July 26, 2023
As a kid, it annoyed me that nothing really seemed to change with the new year. It was still dark and cold most of the day, and if the sun did shine it tended to be even colder. Frankly, September seemed more worthy of the “new year” designation since 1) the start of the school year so dominated our lives; 2) the new cars came out; and 3) the “season’s” new television shows were airing. Yes kids, back then we only had three television networks, and you had no way of “catching up” if you missed an episode of a favorite show — except perhaps by waiting for the rerun to (hopefully) air. We’re starting our fifth year of writing this blog and are hoping to shake things up a bit with an overall design for the year. For some time, we have been concerned about the lack of “entry level” gear training. Regular readers may even think I am a crank on the topic. The term “gear” is unlikely to cause the average “civilian” to picture a cylinder with teeth on it and people can even graduate from engineering school without any “fluency” within our trade. This is a far cry from the days when a middle school science classroom had a cut-a-way of a three-speed truck transmission on display for our amusement. Back then, boys and girls, drivers were expected to get by with three gear ratios that they selected themselves with a foot-operated clutch pedal and a lever on the steering column. Crazy as it sounds, this was not viewed as a distraction from the primitive on-board sound system. But I digress. During 2018, this blog will focus on “early gearhead” education. It may even spill over into the pages of the magazine. The goal is to build a pathway from not having a clue about gears to being able to carry on an intelligent conversation on trends in modern gear design. It will be a steep climb at times but we hope the view at the end will be worth it. Your input and suggestions are welcome, of course. I have seen a lot of the gear landscape in the past 47 years but I have not seen everything. If I skip over your favorite reference book or pet topic, please don’t hesitate to contact me.