MID-WEEK REPORT: THE LATEST NEWS, PRODUCTS AND EVENTS

Take a look at our top trending stories from this week, covering the latest road bikes, tech, pro racing and more in the cycling industry.

FINDING A GRAVEL PARADISE

In our time covering the emergence of gravel riding, we’ve visited a plethora of small towns across the country, some more welcoming of the Lycra clad masses than others, but few as well-equipped and tangibly friendly as we’ve found in Bentonville, Arkansas.

It was hard to explore the town without spotting a cyclist riding to the nearest gravel road or one of the bike paths and trails that criss-cross the city. More-so than the common cyclist sightings and ever-present cycling infrastructure is the number of cycling-themed establishments that dot the downtown district and surrounding streets.

The Meteor, a cafe and coffee shop, was a top choice for a pre-race coffee, while The Pedaler’s Pub and The Hub were a popular choice for an evening aperitivo and post-race meal. Many of the local restaurants offered some sort of cycling related decor.

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AMY PIETERS TAKES FIRST STEPS AFTER COMA

Dutch cyclist Amy Pieters has taken her first steps and has been able to ride in tandem for the first time since the life-threatening accident she suffered last December, her website announced on Tuesday.

“With a little help, she gets up from her chair and takes her own steps. She walks for short moments when supported,” said the website.

“Amy sets the pace. There are days when she doesn’t want to show this again, and then there comes another day when she wants to stand, starts walking, and immediately makes a serious effort.

“What she shows then is the conviction that Amy will be able to walk again! Amy’s tiny steps are already turning into real steps. What a progression!”

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THE WIDE WORLD OF ROADIES

By Zap

No matter how unfashionable Facebook (and all things Mark Zuckerberg) may have become these days (especially with the younger set), I remain thankful for having access to it. And no, I’m not talking about the numerous cat videos or adverts for designer sunglasses that fill the page, but rather the site’s handy, big-picture ability to keep up with old friends, as well as discover a wide variety of cycling stories. And, it was on a recent scroll through my FB page that I was able to accomplish both of those in one fell swoop.

Marc Gullickson was a long-ago mountain bike racer who I first befriended when he showed up on the national circuit as a Team Iron Horse rider in 1992. For the next decade I followed Marc’s career as he served out successive stints on the Volvo-Cannondale (1994–’95), Team GT (1996–’98) and Mongoose-Hyundai (1999–’02) squads. Oh yeah, late in his mountain bike career Marc discovered cyclocross racing where he would achieve his greatest success by winning multiple championship titles. The last thing I knew about Marc was that he had taken a job at USA Cycling as the program director for the national mountain bike and cyclocross teams.

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HAVE YOU SEEN THE BRIDGE?

It all began at last year’s Sea Otter Classic when Blacksmith Bike Shop owner Mike Yakubowicz approached and said he had something to show me, something that I couldn’t talk about at the time. It was a new bike. I had known Mike for a few years from our annual meetups at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, and I have to say that there are few people who are as totally entrenched in the tech and product details of road bikes as Mike.

In short, Mike is a tried-and-true bike geek. He’s owned his bike shop in Toronto for a dozen years, and over time he has either built, ridden or sold almost every high-end bike imaginable. And now, along with a team of investors and co-workers, he is embarking on a new bike project of prolific proportions. When we spoke of his coming out with a new bike last fall, my initial assumption was that, like so many others, he was planning to head to Taiwan with a frame blueprint and some Pantone color chips. An even less impressive assumption would’ve been that he was merely heading overseas with nothing more than a trademarked name and a fancy downtube graphic. I was wrong on both counts. 

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2023 BMC KAIUS GRAVEL BIKES

The family of BMC gravel bikes has now grown to include a three model line of race category bikes to add to the URS line of bikes that are most notable for their minimalist rear suspension. The new Kaius were launched at a festive barbeque party at Big Sugar although only the pricey high-end 01 model built with SRAM Red AXS was present. There will be three riders aboard the new bike at Big Sugar.

In addition to highlighting the  ICS (Integrated Cockpit System) that is similar to their road bikes, BMC says the bikes will fit up to 44mm tires and are dropper post friendly. Maximizing their focus on being aero, most interestingly, the one-piece carbon handlebars measure in at 36cm on the top with a 12-degree flare to widen the drops to a more familiar 42cm width.

BMC is also touting a gravel specific geometry that features “a longer frame reach, with the front wheel moved forward.  The claimed frame weight is 910 grams with the frame, fork and seatpost hitting the scales at 1786 grams. The Kaius bikes are available in six sizes.

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THE NOSCO RIDE RETURNS – NOVEMBER 3

If there is one SoCal ride that we never miss, it’s the Mike Nosco Memorial Ride.  Is it hard? Yes. Are there easier routes to take than the full route? Yes. Are the roads among the most beautiful and challenging in all of Southern California? Yes. Will you regret taking a day off of work to come and be part of a loving community that’s dedicated to improving the lives of friends and family who could use our help? Absolutely not.

Epic climbs, scenic views of the Pacific, festive sag stops,  good food afterward and solid dose of two-wheeled community – those are the ingredients of the Mike Nosco Ride. November 3 is the day.

Thanks to the tireless, and we really mean tireless efforts of local cycling fan Jack Nosco, the MNMR has been going on for over a decade and raising money for people with medical needs that are beyond their grasp.  This is a ride that is guaranteed to remind you of the importance we can all play in bettering each other’s lives. See you there.

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BIKE OF THE WEEK: BIANCHI OLTRE RC

The new top-of-the-range model in Bianchi’s aero racing collection, the Oltre RC has been designed for the most extreme athletes looking for maximum speed. The Oltre RC introduces the hyperbike concept. Created for World Tour racing and professionals, the Oltre RC dominates airflow, thus reducing aerodynamic resistance and increasing the speed of the overall bikeathlete system. This is achieved thanks to the unique “Air Deflector” technology that acts in conjunction with the new aero handlebar to deliver unprecedented performance.

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