MIDDLE OF JUNE


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 The first thing and only important part of the BLAHG has to do with contributions to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservations. They've had a messed-up donation-acceptance program online, and it's been challenging at best and impossible at most common to donate.

It's fixed now, but it still requires a PayPal account--which doesn't mean you have to use PayPal. You can still use  credit card, but for legal and technical reasons having to do with the kind of organization that the Reservation IS, online donations work only when you have a PayPal account. 

The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is the poorest in the country and has the highest rates of the worst problems imaginable, and the niche we're trying to raise money for is, ugh, sexually abused children. We sent them $2,000 outright, then another $8,000 from sales of Appaloosa frames and bikes, and when you give them any amount up to $100, we tack on another half of that from our piggy bank. So, give 'em $20, they get $30, and so on.

If you've tried to donate already and it's worked, great. It has worked--they got $3,200 from Rivendell customers, and we added $1,600 on top. But if you've been flustered, please maybe make a PayPal account and try again. As I said already but it bears repeating: You can still donate with a credit card, but you need the PP account.

So we know how much to credit your account AND how much to add to the fund ourselves, send a screenshot or copy of your receipt to

jenny@rivbike.com

Jenny's our former shipper, moved away, we love her so so much, and she's doing some ultra part-time work for us.

By the end of June let's add another $10,000 to it. 

Thanks, 

Grant

Now back to the less desperate stuff, etc:

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PENCIL

Everything you need to know about how ye olde vaccine came about.

PENCIL

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It's a painting of a bicycle from 2007. Bob Dylan did it.  If any of you guys know Bob and can determine that he wants a bike, you can tell him I will make that happen easily, and with no fanfare or publicity, no photos no nothing. He might want an electric bike. That would be ye olde dealbreaker.

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Somebody sent us this again. I've put it up here before, I'm not feeble-minded, I remember it well, but it remains interesting enough to post. It's a fake our site:

https://www.rivendellbicycles.com/

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Here's a Wall Street Journal article that I found almost but not quite incredible. It's about electric bikes and normal bikes. We talked about whether or not we should have an official stance on electrified bikes. Will said our stance could be like we say online, that "we don't do 'em," and leave it at that. I agreed and still agree, but I personally, not as a Rivendell guy but as me personally, I have a hard time leaving it at that. It's a complicated topic, with electrificated bikes taking over. 

 

I can't reveal my sources, but these graphs were supplied to me by somebody who loves the bicycle business and lives for statistics and works for a company that spent billions if not trillions compiling them. Yes, I am ultrawell-connected, ha, but yes. The default bicycle, on the street, as props in movies, depicted on coffee mugs and future postage stamps, is going to be electric. This isn't something we're going to fight, it's just something we, as Will said, are not going to do. 

Electrical bicycles are not progress the way I think of progress. 

I am all for electric bikes and all the other electric forms of transport that, if they smack into you at 20mph when you're walking will make you swear and might send you to the infirmary, but won't kill you unless your head lands on a spike. 

I'm all for any of the new wave of sub-60lb electric vehicles including bikes that replaces a car for shopping, shuttling kids around, helps those with a medical condition that makes pedaling a regular bike too hard or too dangerous. I'm all for them for couples, so they can ride together ON THE ROAD. 

I don't think they belong on trails. Trails are dirt and dirt is fragile. Limiting trails to regular bikes limits the people and limits the damage. The idea that anybody has a right to scar and shred the trails because people are the dominant life form on earth...is not what I believe, and I don't like that used as an excuse to wreck nature.  I recognize my hypocrisy and inconsistency and human weakness in matters like this, but I limit my damage by getting around with unassisted muscle power, frequent walking, and I don't dress like an action figure. 

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 Few of us could live on $100 a week. This lady does.

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Wool Underwear deal

We got some new 100 percent merino wool underwear from Australia. Lots of it, assorted colors--black, green, maroon. Compared to the olde same-brand undies we got there's less rise. They ride lower, below ye olde navele, like most underwear. I prefer this pattern but didn't ask for the change. For me it was a "nice underwear surprise." Will likes the old pattern. I admit to not being picky, but this seems normal. James likes his, too. The. point is they are different from the old ones, so you can't play matchy-matchy with your old Riv-bought undies.

Dammit, there seems to be some size inconsistency, too. The factory must have two different patterns. So, throw that into the mix and we've got no recourse other than to throw a Juneteenth Underwear-o-rama. We've never sold anything with a dollar or cents price ending in a nine. (We have always sold to the even dollar, 0 thru 8. Always. Call it our high-horse pricing policy.

