Late March: Toads, InstaGram stuff, Goats, Taiwan pumps, Chinese derailers, Ukraine donations, the ultimate dream shuttlecocks, more on the great Mike  Plumpatire... ...

Late March: Toads, InstaGram stuff, Goats, Taiwan pumps, Chinese derailers, Ukraine donations, the ultimate dream shuttlecocks, more on the great Mike Plumpatire... ...





This was in the March 20 print edition of the NYT, and for those of you who missed it, here's your chance. This stuff fascinates me. I'm not depressed or anxious yet, and I (personally) would leave toads out of it if I were, and I have no opinion on this other than for god's sake, I hope the Tuczonian toads don't take it in the shorts because of this. They didn't do anything, leave them out of it. Although, if I had a loved one who needed help from toads, I might feel different.

Tech tip: To ENLARGE, hold down the command key while typing the + key a few times until you can read it.

These are the guys...


I'm working on a book called BICYCLE SENTENCES. It is lots of one-sentence opinions, observations, tips, social criticisms (related to bikes, not race, heaven forbid), and just things to mull over/chew on/consider. 

John is showing them, a few a week, on instagram, and we trickle them out here, as well. The illustrator is local illustrator of wide reknown, Betsy Streeter. 

Limiting yourself to one sentence doesn't allow for lots of nuance or qualifications or apologies without going nuts with semi-colons or parentheses; and without those things (words or phrases like, "consider," "sometimes," "one thing perhaps worth thinking about,") and so on, the SENTENCES end up getting to the point without ye olde mincing of words...and this has caused a problem on IG. Like, this one:

Literalists took that to mean--and I know this from the responses on IG--that I'm saying to strip your clothing of all logos; and by extension, I'm a hypocrite, because our bikes have logos on them. One guy says something, and others hop on the same train of disgust and indignance and try to one-up the other harsh responses. I think some of these people are outsiders who've been forwarded the responses, but they could be fans a-turning, I just don't know.

(On the bike topic, I am conscious of the looks of the bikes and decals, and we "shoot for mild and ignorable," but readable when the bike is parked in front of a cafe.)

What I KNOW is that I'm surprised that a sentence such as "don't wear logos and advertisements in nature" has created such hate and stir. I assumed people would figure that it meant tone it down, keep 'em small, consider that there aren't actual advertisements in nature, so if you have clothing options, opt for something with small logos or none, just no banner-type things. At some point, loud clothing with logos and all crosses a line. And response to the original, I came up with this. It's kind of a joke, a self-parody, but it may just add fuel to ye olde flames:

This is fake, a sick JOKE, but literalists might respond:

"So now Grant Petersen thinks he's God."

The episode has me questioning the wisdom of revealing these at all. It's just INSTAGRAM, not whac-a-mole, where you instantly object to anything you misinterpret into something anti-human.

And I'm not saying you're a bad person for doing wearing logos. There are more  powerful ways to show your true colors, and I'm not your judge. I violate it when I accidentally leave my big YIELD triangle on. How gross and unnecessary that is. 

Enough is enough...set some personal limits, they don't have to be mine, but just don't be oblivious, don't assume you're in your own all. Nobody's going to buy homeowner's insurance or computer routers from A or B because they saw you ripping thru the woods with those logos.


I'd rather comment a happier thing:

G.O.A.T. Gloves are in stock


They're everything they're cracked up to be. I am an inveterate non-glove wearer, but I find myself wearing these gloves on about 33.33 percent of my rides these days. First it was forced: I wanted to get a glove I might wear now and then, and then when we got samples, I felt obligated to try them out, so I could speak with authority on them, and it is with that earned authority that I now speaketh:

The ideal glove would be invisible and unfeelable on your hand until you needed it to wipe sweat off, to soften the feel of a brake lever bolt bump when you're grabbing the wrong part because the position is good, and then, of course, when you're falling off the bike in Superman position, about to land palms-down in a victory slide after crossing the line in a Gravel Race. Sweat wiping, slight cush, and protection are all you can ask of a glove, but these give you one or two things extra: Green points for being made with vegetable-tanned goat leather, and something the Pakistanian manufacturer assures us is "85 percent organic cotton" for the back. There is some kind of synthetic between the fingers, because he told us, and we took his word, that leather between the fingers feels too thick. At some point you risk coming off disrespectful the the maker, who has lots of experience, if you just ignore his advice. That's how it is.

In any case, these are really nice gloves. They wash well. They're LOGO-free (!), something that I can't say without bad memories of the aforementioned IG fracas. The only thing close to a logo is this branded-in goat hoof on  only one of the gloves. 

They're unpadded. That's key to their grippy feel. We've nothing against padding, we sell cow-gloves with pads, but these were harder to get, cost more, and probably unique in the world of bike gloves for all the reasons mentioned above.

To me, the gloves smell slightly goaty, but it goes away in time, and you can wash them and all that. 

Gloves don't last forever. They live a hard life, but these are made by a guy who makes all kinds of gloves—not just a Pakistani guy who said, "Sure, I think I can do that." He makes other bike gloves for other brands, and it's not our  place to reveal who. But these here are made just for us, because nobody else cares about goat, and everybody else thinks unpadded gloves are stupid. Those of us who don't refer to those who do as "sponge-grabbers," a term of endearment.


In a month we'll have ONE RIDEABLE SAMPLE of the OM-1 derailer, the first prototype made by a combo of our original parts and some other parts they already made that they had there and can bolt onto our parts and make a functional derailer. 

