No. 14, mid july,  the usual array. Wool vests, videos, race stuff, aiiye chihuahua

No. 14, mid july, the usual array. Wool vests, videos, race stuff, aiiye chihuahua


That's a head tube / down tube joint chopped and cut in half that my dog found in the backyard. Paint prevents that; it won't happen to your groovy steel bike.


This the last long BLAHG for a while. I have some projects in and out of work that I have to complete. 


Bike and Climb video: 30 minutes

I have posted this video before, but sorry, I have to do it again. It's almost half an hour. It involves a bicyle, and it's an adventure. The star, Kyle Dempster, has even ridden a Rivendell. His mom got second in the women's nationals in 1976. But if you have 30 minutes to kill, you will find it not a waste of time. Not all of you have seen it, so here it is again.



Wool is dying, at least in Britain, even though plastic from fleece is showing up in shrimp fetuses a thousand feet deep the billabongs in Antarctica. Check out this.

British youth haven't bought wool for four decades, I've been told by somebody in the wool business. 


We're getting some British-made, 100 percent cheviot-wool sweater-vests, kind of like the sweaters we had before, but no sleeves and cheaper for that feature. They cost you $85 and look like this:

 and the label, 

As usual, I know what you're thinking: Why does the label say "" when we all KNOW it's

It used to be the longer version. Then we let that one lapse, and look at what you get now when you type in  And don't just glance at it. On this page you'll find grammar errors and strangeness, potentially millions of dollars worth of free advice.  I still wish it didn't exist. How does this happen?

In England, what we call vests are called waistcoats, often pronounced weskits, and during the months-long correspondence about these, I never could get comfortable with waistcoats, but the good news is, the mfr finally got comfortable with vests. They're made with 100  percent virgin cheviot wool, grown in the genuine Scottish Highlands. It's the same wool and weight and knit as the last sweaters we offered, but this time there are some buttons instead of sleeves.

And since they're the same expand-o-matic knit as the last batch of WoolyWarm sweaters we had, so there's a tremendous fit-range. My women's size 4 daughter fit a MEDIUM, and I-who-wear a men's large can fit it, too, but I'm getting a large or xl, anyway.

Fits women.. Kate in a medium. Wears a men's small t-shirt.

...and guys. It basically fits everybody. Sergio in a medium, same size as his Men's T-shirt.

My friend Dan wears a men's XL t, and he thought this medium fit fine,

This sweatervest will shrink if you boil-n-bake it, but after the ye olde spin cycle, let it air dry, and all will be well. You don't have to wash vests a lot, anyway, because you aren't always fouling them up with ye olde armpit stuff.  You could easily have this for 35 years and wash it fewer than 35 times, and it'll fit you then even if you've gained 40 pounds. Still, buy your men's t-shirt size, or so. Here's what'll be available by July 20, after the crew here buys ours:






The PRESALE  price is $85, and we expect to have them here by July 31. After that, they're $95. To get the presale price, order one separately from anything else, and pay the shipping. 

Read the flexible sizing stuff again. The bodies are long-ish, but you can but them without fear of fraying. No need to, but you can. They edges fuzz up some, that's all. Still good for camping, not for meeting la Queen.

U should know better than to think that for sure we'll have another round of these vests within a year.  A lot of what's on my personal to-do list is stuff I'm sick of not having done, and it's kind of indulgent. I don't want it to hurt Rivendell, so  please buy a sweatervest, OK? It won't go in or out of style, it's beyond style, it's a huggy, porous, semi-gnarly, slighly homely, super practical garment that'll last for twenty years under reasonable conditions, and will be great for riding in the late fall thru spring.



I was on a really good ride, one I go on a lot...a trail ride with too much climbing, and one spot has this view. That's a lot of square feet. I wonder how many are unnecessary.



Both daughters are home for the Covid Summer, and for a couple of decades now we have a--well, I have a tradition of like when I hear one of them say something that's odd or funny or striking in some way, I write it on a piece of paper and magnet-it to the side of the refrigerator. (You thought I had an ice box?) Here's one from this morning, which will be a few days old by the time you read it. It probably won't strike you as hilarious as it struck me, goes:

I'd have written it better if I'd known I was going to put it up. 


OLD TYME BIKE THING and What they're doing now, kind of neat:

Columbia was America's first bike brand--1878 or so. They're still around, in a building they've been in for more than a hundred years, and they make school furniture. It's still tubular steel, shaped and all. I think we've all sat in it:




The following photo (OM-1, 50mm lens, Tri-X, orange filter, f11 @ 1/250th, Dan riding Gus on Mount Tamalpais, and a tight crop—got all that written down?......isn't so traditionally super, but it has the best photo-title of all time, not that photos need names.


Little wheelie @ high noon.

 Shadows don't lie, is the thing.



 Here it goes, and if you don't want to read about racing, skip to below the next pencil. That's not a challenge, it's just advice. I dwell and harp a lot in this episode of " 'tween the 'cils."


