people like Ted and Pete and Colin, those, those individuals were always up there rolling through, like they never drifted to the back. [00:16:38] They never, Didn't pull even, Robin carpenter was there and there was some writers who understood like, Hey, we have a really good thing going here. Let's keep it rolling. And even myself personally, I realized that, just with my physiology, it's much easier to roll through at a steady pace than it is to like, try and drift off the back and then, catch up with five guys and then drift off and then catch up. [00:16:56]And that was an incentive, not too long after the aid station, when Colin Strickland came up to me and said, Hey, it looks like he's a lot of people are really hurting in this group. And I was like, just happy to be in the front group of 15, almost, over a third through the race. [00:17:11] And I was like, all right, man, let's hit it. So I went hard up a little roller and I can't remember if I jumped across to Robin carpenter or if I did a little surgeon, he came with me, that very quickly whittled it down to eight riders. And once we had those 8, 8, 8 of us up front That's when it became more, more cohesive. [00:17:30] And then again, after little Egypt, when, Pete really, shredded the race through little Egypt, and that was when the selection of the five of us went away. And that's when the, the front group of us, stetting on myself, Ted Lawrence and Strickland, that's when it became this. [00:17:46] Incredible group of very committed and very, cohesive group of riders just rolling through. And that was, still over a hundred miles to go, I think still 110 miles to go. We, was just five of us. And that was really cool to see that, we got to the point where you had made these separations and it was just a group of people who are willing to ride and just keep rolling through also knowing that there was a lot of headwind coming back towards Emporia. [00:18:11] [00:18:11] Craig Dalton: [00:18:11] And it sounded like from the accounts that, and what you just said, you guys were willing to work together. I'm curious, at what point does it come into your mind to do something, to make an attack in that scenario? [00:18:24]Ian Boswell: [00:18:24] That was one of my biggest questions. And I did a ride with Ted and I asked him, on the ride, I was just like, how? [00:18:29]And it felt so evenly matched and because there was a headwind. That kind of nullified anyone trying to go for a long range of attack like   Strickland did in 2019, just because, it's a pretty, it was a pretty smart group, tactically of riders, knowing that, okay, if if Colin attacks and the remaining four of us had any sort of intelligence, we'd be like, all right, let's just stay together, let him do his thing. And we'll just keep rolling steady. And there's so much wind that he's going to be, he's going to be brought back. So the wind did play a huge factor. I think in how the race was tactically being played out. And, once we got closer to aid station 2 there's a series of kind of pretty big rollers and some steep sections on a, an unmaintained road. And, Pete kind of hit it there as well. And, it became very apparent that everyone was very equally matched. And because the wind, if you're not going to get it, if you're roll over the top and you have a. [00:19:21] Three four second gap and you look back and there's four, four guys behind you. You might just consider like, all right, I don't have a big enough gap to keep pushing on. So I'll wait for the guys behind me. We also had a group of people who have done a lot of road race, and,  you think myself, Laurens, Ted and Pete had all come from the world tour. [00:19:38] And I think with Colin's experience of crit racing and red hook, he's very tactically savvy and really understands the benefit of drafting and wind dynamics. So yeah, I was definitely one of the questions in my mind was how is this gonna break up? Because everyone is so equally matched and the wind is such a big factor. [00:19:54]I thought there was a reasonable chance that, maybe we'll all roll into back onto the pavement and Emporia with five of us. Wow. [00:20:02] Craig Dalton: [00:20:02] And what ultimately happened to create the separation that left you alone with Lauren's ten Dams? [00:20:08] Ian Boswell: [00:20:08] Yeah. So with it's about 30 miles, maybe 25, 30 miles to go. [00:20:11] We hit the last kind of unmaintained section of road, which I had actually written with Laurens the prior Wednesday. And so I upped the pace there, knowing it was a crucial section and also it wasn't incredibly technical, there was times when, like there was one path that was definitely the best path to take. And if you didn't, if you weren't on that route, then you know, it was either Rocky or you might be riding to a puddle. And that's when Pete hit it pretty hard over the top of me. And then Laurens went over the top of him and we'd all strung out. [00:20:37] And, I looked back at one point I saw that Strickland was distanced. I think we, between the rest of us, Ted was probably the, probably one of the better sprinters out of, Us kind of three climber, former climbers. So we knew it was like, okay, the races on here, if we can, every time you lose one rider, it's your odds increase of winning you go from five to four and. [00:20:57] Then Pete had a mechanical. I think he somehow, I don't know if he was trying to go down to a small ring or up to his big ring, but he had some chain suck and, had to jump off his bike to adjust that at which point, I went around him and caught up to Lawrence and Ted was just behind us and wound up catching on just after the last unmaintained section ended. [00:21:15]At which point I was like, wow, we're going to like the three of us. We'll probably roll to the line. If we continue working at At a good pace because it's less, Colin comes back to Pete, and that's still, two chasing three is harder, even though, Colin can definitely roll quickly on the flats and downhills. [00:21:29]But yeah we just kept rolling for not too long. And then we hit a small climb and I think Ted just hit the wall, he made a big effort to bridge across to Lawrence and I and so he got popped maybe around 20 to 23 miles to go. And at which point it was just Lawrence and I still felt good and he felt. [00:21:45]He felt well. And we just realized that this is our chance, and if we can keep pushing the pace, the most likely the writers behind aren't going to be able to come back together and, bridge across if we keep riding. But at that point you're also catching riders in the 100 mile ride. [00:21:59] So it does become a little bit more confusing, especially when you're looking back, trying to decide, is that Pete and the red Jersey, or is that, someone we had just passed in the a hundred mile event and because you're. Nearly 10 hours into an event, you don't really remember what color jerseys of the people you passed are. [00:22:16]So we just knew we could had to put our heads down and keep riding. And, another factor is we also, neither of us had aerobars in our bike which I think mentally for both of us was. Really cool to be upfront. And Laurens made a comment to me, probably 10 miles to go where he, yeah, he said, yeah, I won't use the word here, but anyways, yeah, he was happy that we weren't that both of us on aerobars and, knowing that we knew we had to work even more efficiently together because the people behind did have aerobars and, they probably are faster and, they did have a slight advantage, especially on the, the flat more. [00:22:49]Smooth roads. Yeah, but thankfully we still had enough. Both of us had enough kind of reserves in the tank to keep pushing it all the way back into town. Now in that [00:22:58] Craig Dalton: [00:22:58] situation, obviously both of you understand the tactics you've been in the world tour. You understand how races are won. Do you have to speak about what needs to be done or is it just so innate in both of you that you knew where you were going to work together as far as you needed to go to keep the chasers off? [00:23:16]Ian Boswell: [00:23:16] I don't know. I don't know. Laurens has history with races and winning. Road races with someone else. But I had never really been in that situation, maybe as a junior, when I was 14 years old I knew we had to work. And, at that point I think we both realized being first or second in this event is a huge result. [00:23:30] And so many things can go wrong in that race. The fact that we had made it that far, neither of us having any. Any major issues. I do know that Lawrence had a small puncture early on, but was able to make it back, before mile 25 or something. So the fact that, we knew that regardless of the outcome, we were both ecstatic that we were still there and we were off the front and we were gonna come into more than likely come into town together. [00:23:54]Other than having a catastrophic meltdown or a puncture in the last few miles Yeah. W we did speak about it. We talked about I think I said to him, and he said to me like, Hey, let's just, let's roll into town and we'll sprint it out. Which is then, that's when you're ultimately going to get caught, you have the opportunity to finishing first or second. [00:24:09] And then you decide to start, cat and mouse in it and attacking each other and stopping and attacking and stopping. And before you know it, Pete's back with you and Ted's back with you and maybe Colin's on. And then you wind up finishing fifth when you could have almost had a guarantee first or second, and then you wind up, being the worst sprinter out of the five riders and, finishing in fifth place. [00:24:27] So we were both aware that, it was. Most beneficial to us to keep rolling through just knowing that neither of us were, an excellent sprinter, had it been someone with a better sprint, Ted or, maybe even Colin that's when I think the tactics get a bit more complicated because you may want to. [00:24:43]If you're calling, you may be like, Hey, I don't need, there's two of us. I'm probably going to beat you in the sprint anyways. And I'll beat the riders behind me in the sprint. So I don't need to work here. I'm going to save my effort for the sprint. But I think sprint is very much an unknown strength of both Laurens and I. [00:24:57] So I think we are both willing to go to the line and just see what happened once we got there. [00:25:01] Craig Dalton: [00:25:01] Yeah. What a great result for both of you. I think it's fantastic. [00:25:06] Ian Boswell: [00:25:06] Yeah. I think we're both pleased. And I think of the five riders up front, I don't think either of us really meant or knew what it meant to win that race. [00:25:13] And I knew that Lawrence had won the gravel Locos a couple of weeks prior. So he probably had a little taste of kind of the thirst and the, interest in gravel cycling and. Globally, but really here in north America. I had no idea what it meant. I knew it was a big event and I'd seen the attention that Colin had drawn in 2019, but even without, I didn't realize the weight that is put on the shoulders of, the individual who wins, whether it's the a hundred mile event or the 200 or XL, male and female, there's an incredible amount of attention put on. [00:25:44] That event and an importance, not just from media, everyone who is involved with, your support team and partners and sponsors, everyone is so happy to see those results and to be part of that, really that team of, people who, get behind it from, The week out and get together and make sure that everything's ready to roll. [00:26:04] Craig Dalton: [00:26:04] And particularly in this moment in time, as we hopefully put the pandemic in the rear view mirror here in the U S and eventually around the world, just to have an event of that scale happen and have the community just have that collective release of energy. I think it was just super exciting. [00:26:20] Ian Boswell: [00:26:20] Yeah, it was, and that was one thing, I was a little bit curious about was, the energy around the event compared to last, prior years. And I, I had thought about that a lot in 2020 was, oh man, did I miss this kind of golden window of gravel? When you know, it is fun and there's this party like atmosphere and, post pandemic. [00:26:37] Is it going to be a completely different world? Is there going to be no samples anymore at, at the expo booth because it's, not COVID safe. It is cool to see that, a lot of the excitement and buzz and party and just community atmosphere, didn't really change all that much in an eye. [00:26:54] I heard from a few people that the expo is slightly smaller and there are a few people, in downtown Emporia at the finish, but, compared to, what I had expected, it was a lot more and there was a lot more excitement and energy around the event then, I had feared would not be there due to the pandemic. [00:27:08] Yeah, [00:27:09]Craig Dalton: [00:27:09] I'm glad you got the full experience. That's amazing. So it's really funny to me that we scheduled this interview way in advance of your race at Unbound. We knew it was happening, but you had mentioned, it was a total unknown, so it was great to get that overview, but I'm equally excited to jump into your day job  with Wahoo and a partnership with the Migration Gravel Race in Kenya. [00:27:34] Can you give us a little bit of an overview of what that race is and what this partnership is all about. [00:27:40] Ian Boswell: [00:27:40] Yeah a couple of colleagues brought it to me probably back in, in January. It's, Hey, there's this, there's this event happening in Kenya and we're going to partner with this, this African cycling team called the Amani foundation. [00:27:52] And I was like, cool. When is it? And it's mid, late June and. The same time as an event that was happening in Oregon, the Oregon trail race, which is, the race, really, if there was a hometown race. And that's where I grew up was in bend. And I was like, sure, Kenya sounds awesome, but it's probably not likely that we're going to go. [00:28:07] This was still in, January when it still very much looked like things were closed down and shot and travel, wasn't going to be possible. I put my hand up, I was like, I've never been to Kenya and it sounds like an awesome, an awesome trip, but it has evolved into so much more than just. [00:28:22] A bike race, get some context. Wahoo  has partnered with the Amani foundation, which is, like I said, an African cycling team and really just trying to provide opportunities, resources, and, the chance for these African riders to travel and also show themselves on a global stage. [00:28:36]We've been providing them with the products they need, whether it's head units, heart rate monitors, trainers which is, a huge resource, but I think the most beneficial thing, and which I think is probably the coolest thing that we've been able to provide is, access to having them work with the Wahoo sports science center out in Boulder, Colorado and work with a coach like Neil Henderson who also coaches, Rohan Dennis, who's getting ready to go to the Olympic games in Tokyo. And when you look at the. Just the difference in culture from, Western Europe or north America to Africa, there's some phenomenally talented. Athletes globally. You look at, in cycling the growth of, grand tour contenders coming out of south America. [00:29:15]It's because someone went there and invested in those athletes and gave them the opportunities and the resources to show what they're capable of doing. And I think it's very much a similar situation in East Africa. When you look at Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, There are athletes that are performing at the highest level in the world when it comes to, marathon running or athletics, but there's not a whole lot of athletes who make the transition to cycling. [00:29:40] And a lot of that it's, it is a barrier of entry, both financially, but you think logistically as well, there is all this equipment and, the. The tradition of, training in cycling is so much different than running, running is becoming a more complicated sport, but it's grassroots. [00:29:56] It's very simply, and you can have a pair of shoes and you can go run, but cycling, there's the equipment and there's power meters, and there's, SU so many kinds of obstacles to jump through which is. Making this trip, all the more valuable, the fact that, having had one Unbound and having Laurens Ten Dam   finished, second, we're both attending this race and we both were, gonna attend it prior to Unbound, but to go and actually race with these athletes and, hopefully, we do well, but I think it's even cooler, just. [00:30:25] To have the opportunity to give these African riders an opportunity to show what they're capable of. If I look at, my story of coming up through the ranks here in north America, it's really defined by excelling at these very few opportunities that you had to go against the big riders, whether that's national championships or, jumping into a pro on two race. [00:30:45] And they just happened to be a world tour rider there and you performed well. And then all of a sudden, everyone noticed you. And when you think about, these riders who are currently racing in Africa, they're very much racing in a bubble where, there may be one or two riders who are winning every race and they might be doing, these amazing power numbers. [00:31:00] And they might be, Tactically and technically, perfect, but no one knows what they're capable of because they're not racing against, somewhat more recognizable names. So by, heading over to this race and having Lawrence go and, some other, prominent figures in the cycling and gravel community, it's giving these athletes really the opportunity of a lifetime to show what they're capable of, which is, all that really someone needs to really changed their entire life. And, cycling has brought so much joy and privilege and opportunity to my life. How cool is it's now being a position where I get to go to Kenya and do a bike race, and potentially, change or alter the course of someone else's life through. Hopefully having them beat me in a bike race. [00:31:43]How cool would that be if a couple of these riders from the Amani foundation just absolutely hand it to Laurens and I, and that sets them on a course that changes their entire life. And Yeah, it's just such a cool opportunity when you think about it and, when I reflect on my upbringing and moving through the ranks and cycling but on top of that, with Wahoo, we're taking the three best riders from the gravel race of the highest three performing athletes are then coming to the U S later in the year to, to participate in SBT GRVL up in Steamboat Springs, and then Belgium Waffle Ride Asheville, which, performance aside, like how cool is that an African rider gets to perform well on a race and then gets a trip to the U S to see our country. [00:32:23]I get to go over to Kenya and see their country. And it's just the, really the beauty of cycling and the international exchange of cultures and traditions. And yeah, I actually just received a message from one of the Kenyan riders I reconnected on Instagram. And we've been a F. [00:32:37] Doing some WhatsApp back and forth, and he's Hey man, like when you get to Nairobi, let's go for a ride. And I know some roads and he's you're a, you're such a big deal over here in Kenya. Everyone was watching the Unbound gravel. And I'm like, it's crazy to think that, you're doing this race in Kansas and people in Nairobi are watching the event. [00:32:54] Craig Dalton: [00:32:54] That's amazing. Amazing that the technology allows you to communicate with people all over the world at this point. [00:33:00] Ian Boswell: [00:33:00] Yeah, and it really is. And and thanks to technology, it does make it feasible for someone like Neil to coach someone in Kenya, the same way that he would coach me. [00:33:10] Had he been, my coach here in Vermont. So it's, yeah, it's a very cool event on so many levels, and I talk touched on a lot of, the cultural and, Opportunities, but I'm also going to Kenya to, just to see Kenya it's a four day. I guess I should explain the event a bit more. [00:33:24]It's a four-day gravel stage race in the Masai Mara. Which, I've seen quite a few documentaries is an absolutely stunning place. And, I just, yesterday I got my vaccines that we're recommended by the CDC and I guess the travel advisory board here in the U S so yeah, hopefully I'm set to go. [00:33:43]But Bike racing aside. What a trip to be able to go to Kenya and spend four days in Maasai, Mara riding my bike around. [00:33:51] Craig Dalton: [00:33:51] No, I there's. No doubt. It's going to be a spectacular experience. We talked a little bit about the migration gravel race on an earlier episode of the podcast. When I first caught wind of it, it immediately caught my eye having done a couple of stage races in Africa, myself. [00:34:06] It's otherworldly to be racing and look across and see some zebra in the field or some other animals. It's just unbelievable. So I'm super jealous and excited for you to have that experience. [00:34:19]Ian Boswell: [00:34:19] If I may, I want to ask you a question, what should I prepare for? I'm about to pack my bags. [00:34:23] What should I be? Packing as far as, Is there any, are there any items and the race has done a phenomenal job of sending out a manual of like things to bring. But is there anything that you did not have that you would have liked to bring when you went? [00:34:36] Craig Dalton: [00:34:36] The guy I was in the mindset of this is going to be an adventure. [00:34:40] So as much as any races getting from the start to finish line every day and getting your body ready for the next day, I think I made sure to have. Ample gear on my bike for unexpected catastrophes, much like I'm sure you did it Unbound in just things are going to get thrown at you and you're going to have a wilderness experience out there. [00:35:04] So you need to make sure you're [00:35:06] Ian Boswell: [00:35:06] self-sufficient. Okay. Yeah. Good tips. I'll make sure to pack some extra tubes. And I did from a previous trip a river fishing trip. I did have ordered a LifeStraw. So if I do find myself a puddle, hopefully I'll be ready and I'll yeah, I'll throw it in my swap box. [00:35:21] So I I always have it with me. How [00:35:23] Craig Dalton: [00:35:23] many athletes has Wahoo sports science been working with in preparation for this race? [00:35:28] Ian Boswell: [00:35:28] So there's a team of 10 athletes and we've been supporting all of them. Which is awesome. And there's only 75 riders actually participating in the Migration race. So it's a relatively small field, which, coming off Unbound, which is, a huge event. [00:35:40] And, there are people that I had meant to connect with prior to the event. People I knew from Oregon or from California, who, I didn't get a chance to chat with. That's another cool aspect of this event is it's going to be very. Intimate. And, there's a lot of time around the camp to, to speak to these athletes and riders. [00:35:57] And, I'm just, I'm really curious to see there. You know their setups, but also just answer questions about, tactics and drafting and, there's so much to be learned as well, just through observation and, by, myself and Lawrence going, having that direct ability to be able to ride with athletes and, obviously Neil and the sports science team at Wahoo have been. [00:36:16] Coaching the athletes, which is, a huge part of performance is just having the motor to pedal and push and ride these distances. Another aspect that, and I think this is probably one of the most challenging things for people coming from countries that don't have a super strong. [00:36:31] Cycling race background. And, I know that, Rwanda has, a big cycling history and culture, but it's so different when an athlete comes from there and races in Europe or north America and the etiquette or the tactics and the dynamics of the races are different. That's the. [00:36:46]Almost my job on the ground is, to be able to speak to the writers of the Amani foundation, after the races or during the races and, give them small pointers about, drafting or cross winds or where to put their tire on on a rough section of road. [00:37:00]And by no means, am I a great expert at navigating rough and technical descents, but, There's ample opportunity to be there in-person and providing, not so much the training aspects that's already been covered, but the application of, okay, you have this power, you've done the training now, how do you maximize, The race side of it, and I'm happy to be a I don't know, maybe a director in the race, telling people, Hey, this is a great time to attack. [00:37:24] You should go for it. Cause I know Laurens is going to be, he's going to be out there to win and I'm sure he wants to get one over on me after unbalanced, if I can yeah. Employ some of the African riders to try to get them up there and potentially PIP Laurens for a stage or two, then you know, that would be awesome. [00:37:41] Craig Dalton: [00:37:41] I can't wait to follow this. And I do think, as you mentioned, the fact that this is a multi-day stage race and having a camp at night, it's just going to be this really intimate opportunity with that gravel community. For everybody participating in the race, to learn from each other, to have a laugh at the inevitable folly that happens in a gravel event stage. [00:38:04]It's just so much fun. Unlike maybe some of the stage races you've experienced before in Europe, where you went off with your team and you had your bubble and it was just people you knew. I think the community much like you described and experienced in Kansas is going to be there in droves and they just think there's going to be a lot of love at that event. [00:38:22] Ian Boswell: [00:38:22] Yeah and I've already said this to a few people who were heading over there, like inevitably something is going to go wrong and not just because it's, we're heading to Africa, but it happens that, I spoke to people who did Oregon trail and like it's a gravel stage race. [00:38:35]Something is going to, you're going to break something, hopefully it's not your body. Hopefully it's a piece of your bike or, a buckle on your shoe or, a random thing's going to go wrong or you might get food poisoning or dehydrated. So I think it's important for everyone attending to also realize that, things could very easily not be optimal, which I think is the beauty of going to events like this is, it's facing adversity and, really integrating into the location and the landscape and the environment. [00:39:02] And also the culture, which I think is I don't want to go there and, eat pasta and red sauce. I'm not sure what the what's on the menu, but I would love to, Be exposed and open to trying new foods and flavors and fruits. And I think that's one of the coolest things about traveling in this era that we live in, where, you can fly almost anywhere in the world and experience a culture that is so different than the one that we live at home. [00:39:26] Craig Dalton: [00:39:26] Whatever I love about this program that Wahoo has put together, it's not only as fans of the sport and just interested. SA, if people on the sidelines we get to see not only what happens during the migration, gravel race. But then later in the year in Asheville and at SBT gravel, we're going to see a few of these athletes make the trip over and what a great way to just round out the year and see how these athletes progress and see what that investment, that Wahoo  has a company and other partners have made to bring them over there. [00:39:59] And hopefully, as you said, make this a stepping stone for a great future career in cycling. [00:40:05] Ian Boswell: [00:40:05] Yeah, exactly. And just the opportunity to meet them and become friends, because like you said, we are hanging out around a campfire at night, so the opportunity to be a friendly face and what, the same way when I go over to Kenya, someone who is completely out of my element, for them to have a friendly face when they do come to the us to, be a friend on the start line and help them at registration and, lead them on a local ride and talk about the rules of the road in the U S compared to how they are in Kenya. [00:40:31]It's those little things that, I've traveled enough and, Been alone in foreign countries where you just feel like you're on an island and everything is moving so quick around you. So to be able to, make those connections early and then, really welcomed them to, to the U S later in the year is such a cool opportunity. [00:40:45] And, the Masa Mari is up at over 6,000 feet. So these athletes are very well equipped to, race up in. Steamboat Springs, at altitude. Yeah, it's cool. And I'm sure we'll see, regardless of the level that they're out now, I'm sure that we'll see them, at a completely new level, once they do come to the U S just through the experience and observation of, riding with people from a different racing background. [00:41:08]Craig Dalton: [00:41:08] So for the listener, this is going to drop on a Tuesday. Ian will be starting this race tomorrow. So hit the social media channels. Follow him. Let's all try to follow the Migration Gravel Race. I'll put links in the show notes to everything we've talked about. Ian, best of luck over in Africa. I can't wait to revisit this conversation when you come back and and follow the journey of these athletes. [00:41:30]Ian Boswell: [00:41:30] I really appreciate it, Craig. And yeah, I'll do my best to keep everyone in the loop. I'm not sure what my. Connectivity will be out in on the Masa Mara, but yeah, I'll do my best to keep everyone posted and I'm sure there'll be some some feeds and some posting from the from the race organizers as well. [00:41:46] Craig Dalton: [00:41:46] Right on. Thanks Ian. [00:41:47] Ian Boswell: [00:41:47] Thank you, Craig. [00:41:49]Craig Dalton: [00:41:49] So that's it for this edition of the gravel ride podcast. Huge. Thank you. And congratulations to you, Ian Boswell, [00:41:56]And thank you for Wahoo for their support of this podcast. I'm super excited to follow the migration, gravel race. I've been stoked about it ever since I heard it announced at the end of last year, [00:42:08]For those north American European athletes attending the event, it sounds like a great adventure. And for those east African athletes participating in the race, it sounds like a great opportunity. Not only do they get to test their metal against some of the best gravel racers in the world. They get potentially the opportunity. To come do it on us soil. [00:42:29]I'll do my best to keep you updated on the podcast and in the ridership community. But I also encourage you to subscribe and listen to Ian's podcast. Breakfast with Boz. I think he's going to be picking up some very interesting conversations. While he's in kenya and that's going to be a great place to follow what is going on.  [00:42:48]Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels

