When I see color shots of guys in chartreuse spandex hoisting their bikes like this on ocean-to-ocean or college-reunion trips I think it's a hair cheesey, but here I am showing Dan and Jeff doing the same kinda thing, at my yelled request from far away on a sunny day with an orange filer and 50mm lens on my OM-1. It's acceptable because the riders are small and in sillohuette...is my excuse.
Here are some things we're working on. You may be familiar with some, but probably not all:
1. Rear derailer, rapid-rise style. As god is my witness, before I die, lord have mercy, let it happen.
2. RoadUno: A one-speed for the road that no doubt some people will ride on trails, but don't. It can be a paved road, a gravel road or dirt road, but it's not going to be a cross bike or Hillibike or anything like that. Its 2-inch tire capacity notwithstanding, or whatever the word is.
3. Rosco-Plats: Like the Platypus, but less lugged, and with 100 percent straight, strong, safe, beautiful CLEM forks that just happened to have the threaded rack bosses mis-drilled ever so slightly, to the extent that we couldn't sell them as perfect, but their flub is visual only, and we're getting deals on them and so designed frames around them, and the frames are gonna be fantastic and inexpensive by our standards. Think Platypus-Clem offspring.
4. Two V-brakes. We need only one, but in the interest of more than one iron in the fire, we're working on two, with two different people and places. Discs are taking over, but we're all firm V-brake fans, except for Mark, who can't give up his cantilevers for his personal bikes, but admits that V-brakes are really good.
4. One cantilever brake. Started it along time ago. It's easy enough to keep going. I wish we had control over it, but we don't.
5. G.O.A.T. gloves. I thought we'd have these two months ago, but let's just lay this one on COVID, too. I expect them two days before Christmas.
6. British-made thin long-sleeved light gray crewneck Merino wool sweaters. For riding or whatever, but they'll be so, so nice for riding. By Dec 12. Bad Christmas-delivery timing, but it's all we can do, and that date might be optimistic, anyway.
7. Spanish canteens, again, if we can get them. For February. Say what you will about Spanish canteens, but they're the best way to hold spare water in a saddlebag or around your shoulders and on your back, like a messenger bag. Hold a liter, made of aluminum with a cloth cover.
8. Wool underwear for Spring. We've had a topsy turvy relationship with the maker. Great guy, great service, but unpredictable sizing and pattens. The last samples we got in were perfect, and he swears he's locking them in, so we'll see.
9. MUSA knickers made in California with USA-made fabric dyed to our specs. As seen in the opening photo up there, with the African shoes and the photobombing pedal. Slightly stretchy, best fitting ever. Same legs, better waist. If you want super comfortable everyday and riding pant-type things and don't need a tight fit, get them. They're a nice brown, not coffee or chocolate, more like darker British Tan, if you're familiar with British Tan. They're the best riding pants I've ever worn, but might not be your style. I bet, though, that if you were the last survivor of an apocalypse and could wear any pants in the world, you'd try these on and say, "Write me up."
Eventually it'll have drones built-in, for AI accident avoidance. Not a joke, all serious, I believe this is the way it's all going. Nothing that happens with bikes in the future will make normal bicycles any less relevant or suited to getting around. It's just that, you know, it's wired into our DNA to want everything for nothing.
There will be DIY home liposuction machines and While-U-Sleep muscle stimulators so you can wake up stronger. There will be a way to add or take melanin out of your skin, for better or worse. Models will go for it for sure. The new/reissue of Google glasses will have video capabilities, too, and the technology will make its way into contact lenses, which may help beating victims record the attacks. Everything is a mix of good and bad, danger and potential.
Charity, giving, and so on. A candid perspective, if that's possible on a BLAHG that's pretty much accessible to everybody with a computer:
It's hard for non-super rich individuals to give away money when they don't have enough of their own. The government doesn't do enough, because most of the country hates charity of any kind, thinks people should overcome all obstacles, buckle down, make their own money. So it's businesses that fit in between and are in the best position to help.
Publicly traded business with stockholder are more challenged, because they're worried about share price and getting sued by shareholders and getting fired by a board of directors. So it comes down to privately owned businesses, like us and the other family-run donut shops of the country.
