This lady, wearing Da Brim, is astride a Gypsy horse.

This lady, wearing Da Brim, is astride a Gypsy horse.


I think I caught her at an awkward moment. A friend and I saw her on a ride and talked. Her name is Julie, her horse is Lucy. Gypsy horses can officially also be called "Irish Cobs," but that seems to be the name-option that steers widest of the "Gypsy," by using the least familiar term ever applied to this breed...and what is wrong with gypsies, anyway? The first time I heard an objection to "gypsy," the argument was that people thought the people called gypsies were hocking overpriced schlock, so people felt gyp'd. Maybe your grandfather did that. It doesn't mean he's vile. He was "of his times," and he loved you. And I'm not John McWhorter. I'm not even a John McWhorter fan. I think he cuts too much slack; he more "anything goes," languagewise, than I am comfortable with. He's a linguistics professor and a columnist for the NYT. If he rides a bike, I'd like to know.

Mainstream Europeans thought gypsies came from Egypt, when in fact they came from India. I am not the language cop, but I don't think this is in the same category as other words your granddad used. I'm also not in a position to say what's cool. OK, an Irish Cob. I wonder what the dirt on that name is.

So Native Americans, also a controversial name for Lakota, Cheyenne, Paiute, Seminole, Choctaw, Cree, Apache, Blackfoot, Miwok, and however many hundreds more there were, were believed to be Indians because Columbus hit the Bahamas thinking it was the then West Indies...and Gypsies, which are truly Indians, got Egypt instead. You really have to distrust everything.

It turns out Julie's farrier (horse-shoer) was a guy I went to high school with. His name was Jeff Matthews, he died a few years ago, and he made this hoof-pick, to get the mud out of a horse's hoof before re-shoeing it:


He gave it to me and said I could use it to de-mud boot soles, if any. 

I've used it once, and of course it works. I used to feel some shame in not using it at least monthly, but now it means more to me because my high-school buddy made it. It's OK that I just look at and hold it and swing it through a small arc pretending something.

Bike content: Jeff rode bikes, too, and once after high school he saw me riding a one-speeder around after my ten-speed was stolen, and lent me his second bike, a Clubman (if you remember those). It didn't have a front derailer and told me to use my finger, and demonstrated. The worst that could happen is--you'd trap your finger between chain and teeth, then thrust downward with your foot and shred off the tip of your finger. That's enough grossness for today, and I promise you it's my low-water mark forever.

Will can shift up front with his foot, which seems like a party trick, but he does it when he's riding one of two bikes he has with a single-speed freewheel and two chainrings. 


In the July 24  NYT eight of its crackerjack political columnists wrote about times they were wrong. I read it and thought What's so big about that? You think you're so good because you can do that? I can do the same thing about bikes.

"Wrong" when it comes to bikes and maybe politics, is often a "soft wrong,"  just opinions and preferences.  If somebody makes a hard statement about what this bike can do or what cassette this shifter works with, it can be flat-out wrong, and naturally the person should be shot. But if Joe Blow likes long slammed stems on mountain bikes and commute bikes, I might think he's trying too hard to not be pinned down, but in the end, sure, whatever.

Rivendells have always been different than Bstones. I think of the difference exactly this way: I know more now than I knew then, and I was severely constrained by having to develop bikes that were comfortably mainstream enough for dealers who weren't into the nitty gritty to sell them to customers who wanted bikes pretty close to what their friends had.

I had my radical streak, but I didn't know enough then, and since Bridgestone was my employer and not my company--I wasn't "running it" by any means, even tho that has been said many times—since all of that, I couldn't fully indulge myself. That's probably a good thing, given my level of experience and tastes back then.

I learned a lot there. Not just about "the market," but about bicycles and stresses on them and manufacturing processes. When I went to Japan, I got tours and lectures, and not just of Bstone's factories and testing facilities. I went to SunTour, SR, Shimano, Dia-Compe, IRC (tire maker). I wasn't part of a big American group; I was usual the only American and went with two or three Bridgestone Japanese guys, who'd translate questions and answers for me...and I was there to ask those questions and get the answers.

I remember at Dia-Compe seeing a big wooden box with about four hundred left cranks in it,  and since Dia-Compe never made cranks, I asked wuddup. It turned out Dia-Compe made the left SunTour Superbe (best) crank. Sugino made the right one. I was too shocked to ask why.