    Kali Protectives - Brad Waldron, founder

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 15, 2021 30:08

    This week we sit down with Brad Waldron, founder of Kali Protectives to take a deep dive into helmet tech and the new Grit gravel helmet. Kali Protectives Web / Instagram  Support the Podcast The Ridership  Automated Transcription, please excuse the typos: Kali Protectives Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to The Gravel Ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton this week on the podcast. We've got Brad Waldron from Kali. Protectives talking to us about helmets. [00:00:15]Before we jump in just to reminder, The Gravel Ride podcast is sponsored by listeners like you and a select group of sponsors from the industry and outside the industry. We appreciate any contributions to the show's And when we do bring a sponsor on board, please make sure to check out their products because without their support, we couldn't continue doing what we're doing. [00:00:40] [00:00:40]With that said let's dive right into my interview with Kali. Protectives.     Brad. Welcome to the show. [00:00:46] Brad Waldron: [00:00:46] Thanks for having me [00:00:47] Craig Dalton: [00:00:47] I'm super stoked to talk helmets. It's interesting. It's one of those categories that. I haven't covered on the podcast thus far. So I figured going to an expert and talking about it will give the listener a lot of value about helmet technology for gravel, riding [00:01:02]Brad Waldron: [00:01:02] looking forward to it. [00:01:04] Craig Dalton: [00:01:04] Why don't you start off by telling us a little bit about your background and how Kali was started? [00:01:09]Brad Waldron: [00:01:09] Sure. I was super lucky in a previous life career. I worked for an aerospace company working on military aircraft. So I was a carbon fiber R and D engineer. Mostly on the process side, not on the material side. [00:01:22]I was fortunate enough to work on the B2 bomber F eighteens joint strike fighter, and then a few airplanes that had never made it, but just stuff you've made it and broke it to see what we could do. And this will give you the idea of my age, but I was at Northrop Grumman in between the first Gulf war and the second Gulf war. [00:01:41] And they didn't want to put a lot of money in production at that time, but they want to put a lot of money into R and D. So I was just in the perfect place at the perfect time where you could almost do anything you wanted. If it made sense. I, one time my boss walked in and said, DARPA's going to be here next week. [00:01:57] Think of something. Go back to my desk and I, without five different projects and the next week sit down in front of these generals and you. Present these ideas in here I'm, in my late twenties, early thirties, somewhere in there. And they're like rubber stamping, all of them and oh shit. [00:02:12] Now I got, I do, so I got to build a $12 million milling machine and then just things like that. So that's where my real just try it. Mentality came from, when you hear are, you can't do that. And get into some of the things that people told me we couldn't do at Kali. It's let's just try, and that's been like theme sentence. [00:02:30] So I worked that and through some changes in life, I went to work or another aerospace company and didn't love it, so I was down in the Southern California area, working there. And then I moved back up to Northern California where I was born and raised. And I was in R and D at this satellite company and it just wasn't everything I wanted. [00:02:49] And lo and behold, there's this ad for the big red S in the paper. And so I put on my suit and went to my interview. Nobody's wearing a suit, got called back for a second interview and go, what do I wear when I knew I wore the suit? Yeah. So I guess it worked, they offered me a job as the Pumps and locks, designer, something like that. [00:03:09]And I was so happy to take my 25% pay cut to be in the bike industry. And there was, and then on my first day they said, Hey, you know that job, we offered you the helmet guy quit. And would you rather that job on the helmets over locks? Hell yeah. But the ironic thing was they, at that time, specialized was still assembling the helmets at, on a site and. [00:03:32] We tested our helmets and they said, there's the test lab. There's 10,000 helmets sitting over there that can't be shipped. So you say they're tested and Don, w oh, and by the way that the helmet technician quit at the same time. And so I walked into this test lab with this equipment I never seen in my life and go, okay, what did we do here? [00:03:50] And fortunately somebody who's become a good friend and who I trust in testing. Dr. Terry Smith came and trained me how to run the equipment. The best thing I did was I tested all the helmets at specialized for the next year. I didn't hire another technician. So getting that lab experience and seeing how these helmets broke personally, not just people come and say, Hey, look at this, here's your, reading reports and stuff it's was a great launching point for [00:04:17] me. [00:04:18] Yeah, absolutely. I can imagine just having your hands on that many. Tests to see how these helmets are performing just was like training by fire. [00:04:27]I tell people frequently that I'm a mediocre engineer. I'm really a better technician. I just somehow wiggled my way to get my degree, but mostly I just love being in the shop. [00:04:36] If you saw my office next to me as a drill press on the other side of the bandsaw, just being out there with my hands is the way [00:04:44] Craig Dalton: [00:04:44] I work. And did you have a background at cycling when you were in the aerospace industry? [00:04:48] Brad Waldron: [00:04:48] I had started cycling with some friends and just, around the LA area. [00:04:52] And if, I lived in first and Palmdale. When I first moved into Palmdale, I walked into a bike shop and this long hair blonde guy walks up and says, can I help you? And I said I'm new to the area. Can tell me where some trails are. And he's I'll pick you up Saturday morning at nine, it turned out it was insane. [00:05:10] Wayne crows Dale. So my first ride was insane, Wayne, and he there's a long story on board with it all, but he basically rode a wheelie up the fire road next to me, up and up. And, but we had a, the time rode with Wayne A. Little bit and then, got into riding there. And then the transfer down further. [00:05:29] Into the depths of LA, where you have to drive an hour just to get to the dirt. lot of people around me were riding and that's where I really got started riding was during that. [00:05:39] Craig Dalton: [00:05:39] Yeah. Right on. And you brought that to specialize and obviously specialized has a big riding culture down there in Morgan hill. [00:05:45] Brad Waldron: [00:05:45] Yep. Yeah. We're actually about 500 meters from them. Our building is they actually have to pass us to get to their building. And so we painted big ass Cali letters all over the building. Just to annoy him. [00:05:58]Craig Dalton: [00:05:58] So then at some point you decided I'm going to jump off and do this on my own. What, was there a particular market opportunity that you saw? [00:06:05] Something that you felt wasn't being done at the bigger companies? [00:06:08] Brad Waldron: [00:06:08] No, not yet. That's not really where it happened. At the time when I was in special ed, so I had moved on from helmets and eventually became the head of engineering that specialized for everything for bikes. Mostly. What I concentrated on was the carbon fiber projects. [00:06:22]The the, I worked on the tarmac and Robi mostly on the layups and things like that. Other guys who had much better frame experience than I did you know, the geometry? So I would go the factories and work with the carbon layups and things like that. And we would make it and break it. I still have, I have tarmac frame, number two, doesn't look, anything like what went to production. [00:06:43]It had a split top tube who knew that was UCI illegal, but so my re people see it all the time. It doesn't say special. I didn't say anything on it. So it's got carbon, top tube and chains and seats tubes, and and then the underbody is aluminum. So the idea was it was going to be nice, crisp, feel of the aluminum, but where your body touches, you're going to have that forgiving carbon fiber Conceptually feel. [00:07:09] And so I still have that bike when people see me out on it I'm not a big roadie. I don't ride a lot on the road, but they're like, what the hell is that? Because it's totally unrecognizable, but it's pretty cool. So I actually left specialized primarily because they were going through some transitions at the time they had wanted to transfer a lot of the engineering to Taiwan. [00:07:32] And I wasn't interested in that job. I had my first kid, I didn't want to travel, did not want to travel at all. And so I actually resigned from the position. It was a great experience. It took me nine months to leave. Because I didn't have another job. I hired my replacement. I finished those two bikes and then just started consulting a little bit. [00:07:52] So I consulted. A little bit with true beta worked on their first carbon bars. With Jared Smith, they're headed for engineering their first carbon cranks, things like that. And it bounced around a little bit. Then somebody came to me and said, we need a carbon fiber factory in China to feed these other factories. [00:08:12] And I just quit specialized cause I didn't want to travel. And they came to me and said, Hey, can you help us start the Stackery? And I'm like, how many times a year will I have to come? Then they were four times. I'm like four, okay. Talking to a non traveler. Now I said, I can come for four times a year. I spent no less than 150 days a year for the next seven years. [00:08:33]I just couldn't let it go, try to get the thing up and running and working the way. And we made things like skid plates and pipe bards. KTM was one of our biggest customers. But one of our customers was a helping it factory. So they came to us to make a motorcycle helmet shell, and they, we looked at this thing and we made the shell, we sent it over. [00:08:52]And they knew I also had some testing background. They were showing me these test results. And I was seeing some things that I didn't like. Basically I was seeing a double spike in G-Force and what that meant to me, it was inside your school or your brains just slapping around. Cause you're seeing a double impact. [00:09:10]That was happening because as the impact hits the outer shell was so stiff that if you forced a spike up, then as the shell breaks down, they start to fall. Then you hit the foam and they spike up again. I'm like okay, what's doing, that is the gap between your foam and my shell. [00:09:27]Let's get this thing tighter. Arrive, for example, really prides themselves on the fact that they designed their foam and shell to fit so well. Not everybody spends that much time on it. Then I had this really, according to them, stupid idea. He said, why aren't you in molding these like the bike helmet? [00:09:43] And they're like, that's impossible. It's a processing problem. You'll never make it work. And that's where that let's just try it thing came in. So we went in and we tried it. It took a couple of years to finally get it to work, but we started in molding motorcycle helmet. So now you're eliminating that gap between the farm and shop. [00:10:03] Then on top of it, you start to learn, oh, I don't need that much shell. I can thin the shell down because I've got the phone, backing it up. And by the way, I don't even have to have as high of DPS density. I can lower that too. So now I'm finding out that when I have the impact, instead of having that double spike and G-forces, I've got this nice smooth curve that spreads the load much more efficiently, then I got less shell. [00:10:29] I got lighter foam. I got a much lighter helmet. And I always liked to tell people I never start a project with a weight goal. I think that's not a good way to start a project that, that compromises safety in my opinion. But that process was helping us make a much lighter helmet, which in the end is simple physics force equals mass times acceleration, reduce the mass. [00:10:51] You're going to reduce the force. So we started, Perfecting this process showing these results around, tried to sell the patent. I did not. I was not looking to start my own company. That being a CEO, being in sales and marketing, not my favorite thing. We had a few people who were really close to buying it and then backed off. [00:11:11] And then somebody who somebody came along a golden investor, essentially. Came along and said, you got to do this and I'll back you. And so I've got one silent investor in his company has been nothing but amazing. Always allowing me to make safety decisions first over simply. What are your sales today? [00:11:30]Craig Dalton: [00:11:30] You mentioned that's amazing. You mentioned that you started with that motorcycle helmets technology did Cali launch where the motorcycle [00:11:39]Brad Waldron: [00:11:39] we did and nobody cared. Literally we, we went to the Interbike of Moda, which was Indianapolis. There was in Indianapolis motor sports show and we got our booth and I'm standing there my first day. [00:11:52] And you could hear the yarn from the industry. Nobody cared, had the cutouts, you could see. So the second day I'm like, I spent all of my money to get here. I stood in the aisle and made people pick up the helmet. Cause it was significantly lighter. Then what people were used to, and, know, you get the response, like that's it's okay. [00:12:09] But I guess just put it in your hands and if you don't want to talk to me, move on and then you put it in their hands and go, what is this? And then through that, the rest of the next few days, I only had one guy actually put it in my hand and walk on. Everybody else said, all right, what's going on? [00:12:22] And then we would explain what was happening with the in molding process and why we could do what we could do and, and show the results of the [00:12:30] Craig Dalton: [00:12:30] testing. Was it always in the back of your head to move into the cycling market? [00:12:35]Brad Waldron: [00:12:35] I was more of a cyclist than I was Moto. When I started doing good, if I get involved with something, I want to get into the sport. [00:12:41] So when we started making skid plates and pipe guards, I went and bought motorcycles, started riding dirt bikes. Now I ride a Ducati and in a fixer and and but cycling was definitely more my heart. But it, so it wasn't that I was necessarily looking to do that, but we had found a way to build full shell helmets that I believe in, I drank my own Kool-Aid that when you put that on your head using that technology, you were putting on a safer product on your head. [00:13:11] So the next thing of course was to do a full face download on it. So we did that and immediately the bike industry was. More welcoming. Yeah. The motor industry is great, but it's complex. It's the distributors have all had their own helmet brands. So in our industry, we've got the different distributors BTI, K Chaz QBP, all these different guys. [00:13:34] They don't have their own brands. When you start talking about Modo, they all have their own Hammad brands. If you think. The answer for example, is open owned by a company called  Rocky. There's just the complexity of getting past the house brands where, when you were finding people were interested in our conversations. [00:13:51]We'd go to Interbike and people wanted to talk to us. They wanted to hear about what we had and yeah, and that's where we really started taking it off is when we were having these one-on-one conversations, it wasn't through any advertising. We did it. Wasn't through. The talk, it was meeting people and just showing them what we did and answering questions. [00:14:10]And that philosophy is still super important to us today. You call Kelly today. You better get somebody on the phone, somebody better to answer the phone. Cause that's our, we want to talk to people and respond. And that's an important part of who we are. So [00:14:24] Craig Dalton: [00:14:24] is it safe to say that the sort of signals the bike industry was giving you around the full face helmet suggested, Hey. [00:14:30] We need to lean into this and create a range of helmets for cyclists. [00:14:34]Brad Waldron: [00:14:34] Yeah. It came into, when you started talking to shops and what their needs are it's one thing to walk in with one helmet, it, when you're going up against, but let's be honest, you're going up against track, specialized, giant Cannondale, Scott, these guys all have, all their products behind them. [00:14:52]And they all have helmets and there's incentives to bring in those helmets. You get a discount if you bring that in. Then the only, other, not the only, but the other big boys would in are, bell Jiro who do have a complete range, that doesn't leave a lot of room for a lot of other people. [00:15:04] So expanding your range and it's something that makes sense for a shop carry. I still love bike shops. I still love walking in and smell the rubber. And still today Over 90% of our sales are still two independent bike dealers. Our, the amount that sold online is small. And that's a whole nother, probably podcast to talk about how that continues. [00:15:29] But our main focus is still to, to maintain those relationships with those independent bike shops. [00:15:35] Craig Dalton: [00:15:35] Interesting. So when you develop that range and I guess we can slip into the. More road and gravel helmets that you guys have been releasing over the few years. What features were you leaning into at that point? [00:15:46]You talked about how originally the differentiator turned out to be the weight and the technology around protecting the head and maybe a different way than had been done. Where did that go to for the road slash gravel helmets? [00:15:59] Brad Waldron: [00:15:59] Sure. Really what's what continues to drive us as technology. [00:16:02] We're always looking for stuff that can help us make. The next step. And we started with a technology from a guy from Australia called conehead, where you got the geometric shapes inside these helmets and they crushed the, but to get more specific to answering your question, some of the difficulties, when you start talking about road, helmets is ventilation is so important, right? [00:16:24] So getting big vents, getting air flow through. When you do that, you have to  really crank up the density of the foam to get the enough to stop the impact according to the standards. When you do that let me put it another way to start with this. I believe all helmets are too hard. [00:16:41] We're hurting people by the foam densities. We need to get the foam densities down. It's based on how the interpretation of the standards are, which are built to take the worst of the worst crashes. We're not doing enough to deal with them. Where the majority of crashes are, which are according to a study at the Imperial college of London. [00:16:59]80% of all bicycle accidents are below 160. G's, yet all I got to do to pass a test and sell you a helmet is go to the test lab and make sure it doesn't go over 300 GS. Now 300 GS is close to death. Alrighty. How do we address both of those big hits? But also the majority of those hits. [00:17:21] And so that's where, that's where a lot of my time gets focused on. It's not specifically for a genre of helmet per se, but how do we lower the density of the foam? How do we put stuff next to your head? That's softer. How do we start reducing impact at zero G's? So now I jumped back to the question of how do we deal with the gravel helmets? [00:17:45]Again, now I'm battling. I got to put a lot of foam in a small space, which means I got to Jack up the densities. What's cool. Even though a lot of people don't know about Kali, we're known within the industry and the other helmet companies know each other. But getting a reputation is it somebody who wants to try technology? [00:18:03] We get people coming to us all the time saying, Hey, you want to try this? And my answer is always the same. If it works right, you bet. I'm going to try it. W we were approached initially by Don Morgan, that physicist from Australia with the corn head later, we were approached with a from a chemical company out of Italy that had this carbon nano to acrylic based material that they were trying to pitch as a multi impact material. [00:18:27]It didn't work as multi impact, but it works. So now I can bind the code ed and EPS. And I'm finding I'm able to lower the density in the helmet that we're probably going to talk about, which is the grit. And so much that I was shocked at the first round of testing that I was expecting the typical results where I got to put it way too hard, the higher density, if I'm in a place that I don't really want to put it, but by putting the right materials in the right combinations I'm getting better results then than I expected. [00:19:03]Craig Dalton: [00:19:03] And so did that sort of Eureka moment happened early in the process and allow you then to pursue different elements of the design? [00:19:11]Brad Waldron: [00:19:11] It wish she was at easy. We actually took, originally took that structure that I talked about and put it in an Aero helmet. And the other way I can go with this stuff is I can. [00:19:24] If you look at our Tada helmet, it's an Aero helmet. I think I've sold a hundred of them, so I don't think you've seen it. Probably. I think we have it on the Danish road team. So unless you've been there Copenhagen lately, I'm not sure you've seen this helmet, but if you actually look at it and you look at cross-section of it, it's one of the finished how much you've ever seen. [00:19:43]Which was interesting. For me as an engineer, that I could actually get this thing to work and pass the test. But because passing the test is not my goal. My goal is saving lives. Maybe cheeky about that, but it really is what we give a shit about. We want people to get on their bikes and ride more. [00:20:04]I want to get on my bike and ride more. I've been helicoptered off the hill before we want that to happen, but when I went back to more. Realistic thicknesses and I could drive those foam densities down. Now I'm getting the results I want and not only on linear impacts, but rotational impacts and I'll skip back. [00:20:24] We're doing a lot of testing and outside labs. So we took some of our helmets. We put in MIPS in it. We put in what we call Rian, which is our low density layer. That's Material developed by a professor out of London. We put in like five different anti-rotation systems and we tested them against each other. [00:20:42] And they all do an interesting job. A little better here, a little better there. Sometimes this system works, sometimes this is the work better. What consistently worked better was we threw in a. Helmet with extremely low density in it. It's actually a homophobic. We sell in Europe, but can't sell here because the density is too low and that helmet consistently performed way better in rotational forces. [00:21:06] So all these systems that we put in help, but what really matters is put softer shit next to your head. Let's get these things to be more crushing and more the pillow's a little bit overrated, but just get that stuff that will crush next to your head. So when I'm talking about using the nano material in the Coneheads structures, I'm basically talking about a way in a much smaller area to get the foam density down where it's really making a difference for you during that crash. [00:21:37] Craig Dalton: [00:21:37] Is that right? A way to articulate upon impact how a Cali helmet performs versus kind of maybe a major brand helmet in terms of how it crushes how the materials work? [00:21:48] Brad Waldron: [00:21:48] Sure. I don't know how to say it. It's that I can say, I'll go continue to go back to that foam density thing. Most people don't put as much energy as we do in trying to find how to get to that lower density. [00:22:01] So basically if the density is too hard, that thing you're going to smack and it's going to crack cracking is fine and a big hit on the helmet cause that's releasing energy. But what I really want is I want it to crush. And I wanted to crush equally. And then by having those, like those geometric shapes in that center, it's actually, if you look at it, it looks like an Oreo because the nanomaterials white, you've got the black DPS around it. [00:22:25] And as that outer side crushes, then you hit another material that's meant to crush and send the energy laterally away from your head in those geometric structures. Rather than a smack and a crack, you're just seeing a progressive crack with multiple different materials there  to help dissipate that energy. [00:22:44] Craig Dalton: [00:22:44] Yeah. That resonates with me. And it's, it's hard to visualize in a conversation at times for the listener potentially. But if you think about that, just the, I think the pillow analogy works for me where it's just progressively becoming more and more supportive as my head is unfortunately impacting the ground or dirt, wherever I'm riding. [00:23:01]Brad Waldron: [00:23:01] And, a lot of your impacts are small. And so you don't even get into the part, but it has to really, get harder and harder to stop that big hit. And that's my kind of, my complaint with the way that our testing is that, we're only testing for those big hits. [00:23:16]When we have, a lot of hits, we're actually hurting people by doing it the way we're doing it. So w we just got to look at it from all aspects, rather than just. Th there's one test that we do in the test lab. Yeah. [00:23:27] Craig Dalton: [00:23:27] I managed to ring my own bell, this pandemic on a gravel ride. So I've it's resonating with me that having a look, it wasn't a super devastating crash, but I had one of those impacts that I definitely rung my bell. [00:23:41] Definitely like maybe it was not concussed, but needed to be escorted home by a friend. [00:23:47] Brad Waldron: [00:23:47] Some level of brain trauma happened there. It might've been like, but something happened. Yeah. It happens at a surprisingly low amount of G-forces and that's why I keep talking about, we need to start managing those impacts from all levels, not just from the highest levels. [00:24:06] Craig Dalton: [00:24:06] Yeah. And you said that you said before, like the testing is just very. With the tests, one thing, and it's easy to design around that one thing without really thinking about the athlete and the impacts. [00:24:17] Brad Waldron: [00:24:17] Yeah. Our tests are based on tests that were done in, in, in 1973 where we dropped cadavers on their heads and measured for skull fracture. [00:24:27] Cause we didn't know enough to measure the brain trauma. And at that time we terminate that it took 300, G's a helmet. It head took 300 GS to crack the school. So that became. Where that 300 GS came from it's cracking your skull, and that was fine at the time, but we've moved on. We have better technology and people are trying, people are trying to make changes. [00:24:46]People ask me about MIPS and I always say, I respect them. What Dr. Haller did was taught us about rotational forces. And we've learned a lot about those rotational forces. I happened to have a different philosophy on how to manage those. Then what MIPS does, because I want to start with something softer next year, head, they use a slip plane thing that is between your head and the EPS that needs. [00:25:12] Yeah, I was going to [00:25:12] Craig Dalton: [00:25:12] say, I think a number of listeners might be familiar with MIPS as a technology because it has been pretty heavily marketed and it's that little plastic frame inside the helmet that is designed to move. Yeah. [00:25:23] Brad Waldron: [00:25:23] Yep. Yes. And in my test it works. It's a technology that, that works. [00:25:28]Again, I, it, I think there's another way to attack it and we do by using something that crushes more immediately and then it gets off the rotation, but I'll even go beyond that. Forget my systems, my low density layers versus MIPS versus somebody else's. What I found in my tests at the university of Strasburg and that dynamic research and other labs that we use our own labs is the lower you can make the foam, the lower density. [00:25:56] You can make the foam the better it performs in rotation as well. So that salt. What's off your shit next to your head [00:26:05] Craig Dalton: [00:26:05] keeps coming back to that, Brad, doesn't it [00:26:07] Brad Waldron: [00:26:07] really what it comes down to, it's not as simple is that right? Otherwise we just put something, we go use those old ProTech helmets that just, had the soft stuff in it. [00:26:14]Those bottom out and they do bottom out at a low number you're in trouble. So we have to, we're trying to manage, all the impacts and that's, what's hard. I had somebody at MIPS. Tell me once. Those are two different helmets and I'm like, You guys invented the anti-rotation thing. [00:26:29] We're smarter than that. We can do this, just different philosophies. Yeah. So [00:26:33] Craig Dalton: [00:26:33] all this culminated recently in the grit helmet, coming to market, is there anything you want to mention about that helmet that we haven't covered? [00:26:40]Brad Waldron: [00:26:40] Yeah. The grit was it, there's pressure that pressure. [00:26:45] There's a lot of requests from our distributors, especially in Europe that. So look at the road side of things. I'm I'm a dirt guy through and through. And we the grit got the name. We actually started, the name was called the nickname was the dirty road. And we saw that as something that was much more Cali. [00:27:04] Then if we said, oh, we're going to go try and put a helmet on it on a tour de France rider. We got a couple of helmets that are in that category that they the UNO and the grit, the UNO is like a hundred dollar helmet. It's nice. It was actually designed by Hildegard Mueller. [00:27:20] Hilgard was the head of design for JIRA for, he was a Gero for 20 years. I don't know how long he was head of design, but. And then, and he freelances now and he helped us with that design. Because as you know is primarily amount biker. And when the lights, gravity a lot our line had led, leaned that way for a long time. [00:27:38] And then the grit was designed by Alan O Kimora who I've worked with quite a bit. And he's former bell specialized worked on several specialized road helmets. But we really worked on these thinking more towards the gravel market than the road market, because it fit us and who we are more than you're saying, like I said, we're going to, we're going to go sponsor. [00:28:03] I was like saying sky because they're dead and they're not a team anymore, but it's just, something like that and more to, to what we are. Yep. [00:28:11] Craig Dalton: [00:28:11] And you certainly have some great athletes riding the helmets on the gravel scene, former guest and friend of the pod. Amanda Nauman is a great friend of Cali's. [00:28:21] Brad Waldron: [00:28:21] She's just super chill and rides like a monster. You know what she did at the XL. Just shows that and, just a great attitude and somebody that's fun to just watch and see her progress. [00:28:33] Craig Dalton: [00:28:33] Yeah. Yeah. It was a great racing debut for the helmet. For sure. [00:28:37]Brad Waldron: [00:28:37] Appreciate that. [00:28:39] Yeah. [00:28:39] Craig Dalton: [00:28:39] Cool. Brett, I appreciate the overview. I hope the listener got a bit out of this in terms of the type of helmet tech that they should be looking at. I think I'm probably guilty of not looking at my helmet enough and saying, Hey, it's time for a new one time to replace it. So this is a good reminder, this conversation to to think about what's hanging in the garage. [00:28:58]Brad Waldron: [00:28:58] Yeah. Do you want to keep that thing for us, especially if you're using it a lot. And it's not saying that it's not always has to be a Cali there's other helmets, there's other people making helmets they're out there like me that. Give a shit that want people to do well. [00:29:11]We have our philosophy and like I said earlier, I drink my Kool-Aid. I think what we're doing is right on and on target. But yeah, make sure that you're, taking a look at what you're putting on your [00:29:19] Craig Dalton: [00:29:19] head. Sure. And I'll make sure that the listener knows how to find you. [00:29:23]Brad Waldron: [00:29:23] I appreciate that. [00:29:24]Craig Dalton: [00:29:24] So that's it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. I hope you learned a lot more about helmets than you did prior to listening. I know I did. [00:29:33]It's an area. I probably should be thinking a little bit more about given the state of my current helmet.  [00:29:38]Thank you for spending a little bit of your week with me this week. If you're interested in giving us any feedback or joining our community, please visit the ridership it's Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt under your wheels  

    Ribble Cycles - Jamie Burrow, Head of Product

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 8, 2021 31:40

    This week we sit down with former Pro Tour rider and current Ribble Cycles Head of Product, Jamie Burrow. Jamie walks us through the range of Ribble Gravel Bikes across three frame materials and highlight the companies' unique custom bike builder. Ribble Gravel Range  Ribble Instagram Support the podcast Join The Ridership Automated transcription (please excuse any errors) [00:00:00]Craig Dalton: [00:00:00]   Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. [00:00:08]This week on the podcast, we have Jamie Burrow. He's a former pro tour rider on the road and current head of product for the UK brand Ribble cycles. [00:00:19]As you'll learn from Jamie, Ribble offers a full suite of gravel bikes across a range of materials. [00:00:25]And also offers a direct to consumer model via their website with a unique bike configurator tool that allows you to customize every element of your gravel bike. So if you're looking for those wide bars or 650 wheels, Or a little different saddle or set up, you can go through and individually customize every part and piece of the bike. [00:00:46]Making it uniquely yours. Including a custom paint job, which I just learned about during the podcast. Which i think is a fabulous opportunity for anybody looking to ride something unique. [00:00:56]Before we jump in, I just wanted to send a huge thank you to those of you who have elected to become members of the podcast. Via buy me a gravel ride your monthly support to my efforts at the podcast are hugely appreciated [00:01:11]And I wouldn't keep doing what I'm doing without your support. With all that said let's dive right in to my interview with Jamie.     Jamie. Welcome to the show. I appreciate you joining us all the way from the UK. You're welcome. I know we could easily do an hour on your backstory as a cyclist back in the pro tour, but [00:01:30] for the purpose of this conversation, why don't you just tell us what led you to your current role at Ribble? [00:01:35]Jamie Burrow: [00:01:35] I suppose it's just taking a different path to most people who, you know, X, Y, Z, as you go down the kind of sports director, team management role. I come from a cycling family and grew up around bikes, really. Dad told me to build bikes when I was probably about five years old, I think. [00:01:50] And the early days my dad was a designer himself by trade. And it just passionate the bikes as a kid. I started designing my own bikes as a teenager, honestly, back in the days when everything was made by steel I was designing my race bikes that sort of 15, 16, and had a local frame builder would build them for me. [00:02:08]And then you go into the whole race career thing. And even as it has it sides where obviously all your equipment is given to you, you don't have choice on things. Sometimes on the best equipment, sometimes it's not the best and, seeing the sides of things and then get out, it would be so much better if you could have this or who could have done this way. [00:02:26] So suddenly finding yourself, coming out the other side of a career where you're effectively right in the kit for seven, eight hours a day in all conditions, you know what you want, what's good. And, what's missing. So then suddenly be, behind the steering wheel of, being out of an input in those things. [00:02:42] That's a pretty cool. [00:02:44] Craig Dalton: [00:02:44] Yeah. It's gotta be pretty amazing to take your vision for what a bicycle should be and deliver it to the world. [00:02:50]Jamie Burrow: [00:02:50] That's right. Yeah.  Honestly, my main background was obviously road riding and obviously there's so many different forms, disciplines of of cycling, but It does [00:03:00] help when, when you've ridden bikes in every situation at higher level to know what they need, for OEM performance wise, aerodynamics everything map, you just, if are those kinds of get to know things, is it that you get to know on the road? [00:03:15]Craig Dalton: [00:03:15] Can you, I was really tickled to learn about Ribble as such a storied UK brand that I hadn't really heard of. I suppose I'd seen it in some races. But it really didn't connect the dots until after I got introduced to it. Can you tell the listener a little bit about Ribble's history as a brand? [00:03:33]Jamie Burrow: [00:03:33] Yeah, so it's actually a very old brand. [00:03:36] It was originated in 1897. So it's a pretty old comes from the Northwest of England. The Ribble name comes from the river in the river valley. It was a family business for generations. Changed hands a few times. As we went into the 20th century I even from my own point of view, growing up, I would say coming from a cycling family where and obviously way before online sales in cycling weekly magazine in the UK where the back pages were always full of adverts rebel was always the big. [00:04:06] Out of the taken up the last two back pages of the magazine, and it was one of the premium brands of the UK.  Foods, seventies, eighties, nineties, they would sponsor some of the biggest elite teams in the UK of a national team sponsor. They were the official Barcelona Olympics supplier guys, like Boardman rode them for years previous to it before going to approach or career. [00:04:30] [00:04:30] Wiggins, even Geraint Thomas, they're all guys that have written on Ribble over the years and, because they were one of the, one of the big brands. And you come back in that era [00:04:40]Craig Dalton: [00:04:40] and then it sounded like in talking to you offline, the brand took a little dip as bicycle companies started to move from steel to carbon and other materials. [00:04:49] And then it seems like over the last, five, six years has had a really big resurgence in the UK. Can you talk us through what was going on there? [00:04:57] Jamie Burrow: [00:04:57] Yeah, man. I think that not just rebel, I think it was actually quite a fast change from steel and then a brief period into titanium. A minium, at least as far as a vote were concerned. [00:05:09] And then into carbon, obviously when carbon come along as a material, took away the ability for small builders, as the UK was falling small frame builders, as well as a lot of the bigger brands like Ribble And as soon as you go to the gun of those different forms of production, and obviously everything went over to Asia, I was, did the bigger brands managed to want, I suppose they directed it from the beginning and it made it harder for the smaller brands to be able to keep paces, things a lot more expensive, especially when you look back at the beginning of of. [00:05:41] The carbon industry mounted costs, everything production costs were so much more expensive than they are now. And I think a lot of brands did get lost through the nineties early two thousands, but now things are a lot more accessible to everyone and, it's been our job to bring Ribble back on [00:05:57] Craig Dalton: [00:05:57] the map and now Ribble building out of all sorts [00:06:00] of materials. [00:06:00] Right? [00:06:01] Jamie Burrow: [00:06:01] Yeah. That's great. That is one of our kind of. Key USBs is the fact that we offer so many materials across. So the same genre of bikes. [00:06:11] Craig Dalton: [00:06:11] Yeah. And I want to dig into the gravel series because that is clearly represented with the aluminum carbon titanium. I did want to point out that rebel has an exceptional web property. [00:06:23] At this point, it was really enjoyable going through the bike configurator and in talking to one of your colleagues, just learning about. The sheer amount of customization that is available and the amount of holding that the team provides for an e-commerce experience, I think is really exciting and notable in the industry. [00:06:42] Do you want to talk about that direct to consumer model and how you make the consumer feel like they're in the showroom with the employees, even throughout the pandemic? [00:06:51]Jamie Burrow: [00:06:51] Yeah. And the whole key kind of USP for the business is our bike builder function, which allows you to effectively, you can have a choose a bike from one of our pre-spec's. [00:07:02] And I've obviously been put together from our knowledge, but then obviously that's the way that most of the bike brands do outside of that, the bike builder gives you the options to customize effectively everything. Whether you want to start from a frame platform or a group set. And to manage everything. [00:07:18]The choice of handlebars from materials to size is handlebars, stems.  seatposts, settles tires, 700 c, 650b   wheel sizes, especially on the, on a gravel bike. It [00:07:30] flared bars, standard bars, crank lengths, all of these things we offer as well as for good part of it, year and a half, two years now, we've been offering custom color. [00:07:39]And all of this is done in house. So every single bike is from the moment of order. It's one bike, it's one mechanic. So the whole process for obviously to do go, directly onliner you said from we've got our go install platform, which is, a virtual instill experience, which is proven really successful in a lot of people go on there. [00:07:59] Maybe initially with an idea of one product and actually walk away with another product because they didn't have a full understanding of what they really needed. Yeah. Or just someone who didn't have an understanding and needed that expertise to, to find that buyer. And obviously starting from the kind of right, and the person wants to do budget, obviously, and the facts, the way the bike builder works, you couldn't completely customize that bite to the rider. [00:08:25]You're not. Is there a lot of kind of bike shops would do in the past. You all, can you set it in the bottom of something, the shop floor, and it's the salesman basically sell it, trying to sell that, buy it to the customer because he's got it in stock, regardless of whether it's the right size or the actual product the customer is after. [00:08:43] Whereas obviously we can offer you exactly what you need. [00:08:47] Craig Dalton: [00:08:47] Yeah. I think that's particularly interesting and germane to the gravel market simply because the consumers have to go through so much thought process of. What is my terrain look like, what do I want to do? What are my intentions? [00:09:00] And these gravel bikes are so configurable and their personalities can be so different based on tire wheel, size bar, with all these things that you give them the option to. [00:09:10] So to me, when I looked at the Ribble site, I said, this is almost an accelerant for the consumer to have all the conversations they should be having with themselves about what they want to do with this bike. So they make sure they get it. As they need it right when it comes off the factory floor. [00:09:26] Jamie Burrow: [00:09:26] That's right. Yeah. And I think gravels is the unusual, one of, all of the the different sort of sectors that we sell bikes in, because it's new to the point where I don't think, across the industry, hasn't become a stable platform of what is a gravel bike and what is gravel, geometry. And a lot of it does come down to the end use of it, obviously. [00:09:47]Gravel, we're still talking about gravel. When we look at mountain bikes, when you look at trails and Euro downhill cross country, we look at them as individual categories. We don't just say mountain bike anymore. Whereas gravel, we're still just saying gravel. Even when you look into the events that are currently on offer globally A lot of them. [00:10:05]A lot of it as the whole pandemic is stopped. Obviously mass participation events, nothing compared to the side of gravel probably would have taken a massive step forward. Last year. I know the UCI, I'm talking about you jumping on the bandwagon, tend to the world championships and all sorts of competitive racing. [00:10:24]But for the moment, outside of, over there, you've got Things like that. It cans over here. We've got the day of [00:10:30] either kind of more, a lot of guys have taken it more backpack in adventure rather than the race side of things. And obviously you've got such a difference between fully loaded in a bike to take on a long adventure than racing effectively. [00:10:48] Off-road and it's still. No, I think as the events unfold and people get more into it, we'll see the more, it develop more. From our side as a brand, and we started with our CGR model, which is cross gravel road and I suppose initially thinking it was the fact that gravel in the UK was slightly slower than it was in in the states to actually get moving. [00:11:14] And we can see that. And it's one useful thing with our bike builder tool, because you're not, you haven't got pre specked, a catalog bike, it's you get to see through the bite load of what the end consumers actually using the bike for. And then the year one this is quite a UK thing, but as a commuter that you could tell that most people buying the bike we're buying as commuter or running vendors we're rack. [00:11:39] What a kind of heavy duty road tires, lights. So it was more of a ride to work bike rather than a gravel bike. As the gravel scene took off, you saw they've gone into bike and go to button the same frame platforms, but then switch into one by systems. Gravel tires, fled bars, start to [00:12:00] come in all these kinds of things that I've picked up in the gravel trends. [00:12:04]And, it's been good to see the development and how the end consumers have taken sight of that. The other thing on our side, and it's what led us to move on to having a grubbing specific range on top of the CGR was the fact that the CGR was born as effectively relaxed road geometry with bigger clearances. [00:12:26]And then we've taken the we've taken a. Hint more from, mountain biking, hardtail mountain bike in. So the new gravel range, we've got to have a slightly longer and lower geometry. So a bit more stable off road, where if you want to a full on gravel bike, you can take it out there. More kind of gnarly road trails rather than just. [00:12:46]Craig Dalton: [00:12:46] Yeah, I thought [00:12:47] it was really interesting as someone who's been involved in the sport intimately, the last three years, you've got an article on the website about the CGR geometry versus the gravel geometry, and just seeing the frame superimposed on one another was really interesting because I think it is indicative of that. [00:13:05] Trend in gravel, as you said, to make these, to take them out and bike influence and make these bikes hugely capable while still balancing the ability to ride them on the road and enjoy them. Obviously it's not a pro tour level road bike anymore. You've made compromises, but at the same token, for most riders, it can be extremely enjoyable as their quote unquote road bike and massively capable as their gravel [00:13:30] bike, their bike, packing bike, et cetera. [00:13:32]Jamie Burrow: [00:13:32] Yeah, so I don't have nothing. It's just been interesting to think. A lot of people in the beginning it was, I can buy one buyer that does it all. And then I think we saw on the other end of the scale, people that may be at a real high-end road by the high end mountain bike and wanted the second bike. And it was a plus one. [00:13:51] And, maybe he did go in for a more cheaper than she'd ever bought it because it was a plus one. And now we're seeing again, it's developed so fast. But now people are buying high roadway and a high-end gravel bike, rather than it just being the plus one to just give it a go. [00:14:08] Craig Dalton: [00:14:08] Yeah. And particularly as people focus more and more on the racing side of things, they're going to be willing to make compromises about comfort, to go for speed and performance. [00:14:18] And I think I always want to hazard our listeners to say get the bike that's right for you. It's no use. Chasing that pro athlete who can replace his equipment and get new wheels, et cetera, and just really wants to go super fast versus the bike that you need in your garage to get, to make you your rides as much fun as possible. [00:14:38]Jamie Burrow: [00:14:38] Yeah, that's right. That's one thing. One key thing. I think we're one of the few brands still offer all the different platforms across different frame materials. And often you'll find that. I switched frame material. You'll end up with a complete different bike and link different geometry with a different purpose. [00:14:54] Whereas we're we don't want to compromise the end consumer, the consumers, [00:15:00] like kind of end goal of where they want to ride the bike in the material. If you want that style bike, then got the choice of material, whether it's a choice, but there's a budget wherever it's a choice because of, it's just a choice from the heart kind of steel to titanium because you like. [00:15:14] a more kind of classic material, always performance based, you can choose either of those frame materials and you're not hindered by a different geometry or something [00:15:24] like that. [00:15:24] Craig Dalton: [00:15:24] That's a perfect segue into my next question, which is going specifically into the gravel range and talking about, as you just alluded to rebel offers an aluminum model, a carbon model, and a titanium model. [00:15:38] Can you talk through, if you were talking to a customer, how they should think about those different frame materials and what the effect might be on performance and budget. [00:15:46]Obviously budget wise that element is always the starting point. And, I say a bit because you're on a budget or a lot of people, maybe it's the plus one as an entry into the gravel. [00:15:58]And again, a lot of it is depends on what your end usages. We say a lot of titaniums definitely back with the boom, with titanium sales across all models has grown dramatically over the last year and half, but obviously gravel and the CGR models. It's it's a material that really lends itself to it, for its durability. [00:16:18] It's got a perfect properties with, a bit of compliance for off-road riding carbon. Again, it's maybe firat from outside possibly one of the kind of slower responding the ones. But I [00:16:30] think because of it is probably seen as more of a race bike. It does have the attributes, outcome bike takes all of the attributes of our SLR road frame, which is that the front of our men's and women's use are proteins. [00:16:43]It's you know, it's at the same, is it the same two profiles? Carbon lapses are high end road bikes. It's got aerodynamic attributes to it. But obviously until things like mass participation events and natural gravel racing, take part maybe there isn't such a need for that kind of bike. [00:16:58] Whereas at the moment it is more a do it all bike. The aloe and the titanium are popular. [00:17:04]With it, I noticed aesthetically, one of the signature marks of the rebel design on the gravel is a drop stay. Is there a performance benefit to that design? [00:17:15]Jamie Burrow: [00:17:15] Yeah,  not just to calm the gravels across the whole range, it's it is obviously there is the assessment side to it, but the compliance, it does offer a more comfortable ride. [00:17:26]Yeah, especially on the insurance products on the driver bikes and the CGR. [00:17:29] Craig Dalton: [00:17:29] And does that translate to the aluminum offering as well as their sort of tuning of the frame material that can allow? I know aluminum has the reputation of being incredibly stiff and harsh. Can you design in some of the, some subtleness to that rear end on the aluminum bike as well? [00:17:46] Jamie Burrow: [00:17:46] Yeah, you can from obviously the shape of the seat stays. And another thing that is very popular is. No, as you can do with that bite value is things like the carbon seatpost carbon safe bikes is one of the most popular upgrades yeah. [00:18:00] On the Aluminium   bikes, because the job stay along with the compost. [00:18:03] It does give you a notable difference in flex and comfort. [00:18:07] Craig Dalton: [00:18:07] Yeah. I was always surprised by that. I had a hard tail mountain bike from I think BMC back in the day and they had a drop stay and had a carbon post and the suppleness is notable and it's not disconcerting. And I think certainly for the gravel side of things, you need to look at all these elements to get the suppleness that you're looking for in the bike. [00:18:30] Jamie Burrow: [00:18:30] That's what I mean. And I think one of the main, probably the biggest difference, the biggest, fastest growing trend across all bikes at the moment is tire size. In an age con you think how long we were on kind of 19 to 21, 23 mill tires for years and years. And then it went 25, 28, 32 on road bikes very quickly. [00:18:51]I don't think we long before. Maybe outside of racing, a 32 mil tire is pretty much the standard, even on the road, for comfort and using the tires as well as part of your compliance. I was still on the graphic bikes. You've definitely got that. [00:19:06] Craig Dalton: [00:19:06] Yeah, you're absolutely right. [00:19:08] As far as tire clearance goes on the gravel range, is there a difference between the CGR models and the gravel models in terms of tire clearance? [00:19:16] Jamie Burrow: [00:19:16] They're both 45 mil with guards with [00:19:19] Craig Dalton: [00:19:19] 700. Is that 700 C. [00:19:21] Jamie Burrow: [00:19:21] 700 C and a 47 by six 50. [00:19:25] Craig Dalton: [00:19:25] Okay, great. And, And do you see that for UK riding, is that sort of size [00:19:30] range pretty much covered the gamut of the type of terrain you'll get into in the UK? [00:19:34]Jamie Burrow: [00:19:34] It does in the UK? Definitely. Yeah. I know some brands are out 50 mil but I think for the UK 45 mil definitely covers it. [00:19:42]Craig Dalton: [00:19:42] Speaking about the UK market. I'm curious since we've had a few guests on from the UK, but I'm just curious about the UK gravel market. In general you mentioned a couple notable events. [00:19:53] What are some of the other ones that, that people outside the UK should have on their calendar of interest? [00:19:58]Jamie Burrow: [00:19:58] It is still very new over here. Seven going on right now is the Tuscany trail. So not in the UK, but obviously in Italy. And that's dubbed as being the biggest pot packing event in the world. [00:20:08]And sounds like a cool event. Some at the moment, we've got day reliever. I did that myself two years ago. Last year. Honestly, that's canceled it. I don't know, two years ago. And. That was a great event. And that really does show the popularity and the growing popularity. [00:20:22] Craig Dalton: [00:20:22] Is that a single day event? [00:20:23] Jamie Burrow: [00:20:23] The Dirty Reiver? Yeah. Similar events that there's a hundred Ks, the short one and 200, just to fall for distance. That's up in the north of England. And it's all on nice fire tracks. It's not too technical, but it's 200 K never crosses the same. Same track twice, obviously for the UK, that's pretty amazing to do 200 K in effectively one big loop. [00:20:45]And the kind of event that I think it, entry sold out within two or three days. So that kind of thing is obviously that's, what's going to be, I'm pretty sure that it's going to be the new, big thing. And as I think if we hadn't have had the everything locked down last year, we would have [00:21:00] seen already a massive increase in events. [00:21:02] Yeah, I [00:21:02] Craig Dalton: [00:21:02] think you're right that last year it was just EV all the trends were telling us that every event was going to be challenging to get into. And there were going to be some massive new ones on the calendar. So there is so much pent up demand. And as you've mentioned, as a lot of bikes got under people's bodies this past year in the pandemic, and they're just re waiting to take them out on some sort of event. [00:21:25] Jamie Burrow: [00:21:25] Sorry. Yeah, because one is even seeing where people are riding them, just fun, social writing. Cause we don't really, apart from, that area in the north of England, they say there's hundreds of kilometers of travels to ride. But for the rest of the UK, it's, I've a canal path, tow paths, which are obviously very basic terrain. [00:21:45] Otherwise it's taken it on effective mountain bike trails. We don't have to. Hundreds of kilometers of kind of white roads that you know, you guys probably do. And so you see it in a complete different style of what is driving a ride in one of the guys? It works real well. He runs one of the biggest forums gravel writers in the UK. [00:22:05] And he was saying he was at the weekend and he was on a effectively, a mountain bike trail and everyone was surprised that he was there and he's governed by it. What are you doing on there, on that bike? [00:22:13]Craig Dalton: [00:22:13] Yeah, I think it's funny. Cause you can, a lot of, in a lot of situations like that, you can ride your gravel bike to the mountain bike area, ride the loop and then ride home. [00:22:23] Whereas the mountain bikers are all getting in their car and cruising over to begin with. Yeah. So that's exciting. Is rebel [00:22:30] involved in any of the events specifically as a sponsor? No, sir. [00:22:33]Jamie Burrow: [00:22:33] Not at the moment. I think basically because. I think over here, yes, events have started to take place again, but so many events are still on the even events are happening. [00:22:47] It's so touch and go down to the last minute, wherever they're going ahead or not. So we've, I think generally we took a bit of a back step on events over the last year. We had a big events plan for last year, which the whole thing had to be canceled. And obviously sales were so good last year. [00:23:03] Anyway, that. Between the events canceled and sales gamble, our focus has changed in other than once things do to return to normal or we'll be back, we had even talked about things like that, raver and having a presence there because and we know are important, they will be moving forwards. [00:23:18]Craig Dalton: [00:23:18] Yeah. We're just starting to see, I think this month here, June in the U S that the big events are starting to kick off again. We're fortunate that vaccination rollout's been pretty strong here in the U S so a lot of people have gotten the vaccination shots. So Unbound formerly dirty Kanza is actually going off probably the weekend before this episode roll release. [00:23:38] So we'll see. That's really the first one. I think that's going to kick off the very, very major events here in the U S side. [00:23:45]Jamie Burrow: [00:23:45] Yeah. Yeah. I think we're a, seems to be time trial and that's pretty much the only one that's got the guaranteed participation and [00:23:53]provided it's a bit more difficult. [00:23:56] Craig Dalton: [00:23:56] Yeah, absolutely. time-traveling has had a rich history [00:24:00] in the UK. It's so different than it is here in the U S I know time-traveling used to be just part of my father's youth growing up every week, he would go visit the county time trial and try to rip out a good time. [00:24:11] Jamie Burrow: [00:24:11] Yeah, I think you can probably ride a club time trial every day of the week in the UK somewhere. [00:24:17]Craig Dalton: [00:24:17] That's amazing for the Ribble brand. Are you selling across Europe and across the world at this point? [00:24:24] Jamie Burrow: [00:24:24] Yes, we are.  Obviously UK is still the biggest market, but we definitely have expanded globally. [00:24:29] Us is probably the largest growing outside of the UK. What else should we be seen? A pre even pre pandemic growth into a lot of other countries where we hadn't previously touched on which is good to see because it has been all natural growth, we've not actually done any real targeted marketing for any particular kind of territory outside of the UK. [00:24:51] So any growth has been No it's come naturally, which is obviously very promising. [00:24:56] Craig Dalton: [00:24:56] Yeah. I think you'd get a, like a heightened level of commitment from the riders when they've found you naturally, they fall in love with the brand. They get it underneath them. They're going to be very passionate users. [00:25:06] Jamie Burrow: [00:25:06] That's right. Yeah. I think from why then I think one, the products that helped us was probably our eBike range. When we started our e-bike range, basically we knew that whole range in one go. And one of the key bikes, like a bit on the gravel within Europe, UK was probably the slightest responder in the bike market were Northern Europe, particularly places like Germany, [00:25:30] the e-bikes as a non biker as a everyday hybrid commuter and become kind of a. [00:25:36] And everyday thing the years in UK was such a popular trend and we reverse things in a way by starting with a lightweight carbon bike to fit in with our heritage as as a road brand, but reverse the trends of way through announcers during my starting with mountain bikes and hybrid bikes, and then going towards rode bikes. [00:25:55]But I think in doing so, and I think when we launched it, we launched the light is carbon e-bike in the world. I think that puts us on the map as a brand, whether customers are interested in an e-bike or not. And I think that bike helped drive awareness of the brand. And from there, we've obviously just seen it grow and grow in all sectors. [00:26:15] Craig Dalton: [00:26:15] Interesting one final question. One of the big challenges for the entire industry has been supply chain and componentry and getting your hands on the parts. You need to get these bikes out the door. How are you feeling about the current state of supply chain and how are you guys looking for inventory at this point? [00:26:31] If listeners are interested in picking up a gravel bike? [00:26:34]Jamie Burrow: [00:26:34] Yeah,  it is, it's difficult as it is with everyone. I think we are probably one of the best placed. Out there. And a lot of it, because we were very fast to respond, which was good. But the key thing is the fact that because of our bodybuilder and every bike is built to order, we're not running a model years or catalog of models where if you're going to have that model, and then that was the [00:27:00] invention for that year, then you're stuck. [00:27:02] We can make those small changes, even if it's for a lot of people, it could be that bike and that spec. It might be the tires that are in that bike that they're taking the lead time from being next month to be in seven months. And because they are built one bites, one mechanic, we can just seem to call up the customer and say, look, you want to change your tires. [00:27:23] You can have that by next month. You can just where you see the dates on the website and then, you might see it by this kind of five, six month lead time, but it can be that one part. And we have got that flexibility too. To change that one part. And they say sometimes is as simple as, a tire handlebar tape, anything like that. [00:27:40] And, we can respond to that by switching these parts out which is one of the ways trying to stay on top of all the time to make. So we've always got these parts available, but, even if it is a bike that you've ordered and then that one part is a difficulty, we will contact the customer and let them know, you can change this by how you're gonna have your bike a lot sooner. [00:27:59] Which is something that not many other people have gone on the error on their side. [00:28:06] Craig Dalton: [00:28:06] That's very true. I hadn't thought about it that way, but if you're a big through the independent bicycle retailer channel and you show that you've got a pan eraser tire and you don't have a Panner racer tire, All of a sudden you can't ship that bike because it's false advertising or what have you. [00:28:22] And if everything becomes crazy and you can't get it out the door, I love that. I also love what you noted earlier about how [00:28:30] much data you get in real time from the customer. If they're moving towards flared bars or bigger tires, all these things really makes the Ribble business model interesting and flexible. [00:28:41] So that was super exciting to learn about that. And I encourage the listener to go to rebels website, play around with the bike configurator. It's just a lot of fun because it forces you to think through what's the ideal bike from me because you're not buying off a catalog. You're buying the bike that's built for you. [00:28:59]Jamie Burrow: [00:28:59] That's right. Yeah. And even downtown see the custom color. And that's been a real interesting experience in seeing where people have spend extra money on color over something that a more experienced person to say I've gone back to the kind of the age old thing of upgrading your wheels is always going to be one of the first things you should always do on a bike. [00:29:22]But maybe taking a fairly basic spec drive chain and we'll set, but then they'll spend a fair amount of money on out in the color. And, we see that all the time and it's one of those things, in my head, I would think, I don't know, why would you do that? But then you see it more and more. [00:29:38] And, obviously by having the bikes built here on premises ones where a mechanic, you walk for every day and you just see. What colors people are going for what specs and so interested in seeing what people are going for. Cause it's, they have got the freedom to do pretty much what they want. [00:29:53] Craig Dalton: [00:29:53] Yeah. I love that. I love that. I had a manufacturing facility myself and some days I would see the custom work going out the door and [00:30:00] think, God, that person's crazy for picking that color way. And other times I would see combinations that would never have dawned on me and think that is absolutely brilliant. [00:30:09] What a great idea. [00:30:11] Jamie Burrow: [00:30:11] Yeah. When we launched out. Few months back, we launched our CGR step-through e-bike. And one of the first ones. So on the shop floor was, had been aspect to carbon wheels, carbon bars, you would never find a pre -spec step through by we've covered wheels, cotton ball. [00:30:29] I don't think in any brand in the world, obviously someone out there maybe for mobility reasons needed. Step through for, even ease of getting on and off the bike, but didn't mean to say they weren't after a high-end performance bike, so why not put the to carbon wheels and carbon bonds on it? [00:30:48] Craig Dalton: [00:30:48] Yeah. Why not? Jamie, I appreciate all the time. It was great to get to know you a little bit and get to know the Ribble brand. [00:30:54]Big, thanks to Jamie for joining the show this week and telling us all about the Ribble brand. Very excited about what they're working on and very excited to get one underneath me and myself. Keep following me on Instagram. And you may see me on one of their gravel bikes sometime soon.  [00:31:10]This week, my big ask for you is if you've got a gravel cycling friend, please share this episode with them or one of my other episodes. [00:31:16]I'm always looking to connect with new riders and hopefully provide a little bit of help in their journey to become gravel, cyclists. Until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels      

