28 May, 2021

We're Buzzing About Cicadas

by Adrian

If you haven't heard about the cicadas invading the East Coast, have you been living underground for the past 17 years?

Here's what all the hubbub this season has been about. The Brood X Cicada is an endemic insect to Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware, Ohio, and some other parts around these areas (though in fewer concentrations). If you're not familiar with the iconic image of the cicada - it's a hefty bug that has wide-set red eyes, large wings, and makes a loud song via "the rapid buckling and unbuckling of drumlike tymbals." Really this sounds like buzzing up-close on an individual level, but when you get billions (yes, with a "B") together the buzzing combines to make an eerie background noise reminiscent of 1950's flying saucers. They're also not the sharpest bug in the shed, and can often be found flying directly into your face, doing donuts on the sidewalks, and casually walking into predators mouths. 

This is a small sample in our neighborhood

Cicadas lie dormant underground for 2 to 17 years depending on the species, emerging in the late spring only when the ground gets to around 64℉. They shed their nymph shells, fill up their wings with fluid, find a mate, lay eggs, and then die or get eaten by pretty much everything. This includes a good deal of people who have been in a frenzy to make the best cicada recipes. Some say they taste like shrimp, some say asparagus, and others just dunk them in chocolate, because why not?  

So what's all the buzz about cicadas? Well, Brood X (10) is one of 15 rotating broods of annual cicadas that emerges along the Mid-Atlantic region but is THE MOST dense and prolific of all the broods by a large measure. In their most dense, University of Maryland estimates a cicada density of 1 MILLION per acre. 

And so to commemorate this once in a 17 year cycle (yes, we're a bike brand, we went there) we had some super fun t-shirts and stickers designed by Baltimore-based artist Kate Haberer.

We have both stickers and t-shirts up and the website. And just like the cicadas, once they're gone, they're gone. Well, until 2038 at least.

We also had a couple samples made for staff kids, and they were too cute. Should we do a run for nymphs?

24 May, 2021

Let's Talk Forever Bikes

by Igor

A "forever bike" has different meanings to different people. It might be a really nice bike for which you've highly researched and invested. It might be a "quiver-killer" that consolidates all your bikes into one. It might be one from your childhood that you've held on to and resisted selling over the years. Or it might be the one that, more morbidly, is the last one before "the big ride". For me, my Campeur is my forever bike. It has so many memories including getting married, tours, travels, and oh so many cockpit and drivetrain setups. Simply put, the sentimental value of this bike far outweighs the monetary value it might have.

Scouring my archives, this is the earliest picture I could find of the complete bike. My detective skills based on the dirty tires leads me to think there must be another, earlier picture, but I can't find it. Maybe it's on an old flip-phone or Adrian's old LG Chocolate. Dura-Ace shifters, derailleurs, 10sp gearing (when it was brand new), dynamo lighting, carbon brake levers, and ready for all sorts of duties it will soon see.

Out of all my bikes, this one has the most airline miles, by far. Adrian and I even got married on our Campeurs on a tour of Denmark, Germany, and Sweden. Yeah, it was ridiculously cute.

It's also been to California (twice for Eroica), all over the Eastern seaboard on various tours, Ireland, France (Anjou Velo Vintage), and Taiwan. 

You have to pack some reminders of home when going overseas

The Campeur is a sublime on-road tourer, but since I don't ride on the road so often anymore, it mostly lives on the trainer. It's just that my Low Kicker has a setup that is more conducive to my current riding style, component preferences, and setup. That is, I mostly ride canal paths, rail trails, gravel roads, and basically anything that minimizes interactions with cars.

Selling it has crossed my mind before, but I KNOW that if I sold it, I would immediately regret it. I've heard countless stories about cars, bikes, furniture, jewelry, etc...where people had seller's remorse immediately when the cash hit their hands. I typically skew towards the minimalist side, but some items demand a level of preservation due to their personal impact and meaning. And while it takes up a little bit more room in my garage and sometimes the office, I can always look at it and remember some truly fantastic times.

Do you have a forever bike? What makes it yours?

13 May, 2021

Hubs Spin into the Warehouse, and the State of Inventory

by Igor

We just got a re-stock of our hubs! So if you've been waiting patiently for the following, hop onto the website now.

As far as inventory goes, you may have noticed that we have a bunch of stuff out of stock right now. To be frank, it's a bit slim-pickings right now. We're working on getting as much product as possible within the shortest time frame. I've told our trading partners not to wait to fill a 40' or 40' High cube container before shipping products out. If a vendor has product ready to go, hubs in this case, send them off by the best and fastest shipping available. 

In addition to these smaller shipments, we have five containers to arrive between now and winter that will have frames, components, and accessories. Delays have mainly been from shipping and obtaining raw materials. Our factory partners actually have really good capacity and the production lead times are accurate, especially considering the quantities we've been ordering this year.

It isn't just the bike industry that has felt this squeeze. All sorts of industries from fishing rods, aftermarket car parts, boat trailers, exercise equipment, and more, have felt delays that are frustrating to consumers and wholesale businesses alike.

And as such, we absolutely appreciate your patience. Stuff is on the way!

We have some other big news that we're going to spill soon. Long story short, we have big plans for the future. Lots more projects, more inventory, and better availability. Stay tuned!