Late April- Zelenskyy, goats, Boy Scouts 1965, club riding, riding when old. Maybe a few mistakes. Will edit more this weekend.


Zelenskyy t's, all profits to United Help Ukraine.

I'd have thought that being publicly pro-Ukraine-Zelenskyy wouldn't elicit any negative letters, but that has not been the case. It's OK. I'd like to think we can all bond and be friendly over bikes, but in my private life I'm not going to patronize businesses that don't share my values, because there are always alternatives whose values aren't public, and I can just buy from them, blissfully ignorant. So, understand that other side.

On that topic--social values, human rights, race and all--I wonder how much of what any person's stance is, has been kind of passed down as a family value, and being a family value, is defended as a way to defend beloved relatives. 

The first guy to "quit Rivendell" and sell his two bikes and wished he'd never bought them, is a direct descendent of somebody who came over on ye olde Mayflowere. He told me this with pride and defensiveness, as though that made him almost a native. No doubt somebody reading this now is a Mississippi millionaire from cotton money earned in the 1800s thru the mid-1950s. I can befriend you and certainly not condemn or or even your riches, without loving what your great-great-greatx3 grandparents did for a living. 

One of the arguments for reparations is that we inherit wealthy, so why not inherit some of the social debt along with and chip away at that debt as you're able to now and then?  An argument against that requires believing it's been a level playing field since the Emancipation Proclamation 159 years ago.

EVEN though you can't own you ancestors' sins, it shouldn't mean you have to defend them or condemn them personally now that they're dead. You have my full blessing to not hate them as people, but I hope you'd hate the conditions that led to them doing, if they did, any detestable things.

I'll bet that 90 percent of you reading this now had, like I did, a grandparent or great-grandparent whose common name for the Brazil nut would get children today sent home from school for a week or so, plus X hours of well-deserved sensitivity training. My gramma was great, super nice, but she was born in 1888 or so, and came to American when she was two, so she was imprinted in the 1890s, a particularly rough decade for some people.  She wasn't a Quaker, and back then, Quakers were about the only group, as a whole, you could trust. By that I just mean that they've been nicer by far than most. Go, Quakers!

All this from an angry letter from a good man and Rivendell fan whose views on Zelenskyy and Ukraine differ from mine. Sorry! 


Yesterday our first sample rear derailer was sent to us from ye olde People's Republic of China, made by the same people who've made the derailers many of you are riding with now, assuming they are not Shimano or Microshift or Campagnolo. They made it according to our design, which borrowed some of its geometry from Shimano's Rapid Rise derailers, which I ordinarily wouldn't do, but justify now because Shimano has discontinued this style of derailer, and it's too good to be extinct. If Shimano decides to make them again, which NO WAY, they'd have to do it before we sink tons of money and have to stop and disappoint the factory and lose all kinds of international face. It's complicated. Nobody in Taiwan is interested. Nobody in America is capable beyond "theoretically." It sure can't happen in Europe. A small CNC machinist is not going to do it, assembly and all, for less than a price to us that would mean a price to you of less than $800. So please don't punch up at your beloved Rivendell or an unbeloved me for "going to China."  China is the only way these are gonna get made before Kingdom Come. Your buddy the machinist is not capable of making one of these in a form and with a price that will work.



I finally have this trail figured out. It's way up on a ridge in some unfamiliar woods, and I've gotten lost up there before and panicked, and let me tell you: No Fun. There are unmarked turns that look like the main trail but aren't, and after the first getting lost time, I started leaving branch-and-stick markers to help me find my way back. Cones would have worked better, but weren't as practical. The problem with the branches strategy is that there are branches everywhere, and why I thought I'd recognize mine, I don't know. I've tried three different variations of this stick-strategy. And now, this time, they've added some markers, and since I never complained, somebody else must have. Anyway, all's fine now until I'm up there when I'm 25 years older and on the verge of insanity. I mean no disrespect, I am talking about ME.



Gordon Sabin's story

I've been riding a bicycle as an adult for over 50 years and still ride nearly every day.  I am 82 and believe my bike riding is at least partially responsible for my being in good health and sound mind, although I will admit that the sound mind part might elicit some raised eyebrows from my friends and family. I have always enjoyed bike riding for its own sake and have never raced, set up a training schedule, set goals, or even followed advice other than Eddy Merckx's famous dictum, "ride lots".

Dwight Eisenhower's heart doctor, Paul Dudley White as I recall, advised the president to ride a bicycle to promote blood circulation and as an aid to cardio-vascular health.  Maybe I remember it because I was thrilled at finally finding something I liked which was also good for me.  Not that common in my young world.

I rode a bike as a youngster until I got a driver's license.  I didn't ride for several years during high school, college and into my career, marriage and fatherhood.  My first bicycle as an adult was a used, skinny tire, three speed, in-hub geared bike which I bought for $15.00 at a yard sale.  I rode that for several years, honed my mechanical skills and developed my overall approach to bicycling.

