Mid-to-late March, another shortie

Mid-to-late March, another shortie

 Sofia and Dan in the Headlands, north of San Francisco.


 The timeliest song in the world, written in 1961 by 20.5-year old Bob Dylan.

Putin isn't claiming God is on his side, though. There may be a small religious or contrived anti-Nazi component, but basically it's just a mean crazy man doing horrible things, and it makes all of the things we think are problems or challenges or whatever things to worry about seem stupid.

Here's one more, baby.



That photo above, taken with a film camera of course, is the best football photo I've ever seen. I'd like to know the camera settings, tripod or no (probably not), light conditions, and so on. The shutter speed was at least 1/250th second. If it was a daygame, which it probably was, probably iso 400 film (TRI-X), and that points to like F11, and given the blurred distand background, probably a long lens, like 150mm or 200mm (probably a zoom lens). It's "hard to say."

Whenever I read long obits with a story like this, I think hey man, why not do these while the person's still alive, and might get a charge out of reading them? Pre-obituaries could be a thing. Maybe any praise-y coverage is a pre-obit kind of, but I mean the kind that sum up the person's life, if somebody's life can be summed up in 600 words or so. And at least make nice prints of the photo and send it to the guy who's dying. Bad idea? I dunno, maybe. I'm open to this being a bad idea.



Derailer Letter from a fellow concerned about the possibility of a derailer made in China:

Just watched a great video about you guys on Path Less Pedaled, one of my very favorite YouTube channels. I have been a long admirer of your company for design, philosophy and being a consumer advocates. I am for you guys producing a rear derailleur all the way.

 I made some comments on YouTube against making a derailleur in China because China is not a free society, they persecute minorities, they steal IP, and they do not produce things abiding by clean air etc. In addition the CCP is for global domination and aggression.

Have been pro Taiwan ever since I was a boy. I’m 65 now. My only misgivings about Taiwan is that over 17,000 Taiwanese companies do business in China because of deals they can’t seem to refuse. I suspect many products coming from Taiwan are made in China.

I try to purchase things made anywhere but China. Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, India, Mexico, Vietnam, Europe etc. And always start with the USA.

Comments in reply to my comments were that a rear derailleur made in the USA would cost from $300 to $700. I started corresponding with Giulio Mancini of Ingrid nearly two years ago, telling him I love what he is doing and encouraging him to come out with a 2x road derailleur.

I’d rather have a country than a bargain, is my mantra. And I live by it. I go to a lot of inconvenient sacrifice to avoid buying from China. It, actually, is a pain. But the future of the globe is at stake. The future world my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will live in matters. Freedom matters.

I have a small budget. I never buy new bikes, but that doesn’t keep me from trying to help American companies. There is one company that makes an American made frame and I asked them if I could just donate $50 to them for doing that, and they refused my money and encouraged me to buy other less expensive products from them. I’ll never own one of their bikes, but I keep buying other stuff from them as often as possible.

 Finally, here’s my suggestion:

  1. Manufacture your derailleur anywhere but China.
  2. Also produce a totally made in American option even if it is not different in design. Just to give people that option. Just to find out if there is a market for it. You might just pioneer something that will start a welcome change in the world.

Thanks for listening and I wish you all the best,


P.S. JFK said in Berlin June 26, 1963, “Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.” There are thousands in repression in China. Just because you don’t see it when you visit doesn’t make their reality any less tragic.


My response not sent, and he's not in our database so he prob doesn't read this, but others and maybe many of you might be thinking the same thing, and I understand that, and this is an opportunity to address it, so:


Dear (Name),

I went to three USA place first, all said no, and probably not because they didn't want work, but because they know that a rear derailer is the toughest challenge in the bike industry, by far. It moves complicatedly, it has a geometry and path and three springs, two of them hidden, and they have to be perfect. There's tons of assembly. Experience with derailers matters, and nobody in America has enough experience to make this KIND of derailer.

There's a British derailer. 

That's $625 USD. 

They've worked on it since 2017...but Jan or Dec? I am all for this, all for them. Good work, m' wee bonnie blokes!  (or m' wee bonnie lasses, whatever). I seriously hope it's applauded and not second-guessed. I bet it works fine. I KNOW it does. The question is, at this price, will people expect it to work skilllessly? You can pay more for electronic derailers. I'd like to talk to these people. A fancy version of ours may cost ... well, it depends on how much we depend on it for sustenance.

Nobody in Japan makes derailers. The two derailer-makers in Taiwan didn't want to tackle it. I hope they copy it, though--once they see we're selling 100 per year, they'll rue the day they said No. That was a joke. The Taiwan place we're in touch with seems to be able to do anything, but has not made a front derailer.

We've done the design work. It's been thousands of hours. Not ten, maybe four. Still, a lot. And even then, we won't know if it has some fatal flaw until we try them. If you (who is not reading this, because we sell new stuff and you "support" U.S. manufacturing by buying used stuff)--if you want to take our CAD file and figure out how to get it made in the U.S., I'll sell it to you (on a non-exclusive arrangement, meaning I can still own it and sell it to somebody else with equal delusions)...for $1,000. I'd actually sell it for a dollar, if I wasn't afraid non-serious people would buy it just to have it, but wouldn't do anything with it.