I understood why SunTour didn't make both sides and the chainrings, too. Unlike Shimano, SunTour wasn't a "vertical" manufacturer making all the parts in its line. It made freewheels, derailers, and shifters, and contracted with other specialists for the others. I think SunTour made some of its brakes, eventually.

Bridgestone were excellent, as good at least as any other Japanese brand, but it would be sad if I wasn't able to improve on them in 28 years of Rivendell, with essentially no constraints. Presumably I've learned something in that time.

I got a job at Bridgestone on December 8, 1984 . I was hired to answer phones and answer technical question or any question about our bikes, from dealers or general bike riders...and to do data entry (incoming inventory). There were three others in the office (besides the Japanese president) and I was the only one who didn't smoke. I'd come home stinky, even my daypack stunk, but that's off-topic for now.

I rode the Bstone mountain bikes and didn't like them. I suggested some changes to the president, who came from C.Itoh, a big trading company, and he didn't know an iota about bikes and didn't care. He suggested I fax Bridgestone's bike engineers, so I did, and they essentially said, "hey, go for it, please tell us what you want." They treated me like I was their only window to the huge and growing U.S. mountain bike market. I was just what they wanted.

Up to then I rode road bikes on trails, and I wanted, basically a road bike with fat tires, so the Bstone mountain bikes had:

1.  steeper head tubes, like 72-degrees, steepest in the. MTB world

2.  steeper seat tubes...73-degrees. No others that steep

3.  42.5cm chainstays, the shortest in the MTB world

4.  23-inch wide bars, by 5-inches, narrowest in the MTB world

5.  50t big chainring, biggest ever, etc

6.  toe clips and straps, only production MTB with them

7.  Q/R hubs front and rear, also the only...

8.  Racing saddle, the only one on a MTB

9.  friction thumbshifters, the only 1986 MTB without indexing

10.  the first MTB to use Ritchey tires. I was friends with Tom (still am)

11.  presta valves, the only MTB with them

12. Small, "two-finger" brake levers.

The bikes rode (and still ride) great. 

 But my opinions have changed.about #s 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8. 

1, 2: Steeper angles and shorter chainstays gave the bike a more road-bike feel,  and back then I had no respect for mountain bikes (kind of like I still don't, but in a different way). I'd been riding trails on road bikes for a few years and figured OK, this works great, just need fatter tires.

3: I believed Short Chainsay Ruse, that they made a bike faster and stiffer and increased traction because the wheel was more underneath you. The reality is..COUNTERintuitive. You wheelie easier on short chainstays, you feel bumps more, the overall wheelbase is shorter so the bike is twitchier. Longer rides better, period.

5: The 50t chainring on a trail bike makes no sense, but back then I was really strong and used it to go really fast on my way to the trails, where it was really useless. 

6: I believed that strapping in with toe clips and straps let me pull up with my hamstrings. That's BS, now I know. It helps keep your foot on the pedal, a not-so-desirable thing when you may need to catch yourself before crashing.

8: Racing saddle were never that comfortable, but if you have a road-like position they'll be fine. But I associated wider saddles with goofballness, and I wanted a cool saddle. (The next time you're riding and you're thinking, "this saddle sucks," imagine it GONE, and you're sitting on the post. That doesn't mean "be happy with every saddle," it's just a perspective worth keeping in mind before you say, "this saddle sucks.")

The other stuff, all good. Presta valves, Q/R hubs, small levers, friction. Ritchey tires weren't, like, world's better than any other similar priced tires, but they were still good.

Those Bstone MBs rode well on roads and you could get used to them on trails, although they all needed Bosco bars. Ride these days I MUCH prefer a bike that allows a little relaxing when you're headed down a steep bumpy hill. It's not because I'm older, it's because I'm smarter and more experienced now. There's nothing cool or admirable or anything about riding dangerously and risking your bones and your ability to work, contribute to your family, to live a life outside of bikes. Tweaks in the bike here and there MAKE a difference. A bike that's less jostled, less tipsy, but that still gives honest feedback and finds the elusive line of exhilarating feeling and safety or danger, is good. A bike that encourages you to go faster and rely on suspension to save you, isn't a safe bike. A skinny-tired road bike on rough trails is much safer..but also more frustrating, and maybe prone to flats and stuff like that. So we try to make bikes that are inherently more stable BECAUSE THAT"S SAFER. Unfortunately, they can give you too much confidence, because they behave better, But they're better than funkily designed full-suspension bikes with short wheelbases and built-in shock absorbers that encourage more speed on rough stuff, but then don't save you when speed itself is the main danger.