"Charity begins at home," is an interesting thing. Why not give first to employees? Without employees, we're gone, and all. Before we had ANY employees, the plan was to contribute till it hurts a little to charities, and we've stuck to it all along. Our yearly goal for most of the 2000s has been $12K a year. Up until last year we probably averaged $9,000 a year, and that included tapping into our line of credit. Giving away money has always been in our non-business plan, but when I was starting this and got a book on how to make a business plan, I wrote one up, and it included money-giving.
This year, with better planning and adding $50 per bike to fuel those funding things, and customer contributions and general all-purpose customer support, we we'll end up giving, hold onto your gardening visor, I can't even believe it, I think something must be either really right or really wrong, $48,000. It's not all us. You have contributed at least half of that, by buying buttons, bikes, certain things here and there. It's so good.
But it's not JUST 48K, it's how we do it. We don't buy paperclips for the Red Cross, and we don't try to put out fires by using the old plastic squirt guns and shooting water through a screen door, turning it into weak mist. We pour it from peanut butter jars on glowing embers and small flames that are burning or threatening to burn ants, earthworms, and mice. It's concentrated doses to underfunded and largely under the radar charities and personal causes (directly to people) where each dollar, or each thousand, makes a full-force impact. We want our contributions to NOT be diluted. It's like: Let's say you tell yourself you're going to donate $500 to good causes. You could give a penny to 50,000 people or a dime to 5,000 people, and either way, not a ton of impact.
We give to lefty causes, social things, people who need it. At the end of the year or early next, mayb we'll spell out who got what and, if it's not obvious, why they got it. At least the bigger ones. I won't post it here and Will won't post it on the email updates, but we'll include a link, and it'll reside under a Charity banner or something. Nobody here makes any less money because we give to charities. Nobody here has suggested that, either, by the way.
If you haven't tried Trader Joe's Grainless granola, o my god, don't. It's too good and lowish carby, hard to not plow through a bag before you blink thirty times.
I got some M4mm x 24mm wingbolts to lock in the adjustment beyond the range of the stock bolts. Wingbolts are the way to go wherever they make sense. Some derailers work great, some don't, depending on where the bolts to and what the wings'll interfere with. I never go anywhere, not even out to din-din, without a pocketfull of wingbolts in assorted sizes.
Here's the deal with the hardware:
Small black middle one is the original. Sometimes, on some derailers and water bottle bolts, the wings get in the way, but when they don't, I'm all for them. Wing nuts used to hold wheels onto forks. The CPSC would never allow that now, but the fact is they worked...but Tullio Campagnolo was racing on--this is by reading memory, don't write in and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I am--on the Gavia Pass in the Tour of Italy in 1927, and it was freezing, and his frozen fingers couldn't operate the frozen wingnuts, so that inspired the quick-release, which in ten years will probably go the way of the wingnuts, but not on our bikes. It's depressing to think we'll have to stock up on quick-releases or develop our own...holy cow, is that where this is going?
You get the orange kind of sweet potatoes and put three or four knife-slashes in each one so it oozes out like this, and then you can eat that while it's hot, and it won't spike your blood sugar much, because there's not enough of it. Bake covered in foil 415 degrees for 1:45 to 2:00 depending on the fatness.
It used to be that all wild rice had to be harvest the old fashioned way, by Indigenous people of, like, Minnesota, and that's why it cost a million dollars a pound in 1968. Now it's cultivated, presumably in a way that doesn't piss off the original inhabitants. I don't eat many grains, but if you cook and then cool rice, the starch gets converted in a way that doesn't spike your glucose as much...and when you're dealing with wild rice and not white rice, I'm guessing and hoping that it's even better.
See now what you do if you want to eat one of these... is mix the wild rice with two or three eggs and add onions or cheese or sweet potatoes and slightly chopped sardines if you can handle sardines, mix it up and fry it, flipping it like a pancake, using "pan momentum" flipping technique, with a spatula-assist. Then there you go.
