Mid November

Mid November

Related to the platypus, here's a good long podcast about Bobbie Gentry, and if you have the time, you'll find it interesting. It's either 0:45 (minutes) or 1:45--I forget and am too busy to check it out again, but I watched it all and found it pretty interesting. Umay2.

The Platypus/Bobbie Gentry shirts will be here Monday Nov 23, in time to get you yours for Thanksgiving dinner, if you pay for 2-day delivery. Half are sold. For every one we sell we give $6 to the Austalian Platypus Conservancy. Six dollars is about 80 percent of the profit, believe it or not. Here's proof that we do this:

And here's the fancy proof:

 Many of you have seen and reported this bioluminescence trick that was discovered after the platypus had already been declared The Animal of All Time. I think I posted in the last one, but you know what? I don't study these BLAHGS. I write stuff, take it out, save it for later, put it back in, and there may be repetition hither and yon. 

I was reading last night late, because it's the only time I can and I've got a lot to read...and Colbert was on the tube, too, and my head jerked up from the book I'm reading when I heard him say "platypus." Then he told the bioluminescence story, too. A future Supreme Court justice sent me a link to the story, too. Platypuses in the big-time news!


Here's a short description of our situations, immediate and futuristic:

We have too few people for all the stuff we have going on. We can't pack bikes fast enough because there's only one bike packer--Steven. (FLASH: We just got some temp help with that.) We don't have enough money to produce all the bikes we could sell, and we don't have space to put them. We have sooo many side projects--derailers, brakes, hubs, cassettes, handlebars and stems, a headset, a kickstand. Each of them warrants a full-timer, but they're all just me and two outsiders working on them. Our intentions are good, our plannish dreams are pie-in-skyish but worth all we can put into them, and progress is slow.

The BRP/BRF programs are being reshaped by lawyers, slowly, but inexpensively as lawyered things go. We are waiting to see the plan they come up with. The bike industry (and outdoor industry beyond that) is making gestures about inclusion, color, etc., but the strategy seems to be to form committees and take a breather; or interview a Black person who climbs rocks or ride bikes and tick that box. I want our program to go deep into the muck, focus on results, and flourish. It already worked a little, and we'll know more in a month. Meanwhile, please continue to buy Reparations units at $2 each, OK? We now have $9,000  in the BRF. THat's enough to provide reparations discounts or payback or whatever to about six riders, not enough. We don't KNOW whether we'll be able to do it ourselves--that will be answered by the lawyers--but we do know that we can dive  into the reparations thing when it's YOUR money funding it, money you've donated specifically for this cause. Once we get the word that we can be more active, that we will do. For now, it's just wait wait wait.

My own mental-emotional state is "on the edge." I'm not alone in that, I know. Covid, election...legal matters about BRP, bike delays, two guys out possibly with the 'vid but we'll know more later. Plus I'm behind on a book I'm working on and it's really hard but fun but holy crap. Then a friend--oops--

just kind of outed himself as something, I don't know, when he got mad at me for the BRP/F stuff, and I really don't know how to handle that. A good friend, 30 years, I had no idea, what now? It's not a political issue, not purely. It's just human rights and all that stuff. But this is disturbing. Rivendell customers--arghh, but I really don't care who "drops" us. The feedback is 97 percent positive, thanks, and even if it wasn't, then...to hell with it all, I'm outa here. But then the personal thing, and it's a bummer, and that on top of all the other stuff, and I feel like I need hot mudbath therapy, or something.


Namedrop alert: Joe Breeze sent me an email this morning saying check out page B12 in today's S.F. Chronicle, that there's a Rivendell thing in it. I figured ruh-roh, they finally got around to acting on the press release we sent out a month ago, and now that BRP/BRF are all in limbo and our lawyers are telling us to lie low for a bit, the poop'll hit ye olde fan again and here we go with the hating phone calls and emails.  and since I don't GET that paper, he sent me these pix of those pages—


It's a Rambouillet from about 2008 or something. Downtube decal scratched off. I'd like to have that bike back. I wish I knew where exactly it was. I'd give the guy $100 for it, which maybe you think would be, like, ripping him off. But I bet he'll get less than that for it. We don't have a database by serial numbers. You have to write down your own, it's on you, keep the dang record. 