I have been a musician my whole life and as such have found it necessary to take lessons, practice, and play music I didn't like, all in the service of getting proficient and getting paid. I decided that I was going to ride for enjoyment and only on my own terms and schedule.  That's pretty much what I've been doing all these years although I will admit to have consciously worked to improve certain specific riding skills and was introduced years ago to John Forester's book Effective Cycling when it was still in mimeograph form.  My second adult bike was a lightly used Schwinn Continental 10 speed given to me by a friend. This allowed my biking horizons to widen exponentially.  Distances and speed increased and the idea of traveling further from home came naturally. Spending more time on the bike was an important motivation for me to adjust my attire and riding position with comfort in mind.  After that first Schwinn was stolen, I bought a new version of it within days. The second Continental served as my primary means of transportation for the two years I worked in a pizza commissary while my wife finished her degree in library science. That bike was stolen the day before we moved to Texas.

I learned the importance of proper bike fit by riding my wife's too small Free Spirit department-store bike for a full year while I saved money for the Raleigh Reliant which I rode for the next 17 years and over 50,000 miles. My first tour, 800 miles from Austin to Logansport, Indiana, was on that bike. I learned, quite by accident on that trip, that there were bikes designed for the type of touring I was doing so within weeks of my return home, I was the proud owner of a shiny TREK 520 touring bike. 

I soon explored the world of organized bike rides and became acquainted with the light and sprightly road bikes which were popular with the better riders. A Nishiki Comp III road bike was added to my growing fleet. After 20 years and 50K miles  I replaced the TREK with a Surly Long- Haul -Trucker which, as the name suggests, is another bike designed specifically for carrying luggage over long distances in places possibly far distant from repair facilities. This was the first bike that I bought and built up to my specifications.  I wish I had done that years earlier. I still ride the Surly almost daily and just feel "at home" on it.

I see the potential for the increased use of the bicycle to be at least a partial solution to some of the world's most serious problems: disease, pollution, overcrowded streets, traffic fatalities, international strife related to fossil-fuel production, domestic violence and civic disharmony, are a few examples.

It is likely that I would not be alive today and certainly would not be as healthy as I am if I had not discovered bicycling and participated the way I did. Special clothes, expensive equipment and intense workouts are not necessary in order to reap the many benefits of bicycling.  Comfortable clothes and a properly sized bicycle adjusted to our unique physique is all that is needed.

My love of the bicycle and my professional training and experience as an educator led me quite naturally into the field of bicycle education which has been satisfying and even modestly financially rewarding. I have become more civically engaged and have enriched my network of contacts through bicycle advocacy. Bicycling has become a way of life for me.

 — Gordon Sabin




Sarcasm alert:

Carbon makes good rims, too

It happened to two riders in this year's most famous 1-day race. In Belgium. Both Shimano wheels, and let me tell you, my friends...if Shimano can't make a carbon wheel that holds up, nobody can. The breaks happened after flats, so they were riding uncushioned...but still. Aluminum wouldn't have crumpled.


 We have 7speed cassettes in now: 13 x 34 and 13 x 42. I've ridden one for maybe 70 hours of pretty hard riding, no problem. They're HERE. Read the stuff carefully, not to catch sneaky stuff, but to make sure they're what you're looking for. They're what I was looking for, but you have to be able to see the beauty in 7, rather than thinking of it as less than 9-10-11-12-13.




This gear rig is for a 3sp small-wheeled folding bike. It's interesting. There's some neat stuff happening with the rear derailer--more, I think, than meets all eyes.


$50 from each of the 118 Atlantis frames sold went to these two charities. They each got $3K. THey're on our short list because we're familiar with their work, it's really good, and they don't get tons of outside money:

This isn't "Virtue Signalling!"  We're proud of our contributions. I always want to know where the businesses I support stand—that doesn't mean I NEVER buy from Amazon, but I spend $100 a month at the local book store); and I figure it's of interest to many of you, too. Every bike we sell, we give at least $50 of the cost to some cause or other. We have our list. The Atlantis went to the two above. 


I have a 1965 Boy Scouts of America booklet:

The ordinary thing to do might be to look it over and snicker at its backwardness and funky information. There's some of that, but most of it's pretty good, some of it is even advanced—certainly, it seems, for 1965; but even thinking it's advanced for '65 is kind of condescending. 


these days and probably for the rest of my life, for better or worse, I cannot reference a cycling-year date, like 1965 from the date of year of the booklet, without thinking what else was going on or not going on then. In 1965, Malcom X was assassinated in the Amsterdam Theater in Harlem, by his former buddies in the Nation of Islam, the Viet Nam war was raging, Muhammad Ali was heavyweight champion, and DDT was all the rage and was killing birds like flies. I just thought those facts were relevant to the 1965 Boy Scout bike booklet. It's a guide of sorts to riding bikes with the goal of earning a Merit Badge in cycling. The requirements for the badge are here:

(I found the sans-serif font surprising and the disconnected box walls surprising and charming), and the use of "used" in the note at the bottom, unnecessary)--




All that's just for fun. No argument,  no endosement, no nothing. It's fun because it's about bikes.