But in honor of Juneteenth, the 19th, we're selling these for $19, which is less than our cost, and another $19 ON TOP OF YOURS will go into our BRF (now, officially, sheepishly, BICYCLES R FUN fund.

Sizing: I'd say go UP a size and don't be picky. Don't even think about returning them, for any reason. Ole John Law doesn't allow that on underwear, and we're just not going to do it. If you don't love them for any reason, regift them--you're on your own.

If we get wool undies in again, it'll be at least eighteen months from now, and the price will be at least $40. So...there you go. You buy a pair for $19, and we put $38 into ye olde BRF fund, while you get a super duper pair of all wool undies.

---------BIKE STUFF ALERT:

 If you don't need suspension for this, then you, uh....

...never need it. It's not that this is such a monstrous bump, which it's not, but it is signifcant, and it's in the 95th percentile of all the bumps on all the trails I've ridden in the last life. Mount Tamalpais has some bouldery stretches, where the boulders seem unavoidable, but you can always pick a reasonable path, and it's not like threading a needle while jumping up and down. It's a million times easier, even natural.

The kid up there, his name is Sam, and that's like his third trail ride of all time, and no problem. He's not sprinting thru it.

Most of you have a suspension mountain bike, I'm sure of it. It's not a bad thing, it's just a bike, but it encourages because it forgives riding too fast over too big bumps, and there's no actual reason to do that. It's more fun only if you've swallowed the faster-is-funner pill the entire bike industry dishes out.

What's the goal of suspension, anyway? To make it so you don't feel the bumps? To "take the edge off" the nastier bumps? They're the same thing. Suspension is necessary in competition when other competitors have it, but for a recreational rider, all it does is interfere with your connection to the trail and how your ride it. With suspension you smack things you shouldn't, you ride faster than you should, and you can't just say it's all in the name of fun and safety. Slow is just as fun, makes the fun last longer, and is way safer.

Ride chubby tires at low pressure. Get your handlebars high and your braking hands behind the front hub. That's 90 percent.

Look at the roots and rocks in that photo up there, above this. Most trails aren't that bumpy. Those are extreme, at least by the standards of every trail ridden. THey're worse than they look here, but Jeff on his Clem gets over them easily, with no fear or shock to his body. Here's a harder one:

 

 

 

 

 

When the bike doesn't overneuter the trail, you're more likely to pick ye olde good line. Another way to put that is: When you have suspension, you don't learn to pick as gooda line. If your riding style is maximum speed + maximum risk, then suspension may be the only way to survive it. But outside of racing--which tends to ruin everything—that's an insane and self-centered way to ride a bicycle.

Good technique, the kind that works so well with an unsuspended bike, is easy, but it takes practice and a little trust in your bike. 

Most trail crashes happen when you get scared and brake wrong (too much) instead of letting the bike roll over whatever's in its way, and trusting that it'll do that. It helps a lot to have a long wheelbase, a long front-center (center of crank to center of the front wheel), tires at least 2-inches wide, and --this is huge--a handlebar that sweeps back toward you, puts your hands and brake levers well behind the front hub, and lets you push the front have of the bike way forward. Then it's just a matter of rising off the saddle, schooching back, and letting the bike roll. You can brake the rear wheel, but go easy or just lay off the front wheel. Whether you brake the front wheel or not depends on, I don't know..how steep it is, how bumpy (bumps tend to brake the front wheel, and additional intention braking has to account for that, so the combination of bumb-braking and hand-braking doesn't lock up the front wheel. When you keep it rolling, and a Clem-Atlantis-Appaloosa-Gus-Susie will roll over ANYTHING. You just push the bike forward, sit back, use mostly the rear brake, and keep the front wheel rolling. Brake it the front wheel over the smooth parts with decent traction, lay off it on the worst bumps and in the dusty parts. It's not even hard, it's not advanced anything, it's easy, it makes sense, and just takes a little practice, so you practice on easier sections and let your skills grow naturally.

Also, don't CARE so much, and don't hesitate to walk. The trail isn't your gym or your  proving ground or stuff like that. Just ride it and walk it and don't show off or challenge yourself. All that is overrated.

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 It's just a CAD drawing and it's not final and some things will change, so don't jump to ye olde conclusiones. I see six things that'll change. Seven if you could another thing; back to six if you count that seventh thing but take the duplication, which you foolishly counted as two, down to one. That's how it goes.

