Updated more ranty mid-Oct variety pack

Updated more ranty mid-Oct variety pack

I am in a Mongolian phase.  People can be Mongolians or Mongols. Some things can be Mongolian OR Mongol, but I think not all things. This is what I've been able to ... ascertain.


And on a completely different other note, this is kind of neat:



Will's off drops. This is an old photo.


Over time the leather shrinks and pulls away from the rivets and the rivets can then catch on your pants crotches, but taping like this prevents it. This B.17 is 18 years old, and has been rejuvenated many times. New things don't stay new. You have to care for them and nurse them. I just taped the tape to level with the edge. I could have covered it, but the main part wasn't the problem.


Here's about a 12-year old photo, film even tho it's color, of my now 24-year old and our now 13-year old dog on a backpacking trip in Mammoth. It's a Rivendell Mountain Works "Jensen Pack". That company's stuff and approach was a huge influence on me and on Rivendell.


I don't know what to think about this. but I don't buy the URL:


Calling it a bike is a stretch. It's a battery powered, mini-car that you can pedal to extend the life of the battery. I hope they do well, but a bicycle is a thing that moves by muscle and gravity.

This one weighs 203lb. If it had another wheel and room for 3 more people and more groceries and powered by a bigger battery, but was still "pedal assisted" -- would it still be a bike? If it carried three unpedaling passengers who were officially, by the DMV, considered a type of cargo (Flesh Cargo!) just like they are in a CAR, would it still be a bike?

As the word "bicycle" is pronounced, it's my favorite noise, and I mean it. I have loved them for so long that I can't separate it from anything. I say "bike" in public most of the time because "bicycle" means so much to me that it feels funny to say it in public, like I'm trying too hard. I write "bicycle" more than I say it, because it's behind a shield then, and I also love the way it looks written or typed.

bicycle BICYCLE

"Better bicycle," I couldn't take that. I think "eBicycle" wouldn't fly commercially, as well, either. It's more obviously not one, but since "bike" has been used for motorcycles, it's less obvious.

"Motorcycle" and "motorbike" are totally honest and don't bother me at all. They put the motor up front and honestly. But "eBike"?

You have to draw a line, don't you? Is a room temperature corn dog just another type of lollipop if you lick it? Is a mirrorless digital camera more a camera or computer? Throwing the corndog example aside for now, it's like modern things want to own the original archaicness of the things they're calling themselves. You don't have to get all weepy about the old days and heritage and all that, and you don't have to be overly amazed by modern technology, but at some point there is no best of both combo.

It isn't a matter of whether the new tools use some of the skills the old ones required: Subject, composition, exposure, pedaling, steering, effort. All photographs are images, but are images that created without the use of light and chemistry photographs? Sometimes I think yes, sometimes No. Sometimes I think there are bigger fish to fry, like presidents with an "instinct for science," and sometimes I think it's OK to examine minutia and get all greasy with it. 

Back to the "better bike" —I think it is a groovy thing. If I could afford one I'd get one, but I'd call it my car and I'd consider it my favorite car. Does a car need a carburator? I had to look up the spelling.

"I saw a sillohuette of a carburator!" he exclaimed, when Joe Schmoe asked him what he saw today.

But sillohuette and carburator both are spelled incorrectly. Ask your teenager to spell that sentence on paper. One shot, no cheating. Or your spouse, adult child, or precocious pre-teen, or you. Mail it to me on a postcard. Spend the $0.50 or whatever. I will tally the results, but nobody wins a prize. We're facing a rough winter, so no prizes for now. None guaranteed, at least.

Don't assume only correct spellings would qualify, if we were in a position to award prizes. That would be a grave mistake. One postcard per entry. None by email. There will be at least two would-have-been winners. Is this worth anybody's time? It might be.


Jim Taylor, Hugh McElhaney, R.C. Owens, Max McGee, Ray Nitschke, Jim Otto, Johnny Unitas, Raymond Orr, Tommy Davis, Joe Perry, Matt Hazeltine, Y.A. Tittle, Sam Huff, Abe Woodson...those are the olde tyme football players I remember from, like, the early '60s when I was eight to 11 and had their cards and read about them all the time. Abe Woodson came to the house for dinner one night, and my mom went on and on about Jesus. He was the only black guy ever to come to the house, except for the garbage collectors. When I was a little kid I always wanted to be black. I wasn't familiar with the history of oppression etc; all I new is that all my athlete heroes were: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Willie Davis, Oscar Robertson... I tan easily and cultivated deep tans on purpose and for that reason.

Anyway, the 49ers used to practice at a local college, and I got to know Abe there. I was mortified at my mom's unnecessary move. The last I heard, Abe was living in Las Vegas. I just looked him up, and he's died:

abe woodson

I see he became a prison chaplain. Maybe my mom got through.

I have a new favorite player. He's only 22. I don't know much about him, though I have read his CV now. I kind of think he took his own birth in stride, emerged placidly, slid out without a peep or squawk, and to this day he's calm, unflusterable, at least that's what I assume from his name. I recommend him as a favorite football player, the athlete with the best athlete's name of all time.

