Late May, early June. Pants, pantographing, nail polishing pedals, project updates, bees, a snake way down there at the bottom and easily avoided (M).

Late May, early June. Pants, pantographing, nail polishing pedals, project updates, bees, a snake way down there at the bottom and easily avoided (M).



There's a new coffee table book about bicycle head badges. A Dutch fellow named Jos wrote it, and he asked us for submissions, and now the book is out and there they are. We sent 30 different head badges, and as much as I'd LIKE him to've shown them all, we still got the biggest single spread in the book--for those of you keeping score

Here's our spread, followed by others:







I hope the heirs of these badge-designers and badge-makers are as rich as Howard Hughes. I wish the book were in English, and maybe it will be some day. I wish I knew what our pages said, and the Naamplaatfabrik page. Don't we all wish we all paid attention in Dutch class? 

The price per book INCLUDING POSTAGE is €52, about $55. Pay by paypal.

Jos van der Horst  email :


I'm not gonna start promoting books here, but this is a unique one, and it there are several $5 and $10 pages in in, so I think it's a killer deal for that. He told me this morning that he has 115 left. Maybe there'll be another batch, I don't know. I asked Jos if it was OK to show a bunch of pages, and he said yes.


I like our badges. The designs are good, they're metal-y and crafty, but it's ye olde telling that ones about a hundred year ago are so dumbfoundingly and even maddeningly fantastic. When I was looking into head badges before we had one, I looked for metal stampers, metal embossers, nameplate makers, and the high unclearable hurdle was the bumpiness. I wanted thin, bumpy, brass badges, and 'twarnt happening. I've seen thousands on old cheap Japanese worker and townie bikes, Bridgestone has its own head badge room, which, thinking back in a psychological way, must have made an impression on me. 

In 1990 I thought the badges from the museum would look good on the Bstone catalog cover, and it came out good:


Some of them look like beer cans (not good, and this isn't an anti-beer thing at all. Some are smooth, some are bumpy, some look like the were designed in two minutes or less, some look like they took a month and a team of Leonardo da Vinci's. 

The best head badge I've ever seen, I mean my favorite, is this one, which I borrowed from the museum and swear to god forgot to return it for 15 years, had misplaced and forgotten about it, until I found it in the back of a drawer and oh man, the instant, scalp-goosebump-inducing, guilt is still memorable. It's sickening still, even as I'm typing this. I mailed it back to a former Bstone co-worker, who returned it, and they'd forgotten about it and at least, thank god again, didn't associate its missing with me. But they know it was me who returned it, so maybe I got the respect that's sometimes accorded to a thief-gone-honest.


As I was hunting down that 1990 Bstone catalog, I also found a 1979 or so Rivendell Mountain Works catalog. RMW had a strong influence. I was as much of a RMW acolyte/groupie/devotee as one could be, and it was all earned. The Rivendell Mountain Works catalogs were so informative, so well-written, inspirational, and I loved that they were independent of trends. This 1979 or so catalog came out when DOME tents and TUNNEL tents were all the rage. Tents had to be big and roomy for kind of glamping, but pretending to be mountainous rough-and-tumble stuff, kind of like the bike equivalent of riding 8-inch travel full suspension carbon fiber bikes on fire roads.

Rivendell had (and I owned and still do) this tent:

then I'll skip a page and go to this one, which addresses its size.

The thing about tents and wind is: The taller the tent, the faster the wind. Lower tents get hit by slower winds. The best shape for a wind tent is narrow and sharp. A knife edge won't fit bodies, but that's the idea. And, the walls should be tight and stay tight when the wind hits them. All of those things are the opposite of roomy pleasant tents, but this tent was never intended for that. It is perfectly named—Bombshelter—and on one trip up mountain at a basecamp halfway up where other climbing parties pitched their tents, the winds were 80 to 100mph (measured) for 8 hours at night, and this Bombshelter was the only tent still standing in the morning.

That is relevant to my life now and how I think about bikes and trends. Nobody was buying Bombshelters back then. You couldn't buy them in stores; you had to order and wait for the one seamstress to sew it, and it might be three months. It was only 35-inches high inside, but for the kind of tent is was, that was plenty. When the wind was blasting it, the lower the better. The inner height was enough to sit up in, barely, if you weren't tall. 

Anyway, the trendy tents ripped, or the wind broke their poles, or they got lifted off the ground because they didn't have buried snow flaps to prevent the wind from getting underneath them, and just tumbled and turned with the occupants inside. 


 The last thing on this post, below the bees (and even then you have to scroll down to see it) is a rattlesnake. Many people are creeped out by snakes, even photos of them. I, me, I don't want to pick one up, but I like getting close. I hate rattlesnakes. I know, the web of life, and if there were no rattlesnakes who knows, there might not be any of us--but I'm thinking hey, just replace them all with gopher snakes or king snakes, and call it a day. The snake photo is from last night's ride, anyway.




Sam Hopkins's 1976-1977 Ritchey

Sam Hopkins: Father of Heidi Hopkins, national team racer in the late '70s. The Hopkins from the Mark-Hopkins hotel chain (fancier than Hilton, I think). Tom Ritchey built this bike when he was a teenager, maybe twenty. It famously weighed 17 lbs. The fork crown has no top. The saddle is custom. Check the details. From the collection of Heidi Hopkins, send to me by Jim Merz/partner.

Early Jim Merz crossy-type bike

Jim Merz, framebuilder, innovator, former Specialized employee, and one of the top builders in the world. A serious bike for fast riding only.


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