Show #593 – February 12, 2022

Guests: Matt Stoller; Tom Kellogg (encore presentation)

My first guest is Matt Stoller, the research director at the American Economic Liberties Project. The organization is Non-profit and non-partisan, the organization is part of a growing, cross- ideological movement to combat monopolistic corporations and the systems that entrench their power.

But, what does that mean and how does their work relate to the bicycle business? In fact, it does – in a way that I think may both interest and infuriate you.

Matt’s article titled “The Bicycle Thieves” appeared his newsletter BIG on Substack back in January. In it, Matt calls out those who are trying to build a world without independent bicycle shops.

Over the past few decades, the bike industry has become more and more consolidated.

Where we used to see robust competition and innovation from the likes of Sun Tour and Stronglight, to name just a couple, we now see just Shimano with SRAM and Campagnolo running distant seconds and thirds and a smattering of companies treading water in the bottom of the barrel.

Where we saw independent bicycle shops literally on almost every corner in America, we now see Trek and Specialized “company stores” as the two behemoths buy up smaller independent shops with the intention to either take them over or shut them down.

The bicycle industry isn’t, of course, the only place this is or has been happening – consolidation and “vertical integration” has been going on in pharmacies, groceries, and, with Amazon in the mix, just about every other industry on the planet.

The antitrust laws and regulations that have been on the books for decades have been loosened, ignored, or conveniently disregarded with little political will to strengthen or enforce them.

This begs a big question for me (although there is more than one!) Is this a good thing? And, if so, for whom?

Is it possible that the pendulum is beginning to swing in the other direction and, is there political will to help it along?

*** Here is the link to the February 17th  FTC Meeting information as mentioned on the show.

In the second half of the show, I’m offering up an encore presentation of another iconic framebuilder – one who influenced our custom bicycle world for years and years. And, since it was his birthday this past week, I thought I’d bring him back.

Tom Kellogg may no longer be building frames, but his contributions to the artisan bicycle world were and continue to be immense. Happy Birthday to him and you can hear our conversation in the second half of the show.

Show #592 – February 5, 2022

Guests: Diane’s News Monologue; Encore Presentation with Tom Ritchey

This week has been really weird… I have guests lined up for the next couple of weeks, but whether it’s due to the weather, schedules, or just an “I’ve had enough” feeling, no new guests this week.

So, I thought I’d offer up a few news stories that have been buzzing around the bike world this week along with an encore presentation of an interview with the one and only Tom Ritchie. Recorded back in February, 2019, we have a splendid conversation!

So first up… the word game that is sweeping the internet – Wordle. If you’re a word-nerd like I am, you’ve probably already tried it. But, when I was growing up, we played a game we called Jotto – exact same premise. Come up with a 5-letter word, put it on the top of your page and fold down the paper so your opponent can’t see it, print the alphabet at the bottom of your paper, and start guessing your opponent’s word. There was no limit to the number of tries in Jotto, which is a bit different from Wordle since your opponent is the Internet.

NOW, it’s the hottest thing since index shifting – and for bike nerds, there’s… wait for it – Bikle! The premise? Find the surname of a cyclist that has 5 letters. Wanna’ play? Type in bikle on a browser… Not sure how many 5-letter surnames there are of past and present pro cyclists, but what the hell? It’s one word per day and you get 6 tries to figure it out.

Probably the most talked about story this week is what Specialized has decided to do – sell director to the consumer, bypassing the usual bike shop experience – and by extension, expertise in my opinion.

Apparently eating his own words from 10 years ago in a statement that went something like “we will never sell bikes over the Internet,” Mike Sinyard, founder and CEO of Speciailized has reversed course.

From letting dealers know to stories in every cycling publication, the announcement that Specialized will have a white-glove delivery option directly to your door with a fully assembled bike is just the newest in a series of big changes in the bicycle world.

As you can imagine, dealers’ responses range from expletives to realizing they will just have to deal with it.

Another story that caught my attention is about America and Britain’s Got Talent Host and Star, Simon Cowell. Seems he might need training wheels as he was rushed to the hospital for a second crash on his eBike in 18 months. His first crash was in Malibu and resulted in a myriad of injuries including breaking vertebrae in his back; this one was in the U.K. and he’s now sporting a cast on one arm. This second crash was a header on slippery pavement – and, apparently, he’s considering wearing a helmet in the future.