    Andrew Onermaa: Ozark Gravel Cyclist community

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 1, 2021 41:19

    This week we sit down with Andrew Onermaa, founder of Ozark Gravel Cyclist. Andrew is a passionate gravel cyclist and bikepacker who has channeled energy and love into creating a hub for Arkansas gravel cyclists. Ozark Gravel Cyclists Web / Instagram Join The Ridership Support the Podcast Automated Transcription, excuse the typos. [00:00:00]Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] [00:00:00] Andrew, welcome to the show. [00:00:02] Andrew Onermaa: [00:00:02] Hey, thanks for having me, Craig, [00:00:03] Craig Dalton: [00:00:03] super excited to learn more about your project. It was our gravel cycling, but the more I've talked to you on offline, the more I want to hear about your personal journey to the bike and all the things you've been doing. [00:00:15] So why don't we start off by just a little bit of your background. As an athlete and what led you to gravel cycling? [00:00:21]Andrew Onermaa: [00:00:21] That's a great question. So the journey of the bicycle has definitely evolved a lot in the last decade. So I realized, or did riding bikes in college as a means of transportation. My vehicle died on me. [00:00:36] Okay. I can't buy another car. What are we going to do? So what's the cheapest bike you can possibly find. It's going to be a bike that has. One gear and has nothing extra on it. So got a six gear bike, cause I was starting to hear about it. I was cool. This is in 2011, 2012, and I started really getting addicted to just the motion of moving through the landscape and interacting with vehicles and people and pedestrians. [00:01:09] And I started delivering sandwiches for Jimmy John's in the middle of the night, I'd be doing a graveyard shift of 10:00 PM til three or four in the morning and just doing it all by bike. And I didn't have navigation on my phone, so I'd be printing up stuff in the shop, turn by turn navigation and using [00:01:30] that to deliver sandwiches. [00:01:32] And I ended up just spending a lot of years traveling. Out west always had a fixed gear bike. It'd be my fun way to explore, but I'd still be pursuing other things. Climbing backpacking, mountaineering skiing, really just fully embracing the outdoors. But the bike was always, there is more of just a really fun way to explore in a way to shake things up. [00:01:54] And it. Like within the last two, three years, I finally got my hands on a road bike with multiple gears brakes, and it opened up a whole new world of cycling to me that I'd never seen. I can suddenly do much, much bigger Hills. I was living in salt lake at the time I was doing these canyon passes, seeing the landscape from essentially mountaintops. [00:02:18] And I was just blown away by how much you could see in an afternoon, they didn't even have to be a full day. And so that just fully consumed me. I was doing a lot of where I would bag multiple peaks in a day via foot. And I was like, man, I can apply this to the bike instead. Let's like, how many high points can I hit? [00:02:40] And so that really opened my eyes to how much distance you can travel on the bike. And then. I started looking over and what about these dirt roads that I'm seeing? I'm getting tired of all these cars living by like ruining the vibe per se. Like I'm out in nature and [00:03:00] all of a sudden you have 20 cars blow by and one person has to roll down their window and yell something or whatever. [00:03:06] And so I started dabbling into some dirt, but I wasn't confident with the skinny tires. So I went west. On the other side of the salt lake or it's flat. And that was my introduction to gravel. It was just this big open space with these random gravel roads, no information, no signage. And I would just try and I go for awhile for as long as I felt comfortable. [00:03:31] Yeah. And then I would turn around and come back and just cross my fingers for whatever reason I was thinking now that I'm on gravel. My bike's gonna explode. Everything's gonna go wrong. And I kept having rise where it's whoa, that was actually really peaceful and enjoyable. And I was by myself the whole time. [00:03:49] And that's, I started honing in on that aspect of this is something different. This is combining a lot of years of playing outdoors and this love of the bicycle. And so that's the quick summary of bikes. Over the last, almost decade until I moved back to Arkansas and got a proper gravel bike, my first gravel bike, and it's been a little over a year having a bike that's designed for this style of riding and it's just been phenomenal. [00:04:22] And just the more I've done it, the more I've just, I don't know, absorbed as much as possible as far as learning. [00:04:30] And getting faster. [00:04:33] Craig Dalton: [00:04:33] That's a super cool journey to the bike. I, I remember in connecting with the originally, when you were talking about your passion for mountaineering and climbing and hiking it's, as you came to it from a road biking perspective, it's pretty natural that you started to see those same peaks you'd hike and say, why don't I go up a dirt road rather than the paved roads. [00:04:53] It's really cool to hear that store, that backstory about how you got into gravel cycling. [00:04:58] Andrew Onermaa: [00:04:58] Absolutely. And a lot of the hesitation initially was I felt like it was going to calm, complicate things of being out in nature in that environment. Since I always did things by foot or by skis, I, it felt very minimal. [00:05:13] And I thought, oh, now that I bring a bike, I'm going to have to bring tools in case it breaks down, I'm going to have to bring bags to carry things and it's going to have to attach the bike. So a lot of the hesitation was more so thinking is going to complicated all and take away from the joy. But it turns out and you can just cover so much more ground. [00:05:31] And for the most part things work out. So you're not getting out there and just getting flats all the time and derailers falling off or anything like that. It's, you're just doing what you love and you're doing it in a really cool. Environment. [00:05:45] Craig Dalton: [00:05:45] Yeah. You came into the sport at the perfect time, because a lot of the kinks had been worked out of the system on the bike. [00:05:51]They are super reliable and I definitely see what you're saying about hiking versus biking. I often think to myself as I'm [00:06:00] hiking with my family, we're just covering so little ground compared to what I do on a bike. We have to pick such a small section to hike, whereas that would be one eighth of what I might ride in any given day. [00:06:12] And I always feel a little bit guilty, the amount of terrain I'm able to cover versus when I'm hiking with my family. And they're just seeing this little tidbit of what's on the mountain [00:06:22]Andrew Onermaa: [00:06:22] for sure. And then one, one thing I was overlooking for a long time was the. The element of enjoyment of downhill, running, hiking, whatever going downhill is not nearly as fun my foot as it is on a bike or on skis or something like that. [00:06:39]That in itself adds a lot of extra joy on covering that terrain. Cause you get to. Experienced these crazy speeds and be making on the fly decisions and audibles to Dodge, a little boulders, or hop over ruts and things like that. So that's, it's a blast. You work, you like earn your journey is the term and skiing. [00:07:01] And I feel like it relates to gravel riding really well. Really well, [00:07:06] Craig Dalton: [00:07:06] so true. I had run into a friend of mine's wife who was out on a all day, a mountain biking trip down onto the peninsula to a great spot called Scags. And she told me, oh, I got a text from him saying he just had the time of his life. [00:07:21] And he's, she's I don't, I just don't get it. And I'm like, it's hard to explain to a non cyclist, but it brings us back to our youth. It's. It's like [00:07:30] playing video games, wrapped into working out this constant decision making that you have to do. When you clear a section you want to just high five, your friends and you just have a laugh because it's just such an exhilarating sport. [00:07:45] Andrew Onermaa: [00:07:45] Yeah. There's many times where I'm in the middle of the nowhere and those are laughing, going down a dissent or just grinning ear to ear. Cause it's. It's so much fun, [00:07:55] Craig Dalton: [00:07:55] so true. I'm smiling. Just thinking about it. So you mentioned, and that your journey took you back to Arkansas and you are new gravel cyclists at that point. [00:08:04] And the reason I was super stoked to connect with you is because I love these community based projects. So you started a group called Ozark, gravel cycling. What led you to begin that journey and put a stake in the ground and say, Hey, I'm going to be a hub for activity. Nos are in the Ozarks and try to unearth information for, would be cyclists and start a community around [00:08:26] Andrew Onermaa: [00:08:26] gravel. [00:08:26] Yeah. Yeah. That's a great question. So through fix gear riding, I honestly just spent a ton of time by myself cause it's such a very niche aspect of riding bikes that is hard to find other writers that did the same thing. And to have the same fitness or goals or schedules. So whenever I got a road bike, I was about to start racing for a team by no means was I going to be going to local crits or road races and dominating or anything, but I was just really excited on the aspect of [00:09:00] here's a group of people that love bikes and we're going to hang out and we're going to ride bikes and we're going to travel sometimes to events. [00:09:09] And do more riding bikes. So it was just this really cool group setting that got me excited. It reminded me of sports in high school, growing up junior high, middle school, things like that. It was just, I'm an adult, but also I have the shared activity that we all get to enjoy together. And so I was just really thrilled on having friends through a common activity. [00:09:38] And as soon as the pandemic happened, everything got canceled. So I never got to actually go to these races. I got to do a team camp, started doing some practice rides and then boom, everything canceled. So I was like, oh man, I was so fired up for this idea of traveling and riding bikes and checking out new spots. [00:10:02] And so when I moved back to Arkansas, one is to be closer to family. My grandparents are here. I wanted to help them with grocery shopping. I didn't want them to have to go out and do all these things by themselves. So I, one move was definitely to be around family, but the other was, Hey, things are shifting the ski resorts no longer open than I work at. [00:10:27] This seems like a good time to [00:10:30] pursue the bike a little bit more and just skip a few months of winter and jump straight to spring by moving down south. Showed up in Arkansas and I knew one guy that rode gravel in Arkansas, and that was literally it because we knew each other in college and our very first gravel ride together. [00:10:50] I basically told him, Hey, I was really excited on riding bikes with a group and trying to travel around and check out more places to ride, essentially make friends. And I told him that idea. He said, yeah, that's cool. We don't really, we have different, smaller groups, but there's no like central thing. [00:11:08] That's dedicated only to gravel right now. And so I pitched an idea of, Hey, let's. Let's do that. Me and you, we're having a good time right now, right? You probably have chief friends like this. I bet there's other people in Arkansas. We know there's other people in Arkansas that ride gravel. [00:11:23] Let's just try to connect more people. And that's really how it started was just me and one other person went on a gravel ride, had a great time together. And wanted to do it more and find other people to do it. [00:11:36] Craig Dalton: [00:11:36] So did you start off with a Facebook group? Cause I know now you have, you've got a website up and running. [00:11:40]How did you get started? [00:11:42] Andrew Onermaa: [00:11:42] Yeah, so it was whenever I first came back, I couldn't get a job when I first came back to Arkansas. So I was living with my mom and my grandparents and I was applying and trying to get jobs anywhere. Couldn't get a job. When I wasn't riding my bike, [00:12:00] I decided to make pursuing this a job per se. [00:12:04] It didn't feel like a job is I loved every single minute of it, but it's like, what can I do? I can create an Instagram account. That's like the very first thing I did create an Instagram account. Those are gravel, cyclists, boom. Here's three photos from our ride. Here's two people that like riding gravel. [00:12:22]What are some popular hashtags related to gravel? Who else in the area is riding gravel. So looking up ride Arkansas, anything I could do to try to find people through basically social media, I try to follow them and comment on their rides and be like, Hey, this is really cool. Where was this at? [00:12:42] And so it was just very genuine. Because I wasn't trying to do this Hey, this is a gravel authority and America is very, just start small, start local start focused. I didn't like, I love what's going on in the country, but I want to know what's happening right here, where I live. Yeah. Oh, I love [00:13:03] Craig Dalton: [00:13:03] that, and I've spoken to the Ohio gravel grinders and a couple other groups on the podcast and it's just so critical. [00:13:09] I think part of it seems to me that, there's. There's a challenge. Anytime you're getting out there in the wilderness. And just knowing someone did this route before you, or finding a group, that'll go do it with you. It's just so confidence inspiring. And it just accelerates that learning curve of, once you get hooked on gravel cycling, you just [00:13:30] want to explore new and different places as frequently as you can. [00:13:34] Andrew Onermaa: [00:13:34] Yeah. Hands down. And so it was that's what a lot of it was getting people together. Check out new roads that at least one person had been on it before. So we're like, cool. You've been on it. You're still alive. You're still talking to us, but let's go check that one out. And then on my days where I couldn't ride with anybody, I was scouting out new roads myself and trying to create new routes. [00:13:57] And then eventually bring people out to this other area I saw and then started adding some more consistent group prides. It was just once a month. And then it was every Thursday night and it just has grown very quickly just because. One there's a huge scene for gravel in Northwest Arkansas, but two we've just been consistent, no matter what it's been for a year straight, we've had a group of people riding gravel every single week. [00:14:27]Craig Dalton: [00:14:27] Amazing. So for the listener that may not be familiar with the Ozarks and Arkansas in general, can you just tell us where in the country Arkansas is and where are the regions that you love riding most in Arkansas? [00:14:41]Andrew Onermaa: [00:14:41] Yeah, that's great. So when I lived in Utah, it was actually one of my jokes. [00:14:46] I'd say, Hey, I'm from Arkansas named three states that border Arkansas, and a lot of people can do it. So Arkansas we're above Louisiana. We got Texas down to the Southwest. We [00:15:00] got Oklahoma, Missouri Tennessee, all these different states bordering us to we're south central and. The Ozarks themselves is I was just looking at this earlier. [00:15:14] So it's 1.2 million acres of incredible forest. It's big rolling Hills where the highest point is 2,700 feet tall. That's Mt. Magazine, and you have a ton of these scattered peaks that are. In that range of 2000 or so feet. And what happens is, as you're riding through this terrain, you get to a high point here on original line for a little bit. [00:15:43] And then you drop way down to where these rivers and creeks are, which are down at maybe 300 feet elevation, 400 feet elevation. So you constantly get. These repeating Hills of a thousand feet or so. And so it's this very engaging up and down rollercoaster you can't ever see for too far in one direction either cause the tree coverage or just cause it's so winding that it just really. [00:16:12] Pulls you in you're really engaged. You can't just stare off into the distance, that stuff, because you gotta be looking at what's in front of you. [00:16:20] Craig Dalton: [00:16:20] So my limited experience riding in Arkansas was out of Bentonville on the big sugar course, and it was the bits I did, which was only, I think about 35 [00:16:30] miles, a lot of gravel roads, wide gravel roads, wide enough for a couple of cars to go back and forth on pretty rough gravel roads. [00:16:37] As it turned out was she was a little bit surprised about. When you compare that type of writing with what you might find in the Ozark national forest, what would you, how would you describe the differences between the two? [00:16:49] Andrew Onermaa: [00:16:49] Yeah that's cool to bring that up because even a lot of people that live here, they tend to still hover around. [00:16:57]What's right by Bentonville arrived by Fayetteville and the way you describe it, I say that's a great representation of what's. Around these towns. I agree. It's pretty chunky and it can get steep and anything that you find out and those, the proper roads aren't national forest is just a more amplified version of what you experienced just outside of Bentonville. [00:17:19] So it certainly sounded like [00:17:21] Craig Dalton: [00:17:21] certain certainly sounded like the climbing in the Ozarks was, maybe 500 feet more than you might see or in and around Bentonville. [00:17:30] Andrew Onermaa: [00:17:30] Yeah. Yeah. And then just the vistas are that much more beautiful and the rivers are that much bigger. The creeks are that much bigger. [00:17:37] So it's really just like anything that's near Bentonville. It's just, I don't even know how to, it's hard to, that's why I'm so obsessed with. Getting out there and trying to develop new routes because I just think it's absolutely phenomenal. And I know how much people love the riding right by the towns we're at. [00:17:59] So if [00:18:00] you love this and you're willing to push yourself a little bit more, to go a little bit further up the hill, then you're going to get this much bigger of a reward going downhill or seeing this view. So to me, the Ozark national forest is just the. The absolute pinnacle of what Arkansas has to offer concerning gravel, riding and bike packing. [00:18:26] Craig Dalton: [00:18:26] Are you finding that the athletes that you're riding with and yourself, are you riding bigger tires because of that chunky terrain? [00:18:33] Andrew Onermaa: [00:18:33] Yeah. So some of the guys that have been here for a while and girls they I've been pushing them to go bigger and bigger tires. I've never finished a ride and been like, man, you know what? [00:18:44] I should've had a smaller tire. I should've had a smaller tire. And a lot of it stems from, of course, people coming over from the road culture and wanting to keep speed on pavement sections. So if it's your Thursday night ride out of town, there's going to be a fair share of pavement. Say we're doing pace lines. [00:19:01] People are going to want a smaller tire and go faster. But the thing is I run a 47 seat tire. All the time. It doesn't matter what, I'm doing 40 17 tire. And that's truly just because that's the biggest tire I can fit in my frame. If I could go bigger, I would honestly be looking into a 50 CC tire, potentially, especially getting out. [00:19:22] If you do a ride only in the Ozark national forest, that's where you're getting in the train of man. Maybe I want like a fully rigid mountain [00:19:30] [00:19:29] Craig Dalton: [00:19:29] bike and stuff. Yeah, no, I was thinking about the exact same thing today and I'm with you. Like I just, I. Go as fat as my bike will allow, and I never seem to regret it. [00:19:40] I was thinking about it also in the context of descending and just how much more confident I am to have a bit more fat rubber there. It's like going uphill and I've been experimenting with some really narrow tires just to test the other end of the spectrum. And it's all good going uphill. Like I'm perfectly fine. [00:19:55] But the moment it starts going downhill, I start getting nervous about, how much suspension is that tire providing? How hard can I hit this rock garden that I'm going through? And lot of times it's out of your control. You're, you get into some rough stuff going fairly fast. [00:20:10] You got to have equipment underneath you. That's going to survive the abuse. You're giving it. [00:20:14]Andrew Onermaa: [00:20:14] Absolutely. I feel like I remember whenever I listened to your podcast, like quite a few episodes in the last year or so, didn't you have a phase where you're starting to. Experiment more with six 50 B, just like you can go bigger tires. [00:20:27] Craig Dalton: [00:20:27] Yep. For sure. For sure. And yeah know, it's funny. I just posted something on Instagram this weekend, about three sets of tires and wheels that I had and which one did I choose? And it's going to be a no surprise to anybody that it was the biggest tire that I could fit that weekend. I really like, unless it's a very specialized ride oh, I want to do this. [00:20:46] Particularly longish road section, and then I'm going to go on a completely smooth, gravel climbing back. I'm definitely gonna go with the big tires and I hate to sound like a broken record on the podcast, but I think like you [00:21:00] suggested a lot of people get into the sport from the road side and start thinking, oh, like a 700 by 38. [00:21:05] That's perfect. It's way bigger than my road tire, which is true. But I think we're starting to see trends in the industry more and more. But the frames are coming with a 700 by 50 tire with capability. And I think that's a positive trend. [00:21:22] Andrew Onermaa: [00:21:22] Absolutely. And it truly, it varies by region. So when I'm talking about those are national forest, I definitely am going to be preaching a bigger tire. [00:21:31] Sounds like same thing with where you're at. And is it Marion county? Yeah. Marin county. Yep. Yeah, Marion county. You get some people maybe in Iowa. So I just, I did a race in Iowa, not too long ago. And out there I can tell, I didn't need that tire. I could have gone. A little bit skinnier, but it was what I was used to. [00:21:49] So that's part of it. I'm used to it. I know how it handles and it still felt good. I never felt like I was sacrificing speed, but definitely by region. I think that's where you see trends just coming back to the different communities. It's that there's established community in the area and their bell curve of tires, tire, width. [00:22:10] Is at a certain point. That's probably what you're going to hear recommendations for. [00:22:15] Craig Dalton: [00:22:15] Yeah. I had a similar experience to yours in Iowa when I went to Steamboat Springs and. Tire people I was talking to, you were saying, oh, you can race that course on a 38. And I was like, no way. And I did come down to a 40, which I thought was a good [00:22:30] accommodation, but at the end of the day, like I totally could have done it on a 38. [00:22:33] And I know a lot of the local guys and girls were running 30 twos because they call it champagne, gravel out there. And it's, it's not technical at all compared to what it sounds like you and I are used to. [00:22:45] Andrew Onermaa: [00:22:45] Yeah. Yeah and teach their own. I w that's what I love about gravel is that there's so many different consistencies and styles that you take a road trip and you're like, man, this is. [00:22:58] A brand new experience. Not only is it new scenery, but just the way I am riding is a completely different experience. Yeah. [00:23:06] Craig Dalton: [00:23:06] And you design your equipment for what you want to make. Maybe you're designing around a weakness, you want to climb faster. So you get a lighter set up where maybe you're not confident descending. [00:23:16] So you get something big and burly to allow you to keep up with your friends. And, as you said, it's all good. And it's fascinating to see different people's setups. [00:23:24]Andrew Onermaa: [00:23:24] Yeah. And no matter what, whatever a person brings, I'm excited for him. You're here to ride. Let's do it. And we're going to bring, to get through this ride together. [00:23:35] Hopefully there's not many mechanicals, but if there are so be it or flats, it's the fact that you can pull someone and experience something like this together. That's more important than sometimes getting into the nitty gritty of what's the right call. It's more like the fact that you have the enthusiasm to come do it. [00:23:56]Will overpower a lot of those little things with the equipment. [00:24:00] 100%. [00:24:00] Craig Dalton: [00:24:00] It's all about riding. What you've got. Like you said, when you're out there in Utah, you just had the desire to test those gravel roads out there and you just rode your road bike and it was all good. And as it became a passion of yours, you're like maybe I want to get more specialized equipment over time. [00:24:14]And you did. And now look what you're doing. Adventures all over the place. [00:24:19] Andrew Onermaa: [00:24:19] Yeah. Yeah. It's so much fun. And I'm just barely getting started. So that's definitely exciting thing. It's finally being like, all right, I've found something I'm in it for the long haul and it's going to progress a lot over time in so many different capacities and I'm going to keep doing everything I can to help the local community while I'm at it. [00:24:39] Craig Dalton: [00:24:39] That's so great. That's so great. Speaking of racing and being in it for the long haul, I can't help, but ask you about the Arkansas high country race. Now that I learned you did it and you cry, you crushed it. So was that your first ultra distance race? [00:24:56] Andrew Onermaa: [00:24:56] Yeah, that was my first ultra distance race, first gravel race. [00:25:00]So several firsts in that one outing and. Crushing it's, I don't know about crushing it. I went in with the mentality of I'm going to either pull off something crazy. I'm going to go up in planes. And I think I did a little bit of both. I did enough to where I was in the conversation with. [00:25:21]Like a caliber of an athlete of tagging. Just the fact that they kept mentioning my name for the first few days and I was around the same [00:25:30] mileage and all of that. So that was really cool. Ultimately I had never pushed that far in my life as far as my mental and physical. And so it was an awesome learning experience and sleep deprivation as well. [00:25:44] I slept. Two and a half hours in the first, like three days. It was just, yeah, it was a lot and it was exciting and a really cool way to start. So I'm definitely looking forward to more ultra distance racing. I think that's definitely the sweet spot for me personally, is just getting on the bike and living on the bike for days on end. [00:26:06]Craig Dalton: [00:26:06] How many miles was that event? [00:26:08]Andrew Onermaa: [00:26:08] That event it's right around 1,037 miles. They've still been shifting the route over the years, whether it be due to flooding or closed roads. So it's still a little bit of a dynamic route. It's not a hundred percent set in stone, but yeah, just over a thousand miles. [00:26:27] So that's a pretty substantial distance that be covering, especially just in one state. [00:26:32] Craig Dalton: [00:26:32] Oh, it's massive. And what I thought was interesting about that event, you can choose to go clockwise or counter-clockwise right? [00:26:39] Andrew Onermaa: [00:26:39] Yeah. It's wild. So it's definitely with bike packing, being newer bike, packing racing. [00:26:45] Let me say being newer in the United States, you have your classics, like the tour divide, the Colorado trail. I'd say those are when it comes to bike, packing, racing, and routes. Those are the prime examples. [00:27:00] With the most history. And it's very clear, you start at one end and you end at the other, and for the Colorado church drill, you can do it either direction. [00:27:12] And there's an SKT for both and an overall MKT with the tour divide. As far as I know, the race has always been north to south. People have done the route, both directions, but the race is north to south. And so what's a loop, right? What they've been developing here is, Hey let's shake things up with this loop. [00:27:30] You can go either direction for one, two, you can start anywhere. So we've had people start all over this route for the race. It's a mass starts. Everybody starts together. But even that in itself, that mass starts going to change every two years. So it's this crazy dynamic race where. You can go one year and then you go again three years later and you're starting in a completely different city. [00:27:56] You might even be going a different direction. The weather might be completely different. It's, there's a lot of things that they're tying together just to keep it very interesting, [00:28:06] Craig Dalton: [00:28:06] which is cool. And how did you feel about your choice of direction and what was it this year? [00:28:10]Andrew Onermaa: [00:28:10] I like the counter-clockwise direction. [00:28:13] A lot of it was strategic in the fact that starting from say a bill for last year and this year being the host community, you get the hardest stretch out of the way and the first 250 miles. Okay. So that [00:28:30] has the hardest train. So my mentality was get the hardest section out of the way right away. [00:28:35] The biggest run out of no resupply, which is, I want to say around 150 miles and no resupply, no service, barely any water, definitely no food. Just knock that out and then keep trucking along. So that makes sense. I liked that idea. I think part of the problem was I definitely didn't keep in mind that I. [00:28:57]Was covering different terrain than the leaders and the other direction. So in this case, this was taking, so he was covering different drain and I didn't need to be even with him at mile 300 I should have been behind, but instead I was even, and so it, it really does mess with your pacing strategy when you're looking at dots on a website and you're trying to base decisions on what other people are doing versus. [00:29:22]Solely on how you're feeling and what you think is the right call for you to put out your best time. [00:29:28] Craig Dalton: [00:29:28] That makes sense. And what was your sleep system and what was your sleep strategy? [00:29:33]Andrew Onermaa: [00:29:33] Sleep strategy and system went hand in hand. My strategy was sleep as little as possible, ride the bike as much as possible. [00:29:42] So I brought as little as possible when it came to sleep to ensure that I didn't give myself the choice. So I was like, whenever I get to a major town, say halfway through, get a motel sleep for four hours, get back on the [00:30:00] bike, make another huge push, occasional plopped down in a ditch in the middle of the night and put on emergency busy and all your layers and sleep for an hour. [00:30:09] That was my mentality, which that's not what I do for a tour or a fun ride. But for. Race of competing against people of that caliber. I knew that's what personally I would have to do to be able to make up that differential and fitness and experience [00:30:26] Craig Dalton: [00:30:26] you did decide to bivy in a ditch. [00:30:28]What was your body telling you? Just like I'm completely done or was it your mind? You couldn't ride a straight line anymore? [00:30:35]Andrew Onermaa: [00:30:35] The first time I slept. I was just not nodding off, but I was yawning som starting to ride slower. The hill started filling bigger and harder and I just decided, okay, go ahead and take a break, take a nap and get back after it. [00:30:56] And so Alan worked great. Second time I took a nap. I was on the wooden floor of a community church. In the middle of nowhere and luckily the doors were unlocked. So I just laid down on the ground between two pews on the hardwood floor and my knees were crazy creaky. When I got back on the bike and everything hurt terribly bad. [00:31:18] And sometimes I just, that will last for 10 minutes and then your body goes, oh, okay, here we go. Back to what we've been doing. And sometimes you're working through that for two or three hours and you're just [00:31:30] in your head nonstop. All right. Like surely this is going to change, right? It's so it's definitely a lot of mental warfare. [00:31:38] I'd say the mind is. Equally important as any other aspect when it comes to that kind of racing. Yeah. [00:31:45] Craig Dalton: [00:31:45] Yeah. And the idea that you're gonna feel so many things from throughout the day, and it's going to change you're gonna feel like everybody's going to feel like crap at a certain point during the day. [00:31:55] And the ride is so darn long that you're bound to feel better at some point, presumably. [00:32:01] Andrew Onermaa: [00:32:01] Yeah, absolutely. And which are you doing that route one kind of coming back to the whole inspiration with Ozar gravel, cyclists was having the opportunity to do that route over the summer while I was still looking for a job, I was so blown away by the terrain that it sealed the deal for me. [00:32:19] I was like, I'm definitely gonna live in Arkansas for the rest of my life. This is incredible. I'll take trips other places, but this is a great home base. And I can train here for the rest of my life and ride here for the rest of my life and be so happy. So that route gave me just so much joy and fulfillment that for one, it just got me incredibly excited on Arkansas riding, but too. [00:32:46] I knew that we were just barely dancing through this terrain, 1.2 million acres and the national forest of the Ozarks alone. And we just do one little line and through it a couple of times. [00:33:00] So what about all these other roads that we don't see on that route? And so that's been just the utter joy of. [00:33:06] Every weekend I can go sample one or two more new roads, make new connect actions, keep changing up loops. And right now my summer project is to make a new bike packing loop in Arkansas. That's around 300 miles, but it's way more. Gravel way less pavement. So 80% gravel, 90% gravel, and you're getting 32,000 feet of elevation in 300 miles. [00:33:37] And you share almost no roads with a high country. So it's just this beautiful sample of you want to know what bike packing and gravel riding is an Ozarks check this out all in the Ozarks. Exactly. And yeah. Ultimately it's to make a bunch of smaller loops within that loop. So you don't have to go do a hundred mile day. [00:34:00] I want to be able to have people here's a 25 mile route that you will love. And then you can eat a burger at the oldest cafe in Arkansas right afterwards, or something like that. I have all these friends in this community that are all stoked about it, and we're all getting out together and exploring. [00:34:16] We have this community everyone's so excited. And it's just been so uplifting for everybody. It's just the Spire and more and more people are jumping in as time goes on. [00:34:30] So it's just this beautiful snowball effect that who knows what's gonna be the scene in another year or two, but it's only getting bigger and better and more exciting. [00:34:41] Craig Dalton: [00:34:41] I love your passion for it, Andrew and it's definitely, Arkansas has definitely been coming on the map more and more over the last few years between the big bike packing race and big sugar and other events that are going on. It's truly a place that if you love off-road riding, you got to get to one of these days. [00:34:59]I think that's a good place for us to end. I really appreciate the time and truly appreciate anybody who's growing a community from the ground up. Ozark gravel cycling is such an amazing resource and I'll put a link to it in the show notes for anybody in the region. Who's looking for great routes. [00:35:16] You hear the passion in Andrew's voice for what he's doing. So go visit him, hit him up on social media and get out there and try some Arkansas gravel. [00:35:26] Andrew Onermaa: [00:35:26] I would love it. And I do get messages from people coming out of state and they want to know where to go and what to see. So it's it's very rewarding to share this with others and I'm glad to have. [00:35:39] You asked me onto the show. Cause it's just helping us reach an even broader audience that maybe one person is going to make a road trip to Arkansas. And that's because of you having me on the show. So thank you. [00:35:52] Craig Dalton: [00:35:52] I think we might be getting a rush of people to Arkansas after this. I love it. [00:35:56] Thanks Andrew. [00:35:58] Andrew Onermaa: [00:35:58] Absolutely. Thank you. [00:36:00]    

