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