Anne-Marije Rook - cycling journalist

The Gravel Ride. A cycling podcast

Jan 31 2023 • 50 mins

This week, Randall connects with Anne-Marije Rook, North American Editor at Cycling Weekly with an exploration of how she got into cycling and from there into cycling journalism, with fun tangents into competitive cycling, exploding e-bikes, and a bit of gear nerdy.

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[00:00:00] Craig Dalton: Hello, and welcome to the gravel ride podcast, where we go deep on the sport of gravel cycling through in-depth interviews with product designers, event organizers and athletes. Who are pioneering the sport

I'm your host, Craig Dalton, a lifelong cyclist who discovered gravel cycling back in 2016 and made all the mistakes you don't need to make. I approach each episode as a beginner down, unlock all the knowledge you need to become a great gravel cyclist.

This week on the broadcast, I'm handing the microphone off over to my co-host Randall Jacobs.

Who's got an Mariah Rook on the broadcast. She's the north American editor at cycling weekly

randall will take us on an exploration on how she got into cycling. And from there into cycling journalism, with fun tangents, into competitive cycling. Exploring e-bikes and a bit of the gear nerdery that Randall is famous for. Before we jump in and hand that microphone off to Randall. I do need to thank this week. Sponsor athletic greens.

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For podcast listeners, our friends at athletic greens have given us a free year supply of vitamin D and five free travel packs. If you ordered today. Simply visit athletic gravel ride to get your age. The one on the way today. With that said i'm going to hand over the microphone to my co-host randall jacobs

[00:02:35] Randall R. Jacobs: Let's talk about how you got into this particular field. How did you end up as a cycling journalist?

[00:02:42] Anne-Marije Rook: Sure. Yeah. So I was actually, uh, a real journalist before, um, not that second journalist aren't real journalists, but, uh, I did a lot heavier topics, um, you know, worked at newspapers, just straight up outta college, became a newspaper journalist, and then, , uh, at some point, I think I was 22, I started racing bikes myself, and when I did, I, I was looking for content and I realized there wasn't a lot of women's seconding content coming out of the us.

So I started kind of dabbling with that on the side. And, uh, then started riding for some different publications and eventually seconding tips reached out and were like, Let's do something. So we founded Ella Cycling Tips, which was the, the women's side of Cycling Tips. And then, um, yeah, just stayed in the field.

I quit my day job and started doing cycling journalism while still racing, and I've been doing it ever since, going on 10, 11 years now.

[00:03:39] Randall R. Jacobs: and was your educational background in writing in journalism specifically?

[00:03:44] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, I did, uh, journalism, German and French. So interestingly enough I get to use all of that nowadays

[00:03:51] Randall R. Jacobs: Are you native in any of those other languages?

[00:03:53] Anne-Marije Rook: In Dutch. So I was born and raised in the Nets, the, the biking country, and then, uh, lived in Germany for three years and then ended up in the US uh, when I was almost 16.

[00:04:04] Randall R. Jacobs: That's quite a skill to have, and makes me think of a joke about Americans. What do you call someone who's speaks three languages trilingual, two languages bilingual and one language. We have US Americans.

[00:04:13] Anne-Marije Rook: I think a lot of people actually do, you know, they dabble in Spanish and some other languages. I think, uh, you shouldn't sell yourself so short.

[00:04:22] Randall R. Jacobs: True, maybe I'm projecting a little bit. In my personal case, I studied six years of Spanish in middle school and high school and was able to get by during a month stint in Peru. But, it didn't seem immediately relevant at the time. And so later on in life, I moved to China and learned Mandarin and actually being present and having to use it in day-to-day life just makes such a, a world of difference. And for I think a lot of people who are born in the us and who don't grow up in a household or another, the language is spoken, there's just not. That impetus versus in Europe you have surrounding countries where with different languages or maybe even within one's own country there are different dialects or different languages being spoken.