Platypusophile, or -hog (she has two) Leah Peterson recently move from Ye Old Southewest to Michigan, and switched from a 100 percent solo-and-family  rider to a part time rider-with-strangers, and club riders, and club riders all decked out and on carbon, who at first reacted politely patronizingly to her basketed, fendered...etc bikes. This is a win-win, nobody loses story she sent to me and allowed me to pub here after I asked. 


Oh, the weather has been horrid. The coldest, cloudiest, rainiest spring you can imagine. The Monday Night Ride took place in 45 degree, overcast, and gusty conditions. 22 of us showed up; I only came because I haven’t gotten to go the last 3 weeks and I just didn’t want to miss again. I was in the 13 mph group; I wanted to try the 15 but I didn’t really know anyone there and I’d be the only woman and the high winds might make me too slow for them.

It was WORK to get those 18 miles done. It was not enjoyable, except that I love to be around bike people, and my mentor is a fascinating woman who rides abreast of me and tells me all sorts of interesting stories. That is worth the misery of the winds.

I rode in 2nd position and I’m sure people loved being behind me because I was the best windshield, sitting up high and happy on my Billie Bars with my triangle flapping in the wind. It was work to keep up, but it was the good kind, the kind that keeps you sharp but doesn’t make you panicky. Half of our group couldn’t keep up. They were all on road bikes. The Platypus never complained and whirred along nicely.

At the very end the ride, maybe 3/4 mile left, the leader for the 15 mph group whizzed past us. I said to my group, “Should we chase him?” They laughed because surely I was joking - no one had anything left in their legs after such a windy ride. I didn’t know if it was against the rules to break from the group but we were so close to the end that I decided to try. I chased and caught and even passed the rider, but when I got to my vehicle where my legs were jelly and my voice was raspy. Ok, maybe it was a little hard.

I don’t *really* care about beating people but I DO want them to know you can ride a steel, upright bike and be plenty fast and relevant and comfortable. I think that is my mission in this club. Racers started the club 50 years ago but things can change, and should change, and maybe it’s for the best. We don’t have to ride carbon fiber drop bar bikes to have a place in the club. We can incorporate our bikes into our lives instead of just racing around on them. I’m safer and more comfortable and possess a bike with more versatility than every single person on that ride, and it’s time some roadies reevaluate what they’re riding. My mentor met me and marveled. And then she said, “I really, really want a Platypus. Just look at it. My husband will say a beater bike is fine for running errands but I want that heart (she means the seat lug) and those (she points to the teal pedals) and if I look at it much longer I will tip over.” She says she plans for one next summer, but I think that’s a bad idea because I’ve learned when you like something at Rivendell you get it right then in case you can’t get it later. But, maybe she’ll change her mind and get one later this year. I’ll keep trying!

I will say I admire the roadies a little bit, sometimes. Our leader was exhausted from the winds and asked someone to take his place. An elegant, lovely woman roadie stepped forward and said, “I guess I could try.” Her college-aged daughter said, “You can do it, Mom.” And she did. She pulled us along at faster than 13 mph and exhausted the whole group. And they offer some pearls. I don’t really shift much at all, but I’m going to have to because I’m slow to take off at stop lights because I’m always in the hardest gear. My mentor pointed out it would be better on my knees to be in an easier gear and she’s right. Plus I’d get going quicker, which is better for the group.

Anyway, I haven’t left my roots and am still in possession of good, common Just Ride sense. Please don’t think less of me for enjoying the club rides.

And here are some recent photos.
Exploring the Kal-Haven Rail trail. It goes all the way to the port city South Haven, right on Lake Michigan. I will do an overnight there this summer!
(color-coordinated pedals and bell, and kind of bags, too)

One of a kind color. 

Bike fishing before church.
(Casual Sunday?—G)

Exploring the Kal-Haven Rail trail. It goes all the way to the port city South Haven, right on Lake Michigan. I will do an overnight there this summer!

The caboose at the trailhead.
(She had the chainring guard anodized pink.)

The only photo I took the night of the club ride. This was afterwards. Drat. I adore this bike. I love it more and more as I cover more miles with it. Aren’t you so pleased with the color? I can’t get enough of it.




Walking my dog, Billie, I saw some goats. Goats are my No. 1 favorite animal besides Billie. I can't even control myself around goats. They stare at you with tiny pupils, like they're really smart and trying to communicate. They're never afraid. These were hired to prevent forest fires, or hill fires. I got a big handful of goat wool, which I am plucking the stickers and weeds out of, and I'll make felted balls for Christmas tree ornaments. Goat, goats. Yes, I love goat milk, cheese, yogurt, and I've eatern goat a few times and that, too. I see no  inconsistency. Goat is the most eaten meat in the world, did you know that? And goatskin makes the best bike gloves. It is not coincidental that G.O.A.T. stands for the Greatest Of All Time. 

Merci, chevres!  Gracias, cabras! Thanks, goats!


Look at those eyes, look at that face. Now I dare you to tell me that goat is not a kind genius!



Mercedes-Benz with...what kind of wheels?

Over and out. G

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