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 #495 – March 14, 2020

Guests: Bouker Pool; Ned Overend

I sincerely hope you are well and not experiencing any effects of the now declared pandemic. I am sure you have been overwhelmed with the flood of information and admonitions about what you should and shouldn’t do.

However, if you are interested, I always like to check in with Dr. Gabe Mirkin’s information and posted his thoughts about the Covid-19 outbreak on our Face Book page if you are interested in reading it. You can also fine his work on line at

This week, I had the distinct honor of a terrific conversation with one of the most celebrated – and deservedly so – mountain bike heroes of the past 40 years! Ned Overend, who is about to turn 65, is still out there competing at incredible levels.  His accolades go on for-EVER – and include 3 Halls of Fame, more titles than you can count, 6-time NORBA Champion, etc. etc. etc.

He’s been a brand ambassador with Specialized since he retired from racing for the company many years ago.

Our conversation covers his early life – from his birth in Taiwan and 4 years in Ethiopia – to his early days as a car mechanic and then a celebrated bike racer.

First though, we’ll speak with Bouker Pool, the Chief Commercial Officer for USA Cycling. With the worldwide spread of the corona virus, the organization is scrambling to get all of our athletes home from racing and training in a myriad of countries.

We’ll talk with Bouker about that as well as what might be on the horizon for the cycling season including nationals, worlds, and the Olympics.

Show #239 – March 28, 2015

Guests: Titanium frame builder Kent Eriksen; Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Ned Overend

For this last week of March I’ve chosen two of the industry’s favorite sons – Kent Eriksen and Ned Overend.

Kent started the brand Moots, moved on to his own company – Eriksen Cycles – and is one of the early adopters of titanium as the “material of choice”.

He calls himself a “seat of the pants” engineer and grew up riding and working in bike shops in his Wisconsin home.

He talks about his years of living in a tree house and today, he works in a very interesting facility in Steamboat Springs.  Earlier this month, Kent won “Best TIG Welded Frame” at NAHBS.  He still loves to ride and ski and spends a lot of his time, just as I’ve found most builders, IN his shop!

We discuss a bit about fit, technology, and of course my usual question for all builders these days – his opinion on road disc brakes! You might be surprised by his answer; but, seems that he understands the market as well as anyone with whom I’ve spoken.

Our conversation is fun and interesting.

After our news break, we head on out to San Diego to catch up with mountain bike legend Ned Overend. Growing up the son of a U.S. diplomat and living all over the world with his family, Ned talks about his childhood, his early racing days, and takes us right up to the present with an article he wrote last week for Bicycling.

Ned is a Mountain Bike Hall of Famer, has appeared in dozens of mountain bike videos, still loves to ride and race, and is the tech product guy at Specialized.

Our conversation runs the gamut from the early days of mountain biking to his most recent article in Bicycling titled “Ned Overend’s Secrets to Riding Forever”.


Show #74 – January 21, 2012

Seems like we just recovered from our Solar New Year’s hangover, and it’s already time to celebrate the Lunar New Year. What will the Year of the Water Dragon bring for you? Lots of great (and safe) cycling adventures, we hope.

To start the year off right, we’re headed up to Burlington, Vermont to have a chat with Glenn Eames, who owns and operates the Old Spokes Home, a combination bicycle shop and bicycle museum. Glenn sells and wrenches on both modern and vintage machines, but his passion is for classic bikes, and a large number of his customers are local university students.

You may have read about the recent civil court case between Specialized and Volagi. Volagi was started by two former Specialized employees, and as sometimes happens, former employer sued former employees over who did what when, and with what secret knowledge. If you’re confused, don’t be alarmed, our buddy Steve Frothingham from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News joins us in the second half of the show to explain the whole thing in plain English.

And to wrap up on a very happy note, Mark Griffith of the Moab Skinny Tire Festival drops in to talk about his event coming up March 10 – 13 in Moab, Utah. The Skinny Tire Festival is not only a showcase of the best, low traffic riding in Moab for us non-MTBers, it’s also a fundraiser for Cancer Survivorship Programs.

This time of year, we like to think of The Outspoken Cyclist as a “winter survivorship program” for cooped-up cyclists. À votre santé!