    World Bicycle Relief - Director of Philanthropy Kemi King

    Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2021 26:34

    This week we sit down with Kemi King, Director of Philanthropy for World Bicycle Relief. World Bicycle Relief is an international, non-profit organization based in Chicago, IL that specializes in large-scale, comprehensive bicycle distribution programs to aid poverty relief in developing countries around the world. Their programs focus primarily on education, economic development, and health care. World Bicycle Relief -- Donate to support my team The Ridership Forum  Automated Transcription (Please excuse the typos) [00:00:00] Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton.   [00:00:05] This week on the podcast, I'm thrilled to have Kemi king from world bicycle relief. join the show. [00:00:12] If you're not already familiar with world bicycle relief, it's an amazing 15 year old non-profit that has delivered over 500,000 bikes to those in need around the world.  [00:00:24]I'm very excited for you to get to know a little bit more about world bicycle relief from Kemi, and also hear about their ride on June 5th, the pedal to empower ride it's something, regardless of where you are in the world, you can get involved in. As well as three in-person events around the country that we'll get into. Stick around until the end of the podcast Cause we've got a special announcement about how local gravel riders in the bay area can get involved. [00:00:52]Ordinarily, this would be where I ask for your support of the podcast. But today I'd prefer that you go over to world bicycle and contribute to what they're doing. [00:01:03] As you'll learn from Kemi every $147, and that's a new bike for someone in need. So let's get together and support this great cause. With all that said let's dive right in to my discussion with Kemi. [00:01:18] [00:01:18]   Kemi welcome to the show. [00:01:20] Kemi King: [00:01:20] Hey, thank you so much, Craig. Thanks for having me. And I'm excited to, to chat. [00:01:25] Craig Dalton: [00:01:25] I'm really excited to learn more about world bicycle relief and it was super [00:01:30] fortuitous that I ran into one of your contributors on the trail a couple of weeks ago, and learned about the upcoming events you have. [00:01:37] So super excited to dig into that, but before we get started, let's just find out a little bit about your background and how you got involved in cycling and. Ultimately joining the world bicycle relief team. [00:01:49] Kemi King: [00:01:49] Sure. It actually all started during a tough period of my life. I personally embraced cycling as a positive force and I wholeheartedly understand really how a bicycle can change everything. [00:02:00] And I think a lot of the listeners here can relate to that. For me, it really was profound. I went from a really unhappy overweight lounger to an, a joyful elite cyclist in three short years. I at that time founded a women's pro road team and found myself training and racing among some of the world's strongest people on earth. [00:02:22]I had been a supporter and kind of long time. Donor for world bicycle relief and was thrilled to take on the role of director of philanthropy for the Western us and Canada, just about two years ago. And now I get to support their mission daily and spend some of my time training and looking for that next extreme challenge, whether it's on a road or dirt. [00:02:47] Craig Dalton: [00:02:47] First off what an amazing journey into cycling. And I think as you noted, a lot of our listeners have mimic that same story back to me that the bicycle has been really transformational in some element of their [00:03:00] life. So it's really exciting to hear you say that and really excited to learn that you've changed that. [00:03:05] You've fueled that passion into a career first founding a cycling program, the racing program, and later finding world bicycle relief. Can you tell us about world bicycle relief and what the focus is? [00:03:19] Kemi King: [00:03:19] Sure. Yeah. World bicycle relief or WBR as we like to shorten it because it's a mouthful was founded in 2005 by FK day. [00:03:28] One of the founders of Ceram and Liam is buck day, a documentary photographer in response to the tsunami in the Indian ocean. And they want it to be able to provide some support to the people in Sri Lanka. So they quickly rounded up as many bicycles they could and traveled to Sri Lanka to distribute them and through the beautiful stories that Lee Leah captured. [00:03:52] And the time that they were able to spend just meeting with the people and capturing all that information, they brought back this this. Devastation to light to the rest of the world. And they quickly learned that their work would not end there so together with support from Ceram and other industry leaders FK and Leah designed a rugged, especially design and locally assembled Buffalo bicycle and launched. [00:04:19] World bicycle relief to mobilize and empower people with bicycles to help them conquer the challenge of distance, achieve independence and thrive. Over the past 15 years, [00:04:30] we've distributed more than 550,000 Buffalo bicycles to students, healthcare workers and entrepreneurs across Africa, south America, Southeast Asia. [00:04:41] It's a sustainable and scalable program. That's led by strong infrastructure of trained local mechanics, assemblers and supervisor supervisory committees. [00:04:52] Craig Dalton: [00:04:52] There's a lot to unpack there. I have a question, when they first saw the tsunami disaster, was there something they knew specifically that the bicycle could change in that community? [00:05:03] Obviously, people were throwing money at it, but throwing bicycles at it was probably a unique proposition at that moment. Yeah, it [00:05:10] Kemi King: [00:05:10] really was. They just, they knew that people couldn't get from place to place. Everything had been completely destroyed. And the only thing that kind of couldn't make its way through any of the roads or the destruction was a bicycle. [00:05:22]And they were able to quickly provide some of that. [00:05:25] Craig Dalton: [00:05:25] You mentioned the specifically designed Buffalo bicycles, which some of the listeners may have seen pictures of, but can you describe why it's important? The sort of important elements of the design, and I know you alluded to them being locally assembled and some of the local infrastructure that probably revolves around having the exact same bike in every project you're involved in. [00:05:47] It [00:05:47] Kemi King: [00:05:47] actually came from some exploration in the field. We, we believe that all answers are found in the field. And as our team was spending time in Africa, they were looking at these what they called bicycle shaped [00:06:00] objects, and they were bicycles that were falling apart that weren't actually fulfilling the needs that the people using them were required, were requiring. [00:06:09] So they decided that something had to be created. That was a little bit more sturdy and a little bit more capable of hauling loads up to 250 pounds and working in that That area of where the train was a little bit more rugged. So they created the Buffalo bicycle and it is one, one size fits all. [00:06:30] It's one bicycle. It has all the same parts and pieces we have about 2,500 mechanics in the field that service those bicycles and shops that locally that assemble the bicycles to distribute and keep those bikes up and running. [00:06:46] Craig Dalton: [00:06:46] So I've seen pictures of people riding with multiple family members on the back or big loads of maybe they're the wears that they've had from a farm or something to transport. [00:06:56] So it sounds like it's a very utilitarian bike that can serve a lot of different purposes. [00:07:02] Kemi King: [00:07:02] It can, it's a, it's something that's amazing that just this bicycle. Helps those, access medical care, they get farmers and produce and milk to the markets. And. Pile on the kids to get them to school. [00:07:17]Craig Dalton: [00:07:17] So it's been a 15 year journey and presumably the organization has continued to grow both in its size and impact over the year. Had there been any changes, obviously with the global pandemic, have there [00:07:30] been any changes in your plans or execution across the world? Yeah, [00:07:34] Kemi King: [00:07:34] so much has happened obviously in 2020 with COVID and we were able to transition a little bit last year to provide 2,500 bicycles for COVID 19 response, pretty immediately. As COVID hit and we distributed still 40,000 bicycles last year hitting our historic 500,000. Along the way, we also launched our 21st program country in Columbia. So even though last year had some. [00:08:02] Crazy times. We still were able to take care of some of those needs and focus on, some immediate needs at hand with [00:08:10] Craig Dalton: [00:08:10] COVID. Yeah. I have to imagine a lot of these bikes are being used in unexpected and new ways to help support, PR potentially getting vaccinations out or certainly servicing the health needs of rural communities. [00:08:23] Kemi King: [00:08:23] Yeah, just livelihood needs to find food and other things in those areas as well. [00:08:28] Craig Dalton: [00:08:28] You mentioned Columbia as being the 21st program and that's in south America are the majority of programs across Africa or what territories have you been addressing? [00:08:38] Kemi King: [00:08:38] Yeah, most of the programs are in Africa who found that the largest need was there. [00:08:43]But there's definitely need. All over the world. Like I've mentioned, we've been in Sri Lanka, we've opened up into Columbia. We had some really unique partnerships that allowed us to open up there. We also are working on a multi-carrier drive training, which will open up a few more [00:09:00] opportunities and allowing us to distribute In areas where there might be a few more Hills [00:09:04]Craig Dalton: [00:09:04] co Columbia may qualify as one of those countries. [00:09:08] Kemi King: [00:09:08] Yes. Yes. At the moment we're focusing on some flat areas, but definitely has has its needs with the Hills. [00:09:15] Craig Dalton: [00:09:15] Like when you introduce a program into a country, is it critical that you build on the ground infrastructure to support the bicycle as you're delivering. [00:09:24] Kemi King: [00:09:24] Yes. Yeah. We've got programmed facilities now in bettering Kia, Colombia, where we've got a team that supports a warehouse and provides the assembly and the mechanics that are needed for that area. [00:09:37] And as we can distribute around those areas and spread our little bicycles throughout the country He had some really interesting programming there's of course, with COVID things have been shut down a little bit more and schools have been closed. So our programming has been a touch different, but now the need to get back into school is dire. [00:09:58] And I'll touch a little bit more on that as we go as well. [00:10:00] Craig Dalton: [00:10:00] Yeah, that'd be great to talk about where WBR is today and in 2021, what are the kind of key need areas that you guys are trying to address? [00:10:10] Kemi King: [00:10:10] Yeah. As we look at what's happened and where we are, the odds against women and girls in developing regions actually have amplified over the past year. [00:10:20] That's where a large focus of ours will be because 47 million women have been pushed into extreme poverty. And about 10 million [00:10:30] additional child brain brides have happened over this past decade, 11 million girls won't return to school this year. So with the pandemic, it's created short and long-term challenges for our communities. [00:10:43]While I, as the world's eyes ways to open back up, we need to ensure that those programs aren't left behind provide opportunities to ensure that they can rebound and thrive. [00:10:54]Craig Dalton: [00:10:54] How is the organization funded to do all this work? [00:10:58]Kemi King: [00:10:58] We've got a couple of different ways, obviously. We look for donors support too. [00:11:03]Everyone and anyone, we get some corporate partnerships. We have major donors and grassroots donors. Everyone that's willing to give whatever they can. We also do have some social inner enterprise programs with our Buffalo bicycles. So Buffalo bicycles is its own entity that allows us to provide. [00:11:24] Purchase programs for entrepreneurs. We also have other additional programs that will purchase the bicycles from us and distribute themselves UNICEF being one of those. We've got several other partners within Africa that purchase the bicycles and distribute as well. So we have a couple of different ways of bringing those those dollars into the organization. [00:11:44] Craig Dalton: [00:11:44] So when you referenced micro entrepreneurs that might purchase Buffalo bikes, are those people in these countries who have pass some certification and are looking to finance, bringing bikes into the country and distributing them. [00:11:56] Kemi King: [00:11:56] We've got a little bit of that. [00:11:57]We also have just, people that [00:12:00] come in to purchase the bike save their pennies and purchase a bike for one 47. Each bike costs $147. And they're eager to come in and make their own purchase. We've got small companies that purchase bikes. We actually had quite a few security companies purchasing bikes through COVID to get individuals to different areas or even into work. [00:12:20]So yeah, it was interesting to see the growth on that social enterprise side of the program. [00:12:26] Craig Dalton: [00:12:26] That's super interesting. You mentioned quite frequently Just the efforts you're making towards helping women around the world. And I think you've got a new program that you recently launched on that subject. [00:12:39] Yeah, [00:12:40] Kemi King: [00:12:40] actually as this errors are a new women on wheels program, we'll we'll be launching and that is to help these women build their businesses care for the sick reach school on time, serve the community, avoid harassment advocate for girls. Increase their incomes. There's a whole list of different things that these women are continuing to do by breaking boundaries and serving their communities. [00:13:06] So we've got this longstanding relationship with people and partners in the field who have first hand experienced what is needed to drive those meaning that meaningful change. We've proven repeatedly and recently, without response to that, to the pandemic outreach, we're positioned now with our Buffalo bicycles to lead on more programming and hope to bring in more [00:13:30] communities where we can mobilize. [00:13:32] Craig Dalton: [00:13:32] Is that an initiative that you're fundraising for specifically, or do you tend to fundraise as an umbrella organization and then fund the different initiatives internally as makes [00:13:41] Kemi King: [00:13:41] sense. We do both. We do focus some interesting campaigns each year on a specific area. So this is really focusing on our women on wheels and how we can message around focusing just these funds on providing that that need for women. [00:13:58]I there's so many different stories of how those women's lives have changed. One of my favorites, I'll just start sharing a couple of stories. Dull Shawnee was actually one of our very first recipients in Sri Lanka to receive a bicycle and it allowed her to go to school and become a nurse. [00:14:16] And my favorite part about devil's Johnny's bike is that 10 years later, her sister used that same bike to travel to school. Amazing. Amazing. We've also got ion, which she's one of my favorites because there's a video of hers and there's so many amazing videos on our website. I would, invite the listeners to go onto the websites, see the pictures and stories, watch the videos, but she is. [00:14:44] Started in one of the videos and it starts with her saying when I'm stressed out, I just take my bicycle and go for a ride. It's amazing. I just feel I'm not even in this world. I don't know how to explain it, but it's just the best [00:15:00] feeling I can. Anyone can experience in his or her life. And as we were talking before, so many of our listeners can feel that exact same way. [00:15:08] I think I know that I do. I can't even believe I said that without getting choked up because she's been just. Inspirational. She's been inspirational to her community as well as the girls have met her. She's actually the first Muslim girl in that community to receive a bicycle. And as she was riding to school, the other girls realized, oh my gosh, she could ride bikes. [00:15:31] She can, she's just like us. And she loves riding a bike as well. And those friendships were started. And as. As they were able to become friends and continue writing, they set aside some differences, which at this time in this world right now is one of the best things we can ask for. [00:15:49] Craig Dalton: [00:15:49] Yeah. That's so amazing. [00:15:50] It's and it is such a universal sentiment. As you said, we so often on the podcast talk about how the gravel bike allows us to explore and get out of our daily lives and how. We've all made connections with other athletes solely because we see someone next to us riding and you don't think about what their race is, what their sex is, where they're from, what they do for a living. [00:16:15] All is them pedaling up the same hell. You're paddling up with a smile on their face. And it's just an easy way to make connections. [00:16:22] Kemi King: [00:16:22] Absolutely. And that's, we're seeing it so many places with our distribution to that. They're experiencing that too. Not [00:16:30] only are these bikes changing their lives for, other various reasons for, providing food for their families or extra income, or just getting to school, but they're loving riding those bikes, which we do too. [00:16:42] And nothing else matters. [00:16:44] Craig Dalton: [00:16:44] Very true. Very true. So you're just drilling in a little bit more. You had mentioned a bicycle costs $147. Is that the amount that if one were to want to donate. $147 is what they should donate in order to. Believe that they've purchased one bike for someone in need. [00:17:02] Kemi King: [00:17:02] Yep. One by one 47. [00:17:05] Of course. That may be a lot to ask of someone and $10 is awesome. Any, anything we'll obviously help, but that one 47 does provide that one bicycle too. Person I need. That's [00:17:17] Craig Dalton: [00:17:17] really cool. So this is an exciting moment in time where we'll air this in may and in early June, you've got one of your bigger kind of global outreach programs going on that may help some listeners drive towards that being a date. [00:17:31] They're gonna donate some money to w BR can you talk about what's going on June 5th? [00:17:37] Kemi King: [00:17:37] Yeah. Yeah. So June 5th We've decided it should be our global world bicycle relief ride that we call pedal to empower. And this is to celebrate, obviously our women on wheels campaign that we'll be running and to celebrate world bicycle day. [00:17:55] And for those of you who aren't aware of possibly June 3rd has been [00:18:00] made world bicycle day, obviously to celebrate bicycles as a simple, affordable, reliable, and environmentally sustainable. Mode of transportation. So we've thought what better way than to celebrate that day and our own day of, creating hopefully what we could call a global movement of participation to pedal to empower. [00:18:23] And our focus obviously is now to pedal, to empower women and girls as we try to get those needs Of getting the girls back into school. Mostly [00:18:31] Craig Dalton: [00:18:31] WBR done these types of rides before. I feel like over the last few years, I've seen friends in the community host rides where they just doing that on their own, or was that a coordinated kind of [00:18:41] Kemi King: [00:18:41] effort? [00:18:42] We actually have hosted rides annually here, especially in the bay area. There's been one or two rides, one often in mill valley. Couple of down in the peninsula. And last year we decided that we wanted to create. A little bit larger scale ride and hopefully make this global impact COVID hit and transitions happened with everybody and we went for a virtual ride. [00:19:06] And what was great about that is it allowed us to create this virtual ride that can happen everywhere every year. We did change the date from last year sheer. It was the ride happened to September. In hopes that we could really take advantage of that June 3rd world bicycle day, and really target that and celebrate that at the same time. [00:19:27] So yeah, this year has moved to June [00:19:30] 5th and we're very excited to be able to. Provide that virtual event, what we're calling a DIY adventure, you can sign up, register for that DIY adventure and take advantage of the pedal to empower app that we provide as well. There'll be a few challenges so you can get, create something or create your own. [00:19:52]I know there's 160 mile challenge for anyone that wants to get a little bit crazy. And a few other little ones involving. Your kids or writers in the community that, may not be hardcore writers, like. Many of us. And so there's that kind of stuff. Solo option, where you can create that DIY adventure and that's in hopes that we can really get some global limbo. [00:20:13]We'd like to see a thousand participants in all 50 states, across 35 countries, we'd love to see a million plus in so social media and that registration is free and it allows us to track towards our goals. Go on the website pedal to and register. Join us, create your own DIY adventure. [00:20:35]There's a couple options. If you want to take it a next step up there's a option to host or join a team where you could organize a group locally, invite your friends, family, coworkers. We've got toolkits to provide for the team captains to help. Guide through some fundraising options. [00:20:52]If you were interested in that and not option and then exciting to have returned this year, some in-person [00:21:00] rides and there'll be small events. We're trying to keep in mind the local protocols and the concerns of in-person events right now. And those are planned for New York, Chicago, and the bay area. [00:21:13] So we would love to see, Anyone that wants to join us in those areas. They are road rides, road events, but we could get a little creative with the gravel. [00:21:22] Craig Dalton: [00:21:22] Nice. Nice. The New York city ride, is that sort of starting in Manhattan or is it outside yourself? [00:21:28] Kemi King: [00:21:28] In Tarrytown. Okay. So yeah, you'll see those familiar with that area. [00:21:34]We'll be in in Tarrytown. [00:21:36]Craig Dalton: [00:21:36] And then how about [00:21:37] Kemi King: [00:21:37] Chicago? Hold please. [00:21:39]Craig Dalton: [00:21:39] I didn't mean to put you on the spot. So [00:21:42]Kemi King: [00:21:42] it's the Chicago north shore. I apologize. This is what I should know. It's starting from the community house. For those that might be familiar with that area and these details can be found on our website too. [00:21:53] As you click to register, there's the options for the DIY ride and then farther down, you'll see, join the Chicago ride the New York or the bay area. And Being local in the bay area, one I'm all over that one. I know where that one is. And can give you the details. It will be starting in mill valley at [00:22:11] Craig Dalton: [00:22:11] floodwater. [00:22:12] Add water for the local listeners in a newish restaurant. Attached to the holiday Inn express, as you enter mill valley. Yes. [00:22:21] Kemi King: [00:22:21] Floodwater is where we will be. We've got all the waters here, so which we will be riding and seeing all the beautiful waters as we take the routes [00:22:28] Craig Dalton: [00:22:28] here. That'd be perfect. [00:22:29]It's [00:22:30] an easy ride in from San Francisco. That's right off the bike path as a starting point. And I, I've been so excited. About learning more about world bicycle relief and wanting to contribute what I wanted to offer. If you're game is I'll lead any local gravel riders on a gravel route where we'll try to aim to a similar destination as the road group, but we'll take an off-road off-road route, certainly on the climbing aspects and then circle around and end up at floodwater to meet everybody post dried. [00:23:04] Kemi King: [00:23:04] That would be awesome. And we can make sure we arrange and lead your group off on a separate adventure. [00:23:10] Craig Dalton: [00:23:10] Yeah. So if you're interested in that, obviously we're mostly gravel cyclists. Although we do dabble on the road here on the podcast, definitely register for the event. Look for details either directly from me, or if you're in the ridership forum, I'll be posting there. [00:23:25] We'll pick a time to start that ride. They're going to, as I understand it, Kemi, you're going to have multiple different rollout times for the shorter version and the longer version of the road, correct? [00:23:36] Kemi King: [00:23:36] Yes. Yeah. We're going to have staggered times that all of the locations where you can even pick a time that works with your group or the, the kind of our communities are pretty strong in each city and there's different. [00:23:46]Groups that love to connect with each other and find each other again. So we're hoping that they'll self-select and start those times, obviously, mostly to keep this, a distance scene a little bit hard still and [00:23:59] Craig Dalton: [00:23:59] yeah. [00:24:00] And just for clarity writers should bring their own sort of nutritional supplies and water for the ride. [00:24:07] Yeah. [00:24:07] Kemi King: [00:24:07] We will have actually some aid stations along the way. I'm happy to have Rafa supporting those actually in each of our locations. So the longer rides we'll have an aid station, the shorter route may not have that, but we will have sag support. So there will be a kind of food and water and drinks along the way if needed. [00:24:25] There'll definitely be some setup at the beginning to to pack your pockets and have stuff [00:24:29] Craig Dalton: [00:24:29] ready. Okay, great. As I think about designing a route, I'll try to get from you where that aid station might be. I've got a couple ideas on how to get over the mountain, where we might encounter some water. [00:24:39] So everybody is safely hydrated and fueled up for the [00:24:42] Kemi King: [00:24:42] day. Wonderful. Yeah, I can definitely get that aligned for [00:24:45] Craig Dalton: [00:24:45] you. This is going to be a lot of fun. I was really excited to learn more about world bicycle relief. It's so amazing. The impact you've described such a relatively small amount of money. When we think about all the expensive bikes that are out there in the world, that $147. [00:25:04] Can really trans transform someone's live overseas. So it's such a great cause. And I appreciate you giving us an overview of it. [00:25:12] Kemi King: [00:25:12] Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure to be here and to be able to chat about it. [00:25:16]Craig Dalton: [00:25:16] So that's it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast. Thank you for spending part of your week with us this week. As we just mentioned on June 5th is the pedal to empower ride. Please go over to [00:25:30] world bicycle and make a donation today [00:25:33]As you've learned your donation will have an outsized impact on someone's life. If you're interested in joining me in mill valley on June 5th. For the dirt version of the world, bicycle relief ride.  [00:25:47]Please head on over to the or follow me on social media as I'll be posting details as to when to meet and how to register for the event. Until next time, here's the finding some dirt onto your wheels.      

    Colin Dalton: Father of the host. :).

    Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2021 21:35

    This week thanks to vaccinations, I'm able to interview my father without whom I'd likely never have discovered a passion for the sport.   At 84 years old and still riding every Sunday, I hope the conversation keeps you stoked to ride into the future and gives you a little glimpse into my introduction to the sport of cycling.  Join The Ridership Support the Podcast   

    In the Dirt 21: Gravel Guides and moving across country

    Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2021 25:31

    This week we wish Randall well on his cross country journey, highlight the Gravel Adventure Field Guide from Trinidad, CO and discuss casual cycling shorts. Support the Podcast Join The Ridership

    Southeast Gravel Series - Founders Ben Renkema and Boyd Johnson

    Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2021 35:55

    This week we welcome the team from the Southeast Gravel Series to the show.   Ben Renkema and Boyd Johnson discuss the journey to creating a 6-event race series in North and South Carolina.  The team share their passion for the Southeast region and the desire to create a competitive, yet inclusive series to serve the area.  Southeast Gravel Website  Southeast Gravel Instagram Support the Podcast Join The Ridership Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Southeast Gravel Craig Dalton: [00:00:00]Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the show, we've got Ben Renkema and Boyd Johnson. Founders of the southeast gravel series [00:00:15] As you know, I love talking to event organizers because I think they're the lifeblood of the community and the sport. It's great having people put effort in and in the southeast ben and boyd have been [00:00:26]Contributing to the community for a number of years, both as riders and racers and Boyd as the founder of Boyd cycling. [00:00:34]The team decided to create a six events series throughout 2021 with the falling Creek pinnacle Punisher, actually coming up this weekend, May 8th. So if you're in the region, make sure to grab a slot. [00:00:47]There are three additional races stretching out to October 2nd. So if you're in the region or fancy a trip to the region, there's still time to get some great racing in.  [00:00:56]Before we get into the show, I've got to thank long time program sponsor athletic greens. The most comprehensive daily nutritional beverage i've ever tried. [00:01:04]As gravel cyclists were often required to go super deep in our rides to reach those milestones we're shooting for. And if you're like me, you struggle a little bit with your nutrition and that's where athletic greens comes in and helps.  [00:01:18]Athletic greens contains 75 vitamins minerals and whole food sourced ingredients, including a multivitamin multi-mineral probiotic [00:01:26]Green superfood blend and more that all work together [00:01:30] to fill the nutritional gaps in your diet increase energy. Focus aid with digestion and support a healthy immune system. All without the needs to take multiple products or pills. That's the key for me. I love taking a drink every morning and just knowing that I've got my nutritional basis covered for my athletic greens use. I like to mix it with ice and on big ride days, I'll actually take it after the ride, as well as my daily drink in the morning.   I've been an athletic greens user for many years prior to this podcast. So I was super excited to have them come on board as a sponsor. And even more excited that they've been a long-term sponsor. If you're interested in checking out athletic greens, simply visit athletic gravel ride. [00:02:15] [00:02:15]And if you do so today they're throwing in a year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs. So remember, visit athletic gravel ride.  [00:02:26]With all that said let's dive right in to my conversation with Ben and Boyd about the Southeast gravel series.  [00:02:32]Gentlemen.  Welcome to the show. [00:02:34] [00:02:34] [00:02:34] [00:02:34] Ben Renkema: [00:02:34] Thanks for having us. [00:02:35] Craig Dalton: [00:02:35] Yeah. Happy to be here again. Yeah. Excited to have you back Boyd and happy to meet you Ben for the listener, we had boy Johnson on the show. [00:02:43] I think it was episode 30 back in 2019. Talking about Boyd's experience as a writer. As well as the founder and owner of Boyd cycling, a great wheel manufacturer out there in South Carolina. So I encourage you to go [00:03:00] back and listen to that Boyd. You're in rarefied air of being a two time guest on the show. [00:03:04] I think there's only two or three others in that group. [00:03:06]Boyd Johnson: [00:03:06] That's good to be in that company. Yeah. [00:03:09] Craig Dalton: [00:03:09] Cool, Ben, welcome to the show for the first time. We always start by getting a little bit of your background as a writer. If you could just start by, just give us a quick synopsis of how you came to the sport and how ultimately you ended up riding off road on gravel bikes. [00:03:24] Ben Renkema: [00:03:24] Definitely. So I like to tell people that I've been riding gravel since, Oh, the early two thousands. I grew up in Holland, Michigan, and before I even knew bike racing was a thing. He used to take my crappy road bike and just bombed down gravel roads. Cause that's what we had a lot of. About a year later, I found out bike racing was a thing. [00:03:40]So I went with my best friend did my first bike race. And that was it started as a mountain bike race, or mostly gotten into road racing. About 2007, started racing at a professional level on the road, did that all the way until halfway through 2019. And then, yeah, partway between that, Boyd and I were teammates for awhile And yeah, we both had this common we'd love to explore, ride off road on road bikes. [00:04:04]And that's kinda how Southeast gravel came about. [00:04:07] Craig Dalton: [00:04:07] Nice. And if I'm not mistaken, you spent a little time with some stars and stripes on your back. [00:04:12] Ben Renkema: [00:04:12] I did. Yeah. I was lucky enough to have won three national championships as a cyclist. I'm the best one being 2017 elite national championships for the criterium which, trying to win that race for a long time. [00:04:25] So I was super stoked to win that. Nice. [00:04:27] Craig Dalton: [00:04:27] A good way to go out. And probably 2019 [00:04:30] was a good time to end a professional career on the road. Given what happened in 2020. [00:04:34] Ben Renkema: [00:04:34] Oh, it made it very easy to end my career that I had a heart condition halfway through 2019. It forced me into, retiring. [00:04:42]But I'll tell you what, 2020, when no one was racing, it wasn't as hard as it should have been. [00:04:48] Craig Dalton: [00:04:48] I bet. I bet it gave you a little bit more time to think about gravel. I imagine [00:04:52] Ben Renkema: [00:04:52] exactly. Yup. What's really important. So [00:04:56] Craig Dalton: [00:04:56] gentlemen, why don't you tell everybody where in the country you're located and then I'm excited to get into the Southeast gravel series? [00:05:04] I think it's a real unique set of events and I was excited to watch the last one unfold on Instagram. [00:05:13] Boyd Johnson: [00:05:13] Yeah, so Ben and I both live in Greenville, South Carolina. He was actually living in Florida and he was talking about moving up to Greenville. I think this was 2012. And he was working at a bike shop. [00:05:24] He had been building some wheels and so we actually hired him as one of our first wheel builders and got him to move to Greenville. And we've been here ever since. He started his own company outside of. Southeast gravel as well. And so he's no longer working for Boyd cycling, we remained friends and we run Southeast gravel together and we run that out of Greenville. [00:05:45] Craig Dalton: [00:05:45] How did the series come about? Is this the first year for it, or did you have events prior to 2021? [00:05:51] Boyd Johnson: [00:05:51] So this is technically the third year. It's funny. The first year just happened by accident. I'm a big map geek. I like to go out and find [00:06:00] new roads and I plotted a 80 mile course down by Clinton, South Carolina. [00:06:06] And after I got done with it, there was not a single Strava segment on the course. And I was like, Oh, we have to turn this into an event. And so I just put out a Facebook message a post and I said, Hey, Joe, just did this ride who would be interested in a cycling event up here. And 200 people commented and said that they would come out to it. [00:06:25] So we quickly made a bike Ridge. Paige started the event and we got 200 people to come to that first one. We really, it wasn't even Southeast gravel at the time. We didn't really even have a name for the event or anything like that. Ben came and raced it. And I think Ben, you got second or third place. [00:06:43] And after that we were talking about it and we knew that we had to make the series even bigger and better. [00:06:50] Ben Renkema: [00:06:50] Absolutely. Yep. Yeah. I think it was like that afternoon to the next day. Boyd's this is going to be a thing, like I need your help. Let's do this together. And I was a hundred percent on board. [00:07:00] Craig Dalton: [00:07:00] Amazing. I remember from our earlier conversation, Boyd, your love of adventure and just getting out there and discovering the lesser known gravel roads in your neck of the woods. [00:07:12] Boyd Johnson: [00:07:12] Yeah. And a lot of times, when I go out for an exploration ride, it's usually by myself because. Sometimes I find an amazing route like that. [00:07:19] And other times I ended up just hiking through the woods for awhile, carrying my bike with me. [00:07:24] Craig Dalton: [00:07:24] It's important to know your partners when you're going out for an adventure and what they're actually going to get into for sure. [00:07:31] [00:07:30] Ben Renkema: [00:07:31] Yeah, boy, Boyd has a little bit of reputation in Greenville. Eventually everyone started calling them Boyd rides where, he would try to get his friends to come with them, but everybody knew that. [00:07:41] Okay. We're probably going to be carrying our bikes through the woods. But it's funny. It's full circle. Now people pay us for that pleasure. [00:07:49] Craig Dalton: [00:07:49] Nice. Can you characterize the roads of South and North Carolina that you tend to. Tend towards for these gravel events. [00:07:58] Boyd Johnson: [00:07:58] So a lot of the, it's very different because we've got six different events. [00:08:02]Most of the gravel that we have it's cars can travel down the road. There's very rarely a situation where you're gonna find where vehicles can't get to. The brace we just had, we have a little bit of single track in there, but it's only about a mile or so Some of the roads are big, chunky gravel, and others are, you can ride a road bike on them. [00:08:21] No problem. [00:08:23] Craig Dalton: [00:08:23] Gotcha. So as far as equipment choices go, it sounds a fairly narrow tire would suit for most of the courses. [00:08:30] Ben Renkema: [00:08:30] I would say we, we've got our first two events while our first event is Clinton. We actually in 2019, our winner did it on a road bike with 32 mill tire. That being said he was a very skilled professional not something that everybody wants to do. [00:08:45] And then we have, I would say our roughest course is May 8th coming up falling Creek, pinnacle Punisher, that's something where you're gonna really want more of a 40 to 42 mil tire. Something even bigger if you want to be comfortable and have lot of competence, because [00:09:00] there are big boulders there's, big, gnarly gravel fast downhills with rough rocks. [00:09:04]And I think that's what makes Southeast gravel so cool is it's not just one event. It's very different. Yeah. [00:09:10] Craig Dalton: [00:09:10] So as you guys have laid it out, I believe it's a six event series. Is that correct? Yes. And starting in March, fairly early in the season and ending in October, obviously that's a, a full cycling season journey for the athletes as you laid out the courses. [00:09:28] Did you think about that? And did you think about adding elevation or complexity and technicality to the courses over the journey of the series? [00:09:37] Ben Renkema: [00:09:37] Yeah, we definitely put a good amount of thought into it. Originally the first event, which is the gravel battle of Semper forest was earlier, it was kind of February. [00:09:46]But I think 20, 20 Boyd, correct me if I'm wrong. I think it was like 30 degrees at the start. And so we decided to move it, a little later we put it into March. It what we did is we took our two S Southern most events that are, lower elevation. And we put those early in the year because it's usually about 10 to 15 degrees warmer that far South of Greenville, which is when you go North of Greenville kind of up into the mountains, it gets pretty cool. [00:10:10]So we stuck our events more towards the summer that are up in the mountains where it's cooler. So that was our thinking for that. And then also we wanted the. Doing air quotes here, the easier course, which would be the Clinton and the Greenwood chorus earlier in the year, just because, a lot of people don't have as much fitness yet. [00:10:27] So start with kind of the easier courses [00:10:30] [00:10:30] Craig Dalton: [00:10:30] and are the core, are you offering multiple distances for the athletes during each event? [00:10:36] Boyd Johnson: [00:10:36] Yeah each one has a a short and a long, and the thing with the Southeast gravel series is, It's not the ultra endurance gravel that, some events are popular with. [00:10:47] So our distances tend to be between 30 to 40 miles for the short course, and then between 60 to 70 for the long course. [00:10:55] Craig Dalton: [00:10:55] Great. Yeah. I actually liked that. That's my sweet spot. I found that kind of. Extension of this ultra endurance race kind of category doesn't necessarily fit with me personally. [00:11:07]I did my Leadville one hundreds, and I did that stuff when I was a little bit younger, but now it's nice. If it's a hundred K, I feel like I can go out there regardless of what my family duties have taken me away from my training. And I can still have a great day and it could feel APIC, but I'm not absolutely destroyed afterwards. [00:11:25] Ben Renkema: [00:11:25] Yeah, absolutely. It's something where, you can, you could do this event every weekend. And it's a lot of the racing that Boyd and I personally are used to, going into a criterium or, sub a hundred mile road race. It's not something you have to train months for. [00:11:39] Craig Dalton: [00:11:39] I also think it's neat. Sorry to interrupt, but I'd also think it's neat that you designed the earlier courses to be a little bit, maybe more beginner and intermediate friendly, just in terms of the profile and elevation so that someone can get into the sport early and get a taste of what riding and event might be like. [00:11:56] And then train up and learn the technicality for those more [00:12:00] mountainous stages or races later in the year. [00:12:04] Boyd Johnson: [00:12:04] Yeah, I think, we get the question all the time. It's I don't really race my bike. I want to come out and, can I just ride this? And so having some of the, easier to rain courses earlier in the season and less people get out and we encourage all levels of people to come out. [00:12:19]Whether you're averaging eight or 28 miles per hour, it's got a course for you. And we've had a ton of people where each event, we have so many people where it's their first ever gravel event and they come out, they have a good time and they're hooked and they want to do more of them. [00:12:34] And if they never want to race, it's great. We have rest stops. We've got food afterwards. It's a great community atmosphere. [00:12:41] Craig Dalton: [00:12:41] Yeah. How have you seen over the last few years, the gravel cycling community in the Carolinas start to grow up? [00:12:47]Ben Renkema: [00:12:47] It's definitely growing a lot. I actually went and did a. [00:12:51] A group ride yesterday up in Bravard, which is a little North of Greenville. And there was a lot of people telling me that, man, I've had people coming into the bike shop here in they're buying real gravel bikes because they're like, there's this, the series called Southeast gravel and we're doing all of them and we want to get better. [00:13:06]We're buying a more specific bike for it. And yeah, my wife and I Christie with our company. We're a coaching company and we have so many of our normal athletes that are runners that are triathletes road cyclists, and they're getting into gravel just because, Hey, everyone's doing it. [00:13:21] I want to try it. And they try it and they just absolutely love it. [00:13:25] Craig Dalton: [00:13:25] Yeah, it's certainly been a great couple of years. And I think one of the other things I love about the [00:13:30] series aspect of what you're doing is if you're local to Greenville and picking up a gravel bike, you can look at a series like this and just get in your mind. [00:13:38]These are areas where I can ride and train all year long, irrespective of race day. And I can get out there and know where other gravel athletes are putting down some miles. [00:13:50] Boyd Johnson: [00:13:50] Yeah. And on our website, one of the things we have is, for every event we have instructions for, if you want to come out and pre-read the course, here's where you park, here's the course file information like that. [00:14:01]Some of our some of our events, then you can't park there on race day. So we give alternate parking places. So you can go out and just ride the course. That [00:14:09] Craig Dalton: [00:14:09] makes sense. That's awesome. I love that about the gravel cycling community, that across the board, everybody's very giving about information and it's so great to see you facilitating that at the Southeast gravel website hub. [00:14:24] Can we talk a little bit more about some of the more mountainous races. I think you were talking about the fallen Creek, pinnacle Punisher and the race to Valhalla. What are those courses like in terms of technicality, how much elevation, how much climbing is happening during those events? [00:14:40]Boyd Johnson: [00:14:40] Both of those you're going to get over a thousand feet per 10 miles. [00:14:44]And I can't remember. I know that the Hala is 69 miles, 7,400 feet of climbing. That course actually has the least amount of gravel. It's got some very long gravel sections, but there's road in between them. But the cool thing with that is you're [00:15:00] in the very Northwest corner of South Carolina near the Georgia and sorry, North Carolina border. [00:15:06] And. That area, no traffic up there. You get some very cool roads. Great scenery. So that's by far our hardest course, but it's also the one where it's just enjoyable to go out and ride. [00:15:19] Ben Renkema: [00:15:19] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I think the ball Hala course. We haven't had an event there yet. This will be the first one. Yeah, Boyd's right. [00:15:26] It's right at 70 miles. It's 7,000 feet of climbing and it is the least amount of gravel of any of our courses. But I guarantee you, I don't think anyone's going to complain about that. Cause the gravel is hard and the road sections that are on the course are beautiful. There's some really nice paved road climbs. [00:15:42]So it's not like when you are on the pavement, they're not like these kind of crummy transfer road stages where a lot of traffic they're beautiful. And so same thing with the wall holler course with our Clinton and Greenwood, boy, I, we whipped this course together just based off of maps and, looking at, Google, well maps. [00:16:00] And I went out there one day early in the morning and I just wrote it, the 70 miles. And immediately I called Boyd. I said, this is perfect. I don't think we should change the course at all. This is incredibly ideal and I uploaded to Strava and there are two people. They have ever written the most of the gravel sections on the course and the one really hard climb that I think is the coolest part. [00:16:21] And of course two people have ever written it. Which I thought that was the coolest thing. Yeah. [00:16:25] Craig Dalton: [00:16:25] That's amazing. I talked to another a couple other sort of regional groups that are putting together [00:16:30] events and it's funny when they. Talk about how the locals are just amazed and flabbergasted that all of a sudden on a weekend, you're now getting a dozen riders out there, training in these rural communities that see very little car traffic, let alone cycling traffic. [00:16:48] Ben Renkema: [00:16:48] Yeah we get that a lot. It's pretty funny. Like, why are all these people suddenly coming to Greenwood, South Carolina? Like it doesn't make any sense. [00:16:56] Craig Dalton: [00:16:56] Did we talked about how this is this six race series? Are you tracking athletes performance in each race and doing a kind of overall season long competition? [00:17:07] Boyd Johnson: [00:17:07] Yeah. Each one of the six races, as soon as you enter one of them you're eligible for the omnium. We've got a points calculator and it actually tracks it as soon as you've finished, we know your omnium results and we can track that. And so we do a year long series for omnium points as well. [00:17:23] Craig Dalton: [00:17:23] Nice. And you're a couple events down already, and I imagine, a lot of the men and women athletes that have been attending, are you seeing throughout the series different skillsets that are favoring. One type of athlete versus another start to emerge? [00:17:40] Ben Renkema: [00:17:40] I think so definitely. I'm really excited for falling Creek coming up May 8th because now we start to get into the climbing. [00:17:47] I was actually just talking to two of my athletes and one of my teammates the one did really well at the first two events. But he's not going to do so great at the next one. Just because he's a bigger, more powerful rider. Yeah, so it's exciting to [00:18:00] see that, if you don't do great in the flatter ones, but you're a climber. [00:18:03] Okay. Now it's your chance to shine and vice versa. [00:18:06] Craig Dalton: [00:18:06] Yeah. Just out of curiosity with you mentioned that you've got your new coaching organization that you've been working on red rocket is the URL for the coaching services, right? Yes. Yep. And so for that athlete, the bigger guy who's does well on the lower elevation and lower climbing routes. [00:18:27] What type of transition are you making for him as a coach to try to make him as competitive as possible when it starts going uphill more? [00:18:34]Ben Renkema: [00:18:34] It's a lot of mental. A lot of the people that we work with me being a racer, I was always a sprinter and I would go into these races. And think, okay, there's climbing, I'm not a climber. [00:18:45] And so guess what, the second back climb starts, you just give up and you don't even try. So of course, changing the training up a little bit but just mental, like it is so much mental people don't realize that, that, okay. There is a lot of descending on the score still, and there's still some plat riding. [00:19:00] You never know what's going to happen. You just get on that climb, you ride your pace that, you can hold. Maybe don't try to stay with the leader, stay within your limit and then race your strengths on the dissents and the flats. So really, I think just kinda, in between a year is just the mental [00:19:15] Craig Dalton: [00:19:15] game. [00:19:15] Yeah. There, I think there's a lot to that in gravel, in general. Just the idea that everybody around you is going to be suffering at some point. And this is obviously extendable to cycling in general, just knowing that everybody's going to be [00:19:30] hurting. And it's the athletes that can push through that. And keep motivated, keep moving forward, always moving forward. [00:19:36] Those are the people who are going to Excel in gravel racing. [00:19:39] Boyd Johnson: [00:19:39] Yeah. And I think a good example of what Ben was just talking about. If you watch the video for the Greenwood gravel [00:19:45] Craig Dalton: [00:19:45] grinder [00:19:45] Boyd Johnson: [00:19:45] after the first card sacks and you had a lead group of five riders and, you may have looked at that of Oh, the FA the strongest five or up the road. And, but the second and third group caught up with them after 20 miles and all of a sudden it's a whole new race. [00:20:01] Craig Dalton: [00:20:01] Yeah. Yeah. I thought that was interesting. [00:20:02] And I do want to get into your Instagram coverage cause I felt like to a degree I was there, which was awesome. I agree. I was watching it and I think Ben was commentating out there and there was the lead group up the road and it felt like a foregone conclusion. And then all of a sudden, boom, you had this big group bridge up and it was really fun to be part of the action. [00:20:23] Ben Renkema: [00:20:23] Yeah, it was cool. And I think even, when I was doing my on the motorcycle announcing, I was like this is our six rider group. Like this is it for the day. But I was actually quite surprised that we had three groups once we hit the first pavement section and it all came together. [00:20:38] So I think we had 30 people going into kind of the first hard little climb of the day. And I was super surprised by that. But really cool to watch that [00:20:47] Craig Dalton: [00:20:47] happen. Yeah, for the listener I was watching via the Southeast gravel, Instagram account, the same weekend as rock cobbler was going on out in California. [00:20:57] And it had some other coverage from the team at [00:21:00] pure gravel. It was just a lot of fun as a fan of the sport to be able to see those two events. Can we talk a little bit about your vision for how to cover these events? That it's incredibly complicated. You're out there in a Mo motorcycle, trying to get as much footage as you can. [00:21:15]What did you learn? And as a fan who saw it, great job getting out there. What did you learn in this event and what are you going to try to do in future events to keep fans around the country and around the region watching and participating from their armchairs? [00:21:30] Ben Renkema: [00:21:30] Yeah, totally. The coolest thing about having six events in one year is we can. [00:21:35] Quickly make changes and make things better. In that, see, we have all these categories of things, the food, the courses the coverage. So what I want to do better for the next time is I'm actually going to put some on them, someone on the motorcycle with me so I can get closer to the group safely and get that. [00:21:51]Inside of the group coverage, really seeing those paint faces get a really good shot of, okay, who are these riders? And the biggest thing that's been a struggle from for me doing this on my own is I want to get coverage of the women's race. Especially our first event. We had 40 pro women out there. [00:22:07]But unfortunately as the lead Modo, I have to stay with that lead group for several reasons. If our core signs get taken down by some time locals I have signs that I put back up just to make sure no one gets off course. And then at the few busy intersections we have, I do stop the traffic. [00:22:25] For the front public groups. So what we're going to do is we're actually going to put people on course at our rest stops that [00:22:30] are gonna be logged into the Instagram. So they'll do live updates of, okay. Here's the lead group of the women. Here's the second group, here's the third group. And so on. [00:22:38]So yeah, we just want to beef that up, not just show the very front of the [00:22:42] Craig Dalton: [00:22:42] race. That'd be great. So Instagram fans May 8th is the next one. Then July 10th, following that I'll have a link to the Instagram account and the website in the show notes. I think it's super cool and exciting that you're out there doing that. [00:22:58] Ben Renkema: [00:22:58] Yeah, it's a, it's definitely a fun way to watch the race unfold. When we did the first event, Clinton, it was an absolutely massive group going into the first section of gravel. Looked like Stratta Bianche with all the dust. And part of me was like, I am so glad I'm not in that group. [00:23:13] But also I was like, man, I wish I asked that [00:23:16] Craig Dalton: [00:23:16] group. I can only imagine. I sort of sense that as you were giving your commentary that you'd be itching to get out there. If you weren't one of the people running the event. [00:23:27] Ben Renkema: [00:23:27] Absolutely. [00:23:28] Craig Dalton: [00:23:28] Yeah. One of the challenges I think, which is a bit of a bummer, I was going through the Southeast gravel, Instagram account and, the way Instagram stories work, they don't save and retain themselves. [00:23:39] So it was unfortunate that I couldn't go back and rewatch any of the footage prior to this conversation. [00:23:46] Ben Renkema: [00:23:46] So actually if you go to our Instagram account I've made highlight reels. Great. So yeah, if you actually look down the highlights I've saved, so you've got Clinton and you've got Greenwood's, you can go back and actually rewatch all of it. [00:23:58] And what I did [00:24:00] is I actually also downloaded those using just the race coverage clips and maybe a video that's on YouTube. Oh, [00:24:08] Craig Dalton: [00:24:08] perfect. Yes. [00:24:09] Ben Renkema: [00:24:09] You can actually go back to Southeast gravel and Instagram. You can actually rewatch it, which is cool, but a lot of people that's. Yeah. It's easy to miss. [00:24:17] Craig Dalton: [00:24:17] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I might have to pick your brain offline to figure out how to do that myself. [00:24:23] Ben Renkema: [00:24:23] It's actually I'm not a super techie person. It's like intricate complicated, but once you've learned how to do it, it's pretty easy. Yeah. [00:24:29] Craig Dalton: [00:24:29] That's good to know. I did it early on in the pandemic. [00:24:32] I started doing a little bit of Instagram live recording of this podcast and it was fun. But at the end of the day it was just hard to say for me to figure out how to save that content. So I ended up moving away from it, but maybe I'll revisit it a little bit in this coming year. As I get out there to some more events. [00:24:49] Definitely. Is there anything else you guys want to share about, you got four more events coming throughout this season. Anything you want to share to athletes who may be planning on registering for those events or otherwise? [00:25:02]Boyd Johnson: [00:25:02] I think the main man passages, the people who are coming out, they're having a blast. [00:25:06]You have people that worried if they're going to be fit enough to do it. We've had long people or people who do the long course. And halfway through, they realized that maybe they should transfer to the short course and we can adjust the result on the fly. Really, we just want people coming out and joining the roads, having a good time. [00:25:24]We've got a really good community atmosphere with, free lunch afterwards. We've got a really good beer [00:25:30] sponsor and it's just a great time, a great day on the bike. [00:25:35] Ben Renkema: [00:25:35] Yeah, I absolutely agree with that and to piggyback off that is, I like to tell people. This is if you're a pro bike racer. [00:25:43] Yeah. You're going to have a lot of fun. There's awesome competition. But the Mo most of the people out here are not bike racers. And that's what I love about gravel is, being a criteria, my road racer it's if you're a beginner, you go out there we've all seen it. You get dropped two laps in, you get pulled off the course okay, I drove three hours for a five minute race. [00:26:03] And it's probably embarrassing. That's not what grapple is. We have people who take, who average eight miles an hour for the day. And our pros usually average about 23 miles for the day. So you do not have to be a bike racer to come to these events. Most of the people doing them are not it's fun. [00:26:19] We've got rest stops and yeah, you finish up, you can drink some ONTAP Thomas Creek beer usually at barbecue or burrito. So it's awesome. [00:26:27] Craig Dalton: [00:26:27] Nice. And where are you seeing riders come in from, to get to these events? That how big of a draw regionally? [00:26:35] Boyd Johnson: [00:26:35] Obviously mainly, we get a lot from the Carolinas from Georgia. [00:26:38]We've been starting to get people from Florida coming up. Some of our first people that registered for the whole series are from Florida. Recently we've had a really big draw from the Washington DC area. And we've got some writers up there that are, trying to get more of their friends to come down to the series. [00:26:54] So we really appreciate that. I don't think because we have the six events I don't think any [00:27:00] one of them is particularly going to be a bucket list where, like you have people flying from all over the world to do an Unbound. We've got a little bit more manageable where, you're coming it's okay. [00:27:10]One day or a weekend event y'all have to plant, a week and a half of travel around it. [00:27:15] Craig Dalton: [00:27:15] Yeah, that makes sense. So not any one of the events is deemed the queen of the series per se. [00:27:26] Ben Renkema: [00:27:26] Yeah, [00:27:27] Boyd Johnson: [00:27:27] Clinton won the battle of Sumpter forest. The first one that we had, because we've had that now for three years, that's been our largest attendance. It's the first, one of the year, people are itching to get out and ride their bike in a competitive environment. I think the Valhalla one has the potential to be that really hard challenge that people are looking for. [00:27:46]So each one is unique and its own [00:27:48] Craig Dalton: [00:27:48] aspect. Yeah. Nice. And then, regionally, are you seeing more and more events crop up in 2021 that hadn't existed before we started to see a growing trend in that region for more events? [00:28:03] Boyd Johnson: [00:28:03] Yeah. I There's obviously more gravel racing that happens. Ben and I have already gone and done a few races this year. But we've had some pretty good staples in the area for a while. Southern cross up in Northern Georgia, we've got monster cross and Pisgah. We just went down and did the swamp [00:28:18] Ben Renkema: [00:28:18] pretty good. [00:28:20] Boyd Johnson: [00:28:20] So there's a good series, a good amount of events that happen around [00:28:24] Craig Dalton: [00:28:24] here. Yeah, it certainly seems as a region Southeast has had gravel athletes [00:28:30] for many years now that have been standouts and a lot of participants out of that region. [00:28:37] Ben Renkema: [00:28:37] And we get a good [00:28:38] Boyd Johnson: [00:28:38] draw. We get a good draw because we've got such a good mountain bike scene here. [00:28:42] And the road scene been really good too. And gravel is where the mountain bikers and the road riders are starting to play with each other. [00:28:49] Ben Renkema: [00:28:49] Yup. [00:28:50] Craig Dalton: [00:28:50] Okay. Yeah. It's super interesting. Are you, do you get a sense that more getting drawn from one sport or the other. [00:28:57] Ben Renkema: [00:28:57] No, I, what I've noticed is it's an absolutely mix. [00:28:59]So Clinton, our first event this year, where we just had an absolutely massive profield for men and women, it's evenly split. W there's a lot of pro mountain bikers that live up in Bravard kind of Asheville area. And they were, they all came out. And then we had. A handful of pro road racer. [00:29:15]So I think it's a really even split. And then also cross racers. We had a handful of legit cross racers who live up in Asheville. So I think it's a really like pretty much 50, 50 split of mountain bikers and roadies. Yeah, [00:29:28] Craig Dalton: [00:29:28] I guess that makes sense. As the bikes have become more capable. [00:29:30] I remember starting out as a mountain bike racer, begrudgingly getting a road bike because I knew I needed to train on the road in order to be competitive as a mountain biker. But I suppose today you're probably not going out and buying a pure road bike. If you're a mountain bike, you're getting one of these gravel bikes and then falling in love with all the great things about. [00:29:49] Drop bar riding on road and mixed terrain, and then discovering, Hey, this can really push me even as a technical mountain biker riding these drop bars on these [00:30:00] trails can really push me and challenge me in a way that's super exciting. [00:30:05] Ben Renkema: [00:30:05] Definitely. [00:30:06] Craig Dalton: [00:30:06] Yeah. Gentlemen, thank you so much for the overview of Southeast gravel. [00:30:10] As I said, I'll put all the appropriate links in the show notes for this, and I hope you guys have a successful series. Awesome. You're [00:30:18] Ben Renkema: [00:30:18] going gonna, you're gonna, you're going to come out and race with us, right? [00:30:21] Craig Dalton: [00:30:21] I hope to, and I've been itching to get to some East coast events for a long time. I thought last year was going to be a year of great gravel travel for me, but obviously that imploded. [00:30:31] So I'm slowly getting around to the idea of getting on a plane and getting out there. So I would definitely love to hit some of your events, [00:30:40]Ben Renkema: [00:30:40] but we'd love to have you. [00:30:42]Craig Dalton: [00:30:42] Big, thanks for that invitation, Ben and Boyd. And thank you for joining us this week on the gravel ride podcast. Great to learn more about the Southeast gravel series. I love that it's a year long series of events. I think that's so great for a region in nor Cal. We have the grasshopper series, which I know is the cornerstone for many bay area athletes. And I imagine Southeast gravel does the same duty. They're in the southeast region [00:31:07]I'll have all the appropriate links to their accounts and websites in our show notes. [00:31:12]And if you're looking for regional information as a gravel cyclist, I encourage you to join the ridership. The ridership is an online forum where a gravel cyclists are connecting on a regional basis, as well as discussing the macro trends in the industry. It's also the number one way to get in touch [00:31:30] with me or provide feedback about the show. Simply visit for your free membership [00:31:38]And if you're interested in supporting the show further, please visit buy me a gravel ride. [00:31:46]I genuinely appreciate all the contributions that have been made today to cover the overhead of the show. And it gives me a little fire in my belly to keep churning out the episodes. Until next time. Here's defining some dirt under your wheels        