This one's on one of our doors. 

John has these stickers in, and "a certain percentage" goes to The Okra Project, which is a good organization that had a bit of a scandal a few days ago, when a higher-up in it was accused of sexual harassment. That shouldn't turn you off to them, and it's not the point, anyway. My POINT is that last night on the way home I took a sticker and stuck it to a crossing pole near here and on my way home, and it was gone this morning. The same pole was stripped of a flag sticker, a few weeks ago.

You can get this stick at John's shop HERE. 


This kind of took us by surprise. It's about WORK HARD • BE NICE.

Our history with WHBN started when I saw it on the back of a T-shirt that a guy was wearing in a crowd scene on the local news, and I thought hmm, that's pretty neat. Since this is 'tween the 'cils," I should say that the fellow was Black.

 I looked it up and found NOTHING on it, which is unusual for google. I searched around more, thinking it probably wasn't a one-off tee shirt, and still nothing. So I thought let's get patches, stickers, T-shirts. 

It's good to be sensitive and it's also to see context. In the context of a school, in the context of racism in hiring, and in the context of women or anybody being discouraged or afraid to be assertive, WHBN could be construed as insensitive and oppressing, given the history of all that. The people who don't like WHBN say it promotes the idea that the country is a meritocracy (where merit, not skin color or other factors, determines success). All ye have to do to see the nonsense in that is look at our president.  I think Trump has put a giant railroad spike in the Meritocracy Myth coffin.

I still, personally, don't understand this part of the link:

I don't know about the KIPP schools or their history with treating students. The staff is diverse. The CEO is white. The mission seems cooler than cool. From my super external perspective, I don't see how "working hard" in a school can ever be a bad thing. No matter what else is going on, no matter what unfairness the students face, no matter what the history is, I still can't see how working hard at academics to learn more is going to work out worse for you than not working hard; and I don't see how "being nice" places value on being submissive, or being somebody's doormat, or for not standing up for yourself. 

I think a slogan that places value on being compliant and submissive would be something like, and I know this isn't a joke, and I'm not trying to make it one--- it would say Do What You're Told and Don't Ask Questions, or something along those lines. Work Hard and Be Nice? It works for teachers and administrators, too.

I think it is a good, broad-stroke advice that works for many circumstances in life, maybe not all. We already have some WHBN hats coming. Sales of them and the patches...we're going to donate 80 percent of the proceeds—which is about 98 percent of the profit—to The Okra Project. It had a recent controversy with a bad apple, but the mission is still good and needs help. We've sort of adopted Okra as our go-to charity.

Want to buy this controversial Work Hard • Be Nice paraphernalia at John's shop? Go here.


Can you stand another Bob Dylan song that seems relevant to this topic of "words to live by"? When both of my daughters were born and less than a day old, I made sure it was the first song, the first music, they heard, because I just loved them so much and this song so much. Here it is reanalyzed.


May God bless and keep you always              ignores other religions, pagans
May your wishes all come true                        gets hopes up
May you always do for others                          forsters slave mentality
And let others do for you                                  fosters boss mentality
May you build a ladder to the stars                  false hope & sounds like hard work
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young                              ageist 
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous                     by whose definition?
May you grow up to be true                              anti-independence 
May you always know the truth                         whose truth?
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous                       shames those who can't be brave
Stand upright and be strong                             demeaning to those who can't
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young   
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy                      sounds l ike a boss's orders
May your feet always be swift    
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful                      joyful hearts are easier for some
May your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young                          there's that ol' devil ageism again
May you stay forever young


I have linked to this New York Magazine article a few times before, but not for at least five years. It is about working hard to empower yourself, to grind thru circumstance (mostly in school, in this story) that aren't ideal...and especially for not accepting (think of this from a studen't perspective) that "I'm just no good in math, so why try?" 

This shouldn't be between the pencils, but it's related to the work hard message. It doesn't intend to suggest that Black children don't have more to overcome than do white children. It is about believing that, at some level, some of the time, it is helpful to give a book or a task your best effort. Don't let a bad teacher get you down. Grind thru despite your bad teachers. I'm not implying that all teachers are bad, I'm just saying when you get one, you work harder to learn the stuff in spite of your bad teacher. It's a good habit for anybody, but this is sounding too didactic for my comfort.


I've brought up the actual and emotional challenges of involving Rivendell with reparations for African-Americans. Like, oh you think I need it? Like what about me, I'm (pick your ethnicity) and haven't been treated fairly, either, like, oh, you think feel-good-thing for you makes up for everything now?

 HERE'S a timely perspective. One of the best things I've read all year. Also, notice the 39-character average line length, which is the most readable line length in America, ancient studies have shown. If it shows up on your screen the way it shows up on mine. The secret is, you can read whole lines at a time, and even the next one, too. You can almost read two lines at a time. If you read only one thing in this whole BLAHG, make it be this. It should be taught in schools.