Check it out.


This is my own HHH. I'll probably fancy the front grips and wrap the curve of the bars, but I'll keep the cheap CLEM saddles, because they're good and what the heck.


We're not counting, but there have been about a dozen 50 to 100 percent sincere requests for HUBBUHUBBUHs, and I am personally torn between living up to my declaration that we'd never do them again (because they're such a hassle and take us away from our normal stuff); and doing another run, this time, once again, personally committed to it being the last one, but this time not declaring it.

It would help to have firm numbers. The bleachers-seats BLAHG isn't the best place to get those, but it's a fine filter for them, and it's a little looser than the BLUG and the super formal eMail updates we do twice a month, so I'll ask this:

Under these conditions, almost exactly the same as we had before, would you buy one? —

• $1,850 frame fork, headset, eccentric, and OUR pick of color, nothing else.

• $1,000 down, non-refundable unless we don't get 'em. (Yes, of course we'd refund it, but "non-refundable" is the spirit of the thing.)

• Wait as long as it takes. Maybe a year.

• We'd be a source for wheels and other parts, but unless you pick the bike up here, we wouldn't assemble it (a local bike shop will appreciate the work). If you are local and Mark does assemble it, that assembly will cost an extra $500. It takes him a day, and our shop rate is $70/hour.  During that day he can do nothing else, not even answer the phone, and after the last one I swore it was over. My own HHH has yet to be assembled, I want him to do it, and I'm charging myself $400 and that price takes into consideration that the company owes me about 8 months of vacation and sick pay. If you become me, you can get the same deal, but if not, $600.

If you're interested and familiar with the HHH and are clear on the stipulations, contact will@rivbike.com and grant@rivbike.com. BOTH. Put your name and HHHagain in the subject field, along with your PBH or saddle height. No money down yet, but we'll ask for that at the worst time of year--sometime in January.

If you have techspecquestions about it, first read this. 

You can expect a complete HHH to cost about $4,000, set up the way mine is. If you die you can pass it on. If you get too old to ride you can sell it for really close to what you paid for it. No matter what happens with bikes in the future and tandems in particular, the HHH will always be the most comfortable, best-riding, robust-n-burley, heavenly tandem you'll ever ride. Decades from now, somebody will want yours.


ROSCO BEBE, the baby-carrier supremio bicyclette of our dreams and imaginations, is slowly shaping up. It is designed for the kind of baby carrier that fits behind the handlebar, the coziest way, and the way that's stunningly so inconvenient and cramming on normal bikes.

Many of you have feigned interest, some of you are truly interested, a few have been willing to commit a couple of months ago, but we didn't then and still don't have the samples to try. They're coming in a couple of months. We'll try to get together a package of parts that make sense and cost little enough that you can justify it for a mere-tot carrier bike, if that's your thinking on "mere." It will be a good bike to sell later or hold onto for another coming down the pike. We still haven't tried it, but we know that normal bikes stink at carrying babies behind the handlebar, and this one should be excellent. Dave will test the first one we get, probably the medium. It'll come in 3 sizes.

Still interested or newly interested? Reconfirm or raise your hand by sending your first and last name in the subject fied, followed by BB (for baby bike), and any questions or anything like that, or nothing except your name, to:



I can now recite T.S. Eliot's The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock out loud, while riding my bike leisurely on a flat road in 4:43. You can say it's a waste of time, you can say it was never meant to be said that fast, that T.S. Eliot would be horrified, but I'm calling it a regional record.

the love song of j. alfred prufrock


Scott has Discount Brake & Muffler next to us, BMX guy, he's 56, and he wanted to go on a trail ride. A, ahem, Hillybike ride--so he and Dan and I went to a local place, and this is the number 1 short descent on earth. Note Scott's T-shirt. Note also that the prototype Gus Boots-Willsenses lack a head badge and look funny without it. Three consecutive photos, Hasselblad with 80mm lens, Ilford HP5 film, roughly f8 at 1/250th. (Just because if you DO shoot film, this kind of stuff is interesting. If you don't, it's incredibly irritating, no doubt. Sorry.)

This is the order, from top to back up.

It isn't as scary as it looks. The Hillybikes track straight, and as long as you don't panic and lean forward and slam on the front brake, it's almost impossible to crash...on this particular descent. Other ones, it just depends.

Scott's looking off the side, I don't know why.

OK. It's not easy to GET there, but it's generally worth it. It's about a 1:20 min ride from HQ, but you can cheat with a car and cut 43 min out of that.


The Gus-Boots Willsen anagram winner or winners will be announced next week.  There were three judges. I don't exactly understand whether or not they came to a consensus, or whether they have their own winners. But one of the entries got two first place votes. Oddly, that person sent it in on a postcard (good, required) that didn't include his or her name or any way to contact. I'll chalk that up to being "out of postcard practice," but SuBlo--if that was yours, figure it out, read thru the code--contact me, OK? I know I didn't SAY to identify yourself, so my bad there.














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