------- More Bike Stuff -- :

BIDEN BUYS BORIS BIKE, BUILT BY BILENKY

(Notice Nitto noggin nod)

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 We get letters (and phone calls):

I can decode some of this. I can explain some of the background, too. First background:

It was getting hard to get cork grips. A "real pain in ye old necke," even more than most of the things we get that are hard. And the price kept going up, which is normal to some extent. Then one day the manufacturer contact our cork buyer, redacted above, and told him we could get better prices an service if we bought direct from them.

That was interesting, b/c we thought we'd been doing that. But apparently we'd been buying from a rep or middleman or something, and paying the middleman, who'd pay the mfr. Normally when there's a rep or middleman, you still pay the mfr, but in this case, for many years, we'd been paying him and he'd been paying them, but then he stopped paying them. Or he was way behind, of something.

Then somehow the mfr contacted us and said hey, here's what's been happening. Now, buy from us directly, we get our money, you get the cork, and with no middleguy, we can sell you grips for a bit less than you've been charge.

Our options seemed to be to pay the guy who wasn't paying the maker, and getting really lousy deliveries...or buy from the maker at lower prices and better delivery...so we did that.

The guy called __________ (not me) and _____________ (also not me). He may have asked for me, but I wasn't in on the stuff, and I figure you can't call up Chysler and talk to Lee Iacocca, so why should you be able to call here and talk to me? (Except that a normal person can, and I'm all into it.)  But I didn't have anything to do with this, so I'm glad he spoke to ________ and _________ <--Will.

He wasn't getting satisfaction from either, so he sent me the email above.

I think "fist" means "grip." I think "not showing my face" means not dealing with him direct. I GUESS "Amerigo Albequerque" is either the name of the guy who'll  need diapers soon OR the name of the company who is now supplying us the cork grips.  It sounds like "American Cork," but I don't speak Portuguese.

The last batch of cork is super duper, better fits-to-the-bar. You still have to glue it, and there's no way to save you grip if you want it off again.

WE HAVE enough cork grips for a few years, I think, and these'll be the last of them. He can sell them to anybody he wants, I don't care. I hope the grip-makers thrive, whoever they are. It's such a great product, sustainable, far less polluting than traditional grips. They're a hassle, but not bad. They're expensive but right up there with other expensive grips. I have always liked the idea of cork grips-- cork, leather, rubber, metal, and there you go, you've got a bike. All of those materials have a fairly direct connection to the earth, minimal magic applied to them, and that is more true of cork than of anything else on ye olde liste.   But...we've got other challenges, and I'm not in the mood for cork-tension. 

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PENCIL

I hope there's nothing controversial about this happy story.

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I know you didn't click here only to read stuff about stuff you haven't thought about for more than one second in your life, but I make no promises, and you could consider this a bonus. Loosen that tie...

One of the best coupla sentences on the internet:

He returned to San Francisco at a time of great turmoil in the West. He survived two shipwrecks and floated through the Golden Gate on the overturned hull of a foundering lumber schooner.

"...foundering lumber schooner" is genius.

The person referred to is the Civil War general-turned Indian fighter, William Tecumseh Sherman, whose dad admired Tecumseh, a Shawnee chief. The mystery of his name won't  be solved without his birth certificate, but according to one biography on William Tecumseh Sherman, he was named Tecumseh at birth. His dad died when he (Tecumseh) was nine, his mom couldn't handle him with no money and there was no inheritance, so Tecumseh went to foster care, and was given William as a new first name. His friends and family all called him Cump, thankful for the added p. WTS was a Union general in the Civil War and an Indian fighter later, boo. That pro-Black/anti-Native American stance was common back then even among the abolitionists/Unionists. Lincon was that way. President Lincoln didn't himself fight the south or the Indians, but he was on the side of the enslaved in the Civil War, and on the side of the Expansionists in the Indian Wars. Like all of us, he "contained multitudes."

Here's a recent Bob Dylan song about it.