One of our customers, Matthew Vernon, possibly a Rivendell rider one of these years, is a professor of English history at U.C. Davis. He has a  special interest in medieval studies. He teaches it, he told me, but here on the link it says he's an English prof. Anyway, he had this short interesting/insightful thing to say about social distancing while Black.


The most unusual book you'll read this year. There's only 100 pages of body, plus some notes, forward, all that stuff.



I know, given my far-left liberalism, I should be s super Nicholas Kristoff fan, but I haven't been up to now. I like his politics and messages, but there was always, for me, a taint of scold that went along with everything. Maybe I recognized myself in it and didn't like that, maybe that's it, I dunno, but anyway--this recent column of his, I really like. It really is full of hope and happiness AND it is believable.

Downnote. John Lewis just died. He said, make good trouble.




Platypus (plural is platypuses; baby ones are puggles) are in our world a long-wheelbase mixte-style bike with V-brakes and clearance for 50mm tires. It's not a trail bike, but you know your weight and skills and judgement. I'm just saying, it's not like hmmm...Platypus or Atlantis? Platypus or Gus? and so on. We designed it for towny and pathy riding, road riding not in a peloton. The smallest tire you should put on it is a 32, the biggest are those 50s I already mentioned. A 42mm Shikoro tire makes it a rocketship, so why go smaller unless you're really shooting for a sub-something weight? And why do that?

Yes it fits racks and bags, but that doesn't mean it's for heavily loaded touring. It's not weak. It is what it is, a super nice bike. As gooda mixte as I can design.

50cm for 650B wheels

55, 60cm for 700C wheels

I showed decals in the last BLUG, but here are some headbadge pix you have not seen, unless John IG'd one of them:

 I know what you're thinking: Funky left paw, there, mate! Yes, Olivier wasn't finished with it at this point. The eggs are great..and the sonar lightning bolt, and the unfortunate worm (a common food for the Platypus. These headbadges have correct biology behind them. This one is the current, but might still not be final, and the colors will likely change:

Now you're thinking the same thing I am: Where'd the lovely eggs go? Down to one? The Latin Genus, Ornithorhynchus (pronounced, I think, ornitho-rihynchus, separating at ye olde o/r junction. It means birdlike-bill. You can tell because ornithology is the study of birds, and rhyno refers to noses. Like, a rhinoplasty is a nose job, and a rhinoceros has that horn that's probably not technically a nose (the rhino gored the dude with its NOSE!!, but close enough. The species, anatinus, means ducklike, maybe referring to the webbed feet and/or the bill.

Platypus itself means flat-footed.  Enough of this "science"! There are two more versions beyond this. It's called "an platypus-packed weekend," but I'm already spilling too much on it.

I'm skipping at least one and maybe two versions, but here's the final version, as of Bastille Day, and we're locking this one in. This is it, completely:

It's on a cream background because the head tube will be cream. No more platypus stuff for a long time. The order has been placed, no turning back, onward to other things for now. Sorry for the overload..I feel some shame, but it has been exciting on this end. Olivier Chetelat did the art. 

We might have two versions. a deep blue background might look good, too.



Hunqapillar rider Braxton and his Clem-riding girlfriend Erin were riding in the Marin Headlands a little south and a little east of but still in clear sight of Mt. Tamalpais, and Braxton got this neat iPhoneto of Erin. I cropped it, but check out the eery fantastic look. The rear light on her bike was on, not sure why. It had to be on. It had to be a light, you'll see. I'll make you scroll way down, because if you see some of it here you might not read my praise of it, and I really just have to get it out. I really can't say enough how much I like this. I can't exaggerate that enough. I can build it up to heaven, and you'll still be happily surprised. I beats my "Low Wheelie @ High Noon" by half of a light year. And he shot it as he was riding. Dang!






















Braxton-the-photographer said, when I asked him if he applied tech filters or something else to it:

I did no post processing at all. No filters. The iPhone 11 Pro is an example of how good small-lens cameras have gotten. The original photo is a “Live Photo” as Apple calls it ,so is a ~1.5 second video with this high-res still shot in the middle. 

I don't follow all of that, but whatever, it is still an amazing image. 



 John sent me this link related to clothing and starting off with commentary  He likes nice clothes and has some stuff. I'll bet at least two of you get something from this site. 

Related to that, and the topic of the closing of Brooks Brothers and Gitman and the place we used to get t-shirts and sweatshirts (the best finest classickest U.S. factory, bought up and closed about eight years ago). Once low-tech mfring leaves the country, it's hard to get it back. Ruth, Harold, Dorothy, and Hank have died, and their kids are writing code (that allows BLAHGs, so thanks!)



I know these are long, and they take too much of my time (too), but the stuff comes and drains at its rate. The thing is, I really do need a break from this, not because it's not fun or it bugs me, but I have been slacking on some other things. time, shorter, as a matter of fact, good or bad. I'll still be working hard and trying to be nice, but just not on this. — G




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