Does this belong 'tween the 'cils? I dunno. I'm thinking maybe. I have a leg to stand on, that's for sure. 

A few months ago Will included in an email update a six minute or so video of a woman defending the looters. That's a hard thing to do AND she was screaming at the camera and overall presenting not mildly an explanation of why the looters, almost all Black, were stealing hundred-dollar sneakers from a fancy sporting goods store. I am not saying that's a good thing. I wish they hadn't. A successful business doesn't deserve to be robbed any more than a struggling one...but one thing she said, in I think twelve words, made tidy sense of it: 

"Don't look at what they're doing--look at why they do it!"

Then she explained stuff about lost work opportunities, employment, and educational advancement opportunities that make it hardER for Black people to get rich, and at the same time, the bling and trappings of wealth taunt them, and for lotsa looters, this is the only way they're getting those shoes.

It's still wrong to steal. I stole a single grape when I was nine, and nothing since. It's not because I'm good, it's because I had no reason too. And, frankly, I have never wanted to break that streak, and have never not been able to get food, or save up for shoes. My skin color has not ever been an impediment to getting a job. Looking back, I can't think of any job I've ever tried to get that I didn't get, and I've never been fired, and I was a crappy busboy at Mr. Steak, a lousy dishwasher at ye olde Elk's Club. I was OK at my paper route, and from 11 to 14 nobody picked weeds better than I did. I have picked more weeds than anybody reading this, I'm sure about that.



With what sort of rapscallions are we in cahoots?

Platypus shenanigans


BIKE CONTENT, AT LAST: At least this guy doesn't have a bad case of poison oak, too. We hope. This has made the rounds, sorry if you've seen it before. Key word: Cactus.


Want to see a neat pen-&-inker of a platypus? You seriously will love this. If you're p*ssed off at all the race stuff, this will win you back. An Australian biologist and illustrator, Peter Marsack, did it.

 one more. I have more, too:

I know what you're thinking—one more platypicture, please! OK:


Platypus in the movies. Three short clips.  Totaling maybe seven minutes.


Let's save this animal. Let's raise money for the Australian Platypus Conservancy. Save up $20, and we'll figure out a way to do this. The goal is...let's say...uh, $10,000. This should not compete with the BRF, by the way. Stay tuned. We're going to be the Black Reparations + Platypus Bike Company.  Is this the surf board you want to tie on to? Ten of you will say no and email me personally. I've been called a racist thirty times at least. As I've said before, I think it's essentially impossible to grow up white in America and be free of racism. It's been drilled in for a lifetime. "Reverse racism," by the way, isn't a thing at all. "Anti-racism" is actively trying to fight racism by policies, laws, and behavior that can push you out of your comfort zone, that can turn friends or family against you, but is by design something that acknowledges racist laws of the past that have held Black people down, and ..... where am I in this sentence? It's doing something, anyway. Not just hoping positive things.


Random notes on random topics, but still bikey:

