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Dec 7, 2021

This week Randall sits down with Russ Roca to explore the origins of Path Less Pedaled’s thriving YouTube channel, the #partypace ethos, and the future of cycling community.

Path Less Pedaled 

Episode Sponsor: Athletic Greens

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Episode Transcript (please excuse the typos):

GRP: Randall with Russ Roca of Path Less Pedaled

[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello and welcome to the gravel ride podcast. I'm your host Craig Dalton. Well, at least for about the next 90 seconds before I hand it off to my co-host Randall Jacobs. This week, we've got a unique episode. Randall was able to catch up with ross Rocha from path less pedaled on his live stream we got an opportunity to interview russ and all the great stuff he's doing to build a community over at path, less pedaled. many of you may be familiar with his work but if not this will be a great introduction to another content source that i personally appreciate a lot and i know randall does too.

[00:00:44] I hope you enjoy this conversation about cycling community and the future of community. 

[00:00:50] Before we jump into the interview. I need to thank this week's partner sponsor athletic greens and AIG one. This is a product that I literally use every day. I started using athletic greens post my cancer treatment because I was quite concerned about the overall nutrients that were getting into my body and felt like I was going down the slippery slope of having to take. 

[00:01:18] Many, many different pills to get what I needed. I discovered athletic greens, I believe through another podcast. With athletic greens, you're absorbing 75 high quality. Vitamins minerals, whole food source, superfoods, probiotics, and APTA gins to help start your day. Right. It's a special blend of ingredients to support gut health. 

[00:01:41] Your nervous system, your immune system, your energy recovery focus and aging. Simply all the things. So it became a pretty obvious choice in, gosh, I can't even remember how long ago I started at this point. It's probably at least five years and I'm a daily user. I basically start my day with. Getting my athletic greens, AIG one shaker out, putting some ice in, putting the required amount of powder, mixing it up and just drinking it down. 

[00:02:13] I just feel like it puts me ahead of the game every single day. 

[00:02:17] So suffice it to say I'm a big fan and super appreciative. Of the long-term sponsorship that age. One has provided to the podcast.

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[00:03:07] Would that business behind us, 

[00:03:08] Let's jump right into this live stream between Russ and Randall. 

[00:03:12] Russ: Welcome everybody to another live stream today. We've got a really interesting one. It's a. Livestream. I'm going to have our guest Randall Jacobs. He's been on the channel before, and he's actually going to be recording his podcast on this live stream. I thought I would double up the content and you can see how the sausage is made.

[00:03:32] So welcome to the show. Randall Jacobs. 

[00:03:35] Randall: Hey, we're finally getting to do this together. It'll be a lot of fun. 

[00:03:40] Russ: Yeah. So Randall is the founder of a thesis spikes. He's the co-host of the gravel ride podcast, which will record recording today as well as the co-founder of the Ridership community.

[00:03:52] I think people know what a podcast is. What thesis bikes is. Can you talk about the ridership first and then. Do the podcast part. Sure. 

[00:03:59] Randall: The ridership emerged as a slack community that we started for thesis writers. And then on the other side the Facebook group that Craig had started for the podcast.

[00:04:09] So Craig Dalton is the founder of the gravel ride podcast. The primary host, he has graciously invited me to be his sidekick and occasional content creating partner. We're at about 1500 or so people really lively and Helpful sorts of communication. So it's a community of riders helping riders. And the dynamics that we see in there is something that, we're quite proud of. 

[00:04:31] Russ: Yeah. Community is like a huge thing, especially now when a lot of us feel so disconnected with the COVID. And you said it's a Facebook group in a slack channel, is that right? So it started 

[00:04:40] Randall: as those two things, and then we merged them into a single slack group called the ridership.

[00:04:45] Okay. Yeah. 

[00:04:47] Russ: Yeah. If you guys are interested in checking out the ridership, I will put links in the description below after the live stream. 

[00:04:54] Randall: Yeah. The is a link where you can go to get an invite if you'd like. 

[00:04:58] Russ: Yeah. Cool. We've got 40 people in the chat. Thanks for joining us. Didn't expect so many, frankly.

[00:05:04] Mid-morning on a Monday again, this was a totally last minute. Randall asked me to be on the podcast. I thought it'd be fun to do, to show you guys how the sausage is made. So if anyone has any quick questions for Randall, leave those in the comments. Otherwise we'll hand over the reins to Randall and he will steer the ship for the rest of the show.

[00:05:24] Randall: First off, I want to thank everyone who joined us at the last moment.

[00:05:26] It's quite an honor that people are so interested in participating in this conversation that they show up, especially on such short notice. So thank you for that. I'm really quite interested to hear where are you from? What's your background? How did bikes come to play such a significant role in your life? 

[00:05:42] Russ: Quick background. I feel like my journey into bicycling is a little bit different than what's typically represented in bike media.

[00:05:49] I didn't discover the sports side of the cycling for a very long time. My basic origin story is I was very unhealthy smoking, two packs of cigarettes a day, eating hotdogs, and I knew that I needed a life change. And then my truck died and that CA super lazy at the time, this is post-college just graduated from UCLA.

[00:06:09] So I started walking, taking the bus, taking transit, then discovered skating, and then finally the bicycle, because it was way more efficient than the pair of inline skates while carrying gear. So from very early on I think my Genesis in cycling was very transportation and utility focused. And a couple of years later discovered bike touring, which is like commuting with all the things.

[00:06:34] And that's when pathless pedal the website started. This was back in oh nine and. Yeah, we did our travels traveled for about three years, mostly on the road. It spent some winters in Portland. And after that, after we stopped actively traveling pivoted towards the bicycle tourism. So working with tourism with destination marketing organizations to, to promote cycling.

[00:06:58] And it was also around that time that I started experimenting more with YouTube. I saw it as a really viable medium to communicate, messages and information that just, a blog post couldn't do. So that's 15 years in a nutshell. 

[00:07:11] Randall: And I'm curious to tease out a little bit more about those early days.

[00:07:14] Was there some intentionality around getting healthier or was it strictly I needed a means to get around after my truck died and it became something. 

[00:07:23] Russ: It was primarily a means to get around. I do remember having one moment where, I have a very obsessive personality, so when I get into something, I really get into something.

[00:07:34] So I borrowed the neighbor's bike. And I think now I'm biking up and down the beach path in long beach all day. And at the end of the day I was like Hocking up like half a jar of phlegm. And that's when there's oh, this could be healthy too. But it was primarily because it was fun. I always try to, follow my folly, do things, while they're fun.

[00:07:53] Randall: You and I have that element of a pattern of obsessiveness on a certain thing. Definitely have that in common. Resonate with you. They're very much And so you grew up around LA. 

[00:08:03] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. So I was born in the Philippines. We immigrated here when I was really young.

[00:08:08] So for the most part I grew up in Southern California, like Glendale Burbank went to high school at UCLA. And after that lived in long beach for a span of time traveled lived in Portland for a span of time. And now we're here in Missoula, Montana. 

[00:08:24] Randall: Do you speak Tagalog? 

[00:08:28] Russ: I understand it fluently, but I can't speak it fluently anymore.

[00:08:31] Randall: Cool. So bikes now are how you make your living and, you mentioned a little bit about the Genesis of PLP share a bit more about the inspiration? What were your hopes for it at the time and how did it come to be?