[00:05:04] Anne-Marije Rook: That's really good though. So you're a trilingual.

[00:05:06] Randall R. Jacobs: I wouldn't go as far as to say trilingual, other than in the sense of trying , a little bit of Spanish and enough, what I call cab driver Cantonese in order to be able to fool somebody that I speak some Cantonese before switching over to Mandarin.

[00:05:21] Anne-Marije Rook: That's, I mean, that's pretty impressive. Those are really difficult languages. I never studied, uh, Cantonese from Mandarin. I, I studied Japanese and just having to learn a whole new way of, of writing, uh, is, is, yeah, it's difficult to do.

[00:05:34] Randall R. Jacobs: that's probably the hardest part. I would say that , Mandarin the scripts for sure. It's a very abstracted pictographic script. To be able to read a newspaper, you need, two, 3000 different characters and to have a higher level of sophistication, you need 5,000, 10,000 characters. And, even a native speaker. , especially in this day and age, we'll have difficulty remembering how to write a character.

Cuz everything is being tight.

[00:06:00] Anne-Marije Rook: Hmm.

[00:06:01] Randall R. Jacobs: But on the other hand the grammar is really simple.

So in English we say, yesterday I went to the store and we have to go and we conjugate it as went, which actually comes from an entirely different language family than to go.

and in Chinese you just say, ah, yesterday, go store.

[00:06:20] Anne-Marije Rook: Ah, yeah.

[00:06:21] Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. English also has way more synonyms because it's such a hodgepodge amalgamation of other languages, whereas Chinese also has external influences, but it's arguably more insular versus English.

You have Germanic, you have Latin, you have Greek, you have various forms of cockney and so on that are all in there and the occasional Chinese phrases, very little that comes over for Chinese. Uh, one example being longtime nok, which is a direct translation from the Chinese

[00:06:50] Anne-Marije Rook: Really, that's fun.

Here's the thing I I discover with my language skills or lack thereof, is that, um, learning all the bike parts, for example, I had, like, I never learned those in my native tongues. So like suddenly I had to learn like, oh shit, what's the railer or what's, what's the railer hanger in Dutch or in German or whatever.

And it's been fun learning those terms for the first time, even though, yeah, I grew up with that.

[00:07:19] Randall R. Jacobs: that's actually a common phenomenon and one that I definitely resonate in my own experience too. I have friends who were born in China, but largely grew up here or even who came over to go to college. And, they're native speakers. I'm not at that level but I will have terms that I know that they don't because I am in this highly technical context of the bike industry of manufacturing, materials and production processes and so on. Um, and so it's kind of the same, same sort of phenomenon.

[00:07:50] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. Yeah. It's kind of a fun thing where I was like, wow, I never learned any of these terms in those languages. Yeah,

[00:07:55] Randall R. Jacobs: So you've been doing cycling journalism for, you said about 10, 11 years now.

[00:08:00] Anne-Marije Rook: yeah, yeah. It's been a minute.

[00:08:02] Randall R. Jacobs: I'm curious to hear more about the project at Cycling tips. How'd you get brought into that and, and how did that come about?

[00:08:09] Anne-Marije Rook: So they, uh, I think they found me on Twitter. Uh, Twitter was really where. , um, women's cycling was, was living for quite a while cuz there was very little streaming and you can watch any of these races live, so you followed them online and Twitter had a really wonderful community of, of women's cycling fans and it still does to a certain extent, but yeah, that's where it used to.

Live and I did a lot of, you know, uh, I would watch races and Life tweet and, you know, uh, was pretty active on, on Twitter and um, was writing for Podium Cafe, which is a nation site at the time, and they were looking to start a women's cycling component. Uh, and so they like reached out to various people and, you know, did a job interview and, you know, got going that way.

[00:08:54] Randall R. Jacobs: And this was when? Who was there at the time? Kaylee and James and,

[00:08:59] Anne-Marije Rook: No, this was before Kaylee. Um, this was, it was just, uh, Matt dif and, and Wade.

