Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Bicycles Evolving Into Motorcycles, Again

        It began happening one hundred and twenty years ago and then, right after WWI each machine went it's own quiet path and one noisy path. Sixty years later, when the Mountain Bike came storming out of the seventies into the eighties, little did we was happening again. Upright handlebars, fatter tires, suspension forks, soft-tails, hydraulic disc brakes, electronic shifting and now electric assist motors and here we are...another generation of fossil fuel-powered cycles.
        There is something irresistible in society about letting the machine do the hard work.  I have wavered a few times over the last five decades from nutrition-powered machines to fossil fuel-powered contraptions (driving Ducatis and Hondas) but, my first love has always been the leg-powered bicycle. I'm not saying they can't co-exist, however nothing satisfies me more thoroughly than earning my own way by leg-spinning up a long hill, followed by the sensation of soaring silently down the other side and repeating same, for hours, day after day.
         I'm in a position now where I am encouraging customers to utilize both modes of transport. I can't help but think the electric bicycle people are really cheating themselves out the euphoric pleasure that comes with climbing and descending under your own power. The endorphins just don't get "cranking" when you are twisting a throttle or setting your handlebar-mounted monitor to Turbo mode. The adrenalin can still be there but... that is a drug that can only get you into trouble somewhere down the road.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

You Know You've Been Ripped Off When...

       I have a couple of customers who slide into Bodfish Bicycles and Quiet Mountain Sports every few years wanting me to get riled-up over bicycle tour guide writers who have duplicated/ lifted a handful of my historic ride suggestions from columns and books I've published over the last fifty years. I explain that California bicycle guide writers are a family and this information really is community property (who has the funds to enforce copyright law?). I started drawing maps of my two wheel expeditions when I was living in Bodfish, California in 1973.
       One writer in particular, who puts ride information on a website named Jack's Essential Rides really gets my people going, "He uses almost all of the rides from your books, California Dream Cycling and Cycling In The Shadow of Shasta!" I checked it out and retorted that hey, these are all public roads and cyclists (even cyclists who write) are always looking for the best roads. Besides, he missed a couple of the 99 rides I published.
      "He could at least acknowledge where he hi-jacked the information." shouted the most recent loyal complainer. I, again...appreciating her allegiance, pointed out that no one was ever going to become rich or famous for depicting or reporting the best roads to ride in California. The audience is small and a sense of adventure is rare these days.  I have broken-even on my publishing adventures within the world of California cycling enthusiasts. I still have a couple hundred copies of the last two; California Dream Cycling and Cycling The California Outback with Bodfish (in fact, there has been a resurgence of interest in this's now called 'gravel grinding'. I occasionally hand them out as gifts or take donations for them. No big deal.