low speed precision hairy descents
Walk descents that are way over your head, no shame. If the descent is just iffy, try it. Ninety-nine percent of downhill crashes come from locking up the front wheel, being too far forward on the bike, and going too fast. So (1) brake the front wheel but don’t skid it. You have to brake both wheels, but the rear wheel skids easier. (2) Sit way back to weight the rear wheel so it can take more braking without skidding. This will let you brake the front wheel more, without pitching forward. (3) Go slow, even slower than you’d walk it. It’s still fun, still a challenge, you can learn a lot, and if you crash anyway, it’ll be a slow-speeder and you’ll probably fall sideways, not forward.
don’t hate any optional climb, and most climbs are optional
Down time/weekend/recreational rides are optional. You know what to expect, you know where the hills are, and you don’t have to be there. On the hardest part of any climb, you can always get off and walk. Even if you grunt up the whole thing, think: Would you rather be home sitting down and watching football or golf? Probably not. 
(What is a "non-optional" climb? Well, a guy is following you in a car with a gun at your head telling you to climb. If that's not happening, the climb is optional.)
maintain and even increase fitness in sixteen minutes a week
Four times a week or so, ride as hard as you can for a total of four minutes. You can break it up into as many segments as you like. It helps to have hills. Go hard enough to be miserable for 0:30  eight times or assorted segments of random lengths, as long as they add up to 4:00. You can do the full 4:00 at a whack. Four times a week. It helps to have hills. Pedal them in hard gears, whatever it takes to get gasping like mad. It’s all optional. You can also try to pedal familiar hills in harder-than-usual gears, just to make it a different ride.  This is advice for getting or keeping fit, not general riding advice. I have a 15 minute commute that allows me to enjoy four-hour hilly rides on the weekend. The point of fitness isn't to live longer, because you don't need to be fit to do that. The best reason I can think of is so you can go on longer, more adventurous rides without hating them.
remind yourself once a year that you’re lucky you can ride a bike
Tons of people are injured, ill, or too old to ride a bike. They’d love to be able to pedal up a hill or into a headwind on a hot day, legs burning, to feel their bodies responding to an effor that makes them huff and puff. When you can do that at will, it’s easy to think, no big deal. It’s a gigantic deal! To be able to ride a bicycle is the best thing, most wonderful & amazing thing in the history of life, and you can do it! I have never liked riding a bike as much as I do now, so I can tell you with some degree of sureness that if you’re twenty-eight now and you like to ride, you’ll still like to ride in forty or fifty years. It actually gets better, as you jettison the posturing, pecking order, peer approval, funny smelly clothes, clicky shoes, group rides that turn into races, and looking at yourself and your bike in the third person to see if you fit in with the group you want to fit in with. You'll do it when the time is right. For some people that's never, others just need to go thru those phases.
That’s sort of the Unracer thing I bring up now and then. But “Unracer” isn’t a category to fit into, and Unracing is just an approach to riding that gets you to stop trying to fit in with anybody, even other Unracers. Find friends who don’t race you and have fun, or ride solo and have fun. No ride is too short, some are too long. Don't force rides. Also don't drive a car for any trip that you can make on a bike in ten minutes or less...unless you have to carry gangly chairs with you.
Note only to those who VOLUNTEERED a couple of months ago. Delay, but I still have all of your contact info. Sit tight.
One of John's (Rivendell) IG posts shows the album cover for Norman Greenbaum's Spirit In the Sky album...with a bike on it...and John was wondering how many other albums had bikes on covers. That's a good question if not "one for the ages," but the main impact it had on me was to remind me of this classic song of substance:
They don't make songs like that anymore. I wonder where Sue Thompson is now, and I hope she made a million dollars off that song. She certainly paved ye olde wayye for so many other songstresses who followed.
FLASH: on the youtube page, fourth comment down, a guy say he knows her, and you can follow the comments down, and one guy talked to her a few years ago. She lives in Pahrump, NV. I hope she voted blue.
 We have lots of a few issues of the Rivendell Reader still. It comes from overestimating the demand. Each issue has at least 90 hours of my time into it, and some of other people's time, too...in addition to useful information and now and then something interesting but not useful. I've stashed aside my own issues for my great grandchildren to smirk at, so the remainders are either going into the recycing bin OR we'll sell them to you for a dollar each.
The one we have the most of is RR-36:
You can get some free online, I forget where, but we're asking only $1 for them, and you can't play the green card by not buying the paper ones, because they're already printed. Here's a LINK TO THE RR PAGE.
We will put all the money from sales of the Reader into a FUND.
Speaking of FUNDS and PRICING, we'll have more news within a month. Keep buying the BRF fund units, OK? Only $2. Every order, add one of those bad boys, if you can. It's for a good thing, or so we say.
What else? Any more platypus news? There is, but I'll save it for next time. Seriously, there is.
I italicized Rivendell Reader up there and here. Have you ever wondered when to use quotes and when italics? It's ye olde "Quotes verus Italics" conundrum, but here's what I go by, whenever it matters or I'm trying. It seems by the heading that it's a send-home sheet for parents of middle-school students, but I think even the high-brows go by this. If you do it right all the time for a year, it becomes ye olde second nature.
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