[00:08:43] Russ: Back when we got into the bike touring, there was very few resources, there was a text-based website, like a crazy guy on the bike. There's bike, things like bike, didn't exist. The rather this didn't exist. I think he may have existed as probably not probably but there's very few resources.

[00:08:59] So it's not like the Instagram rich landscape of a bike touring today. So what few resources we did see inspired us to go out? At the time I was a working photographer in long beach, I was doing new magazine shoots food and portrait. And I had this very romantic notion of, w we'll just travel the world on bike.

[00:09:19] And I will book for the shoots wherever we land and we will travel endlessly that way. That was a grand vision. Didn't quite turn out as plan Probably a big part is, people aren't necessarily going to be willing to hire hobo, looking people on bikes, thousands of dollars for a photo shoot turns out.

[00:09:36] But that was a big dream initially. That didn't work out. So we had to find different ways to make a living and keep the dream happening. But those were the, that was the early dream. 

[00:09:45] Randall: So there's a theme that I hear there, which is common amongst a lot of entrepreneurial slash creative types which is, looking to solve a problem that they themselves had.

[00:09:53] So you're not doing this full time. So this is your job. Is your primary income. 

[00:09:58] Russ: That's a job. 

[00:10:01] Randall: And how long has that been? 

[00:10:02] Russ: I had been a full-time YouTuber sounds like, so teeny bopper, right? Content, creator, content entrepreneur. I would consider a, since we landed in Missoula and a lot of it was, my hand was forced.

[00:10:14] Like we moved to Missoula cause we were, super broken Portland. Laura got a job at adventure cycling and that was finally a stable income for awhile. So we moved here and I thought, all our expertise and all the work that we'd done with travel Oregon would translate to the Montana state tourism and the local GMO's and I could get production work that way did not turn out, did not turn out like that.

[00:10:36] So I buckled down and I was like, okay, we have I have to make this YouTube thing work because Missoula, Montana, they don't spend the funds like they do, like in Portland or Oregon for kind of production. It's a very small cities, small funds, a small talent pool. And they tend to only hire people that they know and as complete outsiders.

[00:10:57] Was not getting any work. So that's when I really buckled down and it was pretty lean, we relied heavily on Laura's income, adventurous cycling for me to follow this dream. And it wasn't until maybe two or three years later that it could support me. And now it's supporting both of us.

[00:11:13] Randall: So she was bringing in those big bicycle industry journalist dollars, right before the thing. And if you don't mind sharing, how did the economics work? What percentage of it is YouTube? What percentage of it is your Patriot? 

[00:11:26] Russ: Yeah, I can tell you very little it's from YouTube ad sense, but as a creator, that's where that's probably the lowest hanging fruit because, after I think 10,000 or a thousand subscribers, you can monetize all that stuff. But that is not the, that's not the dream that chase there because it pays very little like to this day.

[00:11:44] I think the channel is at 120 something subscribers. 

[00:11:48] Randall: 120,000?

[00:11:49] Russ: Yeah. 120,000 subscribers. If you work at, in and out 40 hours a week, you were making more than I do an ad sense just to put that perspective. So there was a really make or break moment a couple years ago where I was putting out four, sometimes five videos a week just trying to, generate AdSense.

[00:12:08] And I was on the verge of giving up. Couple of friends say, Hey, you should try Patrion and you should try Patrion. And I was like, oh, I don't, I'm already making five videos. I don't have time to, to manage another community. But then I was like, okay, we have to do it because it's not working financially.

[00:12:22] And people show that, first it was a lot of people that we knew and then it became lots of people that we didn't know, which is pretty cool. And so that starts to give us like, on top of Laura's income, another kind of pool of cash that we could count on every month So that slowly grew.

[00:12:39] And then ultimately we started selling stickers which doesn't sound like a whole lot, but a lot of people bought stickers. We've sold thousands of stickers. And I like to say I'm really just a sticker salesman with a YouTube. 'cause it's true. 

[00:12:54] Randall: It's one of those things where, people value what you do and align with it enough to want to advocate for it in the world and just find any means any excuse to support you.

[00:13:03] So that's pretty cool that you've been able to, make that work. 

[00:13:07] Russ: Yeah. And that's what we discovered about stickers. Like no one needs stickers, it's not like a life or death necessity, but it was a means for people that wanted to support the channel to create some kind of transaction, so we started stickers.

[00:13:18] We've done other Merck. We have some shirts recent, most recently stem caps is sold pretty well are selling pretty well. So it's just a cool way for people that, you know, like the content on the channel to help support the channel. 

[00:13:31] Randall: And so we've talked about YouTube. We've talked about your Patrion. You also have a discord. 

[00:13:36] Russ: Yeah. The discord. A big need that I saw was people wanted to find other cyclists that had the same kind of party pace mindset, but I've discovered a couple of years ago, is that what really brings people together isn't a common interest. It's the common belief and value system around that interest, right? We all ride bikes, triathlete is going to have different values than the fixed gear rider and in a really hardcore endurance gravel athlete. So it wasn't enough to say, Hey, we're about bikes, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:14:05] It's part of the pace. These are values and people wanted to find other people with those values and who ride like that. So instead of being the point of contact for everyone, I wanted people to really talk with each other. So I looked at different things like slack and ultimately try that discord, I think, because it was free or more free and Patrion and discord have a good synergy where.

[00:14:30] Yeah. Some of the Patriot and perks are different roles in discord. So that seemed like a natural fit. And at first, people got really excited. We had a couple 100 people sign on and you know how it is like with slack or disc or people, are active at first and drop off.

[00:14:46] But now I feel like there's a really cool core group of people. And what I love seeing in the discord and it happened, it started to happen more this year is other people within the discord would find people within their area and they'd ride together. They do things together. And that was so satisfying to see that I didn't have to be the only channel that we had created this space where people could discover, other like-minded cyclists.

[00:15:10] Randall: Yeah. What we're calling social media, I think would be better re-imagined as online tools for facilitating generative, offline connection and experience and. And that's not the current social media paradigm. It seems like you've created a space and I feel that we've created a space, really co-created spaces together with other values aligned people, where you can find that you can find, a place to get advice.

[00:15:36] You can find a place to to connect, to get a sense of belonging, to plant adventures and so on. And that's something that's a really great opportunity in the cycling space specifically, because there are a lot of people who gravitate for cycling in part for those reasons, whether it's wellness, whether it's utility or oftentimes it's "I moved to a new place, I want to make some friends".

[00:15:57] There's something very deep about that need, that cycling seems to satisfy for a lot of people, certainly myself. 

[00:16:03] Russ: Yeah. This court's been really interesting for that, the discord constantly impresses me because there is such a high level of bike nerdery but also respect amongst the people in our discord.

[00:16:15] And I hope that's because the channel sets a certain tone or I set a certain tone, it's really, it's far less toxic than other bike spaces I've seen on the internet, like people, they'll they're pretty good at self policing, which is cold. 

[00:16:30] Randall: Yeah. The early members of any given community the founders.

[00:16:34] Yes. And then the early members really set the tone for how the thing evolves, because it's just a set of norms and hopefully you have a certain value system that's very clear and people who don't align with that, they're not attracted to the community in the first place.

