Wed OCT 9 No. 27? Riding like a Mongolian on the Elevator to Nowheresville

Wed OCT 9 No. 27? Riding like a Mongolian on the Elevator to Nowheresville

 That's me and Bobby Smith at the beach when I as 8 and he was 10.

The local electricity company, Pacific Gas & Electric, is turning off power Wed Oct 9 at noon at the beginning of that date, and it'll be for a day or more; because last year there were fires and they got blamed for not being careful enough. Conditions for hot bad fires include high temps and winds and lots of tall  high hill grass, but it's only about 80 and no windier than normal, and it's not known-to-be-windy around here.

PG&E is being sued for last year's fires, so I suspect this is its way of going thru certain motions that suggest diligence, but I don't know what goes on behind their closed doors. I don't imagine this was a classic no-brainer, though. I don't want fires and I don't want it to screw up our business at a time when we really need it.

Anyway, hang in and don't forget and I hope they call it off and there are no fires.


 THERE'S plenty of reality to be bothered by and lots of demons that don't make the cut, but that doesn't make me like this commercial any more. Self-confidence is good, but how it gets expressed matters too, and then there's an age component, isn't there, or shouldn't there be? I think this young girl's parents should be nurturing a little humility in her, because if she continues on this confidence trajectory, it ain't gonna be pretty later on. Am I taking this too seriously? This is a human story here. Something's going on. There must be a middle ground between timidity and this. Spoiler alert: It's a television commercial for a bank or a credit card or hospital or something:

Well, now that I see all the comments on it, I feel a little bad for not liking this commercial. Some of the comments are just mean, but would be interesting to know the back story of this commercial. It's not the girl's fault. It's just a commercial, and she did what she was told to do. has a high irritation factor, still.


 Vance Sprock's selling a 1982 Bridgestone Atlantis

Bridgestone made a bike called the Atlantis before we made ours, and Bstone's is why our early ones had a big "2" decal on the downtube (to show we didn't get there first). But they made only like 200 to 300 of them. Bstone's Atlantis was the indulgence of a guy there, a good friend of mine, named Hiroo Watanabe. He owned some French bikes of the same style; he was one of the early Japanese Francophiles, and he'd been with Bstone long enough that they let him indulge himself by designing a Francish Bstone, and he called it the Atlantis.

Friend Vance Sprock owns the Cupertino Bike Shop, which was an early (1953) and was the main shop to go to if you wanted to see fancy bikes before everybody had 'em. 

Vance asked me if I wanted to buy this old Bstone. Everybody thinks I have space and a shrine and more money than I do, but I don't. I said I'd put it up here and see if it flew. It is an excellent bike. Probably the most expensive or at least committed, labor-intensive, niche-y bike Bstone ever made--including the articulated tricycle called the Wagon, which old people could ride and turn corners at speed on without the inside wheel coming off the ground. More than that one.







If you're interested, contact Vance directly. Remember, it's $1,200.


 This is a pretty interesting site for conscientious parents who like bumper and window stickers. Others need not click:


 I read a book called

Call Them by Their True Names

by Rebecca Solnit

It's all essays, and one of the essays, called 

Bird in a Cage: Visiting Jarvis Masters on Death Row

has this quote by a guy named Shankar Vendamtam, extracted from a book he wrote called called The Hidden Brain, and I don't have time to read the book, but I like this sentence in it:

"Those who travel with the current will always feel they are good swimmers; those who swim against the current may never realize they are better swimmers than they imagine."


Carbon. It's not about how brittle and short-lived it is; it's about how it's hard to recycle:


We're hiring a bike packer, Rory. He's an existing customer, knows bikes, is local, happens to be white, and he starts on the 11th.


We're lean but hanging in. Atlantis frames are late, but that gives us more time to pay for them. Whether they'll push all other frames back a month, we'll see.


The Silver2 shifters are almost ready...I'd give them another few months. We might get our own V-brake. It won't be a SILVER brand, but it'll address a few issues, tiny and medium, that current V-brakes don't seem to.

The Charlie H. Gallop samples should be here in by Feb 1. Let's have another anagram contest for it:

C H A R L I E H G A L L O P.

The best way to do this, by far the easiest, is to make squares with those letters. Like this:

I will get a dozen others and they all better be better than, "A GIRL CHAP HELLO," which, I guess could be a secret code kind of hello or something, but I'm not on comfortable ground here. I got HELLO, I got CHAP, and GRAIL and A GIRL were left, because this script dialog didn't make sense:


Two H's and only one E make it hard.

OK, here's a better one. This  one is fantastic, but requires a mental comma and maybe exclamation point to boot:

Now, that's quality anagramming, right there. A "hall cop" is kind of like a hall monitor, but with more authority—maybe started as a hall monitor as a freshman, kept at it every year, and perhaps as an honorarium, was given the cop title in his or her senior year. A regal one is better still. This anagram could be kind of a suck-up salutation (salute being the root word)


Submit your anagrams on a post card or notecard with your name and city/state on it, because we toss envelopes like there's no tomorrow. As many entries as you like, and entries must be received by Halloween. Not just postmarked by. Plan for slow mail deliveries.


Address to :

Charlie H. Gallop/Rivendell

2040 North Main #19

Walnut Creek, CA 94596


I know what you're thinking: What do I GET?