For those who have “been around” a long long time, you may remember an apparel company by the name of Kucharik. Fabricating really fine wool cycling apparel since 1980, founder Jon Kucharik passed away in 2008 at the age of 93. He never wavered from his commitment to the natural fabrics.

His son, John Jr. kept the company operating but has decided to close the business saying, I’m going to turn 69 pretty soon,” It’s really sad because I have a lot of customers. But I’ve been promising my wife to travel and to do some stuff.”

Another piece of bicycle history going down in the history books.

And, if you are waxing nostalgic on that story, the incomparable Sheldon Brown was remembered this week. He passed away February 4, 2008. Brian and I met him at one of the trade shows a couple of years before he died. He was a fascinating guy with a crazy smart brain. His site lives on, with all of its amazing content, because of his wife Dr. Harriet Fell and bicycle aficionado John Allen.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Egan Bernal. The young talented pro crashed into the back of a bus on a training ride ending up in the ICU and eventually having several surgeries to put him back together.

On February 3rd, he stated that he “almost died but I’m back as he revealed the outrageous injury list describing his last surgery as the most difficult race of his life.

He seems to be thinking he’ll be back though. Sending him healing vibes for sure.

Tom Ritchey says that he owes a lot to his father and, from teaching him to repair tubular tires to brazing a broken frame, Tom learned from his Dad – and did he ever learn!

Probably one of the most prolific idea men in our sport, Tom is credited with “firsts’ dating back to 1974 with his twin plated crown forks and rolling into frames, tubing, bottom brackets, forks, and so many other things.

The following is the conversation we had back in February, 2019. I’ hope you enjoy it.

Show #591 – January 29, 2022

Guests: Lester Janssen; Cain Chamberlain & Donna Ianonne

Today’s show is a little late – but, I think it’s worth the wait.

Photo Credit Jake Stangel

Frame builder Lester Janssen started out as a bike messenger years ago and then found out there were such things as custom bikes – right there in Amsterdam. He never looked back

Starting out with a famous frame builder many years ago and- using just a file and hacksaw as he says, he struck out on his own in 2016 armed with knowledge, skills, and a whole slew of new tools.

Lester Cycles offers fillet brazed custom steel bikes, beautifully crafted, one off in a shop that sits in a really cool building right in the port of Amsterdam.
(I’ll be adding some cool photos of Lester’s workshop soon!)

Our conversation today runs from his history, through the pandemic and his experiences with supply chain issues, to what he sees as his future in the bicycle world.

Looking forward to some new places to ride this year? How about the Endless Mountains of NE Pennsylvania?

I knew about the Endless Mountains because my sister lived there for a short time many years ago.

What I didn’t know was how rife the area was for riding options – from a 400 mile bike packing loop that will open up this year to 4 triathlons over the summer and early fall.

The EMHR as it’s known, is 4-couny area of NE Pa.that covers 2,850-square mile area encompassing Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming Counties.

Cain Chamberlain, Executive Director, and Donna Ianonne, a board member and county commissioner, give us the background of the area and an overview of what you can do, where you can stay, and some of the great opportunities coming up for 2022.

Show #590 – January 22, 2022

Guests: Ash Lovell; Craig Calfee

We begin today with Ash Lovell from People for Bikes.  Her official title is Electric Bicycle Policy and Campaign Director and our topic is important and timely. If you ride an eBike or are considering purchasing one, you will eventually need to consider the disposal of your used-up battery.  The estimated lifespan is about 5 years – although I don’t have a good translation of that in hours and/or miles. During the Consumer Electronics Show a couple of weeks ago, Ash was a presenter at CES and the topic was about a new program for recycling eBike batteries. Partnering with manufacturers and bike shops, People For Bikes is leading the campaign to make sure these batteries are appropriately recycled so they don’t end up in landfills.

Then, we check in with one of my favorite industry people – Craig Calfee. Craig and I have known each other for a very long time and I have a heap-o-respect for his work, the way he looks at our industry, and the efforts he puts in to share his knowledge and expertise across the globe.

While carbon fiber has become the “material of choice” among virtually every manufacturer, Craig still pushes the envelope with his ideas and designs.

