2021-1. Ye olde Inauguration Day, as a matter of fact.


 If you don't recognize her immediately, where have you gone, Joe Dimaggio? More on Amanda Gorman later in this BLAHG.

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A flat version of the RoadUno head badge:

Do you see the O and the C?

That "show flat, not curved around head tube" was a note to myself. At this point it's too much work to fix that.

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This is the most underappreciated, unknown, ignored, secret best rear derailer currently manufactured. It shifts to 36t, it looks as good as the Shimano Altus and Acera, it indexes 9sp as well as a Shimano, and there's just nothing dumb about it. It is NOT a "generative design" derailer, which is why it looks good.

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What do they mean by other "handwear" besides gloves? Mittens? You know, a few years ago we had-made-for you "half-mitts." They'd work in this application. Halfmitts didn't sell well. If you have a pair and don't use them, send them to me and I'll credit your account $20...which is more than you paid for them. I don't know where to get that fabric anymore, and it's hard to find people who'll make them. I want yours. I have a few of my own, but I want more, to give to some of the guys here who were too young at the time to appreciate them, or who just weren't here then.

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Like to go hiking, American? You'll want a Tactical Staff. 

Just so, you know, if somebody in the parking lot looks like he has the potential to look threatening, you can take care of him before he can yell "WTF?!!" This is where it's going. Cars, bikes, shoes, flashlights, hiking sticks, presidential transitions. Hike to the polls with one of these. It starts with a tactical flashlite, it ends with I don't know what.

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Customer Nick sent me this link. It's about eBikes vs motorcycles for commuting.  I am posting it not because I agree with it, but because I like this guys smirky facial gymnastics as he talks. I think he could make millions as a pitch-guy for something. It's about 5 minutes long, I forget:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wM8Xli2KTzI&feature=youtu.be

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I know what you're thinking: I come here to read about issues of RACE! Don't keep me waiting! Where are the pencils?

This shouldn't have to go between the pencils. Too many links, but this is her time, so give it to her, just for fun:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNFAICB8vxw

 More on her.

And here's more, and the text. A link to it.

https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4939623/amanda-gorman-2017-national-youth-poet-laureate

This is kind of an interview a from NYT a day pub'd a day after inauguration.

 This is a the poem written. Some big papers that should know better, not that this is a harsh scold, printed it in paragraph form, which makes it hard to see the word connections, line by line. This makes it easy, if you're into that.

 

 Ye olde BRP might be squashed, because it doesn't comply with the 1981 Unruh Civil Rights Act. It complies with the spirit, the intent of the Act, but not with the letter of it. We have lawyers investigating, but at this stage it's not looking good. It's kind of like accepting "all men are created equal" and using that to mistreat women.

 In a month we'll have more to say. In the meantime, we continue to let you buy BRF donations, buttons, and stickers. And for now, we'll refer to that as the Bicycle Riding Foundation, and spend the money however we see fit.

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Ye olde cathartic rant. Kind of a repeat from a few months ago, but I need the catharsis again.

The goals of bike parts makers are to let you move gleefully, brainlessly down ye olde road. No cares, no worries about your bike. Zoning out. The default assumption is that you don't like to operate anything. They assume you'd rather be fed than to feed yourself, have somebody else tie your shoes and brush your teeth. That you get no pleasure out of moving levers; far better to push buttons! 
I'll take a lever over a button any day of the week, 2x on ye olde Sabbath.
But parts makers want to
(1) take the skill out of operating a bike 
(2) shorten the learning curve
(3) minimize effort.
There is some philanthropy behind this—the more people who ride bikes, the better, for sure, and they want to make it easier for anybody to ride. But once YOU don’t need convincing, once YOU are over that hump, there are other considerations. I should personalize this. I don't want to tell you what to do.
To me, a bike shifter or derailer is best when it requires a little skill to operate successfully. Not zero. Then, as long as the shifter or derailer works as intended, any screwed up shift is my muff.  
The main pitch in the selling of indexing, back in 1985-6, was that fussing with shifting takes your mind off of beautiful nature, wrecks your experience. A bike that requires a tiny bit of skill to operate doesn’t degrade my appreciation of the natural environment I’m riding through. If anything, it enhances it, the way a fantastic snack enhances a good movie. You get to use fine motor skills and your brain as you pedal and manipulate your bike. You’re all-in! That’s as good as it gets. 
Indexed shifting is great for new riders, whose anxiety about shifting can wreck their enjoyment; and for racers, who can’t risk blowing a shift. (If you’re neither, you have more options.)
The problem is that indexing works so well, there’s no reason to graduate from it, and the next thing you know you kind of don’t have any other options. SunRace makes a cheapy friction shift lever intended for the poorest villages in China and India, and Shimano still has the 9-speed Dura-Ace bar-end shifter with a index and friction modes (I predict its extinction in 2022).
 