[00:09:05] Randall R. Jacobs: Oh, okay.

[00:09:06] Anne-Marije Rook: Um, Andy was there already, and then it was Jesse Braverman and myself who came on to do the women's cycling.

[00:09:12] Randall R. Jacobs: Let's talk about women's cycling for a little bit. what are the areas in women's cycling that you find most interesting, most compelling, and that also you think that are maybe, under discussed underreported.

[00:09:23] Anne-Marije Rook: Oh yeah. The nice thing about women's cycling is that it's been growing so much in the last 10 years or so, so that it's uh, people get to see it a bit more and I think what. , uh, intrigue me about women's second from the get-go is just how aggressive the racing is and how, um, while there was a definite period of like modern force dominating, and then we had and then we have anique.

The nice thing about women's acting, I think is because it has grown so much is that you never really know who's gonna win. and it makes a racing very exciting. Cause it, it, like I said, it is so aggressive cuz the races are shorter, so you have fewer opportunities to make, you know, a break stick. So there tends to be more attacking and, uh, you, you don't really experience that unless you're watching it.

I think the nice thing about. Where we are now, we can actually watch in the Tour de France Femme showed this, like watching women's cycling is actually very entertaining. And you know, in France alone, like millions of people tuned in every single day. So it is, it's different and I think that's, uh, something we should celebrate.

rather than point out like, you know, women's cycling is, is men's cycling, but in shorter distances, and that's not at all true. I think women's cycling is a bit of its own sport in, in terms of tactics and the way the races play out. And, uh, in psycho cross especially, that's been very apparent. You know, people have shorter attention spans.

So if you can sit down for a, you know, a 45, 50 minute bike race, you'll see basically what women's cycling is like on. On a heightened level, and it's extremely entertaining. You don't know who's gonna win. There's a lot of good candidates and, uh, it's, yeah, it's aggressive from the gun.

[00:11:03] Randall R. Jacobs: At least in the us it seems that women's cyclocross racing was most prominent, most early. Mary McConnellogue is one example I remember from my racing days, I don't remember hearing as much reporting about women's road racing at the time.

Maybe that was just what I was tuning into, but cyclocross. I remember getting similar billing to men's cyclocross

[00:11:24] Anne-Marije Rook: yeah, I think the, the heyday of women's cycling really was the 1980s, early nineties. You know, we had the course classic and we had some, some really great names. Um, and. That has dwindled down. There were a lot of lack of races. Uh, we've had some great road racers in the US you know, with, with uh, Christian Armstrong and, uh, e Evelyn Stevens, and we've had some really Mara Abod and the Jro, like some really great road racers.

You just don't hear about 'em as much . I do remember a particular race where I like looked to my right and it was like Kristen Armstrong and I looked to my left and it was Evelyn Stevens and I was like, ah. This is gonna suck today, It's gonna be a fast one.

[00:12:04] Randall R. Jacobs: Let's talk about that, let's talk about you're racing background.

So you mentioned that you got into cycling in your early twenties. How did that come about and what was that like for you?

[00:12:13] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, so I've, uh, coming from the Netherlands, I've been a bike commuter since I was, I don't know, six. Uh, and so I just like grew up on the bike. It's just how I got around. And in college I just rode everywhere. And there were a couple times where people were like, Hey, you should maybe consider. Racing or, or doing like, you know, grand Fonds or something.

And I was like, ah, this is just my vehicle. And then, uh, I moved to Seattle and did the Seattle, the Portland, which is uh, like a 220 mile bike ride between the two cities. And there were some teams that were doing it. And, uh, you know, again, people were like, have you considered racing? You're pretty strong.