If you're reading this and want to go fro the $1,000 deal, PM me, by all means. You'll get the current state of it, but if there are any changes, you take care of them entirely yourself. You may need new skills and software. You don't get the WORLD for $1,000, just the current state of the design. It doesn't entitle you to free consultation.

I appreciate that politics affect your buying decisions. We've never sold made in China stuff. I've been "proud" of that, I guess, although from a political point of view, and to address the slavery issue you brought up about China, the U.S.A. has been world leaders in enslavement, and even while it's strictly illegal, there's still different kinds of slavery going on here. Human trafficking, etc. There are other human rights and civil rights type imperfections going on here, too. It's not like the country is run by Indigenous people who paid our way here and approved all the changes we made and are now providing us work.

Every country is screwed up some, except, I hear, Iceland. What does Iceland make? A few years ago I contacted a Reykjavik Chamber of Commerce-type organization, saying I wanted to buy almost anything made in Iceland (not electronics), and I suggested...wool goods, for example. What do I know about Iceland's products? No answer.

Anyway, not many countries are "clean," and we're not even one of the cleaner ones. No, I'm not going to go back to Denmark just because I don't love all that's going on here. I still get to stay here and try to get OM (Opposite Movement) derailers made wherever the heck we can.



See this split-apart rim. Nothing defo here, comrades. It came of a perfect storm consisting of a narrow, light rim and a 55mm tire pumped too hard. The rider was big, too, but I'd bet that didn't come into action. The rider finished the ride, brakes opened up to clear the rim. Listen, now, seriously:

You don't get cush from volume, you get it from pressure. For any given tire pressure, the fatter the tire, the more outward force on the rim. In a 28mm tire, 30 psi is insanely too soft and you'll get pinch flats and wreck the rim...but in a 52mm tire (for example) 30 psi is too hard to ride comfortably on bumpy trails. It feels to a finger-squeeze like 85 to 90 psi. If you think "pounds per square inch are pounds  per square inch, so how could it be harder just because the tire is fatter?" -- well, try it.


We're looking into our own floor pump. We bought and have been using stock pump from a pumpmakeur in Taiwan, and we'll buy that pump with an upgraded wooden handle just for us. We've worn out or broken close to a dozen floor pumps over the years. The one I have at home, my god, it's loose and clanky with a broken plunger cap, and it that takes special technique to get it to work. I've had it. I hate it that we have to commit to a thousand of them. It's so dreadful, but I want this decent pump. It's not like "RiV-quality" the way our frames are, but it's reliable, and I've given up on the brand we used to use.


 HOBSON-ZINGO tools and T-shirts are coming soon, but first, the tools. We have the tools, have been using them, have tested them--as you loyal readers or whatever know. But we're all caught up in this Ukraine stuff, the T-shirts and  help and so on. Hobson-Zingo can wait a couple of weeks. Not that I expect things to get better over there.. 

I hope the "rat's ass" isn't too offensive. I find my tolerance increase as the state of the world declines. What's a rat's ass when Putin's bombing hospitals? It's no time to wince at a little coarse language here or there. Don't write and say you thought I was better than that, please. Anyway, "..rat's ass" was the less coarse of the two options, so there you go.


 Our home-brand of bike parts is SILVER.

It started with SILVER shifters, the ones we now call SILVER1. They were exact copies of SunTour Sprint shifters from 1986. We got bar-end pods for them, too. Downtube or bar-end. Straight, smooth, nice. We still have those.

Next came long-reach sidepulls, which TEKTRO made exactly to our specs, and are now known as TEKTRO #559. We had a one-year exclusive. We still consider them ours, but whatever.

Then came SILVER hubs. The rears are super, the fronts had a small occasional problem that bummed everybody out, so we just forgot about them. The rears are, according to Rich here, truly super duper--but with the front hub taint of shame spilling over onto them, we just backed off. Now we're using them again, and if you want a killer rear hub, these are them.

Then came the SILVER crank, a 110x74 pattern crank, still current. I'd have preferred a skinnier crank arm, but that wasn't passing the test, so it's wide than I originally liked...but now, compared to lots of cranks, it's not wide at all. It's a beautiful, problem-free crank for all-around riding, and can be a single, double, or triple. It's considerably easier to change chainrings on than the Sugino XD.

Then the SILVER2 shifter-a nearly knock-off of the SunTour 1983 XC thumbshifter, but with several improvements and our own unique thumby clamp. I think it's the best shift lever I've ever used, super versatile, nice, easy to mount, versatile, really happy with it.

Coming up is a V-Brake, actually two. The grooviest feature on it are the arms, which are designed to fit 54mm road pads, and they let you open the pads past the fork blades and seat stays. The only V-brake with this ability, and my god, my cousins, this is huge. We've had four prototpes, and the final one is due in a couple of months...should be OK.

We have a cantilever all designed, but I don't know if we'll go after it.


 Women's Cycling. An article in the December, 1977 issue of Bike World, which no longer exists. When it was alive I read every issue, but  I missed this story. Her dad seems like a jerk.