Rolling, groomed-by-nature trails aren't the problem or the challenge, You can ride drop bars and 35mm tires on those all day long and still have a margin of safety. But when it's loose, rough, bumpy, and steep, a better bike will help, and a "better bike" isn't, to my way of thinking, a bike that puts an artificial cushion between you and the surface. It's just an opinion. This is just a BLAHG. I'm no danger to you.

I wonder how our current bike approach would have gone over in the Bstone years. I'm thinking there's NO WAY test riders wouldn't have been blown away at the feel and comfort...but I also think trendy dealers would have seen the metric numbers and squawked loudly, and some Bstone sales reps would have worked full-time to get me fired. 


A good way to rate the success of any product development project is by how closely it came to the targets. Product reviewers tend to rate products on how close they come to their own targets or dreams, and they don't want to come off like suckups, so they always find fault and talk about it in terms of "what they should've done."


The most successful (from my pov) product we have is our Silver and Silver2 shifter. It's "ours" only barely. The mechanism that makes the whole thing so fantastic was a SunTour project. In the mid-'90s we bought something like a thousand SunTour Sprint downtube shifters with exactly the same pawl-and-ratchet mechanism in it. I thought we'd never run out, but we were selling them super cheap and plenty of people were still using downtube shifters then, and they sold well. We contacted SunTour and asked if they could, like, do another run of them for us, but SunTour was dying at the time and said no, but said if we could find another manufacturer, they'd supply all the drawings and technical backup support as needed. So we went to Dia-Compe, already friends with SunTour,  and they agreed. SunTour brought them up to speed.


RunFlat Technology?

If you think poor people in distant overpopulated countries with a shortage of cars (for now) ride bicycle with properly inflated tires, you haven't been paying attention. In photos, videos, movies, real see 'em riding rod-braked, steel-rimmed, double-top-tubed bikes heavily loaded on hard bump dirt, the 35 to 40mm tires squishing out the sides like discs in our lower backs and making you wish your were there to pump them up like a do-gooder. 

Two weeks ago I got on my Homer and headed home, up the hilly route. I was three minutes from out when I noticed my front tire was almost flat, so I stopped to pump it up with what has been called The World's Worst Mini-Pump. It's not one on our site. It turned out not to be a puncture, but ye olde "hot weather flat." Hot temperatures excite the air molecules to the point where they escape the tires. That's why bikes you have around but haven't ridden for months or years always have flat tires, unless you live in Canada. That's one of many good reasons to move to Canada.

I put the pump on the valve and more air leaked out than went in, and there I was, sad-sacking it with a front tire with about 5psi in it and a crummy pump. I didn't want to do the "Walk of Shame," so i hopped on my bike and pedaled and was surprised to find that I didn't bottom out on the rim. It felt extraordinarily cushy, which is what 5psi will do for you. But the main thing is, I wasn't bottoming out. The tire is a 900g Belgian or Czek or Portuguese tire with a name that sounds kind of like Perambula or Benevolent, but the important thing is, it is so ultra-stiff that it has, in automobile tire language, "run-flat technology." RFT.

And I'm sure the poor people riding their ancient bikes also ride stiff tires, and that and the steel rims is why they keep on going, and with RFT they don't need to think about air pressure.

There is a trend to tires with thin, supple sidewalls. But more supple means less RFT. When things are good, it's fine, but if you're going on a multi-week ride in rocky terrain and no bike shops, there's a good reason to ride stiffer sidewalls. 

With more RFT you need lower air pressure in stiffer tires to get the same cush for the same weight on it. Physicists may be able to prove on paper that that's a crappier way to achieve a cush factor of X, but to my bad brain, 45psi in a supple tire of a given volume or 30psi in a stiffer tire are going to feel the same. And the stiffer tire gets its stiffness from a sidewall that's not just stiffer, but thicker and tougher, too.

