Sometimes A Bike Is Just A Bike

Remember the “Pandemic Bike Boom?” The one that was going to last forever?

Well, it’s over:

And yes, I know it’s not that simple, but if I understood business then I wouldn’t be a bike blogger now would I?

Still, I might as well try, and what seems to be going on is that the bike industry is feeling this whole “bullwhip effect” thing whereby retailers ordered shitloads of bike stuff for bored people, it took forever to arrive, and when it finally did either people didn’t want it anymore or they wanted something else. So Specialized shitcanned a bunch of influencers or something. Then again, I may be getting some or all of this wrong because: A) I don’t understand business (see above); and 2) I’m getting this from bike industry news sources, and every single bike industry news source is now owned by one company which is also shitcanning everybody. And when you consider that I myself write content for that same company, you begin to grasp the enormity of the problem, which is that nobody really knows what the hell they’re talking about; they just know what they believe, and they want you to believe it too. Take the extra step of considering that this is in no way limited to the cycling media and that pretty much everything you read is written by an idiot with an agenda, and you’ll rightfully conclude that your entire worldview is shaped by assholes and the only logical course of action is to renounce it all and declare, “Fuck it, I’m becoming an Amish.”

Still, for now, let’s just go with the whole “inventory glut” thing for the sake of convenience. Again, I don’t know nothing about nothing, but it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that there are TOO MANY FUCKING GRAVEL BIKES, could it?

I mean there are so many gravel bikes that they added another one between writing the headline and writing the tweet!

Keep in mind those are just the “best” garvel bieks, too…and Garvel Ferds are still upset they left some out!

That bike sucks. I don’t know what a BMC Kaius 01 is. I’ve never ridden it, I’ve never seen it, I’ve never even thought of it. But it sucks anyway. Deal with it.

Anyway, I am all for commerce, and the bike industry should by all means produce as many nearly identical gravel bikes as it wants. At the same time, one could make a pretty strong argument that the world doesn’t need anywhere close to 44 gravel bikes, and in fact we don’t need 44 different types of bicycle period–or “full stop” if you’re from a place that calls a derailleur a “mech.” (“Rear mech” bothers me almost as much as “brifter,” and sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night stressed about how often both terms must appear in the same sentence on Internet forums.) I’ve never really bought into the whole “vengeful God” thing, but if there is one and He’s a bike person He would definitely smite us for our arrogance, perhaps by sending a flood–though even then we’d never learn and instead write articles about the “52 Best Water Bikes:”

“Hydrofoil Or Pontoon: Which Is Right For You?”

Do you think Jan Heine knows as much about buoyancy as he does about rolling resistance? I have a bad feeling he does.

Of course the industry’s fixation on categories and rules was a recurring theme in my interview with Jeff Jones, and while you were reading it on Friday I was out on one of his bikes:

I am still using and enjoying the Tosco bar on the Jones LWB, though the formidable backsweep requires the use of a 130mm stem, which is almost a kludge by modern standards. Of course the Jones H-Bar is not only comfortable and versatile but also designed to work for the bike and vice-versa, and as such is a more logical choice. Indeed, I imagine the H-Bar will make its way back onto this bike one of these days, but in the meantime I’m not a logical person, and anyway if I were I wouldn’t be a bike blogger now would I?

Also, my incessant complaining about gravel bikes notwithstanding, I happened to be riding with noted filmmaker Terry Barentsen, and boy can he ride the hell out of a gravel bike:

We’ve all got opinions that can border on orthodoxy, and even being compulsively heterodox is itself a form of orthodoxy, but at a certain point it just comes down to being good at riding bikes:

Still, I’m livid that BikeRader didn’t include my gravel bike on their list:

Or maybe they did, I didn’t actually read it.

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