Category Archives: guest blogger

So, you don’t care about those new knobby supple tires? Here are 10 reasons why you should

Those knobby supple tires are a newly designed 120tpi bicycle tire with a six-element, optically stabilized logo. As well as looking cool when sitting still it can lower your personal best up to 30 nano-seconds, and additionally those supple tires in the knobby ne-plus-soupple version offers a twin-tread bicycle tire providing 38mm and 44mm diameter experiences.

These knobby supple tires pictured are a newly designed 120tpi bicycle tire with a six-element, optically stabilized logo. As well as looking cool when sitting still it can lower your personal best by up to 4 seconds, and additionally those supple tires in the knobby ne-plus-soupple version offers a bicycle tire providing 38mm and 44mm diameter experiences.

Another week, another supple tire, the usual chorus of Internet commenters going to great lengths to tell the world how little they care. But we’d be foolish to ignore the world’s most popular type of bicycle tire – and so would you.

Here’s why.

1: 120tpi is good enough

Ok, most tires and high-end tubeless offerings have 600tpi but if we’re being honest, 120tpi is good enough for Facebook timeline pictures, 60tpi is good enough for an instagram, 17tpi is good enough for twitter or snapchat and truly, anything more than that is a bonus most of the time in the average cyclist’s experience. In short, the chances are that 120tpi is good enough for you and your social media needs.

2: It has tread

It was only a matter of time before the supple tire industry added a knobby option to its supple tire series, and the day has come. As such, those knobby supple tires are arguably more enthusiast-friendly than the majority of low-end treaded bicycle tires, and almost all tubeless bicycle tires.

Adding Tread to the supple tire gives riders a lot more creative freedom, and should allow them to mitigate – if not entirely overcome – some of the limitations of riding with a control-limited cycle in mud or gravel. Also, re-treading options are coming to older supple tires soon too, with the upcoming release of home tire re-treading kits.

3: Those knobby supple tires I bought last week off the interwebs for cheap has proper zoom. Kind of.

Those supple tires you just bought might work just fine, but will they impress anyone? Nope.

5: Those supple tires with the knobby tread option can do gravel. Kind of.

We’ve seen attempts to use non knobby ne-plus-soupple tires on gravel before, but they don’t tend to end well. Even when the non knobby ne-plus-soupple tires works just fine, it doesn’t hold up well to critical examination on Instagram or the 650b google group.

We won't be able to properly test those supple tires with the ne-plus-soupple's gravel riding option for a while, but early samples look very encouraging indeed.

We won’t be able to properly test those knobby supple tires with the ne-plus-soupple’s gravel riding option for a while, but early samples look very encouraging indeed.

6: It’s casing is stabilized

This is old news in the mainstream bicycle tire market, but casing stabilization still isn’t included in some fixed diameter bicycle tires. Casing stabilization will make those supple tires and tires with the knobby ne-plus-soupple option more useful in poor light, extending the potential of the tires to be used in social and environmental photography on social media.

7: They’re quick, and powerful, like your brain

Modern bicycle riding consumers incorporate an incredible amount of processing power, and compared to most bicycle tires they’re capable of churning through much more data. Those new knobby soupple tires with tread will make you look smart!

8: It saves you 4 seconds of your life, on every ride

Maybe you think you don’t care, but trust us – even if you’re not a pro randonneur or commuter, the ability to save four seconds of your life can be pretty handy.

9: It’s water-resistant

You can take those supple tires out in the rain, or drop them in the bath without worrying. How many riders can say the same thing about their 'proper' bicycle tires?

You can take those knobby supple tires out in the rain, or drop them in the bath without worrying. How many riders can say the same thing about their ‘proper’ bicycle tires?

Supposedly, the old supple tire we all were riding was almost water-sealed, but not quite. With the removal of the wire bead, those knobby supple tires and have been made fully water resistant, and are capable – apparently – of being submersed for up to 30 minutes without damage.

10: Good knobby supple bicycle tires lead to better ‘proper’ bicycle tires.