This is not an attack on supple, it's just another way to look at cush. On some rides, maybe you'll want to pump up harder and go with a stiffer tire because it's lighter and has detectably more zip? And on other rides, like daily commutes, trails, and tours, you might want a tire with more RFT. I wouldn't put supple tires on a workhorse. 


Olivier Chetelat did the art for us.

 We'll have the pumps in early October. They're non-fetishizable, but really good, surprisingly light, aluminum, with a wooden just-4-us handle. We've been using one here for months, it's wonderful, and while it's not the kind of thing your great-grandchild will hang over the hearth to remember you by, it is totally reliable, and we stock the spare parts that a home-hacker can replace if they wear out. We don't sell spare  parts "just in case." It's called "not enabling hoardism."

Price: $45. Watch for it in one of Will's email updates, which generally come out on Thursdays or Fridays.


We got a price quote from our rear derailer maker today, and ... ooooof!

Here's some email correspondence, my questions in plain type, her answers in bold, the the correspondence is a combo of simplified/condensed on my end, and 98 percent verbatim on hers.

Hi Grant,

the size rum of next batch will be

 50 pieces.

●These will be made by CNC machining....

●They will cost $345.5 USD each,  total $17,275 USD. The cost base on the QTY


 ●Om-1 almost exactly like the drawings.

Pulley colors 

●12t top pulley is green.

●14t bottom pulley is purple.

●Deliver time for 45 work day ,if you confirm the cost.

 Forging tooling is too expensive. For example, like the cage plate of front derailleur(look at picture below) that the forging cost is $19,208USD. 

So we propose to manufacture the OM-1 primarily by CNC machining.

In addition, the raw materials for remain high, the labor cost is high in China. Hope you can understand.

Any question, don't hesitate to let me know.

Best Regards,



I'm bummed...and torn between leaving it at that and explaining why I'm bummed. Obviously, it's too high. The next "transitional/developmental/testing run" of 50 were going to cost us $350 each. And then...the goal was always, and always stated, out-in-the-open...that we wanted something other than machined derailers. Forged or cast parts, whatever. But they're saying that's too expensive, too. We've been asking for prices for months, and it's just...rough. So...stay tuned or turn to another station, whatever. Let's see how this sorts out.

I don't want to make a Connoisseur Select rear derailer that becomes a desktop toy or whose peak event will be selling for $1,900 on eBay in 2050. And I don't want to do a derailer that even really nice customers will buy to "support the project." I love that kind of kindness, and I'd do it myself if things were reversed, but the attraction for me and all of us here is to make OM/RapidRisey derailers available again and at normal derailer prices. I was hoping the first forged fancies could retail for $220 or less. A lot of money, but no more and even a bit less than Shimano's top mechanical derailer, and one-third the price of an electronic derailer. 

But then there was, all along, a plan to offer a cheaper one for $80 or less. 

Lebron James just "invested" $30 million in Canyon bicycles. How about $200,000 for a groovy reardy railer? I'm not the white guy telling the Black guy-- who despite his current fame and riches, has still suffered from racism, and let's not get started about his ancestors--how to spend his money. He has his foundations and gives away a lot, no doubt. But $30M to Canyon, oh my.

Overall, the rear derailer project makes me feel dumb. I'm also just kind of mad that the maker...well, maybe I didn't communicate this well enough. But I tried. I said we're small. They said no problem. Hm?

Maybe it's too early to give up. There may be other options. I wish I could talk to somebody at Shimano, but what are we to them? Shimano sales are up 17.5 percent over last year, and it's not from resurrecting parts they made 20-30 years ago. In a year or two it'll be clear whether or not this derailer project was another "done wrong" thing. 

Aug 25 FLASH: We have another option, possibly two, too early to talk about. I never said it was a sure thing. It's not dark yet, but it's getting there.


This next link takes five minutes and  is one of the best short things I've read in years. It's not about bikes, but you'll see the parallels.

About stick-shifts in cars.

The challenge in promoting friction shifting is elevenfold—no less, no more.