Today and tomorrow, and yesterday, too
The flowers are dyin' like all things do
Follow me close, I'm going to Balian Bali
I'll lose my mind if you don't come with me
I fuss with my hair, and I fight blood feuds
I contain multitudes
Got a tell-tale heart, like Mr. Poe
Got skeletons in the walls of people you know
I'll drink to the truth and the things we said
I'll drink to the man that shares your bed
I paint landscapes, and I paint nudes
I contain multitudes
Red Cadillac and a black mustache
Rings on my fingers that sparkle and flash
Tell me, what's next? What shall we do?
Half my soul, baby, belongs to you
I relic and I frolic with all the young dudes
I contain multitudes
I'm just like Anne Frank, like Indiana Jones
And them British bad boys, The Rolling Stones
I go right to the edge, I go right to the end
I go right where all things lost are made good again
I sing the songs of experience like William Blake
I have no apologies to make
Everything's flowing all at the same time
I live on the boulevard of crime
I drive fast cars, and I eat fast foods
I contain multitudes
Pink petal-pushers, red blue jeans
All the pretty maids, and all the old queens
All the old queens from all my past lives
I carry four pistols and two large knives
I'm a man of contradictions, I'm a man of many moods
I contain multitudes
You greedy old wolf, I'll show you my heart
But not all of it, only the hateful part
I'll sell you down the river, I'll put a price on your head
What more can I tell you? I sleep with life and death in the same bed
Get lost, madame, get up off my knee
Keep your mouth away from me
I'll keep the path open, the path in my mind
I'll see to it that there's no love left behind
I'll play Beethoven's sonatas, and Chopin's preludes
I contain multitudes.

 

EVERYBODY contains multitudes. Some of our biggest fans, who have supported us and been so nice during tons of conversations and commercial transactions over the past 26 years have essentially told us to go to hell over the BRP thing. Sold their Rivendells and asked not to be contacted again--as though it's something that we or I would do. We don't have to agree on every aspect of life on earth or the future of bicycles. Buying a bell from us doesn't change your political party. You know where we stand on that. Some of our parents held views on other people that make us cringe today. Many of our grandparents, most of our great-grandparents, almost all of our great- and great-great grandparents did. They were all products of their place and time and their own parents, and it just takes time to let all of that fizzle out and make the next generation be better and proud of something, of the change. 

Today, June 18, ye olde Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo, and if that's not an invitation to this link, nothing is.  Notice, if you know your pop songs, how the beginning musical part and the first two words have a similar vibe-sound as Blondie's Call Me, when Debbie harry says call me later on in the song.

Line 3 is the most interesting line to me  ("And I have met...") I think the guy whatever his name is, one of the ABBA guys, had some nerve signing off on that one.

My, my
At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender
Oh, yeah
And I have met my destiny in quite a similar way
The history book on the shelf
Is always repeating itself
Waterloo
I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo
Promise to love you forever more
Waterloo
Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo
Knowing my fate is to be with you
Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa-Waterloo
Finally facing my Waterloo
My, my
I tried to hold you back, but you were stronger
Oh, yeah
And now it seems my only chance is giving up the fight
And how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose
Waterloo
I was defeated, you won the war
Waterloo
Promise to love you for ever more
Waterloo
Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo
Knowing my fate is to be with you
Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa-Waterloo
Finally facing my Waterloo
So how could I ever refuse
I feel like I win when I lose
Waterloo
Couldn't escape if I wanted to
Waterloo
Knowing my fate is to be with you
Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa-Waterloo
Finally facing my Waterloo
Ooh-ooh, Waterloo
Knowing my fate is to be with you
Wa-Wa-Wa-Wa-Waterloo
Finally facing my Waterloo
Ooh-ooh, Waterloo
Knowing my fate is to be with you
I like Bob Dylan and Abba because I contain multitudes. Or, I say "I contain multitudes" because I like Bob Dylan and Abba. That's more accurate. "Multitudes" aren't actual things one can contain.
related to that is one of the fop four movies of all time:
Eurovision Song Contest.
I promise you, I swear to god, somebody will write to me and call me arrogant or worse for "declaring" that this movie is one of the top four. Who am I? he'll ask. Listen, this is a BLAHG, not even a Blog, and I can play it loose. If I was really careful I'd say, OK, it's in the top eight. If you haven't seen it and you like Abba, my my.
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PENCIL

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More delivery stuff. Deliver is ye olde bigge deal for us and everybody else who does bikes. I have mentioned this before, I don't even need to--because it's widespread news now. Bike shops don't have inner tubes, bikes...I know of a small (but not tiny) manufacturer who has a few hundred frames half-put together but can't complete them because he can't get ye olde chainstays.

