2019-2   Mid-Jan

2019-2 Mid-Jan

 That's a bike shop in Detroit in 1916. And only barely related:

My buddy Chris got his Brooks B.17 re-framed and railed:

Old top, new rivets, and here's the other side:

And here's where he got it done. It was about $99 with shipping:

Firth and Wilson


 This (thing below) is reprinted with inferred permission from Outside magazine. It's from a 1993 issue I kept in a box because it had a letter to the editor from me in it. The permission is inferred because I sent an email asking, and didn't get a response, so I take that to mean it's OK, but I want to make it clear that I'm not claiming it's our original content. I want to praise to high heaven Outside for printing it, and the author/interviewer Craig Vetter for writing it.

I don't want you to like Rivendell any more for reprinting this, and then convert that like to business for us. I am not using this for commercial purposes. Some of you weren't even born, or at leat couldn't read, or at least weren't reading Outside magazine when it was current, and yet...it's worth the 15 minutes or so it takes to read it.

It's an interview/story on Yvon Chouinard..rock climber and alpinist and surfer turned blacksmith and finally reluctant businessman. You've heard of Patagonia, no doubt.



------- that was kind of neat, wasn't it? I think all business owners envy/are inspired by/admire Yvon Chouinard. I'm pretty sure of it. It'd be hard not to be.

Here's as close as I've come to Choiunard: When I was working at REI-Berkeley in the late '70s he came in with his son, Fletcher, and he left Fletcher's cotton diaper behind accidentally. I got it, and no, I don't still have it.

In about 1981 I was in Jackson on a winter outdoorsy skin-climb trip and I saw him in an outdoor store, and no, I didn't say hi.

A few years ago he was being awarded something by a climbing group and I helped a friend with the introduction, and I got his autograph, which I'm sure he hated giving, and I told the friend to tell Mr. Chouinard that he could have a bike if he wanted, and my friend said he said his old rusty one still worked...which would be consistent with his stuff in this article, if you got around to reading it.


I, on the other hand, have had to cut back hours here, to save some money. Some changes in schedules. There is no alternative and no cushion.  On a slow day here we ship out 15 UPS packages, and there have been too many slow days here.

Everybody here knows and is fine with the chopped schedule.  We've been overstaffed & over-houred for a long time It's horrible to have to cut hours, I hate it.

------ The HHH (tandem order has been placed. We're getting about six extras, and the price is $2,000 each, frame fork headset eccentric------

CHEVIOTs just came in, in 55 & 60. I sold my 60 to a fellow who wanted a used bike, and now I'm getting a new one. It's in the stand now, slowly being built up. I've got a 44x34 crank on it, and a 12x36 cassette. I won't use a front derailer or shifter, because I can go everywhere I'll need to go on it with the 34x36, and if I take it off road, I can truly manually shift, if I need it. I will do that, too, but it's pouring like mad here and the trails will be mucky for life or until March, so that's not my concern right now.

My new bike in progress:

The tires are used, the front wheel not shown is used. The rest is new.

THere's a lot of detail on these bikes that you don't see on lots of other bikes.

Not decided on the bars, but I had these Chocos on my last one, and can't figure out a reason to change. Thumbies. I'll show it all built later.

 That's a pretty fine looking crank. Nice finish, nothing hidden--like bolts that make you wonder how the rings stick to it. I don't like the look of smooth mysteries as much as I like things that look like I can get at them.


OK, it's almost finished, switched around a bit, and I've already commuted and shopped on it:

That "next" should be "net." It's not easy, at this point, to change that. And "bat-tape" should be "bar-tape."

If you look at it  just right it'll remind you or diamonds or crystals, just in tube-form. I seriously like it. The flexible crystal-like curve that can prevent a cut or gouge. There's  nothing not to like about it. You could hang something off it.


The Cheviot, like all of our bikes, is not cheap. BUT--if you want a dreamy all-around town and road bike, good for loads or bare, good for any kind of luscious pavement and fine on fire trails, it's as good as we got. I set mine up with Choco bars, but my saddle height is 74. If yours is 77+, maybe go with a bar that rises more? Whatever--pick any bar. This may be the best-riding bike in the world. I know, I know--but if you haven't ridden one, you don't get to vote. Whatever--it's a really pleasant bike to ride.

The second round of Gus Boots-Willsen hillybike samples will be here in early March.


 SPLATS are mostly out of stock, except the small ones, but will come back in two weeks. We don't make money on SPLATS. Not enough to make a difference. But we have them because they're the best rain protection for cyclists shoes and feet ever of all time, and yet there is a large contingent of riders who won't buy them because they look funny. OK!


