2021 mid- to late may: reservations, saddles, brake pads, sheep. I'll update this on Saturday. There's always stuff I forget.


 This advertisement/commercial is just three minutes long, and here it is with no commentary. This is the future in the real world.

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Shimano is going to stop making  middle-to-upper end non-disc brake hubs soon,  road and mountain. The motorcyclization of bicycles is raging. 

 

Some steel tubing suppliers now have lead times of 16 months. You'd HOPE that in times like this the bicycle industry would get the best service, but you wouldn't THINK that. We are putting in orders two year ahead of time, to be sure.

There's a spoke worry, too--Rich can't get DT spokes anymore, but Sapim (Belgium) are just as good and have a neat nipple feature he really likes. If the country is BELGIUM, shouldn't the people be BELGIUN, and not BELGIAN?   SAMPIN is pronounced ZAP 'em in Belgium, but they know Americans go with sah PEEM, and they tolerate it. If you're American and pronounce PARIS the French way, you're asking for a punch in the nose, though. That's the difference between France and Belgium.

We are making one final hard push to get Brooks B.68 saddles, and that'll be our last try. Brooks is booked to sometime in 2023.

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We are going to get in more British-made sweaters, this time summerweight ones, probably in time for Fall's chill, definitely in time for Winter.

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 I shot this picture on a bike on the north coast. Sorry it's a grainy black-and-white, but that is my specialty.

 

Since the Cheviot has kind of been replaced with the Platypus, you're probably wondering what's French for Platypus. Go here and click on the voice-thing and hear how a French lady says it. That is why France rules the language-sounding world.

For a technicolor video of the Cheviot sheep walking somewhere, it's really soothing and it's only five minutes, and nothing exciting happens but it's still good, CLICK HERE.  <---it's worth doing.

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 More on Goats: In about five months or more (due to Covid, we can blame everything on that, OK?) we'll get in some unpadded goatskin gloves. I know that this is not good news for vegans, and let me tell you that I know many vegans, and while I'm not one myself, and while I think the vegan argument for global warming is as inarguable as it is microscopic, I'd rather put out a leatherhide glove than a plastic one, and these goats are not raised for their skins. Their skins are just a bonus. Goat leather us the thinnest, toughest leather on the planet.   I personally have, naturally, predictably, stupidly, mixed feelings about wearing gloves on bike rides. For me, it's goat or none. We still have cowhide gloves, and as gloves go, they're the most respectable ones I'm aware of. No flash, no logos, light padding, cotton and leather. 

 

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I've recently become a Jeffrey Lewis fan. Check out these videos.

Here's one on Pocahantas. You'll learn at least five thing.

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Women of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation video: 33:00

 

We are raising the price of the Appaloosa frame $50 and donating that to the Oglala Lakota Children's Justice Center.

Still now thru the end of June we'll match half of your donation up to $200 donations (but go for $20, it's easy!) and -- what are we doing, now? I'll copy and past from the last note. Go by this:

Donate $20 to $200 between now and July 1, and we'll credit your account for half that. If you're really rich and feel like donating $1,000, that's great, but we're topping out, creditwise, at $100. Send proof of your donation (a screenshot of your receipt or something) to 

                        info@rivbike.com

Don't send it to me. I'll see them all, but James gets these and he's more organized than I am. In the subject, put

PINE    and then YOUR NAME

Like:  PINE    Lenny Kingsford 

Please send the screenshot from the email address you use to shop with us - or tell us which email you use. You must have an account to get credit.

These are the Native Americans that were slaughtered in 1890 at the battle at Wounded Knee—on their reservation. We have already dontated $2,200 donated as a company, but we'll match half of your donations, too. It's not that complicated, it'll go like this:

You give $20 and email us the proof with PINE YOUR NAME.

We credit you $10...but give us till June 15 to do that. We won't lose track.

We'll ALSO send the reservation $10 if you give $20, OR $25 if you give $50. But shoot for $20.

So your $20 dontation will give the reservation $30, and you get $10 Rivcredit.

If history can predict the future, I'll get at least three emails saying YOU never PERSONALLY hurt a Native American, so why should you? Or recommending some other group we should be supporting instead. Please no, we're just plugging away, trying not to hurt anybody. 