Even if you’re one of those people who has an almost religiously-held indifference to supple tires (and I know you exist because I get emails from you), consider this:

The greater the public’s expectations of the bicycle tires in their instagrams and blogs, the more they expect of ‘proper’ bicycle tires, if and when they buy one. There is certainly an argument to be made that the only reason we have things like beautiful low trail cycles, French cycling luggage, and just plain old joy in bicycle tires now is the supple tire.

That ten years ago, The supple tire industry kicked off an all-road/adventure/randonneuring revolution with the original supple tire which lead to the inclusion of these features in bicycle tires becoming an expectation on the part of your average joe on the street considering a bike for commuting or riding around the world.

Habitual low trail and gravel adventure riders won’t put up with laggy low-resolution tires on their commuters, or the omission of features like optically stabilized logos that they’re used to from their knobby supple tires. This drives bicycle tire manufacturers to add more features to their products, and we all benefit. Right?

10.5: It’s a supple bicycle tire.

This is an obvious point, but bear with me. Remember what I just wrote about this being the ‘world’s most popular bicycle tire?’ The supple tire industry has been phenomenally successful when it comes to putting its tires on people’s bikes. More people are riding supple tires now than ever before, and the supple tire, in its various versions, is the most popular bicycle riding device (or strictly speaking, series of devices) in the world.

What that means is that like it or not, when The supple tire industry does something, even if it didn’t do it first, (and several of the features I’ve listed here are not unique to those supple tires) it tends to have a certain significance. It’s safe to assume for instance that there are a lot of people talking about the words ‘Supple’ and ‘Planing’ today who had never heard the terms before the supple tire industry’s launch event this week.

Why when I was approaching the water cooler at the office the other day, I am almost certain I heard a co-worker use the term ‘knob’ and ‘supple’ before they quickly walked away.

Maybe I’m just a misty-eyed optimist, but I think that’s kind of cool.

Cheers, Rupert Smedeley Esq.


Portable Grill for Cycles Road Test

As announced recently on Instagram here is our product review of a portable grill for cycles.

We have all been there – enjoying the wilds by the campfire and wishing we had some way to grill our sports energy bars and boil some water for our herbal tea. Well, we here at CRC don’t accept advertising so we can call em like we see em, and have tested the latest product and here is our unchangeable and irrevocable pronouncement on this device.

cute grill attached to a pink 29er is the subject of this review

cute grill attached to a pink 29er is the subject of this review


There was no packaging available for review and comment, the grill came pre-installed on a tarted up pink 29er mountain bike.


The grill was not chromed. We only like chromed grills as powdercoating scuffs, smears, and peels when placed over a flame and makes our weenies smell and taste funny.


The grill seemed to fit nicely although it was not perfectly level.


No luggage was included with the grill, but it seems as though it might be suitable perch for a basket as well as a couple of bags; but we did not investigate this possibility.

Planing/tubing selection

The tubes were not thin wall. The grill did not plane. Roll down tests were inconclusive. Wind tunnel tests were not performed. It is important to note that there were no open brazing holes for gnomes to be inserted or to obtain oxygen and fresh air.


The grill did not appear to be low trail.


We did not notice fenders or lights on the grill.


The grill was difficult to remove by firelight for use on the fire, and several small pieces of hardware were lost in the darkness. The grill burned our fingers painfully after we tried to move it while in use. The space between the tubes was much too large and our items to be grilled continually fell into the ashes. As we continued to struggle with the grill, we were shocked by a high pitched screaming which we thought were gnomes inside the grill trying to escape.

The grill was quickly removed from the fire (hence the burned fingers) although we were unable to determine if any gnomes were damaged. Later, we realized the screaming sound was actually our spicy vegan sausages sizzling.

We recommend the application of stickers that read ‘caution, hot while in use’ on the grill.