We have a few ponchos left. They're right up there with SPLATS in the "too scary for most" department, but for my ride home in the pouring rain, there's nothing I like better.


Will and I shot (it was a two-person job) five photos for a Boots brochure coming up. It will have 20 photos. We may print them sprocketholes and all, the whole piece of film, which means no cropping, so the composition has to be just right, and it takes  planning. Then I was thinking, OK, we need 20 shots. I know exactly what they are. Could we start with a fresh roll of film and get all twenty on it? Could we do all 20 consecutively, so we shoot the brochure and have 16 left over for fun? I wonder if anybody's ever done that. I know nobody cares how we do it or if, or anything else, but at some tiny level below the threshold of mainstream and normal people caring, I care and think it would be super fun. THen you could see the order the photos were taken by the number on the frame. This is all doomsday crazy stuff. It's possible stuff, because nobody could say we can't do it. It's shouting when nobody will hear.

Friend Maynard once described that kind of thing, not exactly that, but that kind of thing, I think, as a mouse squeaking (or maybe yelling, I forget) at the bottom of a waterfall. He might forget having said that, but he did. He may have said "roaring waterfall," or even left out the bottom part and said roaring at the waterfall, which has a slightly different nuance, but is still in the futile/hapless category. I think, now that I think of it, he talked of a "mouse roaring at the bottom (or the base) of a waterfall."

The thing is, mice don't roar. That may have been part of his point, but it wasn't the whole point.

He may have been telling ME that's what I was doing at the time, but when you attach your message to that kind of metaphor, or mental imagery (in case it isn't a metaphor) you can't expect me to hear the message. I think I do that, tho.

i think I do that when I say positive stuff about

steel...friction shifting...splats and ponchos.....lots of things. All I do is that.


----- Let me tell you, if you don't already know, what it's like to:

1. Get older. Well, your body ages more than your brain (assuming no dementia) or emotions.

2. Try to keep a niche-y bike business in 2019. We have short arms and weak voices.

3. Have regrets. Small and medium ones, business and personal.


Here's a recent interview Tom Ritchey did in Germany. Apparently he was riding his bike before this. The "meat" of it starts at 25:00 (with a question about eBikes, which Tom tries really hard to not dis), and then he has some interesting comments, especially in some...context...about steel, carbon, forks, wheels. Listen it all if you want, of course, but from 25:00 to the end (at 53:00) it is particularly interesting.



OK. A Mongolian guy is going to call me today at 4 pacific time. He'll call from Tokyo. More on that later, you betcha...


JAY Ritchey used to work here--for about 3 years, ending August 2011. He started a bag company. I ordered one of these:


You'll see a picture of friend Vaughn on the site--the guy with the hat. He's also here:

It's a BOOTS.

BACK TO JAY. It takes a little effort and practice to not say that he's Tom's son (and Katie's son), but he is, and he is also exceptional at whatever he does. One of the nicest people I've known, still a super good friend to whoever has met him. He has a Homer and a HubbuHubbuH. Friend to everybody who's ever met him. Photographer, videographer, rider, humbler-than-Jay is probably not possible...dives in, learns, does, never gloats. A thirteen on a scale to ten.

He shot this video solo with a FLIP video camera-the first version of a way way pre-GoPro camera. Low res, on a tripod, set it to music, did it after hours on his own time. I rode out to the area with him, then had to go home, and this all happened then.


-------SIGNPAINTER & CLEM SMITH JR rider Ken came by today and gave us this, and that's him under it:

We have WHBN patches and shirts (I think more are on order). They're non-denominational/don't say Rivendell on them anywhere). I saw a guy in shot clip from a Los Angeles street or crowd scene wearing a shirt that said that--I've told this story before--and liked it and couldn't find an official "Work Hard Be Nice" site or anything, so I figured hey,

It's not the kind of message anybody can disagree with, but it's also not the kind of message anybody ought to drive home hard, either. More shirts are on the way and we'll letyou know, etc. Here's the pocket of one:


It's not cold NOW but it was a little chilly by Walnut Creek standards this morning, so I went into the front closet and grabbed this bad boy:


 We hadn't yet landed a-moon; JFK'd been killed but RFK was still alive. Ten-speeds hadn't yet hit America big time. This was a No. 1 hit in early September of that year:


 The line I never got until I read it--and it was driving me INSANE--was ... no, I'm not gonna tell you. It comes at 3:26. PM me with your name and the line, and no cheating. You may win nothing, but you also never know. This is how I get a feel for how man people read this, although the line clarification is some kind of an unuseful filter in that regard.






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