To cook wild rice: 2c rice to 5 3/4c water, boil for an hour, covered. If you want to be super groovy, after draining, spread it on a backing sheet or two, let it cool (stick it in freezer or regfrigerator), then bake at 400 deg or so for 15-20 minutes uncovered, to dry it out, and then, for the ultimate weirdness, broil it 5-7 minutes to dry it more and make the grains crunch and nearly inedible for softies, but not us! Then mix it with the egg thing or put in a bowl and eat cold or warmed with butter or coconut oil or olive oil an salt, and shredded coconut mixed in or whatever you want, you can't wreck it.
Ana C on her somewhat famous purple Rivendell custom, zooming along in Shell Ridge.
Bowls and stuff by.. Heath. It's plates and and cups, too.
Jeff pushes Clem up Mark's Hill in Briones.
Jeff and Dan on San Geronimo Ridge on Mt. Tamapais. Hasselblad 80mm Bay50 with orange filter.
Jeff on Mt. Tam, Dan in back. Same Haselblad, but no filter this time. MP5 film, for those of you who...
Dan trying to ride the same log, didn't get much farther than this. Use "farther" for literal distances, "further" for things like "furthermore." His rear wheel hit the tree and stopped.
Gratuitous stream-crossing shot of Jeff and his Clem. Hasselblad 80mm HP5 1/30th second that's all I know.
A better shot of new knickers. They won't have the cinch at the bottom. No need, trust me. Better without, trust me. Still elastic, right amount to hike up over your calf and stick there. We tried them on a range of calves, including Vince's 18.5-inchers. Photobombing kickstand on the left.
Closeup of my African (Ethiopian, to be more specific) shoes, made with recycled rubber soles and shoelaces cut from car inner tubes gotten from cars that still use 'em. I was clearly moving my left foot. This was shot at 1/15th second. Photobombing pedal on the left.
Eggs, wild rice, collard greens with hot sauce.
All my dinners are a variation of this. Always. They always look great. Hang in, you never know when I'll get back to bikes.
How to tell when you're dealing with somebody who thinks ventilating fake rocks like that will fool the ne're-do-wells.
I went food shopping last night and sacre bleu. no lock. But the thing is, no man or woman is ever without a lock as long as he / she has brain, and I pride myself as a brain-owner,and so:
All bike helmets come with an automatic lock that does double duty as a chin strap. I supplemented it with:
A John's Irish strap that I keep knotted to the basket BECAUSE YOU NEVER KNOW, and strapped the basket to the bike rack. AND...again, I owe this all to my brain...
I de-chained the chainring.
I'm not saying what I'm not saying, but in a pinch you have to make it up on the spot. There are half a dozen other befuddling-tricks I didn't have to pull out: disengaging the wheels, loosening the stem. unhooking or opening up the brakes, repositioning the bars 90-degrees, repointing the saddle.
If I were King of the Forest, I'd 'encourage' all helmet-wearers to do this to up the visibility thing.
We're now carrying THOUSAND brand helmets. Only the silver ones. On the site by Wednesday the 15th, we think.
It's mostly salmon skin, my favorite part. There's some meat, and then wild rice, boiled, baked, then broiled to make it crispy. O my.
Fillet brazed this-and-that from Japan (Nitto, stems) or Taiwan (Gus and Susie) are really hard, slow, and expensive. It's not like our vendors have a dozen people who can either pack boxes or fillet-braze steel. There are two here, three there, and they get sick like anybody else, and it slows everything down. Even lugged bikes are hard, which makes me feel stupid for getting some new lug molds because we were feeling flush and it's fun.
The Gus and Susie frames coming up will cost $2,000 or $2,050 or so. The small followup batch in the spring will cost $2,200 or so. And these may be the last of them. If you want one and quit reading because you felt my dinner images were wasting your time....I can't help that. It's what you get when BLAHGS are free. But it's all true.
Nitto fillet stems are turning into tig stems, because Tig now beats Fillet in two years, and that's what it's down to.
These are the new knickers, prototypes, best riding pants-like things ever.
Military-spec, Berry-compliant slight stretch usa-made fabric with usa-made elastic webbing and usa-made buckles, even. Sorry to throw out the "Berry-compliant" term. It just means it passes the requirement for the army to by. I dunno the history of the term, buy Berry was probably a guy. Sorry, ladies.