After The Flood

“Were you affected by the flooding?”

That’s the number-one question I was asked at Interbike this week. People would look at my badge, see that I was from Colorado, and then want to know how bad things really were. To be completely honest, my problems were very minor compared to the massive devastation reported by the media. A leaky roof and failed sump pump basically amounted to an expensive inconvenience. In short, nothing compared to losing one’s home, all worldly possessions, and in some cases, loved ones.

Today, like nearly every other Saturday morning, I grabbed one of my bicycles and hit the road. Unlike all those meandering, destination-free adventures, this one was different. Today’s ride was a recon mission to see if my normal route to work had been impacted by last week’s flooding. Aside from a bit more broken pavement, the first couple of (paved) miles were largely uneventful. That all changed, however, when it came time to leave the asphalt. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

The first of what would be several trail-head closures. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

Looking up, and to the left of the gate in the previous photo. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

Approximately two miles farther, and another trail closure. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

Makeshift warning alerting cyclists and motorists to the shoulder’s damage. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

That wash-out is approximately four feet deep. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

I don’t recall ever seeing this popular trailhead closed. Front Range Colorado Boulder flood

I can only imagine how deep this was a few days ago.

It was at this point that I decided to throw in the towel and head back home. As I pedaled through the various neighborhoods, I heard the sound of shovels scraping against mud and asphalt. Discarded carpeting and furniture littered the sidewalks. Extension cords and hoses snaked their way across the remains of people’s lawns and driveways. I counted my blessings, grateful for my good fortune. All the while, a familiar song played in my head.

Watch your life slip through your hands
They’re not for shaking
They’re not for praying
They’re just for holding close
Everything you love in this fragile little dream
“You Were The Cancer” – Thursday

Gravel Renaissance?

Is it too early to call it a gravel renaissance? Whatever term you choose, it’s definitely a big deal when some of the largest and oldest names in the bike biz start offering gravel-specific models.

Over the past couple of weeks, Raleigh and Specialized both announced steel-framed gravel rigs for (late-2013)/2014. Not content to rest on their laurels, Salsa rolled out updated versions of their popular Fargo (and other models) at their recent dealer camp. Last, but certainly not least, Surly added a new bike model (Straggler) and tire (Knard) to the fray.

What does this mean for you and me? Well, assuming the companies did their homework, more gravel bike options are always a good thing. More brands means more choices, which is especially good if your local bike shop is a one-brand affair. And with more companies scrambling for a piece of the gravel-grinding pie, competition will (hopefully) weed out the uninspired and/or downright-bad designs.

Looking ahead, I think we’re all in for a very exciting ride (bad pun intended).

Happy Birthday

It’s hard to believe that I launched GRAVELBIKE two years ago. So much has happened since that very first post. Yet, even with the growth and changes, I still feel a bit like a kid at times. From the excitement of planning the next two-wheeled adventure, to the simple satisfaction of making it home before the rain starts to fall, I’ve had the good fortune to experience it all. Bikes have come and gone during the past two years, but the memories remain. In my quest to inspire others to ride everything, I’ve managed to broaden my own horizons in the process (both on and off the bike). For everyone who has been a part of the ride, I thank you.

After your first day of cycling, one dream is inevitable. A memory of motion lingers in the muscles of your legs, and round and round they seem to go. You ride through Dreamland on wonderful dream bicycles that change and grow.

H.G. Wells, The Wheels of Chance