We simply cannot recommend this portable grill for grilling. Use as a grill does not even seem to have  been considered at all in the design, which is completely baffling to the road tester. Perhaps if you need a rack for carrying things on your tarted up pink 29er mountain bike, this grill is probably just fine, but we did not investigate this feature and cannot in good conscience endorse the use of a grill as a rack.

Disclosure: CRC does not accept advertising nor does it manufacture product – we call em like we see em.

bécane-nana-3012-border.jpgHey miss! You are very charming! You’ve got 650b or what?

You might be thinking to yourself:  Me, try to pickup a randonneuse in the street? Sorry I’m not that kind of guy…

“And that’s exactly why it will work!”

Trolling the street is often associated with catcalling boors. I deliberately use the word troll (with its pejorative connotation) to show you that there is nothing wrong with the term or the “activity”: trolling the street.

Today you will see why most guys don’t flirt in the street, how to get started, and why it’s better than staying home Saturday night surfing the Internet looking at bike porn.

Why don’t more guys troll the street? And why does it seem so difficult?

If you look among loving couples most were formed because they found themselves in the same social group (shared values). This is not necessarily bad but it limits many meetings!

So why not do it? Quite simply because it’s scary! The fear of taking a “rake”, not knowing what to say, being seen as a jerk, a heavy, a lout…we fear for our reputation. On the other hand why couldn’t we just say “Hello, you’re pretty and I’d like to meet you.” Impossible? And why not?

So how to overcome these obstacles? How to get started? Do’s and Don’ts!

The number of randonneuse you’ve looked at is equal to the number you haven’t approached? If you intend to change this then read:

By having the “cojones” and assuming your place and desires (definition of a real man) you should be able to get results quickly.

To summarize here are the two principles to remember:

COURAGE: Yes, I know it offends but you need to come out of your shell.

You’re not too bad, you have a bit of style. Don’t hesitate, you have nothing to lose. At worst she will be flattered and say “Thank you, that’s nice but I have a boyfriend” even if it’s not true, and will leave all happy. You are a man, you’re brave. Go for it!

HONESTY: We must be honest about our intentions — yes, you’re trolling, do not try to hide it, there’s nothing wrong.

Take this example:
If an ugly randonneuse comes up to you and says “Excuse me, but I just wanted to say that you’ve got great style,” I can guarantee that your day will be successful. Then distill some happiness around you.

“But what do I say to her?”
Observe and utilize the context to get out your opening sentence — which need not be of exceptional quality.

• And how do you like this piece (At an art gallery)
• Were you talking to me? Sorry, because with my headphones on I wasn’t sure. I was listening to some nice music from that advertisement… You know the one? (On the bus)

It’s not very complicated, let’s say it’s simple but challenging. But let’s get to the interesting part.

Meet the challenge!
Careful, here come the adrenaline!

You may be thinking it will take 1000 attempts. It’s sometimes true but the way you say it makes all the difference. Here of course, we must ensure the level of presentation: nice outfit, confidence. If she’s not pleased things aren’t likely to go much further.

• Be dressed properly, stylish jersey, kit, etc,.
• Have clean and fresh breath
• Sometimes it’s important to trim your nose and ear hairs
• Go for it! She will be flattered and tell her friends
• Take her everywhere, in the streets, back alleys, quiet country roads

• Don’t hesitate. Don’t make make false excuses, “she wasn’t so good with her fender line”, “I’m late for an appointment”
• Don’t ask for the serial number too quickly. Have fun, enjoy the moment.

Why is this better? How will it change your life?
I suggest you meet your neighbor, or that pretty randonneuse across the way
You do not want to follow the crowd, don’t go out with the randonneuse of your best friend. So get out there, be sociable, train yourself, be thin and light, seduce all!


• You will experience strong emotions: it’s like the best roller coaster ever, free at your doorstep.
• Authenticity: a meeting she will not forget
• Infinite possibilities: in the big cities, rando nanas are everywhere
• Control of your love life: you no longer suffer the choices of others, you choose what you like

After a while you will obtain a confidence in yourself that will serve you in your personal and professional life.