[00:16:46] Not that they're not welcome, but this is not a space for acting out. This is a place for connecting. 

[00:16:51] Russ: Yeah. And there, there are people in our discord that are like way smarter nerdier than I am. Like, I'm constantly impressed at the level of knowledge that they share.

[00:16:59] But it is one of those things where at first I promoted the discord a lot, but I'm hesitant to now. 

[00:17:05] Randall: Okay. 

[00:17:06] Russ: It's because I've loved how the people in there have jelled. And for me, it's not about the qual, the quantity of members, but the quality of interaction.

[00:17:14] So I'd almost artificially keep it small until things really gel before, saying, Hey everybody, we have loans doing it now, Hey, everybody, we have a discord. 

[00:17:25] Randall: We've been thinking much the same. Up until now, the community has grown very slowly and organically and largely through our invites or through us, and not just talking about it on the podcast and people will show up and be like, Hey, you heard the pod decide to finally join here.

[00:17:39] And I fully agree with you. Quality over quantity. At the same time, I suspect that there are orders of magnitude more people who could benefit .From and contribute to these communities. And there is, there are certain types of Activities, for example, like coordinating group rides you need a critical mass of people in a given area.

[00:17:56] And so those offline connections are really enabled by having, a bigger community. And so I think this is a conversation I would love to have with you maybe now is not the space, but figuring out how scale can be created in a way that doesn't undermine the ethos that made the community so healthy in the first place.

[00:18:16] Russ: For me, I see like a diff like a series of funnels. So YouTube is probably our largest funnel. It'll take, all people interested in cycling, boil it down to people that are interested in this idea of party pace. And for those that want to dig down a further, there's a Patrion and then the discord, but no, it's not intentional, but in that way to see it like, okay, YouTube is a big net and the more you get invested in the channel and dig what it's about, then you'll go the extra step and slowly discover that this scored on your own.

[00:18:47] Randall: well, I'm curious what do you see as the limitations of the current technology stack that you're using right now? And is there anything that you're looking at in terms of other tools to adopt or even migrate to going forward? What's on the horizon? 

[00:19:00] Russ: I think the biggest limitation is that's, it's not one thing, it's several things. It's YouTube it's Patrion, it's, the website it's discord. I don't sign into one thing and control everything. They don't all necessarily integrate smoothly. And it is like multiple steps for people to have the full experience. And I don't know that there is an existing plan. Or app with a big enough base that does all things.

[00:19:24] So at the moment, and I'm at the whim of using all these kinds of widgets and piecemealing together a community. 

[00:19:31] Randall: And then a platform like YouTube they take a pretty big cut. 

[00:19:36] Russ: Yeah. And what's interesting is like Patrion is going to start doing their own video, which I think is interesting because typically a YouTube creators that have Patriot they'll usually do an early release.

[00:19:48] So they'll set a YouTube video and private Patrion viewers can do it first. Then they turn it on to the rest of the world. You're still using YouTube. Yeah. But if you can just have that content live on Patrion, I think that would, that'd be interesting. Interesting move. I don't know if I have the bandwidth to do patriarch specific content, but it is something that I'm keeping tabs.

[00:20:07] Randall: It's one of the great challenges. You could consider YouTube is a web 2.0 company. They have a platform and they gather the viewers and the content creators and ultimately the advertisers, the viewers being the product, and you get to a certain critical mass and, YouTube is first and foremost, arguably a search engine.

[00:20:27] And if that's where people are going to find content and get content recommended to them, it's hard not to be there. But I think ultimately, the paradigm that I hope for, and that I see slowly emerging is one where content creators own their content, and own the rights over that content, and have access to means of distribution that are not so extractive, maybe, a couple of percent versus a 50% and we could de-monetize you and D platform you at any 

[00:20:54] time.

[00:20:55] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely the dream. That's why, in kind of the creative entrepreneurs space, there's still emphasis on email newsletter. That sounds like so web 1.0, but it's one of the few. Yeah. Pieces of content and like constant communication that you can actually control.

[00:21:12] That's not at the whim of an algorithm or in someone else's hands. 

[00:21:17] Randall: And it's one of the original open protocols of the internet. Any client can communicate with any other client versus, on Facebook, it's a walled garden. And if you try to do something that they don't like on Facebook, or if you do something that is really successful they'll kick you off, or they'll, deprioritize you in the algorithm, or they'll just create a copy of it and go from there.

[00:21:36] Russ: Yeah. At one like one switch that is turned on in my head recently is you. I used to be that my goal was, I want to be a YouTuber when I hit a hundred thousand subscribers and get this thing. And she's very nice. But after having achieved that, that is no longer the goal it's to turn whatever, virtual community we have into IRL, into.

[00:21:58] And try to translate that into real human interaction. YouTube is a facet of that journey, but it's not, it's no longer the, the end goal. 

[00:22:05] Randall: Yeah. I'm a hundred percent with you there. And in fact, it's, it was one of the major motivations for me reaching out for this conversation, because I see the good work that you do and the quality of connection that you facilitate within, within your community.

[00:22:18] So Bravo to you on that. How many people in your discordant. 

[00:22:22] Russ: I don't know. I feel like it's over 1500. 

[00:22:25] Randall: Okay, so similar scale. 

[00:22:27] Russ: Yeah. The most active group is definitely smaller. But it's a decent number and I feel like a lot of people that sign on to Patriot and do do you claim the discord like benefit and, you can see them light up, which is cool.

[00:22:39] Randall: Very cool. Have you have you done any events have you coordinated events, have you gotten to meet any of the 

[00:22:46] community members? 

[00:22:46] Russ: That was our plan before COVID 

[00:22:48] Randall: Same. I was going to do a tour. 

[00:22:51] Russ: Yeah. It's funny, like the year that COVID happened, we had just started doing that. We coordinated a series of art shows at bike shops. So I paint watercolors and we'd have an art show with a local bike shop. We did transit cycles in Arizona golden saddle in LA golden pliers and in Portland. Cause I wanted to give a focus to the event rather than people just drinking beer.

[00:23:11] So there's a fun way for people, fans of the channel and people that want to do bikey things without just drinking beer, a could attend. And then the last one we did was was in at transit in Arizona. Then that's when, COVID blew up and we're like, ah, you gotta pull the plug on this tour.

[00:23:25] Randall: Do are people able to buy your art or prints of your art because I've seen some of your watercolors and they're really cool. I was going to ask you at one point, can I get attention? 

[00:23:33] Russ: Yeah, we've got a big cartel shop, again, very disjointed. We're going to migrate to probably Shopify so it can live on the actual website next year. People can buy originals, which are expensive, but then they go so buy smaller postcards and prints. The prints are pretty, it's like a G clay print on the watercolor paper, and it's about as close as you can get to an original without spending that much. And it's really high quality, so yeah.

[00:23:56] Yeah. People can buy th there, there are options for people to purchase prints. 

[00:24:01] Randall: Yeah. It falls into that category of feeling like a part of something and, getting the psychic income of supporting the contents that you want to see in the world. 

[00:24:09] Russ: Yeah. I know your podcast listeners can't see it, but behind that veiled curtain there that's, there are picking station where we've got a bunch of shelving with a stem caps and stickers and prints, and Lauren, 

[00:24:21] Randall: you're doing your own fulfillment.