And I'd be like, no. I mean, it's kind of like, Hey, do you like driving? You should do nascar. You know, like it's, it was just such a foreign concept to me. Um, which is funny cuz I grew up in the Netherlands, but like, uh, and my grandpa was super into bike racing, but it wasn't, uh, ever like, exposed to me or con like, wasn't just like, oh, you like riding bikes, you should become a bike race.

It just wasn't a thing. It wasn't really a, a sport I was exposed to, uh, in the northern part of the. . And so I was kind of intrigued and, and I had enjoyed training for the 200 mile event, so I, I went to the, the tryout, so to speak, and start racing and. as a Cat four. And I remember my first race weekend was a double header, so Saturday and Sunday and Saturday I, I think I got eighth and I got, I was like, oh, okay, this is cool.

Top 10. And I was like, I wonder if I can get better. And the next day I got fifth. And, you know, that's, that's all it took for me to get super into it and trying to see where, where I could take it. And, uh, I think I was racing UCI like the next season.

[00:13:54] Randall R. Jacobs: Oh wow.

[00:13:55] Anne-Marije Rook: mostly, uh, or at first in cross and then, uh, road and track as well.

But um, yeah, it's, it's an interesting place to be in, in, in the US in that you can be racing as a pro. And I use pro here very loosely because it's called pro level, but no one's actually getting paid to race their bikes. Like I would never consider myself a pro. Uh, I just raced in the UCI one, two levels and it's kind of weird that we throw it all.

Um, when really, yeah, very few people are actually getting paid to, to race their bikes.

[00:14:29] Randall R. Jacobs: I definitely fall on that boat as well. I think my best season, I didn't quite break even as a, as a Pac fodder Cross Country Pro. Mid pack was pretty good at the national level. And then you have a good regional results here and there.

[00:14:42] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, a good season for me, like, I loved crits, so that's where the money was at for me. You know, if I walked away with three grand at the end of the summer, I, I was pretty stoked.

[00:14:51] Randall R. Jacobs: Oh, I never saw that. That sort of money and crits, crits always terrified me. There's a certain attitude that you have to have going into a crit, like a fearlessness that I, I dunno. Mountain biking always felt safer for me.

[00:15:03] Anne-Marije Rook: It is, it is. And I, I quit racing after getting injured too many times. Like you can only hit your head so many times and, you know, if, if I list my, my laundry list of injuries, it's, it's definitely evident that, uh, yeah, quit racing is, is rather dangerous and asphalt is hard. And, you know, trees don't jump out on you.

Where's Razor Smith?

[00:15:23] Randall R. Jacobs: Yep. And pavement is like sandpaper when you're skidding across it in spandex.

[00:15:27] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. There's not a lot of protection there. Um, but it was all, it was all good fun. And you know, I, I wish I'd gotten into it earlier in my life, but I had a, a lot of fun during my twenties and early thirties.

[00:15:38] Randall R. Jacobs: what'd you love about it?

[00:15:40] Anne-Marije Rook: Uh, I liked the, the challenge of like the, the personal level, like how fit can I be? How strong can I get? Um, and then there's the direct correlation between what you put in that, that you get out, um, and then. Especially with crit racing. I liked, uh, the team tactics. I liked the aggressiveness. Like I was definitely that area that went like super hard on the front, on the first lap, just trying to get as many people off the back and then like would go for pre after, pre, pre and then in the last two laps found that I had no legs left and someone else had to finish it up.

But, um, Yeah, I, I like the aggressiveness. I liked, I, I'm really a team sports person, and I think road racing, uh, doesn't get enough credit for the team sport that it is. And I think, like, personally, not to get on like a, a whole nother side spiel, but in, in

[00:16:27] Randall R. Jacobs: No, let's do it. Let's do it. Go there.

[00:16:29] Anne-Marije Rook: In Olympic racing, like why does only one person get a gold medal?