1. You (we) come off as backward. 

2. It leads to defensiveness and long explanations. It wouldn't make sense to make these ancient lever and let them fend for themselves. It's fun to tout them...but it's a lot of work AND is feels defensive

3. It all sounds curmudgeonly and grumpy.  And like, if after reading our stuff, if you-the-reader still don't go for them, then it suggests that we might think you're wrong or dumb, which is NEVER the case. The purpose of detailed explanations is to lower emotional barriers and answer question you might have...not to make you take a stand for good or evil.

4. ....and sentimental. I'm not a fan of sentimental, not when it comes to bikes or kind of anything else.

5. It seems like you're trying to win strangers over to "your way of thinking" for the sake of control or evidence of influence.

6. It is "the hard way," and that's less of a winning formula now than it has ever been.

7. It is hard to sell friction shifting without stomping on electronic and index shifting, both of which have merits and are the best choice for some people some of the time. And doing so puts you in the position of seeming to say that 99 percent of the cyclists and bicycle makers in the world are wrong or bad or idiots...which, for the record, is not something any of us here believes.

8. You have to be a really, really good writer to sell it to strangers. I am not searching for complements here, but I am not that good of a writer.

9. It costs more. We have to develop our own tooling, pay for it, and buy in minimum order quantities that don't make sense for anything else we buy. So it's horrible for cash flow.

10. If our one supplier goes under or retires or has a health problem, we have a supply problem. So all the time, we have to have a Plan B in place, and that can bum out a current supplier, and puts us in competition with ourselves.

11. "Friction" is a lousy name. Friction is heat and pain and wear. Friction burns, skidding, rivers making Grand Canyons. "Linear" or "manual" shifting would be better, but it's too late. No internet campaign is gonna get that stalled cement truck out of the muck.


It has recently come to my attention that I am one of few people who cannot recognize the song, "Bohemian Rhapsody," and cannot name one song by Fleetwood Mac.


Are you riding steep hills in too low of a gear? I've been doing that for about 15 years. 

I may be wrong on this. I'm what you'd call a bad amateur physicist, but there's something to this next thing, I think. It's about gearing for climbing: I ride the same hills over and over, road and trails, and I ride tons of hills. It's kind of like I ride nothing except hills, I, literally, have not ridden a ten-mile stretch of flat anything in 20 years.

I'm also 68, which to me, still--like to a lot of you—sounds like 85. It feels like 50 to me, but I can handle the truth. Riding is more fun than ever, even though, compared to 1984, my gears are lower and my speed is slower. That's what what follows is about. It's just three short paragraphs.

I cruise slowly when the road or trail allows it, a mile or two at a time, flattish and downhill. The hills here are steep enough to require full efforts. If I try to gear down and cruise up them I'll barely make it or I won't make it, so I punch it to the top, which takes between 30 seconds or four minutes. Not depending on how I feel, but the hill. I ride the same hills all the time, I know my splits. 

Lately I've switched gearing on certain dirt hills, the ones that are sevens out of ten, from 24f x 42r, to 34f x 42r. On paved hills, what I used to ride in 34x24 or 30, I've now gone to 38 x 18--basically, gearing way up. On loose trails, it's easier because traction is doubled. On trails that require navigating, it's easier because you can roll over bumps better because the bike is moving faster. Steering is easier because of the faster speed and the pedal strokes have less effect on it. On roads, something else is going on.

The faster your bike is moving, the easier it is to turn over the pedals. Start from a stop up a steep hill in a hard gear, and you might not complete a single revolution, but get some momentum and you can do it easily. 


Of course car makers are getting into eBIKES.

--------BICYCLE TESTING--------

Since America got sue-happy maybe 30 years ago and it rages on, bicycle and component test are tougher and more regimented, and bikes have to be tougher to pass. Your 1980s steel mtb would most probably fail. It doesn't mean it's not safe, it's more an indictment of the testing standards, which are based on really heavy daredevil riders doing dumb things on their bikes. Not just traveling, but jumping and landing, over and over. And the mtb test assumes a suspension bike, so one of the required tests is irrational brutal on a non-suspension bike, and is irrelevant to the forces it'll ever encounter.

I remember in the late '90s, when I think it was GIANT was making, hold onto your hat or whatever, COLNAGO one of its Chinese factories. What?—you thought they'd still be made in Italy? I bet the Giants were better than the Italian Colnagos. Anyway, the all steel Colnago Classic or Classico or whatever, the "throwback" model at the time--the fork didn't pass the road bike test. It wasn't due to shoddy anything or overheating; it was too light, and the test was too harsh. So they thickend it, and now all was well.