At some point somebody "in the trades" will want to review it. My concern is that most new stuff in this olde day and age does all the work for you. This derailer has a magnificent opposite movement, but it's still like a spoon you can tilt on the way from bowl to mouth and spill the soup. I think it will index, but it's designed for, and intended to be used, with friction shifters. As long as it stays together and doesn't have any mechanical oversights (acceptable on a prototype, however), it'll be good.  If, when we get them in, a reviewer asks for a sample to try out, we'll ask him what he or she is already using, and if it's something indexed or electronic, that will disqualify 'em. Not trying to be tough, but it would be like sending (for review) a manual film camera to somebody who shoots only digital Imagine what they'd say about one of those. 

This is "pre-release defensiveness" in action.


 One side this color, the other side the other color.  These are both.

Here's final art for the Pump. Customer-friend-graphic artist in great demand all over the world-- O. Chetelat--did it. He added apples at my insistence, so if "we" get in trouble for it, he's off the hook. 

The Mike Plumpatires is all the header card says it is, but there's more. Yes, there is plastic in it, but the plastic bits are high-strength stuff that's unlikely to crap out on you, and is replaceable, and we have resplacements—which, don't kid yourself—you're not going to need, and we are not going to sell them to you "just in case." Ha, but yeah.

The pumpmakeur assures us nothing except the head gaskets will wear out. Fair enough, etc, but in the intest of feeding our general paranoia, we plan to get all of these small parts:

upper part with top cap removed

plunger has an easily replaced O-ring instead of a trumpet-shaped pied of rubber or leather "like those evil heinous stupid other guys" sometimes use.


We're planning to stock all of these, and hoping that it doesn't send the message that you'll ever need them. Except the presta gasket, if you use the presta valves we think you do. Presta valves with full threading wear out gaskets quicker than the smooth ones, but this is not among the top 100 bike technicalities to worry about.

Mike Plumpatire will pump reliably to 80psi, but that's an insane hardness for any tire anybody here rides. I filled a 700x42mm tire from flat to 45psi in 21 strokes, and a 700x58mm tire from flat to ready-to-ride 23psi in 25 strokes. Your results won't vary by much. Stay tuned for more. 

I think "the mechanical pump" will be gone in 30 years. So will I be, but while we're both alive, get one.


 We're going to stop taking orders for customs for a year. You can Get on a List to be called later on...and you can go online and fill out the form and send it in and keep a copy for can, in other words, lay ye olde foundation for a future custom order...but we have enough work for Mark Nobilette coming up, and customs add too much stress all around. So--get those forms in if you're serious, and we'll contact you in the order we receive your form.  You don't get on the list without a form, because it's human nature to want to be on a "player's list" just for the fun of it...but having a list of long shots takes time to deal with.

No biggie--go to the custom order form on site, print it out as a pdf, fill it out electronically or by hand, and send it both to and In the subject field, write


Please, also, read all the stuff we have about customs. They're my design for you, not your own design for you, or a copy of your favorite old Colnago, etc. Thanks!


New topic: Shuttlecocks, which most of us call Birdies, or used to.


I just read that the part you hit is cork covered with leather. I'll take mine with goatskin, thanks. And the best feathers come from the left wing of a goose. What breed, and are we talking all of the main stiff wing feathers? How many shuttlecock feathers can one wing provide? Are they naturally white, or dyed? I've shot my share of geese, and yes, snow geese have whitISH wings, but not this white, and Canada geese and Specklebellies and Thule geese have grayish tan wings. I sincerely want to know. I think shuttlecocks made with natural goose feathers...I'd have a few of those around, don't forget the goatskin. Goat and Goose. Click BUY NOW now. I know this is weird, this fetishizing shuttlecocks, but it comes from many decades of liking them. They always lead by the head, you can never hit feathers, they're light and you can smack them hard, and they never seem to wear out. They must wear out, but not by me. Shuttlecocks made of cork and goose and leather (even if not goat, but I don't KNOW that it's not) seem like anachronisms in 2022...and yet they're still state of the art. It's only a matter of time before science changes them.

I want to see a 20-minute video, a behind-the-scene thing on the making of shuttlecocks. Are any still made in England? I'd like to see a full-length documentary on shuttlecocks, one that would have the Japanese shuttlecock makers meeting the Scottish or English or Indian ones. I don't think they do 'em in France, Italy, Germany, and I know we don't do them here. 

 I wish I could ye olde laye claim to being really good and into badminton and the history of it and all. I was decent in high-school, because I was good swinging things to hit other things, and compared to baseball, badminton was a cinch, lemme at 'em. And the later on I used to play cooperative badminton with my wife, no net, no points, let's see if we can hit fifty pop-ups. in a row back and forth, usually underhand swings, straight up in the air. This is how I think badminton should be played, ha. It's soft, the sounds are gentle, nobody sweats or swears or wins or loses.

At some point "tournament" badminton required real goose-quill birdies, like the one up there, made in Japan by Yonex. This one is thirty years old. I used to get a dozen in a tube for like $15, and I have three tubes, but I don't play badminton anymore, because the trees in the backyard ton't allow it and my dog Billie would go nuts and wreck the birdies...and so would have Scoutie, before her. So it's not on the platter right now, but I dig the birdies still. They're beautiful things, even just to hold. I wonder what the state-of-the-art is now. Synthetics, maybe. I don't care, I've got three dozen real one, and when the time and place are right, I'll be out there again. Within a month. Will's recent obsession with handball got me thinking about this.



One of the BICYCLE SENTENCE images (usually on our Instagram) somehow made it to Critical Mass in Israel:

I don't know how that works, but there it is.


Gotta go. This goes up with will's email update, and he's an eager beaver to get it up. 







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