[00:24:23] Russ: Yeah. Lord, I outsource it to Laura. 

[00:24:25] Randall: Speaking of Laura, how's Laura doing? 

[00:24:27] Russ: She's doing well. If you guys aren't familiar she got diagnosed with breast cancer. A little bit over a year ago, and I really threw a wrench in our plans. And so we had to navigate that, but she's on the other side of, all the major surgeries, she's just taking a maintenance drug for the rest of the year, but she's doing well enough that she starting to ride the bike again.

[00:24:49] Like I think she's going to do another trainer session today and hopefully get into some shape so we can do some actual writing in California. 

[00:24:56] Randall: Excellent. That's really great to hear. And I see even your email addresses is Russ and Laura. So share a little bit about what was her role in the Genesis and development of the channel and what does that dynamic like building something like this for the partner? 

[00:25:12] Russ: Yeah. So we've been together for about 19 years. When we first met, neither of us were into bikes. I just, yeah, I know. I discovered by commuting and at the time she, we lived in long beach and she worked in at seal beach.

[00:25:27] So the commute was like three miles and then I got her into bike commuting, and then we both fell in love with bike touring. And it was then that we decided " Hey, maybe we could make a blog out of this". So it was definitely a joint venture. I've been very fortunate in so far as I've been able to get.

[00:25:47] I want to say, get Laurie into the same interest, but we come to things at the same time or we appreciate the same things. So we both love bikes and she's definitely an integral role to PLP. She does all the bookkeeping being the shipping fulfillment the contracts she handles all the logistical stuff that a lot of people don't see, but are crucial to making a living.

[00:26:10] Randall: Yeah. It's one thing to be the face of something. My case same deal, with thesis. So little of what it takes to create the product and get it delivered is done by me. But I contribute my small part and I convey a message. I do product development and so on, I have team members who are managing the orders.

[00:26:31] There are factories, there are people working hard to actually produce the things. There are logistical companies that are getting the things to the right places and assembling them and que seeing them and handling all of that. And so acknowledgement of that. I think it's 

[00:26:44] Russ: yeah, we had that pretty early division of labor.

[00:26:47] Like we knew, like what are our strengths where I'm definitely more of a creative, pie in the sky kind of person. And she's very grounded. Typically I'll bounce idea off of her and she's that's dumb and you have no time to do, or, I'll know if something has legs, if she thinks that it's feasible.

[00:27:05] But we definitely fulfill, I think that the two kind of the two personalities that's needed in the business, 

[00:27:12] Randall: yup. Yeah, that that, that has been my experience as well. So really great to hear about how the two of you worked together and 19 years is a long time.

[00:27:21] Russ: Yeah. It's a long time. 

[00:27:23] Randall: So good on the two of you. So, what are you nerding out about these days? 

[00:27:27] Russ: I think a lot about, where the holes are in cycling and particular in cycling meets. And I still think the non-competitive side, the cycling is grossly underrepresented and there's probably a lot more people that are into that style of riding. Then there's, the sharp pointy end of the of racing. I feel like that's overrepresented because, the people that get hired at those media agencies or at those brands tend to be X racers. So it creates this echo chamber. And so I really still think of myself as trying to break the echo chamber, insert a different voice and speak for, that the large group of people, that there are bike enthusiasts, but don't ever see themselves necessarily depending on the number.

[00:28:10] And I think, I was trying to come up with a good analogy. I was describing it to a friend recently. And I think there were like two types of people, right? There's people that they view life as a puzzle to be solved or like a competition to be one. And there's others that do life, as a fine deal at a restaurant that's going to end and your goal is to not eat the fastest, but to save her every bit. And I'm definitely on that latter part. And I feel like a lot of cycling media views it primarily as a sport. So just trying to broaden that message and reach people they feel left out. We've got a channel trailer and I think the title is misfits welcome and trying to find, 

[00:28:48] Randall: I love your analogy. And I resonate with both parts of it. I definitely started off cycling ultra competitive. Like I am your classic skinny shaped, like a white guy in Lycra who was out trying to rip people's legs off. And, I wrote as a kid and I'd go on adventures and so on. But when I stopped doing competitive team sports, I was believed in not a linebacker and a fullback in high school about 30 pounds ago, and got into racing. In part, because I wanted the sense of belonging and being on a team, but also in part I was because I was good at it. And I was like, oh, here's the thing where I can prove myself. And in fact, I really got into it because it's oh, I want to do, I want to get to a really high level in something. And here's the thing that I have the, the greatest ability to get that in. So I was definitely fitting into the first category first and now I am very much in the other category. Writing for fun writing primarily for connection, with nature, with other people and community and ultimately with myself, the rolling meditation 

[00:29:50] Russ: Yeah. And my stance is like I'm not anti racing or the competitive side by any means. I just think that's overrepresented. I'm just trying to give an alternative voice by saying, party paces as a thing doesn't necessarily mean, racing is not a thing, it's not like pizza where there's only one slice to be shared.

[00:30:06] Randall: Let's talk practically here to. It is, I believe the bigger opportunity. The ethos of it. I also very much align with at this stage in my life. I think it's this great vehicle for connection, but then also for everyone who's racing or everyone who's following the racing, there's 10 people who could benefit from the health and wellness and community and belonging and everything that comes with this activity that we so love.

[00:30:30] Russ: If you think about, if you took all the people in the world that could potentially ride bikes, these are grandmothers, grandfathers, small children, and, you filtered it down to, the small percentage that would race competitively. I think the number of these non-competitive cyclists would vastly outnumber the people that could do that and elite level, or even a quasi competitive level.

[00:30:49] And yeah, that competitive and takes lion share of bicycling imagination. Like a big eye-opener is during COVID right. Huge bike, boom. Very little racing. Yeah. We've been told this, I don't want to say it's a lie, but this is truism that cycling needs racing to sell bikes. And it absolutely doesn't, 

[00:31:12] Randall: there's a reason why we don't sponsor anyone other than we'll offer things sometimes to like community leaders or people who are doing good stuff to build community. 

[00:31:21] Russ: Yeah. think it's such an old model, like a, this is sponsored athlete thinking that it'll drunk bikes.

[00:31:27] To some extent that works, but also there's other more kind of creative ways, more effective ways, it's 20, 21. It's it's not like 1950, we don't need like a celebrity endorsement from someone with these boxes that sell something. 

[00:31:40] Randall: I remember riding with a pretty accomplished European pro early in my very short career, and I asked him about sponsorship and equipment and so on. And he's listen, you pay me enough. I'll ride a shopping cart. That is the truth of it. The bikes are coming out of essentially the same facilities, right? They're all using the same components, largely their parts hangers for swam and Shimano, all these Aero claims about this and that it's a lot of very careful selection and representation of the data. This is much more arrow on the graph, but it's only showing this section of a graph, that's this tall, things like this. But yeah I'm a hundred percent aligned with you on that one.

[00:32:16] Russ: And I also think the, I think the consumer is a lot more savvy, I feel like, it's not when we were fed advertising in the fifties and you took everything at face value, people read reviews, they do their own research. More people are being content creators, so they understand the ins and outs of messaging.

[00:32:33] And yet it seems as if, bike advertising still the same, it's not very sophisticated. 

