No 3/2020 Late Enero 2010. Toilets, GRETA THUNBERG LAST CHANCE, another Shimano derailer, assorted other things.

No 3/2020 Late Enero 2010. Toilets, GRETA THUNBERG LAST CHANCE, another Shimano derailer, assorted other things.

The GRETA THUNBERG ANAGRAM CONTEST rages on. We need to get the entries by analog postcard by Groundhog Day, which, it turns out, is impossible, because that's a Sunday. So, we can make it the following Wednesday. It's called "three day's slack."   


2040 North Main #19

Walnut Creek, CA 94596

 An independent panel will judge. There will be prizes..not just for entering, but for something. Prizes awarded by Leap Day. You can enter as many as you like. One person has 192 so far. They can be phrases or fictitious names. Examples to let you know how high or low the bar is:







They don't have to be clever or make sense. Gregna Hutbert is not no hope. Cut out squares about an inch or so...from cardboard..write G R E T A T H U N B E R G on them, both sides so there's never a blank side up, and spend an evening on it. Or an hour. Come up with five to three hundred, write them on postcards, send them in, do it soon. Thou shalt not regret it, which is more than one can promise for a gun bath.



Below is a product that may interest you. At some point in your life, you'll wish you had it. Or wished you'd had it. It makes a great gift for any outdoorsy person in your life.

I know what you're thinking: Fantastic! But what about  privacy? Relax, you're covered:

I think these items are perfect as one of those, "Customers who bought this also looked at/bought this other thing." You couldn't give just one as a gift, right?

For the record, Montbell is one of my fav small backy-packy kind of businesses. It's kind of like Snow Peak; both are Japanese, both deal in highish-end luxury semi-outdoorsish camping stuff, and both are worth a look. 


Here is my personal Appaloosa. It is quite personal:

It's a trail rider, commuter, shopper. That's a JandD front rack, and it mounts perfectly. I still think a basket rack and big front basket paired with a big saddlebag in back is even better, but maybe for touring or something, without needing to load and unload a lot, these bags are...maybe slightly better, I don't know. It's hard to be better than a basket.

When I'm shopping with it like this, I've gotten a few "where are you headed?"s, and I know I'm disappointing them with, "Trader Joe's." The thing is, it's nice to have more room than necessary. The modern way, and the way I've usually done it, too, is cramming maximum food into minimal baggage, and cram-pack everything into it. These BackaBike Sacks, mounted FrontaBike, let me relax more. Last week I know I had 25 pounds in them.

The BackaBike sacks are easy to mount, but a little fussy. They'll confuse a thief. The strap down there is a bit long and sometimes tinkles in the spokes, but you can cut it to the length you need, burn the ends with a flame, and then it's perfect.

We sell these singly, so you can go blue and gray if you like. For most of my life I've spelled gray grey, but about two years ago I quit, because I realized it was the British way, and I then put it into the category of tyres. I quit spelling catalog catalogue too. 


Here's my latest obsession, and it has so much good about it that I know the obsession is permanent:

It's a low-middle end Shimano Acera 7/8speed derailer that works in 9sp friction like mad. I mentioned it in the last BLAHG. I've been riding it everyday since. 

You can't SAY, as I often have, that this or that derailer "works well." In friction mode that doesn't make sense. The derailer pulleys guide and tension the chain and move downward as they move inward, so the upper pulley (guide or "jockey" pulley) rides close to the cogs, necessary for super good shifts. 

But other than that, the movement is smooth and notch-free. You control it all with the shifter, and that's either the fantastic thing or the curse with friction shifting. 

The image of that chain might be used in an advertisement for belt-drives, but the thing is, it's smooth as butter and as quiet as a cloud, despite looking like that. Chains are amazingly efficient, even gunked up or rusty.

Both pulleys have 13t, instead of both having 11t. So more chain wrap and a shorter cage, for less of a gangly look. I don't think a longer cage is practically more vulnerable than a shorter one, but I like the looks better. Yesterday on a dog-walk I there was a bike leaned up against a tree off the trail, and the only part of the derailer that was facing us was the backside of the rear cage, which is all I needed to see to tell my wife, "That's my favorite derailer." It was the Shimano Altus, with 13t guide pulley and 15t tension pulley, and super short cage.

Both Altus and Acera are good. Altus has the cage-n-pulley advantage, but Acera is metal where Altus is plastic, so there's that. Let's not throw these in the ring together for a fight. They're both so good and such great values.

If I were richer and weirder and had more room and much longer to live than the 30 years I expect, I'd buy 200 of these, pack them in salt, encase them in openable plexiglass, and go to bed every night relaxed. I'd get a bunch of Silver 1 or 2 XO whatever shifters and some non-disc rear hubs, spokes while we can still get them, non-disc rims/same thing.


As time goes on, we're keep to our path while the industry is turning bicycles into motorcycles. I think our bicycles are less and less mainstream, for the better. The forks are still beautiful, strong, trusty. With nice crowns and curves and tapers. I cannot imagine not wanting to ride around on a beautiful bike with a beautiful fork. I don’t care where I am going or what sort of errand I’m on, I want to be on a bike that I like the looks of. It doesn't have to be prissy, it just has to look like the details mattered to somebody, and it's so nice when they matter to you.

The Appaloosa is all of that to me. I love this bike. I can’t compare it to my CLEM L, Homer, the Hillibikes I’ve been riding and I’m going to get when they come in…and in a fit of something, I’m getting a new Atlantis. I’ve ridden the first prototype enough and hard, and the Atlantis is such a symbol of us and our bikes, and I don’t want to wait until I’m eighty, so I’m snagging one at sixty-five, so I still have twenty or so years of riding it. For the record, I’m slower than I feel. I feel fast and strong still. I’m unintimidated by things that used to scare me…trails-wise. More important, I have never enjoyed riding as much as I do now.
Ninety percent of that is attitude, but I realize how lucky I am to be able to ride.


My two-doors-down neighbors have a 17-year old son who got paralyzed in a wrestling match at school, and he’s been in rehab in for almost two years. They thought he’d never walk, but he’s walking gimpily now. He can ride a tricycle recumbent his shoes taped to the pedals. He’s atrophied all over. He’s willing to try being a stoker on a tandem. His name is Ryan Joseph, there IS a gofundme page for him. His parents sorely need the money to pay for making their modest house handicapped-accessible, and we’ve given $1,500. If you donate and include RBW in your name, you’ll get half of your donation amount in store credit. So it’ll cost you $50 to give a hundred. From now thru Feb 10, at which point we'll tally stuff up and credit you. ID yourself with a last name and zip code, and then RBW.

Like,  Jonesy 05254 RBW.

If you want to donate,  here:


I am not an eBike-o-phile, but this bums me out:


Kind of like a Tesla. A Tesla-approved eBike, at least:

I see the photo and think KEEP THAT BLOODY TRUCK OFF THE BEACH OR THE TUNES or wherever it is. 

It will so somewhat interesting to watch the eBike battles with our heads happily buried in the sand.


How a bicycle is made. A 17:23 video from Raleigh after the war:


 Our last ten days have been good, moneywise. Thank you for your help. Keeping going isn't easy, despite what you might assume from the carefree tone. When we ask for help, it is only because we are desperate, and with the kind of business we have, the things we offer and design and make in the times we're doing it all, doesn't make complete sense, so leads to desperation more than we'd like. But here we are, thanks to many of you. — Grant


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