Shimano Deore and Deore LX hubs are/were made in Malaysia. I think ALL Rivendell people regard them as the best deals, the best non-ultra-pricey hubs, the affordable hubs that are better than o man tons of more expensive hubs, or at the least equally good...but with one feature that makes them extreeeeemely desirable to those who like silent-coasting hubs, and that feature would be....their silence. 

Silent rear hubs used to be all over the place, so common and normal, now they're rare, and there seems to be some kind of cache-attraction to high-pitched clicker hubs. Lots of riders have given up on silent hubs, not because they don't still at some inner heart nucleus kind of place prefer them, but because they want the high-enders and they've gotten used to clicks. I'm NOT, dammit, saying clicks are bad, and I don't want to start a movement where people get sad if they can't get the silent ones, or create dissatisfaction with superbly excellent hubs made by two-thumbs-up companies. My point, not even my purpose, is that if Shimano can make silent hubs—big monstrous Shimano, who can do anything and is lately not doing tons of the things I wish it would--but if SHIMANO can do it, then anybody who makes hubs can dissect a silent Shimano hub and see what the damn deal is and copy it. There is no way in heck or on God's good earth etc that the feature that makes Shimano hubs silent is a patented one, since in the old days most rear hubs where silent.

When you're riding over dirt and general natural rubble far from cars, it's nice to be quiet, not only to not make unnecessary noise, but also to just-like be able to hear the sound your tires make as they roll over rocks and tumble them half a turn, and roll thru dust. 

I don't know the details of what makes a hub silent. The clicks are the pawls flicking back into the deep parts of the ratchet. A pedaled hub is silent because the pawls are down there in that part and not clicking. But if you know your way around ye olde ratchettes, you have some idea of how a rear hub can both coast and drive the wheel. It is, I'd say, 100 percent the same as a ratchet wrench. Now that's a place where you want to hear the clicks, so you know it's winding up again for ye olde nexte snugging of the bolt. But on a bike's rear hub, it's not necessary at all, and I'd say, not super desirable. I'm not trying to wipe out noisy hubs, I just wish there were more quiet ones.

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Me and soccer: I and everybody else in my kindergarten class grew up in a place at a time when "soccer" was played on a blacktop marked like a baseball diamond, with a four-square ball bounced to the batter at the plate and socked with a fist like swinging a bat at a ball. This is what I thought soccer WAS until the sixth grade, when we got a new P.E. teacher who said it's all feet, no hands.

In high school there was real soccer. I got kicked out of my normal "athelete's" PE class because I added artwork to my school-issue PE shirt, and was  put in a class for non-athletes, where I had a wonderful actual soccer experience. Our team went undefeated the whole semester, and I scored all but one of our goals. Looking back, I see how that's more to be ashamed about than to brag about, but at the time it seemed the right thing to do, since I didn't see the point in passing to a guy who was gonna just lose the ball. Anyway, that is my only soccer experience.

Mark here, on the other hand, got a 4-year soccer scholarship, had an opportunity to turn pro that was foiled by a skiing accident...and in addition to being, I think, a "middlefielder," was the teams point-kicker all four years, even as a freshman, and missed only one attempt in all that time. But back to me:

I don't know the rules of the game, I can't follow it, it's like hockey to me in that way, but today I saw a short soccer column with "Danish" in the headline, so I read it, and it makes me LOVE soccer players.

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Sad scissors story. Followup from the last BLAHG. If you didn't read that, don't read this, please. 

This is how things can go. Money makes people mad, suicidal, all of that. My dad told me two things that stick out so far above all the other things that I forget all the other things. One of those things was, "Stay out of debt. It will make your life a living hell." That's what was going on with this guy.

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I know this stuff, reflectorized mesh vests, is the ultima thule, final nerdy UnRacer frontier, beyond the comfort zone of 98 percent of us. But when riding in traffic, they can prevent you from being hit. I have two. I don't commute in them, because I have a fairly traffic-free commute, but when I ride through town or to the store at night for shop-shop, I always wear one. Bike shops don't sell them. Those triangles we sell are good--and I wear those when I wouldn't wear one of these. But sometimes you need a slingshot and a Tommy-gun.

And for safety reading glasses, here

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 eLECTRIC motorbike column.

I am fascinated by all this hubub. I would love to be alive and with ye olde full faculties intact in 2040 to see what a bicycles and motorcycles looked like then. I think there will be hovercrafts or air cars, like Chester Gould predicted 60 + years ago and Elon Musk is for sure working on now in private. Scientific progress isn't alway human progress or planet progress. Imagine the mayhem.

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