Extra bonus
A few opening lines to modify depending on the situation and your style:
• Do yo have the time? / Do you know where…? No just kidding, I’m not interested in that. I just wanted to flirt with you. To be honest, I was looking at the window of the bike shop there and I sensed you roll by with your supple tires and I thought it was the fluttering of butterfly wings.
• I probably shouldn’t tell you this, I’m already late, but I had to stop at least to tell you that you were pretty. I now it seems stupid, but I like seeing a randonneuse with big supple tires.

The more honest you are the more you communicate intense emotions and you feel a deep connection. And “Wahoo!” It’s refreshing, invigorating, exhilarating! See what you think, fully express your personality. Take your responsibilities as a man, and take the first step.

Hoping to have been simple and concrete I await your responses.

•What prevents you from doing so? Do you have a trick to overcome your fear?
•You have already tried? What are your results?
•Wondering how to put it all together? How to get her attention? How would you do it?

Editor’s note:  Translated from the Esperanto by Ravi S.

₤5000 Reward for the Identification of this Hooligan

Last week’s Quarterly Bicycle Un Meeting/ Un Ride Audax sponsored by Competitive Randonneuring and Commuting was completely ruined by an hooligan cyclist of unknown provenance but certainly of known character that intruded on our important and historic ramble in the countryside.

Clarissa Peattebogg relates the incident:

Myself, Rupert, Gramm, Lance and various hangers-on were riding in a tight group, perhaps using the entire road, discussing in depth our next product release for CRC. We were enjoying an intense debate of whether our next product rollout should be our revolutionary chain stay mounted derailer or our wingnut quick release assembly to complement our line of supple items and other wondrous things.

Well, I am almost certain that we were interrupted in our important debate that will shape cycling and google groups discussions and fashions for decades at least five or six times by some impertinent individual.

Then this unknown person passed our peloton and exposed their posterior! I was so shocked I swooned into  Rupert and caused a total pileup of our group. Luckily no one realized they were hurt immediately and Gramm was able to find an image of the perpetrator on his gopro. The damages and hospital bills have run up to well over ₤4500 and we have yet to start our group therapy sessions. If only we were able to identify the cause of our woes we could begin to recoup our losses and begin to rebuild our lives and product lines. Please help.


₤5000 reward! (payable in crc stock options)



De-mystifying that earlier post on bicycle frame planing dynamics

Author: Clarissa Peatebogg

My partner Rupert, as usual, has botched things up royally in his attempt to adapt his drawing room polemics concerning his pet theory, bicycle flexural characteristics (planing), into a simple, easy to read and accepted description. Dear Rupee, please read this version of your fantastic theories and please adopt this variation so people might stop napping during your diatribes.

Love, Clarissa. ❤

Bicycle planing theory describes how pedalling dynamics propagate torque waves through frame components and spirited pedalling dynamics in a serendipitous interaction with each other. On pedalling dynamic scales larger than the planing theory scale, a planing bicycle looks just like an ordinary bicycle, with its frame, pedalling forces, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the bicycle frame. In bicycle planing theory, one of the many vibrational states of the frame corresponds to the pedalling spirit, a form of hill repeats that carries incredible flexural force. Thus bicycle planing theory is a theory of spirited randonneuring.

Bicycle planing theory is a broad and varied subject that attempts to address a number of deep questions of fundamental physics, and acceptable randonneuring practices. Bicycle planing theory has been applied to a variety of problems in bicycle physics, early constructeur cycles tubing selections, frame tube heat treating techniques, and q-factor adjustment, and it has stimulated a number of major developments in the pure randonneuring movement. Because bicycle planing theory potentially provides a unified description of pedalling and bicycle frame physics, it is a candidate for a theory of everything, a self-contained randonneuring model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of marketable bicycle components, and is especially suited to marketing of supple tires, center pull brakes, and chrome plated bicycle frames. Despite much work on these problems, it is not known to what extent bicycle planing theory describes the real world or how much freedom the theory allows to the lay randonneur, randonneure, or every day cyclist to choose frame tubing, supple tires or pedalling cadence speed.