 The bandanas are in, eight bucks. It's an expensive bandana, but not the world price leader. MUSA by the same make of our other bandanas. All cotton, same size as the others.


Watching MSNBC last night, they finally showed all the companies with outposts and business in Russia, and my former employer was right in there. And, wouldn't you know that after 28 years of not selling stuff made in China, the year we started (Thousand brand helmets, and now we're looking at maybe a rear derailer), China would be one of like, three countries still chummy with Putin.  That is a rhetorical question, which I hear doesn't require a question mark. It's optional, but I think it'd look better with one.


THE LARKINS is a netflix or whatever series that starts out so goofy that you think you'll hate it, maybe, meaning I did...but it ends up being kind of good.  There's some PENCIL content in it, and at least one trans-person, which is pretty advanced for a show that's based on the 1950s in Kent, England.


Literally if not figuratively, tons of women ride our bikes. As a percentage, I don't know how many, because we don't count things. We don't count anything we don't have to count. We have no statisticians on the payroll, and we don't think in terms of "how do we sell to THIS group or THAT. I don't know how it all works, but the first ten years we probably sold fifteen bikes to women, and I don't mean per year. Quick survey here, I asked a few of the guys here to guess the percentages of Rivendells go to women:

A few years ago BICYCLING magazine said 53 percent of bike shop customers were women. I contacted about five shops I know and asked them, and they said it was close (at that time) to five percent. So by BICYCLING's figures we look bad, but otherwise---not so bad. Of course we'd like more, but not marketing specifically to women isn't a matter of disrespect, it's more like...whether one is a biological woman or biologically male but identifies as a woman, either way, not a lot of bearing on what makes a bikes suitable and comfortable. Saddles, I can see, who am I to pretend I can identify with what's going on down there when a woman sits on a saddle? But for anything that even might affect comfort-for-women, the acceptable range must be huge, still. Handlebar width, maybe there's something to that, too, but I know a woman who rides 66cm drop bars and isn't gonna be thrilled with 38s or 40s; is not going to ride those.

Frame design is my main deal, area of input here, and the practice of shortening top tubes a couple of centimeters is based on ancient hocus pocus that I didn't believe even when it was fresh, and yet that's the industry gold standard in women's frame designs. It assumes a dozen things that are mostly unknowable or untrue. For instance, it assumes either that all seat tube angles are the same or that seat tube angle doesn't affect "reach to the handlebar," and not all seat tube angles ARE the same, and seat tube angle absolutely affects reach-to-the-bar, because a steeper seat tube angle pushed the top tube forward. And modern women's-frame design seems to assume that all stems have identical dimensions, and handlebars are all the same shape, so the only way to reduce leaning and reaching is to shorten the to tube. When you have a selection of stem lengths, and when don't you?, and when you're open to a bar that sweeps back toward you 20cm, then you know, a 2cm top tube ends up meaning nothing...except that all else equal--all other lengths and angles---a shorter wheelbase means a more jittery bike, and that's not always acceptable.  

Here is a podcast and partial script, an interview of Betty Foy (pre-Platypus) rider Pam Murray, of Charlotte:


On two different laptops here, the podcast crapped out halfway thru, so I'm glad there's a script, but I still wonder what I missed.

Pam has 60,000+ miles on her bike. She has the older Silver friction bar-end shifters, and a pretty typical (for then and now) build. She uses her bike instead of a car, averages about 20 miles a day, and the interview is killer, good straight information and observations from a rider who understands the potential of any bike and how to work it into a life. Don't feel bad if you don't go whole-hog-Pam. She's far-out there, and a good inspiration. Just try to be as much like Pam as you can. She's your goal. Right there. Nice hat, too.


I LIKE but don't love our CPA. I wish one of you would do it, but you have to be good. My wife probably wouldn't want to switch to a new one, but...argh, I wouldn't mind.


 We're in ye olde throes of the devastating cash doldrums that we knew were coming between frame shipments. Next frames, mid to late April...Atlantis and Gus and Susie. Here's the chart we have hanging up. It's the latest, realistic schedule of deliveries:

It's possible we'll do pre-orders. We often regret it when we do, but cash flow may require it. We're applying/reapplying for a new line of credit, $250,000. We'll know in a month. We have to pay for materials sometimes 8 months before production begins. It sucks, sorry.


 Dan on a trail that used to be open to bikes, but now isn't.

Same trail. Nobody but us ever rode this formerly-open-to-bikes section, so maybe some hikers saw us and said Hey to the park rangers...and that's OK. We walked the bikes up a mile or more of it. There's no riding on this stuff, but it's still fun to be out there, and our bikes look mild.

This is high up on the mountain on a sunny day, steep and loose section, steeper than it looks. It's rideable, but when you're already tired and stuff, it's easier just to walk. This is Dan and his rear- gusseted shirt. I like the sun shining on the inner parts of the front and rear rim. This is exactly what it looks like. Not that it matters to more than 0.4 percent of you, but Hasselblad 80mm B50 lens, I think no filter, and HP5 film, probably f16 @ 1/500th.

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