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Oct 5, 2021

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.

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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] 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.