Other than those, the Silver shifters are all you’ve got, but that’s nothing to cry about, comrades. Silvers, with guts developed by SunTour in the late ’70s, and perfected in 1985 when SunTour was naive enough to think that indexed shifting would be a fad, and instead put their best engineers to work developing this shifter. 
This magical jewel-like tool with hyper-precision guts makes Swiss horologists all over the world livid with envy. 
That's their problem, not yours, but it is the only bicycle part that can make that claim. 
By that I don’t mean they take over the shift for you, but that they provide you with instant, accurate feedback. With all that, you can’t help but get better fast. You will have frustrations along the way, but if you practice the good technique shown below in the fantastic diagram, you’ll get good fast. When good technique becomes habit, you can say flip ye olde birde to all other shifters.
You SHIFT WITH YOUR FEET, not your fingers or hands. It’s just like a manual transmission in a car. If you blow a stick-shift in a car, you don’t blame the stick, and if you blow a friction shift on a bike, you can’t blame the lever. You blame your feet. Damn feet!

HOW TO SHIFT WITH YOUR FEET:

  1. Make sure you have enough momentum to coast at least five feet.
  1. STOP PEDALING with your RIGHT FOOT at 4:30. You’re past the power part of the stroke by then, entering the no-pow-r zone, so you aren’t going to slow down much. 
  1. SHIFT at the same 4:30, and FLOAT your pedal up to 12:00. “Float” means apply no power.
"Floating" the pedal up doesn't mean slo-mo. It just means no pressure downward on the opposite pedal. At high pedaling speeds you don't have to think about it, but when you're grunting up a hill and desperate, that's when you DO.
Shifting in friction isn't something you should aspire to, and this is my personal opinion.  I know my opinion carries some weight, but I swear to god this is more cathartic than anything else. Any statements I make that sound like declarations are still just my extremely minority opinion. But, on the other hand, I stand behind everything, I believe it 100 percent, and it’s based on a lifetime of riding and thinking about riding and paying attention to little things that aren’t important to pay attention to (some would say).
But worth noting:
For people deaf or hard-of-hearing, indexing is the way to go.

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Will sent me this, knowing it was right up my alley. It's about parking:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=Akm7ik-H_7U

In the space required for one car, u-can fit at least 14 bikes. It helps if they all have kickstands. Without, you end up with a big goddamn ("goddamned"?) pile of bikes, pardon ye olde French (and apologies to French people).

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 A friend, MEO, sent me this. I use it with nearly no-carb fake tortilla wraps. I'm going to try this today:

https://iamafoodblog.com/tiktok-wrap-hack/

It looks pretty neat. I bet it works. It did work, and the proof was in the sardines, hummus, sauerkraut, and ye olde guacamole that were, for the first time in my life, so securely contained in the coconut flour wrap, that I didn't need to hold it with two hands as I ate it over the sink. Don't be a bore about this. Don't tell others that they don't know how to wrap a burrito. This way is so good, that's a real danger. Don't even open the link.

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The latest on ye olde playtypus, and this should wrap 'er up:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/09/science/platypus-genome-echidna.html