[00:32:39] Randall: It's well, it's advertising. It's let me tell you how to think. As opposed to let me present some information and let you figure out what resonates with you. 

[00:32:48] Russ: Yeah. It's like looking at how different industries use YouTube. For example, I think it's pretty, pretty telling like a lot of brands still use YouTube as a showcase for their brand video. Whereas if you look at the camera industry, they send out stuff to everyday people, they give their impressions. They probably do product release videos, but they understand that's not like the main driver to sales. People talking about the product and real world situations and normal people, they're not given, cameras to Annie Liebowitz or James Nachtwey and then 

[00:33:22] Randall: well, people that others can relate to. In fact, I tend to trust the reviews from smaller channels, much more than I trust the ones from channels that have advertisers, depend on making the manufacturers happy in order to generate their income. This is a profound conflict of interest that even if it's subconscious has to be influencing that content versus somebody who just spontaneously this thing was so good I had to talk about it" or this thing is crap. Or, and I just had to talk about it or I just wanted to create content. Cause I thought it would be valuable to other people in the world, which is very much the dynamic going back to community that we see in the ridership. And it sounds like you're seeing in your in your discord.

[00:34:06] Russ: Yeah. Yeah, I'm going to go back to what you said earlier about, trust reviews. That's definitely something I take super seriously on the channel. At this point I reviewed about 80 bikes was not paid to review any of them, and the bikes I kept I ended up buying, and that's the promise. I tell the viewer I tell our Patrion community because in my freelancing days I did stuff for bicycle times when they were still around the momentum, adventure cycling. And, it was always aware of the advertorial aspect of things. And I didn't want to participate.

[00:34:37] So it wasn't, we started the YouTube channel. Like we get no sponsored money from the bike industry. We don't get paid by salsa by, whoever zeros dollars I'd rather have the viewer support the channel and that's why we pushed the Patrion so much. Yeah. Most recently I've been buying more products like small goods. To some extent we PR we participate in that, we get review stuff, but then I still give my honest feedback on it, but more and more, I want to transition to a hundred percent like buying everything just because I feel like it lends more credibility.

[00:35:06] It's very difficult to do because as a channel, we don't make enough money to do that a hundred percent. But where I can, I will, buy the product like everybody else and give our review when the. The channels that really inspire me is actually in the copy industry, this guy, James Hoffman, who has a massive following, I think, million subscribers, he'll compare these, thousand dollar espresso machines, but, he has a large enough Patriot.

[00:35:30] We can buy them all, review them and then give it away on this Patrion. And that is what I aspire to is to not be supported by the bike industry, by everything, and then give it away on the Patriot. 

[00:35:42] Randall: It makes me think of like a a much more organic form of what consumer reports used to do. And that was the go-to trusted source for reviews before, the internet era I admire the hell out of that. 

[00:35:54] Russ: Yeah. And it's a long road. When I started taking the YouTube channels. Seriously, I did the maths, as okay. There's a handful of bike brands would probably potentially be interested in and supporting our content. Truthfully, they're going to give that money to the Rabis or bike first. In my head, I was like, how can we turn this weakness into a strength?

[00:36:12] So I really leaned into it. I was like, okay, fine. We'll just take no money from the bike industry and really rely on the Patrion supporters and the sticker sales. It's a longer road because you don't get those big influxes of cash or a right upfront, but, we can slowly grow the supporter base.

[00:36:29] I can't grow more brands that would be willing to support this. I can hopefully, keep making more content to attract more viewers to support this. So that's the tactic we've chosen. 

[00:36:38] Randall: And by the way, the route of this was recently acquired by the pros closet. They do great content. And we've certainly benefited from their kindness and taking our press releases and publishing and so on. That it is hard. What you're doing is hard. Yeah. And with Craig, right? We have a quick set of buy me a coffee and, that brings in a few hundred dollars a month.

[00:36:57] This is not a money maker. All that money goes to Craig by the way, and just, offsets basic costs associated with not just the software and so on, but you have to think about the amount of time that goes into scheduling and doing the interviews and then the post-production work and promotion and social media and all this other stuff.

[00:37:16] And there is a degree to which the current web 2.0 paradigm makes it harder than necessary, given the level of our technology, to support the content you want to see in the world. And one of the things that I'm seeing emergency is very hopeful is the advent of micropayments and things like this.

[00:37:34] And so hopefully those are things that we are looking to adopt in the next, even six months to a year that hopefully will unlock more opportunities for people to support the content they want to see in the world in a way that is aligned with what they have, you don't have to sign up for five bucks a month.

[00:37:51] You don't have to pay a membership fee. It's everything here is for free. If you value it, contribute to it. And here's some really easy ways to do so that don't have some, company taking 10% or 50 plus percent in the case of YouTube.

[00:38:03] Russ: Yeah, that was definitely an aha moment where you know, shifting the focus from being a hundred percent viewer supported, as opposed to chasing that traditional model of getting advertising from a bike brand or being a sponsored athlete or something It's hard, but I think it's worthwhile and it's ultimately proving the most sustainable. 

[00:38:24] Randall: Yeah. Part of my motivation here was " this is one way that I can support the content that I want to see in the world". So to the extent that we can collaborate to support what you do please let us know. 

[00:38:33] So we've been chatting for about 40, 45 minutes here. Anything else that you think it would be fun to, to jump into before we open it up to questions from people who are listening in, on the live stream? 

[00:38:45] Russ: I think we hit the big ones that the huge untapped well of the non-competitive cycling market.

[00:38:52] We have I have an alternate channel called the old cycling with where it's a goofy video live stream with a bunch of other bikey tube creators. And I saw recently that, ultra romance adopted cycling for his Northeast. Events. So now it's a thing.

[00:39:06] All cycling. There you go. 

[00:39:08] Randall: I haven't seen this. Please send me a representative link to a video 

[00:39:12] Russ: he just wanted to hear for bikey trooper. Just complain about being a bike. Easy,

[00:39:16] Randall: very inside baseball. 

[00:39:17] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. I think that's it. We can open it up to a live stream questions if you want. Yeah, let's do it. Okay. So if you guys are in the live stream still, there's 111 of you. I'm breaking the fourth wall. Is it the fourth wall or the third wall? Of the walls of the podcast.

[00:39:35] If you have questions for either immediate or Randall 

[00:39:38] Randall: back in your own ideas and perspective on how we can do 

[00:39:43] Russ: yeah. So putting on your your bike industry hat, what do you think most brands think of YouTube? Do they think it's like a, it's not as serious as like pink bike or whatever, or it could, I feel like as a creator, like most brands are still like, huh? What's YouTube. 

[00:39:59] Randall: I have no idea. We take a very different approach. So I don't know how it was viewed. I do know, some of the things I see from big brands, it tends to be your classic promotional video, or here's some athlete we paid some money and sent a camera crew out and did some adventure thing that you can then live vicariously through or whatever.

[00:40:17] Russ: Can I make a confession that I'm totally bored of that style? 

[00:40:19] Randall: I suspect that you are not alone at all. 

[00:40:23] Russ: It reminds me of around 2012 when people were making artisinal everything and they had all these artisanal brand videos and it just jumped the shark.

[00:40:30] And I feel the adventure bike video genres is getting to that point. 