Bicycle planing theory was first studied in the late 2000’s as a theory of the strong pedalling force (aka, spirited riding), before being abandoned in favor of thin frame tubes and supple tire use. Subsequently, it was realized that the very properties that made bicycle planing theory unsuitable as a theory of bicycle frame flexural dynamics made it a promising candidate for proving the marketability of supple tires based on rolling resistance rather than acceleration dynamics – a form of ‘looky over there’ marketing of armchair science. The earliest version of bicycle planing theory, Barra’s bicycle flex recordation, incorporated only a single class of aluminum bicycle frames tested in a static environment sans pedalling forces. It later developed into bicycle planing, which posits a connection with spirited pedalling between hills and the accepted use of small diameter bicycle frame top tubes. Five consistent versions of bicycle planing theory were developed and tested in double blind hill repeat tests before it was conjectured in the mid-2010’s that there were different limiting factors of a single theory in eleven dimensions known as Super-Plane Theory. In late 2017, theorists discovered an important relationship called the expose theory which relates bicycle planing theory to another type of theory called the mini-velo theory. That basically, the rubes reading stuff in print will buy anything if you claim it to have mysterious properties, such as planing, suppleness, or modulation.

One of the challenges of bicycle planing theory is that the full theory does not yet have a satisfactory definition in all circumstances. Another issue is that the theory is thought to describe an enormous ‘big tent’ of possible bicycle frames, pedalling dynamics and sizes of supple tires, and this has complicated efforts to develop theories of flexural and planing physics based on simple bicycle planing theory and has also led to a glut of supple tires in the bicycle marketplace.

These issues have led some in the community to criticize these approaches to riding bicycles and question the value of continued research on bicycle planing theory unification because of increased commercialization and the mania for supple tires and mini-velos.

Which hatchet says ‘I love you’ best?

A Competitive Randonneuring, Commuting & Romancing buyer’s guide special

Author: Keren Pineapple, Peer Reviewed: Gram Pettitfog

Forgot yet another anniversary? Too many boy’s nights out lately? Polished your randonneuse too much last week? Spilt your posset down the speaker grill of the minivan again? Never fear for nothing says I love you quite like a fine hatchet, but which hatchet will send her heart into paroxysms of desire and bliss? Read on hapless competitor, read on and set your sights on endless evenings of bliss with your lovey.

Handmade hatchets are not only gifts of love and the symbol of everlasting romance, but also beautiful fashion accessories. Whatever the occasion, a handmade hatchet is always a gift that brings joy.

I was recipient of several love gifts in the form of hatchets while enduring the courting rites of my true love. Many of the hatchets missed the mark, but still he was able to woo my heart enough that we were married through three seasons of cyclo-cross until I garnered a new sponsorship with Competitive Randonneuring and Commuting while he was overlooked and our love became slightly rusty and dull, ended in our splitting like so much cordwood and throwing our love and affection onto the bonfire of life. Sigh.

Criteria for selecting an hatchet for your loved ones:

Size: The hatchet mustn’t be too large, so as to attract undue attention while in line at the bank or queuing up at the trader joe’s checkout, nor cause consternation with the LGBT security guards at the Rainbow Grocery parking lot. You will want the hatchet to be something that she can’t put down and will always have handy.

Edge: If like me, you shave daily, a sharp hatchet is essential. A good edge aids in the chopping of vegetables as much as it enables it to stick to a wall or tree for storage. But not too good an edge as nothing is as soothing and relaxing as sharpening a fine hatchet and thinking of your loved ones.

Handle: Wood! No carbon fiber, no plastics, no cool heartless steel. Few experiences compare favorably to the euphoria of touching wood. Pure bliss!

Here are a few of the most memorable love gifts I received from Robert during our happiest moments:

My first love gift hatchet. Sigh.

My first love gift hatchet. Sigh.

