2nd of 2020 . Lots of stuff, more links than people like, a derailer rant, and another ANAGRAM contest

2nd of 2020 . Lots of stuff, more links than people like, a derailer rant, and another ANAGRAM contest

That's Billie and Flynn playing. They love each other, so don't be alarmed.



I worked ten years at the Berkeley REI starting in 1975, and the last seven years were with this guy, good friend Fred Cook. He used to ride a red Pogliaghi.


I will buy some raspberries this week. Tons of them, for everybody here. 


Here's a link you might like if you remember the '68 Olympics:


 and this is related:


 the wiki page on Peter Norman. This doesn't add anything, but we're trying to give Peter Norman some time here, that's all:



The Following is a dumb but cathartic derailer rant. Don't judge me by this ------

Have I said this many times before recently, or does it just seem that way because it's constantly on my mind?: Shimano is going nuts. Five XTR model derailers, all for 12-speed. It's a bad sign when Shimano thinks 9 speed is too few for its best-made derailers.

Here's the a good under-the-radar Shimano 9sp rear der:

Did you read the copy to the right? — It "lets you ride aggressively with fewer interruptions due to its SHIMANO SHADOW design." 

The "shadow design" refers to the mounting bolt part that sticks out 3/8-in. less, the idea being that it'll bump into fewer rocks (the "interruptions"?), which is insane, because your legs-crank-pedals shield everything behind them. I've never hit a der with a rock, and Will and Mark said same for them. If somehow a rock managed to sneak in behind your leg and get close enough to a "normal" derailer to  hit it, what are the chances that it wouldn't hit a Shadow, too?  

If Shadow is better in another way, say that, only. But even so, even if it is, the contribution is so minor.

Here is the non-shadow version. It indexes 7-8 speed, but shifts up to 10 in friction. It  indexes up to 34t, but in friction, up to 36 easily, and there are ways of making it to go 42t (in friction):

Which would you want? Shimano recently "upgraded" the Acera to the sleekster with the Shadow, rock-avoiding technology, and cut all the humble plain beauty out of the derailer, so you could ride aggressively and uninterrupted by rocks smacking your rear older style Acera derailer.


This is what things are coming to. This is the direction. There is no doubt that this design was done more by computer than person. The stresses were analyzed, and every bit of excess metal was removed by karate-chops and liposuction, then vaccuumed away, leaving the minimum required to work, and an aesthetic that only a robot or techie could love. I realize this is a rant. I get to now and then.

The older one has bigger pulleys, too. 

 Shimano is the best all-around parts maker of all time, but is too market-driven and buzzword-happy. They introduce theoretically clever and helpful "technologies" that aren't necessary or helpful, but can be hyped.

 STI=Shimano Total Integration, but it's a misnomer. The idea is to make each part in the Shimano "integrated" group dependent on another part  in it, so you-da-rider can't go mixing brands on your bike. It has to be all the same Shimano, the same group, or the same series. The brake lever has to be the same as the shifter, because the come as one. The rear derailer won't index properly unless you  have the mating cassette andchain. 7/8 speed, or 9, or 10, or 11, or 12? It has to match up. You can't cross over between ranges, and it won't work if you throw in a SunTour, Campy, or SRAM.

Is that integration or segregation? 

The goal is skill-less shifting, sold as "letting you enjoy nature more without having to THINK about anything as you shift." But the thing is, these parts aren't marketed to be nature-friendly. They're marketed as mean-ass competition parts, made so you can concentrate on destroying your competitors or conquering nature's trails (tiny oxymoron there). So it's all just weird, right?

Besides, think about it. If you take a machine into nature, keep it a  minimal machine and allow it to remind you that you're on a machine, not a mechanical cyborg that does absolutely everything for you.....so you can pretend you got there by a mix of skill and grunt.

There is so much potential, but it's all racing, youtubing, radical stuff, and the parts are getting as weird as the riding.


Rory has been here about 6 weeks and is doing great things...he mounted a Silver2X shifter onto a MicroShift thumby mount, hoping it would work and be a new secret discovery, and useful until we get the Silver2 mounts in, sometime this quarter. They fasten together fine, the angle of the exit-housing is right on, but the cable groove in the lever sits obviously outboard of the cable hole in the mount, so there's cable rubbing on aluminum, extra friction, and so--bummer.

I mounted it on my Appaloosa to try it out, and it works like it's supposed to be that way. Smooth, light, easy shifts. In time the steel cable will wear away some aluminum tunnel entrance and it will be theoretically better, but practically the same. This is the fantasticness of friction shifting, and dis-integration.