[00:40:35] Randall: I'll say that early on in thesis, there was definitely a pressure to engage in that. And, it never felt authentic. It never felt quite right. At some point I was like, you know what, screw this.

[00:40:45] We don't need to do this. We have an existing base of writers. If we just take care of them, they'll tell their friends. And if we just do good in the world and show up at credible and helpful and make content that is a valuable to people and help people to get their needs met,,, this is where the ridership and so on comes in, then will be taken care of as well.

[00:41:05] That's been our approach. 

[00:41:07] Russ: Yeah. I've hit that point to where initially my goal was to grow the channel as big as possible, but after a certain point, it's, if I could, if I can serve the people that are raised, subscribe better. Yeah. That's actually all the viewers we would ever need.

[00:41:23] If all 125,000 joined Patrion, it would be amazing. Like you said, focusing on the audience that you do have giving them the content or products that they want and making them happy rather than some elusive unattainable goal of. Number down the line. It 

[00:41:39] Randall: depends on what your goals are. Like, if your goals are to go big and get rich and whatever, then do some big crowdfunding pump and dump, whatever scheme, collect a bunch of money and then bail or whatever. But if your goal is to do good in the world, then it requires a slower, more intentional approach. And maybe it doesn't become as monetized, but ultimately the psychic income is worth a lot more. 

[00:42:01] Russ: Yeah. I saw an interesting study that came out about YouTube creators and the largest niche of creators where they're actually doing this full time is in the education space. So educating about the topic.

[00:42:16] And that makes sense, right? Because people go to YouTube to learn things, to discover new things. And, I think to last as a creator, you really do have to have a service mindset. What is that people want to know about what problem can I solve? There's very few creators that can just do their weird shit and be successful.

[00:42:34] The PD PI's of the world, being solely personality based and not serving some kind of educational. 

[00:42:41] Randall: And I don't end the the attention seeking drive that often drives some of that content. I'm okay to have a smaller community of people that are more ethos aligned.

[00:42:52] Yeah. Let's dive into some of the comments that we're seeing in here. Cause there's a bunch of good ones. 

[00:42:56] Russ: Anything jumping off, jumping out to you. 

[00:42:58] Randall: So I'm just taking it from the top. T Shen, oh, this is very kind. The ridership is a great example of what online community can be helpful, focused friendlies, zero snark, unless you guys edited out, we don't edit it out.

[00:43:09] I've, there've been two instances where I have moderated and it's always been starting a dialogue with the person and about Hey, this comes off in this way. And what do you think about taking it down and so on? And those people have gone on to be really great contributors to the community.

[00:43:24] The type of people that it attracts have those values. So thank you for being a part of it. 

[00:43:29] Russ: Yeah. Our discord is similar. I think I've only in the history of discord had to ban two people and they were actively, it was clear that they were not going to contribute in a positive way, but for the most part everyone's and treats everyone pretty well.

[00:43:48] Randall: Here's another one. I love the path, less pedaled approach, such a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the leg shave and GNC cycling performance, weight weenies.

[00:43:56] Russ: Yes. Yeah. 

[00:43:59] Randall: I used to be one of those people be kind we're just dealing with our insecurity. 

[00:44:03] Russ: Yeah. I've been noodling through a video and I think the title is going to be something like why fast as a matter, or why fast as ever rated. Because this is my take on that. I'll give you guys a sneak peek on the video is typically let's say we take the status quo lens of a bike.

[00:44:18] It's always going to be viewed through a racing perspective, right? So that attributes of a bike that are going to be praised or lightweight aerodynamics. Chris shifting, but that assumes if you're racing. And I'd say that's the wrong perspective instead of asking, what's the fastest we should be asking "what's the most efficient for the task". So if you've got, a mom with two kids, is an arrow, lightweight bike, and to be the most efficient for tasks, know it, that's going to be a cargo bike, or if you have a racer and you give them a cargo bike is the most efficient for the task. No, but, stepping back and asking, okay, what is the task that we're talking about?

[00:44:53] There's one lens to view bicycling. And not the only lens 

[00:44:58] Randall: I tend to distill things down to first principles in the sense of what is the deeper goal? Is it to be fast or is it to be able to keep up with the people you want to ride with? Or is it like some, need to be recognized as fast, some need for esteem or whatever, in which case there are other ways to get that met and, a bicycle is a vehicle.

[00:45:18] So it's ultimately, I think about the experience, right? And it really focusing on the experience, which means, a bike that can do a lot of things. And it's very versatile, like that holds up and doesn't hold you back. And things of this sort 

[00:45:31] Russ: yeah, question. Herbalists how big is a European part of the PLP community? Looking at her analytics and where we ship product. It's a big, the big part. We ship a lot of stickers to UK stem caps and stuff to Germany Finland although that part of Europe like Australia and New Zealand was a big purchaser of stickers until recently because a us postal service.

[00:45:57] Delivering there. And to, for us to send something to New Zealand or Australia has to go by ups and it's 30 bucks, regardless if it's a stem cap or a sticker. Cause that really sucked. How about on the ridership? Do you guys have a big European contingent? 

[00:46:11] Randall: Predominantly north America. I haven't looked at the metrics on that, to be honest, I have been followed that super closely, but we do have a few people interspersed around the world and even a few who've taken it upon themselves to try to. Local riders so that they can have a critical mass in their area, but definitely early days.

[00:46:29] And definitely quite us focused with some, density in the bay area. The front range I've been focusing on new England for obvious reasons of late and things like this. So yeah. 

[00:46:40] Russ: Yeah. And they other discord, someone shared with me a story that they were originally from New York, moved to Berlin and was able to find someone else on the discord in Berlin.

[00:46:50] And now they're, they become fast. 

[00:46:51] Randall: Oh, that's great. Isn't that the dream isn't it, the dream oh, you're traveling, just sign up for that channel. Make some friends go have an experience. I have an idea that talking to our technology partner on about like a friend BNB where you'd be able to earn a stay credit.

[00:47:07] That is a token where you know, Hey, I'm going to be in Montana. And you'd be able to like publish, I have a room available and then I would apply and you'd be able to accept or deny. And if you accept, I have a one deficit and you have a one credit, and then I can share my space to somebody who's coming into town and have that really facilitate community.

[00:47:26] Obviously this is maybe more of a post COVID idea. But it does speak to the possibilities once you have a certain critical mass. So that's a really great anecdote that you got there. 

[00:47:37] Russ: Yeah. I've been thinking about looking at the, what rock, the RCC, the Rapha cycling club offers and trying to see if what we could do virtually to our membership, adopt some of those things.

[00:47:51] I don't know what all the offer, because I'm not part of any of them, but I've been looking at other membership models in the cycling space and okay. If you stripped away all the competitiveness, where could we plug in? 

[00:48:02] Randall: Let's have a let's continue the conversation offline. Cause I think there's a very rich thread there. And in fact, I know that there are some people in the ridership also who work in the space, it might have something to contribute. I see a comment from Richard shomer Dean. There's a duplicating question I pose in the ridership, but what thoughts do you have on organizing group rides with respect to liability and lawsuits?

[00:48:23] Russ: I'll let you take that one first. 

[00:48:25] Randall: So yeah, we live in a litigious culture and it is very expensive to defend oneself but very cheap to Sue and it's an unfortunate paradigm. You definitely want to, Be mindful of who you have joining is a big thing in the values there. Waivers can be really helpful.