    In the Dirt 20: Cervelo Aspero and how to add suspension gravel bikes

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2021 30:44

    This week Randall and Craig take a look at the new Cervelo Aspero  and discuss its fit in the spectrum of gravel bikes.  We then dive head first into a discussion of the myriad of ways one achieves suspension on a gravel bike.   Cervelo Aspero Support the Podcast The Ridership Automated Transcript, please excuse the errors In the Dirt 20 Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hello and welcome to in the dirt from the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. I'll be joined shortly by my cohost Randall Jacobs.  [00:00:13]Each week we muse about gravel cycling and how it's fitting into our lives. [00:00:18] These episodes are supported by listeners. Like you simply visit buy me a gravel ride to support the podcast. Additionally we encourage you to visit the ridership a free global cycling community [00:00:33] It's something we created to serve the cycling community. And also serve as a back channel for any suggestions you had for the podcast [00:00:41]With all that said let's dive right into my conversation with Randall.    .   hey Randall, [00:00:46] how are you doing? [00:00:47] [00:00:47] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:00:47] I'm doing well, Craig, [00:00:48] Craig Dalton: [00:00:48] how are you? I'm doing okay. A little bit rainy day here in Marin. So I'm glad I got a nice ride in yesterday. [00:00:55] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:00:55] Very much needed given the water table throughout California and fire risks coming up next season. So not a bad thing. [00:01:03] Craig Dalton: [00:01:03] Yeah. Fortunately they were actually, so I looked at the weather forecast and I made sure I got our ride in on Friday, which was great to see you. And then I got a nice ride in on Saturday. [00:01:11] So I feel relatively fulfilled with my last few days of riding. [00:01:16] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:01:16] Excellent. Yeah, I've gotten been back on the bikes since being back in the Bay and I've gotten a few rides in with friends and it's been great. Two people who are vaccinated. The statistics increasingly show that the risk of transmission is exceedingly [00:01:30] low, at least with the variants that are out there now. [00:01:32] And so being able to go out for a ride with a friend and not have it be, something that has to be overly worried about is quite a relief. [00:01:39]Craig Dalton: [00:01:39] Absolutely. I think we talked about this maybe on the last, in the dirt. It is a little bit awkward right now. I We run into people on the trails and there's still, I'm pulling my mask up to be courteous, but it, I feel like there's going to need to be some statements by the government to say, Hey, it's okay to be outside. [00:01:54] If you're not, if you're vaccinated and eventually we can get back to normal trail use. [00:02:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:00] Yeah. There's a lot that shows that outdoor mask usage, when you have a lot of space can be somewhat performative. But I do think that, especially in dense urban areas, there's still some value to that. [00:02:11] And plus people are just getting over this traumatic experience of Being afraid of this pandemic. And so when I'm out and about, I have my mask with me and if I pass somebody even if I'm sufficiently distant, if they're wearing a mask, I honor their boundaries by putting my mask up and just, just so everyone is comfortable, but we're slowly getting to a greater degree of normalcy while at the same time needing to remain vigilant. [00:02:34] Yeah. [00:02:35] Craig Dalton: [00:02:35] Yeah. And we certainly have to acknowledge that other parts of the world aren't. Getting as close as we are to returning back to normalcy. So keep masking up, keep protecting yourself and keep protecting others for sure. Yeah. Yeah. But on, onto the gravel world, I saw pretty cool announcement from  about their newest Sparrow. [00:02:53] Did you catch [00:02:54] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:02:54] that? I did. Yeah, it seems that they have shed some weights and gone internal with all the [00:03:00] cables and hoses and the I also, [00:03:02] Craig Dalton: [00:03:02] they did a good job of, aesthetically, it's a sexy, fast looking bike and I've always appreciated that they're very much in this race, bike category, which may not be for everybody. [00:03:13] But I think it is for some, and it's, it's an attractive package. [00:03:17] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:03:17] Yeah, and it's in the same mode of the, endurance, roadie type geometry. So this could be an excellent bike as the one bike for everything. Yeah. It's 72 head angle reasonably sporty handling and so on. [00:03:30]And they have this flip chip that is interesting in the fork too. So it's in the fork, the flip chip. [00:03:35] Craig Dalton: [00:03:35] Correct. And what's that [00:03:36] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:03:36] all about? So the way that, that they're marketing it in the way that they've implemented, it is it's really a way to maintain the same trail figure when you have tires of different radius. [00:03:49] And so if you have a six 50 by 47 tire, right? That's going to be 10 millimeters less radius than a 700 by 40. If you go 700 by 45, it's 15 millimeters. But just taking those two sizes. So it's going to be about 10, 10, 11 millimeters difference, depending on tire pressure and things like that. [00:04:07] And so they have a flip chip in there that keeps their, the trail figure at, around 58, 58 and a half millimeters, which they. Have defined as the sweet spot. And so if that's important to you to maintain the same trail with two different wheel tire volumes tire radio, and then that can be useful. [00:04:24] Craig Dalton: [00:04:24] So not effect of that. So what when for the uninitiated, what does that trail figure when you're [00:04:30] designing a bike and you said that, that 58 or whatever was what they thought was the ideal is that have to do with the steering quickness, the stability. What does it, how does it play out? [00:04:41] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:04:41] He can think of it partially as quickness. It's really like the proponent. It's also the propensity of the bison to want to travel in a straight line. And so it's hard to explain without a diagram, but just in terms of numbers, yeah. A lower trail figure is going to be a little bit more responsive. [00:04:59] So the ratio of input at the steering to output in terms of turning and so on we'll be great. Will be greater versus a. Larger trail figure, getting into 60, 65 or so that's going to be slower handling. So the inputs at the steering are going to be result in less outputs in terms of the bicycle actually turning. [00:05:19]Craig Dalton: [00:05:19] Okay. So if you talk about extremes, like if we talk about a chopper, that's got a very extreme high trail number. And as everybody can imagine riding a choppered out bicycle, when you turn the handlebar, it's very slow to steer. [00:05:34] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:05:34] Correct. And you end up with another problem. Which when you're talking about subtle differences in trail and, relatively steep head angles and the like, 70 to 73 range then you know, we'll flop, isn't an issue, but if you've ever been on like a really slacked out mountain bike, you'll notice that like the bicycle when it's straight. [00:05:54] It's at one height. And then when you turn it one way or another, the bicycle actually drops a little bit. So the bicycle has a natural [00:06:00] propensity to want to turn in. And in fact, the more it's turning the faster it's going to turn. Cause there's the weight, your weights pressing down is causing that turning it's supporting that turning. [00:06:11]And so that, that can be an issue when bikes get really, [00:06:13] Craig Dalton: [00:06:13] so that's the net effect on climbing, but the net effect on descending, if we talk about on the mountain bike side is. Just stability through rough [00:06:21] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:06:21] terrain, correct? Correct. And also when you're descending, you're, you're pointed downhill. [00:06:27] So your head angle relative to the downward vector of gravity is going to be more steep when you're going downhill. And so the steering characteristics are different. And so there's a bunch the variables here. [00:06:39] Craig Dalton: [00:06:39] Yeah. No, it makes sense. As I jumped from my. Heavily cross-country oriented 29 or a mountain bike to a more kind of all mountain bike that was full suspension. [00:06:49] It became way back in Slack and climbing became maybe less fun, but descending became a hell of a lot more fun. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Particular bike. I know if with the gravel athlete, a lot of times maybe you don't get into thinking about the geometry and what it's going to do when you're buying the bike, but you mentioned that. [00:07:09]The flip ship is just making it a neutral change between tire sizes. If you had two wheel sets on there, right? [00:07:16] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:07:16] Yeah. And neutral in terms of, again, this trail figure. So steering input to steering output and the propensity of the bike to want to travel in a straight line. And this is one way to achieve this. [00:07:26]And the other thing that, I look at this and it's okay, that's great. [00:07:30] But actually through the bikes geo in a little CAD program, and I just, queried what if I took the just. The standard, 51 millimeter trail position, and to change the wheels without flipping the chip, what would be the the impact on trail and the impact on trails only three millimeters. [00:07:49] So we're actually not, I'm not sure that the juice is worth the squeeze. With regards to having this extra components three millimeters of trail may be noticeable to somebody who's really can appreciate that subtlety, but frankly our bike actually has the same front end geo. [00:08:05]The DOB one is the same front NGO, 72 degree head angle in the large and a 51 offset. And I've written it with the 700 by forties and the node, the difference is subtle, but actually. The higher radius tire, like a 700 by 40 will, oftentimes you'd be running that tire when you're doing more straight, flat stuff anyways. [00:08:25] And maybe you want slower trail when you put on that higher rate, the greater radius tire. And so that change in trail is actually a benefit because it's it makes sense for the the tire being mounted. So are you [00:08:37] Craig Dalton: [00:08:37] suggesting maybe this particular implicate implementation of a flip ship didn't go far enough? [00:08:42]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:08:42] And think that there's it is useful if you are, if you really have a a sense of the subtlety when you change this, but don't expect a radical difference when flipping the chip versus [00:08:54] Craig Dalton: [00:08:54] changing the tire. It sounds if you're committed to one wheel size or another. When you put the six fifties on and you [00:09:00] put the chip in that particular position, you've got the bike that the Savallo engineer designed, correct? [00:09:06] Precisely. So if you're like a one wheel set kind of guy or girl. You got, what's promised to you by the engineers, but it's not necessarily trying to change the performance from more of a road bike experience to more of a off-road bike experience. [00:09:22] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:09:22] Correct? Yeah. It's really keeping the gravel focused experience. [00:09:27]Consistent across different wheel sizes though, at the same time, like there is a, I'd have to take a look at how they've implemented here, but presumably one position there would be well, so there's a, trade-off here too, in that you, in a road bike geo you want. You also want the generally the handlebar position maybe to be lower and maybe the axle to be more underneath your where your hands are on the bar. [00:09:54] So the either bars going out, the axle coming in, so that front ends more planted because on the road take like a high-speed road descent. You really want that front end planted because you have the grip and you want to feel you don't want the wheel wallowing. And then a lot of your braking performances there too on the dirt, it's exactly the opposite. [00:10:13] You want to be able to get your weight back. You have limited traction up front, you don't want the front wheel to wash out. And so you'd want to be a little bit more upright the axle a little bit further out and so on. And it's hard to this, this implementation doesn't really achieve anything with regards to changing that dynamic. [00:10:27] So it doesn't really make it more of a road, [00:10:30] more or less of a road bike in different positions. It's really about again, maintaining consistent trail. Across the two different wheel sizes that it accommodates. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. [00:10:38]Craig Dalton: [00:10:38] I think it's interesting. It's an interesting model. I know a number of people who ride this bike, a number of people, frankly, who have given up their road bike, because this one was so good at riding on the road, as well as off-road, as you mentioned, very close to an endurance road bike, geo with the exception that they D they have built in decent tire clearance. [00:10:57] I think at a six 50, you can go all the way out to a 49. [00:11:01] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:01] Correct. Yeah. And I can't recall what they allow with a 700 I'm guessing at least 700 by 40. Maybe it fits a 42 or 45. I think it was a 42. Yeah to overlap, probably come. That becomes an issue in some of the smaller sizes in particular, beyond that point, which gets into yet another one of these like variables that have to be considered when you're looking at all these geometry PM parameters. [00:11:24] Cause you can have the perfect geo, but if if you're gonna have to overlap, that's going to be a real compromise and may result in some safety issues. [00:11:31] Craig Dalton: [00:11:31] Yeah, for sure. I feel fortunate that I'm in the medium or 56 kind of size because typically I do all right. When it comes to toe overlap, [00:11:40] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:40] Yeah and I think we did one 70 cranks fee or one 60 fives. [00:11:44] I would not [00:11:45] Craig Dalton: [00:11:45] capitulate at the time in which I bought my bike and I went one 72, five, but I think I'm sold now that I would go one 70 in the future. [00:11:53] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:11:53] Yeah. Proportional, crank length helps with that a little bit and allows you to do a slightly tighter front-end geo on the smaller bikes without adding to that [00:12:00] risk of a tow, right? [00:12:01] Craig Dalton: [00:12:01] Yeah. And I don't have a particularly large foot, so that helps as well. It makes me skirt, the issue entirely. [00:12:08] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:12:08] So this gets into, so we talked about a little bit about geo. The other thing we wanted to discuss today is the advent of, suspension. We're starting to see suspension particularly for, front end suspension on gravel bikes. [00:12:18] Craig Dalton: [00:12:18] Yeah. I've been obsessing a little bit over it. Just trying to figure out the best way to articulate a conversation around suspension, because I think. A lot of times, and this may be true for some of the listeners out there. The moment you mentioned the word suspension, you get a hard stop. [00:12:36] I don't want to hear about it. I've got no interest in suspension whatsoever, but the reality is every single bike out there in the world is suspended in some way. [00:12:45] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:12:45] Absolutely. We use pneumatic tires. Exactly. As a suspension system. [00:12:49] Craig Dalton: [00:12:49] And when we talk so much about tire pressure, as we have ad nauseum on this podcast, that is the number one spot in which a lot of people are getting their suspension. [00:13:00] Correct. [00:13:00] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:13:00] Yeah. And it, it is a pretty ideal place to get it too, because there are other benefits that come with getting your suspension from the tires. It is a rolling efficiency, comfort, traction, and so on versus say adding a suspension fork you're getting. It's helping with traction for sure. [00:13:17] And that's one of the key benefits and helping with comfort, but you're adding a tremendous amount of weight and potentially some slop in the front end. So even if you block that out, it's never going to have the responsiveness when you get up and [00:13:30] stand up and really hammer on the pedals that are, a standard solid fork would have. [00:13:34] Yeah. [00:13:34]Craig Dalton: [00:13:34] I think that's an experiment it's like going back to tire pressure. I've got an experiment that every rider should do. And I encourage is go out there and ride on high tire pressure and see what happens in terms of traction and control. [00:13:49] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:13:49] Oh, geez. [00:13:50] Craig Dalton: [00:13:50] For us, for us and me, particularly here in Marin, like that, the repercussions become a very stark and are delivered very quickly. [00:13:58] Like you can't, you just can't keep control of the bike. [00:14:01] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:01] You get a little bit of a Pogo effect. And you just can't maintain traction because you have a much smaller contact. [00:14:07] Craig Dalton: [00:14:07] Yep. Yeah, because I think you've got traction as one of the vectors that you need to think about around suspension. You've got just overall performance and how it, how the. [00:14:17] Bike is feeling underneath your body, right? So we can only all take a certain amount of abuse from these bicycles. Sure. So again, figuring out suspension on the bike is critical. First starting point is, tire volume and tire pressure, and to put some specific numbers around it. And we riffed on this, on our ride. [00:14:38] If you've got a six 50 by. 47 millimeter tire. How many millimeters of suspension do you think you get? If you're running a reasonably low tire pressure? [00:14:48] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:14:48] So this is pure speculate. And if somebody hasn't done a study on this, I'm sure that we'll see this at some point. Think about like really when I set my tire pressure I'm [00:15:00] setting, when I have my tires on on a nice wide rim, so I can run them low without them squirming around. So in the case of the 60 feet by 47, this is like 25 millimeters. Plus I run on a 27.4 internal and that's plenty wide. So then from there it's what are the, what is the lowest pressure I can run and not bottom out the rim, given the train I'm riding and how hard I'm riding it. [00:15:21]And so wanting to have a little bit of buffer in there. The one way I think of it as like over the course of the ride, I'm probably using. Two thirds of the tires travel. So 47 and be around 30 millimeters or so of the tires travel, just going over rough stuff as I'm, descending and so on. [00:15:40]And then for those bigger hits, I still have a little bit of buffer there and the pressure is actually increasing slightly as the tire is being compressed. And so there's almost like a, it's a, it has a ramped air spring. Yeah. [00:15:53] Craig Dalton: [00:15:53] And I think as we talk about other ways in which bikes are getting suspended, just having that 30 millimeter odd figure in our head is going to be interesting for discussion. [00:16:02] Obviously, if you're running a 700 by 40 tire, you're getting less than that. So maybe it's, 22 or something, but as a listener keeps that in mind as we move forward, as some of I've been riding the Redshift suspension STEM for gosh, well over a year now, in fact, I just. Got sent the pro version to shed a little weight on it. [00:16:25] I put the thing on, I initially thought that, I'd ride it and test it and let [00:16:30] people know what I thought about it and I'd take it off, but I haven't taken it off. And it's because it is just blended in the movement and motion, which I've set up to be around 15 millimeters. So again, half of what I'm getting out of the tires is subtle enough. [00:16:44]And the performance changes is in my mind, positive that I keep that I've kept that on this whole time. So that's yet another way to achieve suspension on the bike. [00:16:54]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:16:54] And with that STEM, they have different elastomers that you can put in so that you could get like the first bit of travel. Maybe your tires are more sensitive. [00:17:02] So the first bit of travel is coming from the tires. And it's only when you have a bigger hit that suspension STEM is starting to engage. Yeah. And then [00:17:10] Craig Dalton: [00:17:10] you do have some frame manufacturers building a little bit of travel into their frames. I should state that in a different way. You have some that are building, the capacity for travel within a rigid frame. [00:17:22] And then others obviously are gone. I've gone to completely fully suspended route like the Niner, for example. [00:17:30] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:17:30] Yeah. And I think maybe we start with the first one. So this would be like the steerer based suspension systems. And I think that on the one hand it is ultimately If we put aside the E any sort of structural complexity or compromise it's created with such a design in terms of the handlebar and not rotating that's a benefit relative to a suspension STEM, right? [00:17:52] So you get, with your bars, I assume that you rotate them back a tiny bit so that when they're fully compressed, your hands aren't sliding forward on the [00:18:00] leavers, is that right? Yeah. This [00:18:00] Craig Dalton: [00:18:00] is a slight adjustment to be made. Yeah. [00:18:02] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:18:02] So a small adjustment. And I think that adjustment, frankly is a better compromise than, getting a suspension steer, which keeps the bars oriented in the same way. [00:18:11] They just dropped down, but adds a huge amount of complexity in an area that is there's a lot of stress and it's very high consequences. If something goes wrong and if a part fails or something like that, and nothing bad happens while you still, you can't just swap it up. Apart really easily. [00:18:27] Or if you don't want suspension on the front anymore, I guess you could lock it out. But with, a suspension STEM, you could always just put in a normal STEM. Yep. [00:18:35] Craig Dalton: [00:18:35] Yeah. And there's also the rear end of the bike works. Some people are doing some trickery. I know BMC with their URS bike has a little bit of movement designed into the back end and even going back so far as their hard tail mountain bikes, which I owned one from about 10 years ago, they always brought the stays in. [00:18:54] Pretty super low on the seat tube. So you got a little bit of movement designed into the carbon fiber. Now we're not, we are talking about a little bit what might you guess, like five millimeters? [00:19:04]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:04] I think it's more than that. So in the case of that design, I'd have to look it up. Anecdotally, I have actually been to the factory where that is, is designed to without, as manufactured in Southern China. [00:19:13] So I've seen how it's built and they're just using an elastomer in the upper part of the seat stays. And then the inherent flex in the carbon chain stays in order to achieve. Probably if I had to guess it's probably on the order of 22 millimeters of so or so. Okay. So it's not nothing. [00:19:30] [00:19:30] Craig Dalton: [00:19:30] Yeah. Yeah. In the grand scheme of things, as we're adding things up. Let's do it as to what's your maximum amount of suspension that you could build into a bike. That's not insignificant, [00:19:40] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:19:40] but I'm guessing they're adding a solid 200 grams or so to the frame to achieve that. And so you have the additional, the addition of the weights, plus again, as a road bike, you get out of the pedals, you want that, that responsiveness, and this is something that's inevitably sapping some energy. [00:19:54] So there's always some trade off that bike. Of course is very much optimized for the off-road, all day in the saddle, hammering sort of scenario. You can see it reflected in the geo has a pretty long wheel base a shorter STEM pretty slacked out, front end. I think it's on the order of 79 or less than sorry, 69 degrees, 69 and a half degrees. [00:20:15]That's pretty, pretty slacked. So you wouldn't really want to use that as a road bike anyways. It would feel somewhat piggish on the road. It's probably a good compromise for that specific application that bike is designed for. So then the question is do you want a bike that is really targeted? [00:20:30] Or do you want a bike that is very much general purpose and versatile? Yeah. [00:20:35] Craig Dalton: [00:20:35] I think this is really interesting to me because it reminds me of the journey that mountain bikes have gone on over the decades and how you really started to see the. Emergence of, these cross-country specific bikes that had these specific attributes and specific handling characteristics and you had on the other end of the extreme, downhill and the Enduro bikes that are completely different beasts at this point. [00:20:58] Yeah. And [00:21:00] similarly, in the gravel market, I feel like there's maybe a little bit intention around the existence of all these bikes. Whereas you don't see that on the mountain bike side. When I see someone with a DH bike, I just assume they like to go downhill and they don't like to go uphill. [00:21:16] You know what I mean? That's just your choice. That's where you're looking to optimize. And we're starting to see that around gravel bikes that you're you, as we've always said, gravel bikes, it's going to be so dependent on where you are and what you want to ride. How you're going to set these things up. [00:21:31] So when you see a friend from out of town, come with a radically different setup, don't start Hocking them crap about their setup. Start to embrace and understand they're going to kill it in one section of the ride where you've elected to compromise the other direction on your bike, potentially. [00:21:46]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:21:46] Yes though. I still I have a pretty strong point of view on this. Which, which how amount of not shy to share, I've shared it before, which is start with a bike that is as versatile as possible. So this is where I really like, we mentioned the, a Sparrow, it has like more of an endurance road, geometry. [00:22:03]It, that, and then make accommodations to that bike such that it allows it to go as much into kind of off-road borderline cross-country as possible without compromising, that on-road feel. And you can do that. In a way that actually you get the best of both worlds and the trick to it is a dropper post because with the dropper post, if you think about one way you can do it is with Gio MITRE to make it more competent off-road so you [00:22:30] longer wheel base shorter STEM slacker, head angle more trail and everything that will make the bike want to travel in a straight line, give it stability and make you feel more confident. [00:22:39]But the dropper posts. You can have the snappy or front end geo shift, your center of mass down and back over the rear wheel. Now your front wheel is nice in lights and can roll in sail over terrain. You don't have a bunch of mass distributed over that front axle in that situation. [00:22:55]Those road surface that the trail surface is not causing significant torques. Torques to be applied at the handlebars. You can control that and I'm using a rear wheel for speed control. And so you can have a bike that has a snappier on-road geometry. But then when you go into downhill mode, you can get your weight so far back that you still have immense competency. [00:23:15]We ride a bike that has the same front end. Is this a Sparrow with the thesis and with the dropper, you can ride it, down some pretty gnarly stuff. You're really limited by tires. Rather than [00:23:26] Craig Dalton: [00:23:26] geometry. Yeah. I don't think we specified that the sort of the greatest travel in suspension between the bike and body is the body. [00:23:34]If you allow the bike room to to you to really use your legs and arms and knees and elbows to absorb shocks, that's where the big suspension is [00:23:45] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:23:45] happening. And allowing the, by having your upper body nice and loose and the front end, nice and light. The, not only can you be using your arms as some suspension, but the bicycle can rock. [00:23:57] Underneath you and dance underneath you as [00:24:00] your, your legs and your arms are taking that up. And once you learn that technique, it is a night and day difference in terms of one's ability to ride even pretty rough stuff. Quite hard on these bikes. [00:24:12] Craig Dalton: [00:24:12] It's true. The final category we didn't actually discuss yet is the emergence of gravel specific suspension forks. [00:24:19] Yeah. Which would probably be, from an equipment perspective. The place where you could gain the most travel in a single location. [00:24:28]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:24:28] I'm still very much in the dropper post camp in that regard given the amount of travel with these forks, but what's your take on, have you written one yet? [00:24:36] I [00:24:36] Craig Dalton: [00:24:36] haven't I should say I've written the Fox acts a little bit, but never on my home terrain. And similarly I've demoed a lefty Oliver, but never really in a place where I could compare it specifically to what I've, what I'm used to. I will say, when you make comments about, your setup versus mine, I increasingly feel inclined to have more suspension. [00:25:02] And I think about it. In the context of, my rides versus yours, even if we're doing the same loop, because you're riding over to meet me from the city, my ride may have 90% dirt and 10% pavement. And the mileage you ride from the city may put you at, 25% pavement, just throwing something out there. [00:25:22] And do you [00:25:23] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:25:23] have a dedicated road bike still? [00:25:24] Craig Dalton: [00:25:24] I don't. And it's a great point, Randall I've all, but given up on road riding, and I [00:25:30] may on occasion, I've mentioned this before, like a friend may come into town that just rides on the road and I'm, I'm happily, I'll happily join them for the company versus my desire to ride on the road. [00:25:39] So more and more, I find myself willing to relinquish the road part of the performance of the bike and traded off for off-road performance. [00:25:50]Randall R. Jacobs: [00:25:50] And that totally makes sense. And that's where I think starting to look at one of these more focused machines may make sense for some writers. I still am of the mind though, that you can like, so there's an evolution of what we have now where, you run a bigger tire up front. [00:26:07] So imagine a two to five upfront and a 2.0 in the rear and imagine there's some magic through which the geometry could be changed slightly so that the front end comes up a little bit. The bigger front tire is further out. So the geometry slows a little bit. So now you have the suspension of that extra volume plus shifting your weight back and increasing the stability. [00:26:27] But then when you throw your road wheels on, you can change the geometry and still maintain that snappy that snappy handling. This is possible. And look forward to talking about that in the future [00:26:37] Craig Dalton: [00:26:37] mean. I think that's super cool. And I totally hear you on the tire size. Cause if we go back to our kind of armchair calculation about getting 30 millimeters of travel out of a 47, maybe when I'm going up to a two to five, I'm actually taking that up to 45 millimeters of travel in the tire. [00:26:57] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:26:57] Yeah, it's a 57 millimeter tire at [00:27:00] 2.25. So yeah, you could use a significant chunk of that and have that tire running at lower pressure. So it's going to be even more sensitive to the initial hit as well. Yeah, [00:27:10] Craig Dalton: [00:27:10] I think it's interesting. Again, I harken back to just the world of mountain bikes and how everybody sets it up based on how they want to enjoy their personal rigs. [00:27:20] And I, for 1:00 AM radically open. To radical diversity in gravel, bike, setups, and design. [00:27:29] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:27:29] I think I really like these new even more aggressive, gravel bikes that we're seeing that are designed for like more aggressive, single track and so on with a flat handle bar and dual suspension and a bigger fork. [00:27:40] I think they're called down country. [00:27:44] Craig Dalton: [00:27:44] I was going to say, that's absolutely where you lose me on the flat bar, gravel bikes. I wouldn't have it. I, yeah you, it's a bridge too far into close, potentially to mountain bikes. Cause you know, for many of the listeners, they may not own a mountain bike. [00:27:56] I know a lot of gravel athletes come to the sport from. From road cycling. And I will say I'm still a big fan of mountain bikes. They're just they're fun in a different way. And I continued to ride them to this day for sure. [00:28:10] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:28:10] And I'm still like minimal number of bikes for the maximum amount of experiences is what I'm all about. [00:28:16] So I'll be continuing to bang that drum for a while, [00:28:21] Craig Dalton: [00:28:21] right on. The conversation was a lot of fun. I hope the listener got something out of it again there's a lot of products coming to market, lots of different ways to [00:28:30] personalize your ride experience based on where you are. [00:28:33] And yeah. If you're interested in commenting, we're always here in the ridership forum for you to meet us and talk to other members of the community. [00:28:43] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:28:43] Yeah, we'd love to meet you there. There's a lot of let's take a moment to talk about the ridership real quick. These we're starting to see some interesting dynamics there in terms of now that people are getting vaccinated, starting to coordinate rides, reaching out, being like, Hey, I'm in, this particular region, anyone nearby. [00:28:57] And we're seeing people chime in and be like, yeah, let's get a ride going next weekend. This is exactly the mission of this is to facilitate those offline connections. The more people that we have participating, the more of those connect, more of those connections there are to be made. [00:29:10] So we'd love to have you join us for that as well as all the components nerdery and route sharing and all that good stuff. Yeah, [00:29:17] Craig Dalton: [00:29:17] totally. It's a blast seeing that community take off in different ways that. We aren't guiding. It's just happening naturally as these things do as when you're a member of the community you contribute and you navigate and you create, yeah. [00:29:32] If you have questions, you get out there and just get in the mix. It's been a lot of fun to see. [00:29:37] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:37] Yeah. And a reminder, everyone, we did buy a group rabid GPS account. That is offered to members free of charge. And if you'd like to sign up, just go to the and you can get into the Slack and start getting some of these benefits right [00:29:51] Craig Dalton: [00:29:51] on. [00:29:52] Perfect. Gretel. I will talk to you soon, my friend. [00:29:55] Randall R. Jacobs: [00:29:55] Yeah, I'm looking forward to it again soon. All right. Bye. [00:29:58]Craig Dalton: [00:29:58] So [00:30:00] that's it for this week's edition of, in the dirt, from the gravel ride podcast. Thank you for spending part of your week with us this week, we'll be back next week with a long form interview on the gravel ride. If you're interested in supporting the podcast, please visit. gravel ride. [00:30:20] And if you're interested in joining the ridership, a global cycling community. Simply visit Until next time. Here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels    