IN THE '70s a 55cm road racing frame weighed about 4lbs. A Ritchey, maybe 3.8? A touring frame weighed 5 to 6lbs, small-to-midsized. In the early-80s, mountain bike frames weight 8 to 9, then Ritchey made light ones and everybody followed (the Bstone MB-Ø was inspired by the Ritchey P-23, Ritchey's 23-pound complete mtb).

 There are hundreds of thousands of 30+ year-old steel bikes that wouldn't pass the current ISO Road bike tests.

Sideline minor bikeweight concerns are invevitable but still kind of (1) misplaced and (2) inherited from racing. 


TUBE WEIGHTS 1.66oz diff   

We have a fancy 640mm top tube. It's 28.6mm (1 1/8-inch)  in diameter and 640mm (25-in) long. It's a double-butted tube, industry standard for high quality tubes for almost a hundred years.

We also got a Silver top tube, same length and diameter. SILVER is our own design. I think it's better, but naturally I would, and "thinking it's better" means no disrespect to the old geniuses and current ones, if any, who design other tubes.

Our SILVER top tube is 0.9mm at the butt, and the rest is 0.7. It's single-butted, which to me makes more sense. It costs no less to single-butt than to double-butt a tube. It's an exaggeration to say I think double-butting is DUMB. I know the thinking--you put more metal at the ends to soak up the heat of brazing or welding, and to add strength at the joints. But not all joints are highly stressed.

The top tube / seat tube junction is the least-stressed part of the bike. The bttm of the downtube and the bottom bracket doesn't get much, either...but the bottom of the seat tube above the bottom bracket gets a lot, from pedaling forces. It's almost like, why can't the downtube/bb joint share some of the stress? But it doesn't. Years ago a Serotta's "Colorado concept" tubes got fat at the BB shell. It made sense for the seat tube, less sense for the downtube. It didn't hurt anything, and it looked fine, and Serotta bikes were/are really good of course, but the flared lower end of the downtube didn't contribute as much as the flare of the seat tube.

Ritchey laterally ovalized his seat tubes at the BB, for a wider footprint to better resist tilting forces from pedaling. That made a lot of sense, and we and a few others have since copied it on some models.


Back to the weight thing. So: 1 2/3 oz for the top tube. Maybe 2 1/3 oz for a down tube (guessing, for a 1.1 x 0.8 vs 0.8. 0.5 x 0.8 of the same length). 

Random and not organized here, but here's a not-to-perfect scale sketch of a SILVER downtube compared to a Normal Downtube. 

How thick is 1.1mm?

Thinner than a dime.

Back to tubes: A typical classic seat tube is 0.9mm at the butt and 0.6mm (half the thickness of a dime) elsewhere. That's OK...but I like our 1.2 x 0.8 seat tube.  It's dime-thick at the bottom and probably weighs 1.5 oz more than a  classic 0.9 x 0.6, and we typically chop from the butt end to eliminate some of the 1.2. But more than once I've seen even 0.8 sections crumpled under a heavy-handed tightening of a front derailer clamp, and let me tell you, it is not pretty. So I am again conservative there, seeing no reason to save an ounce or so for people who generally aren't racing and less than 5 percent body fat to begin with.


 The first Roaduno sample:

I rode it home on my hilly route, and two climbs that typically take me between 4:50 and 5:08 took me

That was with a 38 x 18 gear, much higher than I usually ride up the steepest parts, and lower than I use for the one slight descent...and I didn't have my usual load-o'-gear and racks/fenders/big bag/basket...but still, it felt pretty good. I was hoping for 5:20. This is how a 68-year old guy tries to stay fit: Surging hard on optional commute hills, so I don't have to turn recreational rides into fitness rides, thereby spoiling the fun. Whatever works for you, of course.



Here's a story from the NYT that's worth reading if your child plans to go to college or might already be in there. I hate people like this who write so well.






Another one kicks the tub

SuperSoap was a company in Oregon that made the world's best greasy hand cleaner, also marketed, and probably better known, as Phil Wood hand cleaner. Its competition were all the hand cleaners car mechanics used, those orange gel-citrus smooth goops that worked OK, but only about 20 percent as well, as fast, as residue-free, and as ecologically green as SS/PW cleaner.