Prom Night Hatchet! Who would have thought a blind date to the prom would be the ticket to true love and hatchets? I lost a bet with a cohort (who was fastest female finisher at PBP 91? I thought for sure it was Jayne Hinie, but it was Melinda Lyon) and had to go on a blind date. I was happily surprised by Robert with a love hatchet! This one I carry with me always.

What can I say? The balance! The wood! The love. This is the best hatchet I own for shaving.

What can I say? The balance! The wood! The love. This is the best hatchet I own for shaving.

First anniversary Hatchet! A bit big admittedly, but this one will be around for the ages.

Robert spent 6 months worth of his income on this love gift.

Robert spent 6 months worth of his income on this love gift.

Engagement Hatchet! No diamonds for this girl, just well a balanced hatchet for the perfect throw. Robert honored his pledge with this promise hatchet to celebrate our love and commitment.

This is my go-to hatchet fore everyday needs.

This is my go-to hatchet fore everyday needs.

The last Hatchet – not for me, but the last hatchet from Robert. This one was given in anger (‘here! Catch this Bitch!’ I recall him saying vividly and lovingly – he was soooo cute when he was angry) but it will still be one of my favored hatchets.

Last but not least. Sigh.

Last but not least. Sigh.

Remember, handmade hatchets are the best way to say ‘I love you’, but only you know your lover’s tastes and intimate needs. The perfect hatchet for a sub 24 hour camping trip is rarely the hatchet you want to be shaving with and the best throwing hatchet is hardly the one you will want to be carrying in your purse or man bag. Shop thoughtfully, give lovingly.

Next Month: Competitive Blogging – How to garner the most hits regardless of how insipid your blog: Where to cross post, how to drop hints about your posts in casual conversation, best discount team kit suppliers for your cyclo-cross drinking team.

Competitive Randonneuring and Commuting asks: What makes you cry?

Author: Robert Pinapple

Not Robert Pineapple enjoying a good cry - image swiped from the interwebs without asking - cyber hugs all round, mates!

Not Robert Pineapple enjoying a good cry – image swiped from the interwebs without asking – cyber hugs all round, mates!

During our weekly boy’s night out soirée where we usually drag out such tired and timeless subjects such as our relationships with our spouses and parents, which charter school will give our little ones the best chance in this dangerous world, what coat to buy this fall,  which loud brownies are safest, and what colour will our next Prius be, we chanced upon the subject of what makes us cry.

We all know that unless a randonnee includes some high drama or some crying it will be forgotten on the bucket list of accomplishments we set out for ourselves at our annual year end retreat at a spa of our choosing.

A poignant tearful series of confessions, weeping, and hugs followed our sharing of what makes us cry – so fulfilling! Why we went through a veritable dozen hankies and bandanas. Such a releasing and soul cleansing experience we had we decided to share our intimacies with you, the Competitive Commuter and Randonneur.

Arnie Schwinng blurted out that he had never been so mortified than this year’s opening 200k when he forgot to properly apply his bag balm: ‘I had recently argued with my parents about my career choices and had been in such a tizzy all week before the randonnee that I simply forgot to slather on the balm in my nether regions. Such a screwup for the ages! I still have scars, and I think I had to drink an extra bottle or two of water I was crying so much. I cherish those moments.’

Gram Pettitfog mentioned crying because he spilt his beer once on a fleche, but no one noticed this minor confession and ignored his hopes for attention and absolution.

Rupert Smedeley inspired us all with the announcement that he cries constantly on randonnees simply for the joy of the moment – we all hope to become as emotionally confident as Rupert some day. Sniffle.

I related a brace of brief weepings on the roadside, the disastrous results of eating one of Jane Hiney’s Hot Pockets beyond the expiration date; being completely shattered by speed wobbles and ending a miserable inconsolable heap on the roadside; and the moment I will never forget, the time my new supple tires blew while descending baby diaper pass (the strained peas side, not the boiled carrots side, thank goodness). Aauuggh! The humiliation! The pathos! The wonderful memories!

What makes you cry during a Competitive Commute or Randonnee? Let us know!