    Ben Shillington: Guided Bikepacking with TDA Global Cycling

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2021 36:29

    This week we talk with adventurer, instructor and guide, Ben Shillington about an upcoming 12 day guided bikepacking trip offered by TDA Global Cycling in Quebec, Canada.    TDA Global Cycling Guided Bikepacking trip TDA Instagram Ben Shillington Support the Podcast  Discuss in The Ridership Episode Transcription (please excuse the typos): Ben Shillington - TDA Cycling Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. On this week's episode we've got expedition guide adventure consultant and adventure instructor ben shillington coming on [00:00:17]To talk about a new guided bike packing trip from tda global cycling. [00:00:22]As we've talked about more and more bike packing and adventure riding on your gravel bike on the podcast. I thought this was a great extension. [00:00:30]And a really cool concept i hadn't seen elsewhere the idea of a guided bike packing expedition . [00:00:37] We'll get into all the details about the 12 day trip and what it entails. But before we jump in just a quick, thank you. To everybody who's been visiting. Buy me a gravel ride. Your financial support for the podcast means the world to me. [00:00:53]And it keeps me eager to find new guests to keep you on your gravel cycling journey, just as I continue to be on mine.  [00:01:00] You may have gathered from some of my comments on the podcast over the last few years, that I'm a big fan of adventure. That includes adventures both on and off the bike. [00:01:11]Which is why I was super stoked to talk to Ben. Ben's been in big mountains all over the world, both as a Mountaineer. A guide and a cyclist.  [00:01:21]With all that said i hope you enjoy my conversation with ben and let's dive right in [00:01:26]Ben, welcome to the show. [00:01:28] Ben Shillington: [00:01:28] Hey, Craig thanks. Thanks for having [00:01:30] me on, I appreciate appreciate your time and looking forward to chatting with [00:01:33] you. [00:01:34] Craig Dalton: [00:01:34] It's growing trend on the podcast throughout the pandemic to be talking more and more about adventures you can have on the bicycle and on a gravel bicycle. [00:01:43] So I was excited when the team at TDA cycling reached out to me and informed me about the new guided bike packing trip that they're offering this year. Yeah. We'll definitely get into the details about that, but I'd love for you to give the listener a little bit of your background. It's so diverse as an adventurer that I think it's relevant to the trip and just the experience that gravel cyclists will tend to have when they go out on their first bike packing expedition. [00:02:15] Ben Shillington: [00:02:15] Yeah, sure. Yeah I guess they're given a full CV. I've had the opportunity and pleasure, to work full time in the adventure guiding industry. So I started professionally, making money When I was 18. So I've been guiding and instructing in a variety of different fields from obviously cycle touring and bike packing mountaineering and tracking polar style trips, winter camping, so on and so forth. [00:02:38]So I've been able to have the opportunity to travel all over the world, leading expeditions or guiding on expeditions at least and instructing and educating folks in a variety of different skill sets. Yeah, over the last two decades. Yeah, I [00:02:52] Craig Dalton: [00:02:52] think that's so interesting bringing that broader adventure guide and instructor mentality to cycling. [00:02:59] I think [00:03:00] most of us, we'd get a bike as a child and we learned to ride it. And as we become passionate about cycling, we just ride further a field and get off road, et cetera. But it's not often we think about the need for guidance or instruction. Whereas in other sports, certainly mountaineering getting a mentor and getting guidance and instruction is so critical to your own personal safety and your ability to tackle more adventurous mountains and situations. [00:03:30] It's great to see that philosophy come into cycling via TDA cycling. [00:03:36] Ben Shillington: [00:03:36] Yeah. Yeah. We're pretty excited about that.  as you've mentioned there at the top of this, that this is a new I guess a Avenue or a new venture for TDA global cycling. So TDA has been guiding cycling trips all over the world and pretty spicy ones. [00:03:50]And as far as adventure goes and getting into some, areas that you may not be it may not be first on your bucket list to think about doing something like that yourself. But the whole concept of that bike packing is to bring a little bit of an educational as well. [00:04:04]As the experiential kind of option to the table where folks can come out on this trip and although we're providing some security and we're, as far as some amenities and backups so on and so forth. We're also able to it gives them skills at the same time. [00:04:21]So that folks may feel a little bit more empowered or a little bit more confident on going out and doing their own maybe backyard adventures. And as they build [00:04:30] those skills and that confidence maybe take that a little bit farther on [00:04:32] Craig Dalton: [00:04:32] their own. Yeah, absolutely. So stepping back for a second about TDA cycling, I. [00:04:38] Since it was a, I almost say it was a bit of an understatement to speak to how crazy these trips are that they've put together. Okay. I know you mentioned to me offline that you guided a three and a half month long silk road bike packing trip for that company. I [00:04:57] Ben Shillington: [00:04:57] did. Yeah. And that was a, that was my first trip that I did with TDA. [00:05:01]And it was it was quite the experience, especially as leading that trip and guiding on that trip. Yeah. So it was a multi month three and a half months, I think pretty close. And we rode from Istanbul, Turkey to Beijing, China. So I think that would be what seven or eight countries that we specifically road through across the way. [00:05:18]So you can imagine a variety of different borders to cross a lot of different cultures to encounter quite a few stories because although, you have a plan and a backup plan, there's a lot of unforeseen little adventures that can arise on the way. We can't, I'd say probably 75% of the way. [00:05:35] And as I'd mentioned before probably say about 25%, that would be in what you may call a hotel. And especially as we got a little bit further East in the more populated Eastern side of China crossing the Caspian sea being I wouldn't say stranded, but I guess stranded on on a Russian barge across the Caspian sea to hitchhike in somewhere equipment across the the mountains from Turkistan into China and [00:06:00] bypassing a war and a whole bunch of intermittent little surprises along the way were a couple of the a couple of the. [00:06:07]Adventurous port. So that particular expedition with TDA [00:06:11] Craig Dalton: [00:06:11] amazing. When I think of bicycle tour companies, I think of the typical, or we're going to take you to the Alps or the Pyrenees and France and the week long cycling trip. So to learn about a company that is doing not only multi-week, but multi month trips, it's pretty amazing to check out. [00:06:30] Ben Shillington: [00:06:30] Yeah, for sure. And as you mentioned, it's these are bike paths or cycling expeditions really. Because, although there's an a to B there's no real guarantees, but the the skill set that TDA and primary staff have for keeping the thumb on the pulse and knowing what's going on internationally and having communications. [00:06:47] And these guys are experts at logistics and problem solving. And it's just amazing. Anytime that do get the opportunity to work with these guys they can make pretty much anything happen and deal with things in such a calm and collected manner that you know, even as a. A professional guide and I've worked in a whole bunch of different genres that always something to learn with how these guys are able to choreograph and really have these successful trips going through these amazing areas that you may not have otherwise thought you could even expose yourself to. [00:07:18] Yeah, there's [00:07:18] Craig Dalton: [00:07:18] absolutely both an art and a science to bring a group through. Some of these countries, even like landing in the airport and fi figuring out how to get your gear together and how [00:07:30] to get the right Porter or the right car, having someone in the background, just handling those logistics can make something that's still truly going to be an Epic adventure. [00:07:40] That's going to push her personal limits just a little bit easier and frankly, a little bit safer to pull off. [00:07:46] Ben Shillington: [00:07:46] Yeah, for sure. Yeah. So the individual still has to have their head in the game to make it through whatever that day's offering is. But like we keep mentioning, it's some of those really off the beat challenges that may come in that we don't have, that your average lady or gentleman wouldn't have experienced with that we can take [00:08:02] Craig Dalton: [00:08:02] care of. [00:08:03] As someone who's approaching, guiding that three and a half month trip with clients, was there criteria or communication with the client and the advance to make sure that they were prepared both physically and mentally for that type of trip. [00:08:19] Ben Shillington: [00:08:19] Yeah. So for most of these TDA trips and especially these longer ones and moving into the bike packing one, there's a lot of communication that comes ahead. [00:08:26]So that people understand what they're signing up for, want to make sure that the experience that they're signing up for is. Is what they are actually considering. Sometimes things might look different on a webpage or in a description than what you have in your own mind. [00:08:40] So the communications through email phone conversations happened way ahead of time. And then there's a bit of consulting. So on these other, the classic TDA tours there's bulletins that go out bike checks, medicals. Yeah. Gear, packing request sheets, or even mandatory, like on some of these trips, if we go back to the silk road, right? [00:08:59] You could only [00:09:00] bring, these two size bags and if it didn't fit, you weren't allowed to bring it on. You had to have these X amount of spare parts and nothing extra, so on and so forth. Because. The environment is changing so much that you can't be overburdened. So being selective with what you have, but making sure that folks bring the right things with them especially if there's no opportunity or limited opportunity to top up on those supplies. [00:09:23] So yeah, a lot of work goes in to getting people to buy into the trip objective and be as ready as possible. For day one, starting out on some of these bigger journeys. [00:09:35] Craig Dalton: [00:09:35] Was your experience that the relative fitness level of the clients made it so that it was a kind of simpatico team? [00:09:41] Or did you have outliers one way or the other. [00:09:44] Ben Shillington: [00:09:44] No. There's a suggested level of, fitness or strength or fitness would probably be the the right word, but no it varies across the board and my experiences with the trips that I've ran with TDA specifically you set that kind of expectation. [00:09:57] So people know physically what they're getting themselves into. And traditionally, just because of the longevity and the amount of organization people have on their end, To prepare to depart or leave, their lives behind for a month or three months. That general conditioning is there and, we hear it often sounds cliche maybe, but it's so much more in your mind than it is in your body. [00:10:18] That if you arrive with the right Headspace or you can keep your head in the right Headspace, the body's going to catch up eventually. So the spread across the day and these trips is, not particular riding in a solid group where everybody has to maintain a [00:10:30] minimal pace. There's a briefing in the morning, there's a general layout of the description of the route and the directions. [00:10:36] And, as obviously as times moved on, it's went into you being able to have GPX files. But it's always good to pair that up with the map and people can just. Unfold as they see fit and they'll check in, at a particular, lunch points throughout the day. So whether that ride day is a hundred or 190 kilometers, that are a particular spot where they'll check in for some food they'll need to arrive in camp. [00:10:57] There's always a sweep rider. And depending on the trip, there'll be an emergency vehicle out there. Even though these clients will be spread out, over, tens or, Maybe half, maybe 50 kilometers worth of terrain. We always kinda got an eye on where everybody is and they can just roll in at their own leisure because the whole objective of a lot of these trips is to connect people with the region that you're traveling in. [00:11:19] And the beauty of the bike is being able to move swiftly and efficiently, but also you can slow down and you can get off to check anything out that you see or, have those personal encounters and just be in the moment. [00:11:30]Craig Dalton: [00:11:30] Yeah. Absolutely. It makes it so special. And I think part of getting out there and nature often is experiencing a little solitude and a little time by yourself. [00:11:40] So doing that in foreign country, and as you said, to be able to experience the community and the food at your own pace is a really nice benefit and really adds to that spirit of adventure. I imagine. [00:11:53] Ben Shillington: [00:11:53] Yeah. And, and everybody has their own objective, right? So they might sign up to bike from Istanbul to Beijing, but, you might be a history [00:12:00] buff or you may, maybe you might be a fitness buff and you want to crush those miles as hard and fast as you can every single day. [00:12:05]Cause that's your goal. Maybe you might be into food or photography. Being able to give folks a bit of a heads up on what they may encounter and how they may get the most out of that experience. Then as long as they're not in a. A major time restriction, everybody can take that day in as they see fit. [00:12:22] Craig Dalton: [00:12:22] Yeah. We could continue to talk about the silk road all day because it's an area that I'm personally fascinated in and I've seen some of the bike packing events over in that region. It looks stunning. It looks rugged. It looks remote. It just looks like the place that any adventurer would dream of going. [00:12:39] Yeah, for sure. Transitioning over to the bike packing Quebec trip, that's on the calendar for this year. Let's talk about some of the details where it starts and stops the dates. And then we can get into kind of what the rider should experience and what you're looking to provide to them. Sure. [00:12:58] Ben Shillington: [00:12:58] Yeah. So the bike pack in Quebec, it's a Walton Quebec, the province of Quebec here in Canada, which is on the Eastern side of the country. [00:13:06]It's a, about a 15 day trip total that's with pre posts and the starting, or the preparation day will happen on August the 14th, which would be a Saturday. So it'd be day one, stage zero. So we have two days of prep that's happening in Ottawa where we can come together. And do a little bit of a equipment check, build up the bikes. [00:13:26]Just an overall shakedown in preparation because we will be [00:13:30] consulting with declines beforehand on, helping them get the right gear, the right bike, have the right equipment with them. Not too much, but not too little. If there's a couple of gaps or a few little things that we need to fine tune, then we'll have that opportunity in the city. [00:13:43]It'll be a a finished day on the 28th in Quebec city. So we're going from Ottawa to Quebec city and the road takes us over those two weeks. There'll be two rest days in there to break things up. But it brings us up in, around out of Ottawa through the Gatineau park getting up quite a bit, North end was a wrench and mountains. [00:14:02] And we've been back around, down into Quebec city. And does that [00:14:07] Craig Dalton: [00:14:07] cover a lot of elevation? Is there a lot of climbing in that region? [00:14:10] Ben Shillington: [00:14:10] Yeah. And you're going to ask that being out in California. So in the end of the wrench in mountains here we've got, we don't have the long rise that you guys do or the run, sorry, but we have a repetitive run. [00:14:22] So there's lots of steep climbs and descents, but just back to back, I'm so thrilled to the luncheons. You can get anywhere from 9% to 20% gradients and on your average day if I look at my layout here, I can tell you what some of the average day climbs are, but up to about 1200 meters of climbing on an average day for this particular route. [00:14:44] Yeah. Nothing too crazy, but definitely some steep pitches. But it's more so being off of the beaten path as opposed to a cumulative elevation gain. And [00:14:53] Craig Dalton: [00:14:53] as this as a team of cyclists, Okay. Are you out there on your own or are there support [00:15:00] systems, vans following you? [00:15:01]What's the situation? [00:15:04] Ben Shillington: [00:15:04] Yeah. So the situation in that, the point that we're trying to sell or promote the folks is that we're creating a real kind of, self-sufficient. Opportunity to get out there on your bike. So the bikes everyone will be loaded with everything that they need for sleeping for eating. [00:15:18]So a multi, like a fuel stove a solo self-supported or, free-standing tent, your change of clothes, snacks. Yeah. Water purification so on and so forth. So there'll be a emergency four-wheel drive vehicle in the ether that will have access in the event that there's an emergency. [00:15:35]But there's no lag wagon per se or anything. That's meeting us from point to point. So when we roll out in the morning, collectively as a group, folks who have a GPX file. I'll do a morning trip briefing to let folks know, here's what the terrain is looking like. If there are any amenities to, to see, to stop out along the way, there are going to be several days where there are no amenities, so that classic coffee shop, or, pastry top up will not be available for portions of this ride. [00:16:01] So we'll discuss that all out in the morning. And so when we leave out, people will have a good sense of the directions where they're going what they may encounter. And one of us will be riding. Within the group and, move around from front to back, keeping a physical check on everybody, but not being with everybody all at the same time. [00:16:19] So when we do roll into camp in the evenings, everything will already be on the bike. We can roll in, we can set up, get cleaned up and then progress with our afternoon and evening. [00:16:30] Nice. Will [00:16:30] Craig Dalton: [00:16:30] each athlete then have a complete bike packing setup? I think you referenced this, but I want to make that point clear. [00:16:37] So each person would effectively be self-sufficient with their own food, their own ability to cook their own ability to purify water. [00:16:47] Ben Shillington: [00:16:47] That's correct? Yeah, that's correct. So we'll make sure and that'll be a part of, the pre-trip support that we're going to offer. So obviously everything is via zoom and, depending on where folks are coming in from we're setting up a couple milestones ahead of the time so that we can review those bikes or help them, make a choice with what they already have or what they may need to add to that setup. [00:17:06] So depending on what their philosophy is for their own rig the bike pack. Frame bags, so on and so forth that they might use the equipment. And we definitely are gonna consult and give some, high suggestions on certain particular pieces of equipment that they come out with them as far as their sleep systems go and for cooking. [00:17:23]Yeah, you're correct that when we roll out. If we're on stage four and we're rolling out from lack Ernest to  and it's a 80 kilometer day and 20, 55% of that is dirt, gravel, and Doubletrack, they have every single thing that they need on them. Let's say worst case scenario, we had to stop midway and set up camp. [00:17:42] We could everything's right there. It's not in the van or in Surrey or in the truck. [00:17:46] Craig Dalton: [00:17:46] Yeah. Interesting. That type of advice is invaluable. I think in bike packing, certainly editing is critical in terms of getting the right amount of gear, but not too much gear. [00:17:58] Ben Shillington: [00:17:58] That's right. Yeah. And [00:18:00] that's it. [00:18:00] And I think that's, that's what we want to provide here. And this is the idea is that, we talked about, it's nice having that little bit of security or peace of mind that you have support with you. So whether that be an experienced guide, that's out on the trail, whether he's 10 kilometers. [00:18:12]It had a, you or 20 kilometers behind, that, he or she is coming. Understanding the system as a whole and being able to progress and get a little bit more efficient on packing that bike a little bit. So it's handier to get up the things that you need throughout the day. [00:18:26] Being a quicker and more efficient at setting that tent up at night, how to stake things out. So your tent is more breathable so that your dryer in the morning, how to manage your clothes, how to eat differently when you should prep your water and why. So these are all the things that myself and the staff at TDA on this expedition are going to be able to work with clients beforehand. [00:18:48] But then also work with them throughout the trip. So it's a progression of knowledge and experience. When we go on through these systems every single day and recalibrating, everybody has their own philosophy, but we can help each individual fine tune that philosophy. [00:19:04] Fine tune those skills and figure out how they may want to progress. In the future, if they were to do this again on their own. Yeah. It's so important. [00:19:12]Craig Dalton: [00:19:12] I think the modern bike packing bag set up is so amazing. But it also involves cramming things in places, compressing things. [00:19:21] And as you referenced, knowing where everything is and having a system in your own mind is so important because there's [00:19:30] nothing worse than realizing you need something that's absolutely buried and inaccessible in your bike, packing bags. [00:19:38] Ben Shillington: [00:19:38] That's right. And when you have some anytime and you can make some refinements, sometimes you just, you have what you have and that's okay. [00:19:44] And sometimes the decision I find decision fatigue. I, I teach cycle tour guiding courses for an outdoor adventure guide diploma program that I'm a full-time instructor for. And a lot of the stuff that we go through in these bike and courses, and even some of the other stuff is, decision fatigue, and often. [00:20:01] You have way more stuff than you actually need. So being able to look at that kind of objective and saying, Hey, this doesn't kill two birds with one stone, so I don't really need it. And this can do a couple of things here, so maybe I'll keep that. And if I shift this up to this bag and bury this in the bottom, I don't have to think about sifting through that until we get into camp at night and. [00:20:22] Even though, that's a mental energy expenditure. So we're looking at trying to be as efficient as possible. You can select a gear to be more efficient. You can breathe differently to be more efficient, but also just being able to quickly. Access some of those tools that you need throughout the day allows you to put more energy into the ride and being familiar with your surroundings, as opposed to stressing about, jamming things into the, these places or having things that you'd really didn't need in the first [00:20:48] Craig Dalton: [00:20:48] place. [00:20:49] Yeah, I think it's interesting with the modern day bike packing bags and, being a fan of bike, packing myself, looking at people who have done these big expeditions and seeing they only had a frame bag, a [00:21:00] front roll and a seat bag. And if they managed to get everything they needed for three months in that bag, clearly I can go for 48 hours and fit everything I need in. [00:21:09] So if it doesn't fit in, it's clearly not needed. [00:21:12] Ben Shillington: [00:21:12] Exactly. Yeah. And, I find for me anyways, I find it half the fun now. Pact for so many different types of trips. And, even if we just talk about bikes specifically, and every time I think, half the fun really is preparing and laying out all my stuff and kind of, figuring out, Oh what's going to work just a little bit better this time and or how can I make that lighter or a little bit more convenience. [00:21:33] And I've done many a night where, everybody's in bed here at the house and I'm packing, unpacking, and laying things out and just having fun, trying to fine tune. Yeah. There's some [00:21:43] Craig Dalton: [00:21:43] personal satisfaction in pulling out a small item that takes your comfort to the next level when your peers have forgotten or hadn't thought about [00:21:53] Ben Shillington: [00:21:53] it. [00:21:53] That's right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. [00:21:57] Craig Dalton: [00:21:57] I remember my, I went bike, packing it up in Oregon on the Oregon timber trail and I just. Decided I was going to bring it an extra pair of warm gloves with me and a few mornings where we got up to elevation, it was bitterly cold. And I had these essentially like skiing gloves with me that were the envy of my two expedition mates. [00:22:19] Ben Shillington: [00:22:19] Oh, that's nice. Yeah. That's a feather in your cap there for sure. [00:22:24] Craig Dalton: [00:22:24] Which is probably the only feather garnered in that trip because I was clearly the rookie and very, a [00:22:30] reliant on the other two for a number of the more critical details in life. Yeah [00:22:35] Ben Shillington: [00:22:35] safety in [00:22:35] Craig Dalton: [00:22:35] numbers, right? Exactly. I think that's one of the things that made me keen about having this conversation and just this concept of, this coached bike, packing expedition, because as we talked about, and obviously anybody can go out and have these adventures it. [00:22:50] Go out for 24 hours. Any mistake you make is not going to be critical. You're going to get home fine and you'll learn a ton, but being able to have a coach to guide you into this 12 day long experience, I think is a super opportunity for someone who maybe doesn't have the bandwidth in their personal life to figure all these details out, but really wants to get out there and experience a true bike packing experience. [00:23:17] Ben Shillington: [00:23:17] Yeah. Yeah. It gives a bit of a kickstart, right? Cause it can, everybody's got the capacity to learn on their own, but like you said, the bandwidth or the time to you got to learn by making a lot of mistakes. So how I see, especially. As I, instruct and educate and run courses all the time is that you can really help people fast track. [00:23:35] They'll still need to put the miles in to build the intuition. But being able to help them bypass some of the the beginner mistakes, or oversights, really not really mistakes so much, but just sometimes you just don't know what you don't know. And if somebody else can help you buffer through that the potential is there to have. [00:23:52] Faster and more time out on that bike and on your own [00:23:56] Craig Dalton: [00:23:56] as well. If for me personally, a couple of the things that [00:24:00] have always created anxiety around bike packing, and I do realize these are going to be region and routes specific have been food and hydration. And just making sure that I had an understanding of when my next resupply point might be for both water and food and managing that effectively. [00:24:20] I find personally, I'm always very conservative. So I end up carrying a lot of extra weight potentially on the bike because I'm fearful that next resupply point is not going to come when I need it. [00:24:33] Ben Shillington: [00:24:33] Yeah, that's right. Yeah, for sure. And sometimes it is better to be a little bit more conservative and in the end, if you have to, Del pass a water bottle out, or you got an extra bar too, that's no problem, but there is a tipping point for sure. [00:24:45] And I think a lot of that, and this is what we want to go over with folks as well is there's th there's the whole riding your bike from a to B, but there's everything before that, that route planning and deciding on why you might, Take this road, as opposed to that road and how long you might think something might take, because if you change the oil, the elevation gain, or the terrain that you're riding on, just because you ride at this pace and this terrain doesn't mean this is going to work here. [00:25:11] So where's that water gonna fall in? And do I need to carry that? Or is there an opportunity to get that, from a. A Lake or river and if so how do I purify that? And the same thing with that chloric intake, right? We often think we need way more food than we do, but if we change the foods that we select and we put it in our body in a [00:25:30] slow trickle, you often get more miles over to that. [00:25:32] So it changes the bulk. So yeah, there's, it's intimidating, but also fun as well because there is so much to learn and you always get just a little bit better and a little bit more refined and you push that next trip, and just to touch more. Yeah, [00:25:45]Craig Dalton: [00:25:45] It's interesting, a lot of the listeners and myself included may have come from a bike racing background where it was pretty easy to have, eight power bars or the equivalent with you. [00:25:56] For an eight hour event, but in bike packing, shifts because I find that, if you're out there for multiple days, you don't want to be eating eight power bars or goos or Clif blocks, like all day long, every day, you really want to be fueling up on more natural foods and more things that you can cook and buy. [00:26:15] So it's an interesting shift for people. And as you said, definitely a learning curve there. [00:26:21] Ben Shillington: [00:26:21] Yeah. And it's, one thing I I always use the reference. It's a game of chess, so when, you can fake it for an overnight but when you're adding multiple nights on, there's a snowball effect for every decision that you make. [00:26:31]When you're on stage one or two, you've got to think about stage eight and nine. And Yeah. So some of those things change when you're adding duration to the big picture. Yeah, [00:26:40] Craig Dalton: [00:26:40] totally. And I imagine that also that statement applies to people's physical nature as well, because you can go out and you can hammer day one's climbs and crush everybody and put a lot of effort into it. [00:26:53] But day two and three, those efforts are gonna come back and haunt you. So it's important to measure out your physical efforts [00:27:00] as well. I imagine. [00:27:01] Ben Shillington: [00:27:01] Both exactly. Yeah. That's exactly sure. And if you've got enough daylight, you don't have to come to hot out of the gate. We play around with that, your gear, selection, and cadence and breathing and fueling, and, you'd be surprised like you can settle into, what, I just call that sweet spot. [00:27:17] And if you're managing all those systems together you can match your physiology and you can really, take your body. Over those multiple days and get quite comfortable and adapt relatively, relatively easily, per se. [00:27:30]If you're taking a look at all those different avenues, write down even to, to sleep your sleep patterns and stuff at night and rest. So [00:27:37] Craig Dalton: [00:27:37] that was encouraged people to get out there on multi-day experiences because there's something absolutely liberating. And in this modern society where. [00:27:45] We've got so many responsibilities and we're always on and always connected when you realize you're on a 12 day bike packing trip. And literally the only thing you need to do all day is pedal your bike. It just is such an amazing and freeing experience. [00:28:01] Ben Shillington: [00:28:01] Yeah. That's back to the basics or I call it, active meditation is something I use to describe that. [00:28:07] And, I think people don't often give themselves enough credit or just. Don't, some, sometimes people just need a little bit of a confidence boost to say, Hey, compete, you can do a lot more than you're probably giving yourself credit for. So if you can just kinda have a little bit of taste of that success, whatever you define success to be it's it sets the ball in motion or it's exponential for the next challenge that you may try to [00:28:30] tackle. [00:28:30] Yeah, for sure. [00:28:31] Craig Dalton: [00:28:31] One of the final things I wanted to talk about is when loading a bike fully for a bike packing expedition, obviously you're putting a lot more weight on the bike and experience has shown and certainly stories have been told about how. Bike mechanicals are probably more likely to happen than on your daily tours. [00:28:52] Can you talk about how you guys address that and what type of coaching you provide and what type of extra parts you encourage people to bring out on these bike packing trips? [00:29:02] Ben Shillington: [00:29:02] Sure. Yeah, that's a great question. So I always think proactive instead of reactive. And when I say that it's more one really knowing your bike having it fine tuned, whether it's by yourself or, your local mechanic to make sure. [00:29:14] Every part of that bike from, the integrity of the frame to how good your sidewalls on the tires that you're choosing to use fresh cables. And there's no leaks. If you're running hydraulic brakes, the drive train is fresh rate. So if you're on the cusp of any of that, you want to take that out of the equation, right? [00:29:30] So you start off with a peace of mind, not fingers crossed. I always want people not to have fingers crossed as far as that goes. So when you're coming in with all those avenues of your bike, taking care of. Bearings as well the wheels being trued, so on and so forth, we have a list of recommendations for what should be, certified or checked off by yourself or your mechanic. [00:29:51] So that'd be number one, being proactive instead of reactive, and then the reactivity in the field. That's what we want to give folks as well. We'll do little modules in the field [00:30:00] on, Some people just don't know how to take that route. We offer their bike cause it's quite intimidating during dealing with those gears and the chain so on and so forth. [00:30:07] So we'll show people how to, remove those wheels, put them back on, how to replace a derailleur hanger. That would be something that's going to be in your kit. Some innovative trail side repairs that you can deal with it if you do blow a derailer apart. But I always do to bring one spare derailer with me, depending on the duration or the accessibility, because as you're probably aware, you can single speed or kind of Jimmy rig that driller to get you to the end of the day, but you don't want to be riding multiple days with rickety, single-speed hack. [00:30:35]But also, how to splice a chain. So if you have to take a couple of big chunks out of there and you're out of master links, how can you use that tool and splice that chain and lock out the limit screws on your rear derailer. So you don't accidentally. Shift into something that's going to stretch the rest of it out. [00:30:51]So a lot of those things we're going to go through in the field with folks. So we will have a suggested tool list and a minimal spare parts list and really focus on proactively. Keeping an eye on that bike in the morning, and then at nighttime. So doing pre and post ride, full bike inspections before doing the day's [00:31:10] Craig Dalton: [00:31:10] ride. [00:31:11] Yeah. That's good advice. I think out there on the trail necessity is the mother of invention they say, and people do all kinds of creative things to get their bike through the day or to the town where they can get a repair done. It's fascinating, but you do need to have a minimum set of. [00:31:28] Gear and [00:31:30] supplies and skills to even get that far. [00:31:33] Ben Shillington: [00:31:33] Yeah. And and that's w when I look at it too, a lot of times, like when you're rolling out and everything's dialed in correctly, and there's no fingers crossed and the bags are packed and they're clipped on and secured and you know how everything's going often, your three key breakdowns is going to be a broken chain. [00:31:48] And that's typically, if it's getting really mucky or you make a bad choice shifting under pressure, those things can happen, but there's. Typically there's a reason for that happening a flat tire. So if it goes beyond tire pressure, depending on if you're running two lists or two, it's a puncture and that happens, and that's not a big deal. [00:32:04] Anything outside of that typically is bike trauma. It's typically a bike trauma thing. So even just, rethinking the way that we ride and how we're descending some of these Hills or how we're approaching some of this terrain may change that potential for those breakdowns. Just reeling things back a little bit. [00:32:21] If we're on day six of a 12 day trip, if you're on a one day, you might ride this train this way, but to be on reserve for potential bike trauma, maybe we'll cut things back a little bit for longevity. [00:32:32] Craig Dalton: [00:32:32] Yeah, I think that's an absolutely great advice and tracks to my personal experience, where, you know, going back to that additional weight on the bike, once you start pointing it downhill, you start to have those fun flavors and you want to hop off of things, but then you realize you're not only hopping your normal bike with you on it, but you've got an extra 20 pounds that are slamming every time you come back down to the ground. [00:32:57] It's probably not the best idea in the middle of a big trip. [00:33:00] That's [00:33:00] Ben Shillington: [00:33:00] right? Yeah, it goes to the big picture. [00:33:03] Craig Dalton: [00:33:03] This is a lot of fun. Ben, are there any like key takeaways? I know we've covered a ton of them already, but are there anything you want to leave the listener with? Who might be approaching their first bike packing trip? [00:33:14] Ben Shillington: [00:33:14] Yeah. Yeah, I think we did check on a few, but I think, I dunno, probably one was just make, do with what you have. I think it's pretty easy nowadays to get wrapped up in wheel sizes and bike frame, geometry and bags and this, that, and the other thing we often don't realize that some of the stuff that we have at home for clothes and equipment and the bike that we have, maybe put a couple bucks into. [00:33:35] To, to swap out a tire or something like that, but just make, do with what you have and get out there because, if you get out there just for your first 24 hour rod or even one big day ride where, you do have to pack a substantial amount of food and have a half decent repair kit and come home and sleep at night. [00:33:51] I mean that, that's all skill-building and that's just going to progress into more miles and more confidence. [00:33:58] Craig Dalton: [00:33:58] Yeah, that's great. I love that underlying theme that we continue to revisit on the gravel ride podcast. It's just get out there and do it. I think that's one, that's part of the magic of these new off-road capable bikes that we have. [00:34:11] It's just, you can get out there. You can create very. Clever roots that bring you places that you've never been before. And as you said before, your body and mind are capable of a lot more than most people think that they are capable for. So just get out there and get after it. [00:34:29] Ben Shillington: [00:34:29] Yeah, for [00:34:30] sure. Yeah, certainly. [00:34:31] And if you want a couple more tips I'd discuss that layout and eliminate that's another one. If you're a cone to pursue something, maybe your first, overnight, you often don't need half as much as you think. And I think you always need to have a coffee plan. [00:34:45] Craig Dalton: [00:34:45] Probably good tip done right on it. I appreciate the time. I'm excited for you guys to kick off this first trip in August, this year out of Quebec, and I'll put links to it in the show notes where everybody can find the trip and they can find you. [00:35:00] Ben Shillington: [00:35:00] That's great. Thanks so much for your time there, Craig was a nice chatting with you. [00:35:03] Cheers. [00:35:04]Craig Dalton: [00:35:04] Big, thanks to Ben for joining the podcast this week. I hope you enjoyed learning about that guided bike packing expedition. There'll be hosting later this year. It sounds like a fun concept to me. I often have benefited from having a little bit of expert guidance when I've tried new things to just take the edge off. [00:35:24] And what I love. It's not just a weekend trip. It's a true 12 day expedition that they've put together. So I really love that concept. And I think it's going to be. A fantastic addition to the gravel cycling calendar every year.  [00:35:39] So that's going to do it for this week's edition of the gravel ride podcast i appreciate you joining us i hope you're having a great week and finding some time out on the bike if you're interested in getting in touch with us please visit it's our free global cycling community and [00:36:00] love to hear feedback and i'm getting many ideas for future episodes directly from the forums and from all you members out there. [00:36:07] Until next time here's to finding some dirt onto your wheels    