Well, every sincere entry with at least three anagrams will get something of little, yet undisclosed value.  They'll kick in or be mailed by Nov 15.Then we'll have our experienced  panel of three select their favorites, and there will be a slighter bigger prize, also of undisclosed value.


 The Hillibikes—Gus Boots-Willsen and Susie W. Longbolts/Wolbis Slugstone—should be here in January, and we'll have some kind of presale. First-time readers will be confused by this paragraph.

We're working KIND of with a rim maker for a new rim. They're doing the hard part, we're just saying what we want. It will likely end up a good compromise.


NITTO BASKET RACKS will be here again by mid Nov, and they'll be sold out before they get here, I think. They're $250, because they're fillet-brazed in Tokyo, there are tons of joints, they'd be $450 if they were made in America, and that's just that. If they were TIG-welded the price would come down, but the wall thickness of the tubing would have to increase, so the weight would go up. One well-known rack maker TIGs walls as thin as 0.6. Nitto limits it to 1.0, I think. The tubes on most NITTO racks are 0.8, and are fillet-brazed. There isn't a bike I ride that doesn't want one of these, but if you have an RBW51, that's probably good enough for basket-loads without multiple milk gallons in there.

Have you noticed that six packs of beer seem to be the common gold-standard currency measure for large front racks, and if you have noticed that, does it seem normal or just slightly bizarre? Like, do you have a bunch of people at your house, and you either have no beer or you run out of it, then have to make a quick trip to the late-night liquor emporium to pick up three-to-four more six packs, because your guests want to get super full and a bit more drunk for the ride or drive or Lyft back home, or are they staying?

It seems like easy money, but it's such hard money. We're just another undercapitalized, inventory-intense business driven by the things we want to put out in the world, and over-ignoring the costs to do that. I don't want us to be a casualty or part of the downfall. I don't like the way bikes are going, anything about them. The bubble here has to shrink and get thicker, but we still have to deal with "getting the word out," and trying to do it in a way that's not gross. We're averaging about 12 packages shipped per day. Three years ago it was 35 to 45. We're doing well on bike sales (which are not included in those counts), but we're about out of CLEMs now, and the $50 to $250 parts orders aren't comin in like they used to. It's partly balanced by lower payroll, but overall it's a dreary direction that has to the plan.


 Not sure what a BOT is, but the racers are at it again.


 Here's sort of an illuminating, clarifying, super short (3.5 minute read) downer article on cars and bikes intermingling:


Continuing the theme of propelling oneself with technology ...

BICYCLE RIDERS have it hard. We are the most efficient self-transporters. We beat the foot and pollute less than the motor. For this, we ought to be given priority on pavement, but instead, we get squeezed between moving traffic and parked cars. I'm a sidewalk rider, myself--a slow, careful, frequently dismounting, deferential to pedestrians sidewalk rider. But that's illegal, and if everybody copied ME, there would be frequent heavy fines to pay, so please don't do that.

City traffic scares me, and that's after half a century of riding in it nearly daily, because that's how I get around. Maybe it's better where you are, but it's getting worse everywhere. I want us to get a whole lane on the street, with a physical barrier between us and cars. It can be the parallel parking area, and let the cars park in high-rise parking lots. Allow commercial vehicles for deliveries, but make them electric and impose some kinds of limits so they too don't proliferate out of control.   This is related, kind of, to riding in the woods with the bears. We don't have bears around here, but I'd sure hate to give up my trails for anything. I would, though, if I could swap them for protected bike lanes downtown. It wouldn't be a "fun" swap, but I'd bite the bullet.


In much less than 1/100th of a second following the Big Bang 13.7 billion years ago, all of the matter in the universe was created, among it the mineral malachite and the elements copper and tin. All three contributed, though not obviously, to bicycles.


The copper was bound up in the malachite (so, malachite is copper ore). Malachite is a gorgeous deep blue-green mineral that looks fake at first because you just can’t believe it could be natural and that color. But it’s not uncommon, and these days when you see it, all polished up, on midpriced jewelry or shaped into marbles, hearts, eggs, boxes, stars, and unicorns, for sale in science museum gift shops or online shopping sites, you kind of wish it were rare, or at least expensive.


The process of extracting elemental metals (copper, gold, silver, aluminum, titanium, etc.) from ore is called smelting, which is more than melting, but involves heat. Eight thousand years ago nobody smelted anything, so nobody knew there was hidden copper in malachite.

Mostly likely, the first smelting, that copper-from-malalchite process, happened fortuitously, when potters glazed their pots with powdered malachite, then fired them up in a charcoal-fueled furnace. It so happens that when when malachite is exposed to temperatures above 1,300 degrees fahrenheit while lying on a bed of charcoal, copper becomes bleeds out of it.


In a year and a half of shooting film, Will here has become pretty spectacular. He's ten miles and years ahead of me, and I've been shooting film, at what now seems to be "a low level" for 1.5x as long as he's lived, but look at this selfie Will took. The camera is 30 feet from him and not connect to him in any way, and nobody else is around. It's at night in the Presidio area of San Francisco. He goes out later and does this stuff:

His reg photos are as good. He's using mostly a Bronica 6x7 and a Fuji 6x9 these days, but has a few others. I think this is on Ilford Delta 400...but the hardware is not the secret.


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