Today, we talk about the Calfee Nautilus carbon wheelsets, what’s selling at his manufacturing facility, eBike conversion kits, his carbon repair business, and more

Show #589 – January 19, 2022

Guest: Ian Cleverly

Yes – this is a mid-week episode and I really enjoyed the conversation with my guest, Ian Cleverly.

Ian is the executive editor of Rouleur – arguably one of the best magazines about cycling on the market today.

With a history of covering racing, the editors changed it up in 2021 and have broadened their topics to include issues on women, people of color, and disabled athletes.

As more and more publications disappear from newsstands, and even from subscription, Rouleur is one lovely magazine that is still not only being published, but is thriving! In fact, issue #1 of Rouleur is a hot commodity on the market, if you can find one, fetching a tidy sum.

an, who is stuck at home like many of us, is a fun conversationalist and I really enjoyed the time we spent chatting. I hope you enjoy our conversation too.

Show #588 – January 15, 2022

Guest: Scott Sheppard

In an unprecedented move (wow – I got to use that word… even though I believe it’s about the most overused word in our lexicon these days…) I am offering up two separate podcast episodes this week.

I had two great interviews and, rather than one really LONG show, I thought two shorter shows, with two extremely diverse topics, would be more interesting AND I get to talk with you twice in one week!

So, the SECOND episode this week will launch on Wednesday!

Today, however, we mosey on over to Lisbon, Portugal (I wish it was in person, but alas, ’tis not possible.)

Scott Sheppard is the CCO and CPO of Asistobe, a new-ish start-up with an office in Lisbon. Asistobe is a relatively new start-up company that uses AI to optimize public transport and multimodal systems.

Asistobe and Scott are looking at just that right “nudge” as Scott calls it,  that will make it easy, convenient, and desirable to NOT get behind the wheel of your car every time you go out and instead begin to rely on more convenient, less expensive, and cleaner transportation.

We will explore mobility and transportation from the perspective of using digital data to make it easier and more efficient to travel by bike and public transportation.

Our conversation covers much more, expanding on what traditional thoughts might be about urban planning to what Scott called “decarbonization.”

Show #587 – January 8, 2022

Guests: Lexy Savvides; Tom Parker

This past week, Las Vegas hosted the Consumer Electronics Show – AKA CES, in Las Vegas – in person as well as virtually.

First held in 1967 in NYC, it was a spinoff off of the Chicago Music Show.

Every year, the event showcases the latest and greatest in technology and this year, I wanted to poke around and see what cycling innovations might be coming up for us in 2022 and beyond.

Leave it to Apple to look for an opportunity and this year, the Apple watch is looking to bring cycling tech to newer riders, eBike enthusiasts, and upgrade some of the features previously available on their wrist wearable.

Lexy Savvides is a tech geek – her words not mine – and her article for CNet, where she is a producer and writer, “How the Apple Watch Could Turn You Into A Serious Cyclist in 2022” caught my attention.

In addition to the Apple watch and its many cycling features, Lexy tells us about a few jaw-dropping products that are in various stage of development – like a BMW that changes colors right before your eyes and a humanoid robot name Ameca.

In the second half of the show, we head out to Albuquerque, NM to speak with Tom Parker.  He’s a civil engineer, a rabid cycling enthusiast, and the ride director for what sounds like one of the coolest cycling events for 2022 – The Day of the Tread Ride.

I wanted to hear about something that was different, fun, and WARM!

Loosely patterned on a Day of the Dead motif, this ride has morphed over the years into many in-person ride routes, each with its own fun theme, and several virtual options.

While not everyone wants to don a costume and ride, those who do will be joined my hundreds more at Day of the Tread.

This 15 year old event takes place in Albuquerque right around Halloween and with a plethora of options for ride lengths and some really worth charitable beneficiaries, maybe booking a trip to New Mexico in October could be on YOUR bucket list.

Show #586 – January 1, 2022

Guests: Dr. Gabe Mirkin; Amy Jones

We’re starting the year with a talk about health – what is it, how to get it, and why 60% of people living today will become diabetic if they don’t change their evil ways!

My guest is Dr. Gabe Mirkin, At 87, he’s still one of the sharpest, most well-informed physicians on the planet. In this conversation, we cover everything from how blood sugar works to intermittent fasting to the need to just get up and get moving.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin has served as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland, teaching a course based on his book The Sportsmedicine Book from 1976-1980. He served as a teaching fellow at Johns Hopkins Medical School, and an associate clinical professor in pediatrics at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C.