WE HAVE NOT BEEN DIVERTED OR DILUTED. WE ARE DIVERSIFYING. 

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Bells. Here's a Guardian story a friend in Denmark sent me. If you KNOW you don't read longish links, click HERE. If you are kind of interested, click HERE.

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In August or October we may be getting some Rosco Bubbe frames. Like fat-tire mixte frames. Rosco Bubbe is our catch-all line of small-run, 100 percent functional, superbly designed, just as strong as the others, graphically pleasing and with a killer head tube frames that have a special story and sometimes something slightly funky about them. Nothing that matters practically or functionially. Nothing crappy or even in that direction. The Rosco Bubbe bikes are the ones your most distant heirs will sell for the most money way the hell down the road. 

The point here BEING that if you want a kind of minimal fanciness mixte-style bike that seems like it could be the spawn of a Clem L and a Platypus and fits tires to 2.25-inches, then watch for something in one of those months.

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Bill Range is 6' 11" and used to play basketball until another player came down on his foot and broke many of its bones. Then something else happened to him, I forget, but he couldn't even walk for three years and ye olde doomsday docs said he might not ever walk again. He had a ton of operations and for about a year every time he came by, seems like every two weeks, he always had a cast on. He wanted a bike and got a 65 CLEM-H, then he wanted a zippy bike and got the first 64cm long-chainstay Homer. He picks depending on the weather, and rides seven days a week. Last year, according to his bike computers, he rode 18,000 miles. Even if his electronics are a little off, and I'm not saying they are, 49 miles a day is plenty. It's what you do when you can when you used to be in a bed for three years and being told you're not going to walk. That's why bikes are so neat. Smooth, easy even when injured, and so on. 

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This is the most beautiful place I've seen in my life. Nothing "puts Yosemite to shame," including this, but holy criminy. It's not competition. This is my No. 1, that's all.

It's in Norway, and it was like this in every direction for miles and miles. We were in a car, alas and alack, but still. 

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Raise your hand if you haven't heard of Jim Thorpe or haven't thought about him more than twice in ye olde recent memory. All kids in the 1960s and earlier knew about him.  Not much, but something. The Jim Thorpe wikipedia page will get you up to speed enough to function in polite society. Keep in mind that he used a bamboo pole, for the vault. Not that anybody needs to make excuses for ol' Jim Thorpe.

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WARNING:  Bicycle topic, sort of

I have said stuff like this before, but with the high rate of BLAHG reading attrition that I imagine, and for newcomers etc., it's worth repeating. EVERY aspect of bicycling becomes competitive. The same can be said about anything people do, but I will stick to riding.

First you ride a bike. Then you see others ride bikes, too, and it's not long before somebody wants to know who is fastest, who can rider longer, who can ride the most gnarly..and the next thing you know, there's competitive bike camping. Even if it's not outwardly competitive, it gets that way--like competitive hiking. Who can take the least amount of gear, kind of a strange take on zen when you start comparing. (My record is 13 lbs for one overnight. See?) Trail riding becomes racing and who can ride the Great Divide's 2700 miles fastest. Strava and Red Bull and the UCI and whoever's now running mountain bike racing are all complicit, guilty as I am charging them.

They always fall back on the benevolence of trickle-down. We test the gear so you can buy it with confidence. We're your crash-test dummies, appreciate out contribution.

I BELIEVE all that when it comes to the Repack races down Mt. Tamalpais. To an extent, at least. I think mountain bikes (and our Hillibikes) would have evolved eventually, but the concentration of 22 races between 1976 and 1978 made it happen fast, so my sincere thanks to those rider-racers.

There are examples in the road bike world, too. The post-war French bikes brought fine bikes along pretty fast.

I didn't mean to get into that, but I'll keep it. What I meant to say early on is that the quest for speed and fitness affect riding weirdly, too. Horrible sentence, that one. What I really mean to say is that you don't need a 16-pound bicycle to achieve fitness. It's not even better. It's worse. There is not a FINE LINE between riding a sixteen pounder and a fifty pounder. At some point you want the bike to respond to your efforts; like, you don't want to feel like Jack LaLanne pulling boats. Jack was the first visible most influential fitness guy, and he and a few others in the 1950s got adults interested in fitness, which made it easier for bicycles to happen. Say what you will about the bodybuilder guys of the early 1900s, it still comes down to Jack, who had a television show for 32 years, and reached about 10,000x as many people as fill in the blank did.  Extremists start movements that normal people can't, and then they get faded away.