We were out for a while and still technically are, and then we found out why: One of the ingredients became hard to get, the the SuperSoap guy just decided to quit. Maybe he's old, tired of it all, who knows...but he's gone, not dead, and we can't get anymore SS. Spencer recontacted Phil and bought all they had, twenty tubs. We took two, and are selling the rest--limited to one per household--and we urge you not to get it just because it's dead stock. Buy it if you need a hand-cleaner. We have raised the price to slow things down, but it's still a bargain. You might be able to find it on eBay. This is one of the benefits of reading this far down in the BLAHG. A one-pound tube. It's HERE.


Andiamo non-absorbent, quick-dry padded bike undies continue to be all the rage among its exploding fan base. My friend Dan won't ride without them, honestly. I will, but on an ride that might be 3hours+, I usually wear them. So much easier and more convenient than bike shorts with built-in pads. On my Andiamos, I cut off the bottom hem, and they do not fray. They just don't leave a mark that way.  Mens and Womens, but women never buy them, and guys can wear the women's--just go a size up. They're HERE.


You've seen this:


 I wonder if Tom will write about this, which showed up in the same paper, NYT, a week later:


At the breakfast table this morning, while I was reading about Jill Biden, my wife looked up from her book, Horse, by Geraldine Brooks, and asked, do you know what a Trek CrossRip is? After I asked, "Why? Do you want one?" she rolled her eyes and showed me this:

Then I looked it up, thank god for google, and found it. It has 2022 written all over it.



This book was written in 1882. The author was a lawyer and a Black guy.

I found this interesting. All of it, but the red part for sure.

He had a lot of trust for 1882. It's now standard to capitalize "black."



We are working on a new crank, for road-only:

 It's lighter, skinnier, weaker, not for off-road use and big riders off the saddle standing on pedals, concentrating 3x their weight and threatening to rip out the end of the crank at the pedal hole. It's for road riding. where you'll certainly stand on the pedals when you're climbing off the saddle and airing out yourr crotch on smooth gradual descents, but not while you're riding big bumps, and you aren't going to ride off ledges or do anything of the sort. The current all-purpose Silver crank is lighter than it looks, thanks to a scooped-out back of the arm. It's about a cm wider than this one. The original passes the ISO Mtn Bike test, which assumes a certain amount of weight and reckless riding. This one probably won't, but it will pass (it shall be tested and we'll change it if doesn't), the ISO Road test. It's a 110/74 bolt pattern, same as now, same as the XD-2, same as the mtb cranks of the '80s and probably '90s, too. Rings widely available, but local bike shops probably won't stock them. They know where they can get them, lots of sources.


I'd like to end this BLAGH on a super high note, but I can't find one, so I'll tell you a story. For about 10 years, from about 1977 to about 1987, the. only sox I wore on any bike ride that wasn't a race that required white sox, and for all activities that didn't require the cush or warmth or winter-appropriatness of wool sox , I wore Rockford Work sox, aka "monkey sox," although I was in the minority in that way. The point is, I wore them essentially every day.

Back then they were 100 percent cotton and they didn't stretch so good. After thirty or forty washings, also, I'd pull them on and rip them out, but they cost about a dollar a pair and I just replaced them. Rivendell sold them, too--mainly so I could get a deal on them, but in fact they were popular. Who doesn't like ye olde monkey sox?

Then Rockford Mills was purchased by Big Sock, and I notice they went from all cotton to a blend, and I said well screw that and you, Big Sock, and we boycotted them for a few years. Then we got them back and I liked them better. The stretch helped, they lasted longer, I caved and that was that. 

Then about a year ago the new owner started, I'd say, over promoting these socks. New colors, and hard-selling the kits to make Monkey dolls out of them, so you can have American kitsch around your house, so you can pretend your grandchildren will be enthralled with them as much as they are with the video games. They offered them in different fabrics, came up with other animals (besides the elephant, which came after the monkey but still qualifies as classic). The whole thing got too weird. Mix with the internet and we get this:

Wait. I need to put a sock monkey in a pillowcase? Why wasn't that mentioned earlier? You can't just spring "...pillowcase.." on me like that. Geez,

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