    In the Dirt 19: Tire Volume, Vaccinations and Road Trips

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 13, 2021 26:10

    This week on In the Dirt, we tackle tire volume (courtesy of a Rene Herse discussion in The Ridership), Road Tripping, Group Riding, the AZT 750 and vaccinations.    Support the Podcast Rene Herse Tire Volume Discussion  Join The Ridership Episode Transcription (please excuse any errors) GRP In The Dirt Ep. 19 [00:00:00] Craig: [00:00:00] Randall welcome to the show [00:00:01] Randall: [00:00:01] Always a pleasure to be with you Craig. How are you my friend? [00:00:04] Craig: [00:00:04] I'm doing good. At this point I think you can almost say Craig welcome to the show [00:00:09] Randall: [00:00:09] Yeah  you're still hosting vastly more often than I am so I need to up my game here. [00:00:16] Craig: [00:00:16] Speaking of upping your game you've transported yourself yet again since our last broadcast So you were in Utah [00:00:23] Where are you? [00:00:23]Randall: [00:00:23] So I am back in San Francisco staying in the marina for the month I was very fortunate to have some friends who were out of town and just said here are the keys to the apartment So I have been road tripping and house sitting and otherwise Taking advantage of a very flexible situation over these months which has been great [00:00:41] Craig: [00:00:41] Yeah it was cool on your way back from Utah did see you in Palm desert California was nice for an hour for a coffee and a little conversation [00:00:51] Randall: [00:00:51] Yeah [00:00:52] we had a coffee and a slush tone My Watching your son go down and slip and slide the bunch of other kids in Palm desert [00:00:58]Craig: [00:00:58] That may be interesting to some of our listeners I think where are you headed next even more interesting is that before or after you headed to the grand canyon [00:01:06] Randall: [00:01:06] That [00:01:06] was after So I had been in Southern Utah for a couple of weeks podding with a couple of friends and actually my youngest sister which was great So we hit up Bryce and Zion and a few different Parks in that area a lot of trail running a lot of hiking and a lot of just being outside Brought a fire pit along since sitting around sitting outside around a fire pit making things in the walk really lovely time and [00:01:30] a reminder of what life was like before pandemic two of my friends had been vaccinated and the rest of us got tested And so we did it in his safe away as we could and then being [00:01:40] Craig: [00:01:40] It's so nice to have some of that Normalicy creeping back into our lives I feel the same thing There's just been some casualness to my interactions with people that wasn't present A month ago prior to me getting the first shot of the vaccination Anyway [00:01:55] Randall: [00:01:55] Yeah And I just got my first shot today which I'm very pleased about and it's no panacea the effectiveness with new variants is still being tested and is shown to be a little bit less or potentially quite a bit less effective with new variants and then there's still research to be done on how long it lasts But with boosters and with more people having some degree of immunity does seem like the worst is behind us which is such relief Plus the risk of serious illness is significantly lessened with these vaccines to so strongly encourage everybody to take advantage as it's opening up to the full population [00:02:30]Craig: [00:02:30] And after this is published tomorrow I'm going away for my second shot So I'm excited about that. [00:02:35] Randall: [00:02:35] Very cool Very cool [00:02:37] Craig: [00:02:37] So you actually made it you actually made it into the grand canyon Did you not [00:02:41] Randall: [00:02:41] I did after I left my group of friends and my younger sister there drove down to the south rim and camped out and then woke up the next morning had a lovely breakfast and coffee on the rim and then ran down to the river A really nice way to spend a day got back up at about one o'clock or so one 30 [00:03:00] then, Had a beverage with a friend in Flagstaff and then continued on to Sedona [00:03:05] Craig: [00:03:05] Nice Is that a 3000 foot drop off the edge [00:03:09] Randall: [00:03:09] I think it's 48 [00:03:11] [00:03:11] Craig: [00:03:11] Been a hell of a day of getting back out [00:03:13] Randall: [00:03:13] Yeah I was more beat than I was expecting to be but granted it was a bit brazen of me to do aGrand Canyon run relatively off the couch. I haven't been training much at all I've been using this time to Recover overall And I was definitely hurting towards the end of it but it was something I'd been wanting to do for some time and was really a day well spent [00:03:33] Craig: [00:03:33] Yeah the one time I went down there I remember the way out It was like it was all good until it wasn't and that's like still got another 1500 feet to hike out of here [00:03:42] Randall: [00:03:42] Yeah Yeah It was it was stunning though I just went didn't out and back on the south Kaibab trail for those in the know or who are curious there's also you can do rim to rim I didn't do that People who do that rim to rim in a day that's pretty ambitious and you can also go up the Angel's Landing trail I believe which is a bigger loop which I didn't tackle because it was another seven miles of flats And I didn't need that. [00:04:05] Craig: [00:04:05] Okay Hey did you know that the Arizona trail race the AZT there's the 350 and the 750 And the 750 involves hiking the grand canyon rim to rim with your bike on your back [00:04:21] your tires are not allowed to touch the ground. You can't ride in that park as you probably saw, so to complete the Arizona trail 750 [00:04:30] you have to hike down and out the other side [00:04:33] Randall: [00:04:33] oh that sounds awful and even if you were allowed to ride your bike down it would probably be a bad idea at least not without a proper dual suspension mountain bike with knobbies And on which case you have that much more bike to carry up all the stuff that is completely unrideable [00:04:50] Craig: [00:04:50] Yeah for the listener There are a few really good documentaries I've seen on Netflix I believe Maybe Amazon prime about the AZT 350 and the 750 Really cool, Definitely not gravel bike terrain It's purportedly a very difficult Rocky route In fact many people find it just too rough to even attempt but it's one of these bike packing races that has a grand de par day And people just go off and it was finished Days and weeks apart from one another [00:05:22] Randall: [00:05:22] Okay So people are stretching it out over a period of time enjoying the scenery It's not like a 24 hour slog or something like that where people are just knocking out 300 400 miles a go. [00:05:33] Craig: [00:05:33] It's longer than that but it's definitely raced So I think every year there's people who are doing it as dare I say tourists but that's probably not the right word but there are definitely people going forward and there's definitely an FK T For the AZT Three 50 and the seven 50 that people are gunning for periodically [00:05:51]Randall: [00:05:51] Beast mode. That's that's a lot of riding or more than I I have the stomach for at the moment [00:05:57] Craig: [00:05:57] Exactly So speaking of riding [00:06:00] and racing I actually had a good time I think both Saturday and Sunday I saw the return of proper gravel racing. And while it may be a little too soon for me to don a number of both physically and really just where I'm at in terms of the pandemic it was really cool to see my buddy Sam Ames' race the rock cobbler go off outside of Bakersfield in California The race has been around a number of years He's been a guest on the podcast I was excited to see they were sponsored by Bianchi this year So getting a little bit more resources behind the event. Sam's known for the quirkiness of his events. The first year I think had riders ride through someone's house part of the course Which is crazy So I was waited with bated breath to see what's was going to be the shenanigan of the year And the one thing I saw Courtesy of our friends at pure gravel who were filming a lot of it Was they had a ball pit can say from the footage I saw unequivocally If you're ever presented with a ball pit in a gravel race do not try to ride it I think 100% of the people I saw crashed and some crashed heavily [00:07:13] Randall: [00:07:13] How deep is this ball pit I suppose there's like a there's a zone where if it's not deep enough it's really bad. But if it's deep enough it's you're still going to crash but it'll be delightful. [00:07:23] Craig: [00:07:23] Yeah I think it was I think it was not deep enough for the way that people were grimacing when they stood up [00:07:30] [00:07:29] Randall: [00:07:29] Oh geez [00:07:31] Craig: [00:07:31] But anyway I mean that the guys again follow pure gravel on Instagram They've got some footage of that race and I think people get a kick out of and then another account on Instagram I started following with Southeast gravel And there was event called the Greenwood gravel grinder which had some hitters out in it Out on the east coast and it was fun they had a motorcycle out there capturing footage So it reminded me of maybe mid south in 2019 where I was just able to sit as an armchair quarterback and watch athletes just rip through these gravel courses fun Again we were as we were talking about a few minutes ago Just the sort of senses of a return to normalcy beginning to be there And so that was a lot of fun to see [00:08:13] Randall: [00:08:13] Excellent Yeah I have a couple of events that I'm looking at for the late spring, early summer on the east coast And It does feel like these things can be pulled off safely Now granted with a lot of good protocol and people adhering to it [00:08:27] Craig: [00:08:27] Yeah I think when you subtract out maybe the food and beverages afterwards or at least alternate how they're delivered you really do have the opportunity If writers are being safe then I think you can pull these things off [00:08:40] Randall: [00:08:40] Yeah I think the biggest thing is out on that I can think of is like you can stagger the starts So people are all grouped together but really having a rule around drafting and things like that Cause it's actually in that draft That is also the sweet spot for any sort of vapor coming out of one's mouth And so it's a good place to get a good dose of [00:09:00] COVID if you're drafting somebody [00:09:02] Craig: [00:09:02] That's the trickiest thing for me because as when I'm dying late in the race if I see a wheel to follow I'm definitely going to hop on [00:09:08] Randall: [00:09:08] Yeah Yeah It definitely needs to be an explicit rule that stated and that everyone agrees to I think so for all you event organizers out there something to consider [00:09:19] Craig: [00:09:19] another event popped onto my radar that I thought the listener might be interested in in Trinidad Colorado lifetime who's the owner of crusher and the Tuscher and Unbound gravel formerly dirty Kanza And started a new event called the rad dirt Fest And it's part running festival part gravel festival [00:09:38]Long time listeners may be familiar with Trinidad Colorado because I had an interview back in 2019 With Ron Della Rocha reached out to me and said I really want to make this region of Colorado which is in the The very Southern tip very close to New Mexico A gravel destination because we've got phenomenal roads We've got some nice mountain passes just a perfect place for gravel racing So it was interesting And I reached out to Juan and asked him if he had been in contact with the lifetime team And he said he had interesting that they're picking another kind of mountain community To impact and hopefully in a very positive way for a region that doesn't have going on Now that certain industries have left the region [00:10:25]Randall: [00:10:25] Very cool it's springtime in the gravel events world [00:10:29] Craig: [00:10:29] Yes [00:10:30] the blossoming of gravel again once again hopefully this tail end of the year is were hoping 2020 would be where gravel events were plentiful The investment and organization levels were continued to increase and improve And people were just out there having a blast [00:10:47]Randall: [00:10:47] And it ties into the other end of the gravel event spectrum now that we are going to chat about today which is impromptu gatherings of people and being able to facilitate that more effectively [00:11:00] Craig: [00:11:00] Yeah Yeah [00:11:01] exactly Speaking of impromptu gatherings you had a bit of an adventure last weekend right [00:11:07] Randall: [00:11:07] I had a great adventure so talk about quirky events.PanocheSo there's the the super pro series here in California which my good friend Isaac has done in the past and has volunteered for And so he had all the beta on the route that we did in the Panoche Hills which is not a very well known area of California but it is stunningly beautiful And we got there it's halfway between LA and San Francisco off the five So off the five kind of and then if you go west of there on the other side is Hollister and there's Panoche road That goes through and it's a pockmarked paved road but lots of potholes but I was fine barnstorming it in my Prius So a really stunning area And we got there before everything had dried out So you had these beautiful hues of different greens and wild flowers out and then some brown Hills in the distance and a good amount of [00:12:00] elevation I think the highest point is 3000 plus hella steep like brutally steep in sections both at the end down so we definitely got worked and it was a just a really delightful time weather couldn't have been better And we stayed at the Mercey Hot Springs which is a stunning little sanctuary in the middle of this desert area Where there's the only Grove of trees for some distance and it's just filled with birds that wake you up in the morning and you wake up to a beautiful sunrise really fantastic [00:12:29] Craig: [00:12:29] That's awesome How would you characterize the dirt as compared to  Marin county [00:12:33]Randall: [00:12:33] Marin county the actual trails themselves are way more fun to ride I would say what's unique about being out there is the vistas and the beauty of the terrain and the fact that you can be so remote So close to a major metropolitan area it was just gorgeous for that And being able to do a monster loop and just see the whole ridge line that you're going to tackle as you're riding [00:12:56] Craig: [00:12:56] Was it a sort of double track slash fire road Or were you on single track [00:13:00]Randall: [00:13:00] Mostly Doubletrack And some of it was properly fun and technical I tend to like the faster flowy mixed Doubletrack single track stuff that we have here in the bay but this was rewarding in a different way This was a cover lots of ground slog your way up a big hill Get a beautiful view rewarding ride [00:13:19] Craig: [00:13:19] So out of intellectual curiosity if you were living in that area you think your wheel set would be different than it normally is And for normal I always have in my mind that you're [00:13:30] a 650x47 guy [00:13:32] Randall: [00:13:32] Yeah actually no I wouldn't run any more and I wouldn't run any less in Marine I would run more and in fact in when we'll keep that mostly under wraps but I do have some plans for something that would allow for a little bit more in the future [00:13:47] Craig: [00:13:47] Yeah I was find it interesting as everybody knows I'm usually in that 650x47 although I'm down to 43s right now camp And I wonder if I went somewhere with a little less technical terrain whether I would opt for something narrower as plenty of riders do [00:14:02]Randall: [00:14:02] It actually ties into another thing we're going to discuss today which is this article from Rene Hearse Who you had on the podcast before that was shared in The Ridership talking about whether wider tires are slower or faster And its findings suggest that tire construction is a major determinant there not tire volume And so there's really no upside to going with those 650x43s but there is the downside in that you don't have all that extra volume to take the shock away. So I would I'd be sticking with minimum 650x47 for the sort of stuff that we ride I am curious about how you find those though [00:14:41] Craig: [00:14:41] Yeah I'll let you know since I'm just switching over to them again I've on this journey to test the limits and everything in between So I've got a 700 by 32 slick setup but a durable tire from Panaracer gravel king plus And then the Gravel king SK [00:15:00] 650x43 now that the set up on and I should disclose And I'm very excited about this I was invited to become a Panaracer ambassador for the year [00:15:10] Randall: [00:15:10] Awesome That's great. [00:15:12] Craig: [00:15:12] And it's a little bit like coming home. It's fun because the Panner racer gravel king SK on my original open 650x48 Was the tire and the bike set up that really opened my eyes to what gravel could be and mean And I don't think I'd swap that tire for two years In fact I only stopped running it when I got my open simply because WTB or WTB was the tire offering that that you guys had to offer on the Thesis yeah it's fun coming full circle and seeing if these tires were everything that I remembered them to be And as I said I've set up these super narrow road tires It's super nice It's funny to say super narrow at 32 millimeters But I've slept them up and I've been trying to ride a little bit of dirt on them just set again just to test the limits and also encourage myself to choose different routes. Get further north into Marin before I hit the dirt and try some new stuff [00:16:12] Randall: [00:16:12] I do find it remarkable how capable that set up can be on hardpack. I've ridden around here on the peninsula this the Sweeney Ridge loop that has a section of single track going up and some beat up broken down paved sections coming down and between [00:16:30] 700x30 setup on our wide rims and then having the dropper post So I can really take the edge off by using a bit of body English letting the bike dance underneath me it's remarkable how fast that stuff can be hit especially if you I think I have the added advantage of knowing that I can replace the rim cheaply enough but So I take I might take more risks than most but nonetheless [00:16:52] Craig: [00:16:52] Yeah I was riding I was in Topanga for the last weekend and I was riding it on some dirt those 32s And I will say it was definitely in my head descending no problem whatsoever climbing As it was flowing I felt good I didn't feel like I was getting too crazy in the corners but as I started to pointed downhill I really found myself backing it off [00:17:13] And that's where the big tire volumes You just don't have to think about it I think that's what I love about running big it'll get up the Hills and no problem when you're going down the Hills you can just hit more stuff [00:17:24]Randall: [00:17:24] And I want to come back to this article that I was brought up a moment ago because it's relevant to this conversation It's talking about essentially they're making the argument that without a well constructed which means higher end materials generally what in the aftermarket with tires like Rene Hearse there are others who make premium tires as well with similar construction incidentally in their case by Panaracer  you're not losing out on rolling resistance And in fact it was a very interesting phenomenon that they found here Which was they're looking at tire pressure And [00:17:56] Craig: [00:17:56] favorite subject [00:17:57]Randall: [00:17:57] Yeah and I this is actually something that it [00:18:00] makes sense to me having read it but I definitely didn't Intuit it at first. I want to use his words here So he's looking at optimal tire pressure And what they found was that   Having a lower pressure can have low rolling resistance or relatively high efficiency having a higher pressure can have a relatively high efficiency but there's a middle pressure where it's actually the worst of both worlds And the mechanism that they suggest is this, and this is a quote is the tires are pumped up harder Suspension losses caused by vibrations increase more than the hysteric losses caused by deformation of the tire because those as those go down as a result the total combined resistance goes up at first So you can either minimize suspension losses with low pressure Or hysteric losses with high pressure but the compromise means that both suspension and hysteric losses are relatively high and you go slower than you would at either end of the spectrum. Which for me is a license to continue running low pressure which I was going to do anyways. [00:18:58] Craig: [00:18:58] Yeah it's fascinating And I will link to my conversation with the author Jan Renee from Renee Hearse cycles And I encourage everybody to check out his blog on Rene or stock com and we'll link to the conversation in the ridership and you'll be able to find your way to these blog posts but it was fascinating And as you and I were talking about offline I'm not totally sure I've got a crappy gauge on my pump relatively crappy I'll say and it's just consistent Like it's crappy [00:19:30] across every time I pump up the tire So I know what I think I know I'm not exactly sure where I'm at I do a little bit by feel and a little bit by the gauge But I'm concerned that I may end up in the middle zone because I think that's the easiest place to be it's pretty easy to your tire up to the maximum recommended tubeless pressure And know that you're too high on the pressure [00:19:54] The too low side is maybe something that's we fear hitting Because there are realistic concerns right Of going too low on the tire pressure You're going to bottom out You might damage your rim but how to avoid being in the middle for your individual weight and set up is tricky and it's probably going to involve a little bit of personal trial and error maybe that's all investing in a little bit better Quality tire gauge [00:20:19] Randall: [00:20:19] Yeah it's the tire gauges that come on the vast majority of bumps are pretty rubbish and they're good from a relative perspective measuring from one day to the next in comparing those pressures So if you ever pressure you like stick with it but not as an absolute measure of accuracy And so I'll probably be investing in the same So at the same time There's still that element of knowing how I ride how things feel and that limits of where I can tell that I'm close to bottoming out a rim on the terrain that I'm riding And that tends to be one of my gauges cause I ride pretty hard So that limits the low end of the pressure I can use especially A bit of [00:21:00] the dropper posts and a bit of body English helps to mitigate that to some degree but at the same time one bad line can be a bad day with a cracked carbon rim [00:21:09] Craig: [00:21:09] Yeah I think my experience on the mountain bike is definitely so much time and time again like experiment on the lower side of the spectrum not the higher side of the spectrum [00:21:17] Randall: [00:21:17] Oh yeah you don't want to poke a stick [00:21:21] Craig: [00:21:21] Exactly fascinating stuff as always And as we know people will geek out over tires and tire pressure all day long [00:21:28] The other thing that was cool I wanted to highlight is you've been getting together with That select group of people via The Ridership And of the things we all have always talked about in the ridership is we're out of this pandemic How do we facilitate getting people together and think about tools to make that coordination easier and better [00:21:50]Randall: [00:21:50] Already we're seeing this behavior just emerge so we're currently running the forum on slack And so in slack you can have direct messages with I think up to eight people Is that right. So in this case one person suggested it. And then another person chimed in with a route And then three more people hu We're interested So the hell's Yeah and I think from there it went to a DM or maybe it started in a direct message thread. And these are people who I had met One was a good friend two others I actually met through Thesis they were early Thesis riders And then the fourth was a friend of theirs And we had only ever interacted as a group [00:22:30] Out through the forum and then described came together and started planning the camping arrangements Who's bringing what and all that stuff And just being able to do it asynchronously but quickly in this sort of format and invite people and share materials like routes and campsites And so on on the fly was a great experience And so there's some things that we could probably do to enhance it further and we'll be experimenting with some plugins and so on in slack but it was really just very encouraging It's this it's the second or third time that I've had this sort of thing come together and we're seeing other people do it as well Other people in the regional channels saying Hey I just got vaccinated does anyone want to plan a ride for later in the month This sort of thing [00:23:11] Craig: [00:23:11] Yeah That's what it's here for not to overly plug The Ridership but everybody listening is invited a free forum to connect with other riders And as Randall said we're actively listening to everybody in the forum and trying to build great things that are going to enhance your cycling experience [00:23:30]Randall: [00:23:30] Online tools for the facilitation of offline connection and experience And everyone gets a free RideWithGPS account as well [00:23:37] Craig: [00:23:37] Yeah Absolutely I think that's a good time for us to call it quits for this week Good to reconnect And now that you're in the bay area before you leave again and we're going to get for a ride together [00:23:48] Randall: [00:23:48] Yeah [00:23:49] I will see you on Friday [00:23:51] Craig: [00:23:51] Right on  

    ENVE Custom Road: Neil Shirley

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 6, 2021 34:49

    This week we sit down with Neil Shirley to discuss the new ENVE custom road bike. Yes, that is not a typo, we are talking about a road bike. :). ENVE Custom Road Website Join The Ridership Support the podcast Automated Transcription (please excuse the typos): Enve Custom Road Interview Craig Dalton: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. This week on the show, we have Neil Shirley from envy on to talk about the ENVE custom road. You heard me correct custom road. [00:00:17]Not to worry. We're not renaming the show, the road ride, but I thought this project was so interesting. And how they're manufacturing in the United States. That was worth highlighting. [00:00:27]In last week's in the dirt episode, we had so many questions about how envy was pulling off this custom road. . That I thought it was worth talking to the team at ENVE and who better? Than to talk to our old friend, Neil, Shirley.  [00:00:39]The gravel ride podcast is supported by a limited number of sponsors as well as listeners. Like you. If you're interested in supporting the show please visit buy me a gravel ride [00:00:52]And now let's jump right into my conversation. Neil Welcome to the show [00:00:57]Neil Shirley: [00:00:57] Thanks for having me on Craig I'm excited to talk bikes [00:01:01] Craig Dalton: [00:01:01] You're back again You're in a  rare breed of second time guests on the gravel ride podcast [00:01:07] Neil Shirley: [00:01:07] Really Wow It's been a how long has it been  two and a half three years since I was on the show last time [00:01:12] Craig Dalton: [00:01:12] Yeah cause I think it was just before you moved out to Utah joined the team at ENVE [00:01:18] Neil Shirley: [00:01:18] Yeah I'm a Yeah happy to be back thanks for letting that making it happen [00:01:22]Craig Dalton: [00:01:22] When you work for a company like envy and you drop a project like envy custom road Despite being called the gravel ride [00:01:30] podcast I was instantly drawn To having this conversation with you [00:01:34]Neil Shirley: [00:01:34] It's an exciting exciting bike but the whole project itself is really cool because as I'm sure You're thinking like a couple little tweaks to some of the molds and all of a sudden it's a gravel bike too Right [00:01:48] Craig Dalton: [00:01:48] Yeah absolutely Why don't we start off Neil I'm going to refer everybody to our earlier conversation to learn a little bit about your background but for the listener Neil's a long time road mountain gravel athlete And it's really put in a lot of effort into the gravel community As has envy it's been a company that has been just thinking a lot about gravel and putting very thoughtful products in products that are used by a lot of custom builders Your handlebars are super well popular in the gravel cycling community But why don't you talk a little bit about envy as a company And where it got its start And then we'll get into this new project [00:02:27] Neil Shirley: [00:02:27] Yeah so envy we're located in Ogden Utah So just about 40 minutes North of salt Lake and we have a large military base just just South of a vog Din And so the area for a small area it has a lot of kind of has a long history of composites and some good engineers come from the area Envy was founded in Ogden 15 years ago And It's founded by a group of four people that really wanted they had the carbon expertise Had an idea around [00:03:00] manufacturing in the U S and We're all avid cyclists and decided there's a room there's room in the market in a need for some of the products that they really wanted to ride and experience themselves that just really didn't exist or at least not at the level because they wanted them out that's where envy started with mountain rims and then moved into road rims and just as the company progressed was able to dial in aerodynamics and the road side of the business really continued to take off three years ago We moved into a new facility still here in Ogden but really what makes envy special It isn't inherently that us manufacturing is superior to manufacturing anywhere else It's I think really what makes envy special is the fact that everything all of our rims are engineering this new bike that will jump into everything is done in house So we have [00:04:01]Design engineering Prototyping manufacturing shipping marketing everything under one roof and sit the collaboration between the different teams that actually get a product to market is all done Cohesively and efficiently there isn't shipping stuff back and forth Asia to iterate on and test it It's all done [00:04:25]In the same building here in Austin And so that's I think that's really what makes us [00:04:30] special as a brand [00:04:31] Craig Dalton: [00:04:31] is a really special thing to highlight I think oftentimes the layman doesn't realize how long it takes to develop an iterate on products Having had a little experience as a manufacturer myself knowing that you can go to the factory floor Make a tweak test it very quickly It's just so much more efficient than shipping a product back to Asia with notes scribbled on it and having a Skype conversation then getting a factory overseas to ship it back to you Each one of these cycles takes two or three months to sort itself out So you can imagine that just how long it takes to get a product to market [00:05:09] Neil Shirley: [00:05:09] Yeah you're right It's the time and the expense honestly to have shipping back and forth oftentimes having an engineer that's having to spend A considerable amount of time in Asia and coming back and forth And so just to be able to do it To do it right here And honestly lunch ride and I mean we have so many of the people within envy We have 200 employees here at envy and quite a few of us are avid cyclist some of the engineers are elite level cyclist on the line the daily run lunch ride typically some prototype or sample product is getting tested and A day or two later maybe that rim that someone's riding is going to be iterated on a new prototype is made and a day or two later we're out test riding it on the lunch right Again So that's [00:06:00] a spring through fall is what you can expect [00:06:03] Craig Dalton: [00:06:03] Super interesting as you the components gain steam presumably at some point you moved into manufacturing tube sets for other builders Can you talk about that process and what that's been like [00:06:17] Neil Shirley: [00:06:17] Yeah the tube sets so early on with envy we really And still what we're doing now We looked at the market and w we could carve out a spot for ourselves And not that really came at the time was serving the custom handmade builders that were predominantly Using steel or titanium We We were able to roll tubes and do carbon tubes them And we still do it's a very that part of the business shrunk as more bikes are molded now molded carbon now but we've think we still work with Calfee doing some of their tubes we worked with Parley in the past independent fabrication So of the more notable handmade builders we've been able to service them and still to this day I mean a lot of those builders are using the forks Forks is a large part of our business Yeah the builders have been really They've been a huge part of our success [00:07:18] Craig Dalton: [00:07:18] I have to say that That [00:07:19] Neil Shirley: [00:07:19] where we're at today [00:07:20] Craig Dalton: [00:07:20] the envy builder Roundup is one of my favorite events of the year [00:07:25] Neil Shirley: [00:07:25] Yeah [00:07:26] Craig Dalton: [00:07:26] so [00:07:27] great Just looking at all those bikes there They all [00:07:30] everybody comes out It's like the handmade bike show [00:07:33] Neil Shirley: [00:07:33] Yeah I'm excited unfortunately The North American handmade by Cho is not happening this year And so this will be year three for us for the builder Roundup it's June 25th This year and [00:07:48]Fingers crossed we'll be able to last year it was just a virtual show which was great It challenged us in new ways and it allowed us to really take that content and serve it to a bigger audience not just doing the open house this year we'll do the same but we'll also have an open house so hopefully we can have Have people out here we'll have a number of the builders here inside envy visiting us And of course the bikes on display So yeah it's It's really cool to see every each of these builders their own idea of what their ideal bike is and the custom builders they're ahead of the curve in what trends are because can make a bike so quickly If you have to if you're waiting on Cannondale or specialized or some of these brands like they're doing great stuff but there there are two years behind what the custom builders are doing so you can look and see what going on with these builders and see what How people are riding bikes how much tire clearance they want I mean there was a lot of were a number of gravel bikes at the show last year with 700 by 50 tires on it It's Whoa this is a trend I mean Mo bigger and bigger tires Anyway it's really cool see what each builder has [00:09:00] in mind and how their bikes are being used [00:09:02] Craig Dalton: [00:09:02] I remember seeing that last year And I think it coincided with the introduction of your adventure fork If I'm not mistaken but just seeing that trend which is aligned with where I'm going personally I think bigger and bigger tires just fits where I want to go and what I want to do on the gravel bike Which is interesting And I think a lot of the conversation on the podcast this year Has been around Bike packing and adventure rides As the events got taken off the calendar More and more riders were looking to just create their own adventures [00:09:34]Neil Shirley: [00:09:34] Yeah I mean that's Everyone was some of the rides I saw on Strava People I was following were doing it It was like almost without the racing They had were no limits or boundaries 200 plus mile rides on a Saturday and multi-day bike packing rides So people got really creative I was I was jealous Some of the rides that people were doing because I mean that's really That's the spirit of want to say just gravel because there's you can do it on the road too but I think truly gravel brings that out more and Allows people just to have More of that adventure that they're looking for And that usually leads to just some over the top rides [00:10:22] Craig Dalton: [00:10:22] Yeah And as I've been talking about a lot lately just the idea for me about calm combining road and off-road [00:10:30] riding In creating these loops that are just atypical from what I would normally do is really inspiring me for 2021 to frankly set my bike up a little differently and definitely think about where I'm going to go differently [00:10:45] Neil Shirley: [00:10:45] Yeah [00:10:47] Yeah I agree I [00:10:48] Craig Dalton: [00:10:48] Yeah I've personally been on a little bit of a road kick which I'd never thought I'd say I think I've just it's I had a friend come into town who had only had a road bike and I just I remit started to remember all the things I used to love about road riding So when this new project got publicized the NV custom road bike it was like it couldn't have been more perfect timing Let's sit down and talk about it So let's it sounds like the bike was a long time coming So do you want to talk about The history behind the bike and then we'll get into some of the details [00:11:21] Neil Shirley: [00:11:21] Sure So the bike [00:11:23] The [00:11:23] bike was much the original product that envy it was when envy was found that it was actually called the edge And then after about a year and a half two years The name was changed to envy but it was one of the very original products and it kept kidding Getting pushed back because there was a greater the management team felt that there was Greater potential with expanding the wheel line and then components from there And frame just get caught in a got kicked down the road a bit and then It was two and a half years ago that the project started in earnest [00:12:00] and it was That was when the engineers actually started really looking at what is the spike and a B In 2016 envy released the 4.5 AR wheels which is one of our still to this day One of our best-selling wheel set The problem with that wheel set is that at the time in 2016 there were very few frames that wheel work in so it's a 25 millimeter internal which and it's made for 28 plus millimeter tire So it was the wheel design for Dimension data the world tour team that we're working with to race at Perry Ruby so they could still have aerodynamics that they would want on a race wheel set with a high volume tire and they're just very few frames that had the clearance to a few race frames performance bikes [00:12:54] were that [00:12:55] would allow that size wheel entire That's when the engineers were like okay what would what would this modern road bike look like so that kind of was the catalyst of okay let's put together some ideas So then finally two and a half years ago They actually started drawing it out and then it's been about a year and a half that we've been riding prototype frames The first I got on the version one prototype The last would have been a year ago in January and then That was looking [00:13:30] at okay what are some of the geometries and then from there what does [00:13:33]What is the laminate The layup look like how steep is it Stiff enough as a two-step just understanding the ride quality and then I've for about the last three and a half four months I've been on the final version which is the bike that we just launched last week It seems To us around here It's been a really fast project and stuff happening quickly but now stepping back and thinking like wow two and a half years that's a really long time [00:13:55]Craig Dalton: [00:13:55] So the bike that was launched is available One of the couple of points I wanted to clarify because I was a little bit confused when I first read it it's available with two different geometries of the race and the all road And then from there there's additional amounts of customization that are available on a rider by rider basis [00:14:15]Neil Shirley: [00:14:15] It is it [00:14:16] is custom geometry When What that means though What we're customizing is the fit Basically the stack and the reach is what we're allowing customers to customize And so want to make sure that each rider gets exactly where they need to be and we're not fitting them on the bike with a stock Top two blanks [00:14:43] A stock [00:14:44] head to blanks and then just using STEM length to try and dial them in All of those are customizable not allowing people to do which is why we have a race in an all road We have [00:15:00] geometry To determine basically the ride that we want each of these bikes to deliver so we're not allowing customers to say make a gravel bike out of our road bike we're not allowing them to adjust chainstay length Those Those numbers We are We have determined what those are with our fit calculator then when a customer reserves the bike And they walked through geometry with our customer service rep that is dedicated to the bike we look at currently riding if they've had a bike fit A number of different things to determine the best fit for them And so what we can do If someone is writing say a specialized tarmac SL [00:15:52] in [00:15:53] 56 centimeter with a one 20 STEM and they really love they fit on it really well but they have say 25 millimeters of spacers under that STEM we can match them exactly to that fit but w what we can do  head to blank that brings it so that they don't have to have any spacers or they can have five millimeters of spacer So you get really that clean pro look [00:16:20]That [00:16:20] perfect fit that you're looking for [00:16:22] Craig Dalton: [00:16:22] Right Yeah [00:16:23] Neil Shirley: [00:16:23] does that make [00:16:23] sense [00:16:24] Craig Dalton: [00:16:24] and it totally translates into the visuals I've seen of the bike There's no [00:16:30] spacers Underneath the STEM on any of those bikes they look super clean And I imagine in talking to some custom frame builders there's always a bit of back and forth That the frame builder will say Hey that's your we can do that but you're going to make a sloppy bike and all you guys have done and said This is the way this part is but there's plenty of ways in which we can really customize it to you Your unique fit needs [00:16:55] Neil Shirley: [00:16:55] Yeah [00:16:55] exactly I mean I think if you look if you think about it it's basically the best way to describe what's possible is One millimeter size increments between say a 47 to 63 Send me your bikes So 47 48 49 50 then with within those sizes we can [00:17:15] We [00:17:15] can go lower with the head tube We can go higher with the head tube Obviously STEM length within five millimeter increments we can change the stim link so what we do When we come up with the geometry we have comes up We have a thing called the bet fit calculator that Kevin Nelson Arlie lead bike engineer developed [00:17:36] And [00:17:37] When we it calculates and spits out Geometries or the best fit So three or four best fit recommendations for the person So that could be top tube Of X centimeters with a with a STEM length of one 10 or could go slightly [00:18:00] shorter top tube and a STEM length of one 15 And then we walk the customer through okay this is We [00:18:06] allow them to say okay this is what I'd like this is the style I like ultimately though We're finding a few ways to get the the customer in the exact spot They need to be [00:18:17] Craig Dalton: [00:18:17] That makes sense And speaking of integrations you've got an integrated bar STEM as well as at a seat mask situation going can you talk about the decisions to go that down those routes [00:18:28] Neil Shirley: [00:18:28] Yeah when [00:18:29] we looked at the bike and what we could deliver That Being able to do it in house here And the fact that it was custom made for each customer there [00:18:40] was there was no reason to do this integration and some of the biggest complaints and complaints I personally have had with a one-piece bar STEM Is that if you're buying a stock [00:18:53] bike oftentimes like that bar STEM is probably not going to fit you Because 56 centimeter Frame that you're buying is probably going to with between a one 10 or a one 20 STEM So unless the bike brand is allowing you to really trade out the bar STEM Stock to something that is it was gonna fit you it's a huge hassle we're taking that factor out We're making we're ensuring that this bike is designed your fit needs And What you achieve without one piece bar STEM one it looks Looks so good Two Eric it's more arrow [00:19:30] Three I personally think it just adds A higher performance field like in the drops you're out of the saddle Like it stiff it feels incredibly fast then one of the one of the last things is and it's not necessarily achieved one-piece bar STEM but it's our internal it's our internal wire and hose routing you don't see any wires or hoses It's a special Integrated front end that we developed we we worked with Chris to develop the headset for it So all the All the wires and hoses go through in through the STEM through a hole in the back of the handlebar And then the hoses and wires are routed special headset and down into the frame and through the forks So it's incredibly clean we will We will This summer we'll be introducing the same system but in a two-piece design so it's our standard a R S C S a R road handlebar with a N V STEM is dedicated to that the front end system [00:20:34] Craig Dalton: [00:20:34] Okay And going with the seat mass did that allow you some additional ride tuning capabilities [00:20:40] Neil Shirley: [00:20:40] Exactly one It allowed us to reduce take a little bit of weight out of the frame but also yeah you nailed it You can think about if you had a seat post that goes slides into the frame It's a lot harder to tailor And dial in that ride quality Compared to an [00:21:00] integrated seat mast and what we can achieve with that And again since each bike is made each customer the length of the seat mask and having to trim it and all that stuff wasn't a factor [00:21:10] So [00:21:11] there was no reason not to And then the seat mass Topper It's a nice carbon topper That's also made here here in our facility it has 35 millimeters of adjustability There's never going to be an issue where if you change shoes or pedals and your saddle height changes by a centimeter and a half you're going to have plenty of adjustability So that's not going to be an issue only issue could be is [00:21:36] you [00:21:37] happen to sell your bike down the road to someone else and there's a Decent height difference So that would be the only issue [00:21:45] Craig Dalton: [00:21:45] Yeah When I first looked at the bike I always do get a little bit sensitive around seat mass and integrated bar stems for the reasons you've talked about but it is important And you made this point twice to say this is a bike that's being uniquely made for the purchaser And it would almost be a disservice to them to not give them The ultimate bike that fits like a glove [00:22:09] Neil Shirley: [00:22:09] Yeah Yeah And do you know and that's what we set out with this project Like what is the ultimate bike What are the coolest things that we can do because we're making it here and we're making it for each customer And so that's what the custom road represents like the no hold No holds barred coolest thing that we could design [00:22:30] and manufacturer and then I'd say the lastly kind of along the same point topic is integration can be a point of frustration especially for people that are traveling I travel with my bike a lot and so I want something that's easy to pack And we all know that internal routing and integration is a huge pain when having a pack of bikes So that's why we made the decision [00:22:57] To [00:22:57] work with Saigon and we have high end bike bags at $800 retail bike bag That comes with every chassis rolling chassis or complete bike So each one is shipped in this bag And with this bag you don't have to take off [00:23:13] the ham [00:23:14] You don't have to take off the bar STEM combo seat topper all you remove or the wheels it's literally a five minute pack job And in most cases unless you're packing this case full of extra stuff going to come in well below the 50 pound weight limit to fly free on Delta and American airlines So really cool solution get around any hassles of traveling with your bike [00:23:40] Craig Dalton: [00:23:40] That's awesome Early on in the conversation you talked about with your support for builders Providing rolled tubes is that the type of tube set that is integrated into the custom road [00:23:53] Neil Shirley: [00:23:53] No these are all these are all molded Molded tube sets and how this frame is constructed in the [00:24:00] our ability to do sizes with it So it's nine different pieces that create the frame So you have the top tube with [00:24:08] the [00:24:09] Top half of the head tube is one piece down tube with the bottom half of the head tube is another piece And then from there we have a fixture that we created that cuts when we have all the customer's [00:24:25] exact fit there is program where this tube cutter cuts tubes for the bike at the same time And that's also what Sure For the head tube we determined the head tube length and all that gets cut all these then all these pieces we have a frame jig they go into the frame jig the pieces slide together I don't want to say Like tracks not it's not a lug [00:24:52] Craig Dalton: [00:24:52] Okay [00:24:53] Neil Shirley: [00:24:53] But It is like male female fit And then there's a there's an overwrap that that goes on them [00:25:01] Craig Dalton: [00:25:01] Gotcha in the mold is the mold one size And then that cutting technology cuts them down to the custom dimensions of the purchaser [00:25:10] Neil Shirley: [00:25:10] Essentially And we do have multiple molds dependent for between the extremes of the biggest size and the smallest size But yes essentially what you're saying [00:25:19] Craig Dalton: [00:25:19] Fascinating And is that something to your knowledge is that a unique process at envy or have other companies been doing a similar type approach [00:25:26]Neil Shirley: [00:25:26] I believe it is unique for us because we there's plenty that [00:25:30] have the process that not really showing I think what's really special is how we're able to do it while achieving some of the arrow shapes frame Which is as far as I know hasn't really been done yet [00:25:43] Craig Dalton: [00:25:43] Yeah that was one of the big questions when Randall and I were talking in the last episode of in the dirt about it we just weren't quite sure how you were pulling off custom dimensions on the tubes [00:25:54] Neil Shirley: [00:25:54] Yeah so really it's a remarkable process we've already had we've had a couple of media out here seeing it prelaunch we have a couple more that have expressed interest in visiting post-launch so it's It's Yeah I think our engineering team that we have here in house Some really brilliant people And Kevin who was is behind the bike key Even though this is 10 Clinically the first bite for envy as we've been talking about we've worked [00:26:21]With bike [00:26:22] builders a lot in the past and we also worked with And designed and manufactured the front end of their Ex triathlon time trial bike And then Kevin before he came over to envy he worked I mean he worked in G T back in their heyday when you know the lotto bikes and building some of the bikes and going over to Perry Bay with the team So he's got great stories and then some time specialized developing the first rebate Even though it's a new it's a new category for us There's definitely a lot of know-how within the building in And how to put together A road [00:27:00] bike [00:27:00] Craig Dalton: [00:27:00] Yeah exactly And then much like a lot of the other custom offerings out there in the world at the end of the day you get to choose from Looks like a pretty vast selection of paint schemes [00:27:13]