[00:48:43] Again, I've mentioned some advising that I'm doing for a technology partner, looking at how to have a digital platform where you would have say an idea. And on this identity, you could have everything from, an attestation that you're vaccinated to, a waiver that you signed to attend a particular event, and then having the events coordination, whether it be, Hey Russ, let's meet up for a group ride all the way to a 2000 person, gravel events being able to be coordinated on the same platform with the waivers and payments and everything else handled in one place.

[00:49:20] Right now a lot of bad is disjointed or really expensive in the same way that say, Patriot on takes, takes a substantial cut or YouTube takes us substantial cut. It's definitely a concern and the deeper your pockets, the bigger the concern it is, or the deeper your pockets are perceived to be the bigger of a problem it is.

[00:49:38] There are solutions. And it takes a critical mass of people in the types of communities where those are being incubated in order for these to come to fruition. 

[00:49:46] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. That's definitely a sticky topic. Lauren, I have toyed around with the idea of having either an event, an overnight event at the base camp and looping gravel rides or something or this winter meeting up with folks and doing rides to our favorite places.

[00:50:03] Definitely the potential litigious nature has turned us off as well as the cupboards. So we're still navigating those waters. 

[00:50:10] Randall: You mentioned that you're going to be in Soquel coming down. So Craig Dalton, founder of the gravel ride podcast also spends a good amount of time.

[00:50:18] And so Cal, maybe we could make something happen at some point. I don't know if there's demand out there, let us know. And we'll coordinate. 

[00:50:26] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. Right now we're trying to figure it out all, it's going to be a big content trip basically as well as vacation.

[00:50:33] So definitely looking for opportunities to, to make some interesting videos. 

[00:50:37] Randall: I don't know if you're familiar with the gravel stone. Yeah. So Dave malware it's San Diego, it's a great group of people. I've been down there and done a group rides with a hundred plus people, which is pretty astonishing and become a good friend over the years.

[00:50:54] Another one of these people who, he doesn't make money off of it. He's spending money on it, but it's, he just values community values, the the connection and the creative outlet that the space provides. 

[00:51:05] Russ: Yeah. Let's see. There's still 115 of you sticking round, which is pretty awesome for a Monday.

[00:51:13] You didn't think we'd get this many people did, 

[00:51:15] Randall: And I'm recognizing, we have quite a few people from the ridership. And I just posted that several hours ago. 

[00:51:20] Russ: Yeah, I find that, promoting a live stream ahead of time, doesn't make too much of a difference unless it's in a super well-known personality.

[00:51:30] Otherwise like people are going to be on the live stream when it's convenient. So I tend not to sweat The live stream promotion too much. YouTube does help out in that, a few minute intervals before it lets all the subscribers know that it's going to happen. So that's best thing it could do.

[00:51:46] Randall: So Rick urban has thrown in a bunch of comical questions, including Russ. Why do you hate beer and Randall? Have you ever successfully gripped a leg off?

[00:51:56] Russ: So I do hate beer. I just like whiskey more. It's like beer concentrates and less puffy. Like when I drink beer now I just get bloated feeling. So I'd rather have whiskey. I'll let you take the ripple. I GFE question. 

[00:52:11] Randall: I don't like beer either. No. 

[00:52:14] Russ: So it's almost like a sacrilege in the bike industry.

[00:52:17] Randall: Oh yeah. Alcohol generally. Isn't my chemical. I'll have a glass of wine here and there. And I have not actually ripped legs off. They figure of speech. I should be more careful with my vocabulary. But what else do we have here? I'd Krispy says I'd like to see a PLP and gravel ride podcast, bike packing, or bike fishing adventure video.

[00:52:37] Let's do it. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. I'll come eat someplace warm. 

[00:52:43] Yeah. If you come to the west coast or the Rocky mountain west, we can coordinate yeah, definitely looking forward to more outside videos. This winter has been such a hard year. So Jen Harrington ass do you know percentage of women on the channel?

[00:52:58] That's a good question. I can tell a little bit by. Analytics at least on the YouTube channel, it's probably less than 5%. I know it's less than 5%. I think when you have a male presenter on the channel, it's just how things are gonna shake out.

[00:53:14] I think our Patrion is it's not parody, but there, there are a lot of women that support on Patrion and very few that participate in on the discord. How about for you guys? 

[00:53:25] Russ: I don't know about the pod. Craig manages all the analytics there. But the ridership, if I had to guess, it's probably on the order of maybe 10% or so, which is still quite low.

[00:53:34] Maybe for some of the same reasons you said. I've actually had some conversations, including with Monica Garrison over at black girls do bike. I don't know if you've seen the work that she's done, but really just bringing people together, creating events and contents that make cycling more accessible to a community that, you just don't see very well-represented and, it begs the question why and one of the things that I've been quite curious about is, w what is what role can I play in making cycling more accessible?

[00:54:03] And there are some easy things to do, which is one, engaging, but then too, figuring out what the needs are. At the same time, it is good to see that there are those communities being created that serve people who, maybe don't find things like PLP or the ridership, or maybe aren't quite clear if it's for them or not.

[00:54:21] I will say this we want you with us, right? And we want your feedback. We want your ideas. And ultimately my personal goal is for the ridership to become something much bigger, which I don't control. So maybe it has a board it has a decentralized governance structure.

[00:54:39] So we're looking at DAOs decentralized autonomous organizations built on blockchains and things like that. It's a potential structure going forward to allow people to help decide the direction. And I think that sense of first representation, but then ultimately a sense of ownership in co-creation hopefully will help to merge these communities so that they can join together.

[00:55:01] Yeah. Yeah. Do you think reviewing so many bike products, discourages people from riding without specialized, but to some extent yes. In a sense of if I don't have these bags, I can't go by packing. Yeah. I do think that, when people watch reviews I don't intend for people to buy them.

[00:55:21] They're just usually things I'm really interested in, but they're, for some people. Feeling of oh, I need that thing or else I can't do this thing. Maybe I should try to communicate better that you should, bike or go bike packing with what you have. And don't worry about. All the small stuff.

[00:55:37] Randall: Yeah. People were backpacking before there was bike packing gear, just like people war gravel riding before there were grappled bikes. 

[00:55:44] Russ: Yeah. Yeah. I do find there's this one camera YouTube, very watch. And he had this interesting video talking about the dark side of tech YouTube.

[00:55:54] And the purpose of the video was he was feeling overwhelmed because he's getting sent to all this stuff. And, he himself is like a mindless by nature, but he has to play with all this stuff and, seemingly promoted and he feels bad when people feel bad that they don't have the same stuff.

[00:56:10] And that really resonated with me from the bike perspective, because there's a few things I truly, really and they're fairly attainable. Like I love friction shifting. I love flat pedals, but I do. All the latest gadgets, just because I have a interest in them, but not necessarily because I want people to buy them.

[00:56:28] Like I never, I try not to frame my reviews as you must absolutely buy this thing. It's just this way I think about it. It's kinda cool. You might like it. There's very few things where I said, this is. You should buy this. So I was thinking of doing something, a video like that because there's boxes of lots of things which is how overwhelming 

[00:56:44] Randall: I often in conversations will tell people, actually, you don't need this.