Like in soccer? The whole team gets a gold medal. And I think, uh, you know, road racing especially is such a steam sport that everyone should be getting a medal. It's only, you know, six or seven medals versus 11. So,

[00:16:47] Randall R. Jacobs: I mean, that's one of the, that's one of the things that's nice about the grand tours. There's lots of ways to win. There's the points, there's the stages, there's the gc, there's the most aggressive rider, so something more subjective. there's all these different ways in which to be acknowledged, but I'm definitely with you.

It would quite a feat to show up at an Olympic level road race. Solo and

[00:17:09] Anne-Marije Rook: went away. Yeah.

[00:17:11] Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Yeah. No one to defend you, no one to pull you up. You'd have to be very, very lucky. And also be doing a lot of riding on people's wheels the entire time

[00:17:20] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. And I think as a racer I enjoyed that. You know, I enjoyed the team aspect. I enjoyed the, the collective effort it took to, to win the race. Sure, one person was the first across the line, but it took all of us to, to get that person there. And like, there's, to me as a, as a racer, there's a few things as as beautiful as, as a well executed, uh, lead out at the end of the race.

You know, like where everyone has a role every. You know, executes it perfectly, like a little team train. Like the, those things don't happen very often on the, on the non, you know, world tour level. And it, it's really, it, it feels amazing as a, as a racer to be part of that.

[00:17:56] Randall R. Jacobs: I've had limited crit racing experience and you note about the intensity of it. There are a few things more intense because not only do you have the, the digging really deep, not just at the end, but every single time a gap opens up or every ti single time there's a break and it's such a short, tight circuit, and a short duration of an event that you really can't let anything open up.

And people can sustain a lot more over 30 minutes to an hour than they can over the course of a four hour road race or a long gravel race . And there are curbs and there are other people and there are bottles and there are people taking shady lines. And that person who just passed you is on a trajectory where there's no way they're gonna be able to come around the corner without hitting the outside curb on the other side.

Especially at the early levels like cat four or cat three, where you have strong riders coming over from other disciplines. and just don't have the chops.

[00:18:50] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, I did a, I did a, a number of, of races in, in the men's field just to get more, uh, racing my legs. And, you know, the, the groups tend to be bigger but also very varied. You know, I'd be running around the course with like 80 dudes and maybe two women in there and be like, terrified of, of the experience.

And at the same time, like that, getting that chariot effect, like having that many people around you, you're kind of just like, Kind of going with the flow and, and being dragged around the course, which was kind of fun too. But I think it's a pure adrenaline rush and I feel like I'm too old for that now.

trying to hold those kind of efforts. My heart rate doesn't go up that high anymore. I mean, it used to go up pretty easily over 200 and I think now I'd be on the sidelines vomiting if I had 200,

[00:19:33] Randall R. Jacobs: that's almost hummingbird level

[00:19:36] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, yeah. You know, young and fit. . Yeah, I miss that. I think I miss being that fit. I do not miss having to put in the kind of effort to be that fit.

[00:19:45] Randall R. Jacobs: Well, and more recently you've been doing a lot with gravel. is most of your riding gravel at this point?

[00:19:49] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. And I've always done gravel, like back when we just called it road bikes off road, you know, there wasn't any special gear just riding 20 threes over gravel and, uh, I've always liked gravel and adventuring. I've always liked being underbid. Um, so I've been doing gravel for a long time and I think, uh, I've definitely, since quitting, uh, racing, I've done mostly off-road.

I think nowadays if I have like two hours to kill, I'll most definitely ride through the forest rather than go on a road ride.

[00:20:19] Randall R. Jacobs: You're based currently in Portland

[00:20:21] Anne-Marije Rook: portland,

[00:20:22] Randall R. Jacobs: yeah. So you have fantastic outdoors right out your door in the Portland area and decent bike infrastructure as well,

at least by, by our US standards.

[00:20:31] Anne-Marije Rook: yeah. I mean, I chose, so I live in a, in a neighborhood called St. John's and I, I chose that specifically cause I go over across the bridge and I'm in the, in Forest Park, which is a, uh, a really big, and I think the long shill, there's 30 miles or so. So it's like, it's a, a really big forested area with gravel roads.

