SEPT 5 all over the map

SEPT 5 all over the map

Here's a Billie Holiday   Quote to Live By:

"You can't copy anybody and end up with anything. If you copy, it means you're working without any real feeling. And without feeling, whatever you do amounts to nothing."


 There's a NYT section callled Metropolitan Diary. People write in about minor interesting things that happen to them or talk about things they see or hear, even interactions btw other people, things that strike them as standouts as they're going to work, going about their business, out in public. Unexpected things with strangers, usually. I think you have the gist by now, and here's one:



Who knew what? I don't know what loosening a pedal cage is. Is a "pedal cage" a toe clip? Or is it something invisible that we don't see? I assume it's a toe clip, but ........ loosening a toe clip, so it hangs and jangles? How do you get a bump behind your heel from riding a bike with too-tight (?) toe cages or toe clips? There is nothing about this that isn't bizarre.


Neil Young said this in a recent NYT interview:

"...everything human is shot through with imperfection. Filtering that out doesn't make us more perfect; it is making us sick." 

 I think it's pretty neat, because it makes me feel good about my imperfect photographs and validates my feelings about, ohboy, lots of things. The SILVER and coming-along SILVER2 shifter are perfect enough, but does "perfect enough" even make sense? Is something either perfect or not?

The way I see it, which doesn't make it right just because it's the way I see it, it's perfect because it looks nice and does exactly what you tell it to do, and sometimes it points out to you your own imperfection. It's just being honest, that way.

Like, if the lever slips, it's saying hey you, snug my consarned wingnut a bit. Don't resent that I require it once a month or so. Don't curse me because you didn't do that and I slipped and now you're in a harder gear than you like."

Or when you're trying to shift right in the middle of your power thrust and the chain doesn't snap onto the next cog instantly, it's saying, "No  no no, don't blame me—you'd never shift a manual transmission in a car while pushing on the gas pedal, and I'm just a version of that. You'd never try to tie your shoes on the go, and that's kind of the same thing, too, although shifting a car's manual transmission is closer.

"So shift when your power foot is at 4:30 OR SO in the stroke. Then ease off the pedal entirely until it's at 12:00, and by then the shift will have taken. You have to have enough speed to be able to sacrifice half a stroke and still keep your momentum. It's called 'part of riding a bicycle.' OKAY?"

Indexing is cool—well now, I may have jumped the gun on that one. It's not cool, but some of the coolest people I know do it. These days—take a look around you, boy. It's bound to scare you boy (from a song) there are bigger fish to fry than how one moves the chain to another cog; but I like the feedback, and I don't want anybody or anything shifting for me. Flub, recover, flub again. It's what life is all about, but over time, the flubs are, like your dad used to say, few and far between.

The SILVER shifter is perfect because it reminds you that mechanical objects count on humans to pay attention.

BACK TO NEIL YOUNG. Here's the original interview. It's long, but there's some neat stuff in it. Don't bother unless you're a Neil Young fan—Cinnamon Girl, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, and so on. As interviews go, it's one of the more interesting ones you'll come across, but still, you have to be a fan.


I didn't think it would be as hard as it's turning out to be, to find an African-American non-male trail rider to be in a Hillibike brochure. We could easily shoot the photos with US, but we're trying to not portray trail riding as something anybody can do, normal for everybody, and it isn't working, at all.

The rider must have a flexible schedule because we have no fixed shoot date. It may be mid September, maybe late October. It was going to be by NOW, but the Wolbis didn't come in until a couple of weeks ago, and it's been hot and horrible for photos, with bright light and dark shadows everywhere you look until just before sundown.

The rider must be comfortable on a bike, on trails.

We don't want you getting hurt because we threw you into the lion's den. It's not trick riding, but there are braking and body position and judgment issues that you can learn only by doing. We'll practice with you, tell you how, show you how, start you off easy, work up slowly...and this may require four or five two-hour trials, eight to ten hours, if you're new to trails.

We're not going to fly you in and put you up. Who do you think we are--TREK? No, you must be able to get to us on your own, and you've got to be free at least one weekend day per week--for practice if you need it, and the shoot. We have a waiver that explains more, and you gotta sign it. You need to pass an interview, which may involve riding one of our bikes on one of our trails.