BUT it still works, even if the cable groove in the shifter dudn't like up with the cable hole in the MICROSHIFT mount. 


Two more pics, prob unnecessary, but I just love this shifter.



What's progress? Most of the bicycle industry--manufacturers, at least, but dealers are in on it, too, and riders are definitely complicit--think that the goal of bike is to be idiot-proof, fool-proof, insanely unflubuppable, and the way to do that is to design parts that humans can operate with minimal physical input, because it's the more YOU operate the bike, the greater chance of a screwup. You might miss a shift and have to trim, or you might shift in the middle of the powerful part of the stroke, and keep on pedaling, and the chain won't go. 

The opposite of minimal input isn't "difficult to use." It's  

The minimal input cruise ship is unstoppable, but don't buy into it. The opposite of that isn't 


It was pouring when I left the house yesterday morning, and I could find only one Splat, the most underrated thing we make:



 We were riding and the moon came up, and there wasn't much light so I shot it on 1/15th, so that's one reason this photo of Sofia is blurry. Olympus OM-1, orange filter, either HP5 or TriX film, 100mm lens (or maybe 50?). 


 Let's see now...my oldest daughter's husband wasn't a bike rider, but wasn't a car guy, either, and he needed something faster than walking to commute to the Bart station and etc, so we here kind of mish-mashed this bike for him. We had the frame but no fork; we had an old Atlantis fork that fit, and he was riding it about 50 to 60 miles a week on his errands, and locked it at the BART station in Walnut Creek, and got back late one night and it was stolen:

If you're local to us and see it, don't risk anything, but if you can buy it off the guy (note sexist language) for up to $600--for god's sake try for a lot less--please do, and I'll cover it and throw in an extra pop. It'd be a hard bike to sell on Craigslist, and I'm  not on CL, but maybe some of you are. Maybe I'll see if I can look. Anyway... Yes, he's riding a temporary something, but that's the one he likes. Now he has a bike locker, too. He didn't know that was an option.


My daughter rides to BART on her Betty Foy, then BARTS to SF and rides 30 minutes to her job, then reverses it. She came over tonite on her way home:

 Those reflective vests are great. Get 'em for less than $8 from


I wear one on commutes all the time. I never expected to. It's a good hump to get over.


Many people sent me this link, about a bike concept that is not new, although this one is the first done up in carbon:


I think I'm supposed to hate it, but that's too strong. I think the guy overestimates the clothes-eating capability of chains, and the clothes-fouling magnitude of grease, and there's a spectacular misuse of "literally" in the fourth paragraph of the About Us page, and again, there's always the emphasis on speed with maximum ease WHICH I GET, but bicycles are already magical winners in that way, and this mechanism is another black box that hides how it works. Sometimes that's unavoidable, but I personally like it when it's not. Enough of that, but no, I don't HATE this. It doesn't have a motor, not that I hate all things with motors. Oh, forget it.



Entries can be one word or several, names or things, a sentence fragment...and for maximum flexibility, you can use either real English and excellent or bad grammar and speling, or you can go to town with the dictionary of the insane. If you want to do this, I strongly recommend you cut out cardboard squares with these letters (double-sided is a slight convenience, because then whenever you dump them out, they're all right-side up). As many as you like. They have to come on a postcard or postcards---sorry if that's a hurdle for you :).


We'll wait a few days after that. The usual International Panel of Anagram Experts (none of us here) will pick the winners. They can make up categories, so there may be a few winners. But there will be a grand winner, anyway. 

If all goes well, something fun will come of it. Prizes will be small or nothing. Last time, the last ANAGRAM contest we had, everybody got some store credit. We might not do that again. It is all up in the air. If your childen or grandchilden do it, note that on the card, with their names and ages. Again, don't expect anything and don't get their hopes up. Keep hopes down, down, DOWN.


We have had a positively rotten and frankly scary January.

-------- but there are some good things and hope down the road. The new Atlantis frames are here. Appaloosas coming next month. Then the Hillibikes, then I'm  not sure, but maybe Roadini, Homer, CLEM L. 

Please go to our site and see if anything appeals. Even store credits. It's not as desperate as the time we Hail Mary'd and asked you to buy store credits. It's more like---we've got to pay vendors and people and rent and insurance, and the average day now covers about half of our costs. Don't think a $25 gift certificate or purchase won't help. If you think that way, then others will too, and then we're screwed.








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