Yeah, I'm, I'm there all the time. Uh, I also really got into mountain biking after I quit racing. So, you know, like all, all Mountain, uh, I used to do mostly XE and definitely been working on my skills and, uh, since quitting. Uh, just it's nice to be away from cars. I think the gist of that.

[00:21:07] Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah, I think that, in addition to the exploratory element of it, is one of the things that led me to transition to primarily gravel riding . And I do think it's a major reason why gravel cycling has taken off in general.

Not only are the bikes really versatile, so if you're only gonna have one bike while you can do all these different things, but then also I remember reading a. Some years ago a university study that was looking at the reasons, that people cite for not riding more. And safety is always number one by.

I think that study was maybe eight or nine years ago, so in a few places the infrastructure has gotten a little bit better, but still not enough.

And the attitudes of drivers. Have gotten better, but , still you get out of a certain zone of safety and you still have people angry at you for being on the road.

[00:21:58] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, I mean, like as a lifelong commuter, I, I've been hit quite a few times. I got hit twice during the pandemic alone, uh, while riding around town. And so, uh, It is the sa Yeah, I understand. The safety team. The thing a hundred percent, like you don't, uh, wanna take your life in your own hands when you're out riding.

And, uh, it, it's, it's a big problem in the US that the infrastructure is still so lacking. And on one hand you're telling people to, you know, go get on your bike and be more sustainable and healthy. And at the same time, they're not offering a lot of, uh, insurances in terms of, you know, uh, infrastructure and whatnot to, to make that.

[00:22:34] Randall R. Jacobs: Yeah. Now I'm, I'm curious as a journalist, what have been some of the areas that you've found most interesting to report on or that, you know, you've been able to dive into as a consequence of having that credential?

[00:22:46] Anne-Marije Rook: Hmm. Uh, I'm, I always love people. I, I, I like to know what makes them tick. You know, especially those people on, on like the, the very top end of the sport. Like what makes 'em tick? How, how are they able to do this? And at the same time, uh, this year, one of the things I've been really interested in is, um, ebi.

in terms of like the, the regulations around, um, lit I and, uh, batteries and, and the, the fact that there's so many fires and then the legislation around it and wish there is none yet, but that's coming. And so, uh, looking into a bit more of where these bags are coming from and, and what it takes. To control these, these devices a bit more has been very interesting.

And it's not something that gets a lot of rates or gets clicks and whatnot, but it's something I find very interesting cuz it'll have a lot of, uh, repercussions I think in, in the next couple years as to which eBags are on the market, which products you can and cannot buy. And, uh, hopefully the safety of it all.

[00:23:50] Randall R. Jacobs: What are some of the things that you've uncovered in that exploration?

[00:23:54] Anne-Marije Rook: Well, the fact that there is absolutely, at the moment no legislation whatsoever, uh, for the consumer. So you can buy whatever you can find on the internet, and there's, there's no guarantee that it's not gonna set your house on fire. There's no safety around it, and that's, that's changing right now. New York City is currently, uh, considering banning the sale of secondhand or, uh, like.

Uh, tested products, which would have massive repercussions cuz there's like 65,000 delivery workers in, uh, New York City alone. And these people are mostly relying on e-bikes to do their jobs, right? It's their livelihood. And so the moment you, you control these products, uh, it'll have a financial impact on these people as well.

Well, third party testing and safety device. It costs more on the, on the manufacturers and therefore it'll have a higher price tag, price tag for the consumer as well. Um, but at the same time, you know, they ha are also dealing with 200 fires already this year. Um, specifically

[00:24:56] Randall R. Jacobs: just the city of New York.

[00:24:58] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, just the city of New York relating to um, e mobility devices like E-Bikes, ESCOs, hoverboards, e Unicycles, that kind of stuff, which is a lot, you know, that's a lot for one city, specifically around these mobility devices.

[00:25:12] Randall R. Jacobs: Sure, especially when you have such immense density. So a fire in New York City is not a standalone house that's oftentimes a building with dozens of families and a lot of people get displaced.

[00:25:24] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. Luckily they've, they've only, I should say that in, in quotation marks, they've had six fatalities and, and over 130, uh, injuries related to those fires. So, relatively speaking, that's not a high number, but it's, it's something that could be prevented with proper legislation. So I think for me, what's interesting is just like, The, the, the concept was that you can just import products that don't get tested and, you know, people will buy 'em because it's popular and it's, it's, uh, affordable and, and there's a reason, you know, items cost as much as, as they do and, you know, as, as someone who, uh, creates consumer goods.

So, yeah. Anyway, that's, that's a long wind winded way of saying that's been a very interesting, uh, passion project of mine.

[00:26:07] Randall R. Jacobs: well, on that particular topic, I know that there's, there's also kind of a cultural backlash against, say, in New York City, these e-bike, service providers out doing deliveries and if you look at who it is that is taking on those jobs, generally immigrant, , generally it's the first opportunity that they have in order to survive and make a living, getting a foundation here.

So it's not as easy as simply, we're gonna band all these things , it's some, it's somebody's livelihood.

[00:26:35] Anne-Marije Rook: And like as you said, it's a, it's a culture issue. It's a class issue. It's, it's not, not as simple as like, well, these items are unsafe, so we'll just ban them.

[00:26:45] Randall R. Jacobs: And that, kind of speaks to, broader issues , that we could talk about in the bike space. Like we have this concept of a sidewalk bicycle, a more pejorative way of saying it would be a, bicycle shaped object. So these are, bikes that are generally built to a very low standard, generally sold through non, specialty retail , poorly assembled, and even if they were well assembled generally of parts that are of questionable quality.

So poor breaking things like this, and they aren't required to. Hold up to the same standards as a bicycle that you buy at a bike shop that is designated for commuter use or other sorts of use. And, in the more premium end of the spectrum, which for a lot of people who aren't cyclists, would be any bike that's more than three, $400.

There's detailed, is. International standards organization criteria for testing that. But that's another example of the same thing where, well, you could require that all bikes be built to a certain standard, but then new bikes would be inaccessible to lower income demographics.

Though frankly, I think another outcome of that would probably be that you see more refurbishing of better quality. older used bikes and so that could be a net positive, especially given that they're likely to hold up a lot better.

[00:28:01] Anne-Marije Rook: Mm-hmm.

[00:28:01] Randall R. Jacobs: So, so that's another area

[00:28:03] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah, I mean to that, like, I could ask that a lot and, and we've, we're about to enter another recession. Um, it's, it's apparent in another country already and, and we're headed that way as well. And, and so a big topic becomes budget bikes, like how much do you spend on a bike and new bikes that are. of a certain budget , I always tell people, go, go shop for a, a used bike and, and refurbish it. You're, you're better off than a cheap brand new bike. And there, I think for a long time there was this, this rather like attitude towards buying secondhand. , uh, products, especially, you know, around carbon bikes, like people were worried that they were broken or cracked, and I think there's a huge misconception around carbon, specifically in, in terms of the strength and like a carbon bike, if it doesn't, if it's not cracked, will last you an entire lifetime.

Like, they don't deteriorate. Like, you know, metals will cor. And the restin in carbon doesn't necessarily break apart. Like if maintained well, a carbon bike will last you a lifetime, the end, right? You sure it breaks and you have to maybe get it checked over by, uh, an expert. But I think, uh, now that we have been in this carbon age for a bit longer, there's, there's nothing wrong with a used carbon bike

[00:29:23] Randall R. Jacobs: I think that that is often true. There's a couple of challenges there though, with a metal bike, if there's something wrong with it, you generally see it unless it's cracking. Uh, and, and even a crack, you'd be able to see, but you'd be able to see that with a carbon bike too.