Yes, of course there's compensation. That's in the waiver-thingy.

If this is you (or somebody you know—and don't forget the African American part— contact or show the person you know this BLAHG and they can contact If you or they show up for an interview (required) and are not African American, it's gonna be awkward. 

This is no more "discrimination" than casting characters in a movie, except in this case, we're trying to represent atypical trail riders, which I think is up to us. If I were a casting director for a movie about African-American fox hunters wearing jodhpurs and leaping over English hedges while yelling Tally-Ho! in French accents or even click-tongue, I'd have a right to make that movie.  (As I wrote that description, it occurs to me that somebody should, and I'd be first in line at the premier.)  If I was supposed to represent reality, then it's a different movie.


A friend sent this nature thing, kind of neat, but it's 4.5 minutes long:


Here's about a five-minute read about stuff the other countries do to encourage bike riding that we aren't doing.

If you don't want to read the stuff, scroll to the fifty-five second video about a neat bike path in Belgium:


Misc Biz Notes:

Roman left to pursue other opportunities, left on fantastic terms and a respectable amount of heartache on all sides AND with some assurance short of a contract that we'd welcome him back if things didn't work out at his new, closer-to-home spot. Meanwhile, we're short-staffed, which means the seven to nine of us here still are stretched whatchacallyer thinner than before, and until or unless we hire somebody else, you may have to be more patient. Calling generally but not always beats emailing, because emailed answers to questions lead to more questions, and what could be handled in a five-minute phone call gets stretched out to a five extra emails over the next five days. Also, if our response time isn't as fast as yours, it tends to look like we're taking out time or ignoring you, and that is never the case.

The volume of emails tends to bury emails. It can take several minutes to find one from two days ago. So call, please. (800) 345-3918.

The exception is custom frame questions. Those come to me

And it's good to have a virtual paper trail.


Our price on customs goes up $500 on Sept 16. Because our cost is going up about that much. There are lots of "nice" custom bikes out there. They rarely cost less, more often cost more. Ours are heavily Rivendell-flavored and slanted toward our values, the idea being that you don't go to the Hof Brau if you're a vegan, or sign up with the Hare Krishnas if all you eat is veal. 


There's a link to a form to fill out. Then you send it to Mark and me, both. And if only to one, to Mark.


More Race reports:

We posted a job opening on the site of a well-known bicycle mechanic institute, United Bicycle Institute, in Ashland, Oregon (famous for its Shakespeare Festival). That was a week ago. The response has been interesting. Here's the add and the only two responses:

The first reply:

What a nice racist post, “prefer a non-white male”, yikes!  Well, I prefer a “non-bigoted company”  But If you are a bigoted company…I will hold it against you!

------name withheld (by me/Grant. He did sign it).

My response:

Hi Xxxxx,

 We're trying to be inclusive, trying to mix it up, trying to provide opportunities for people who have had few opportunities in this industry. I wanted to make it clear that if you are black, by all means apply!

 That's all. I probably could have made that more clear, but I just threw it out there.



Second response:


You guys should really go fuck yourselves with the identity nonsense in your recent UBI job posting. You "guys" (yes you're all guys and there's nothing wrong with that) actually convinced me to KEEP a Riv that was damaged in shipping without offering any sort of rebate. Now I'll be selling it faster than you'll find a black trans female mechanic. Good riddance.
--name again withheld, but it was signed
My response:
Sorry about that, (name withheld, it's a common name and I don't want everybody with that name feeling accused or weird) It's really hard to find a woman of color, or even a person of color, so if we end up hiring a white guy, we won't hold anything against him.—Grant
 We've taken the ad down, mainly because Corey here is going to start assembling bikes. We's still love to get a black trans female bike-packer, though--since Corey won't be doing that anymore. We've had several applicants, but none fitting that description, and we'll go with one of those.

If you think politics and human rights have nothing to do with bicycles, you're not looking at the big picture. The bike industry is as white as it is because of racist policies of the past. We can't make up for them, but it doesn't feel right to ignore that and pretend it's separate, which just perpetuates the problem.

