Today I was sitting watching the Tour coverage on OLN and talking non-stop to my wife while they were showing Lance Armstrong’s TT. Then I got a good side view of his aerobars, and on the extensions I saw a Zipp label. Sure, Sram owns Zipp and Sram is a sponsor of the team, but why would Lance be using non-Bontrager aerobars?

I thought I had an idea.

I looked closer when they showed him again.

Indeed. It was the Zipp Vuka extension with the integrated boss for the bar-end shift-levers – a concept that I had come up with a few years ago and sold to Zipp (signed the final patent papers at Interbike last year). The design was intended to save a chunk of weight (about a 1/4 pound) and to allow designers the ability to make the extensions any shape they wanted rather than including a 2″ straight cylinder at the end of everything to work with the boss that comes with the levers.

Josh (a friend at Zipp) tells me that it was a beast to work out the carbon layup and mold design. It seems that everything I bring to them requires some wickedly smart engineers to get things completed, but that’s probably why the engineers over there and I get along so well (bloody great crew).

So that was an unexpected perk of my day – to see the highest-profile rider at the Tour, the guy that is more uptight about his equipment than anyone else in the sport, using my aerobar extension.

Now if I could just find homes for the rest of the drawer full of IP that I need to get other people to make… Anyone need a 50g stem?