Ear to the ground

“You know the students are back when herb reappears on the Nature Trail.”

- A local jogger after spying a smoldering tree on one of Durango’s most popular singletracks

The bicycle boom

Gasoline and groceries aren’t the only things with new price points. The cost of chromoly, cranks and cassettes will be rising after the New Year. Bicycles are expected to see 20 percent price increases in 2009.

The combination of a weak dollar, overseas manufacturing and increased costs of transportation are playing into the jump. Manufacturers are also facing double-digit increases in the costs of carbon fiber, aluminum, rubber and other raw materials, according to a report inBicycle Retailer magazine. The whitewater industry expects a similar trend, and boaters will be paying a premium for petroleum-based products (rafts, dry-bags, oars, gaskets, etc.).

“The big test will be how consumers react to higher prices,” said Tony Lo, chief executive officer of Giant Bicycle.

In Durango and all over the country, 2008 bike models should represent the best bang for the buck. The components will be better and the prices will be lower, according toBicycle Retailer. Rumor has it that one local bike shop will be keeping this year’s bikes at current prices rather than marking them down next spring.

Still, 2008 marked a strong year for the bicycle industry. Taiwan, where nearly all bicycles are now manufactured, posted a 20 percent increase in two-wheeled exports. And a company like Giant saw its sales leap by 24 percent over last year.

With this in mind, Pat Hus, chief executive officer of Titus bicycles, is optimistic about 2009. “I think the cost of fuel is helping us,” he told the magazine. “With the economy soft, not as many people are flying off to Hawaii. Instead, they’re sticking closer to home and going to Moab.”

Best in state

Durango suds recently rose to the top of the barrel. Two local brewers took home medals at the Colorado State Fair’s Foamfest in late August, once again proving that Durango drinkers are among the luckiest in the state and nation.

The Carver Brewing Company squared off against other Colorado breweries and took home a gold medal at the state fair. Top honors went to Carvers’ Colorado Uncommon, a robust, well-hopped, malty beer based on a style known as a California Common. The brewpub’s Celebrated Raspberry Wheat Ale received a silver medal at the fair.

Beer from the Durango Brewing Co. was also recognized as some of the best in Colorado. Durango Blueberry Wheat took home a bronze in the fruit beer category, and the Durango Golden Ale also earned third place honors.

Carvers’ Celebrated Raspberry Wheat also took home the People’s Choice Award at the San Juan Brewfest held in downtown Durango on Aug. 23. Carvers head brewer Erik Maxson spoke for all of Durango’s craft brewers when he said, “It’s nice to receive props locally after being recognized at the state level. Providing fresh handcrafted beer for Durango locals is what we do.”



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows