Fifteen minute optional read, Wednesday May 9

Fifteen minute optional read, Wednesday May 9

We were talking about how in the old days, stick figures of guys identified the guys as guys by drawing them with pipes and hats. "Meerschaum" came up, and Rich said it was a rock of some kind that didn't get hot in use, so it was better than wood in that way. I never got into that and am not going to start now, but I looked up meerschaum and got this:

The main text (partly cut off, sorry) isn't notable, but the caption gets to me. The "can not" and the final statement, which could mean one of two things. All due to pipes in the mouths of stick figure adult males!

("pipes in the mouths" may come up again in several months, if the project doesn't die)

------Bike content soon!------

Somebody here saw this on the cabinet next to my desk, and assumed it was mine, since why would it not be, so close and all:

I used to live in an apartment complex called "Monticello Manor," which I always thought was somebody's fantastic sense of humor, since it was the most generic-looking apartment building you could imagine. What would Jefferson have thought about that? (He lived in the one on the nickel.)

It wasn't mine. I happen to collect Native American head/buffalo nickels, but I don't care about dates or rarity, I just like both sides equally well, so to me it's the perfect coin. They're in a jar, not a coin-thing.

But then the person, Roman or Vince, picked up the nickel and found this on the other side:

 Somebody soldered a brassy bubbley cap onto it, making a clicker out of a nickel. In the old days defacing legal tender was against the law, but owning one that it's already been done too can't be too bad, and I think I'm the owner, because I've got it. Will saw it and said, "We should carry those."

Nobody knows where it came from. A customer left it? If you are that person, let me know what you'd charge. I can supply some older nickles, for "dream clickers."

speaking of nickels..

The only thing I ever kind of want for any birthday-chistmas-father's day giftie is 20 of these guys. I've always had a thing for them, but what they're called is ... now a problem? I don't know. "Indian head nickel" is the old timey way; or Buffalo nickel. But now "native American" has taken over for Indian--even though they weren't, strictly, natives. They came here from like Siberia over Beringia and down the coast of Canada, right? There is the other theory, that they paddled here from Europe. The debate over the Clovis people and all. But some, for sure, emigrated from Siberia and immigrated to this land mass. They left there and came here. I'm willing to accept that the only native people anywhere are Africans.

Does is feel bad to say "Indian head nickel"? I think in most public places I'd just say "buffalo nickel."

The buffalo isn't strictly a buffalo, either. It's an American Bison. This is just Cliff Claven stuff, tho.

I think of these as Indian grips, but I don't call them that, either:

Rivelo in Portland  has the special twine.


I've seen Will and Roman lash bags and gear onto the outskirts of baskets, so I did that with these Bananasax, and used every one of them. Handy:

That's $270 in Bananasax attached to a $28 basket. Sounds nuts, works great. Even on on the back, you've got your stuff right there. easy access, no need to even toggle the lid closed, just reach in for a handful of who knows what. This is my Clem L 52, and last night I used all of the Bananasax and the ShopSack. I was the envie of the multi-use path, I'm sure.



And see the nifty-easy-obvious way of mounting a light on it.

The stopwatch there is for timed ascents. I do those a few days a week on the way to work as a way to make my short perfect commute dreadful. Casio, $19, Target.


I bought a biography of Woodrow Wilson thinking he was Calvin Coolidge. It wasn't a big biography. I'm really into the Grosset & Dunlap kid's biography series. I've read a dozen or more in the last couple of months. They take famous people and sum 'em up in short books, and sometimes that's all you need to know. Sometimes (with me, at least) it has lead to reading the big-boy books about the same people.

I also got the Sitting Bull one at the same time:

Three comments here: Why no illustrator credit on the Sitting Bull cover? On the inside it says Jim Eldridge did it. Also, Sitting Bull looks like he's related to Alfred E. Neumann. It's the eyes. Also, see how Sitting Bull's braids are tied? With the criss-crossing, same as on the grips. That must be why I think of the grips as Indian grips.

One thing that always bothered me about Sitting Bull---and he was one of my favorite Indian Chiefs--is that he always had only that one feather. He must have had a ceremonial head dress too, but he's always depicted with just that one cockeyed feather. The biography is terrific. I seriously love it, and it tells the story of the feather. I won't spoil it for you. These kiddie biographies are really good, though. I wish I'd known about them when my girls were growing up.




Today (Sunday)  I rode again around one of the local open spaces...this one, Briones Regional Park. After a 30-minute road ride it gets woodsy:

It winds up into a climb, then opens up into pasture land and lakes:

That's the gentle NorthWest part. It's the most fun. There must be 20,000 miles of trails out there. Seriously, there are at least tons, and you don't need suspension for any of them.

I rode toward the camera from here. The next pic is of...

...Mount Tamalpais, where mtn bikes were developed. It's in Marin county, maybe 50 miles from where I was standing. I think I read that "Tamalpais" means "sleeping maiden," and the shape of it is supposed to be like a...native American woman sleeping on her back. I don't see that, and anyway, in Spanish "tamal" is tamale and "pais" is country.


As I was riding up, another guy on a mountain bike was coming down and saw me and said, "right on--whatever it takes!"

I didn't know what he meant, so naturally I took it to mean that he thought I was undergunned because I was riding this:

I took this exactly at the spot he saw me. It was rough but not bouldery. The green matts are unblossomed chamomile, and I could ride this easily on 35s or 38s, but I had 2-inchers on, and was riding the sample 2018 56cm Atlantis---the hubub bike with the long stays that works so well. So--"whatever it takes"? Is that how far we've come? Maybe it was the basket.

ON the ride, here's the most technically challenging climb in Briones Regional Park. I've made it three times, including today. It's a combo of steep, bumpy, loose...but conditions were great today, and it was easy...on the long-chainstayed Atlantis, anyway.


Friend Reed Kennedy asked and I said yes if he could post old Rivendell Readers on the web. They're here;


The catalogs are being mailed to Hail Mary-ers. If you're one and haven't rec'd it, give it maybe two more weeks. We're expecting ours in tomorrow. John at Rivelo in Portland has them already.  


THis is one of the variations of chain suck: I let the bike sit for two days before I dealt with it. It didn't respond to my usual technique, Not that the ring pin that prevents it is in the wrong place, because that was made for a hidden spider style crank, which the SILVER isn't.

The pin should be where the arrow points. I can get the chain unjammed with a stick or something. I "Pasadena'd" the bike (flipped it over, resting on handlebars and saddle) and went at it.

Here's the process. Not a reinactment.

1. Tools.

Mallet, wooden punch I expected never to use. Shown with nickel for scale.



2. I flipped the bike over. Here's the chain from under it:

I had to thin the  punch some so it would fit.

3. Just before actual strikage:


Everthing above this line happened Sunday the 6th..

Today is Wed May 9. I took a quick trip to Mt. Tamalpais again, to ride down Repack again, and this time I had my phone with me, so I got pix. Repack is where the mtn bike was developed, so it's kind of a big deal from that historical POV. And here's what it's like in lots of pix you can scroll thru fast and not be bogged down with long descriptions---just short ones:

On Bike Route 20 just out of the Ferry Terminal in Larkspur, a view of Mt. Tam. Repack is on the right side, the high point just to the right of the flattish shoulder to the right of the summit, if you follow that. The mtn is 2,600+ feet, and the top of Repack is about 1,500, I think.

You pedal up Bolinas road, which heads west from the Fairfax theater. Here's the road going up to it. Sadly, I think this is the stretch of road where Charlie Cunninham crashed--just up hill a couple of hundred yards from the Meadow Club, a golf course.


About 30 to 40 minutes up the road, at about the 3.9 or so mile marker, you come to the Pine Mountain Truck Road, which is this. It's on the right.

Here's the first stretch or so of Pine Mtn Truck Road (PMTR). No dirt, no mud, just rock and loose.

I rode the wonderful long-chainstay Atlantis prototype.

Some stretches are this brown shale stuff, which is really loose, zero traction.  You can see the trail wind up. The turnoff onto Repack isn't at the top of that hill back there, but it's close. It's about 25 minutes at a casual pace from the PMTR turnoff.

Actually, yes, the trail does to to that high point, and then down some on the other side.

The steepest, rockiest, least rideable part of the trail. I couldn't ride it. Boulders, not steepness, stopped me. It felt good to walk, anyway.

Any bike designed to descend this section fast is too much bike. What if you fall? Why b dumb?

After the high point, Pine Mtn Truck Road PMTR gets that brownish shale again, and it's easy cruising, but zero traction.

There's some of this, still, too.


At some point PMTR runs into and becomes San Geronimo Ridge Road. Actually, at this point. You're almost at the top of Repack.

Repack's real name is Cascade Canyon Road. It heads right (east) off of San Geronimo.

The whole thing is this loose shale, fine and nothing for tires to grab. How those guys raced down it in under 6 min and in as little as 4:22, I dunno. Joe Breeze says it's in worse condition now, but the surface can't have changed, always the fine shale.

I was taking my time (clock time), and when I stopped to take a picture, I stopped the clock.


Here's the bottom. There's Cascade Creek to the right, and a little bridge. A few weeks ago I walked some sections, this time I rode it all, but it's not fun--it's too hairy. I like the "going down Repack" part of it, for sure---but it's tense. It's impolite to ask me how long it took. 12:30. Hey, I'm Just Riding, etc.

On the Ferry back to SF. From left to right: Golden Gate Bridge, Marin Headlands (Will's favorite place to ride, I think the catalog says), and Mt. Tam.



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