[00:56:48] We offer a carbon rail saddle option. It saves 55 grams for 49 bucks. And unless you have too much money and you're trying to squeeze every gram out. You don't need this. This is not going to affect in any way, your experience. Maybe that, that one's a little bit more obvious, but same applies to a lot of gear, hyper, specialized, non versatile gear that we're told, you have to have in order to engage in this experience.

[00:57:11] Russ: Yeah. I've started saying no to lots of things. And there's some things that I just don't review anymore because it's, I don't feel like it can add anything meaningful to the conversation, or I just don't use it. Actually don't like I've said no to so many bike packing bags. It's I don't like, I don't like the little, the poop bag or the sausage roll.

[00:57:29] It's just not my style. I'm not going to talk about them anymore. You can buy them if you want, but I wouldn't personally use them. I think there's, they're all about the same. And yeah, so don't more bike packing bags on the channel. I'm not reviewing carbon wheels anymore just because I can't add anything meaningful to it.

[00:57:48] I can say that they're light and they feel fast, but I don't have the scientific background to do any testing or something. So unless someone wants a purely anecdotal experiential review, I'm not gonna, I'm not gonna review products where I can't add to the knowledge base.

[00:58:03] Randall: So you saying I shouldn't send you any new fancy creping wheels. 

[00:58:07] Russ: You could, I won't review it

[00:58:08] Randall: a man of integrity, 

[00:58:10] Russ: But it's there's like I'm not an engineer. I could read the press copy and make it sound convincing, but unless the wheel to shatters as I'm writing there's nothing meaningful I could add to the conversation.

[00:58:23] Randall: I actually believe that is generally the case. And wheels are a prime example of a tremendous amount of marketing bullshit. There are differences, there are fundamental differences, but those aren't what's being marketed, like the basics of good wheel design. Maybe I'll do an episode on this at some point, but they are what they are.

[00:58:40] Russ: Yeah. Like I I've been given the opportunity to review like, $3,000 wheels, $2,000. It was like, it just can't do it. I'm not gonna, I'm not willing to read your press release. 

[00:58:49] Randall: Sorry. I see a comment here from Jeffrey Fritz. He says I am a cancer survivor and was recently thinking about Laura, glad to hear she was winning the battle.

[00:58:56] Thank you for your share Jeffrey and yeah, I resonate with that fully. Yeah, 

[00:59:01] Russ: You hear, cancer battle and it is an extended campaign is a war of attrition in between your body and the disease. It's if there's no like quick in and out, and there's always, there's a lot of collateral damage in the process.

[00:59:17] Randall: Yeah. 

[00:59:17] Could you share your discord link? 

[00:59:19] Russ: Yes, I will put that in the description after the live stream, I think I have to create a new invite or something. I think I made one video about the discord channel, like months ago and they haven't promoted it on the YouTube channel since. But yeah, I'll put the, I'll put the invite in the description below.

[00:59:35] Randall: Jordan Kwan says Jacob Jacobs, that's me the ridership merge. We want to do a Jersey. It's in the works. We just have not had the bandwidth to focus on it, but expect one for, next riding season. So save your ridership Jersey. We'll get that done. And we'll probably put it out to the community to, provide input on the design and so on.

[00:59:57] Russ: Yeah, we've been looking at other products that we could sell beyond just, stickers and and stem caps. Ideally I'd like to help design the bag. It would be fun to do a collaboration on a bike. I do have the idea for a hard, good, which solves a very specific problem, but I don't know if it's sexy enough for people to invest in it.

[01:00:19] But we're constantly thinking of ideas of, what's a bike product that we could present that we'd feel good about. That's hopefully a new and But it's tricky 

[01:00:28] Randall: if you ever need guidance on the manufacturing side of things. It's a thing that I've done we've talked about.

[01:00:34] Russ: Yeah. Cause we're the weird place where we have a audience, but not that many products to sell as opposed to having a product and having no audiences. It's like this inverse weird inverse problem. 

[01:00:45] Randall: So I looking through here, a lot of comments here and a lot of just not calling most of them out because most of them are just kind words.

[01:00:56] And I just want to say really appreciated. Yeah. What else do we have here? 

[01:01:01] Russ: We've got 106 people. I'm not seeing any question really jumped out, so maybe we should start taking it home. And then we can talk offline a little bit more if you want. 

[01:01:13] Randall: So that's good. And I'm curious and I've encourage folks to provide this feedback, if you're a member of the ridership or if you're a member of PLPs discord do you see a place ,for a more interactive forum where we would create a video conference.

[01:01:28] And maybe it's not for outside consumption, but it's more, just a way for us to communicate. And it's not about, two people having a conversation and others typing in questions, but really I would view myself more in that circumstance as a facilitator, facilitating connection and exchange between people.

[01:01:43] It folks think that's a good idea. It's been something that Craig and I have talked about in the past. 

[01:01:48] Russ: Yeah. It's something Laura and I have talked about too. It'd be fun to do an all bike summit or you have a, grand Peterson from Urbandale there maybe Yamaha and Anton for pitch, just like interesting personalities and have it be like a interactive video conference.

[01:02:02] But it's not going to happen this winter. I can guarantee that. 

[01:02:06] Randall: Let's say intention set. 

[01:02:08] Russ: Yeah. Cool. I think I'm going to take us home. Any last things you want people to know about the ridership or anything? 

[01:02:14] Randall: Yeah, the podcast is the gravel ride podcast. I think that probably the most valuable content for a lot of people, especially newbies would be some of our, bike fit 1 0 1 and, five skills that every gravel riders should know and things like this.

[01:02:26] We really try to cater to a beginner audience as well as, going deep nerd into the esoterics of competitive cycling with events, organizers, and athletes and things like that. Definitely more Craig's domain on that regard to. The Is where you can go to get a link to sign up.

[01:02:44] We also bought a Robert UBS account for the community. And by joining you get access to that free Robert GBS account that we acquired. And we do have good things that are happening there. Russ is in there too, not super active, but he does chime in when when people tag him .

[01:02:58] And yeah, that's how you find us. And then we do, with thesis and other commercial projects that I'm involved in, we have some interesting things in the pipe, but I'll be ready to talk about those probably, Q1 of 20, 22. 

[01:03:09] Russ: Yeah. Cool. I'm going to take us home a Randall.

[01:03:12] Thanks for being an awesome guest. Once again, definitely check out the ridership, these spikes and subscribe. The ground rights podcasts.

[01:03:20] Craig Dalton: Thanks everybody for listening this week. I hope you enjoyed that discussion between Randall and Ross. It was quite enjoyable watching live stream. So I hope that translated over the audio only format of this podcast. 

[01:03:34] After all that discussion about community. I hope by now, if you're not already in the ridership that you'll head on over to 

[01:03:41] and join the conversation. If you're interested in able to support the podcast. There's a couple easy ways you can do it. 

[01:03:52] The first would be ratings and reviews. They're hugely important to any podcast out there. And I can speak on behalf of this podcast or that. That I read everything that's written about the show, and I really enjoy your feedback. So that's a simple way you can help me out. During this holiday season. 

[01:04:09] If you have the financial wherewithal. We also accept contributions via buy me a simply visit buy me a gravel ride. Until next time he used to finding some dirt onto your wheels