Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goat happenings

Couple of neat things going on at the shop this week. Wes got the last Zanotti built Goat that we had in stock. We got Kees bike in which is a really nice parchment color with a matching segmented fork. The full suspension bike got a green way shake down ride to get it ready for the weekend trip to Dupont State Forest. We are going to check out some potential routes for this years Cackalacky Cup ride. It is still unpainted so I wiped it down with some oil to get it through the weekend. It is actually pretty cool looking. Full ride repost when we get back.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Now is the time...... get cycling onto the governmental radar. I think we have a unique opportunity right now to raise the awareness of cycling. We have been seeing more people looking to bikes as an actual viable alternative to cars for some trips. Folks are buying hybrid bikes with racks to get to work. Most will site rising gas prices as the impetus for looking at cycling but are also attracted to the exercise, weight loss, reduced stress and general "green-ness" of riding. Several of these factors are colliding head first into each other and may give us the best opportunity in our lifetimes to push a cycling agenda. What we need is folks out there telling the money-holders that this is important to us.

The importance of this has been creeping up on me the last handful of years. When we build local trails, I am happy as a pig-in-slop just pushing dirt around. I seem to be much less inclined to sit in front of the TV screen with a keyboard but it seems to be at least as important as pushing dirt. When the IMBA Trail Care Crew visited in 2005, we were able to demo some trail machinery and I told bOb that somehow I was going to find a way to buy us a skid steer of our very own. In 2007 I wrote grants that bought us a Ditch Witch via Lowes Home Improvement, a Volvo mini excavator via Duke Energy and $5K worth of hand tools via the Adopt-a-Trail program. In our estimation, one machine hour is equal to 10 man hours which helps cut down on the number of volunteers that we need to coerce. I probably spent a total of 5 or 6 hours on the grants and they saved us hundreds of volunteer hours already which will increase every time we cut new trail. Sounds like a pretty sound return on investment??

Last month, I was invited to join the board of the Downtown Statesville Development Corporation (DSDC) which is in charge of keeping our downtown healthy and is funded via a property tax on downtown properties. Another project is the beginnings of the Carolina Thread Trail program that aims to tie together 15 counties via a system of greenways. It is a very ambitious program but it won't happen if we don't start somewhere. Because of our involvement with the state park trail, I was invited to join the citizens Park Advisory Committee. It seems like each of these organizations has some overlap in membership which means you see a lot of the same people in different settings. In each of these, I keep pushing cycling with an emphasis on the particular venue. AT DSDC meetings, it is using bikes to get people into town to shop which means more dollars for the merchants. At the LNSP PAC, it is building more trails to get more park attendance which means more dollars for the park. At the Thread trail meetings, it is pushing for more people to visit the area which means more dollars for the county. See a pattern here?

The last meeting we (Daryl, Shawn, wES and I) attended was the public forum for the Iredell County Park and Rec master plan. This is the plan that will guide the parks department for the next 10-15 years. We all gave up a ride night to go sit in and listen to the plan. They did mentions a couple of cycling related options in the plan and we just made sure that they realized there was interest in these activities and that all parks didn't have to be centered around stick and ball fields.

I guess the whole point of this is to go out and do SOMETHING, attend a meeting, push some dirt, call your county commissioners, buy some tools, write a grant proposal.....anything to help improve the atmosphere for cycling. If you don't get involved, you lose the right to complain about it! This is our time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bunny Rabbit v. Lincoln Continental

I've recently started doing a bit of commuting to work which gives me a couple of hours a day to ponder "stuff".

One of the things that I have noticed has been the large number of animals that appear to have had nothing left to live for. Maybe Mrs. Skunk was berating Mr. Skunk about his lack of motivation when searching out grubs for dinner or maybe the chipmunk just couldn't take the daily strain of nut gathering. Thank goodness we humans put a lot of roads through the woods to help with their suicide by automobile. Maybe it isn't that complicated. Maybe it is just the young groundhogs hanging around with nothing to do and playing "chicken" with the tandem axle dump trucks?

I was going to try and count the number of flattened animals on the way in to work but lost count pretty quickly. The early census revealed a chipmunk, two squirrels, a skunk, a groundhog, three birds, 3 snakes (although one may have been a fan belt),two turtles and a couple of unidentifiable fur mounds. I think I feel the worst for the reptiles. The poor old box turtle takes an eternity to clear the traffic lanes and has a couple hundred times the chance of getting crushed than say a hyperactive squirrel. Then you have the snakes. They are relatively slow but their main issue would be length. Most of the black snakes around here run 3' - 4' long which means they've got a high hit ratio when compared to the chipmunk. Now that I think about it, birds have issues too. Not only do they have to watch out for tires, they've got the rest of the vehicle to worry about. Might explain the high number of our winged friends?

If ya'll stop running over our forest friends, I'll have to ponder something else on the ride home!

Monday, July 7, 2008

T-shirt update, call for art work

If you've been following along, you know we've been doing a run of limited edition Mountain Goat Cycles t-shirts. Each shirt is a run of 100 shirts in miscellaneous sizes but just one color (except the first one which had a few orange shirts accidentally thrown in) .

The first run was the old traditional head tube badge from the original Goats in gray.

The second run was the original catalog artwork circa 1982 in brown. The art work was also used a decal on some of the early bikes.

The third edition was a new design drawn by my brother-in-law (who does newspaper design work and is an accomplished artist) and done in red.

The first edition sold out, the second is down to a handful in XL and XXL and the third is down to a couple of larges, XL and XXL. I guess that makes it time to design another shirt. If anyone out there would like to see their art work on a t-shirt, send it on. No $$$, just fame (and a couple of t-shirts!)

No real rules, I just have to like it and believe that we can sell 100 of them. Feel free to use any of the images from the web site or make up your own. Send the results to

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4 Goat updates

There have been a few pretty cool developments of late here at Goat-central. I finally got our prototype Route 29 full suspension frame in. This one uses the 4" travel Ventana rear with a Fox shock. I think we are going to try one of the local motorcycle painters who recently painted a bike for one of our customers. It came out looking great and the price was reasonable. I've had a couple of ideas for paint but won't know until I talk to the painter. One possibility was to do a NC Yuppie which would have North Carolina images such as NASCAR, tobacco, Wright Bros, moonshine..........we could start one end of the bike at the beach and finish the other end in the mountains! The other possibility was to try some Goat skeletons. The painter does some really nice skeletons and it would be neat to do some Goats......maybe we could call it the Goatful Dead? Anyway, we are mocking the bike up and ordering some parts so look for the finished product soon!