When Dr. Gabe isn’t out riding his recumbent tandem with his wife Diana, he’s reading and researching science and medicine and offering his research and findings to you in the form of a free weekly newsletter.

Today, we talk about preventing diseases such as diabetes and dementia and how what we eat and what we do matter.  His articles, especially those about inflammation and arthritis are “must reads!”  (You can find many more articles like this on Dr Mirkin’s website.)

After the break, I want to introduce you to a fresh voice for women’s cycling. Amy Jones is a journalist who focuses her work on women’s cycling and often from the “human interest” perspective.

In the first half of our conversation, we just talk generally about women’s cycling and how it’s changing – especially on the World Tour.
In the second half of our conversation though, we address the elephant in the room – or should I say the enigma that is Patrick LeFevre.

Amy recently penned an article for that probably made some jaws drop for the sheer guts it took to write it. Titled “Does Women’s Cycling Even Want Patrick LeFevre?” the article explores Mr. LeFevre’s sudden about-face from apparently not giving a damn about women’s cycling to sponsoring a women’s development team. Wait – WHAT?

It’s quite an interesting topic…

Show #585 – December 18, 2021

Guests: Shannon Galpin; Dov Tate

The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating daily – famine, illness, and now a world that seems to be looking away, is making evacuating women – especially women athletes – cyclists – more dangerous and fraught with more complications.

It all begs the question – one that has been asked over and over – what is keeping the cycling community from helping to evacuate, resettle, and protect Afghan cyclists?  The ones who are out, or about to be evacuated, are not the entire story – and in fact their stories are ongoing anyway.

If we can perhaps agree that the way the situation in Afghanistan was handled badly in the beginning, it has only become more difficult without the attention and financial support that was there at the start and has since gone away.

This is not a “pretty holiday story” – it is one that I believe should be told and that whatever we can each do – whether it is to donate money or offer help in whatever form works – NOW is the time to do it.

You can find out more about the situation as it continues to unfold and make a donation at  Shannon posts updates fairly often.  The other organization she mentioned is iProbono – a human rights organization at

Instead of the usual gift giving product reviews we’ve done for many years, I thought we’d change it up with an idea that has meaning for so many of us – climate change.

Dov Tate is the founder of Parcours – a wheel company in the U.K.  As a triathlete he thought wheelsets were too expensive.  As an engineer at Oxford, he conducted a groundbreaking study into bicycle wheel aerodynamics with Dr Steve Faulkner at the sports engineering department of Nottingham Trent University.  The resulting study produced what is now Parcours – his wheel manufacturing company that offers a variety of models.

Now, Parcours is partnering with Ecologi, a program that offers a variety of options to fight climate change – in particular, Parcours has given each of its wheelsets a “watts saving” number and that, in turn, is the number of trees that will be planted with every pair of wheels sold.  ! Watts For Trees!

Show #584 – December 11, 2021

Guests: Natalie Rizzo; Amelia Neptune

Today, we’re going to talk about FAT and why it is important to INCLUDE as opposed to EXCLUDE fat in your diet.

Of course, that doesn’t mean just any fat – there’s good fat and bad fat and Natalie Rizzo, who is a registered sports dietician with a Masters in Science and who recently wrote an article for Runner’s World titled “How Much Fat Should Runners Eat Per Day? will help break it all down.

I figured that if it’s good enough for runners, it’s certainly good enough for cyclists.

Natalie is a registered dietician in NYC and her goal is to teach you how to use science-based sports nutrition techniques to feel and perform at your best. You can find out more about Natalie and her work on her website.

There are 5 E’s of a League of American Bicyclist’s “Bicycle Friendly Community:”

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI): A Bicycle Friendly America for Everyone

Engineering: Creating safe and convenient places to ride and park

Education: Giving people of all ages and abilities the skills and confidence to ride

Encouragement: Creating a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling

Evaluation & Planning: Planning for bicycling as a safe and viable transportation option

Amelia Neptune is the director of the Bicycle Friendly America Program and recently the League announced 57 new Bicycle Friendly Communities for 2021.

I wanted to know how a BFC title is awarded, how the designations – from bronze to titanium – are determined, and how things have changed since the program was first initiated in 1995.