It is strictly illegal to post a job ad that states a preference based on race or gender, but I doubt that became law because white males were being discriminated against. So our ad was strictly illegal, but it's what I think of as "good illegal," a kind of positive discrimination (and it was just a preference, anyway). Self-imposed affirmative action in favor of mixing it up here a bit.

I know it might sound trendy or holy to talk about "inclusion" and all that. Too bad "inclusion" even has to be a common word. Black people were stolen from Africa, made slaves, treated sub-humanly even though the country was built with their labor. After slavery was made illegal, the south felt ripped off by the war and new policies, so they've been fighting back ever since, with discriminatory laws and sneaky attacks to continue the same stuff in technically legal ways. There are non-racists in the south, and there are racists everywhere. 

Partly coincidentally, the same year of the first bicycle ride in America, Lincoln was assassinated by a racist, and the KKK was founded.

This is all well-known history, except for the bicycle ride part. It was in Connecticutt, a state I can never spell on the first try.

Bicycling is part of that, and rather than pretend that it isn't, I (and we at RBW) are going to feel free to mention it when there's an opportunity, when it seems relevant, and I'd rather go out of business for a basic, reasonable stance against that, than to thrive pretending it's not there, or say nothing because "at the end of the day, does it matter whether the incoming money comes from racists?"  It does. I don't want to make racists happy at all; I don't want them on our bikes. If there's a group of Rivendell-riding racists who want to throw their Rivendells in a pile and set them on fire (presumably they'd be in a jumble of wood or something, too), send me a link to the video, and I'll watch it.

 How would this do as a bumper/dumpster sticker? Would you buy one for a dollar? It's like 8 x 2.25-in, small as these sorts of stickers go. Hmm. You can buy one here.

The sticker overstates our activity in this regard. But the date is right, and it may continue, who knows? Are racists bad to p*ss off?  As I see it, if you're out there making them happy, you're methods are wrong. If you ignore the lack of diversity in the bike industry and lacrosse and a few other things, that's no good. If you think extreme whiteness in any sport or art is not the result of a racist past and a complacent present, then you're living in la-la land.

Have you noticed that fewer cars have bumperstickers? Because the owners don't want to get shot. But you don't have to put it on a car, as the image proves, and I've never seen a dumpster that doesn't look better with a sticker of some kind on it. Place it randomly on dumpsters or downtown traffic poles. Be an almost-anarchist!  Or a positive anarchist. A passive one, not a molotav cocktail tosser. Break the wrist and walk away. (That line from Napoleon Dynamite).  

Is refusal to use disc brakes anarchism? Is giving a homeless person $10, suspecting they might buy wine with it ... stupid, anarchistic, or fine? Rivendell has no stance on that. This is MY blahg, and it's my question, and it's also rhetorical.


This is a horrible thing about flies in Pakistan, from standing floodwaters, feces, and slaughtered animal guts on the street: Knowing that, you don't even need to open it, but you'd miss the visuals, and this BLAHG has never been a bicycle-only Shangri-La.

Here's a good one for parents of young children, if there are any of them out there. It's about reading.


Let's delve into the world of modern medicine:

If you or anybody you know has or is considering having anything non-fleshy inserted into his or her or their body—the kind of procedure that happens in a doctor's office or hospital, this is a good thing to watch: It takes 1:39, but if your hip implant has gone south on you... This is a compulsory link, please.

Here's the first protest song ever, sung by Billie Holiday, who p*ssed off the racist feds when she refused to not sing it, and then they made her life a worse hell than it already was, which was considerable. It was a "considerable" hell:


 Here's another song, same Billie Holiday. You've heard of Billie Holiday, probably, but maybe not. If this BLAHG is your introduction to her, then that's a good payoff for having read this far:

One more, not by Billie Holiday, but still good. (Etta James)

OK, I think we can all related to this one: (EB and the Animals)

I'm curious. If you read this whole thing and clicked on a few of the links, send me a note. write YOUR NAME and READ  IT ALL in the subject field.

No scolds, just let me know, OK? I won't do these ramblers anymore if nobody's reading them.

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