But what you wouldn't be able to see is an impact that causes delamination in a tube but doesn't result in visual cracking or damage. The construction has gotten much, much better, so they are vastly more reliable, but there's been this push for, as light as possible, which means there's not a lot of buffer and there's a lot of higher modus carbons that are not as impact resistant. So I agree with you that the concerns are overblown. but at the same time, actually this is something that, was talking to, Kaylee Fretz about when he was on not too long ago.

The merits of metal bikes, and I think that. Especially on the more economical end of the spectrum, it would be great to see more, steel bikes.

[00:30:19] Anne-Marije Rook: Oh, for sure. I love, I I myself, steel roadie. I, I think I would love to have a titanium bike for sure. Um, I just think that from a sustainability point of view, for the last, I don't know, 10, 15 years, we've been cranking out one carbon bike after another and they're not being recycled, uh, because. Well, you can, but it's very, very cost prohibit, pro prohibitive to, um, try to get around the re resin and recycle that carbon.

And so I think I would rather see some of these older frames be picked up and, and reuse in one way or another. Um, you know, slap a new group set on and it's a good bike. I'm also. , um, privilege in that. In Portland, we have a great company called Ruckus Composites, and they for, for fee, but it's not a significant fee.

They will scan your carbon frame to make sure there aren't any, uh, cracks or whatever that, that you can't see, um, simply with your eyeballs.

[00:31:17] Randall R. Jacobs: That's a great service and one that if anyone has access to, especially if they're buying secondhand or if they've crashed, absolutely worth it., the cost of not doing it is, potentially nothing or potentially catastrophic

[00:31:29] Anne-Marije Rook: Yeah. Yeah. And I think I'm, I'm more worried about people buying these really cheaply made. Carbon bikes cuz they're like, it's carbon and it'll be good. And I'm like, there is such a thing as bad carbon and uh, budget bikes that just, um, yeah, they, they don't stand the test of time. Whereas good carbon bikes will, like I said, last your lifetime, uh, obviously.

You know, metal is, is, this is the safer bet. But, um, yeah, we, we just have so many carbon frames out there right now, and I just don't, don't see them being used, uh, ending up in landfill. I don't know. I think that's one of the things that if I could ask the industry to do anything, it's to be a bit more, uh, sustainable in, in what they crank out and, and looking for the opportunities to recycle some of the products that they create.

[00:32:14] Randall R. Jacobs: There is talk about this within the industry. Craig was at the people for Bike Summit and there was a lot of talk around sustainability. It may have been more around packaging and the like, being discussed there. some of this is, the facilities haven't existed.

So carbon recycling, for example, you need specialized facilities. fortunately there's new, ways in which recycled carbon can be utilized cuz it is a degraded material, right? So you're not going to get the long pure fibers that you're getting purely homogenous, resin with and so on.

So you need to be able to create forged carbon components and the like, and you're starting to see that, um, That whole recycling infrastructure, like all recycling infrastructure, for the most part in this country, is not keeping up with the sheer amount of stuff that we're creating and discarding.

[00:33:04] Anne-Marije Rook: No, absolutely not. And uh, I think especially after. You know, uh, right before, um, gravel got real big, I think the industry was just sitting on, on thousands of, of car, like mid-level carbon bikes with, with 10 speed group sets. And luckily in some ways, luckily the, um, pandemic created, um, this, this delay in, in, in the.

Um, in, in getting new components. And I think that that forced people to go back and be like, can we use this nine or 10 speed group set? And there's an interesting amount of, of nine and seven speed groups that's on the market right now that just like got picked up cuz they were laying around. And uh, you see those especially in, in, uh, super adventure bikes or e-bikes where they use older group sets.

And I think it's great cuz we, we