Being in my particular position, (that is to say, the position of a person who’s been around in the bicycle world long enough to have made a few reasonably influential connections, but none who will ever take me very seriously if I have a good product idea, or generally, otherwise.) A pretty accurate case in point is my hugely appreciative stance on specific products, and overwhelming dissatisfaction when those items are done away with.
In 2010 I wrote a somewhat complete diatribe on the subject which served no purpose beyond simple personal therapy. I realize that all markets are ever evolving places, and manufacturers have to maintain production for what a majority of consumers want in order to stay operational. I also realize that in more cases that not, I find myself in the opposing minority.
The reason I bring all of this up is in regard to my affections for a slightly more rotund cyclocross tire, like the old WTB Interwolf. It had an effective tread design, wore well, and at a slightly larger 38c, offered me just exactly the qualities I craved in a skin;
Second to that, my even more favoriter tire was the Ritchey Mount Cross;
And these were just on my skinnier tired bikes. In 2007 I got a Soulcraft Dirtbomb that was built around a pair of Ritchey Z.E.D. 42s. Sure as shit, when I wore through that first pair, I looked for another, only to learn that they had just been discontinued a few months earlier. So my frustration began to mount.
Eventually the UCI stepped in and said that they were imposing restrictions against any cyclocross tire larger than a 35. This is about the time when I actually began investigating the process to get my own line of tires manufactured. “Seriously?” I thought. “It’s actually come to this?”
Alas, I didn’t have the three thousand (or whatever) dollars for a few sets of tires for myself, and it was too much of a gamble to hope that enough others would want them as well, so I pretty much sat down and sulked until Bruce Gordon reintroduced his Rock ‘n Road tires, which on that bike anyway, have been its mainstay;
But still craving a 38-42, you can imagine my absolute delight when on Friday morning I received a dispatch from WTB announcing the release of their new 700×40 Nano;
In the press release they cite the gravel racing market as the inspiration behind this offering, and then go on to thank Black Mountain Cycles’ Mike Varley and Sean Walling for their input, but I know what they mean.
The court issued restraining order WTB filed against me is all the proof I need.
In other news of stuff that’s kinda made me go ‘huh?‘ recently- For those who have been reading this here site for a while, I’m sure you recall the saga of the ‘Beer Hand Down’. This was in response to the UCI’s ruling that any bike racer taking any kind of a feed outside of a designated area could be disqualified, which we felt was in response to the growing trend of people feeding one another beers during various cyclocrossstyled bikecycle races, and so forth.
So it was in the first week of 2009 when Captain Dave conceived of the Hand Down, and that following weekend when I pulled off the first, which I then described in brief here;
It wasn’t a flawless pass by any means, but the course was set.
Ironically (or not), I never got a good glance at the person with whom I shared that initial outing of Captain Dave’s inspiration, until this past week when who should I have come across on the Doubleyew Doubleyew Doubleyew® but the very bearded ne’er-do-well in question;
His name’s Warren and he’s like the Tenzing Norgay to my Edmund Hillary.
Tire designs excluded, between the Dollar Hand Up, and the Beer Hand Down, I still feel like I’ve made a fairly profound impact on the bicycle world, which if I’m lucky is just the end of the beginning.