Read or reread this.

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 This is Brooks's latest saddle that we know of. It's the Vegan C67:

 

 It's blacker than that. Glare or something.

 The B.17 is 17cm wide. Makes sense. There's no other 17 in its DNA. It came out BEFORE 1917, I think, or maybe a little after, but not in 1917.

I think all Brooks saddles should be width-named, but I would hate for Brooks to suggest other names for our bicycles, so I'll drop that. In any case...it measures 19 to 19.3cm wide. Brooks has a C-19 also, and it measures 17cm wide. 

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We're still hoping to get some B.68 saddles, the super duper leather one that Brooks has stopped making even tho it's super duper. We've placed an order for 500 of them, which is insane in ordinary circumstance, but considering the lead times for anything during Covid AND our wanting to emphasize our commitment to the B.68, that's what we're doing.

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This is one of the scarier packages we've rec'd in a while, although I hope we all condone the Us or Die sentiment. I wish I could draw like that.

This came in it:

It's a groovy thing called the Restuvus, a saddlebag carrier for saddles that don't have loops. It's made, by Hobo Pieces, of Garland, TX. There have been a dozen or so such devices over the decades, but this one so far seems easier to use and less likely to slip than the others I'm familiar with.

 

Here's it on a bike with a saddlebag on it. I got it because I really want to try the C67, but all my bikes have saddlebags, and as my dad might have said, I'll be g*d-dam*ed if I'm going to give up a saddlebag just to ride a saddle without loops.

 

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 PENCIL

This is for the Indian Reservation kids who have a bike program going. We sent them some money and got this card back, and this:

Eventually we'll burn it and fan it around.

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"Indian" and "Native American" both have baggage. I try to use Native American except when talking about reservations and coins and governmental agencies and political movements that happened a long time ago and have "Indian" grandfathered in by now. 

PENCIL 

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Saddle Mods: A neat saddle is the B.17 shortie. Instead of 11-inches long like the normal B.17, it's only--a scant, a paltry--9.25-inches. The original reason was the let a woman's dress flop down sooner and not fly up. At one point it was a "woman's B.17." Now we or they know better, and anyway, it's the saddle Will rides a lot, and now I got one, and one of our customers is getting one, and she DOES ride floppy dresses, so it makes sense. We can't get the cut-out leather B.17 in brown, and that's what she wanted, so I did it myself, and I out-Brooksed Brooks, although the sane might not agree. 

Pro-job of cutting out. 

 

Will's B.17 Shortie-no-cutout.

First I marked the area to cut. Then this.

Then this.

 

Smoothing the edges with a dremel. Then with a hand-file. That's a Swiss hand-file, my friends. Nothing but classy hand-files around here:

But is that enough? I thought not...

Drilling two holes.

Chamfering the hole for good looks and soft edges. Look at this stroke of genius, for max comfort. Watch how it shapes out.

 

More cush for the ischial tuberosites. Flex by connecting the slot and holes.

 And here's the final. 

It is comfortable right off the bat. The rider weighs 120lb and wanted a nice looking saddle, pref brown, that was comfortable. For a Platypus. This should do it. But then Will had another idea:

 

I just drilled and chamfered a bunch of holes and connected some of them for extra flex, and I'll ride this one myself, since I don't expect any of you to buy it. Then i wrong-tooled a soldering iron to put in the date that ...I was off by five days, which isn't bad. As a percentage of the year, I was 98.63 percent accurate, if I did the math right.

Here's one of Will's saddles:

The point of all this is to modify what can be modified without risking life. Do what makes sense. Dremel tools and drills, knives and files, heat or a Sharpie and not much care and just let 'er rip.

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Mailboxes:

We got in more than 250 entries. It would take one person two days to go through them all, sort them and label them by name and city, and then upload them here. I'll see every one. Not sure how to deal with it, but the deadline has long passed. We'll credit you, give us a couple of weeks. Thanks.

I still like mailboxes. Now more than ever. Thanks for that, too.