Show #644 – February 10,, 2024

Guests: Dave Simmons; Mark & Cal Norstad

It truly feels as if spring is close… and with that, there are thoughts of great riding ahead.

Before we get started. I wanted to mention an upcoming show about a new documentary. As many of you know, one of the greatest riders to ever live and compete on a bicycle was Marhsall Walter Taylor, better known as Major Taylor.

Titled, Major Taylor, Champion of the Race, it will be coming to you from Indiana Public Media’s WTIU on February 26th at 8pm. If you have the PBS app you can find it there or go to after the program airs.

We’ll be talking with past US Champion John Howard, one of the luminaries of the documentary, in an upcoming episode of the show before it airs.

My first guest today is Dave Simmons, the executive director of Ride Illinois. In our conversation we talk about bicycle related crashes and fatalities in the state along with some data, or lack of it about eBikes.

I wanted to catch up with Dave because of the Ride Illinois “Bill Tracker” that the organization has made available on their website. It offers you the ability to not only track statewide bills, but also federal legislation as it pertains to bicycling infrastructure and such things as eBike rebates.

As you will hear, neither Dave nor I has a lot of data about eBike crashes and, since it came up in this conversation as well as the one I recently had with John Surico in New York, I have contacted the NTSB to see what kinds of data they are or are not collecting.

Unfortunately, their response was less than satisfying. In her response, Brittany Rawlinson said: “Unfortunately, the NTSB doesn’t collect or house data on e-bike crashes and fatalities.

For our 2022 report, the NTSB used a mix of methods and pulled from several existing data sources to assess the usability of these databases and compile the numbers we used in our report. In our review, we found that this data is non-standardized and often not recorded. Due to this fact, the NTSB issued several recommendations to agencies responsible for tracking fatalities and injuries (pgs. 33-34 in our report). “

Here is the link to that report.

Also, the 2024 Illinois Grand Bike Tour runs from June 9th through the 14th.
You can find out more about ALL of the things happening in Illinois including the tour, the bill tracker, and how the legislation might be going to make bicycles “intended” users of the roadways at

Then, we speak with Mark and Cal Norstad from Paragon Machine Works. Paragon supplies the custom frame builder with high quality precision bicycle components dropouts and headtubes to bottom brackets as well as parts, tools, and accessories.

Mark, who started the company in 1983, will be passing the torch to son Cal in June and I wanted to catch up with them before the transition.

Who knew that a bronze replica cannon would lead to a lifetime of machine work? And, that is exactly what happened when Paragon Machine’s Mark Norstad first realized that you could actually MAKE such a thing in a machine shop.

Taking all the machine shop classes that were offered in high school and on into college, Mark started Paragon Machine Works in his parents’ basement in 1983.

Fast forward several decades and Mark is about to pass the torch to his son Cal as Mark looks at retirement this summer. Here is our conversation.

If you would like to know more about Paragon Machine Works, you can follow them on social media or log on to their website.

Transcript_February 10

Show #572 – September 11, 2021

Guests: Justin Christopher; Dave Simmons

It’s Our Anniversary. Welcome to our show for September 11, 2021.

Of course the significance of the date is not lost on me and I’m sure not on you either. I have vivid memories of that day twenty years ago and it’s sobering to think about the lives lost and the fear that was burned into our hearts and minds.

Ironically, today is also a day to celebrate for TOC. It was eleven years ago today, my first guest, Ben Serotta, helped to launch the podcast. I’ve learned so much from not only the weekly production of the show but also from the amazing people whom I’ve had the honor to interview.

And, I am grateful and humbled by you – those who faithfully listen to the show, send me messages of encouragement and praise as well as take me to task when you hear something you don’t like. You’ve provided me with great ideas for shows and led me to some of the most interesting people!

So as we launch year #12.let me just say thank you – thank you for everything that you do that supports the sport of cycling – whether you ride to work or compete at the elite level and everything in-between.

Here in the U.S. we know that spring is baseball season and football begins in the fall. We have basketball and hockey and golf and tennis but when September comes around for cyclists, we know that it’s cyclocross season!

And so, I thought we should launch cross season with someone who is totally immersed in it!

With a deep background in the bicycle business, Justin Christopher parlayed his love for cyclocross into a business while still riding and racing.

His company RideCX offers up a lot of product that might not be readily available at your local shop; but, more than that, Justin gives us a thorough understanding of the sport as well as what we can expect to see here in the States for the 2021-2022 Cross season – and, it’s a lot.

Then, we head to Illinois to speak with the Executive Director of Ride Illinois, the organization that promotes cycling, works on legislation, and offers education to riders young and old.

Dave Simmons might be relatively new to the position, but his background in education makes him uniquely suited to all of the many aspects of advocacy that are so important to growing cycling in each state.

One of the “big wins” for Illinois is the passage of HB 270! It takes the burden of expense off local municipalities that might not otherwise have had the means to add critical infrastructure for biking and walking.

And then there are the quizzes you can take at

Show #133 – March 9, 2013



American Bicycle Group, parent company of the Litespeed and Quintana Roo brands normally builds stock frames, but one very special customer recently got a full custom design for a ride that was literally out of this world. Listen as Brad DeVaney, Engineering Manager for ABG talks about the company’s titanium work on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.

If you’ve ever been on a long ride and had your toes go numb, or experienced a “hot foot”, Dave and Jennifer Simmons have the answer for you. Simmons makes fully-custom, all-carbon cycling shoes based on a plaster cast of his customers’ feet. After listening to Dave, and checking out the website, the word that best describes these shoes is “want!”

Returning to Earth, we wrap up this week’s show with a conversation with Caeli Quinn, Ride Director for Climate Ride. Climate Ride is a non-profit organization that sponsors two week-long rides each year, with the aim of raising awareness and activism around sustainability, bike advocacy, and environmental causes. Think of it as a rolling, human-powered green symposium!