Just because this is 2-3 months late or whatever...doesn't mean it's going to be special. I am working on special things, but have a skim at this and see how it goes. Thanks. Grant
Wanting to read more about the eLectric Hummerbike doesn't imply anything. You can read about it HERE.
I'm tired of this. The bike industry is expected to welcome motors on bikes, as though that doesn't cross a line. Like we're all supposed to be in the Brotherhood/Sisterhood of Two-Wheelers. As though there will be fair-n-square, even-Steven coexistence. As though we will bond over our shared dread of being creamed by cars, and as though eBikes won't turn normal bikes into a film-camera-like niche. Who still makes film cameras?
We ALL know friends and relatives, partners and on down the line, who get great enjoyment from eBikes. That is not what bugs me. What bugs me is the insistence that these motored bikes get lumped in with normal bicycles. Doing that eliminates the sales-hurdles of registration, tests and licensing, and forces them into bike lanes, because they're not allow to ride with cars. If you take this to mean that I want your grandma to ride with Hummers and SUVs, for instance, you are too defensive, not listening, missing my point, and jumping to conclusions. I am PRO eBike because I think they have tremendous potential to get a few cars off the road. Not as many when the load is bigger and the air is colder and it's raining, but in fair weather, yes. I think they should have their own lanes on the road and get to share multi-use paths with bicycles and others. Maybe limit them to 13mph on those, but don't ticket anybody until they exceed 20mph. I think they need more privileges, but not freedom to roam the dirt trails. I am still thinking this thru. I get to be confused.
Bike Colors Copy Car Colors. Because everybody wants "high tech, serious, dignified." Black and gray and white can all look good on cars or bikes, and on any individual rider's bike, they can look good. I had a black Raleigh and a white Ritchey. We've painted some luscious black-and-cream Sams. I haven't outgrown or moved beyond those colors (although neither, technically, is a color...right?). But I see them unimaginatively over-used on bikes and cars. Anytime on the freeway, at least 7 in 10 cars is black gray or white. The remaining two might be red, grayish green that's really just a variant of gray, and...then there'll be another white one. In any peloton it's the same way. Porsche and Volkswagen have some nice colors, and I like the cheery yellow Honda Fit.
For decades I didn't like yellow bikes, but I'm coming around. They're a challenge with cream head tubes. I like DOT yellow, which is. PMS 116c. Ticonderoga yellow, OK. Even lemon, something I never expected to like.
Here is a lousy sentence that I think is grammatically correct, but just hard to follow:
Most of you reading this now, and even people just getting into bikes, I think or want to think, have some sense of artistic taste that would find Shimano's 1989 to 2003 parts, and SunTour's 1979 to 1990 parts, and Campagnolo's best looking parts from 1969 to even 2009 or so, more appealing than what's out there now.
We're hustling and struggling to chip away at our own whole group, but each one is like it's own sculpture, and takes so much money and time. Chump change or whatever for Shimano, but survival money to us.
My nephew Adam bought two pears and took them home and painted this in 25 minutes. He does good dogs, too, and martini glasses, and musicians. He doesn't do a lot of still fruit.
These are exciting weeks and maybe months here, because we have projects going, plans for more, some possible interesting collaborations, slight changes, and the thing is, we like them all, but also know that only half at most will happen, and there's no saying which what.
The rear derailer: I'm 80 percent sure it'll happen, which maths out to 20 percent thinking it won't. We're working with the maker and our CAD guy (Dan Falvey) who has done the heavy lifting, as they say. But it's our design, concept...although stolen from Shimano only because they gave up on it in 2004 or so. I have been told that we'll receive three samples by mid-December, but let's see. That will be a fun box to open.
The RoadUno, a one-speeder that of course is convertible to more than one. The prototype I'm riding is wonderful, and the final will be slightly better. We're getting a new dropout for it.
New front derailer. Preparing for the time when all front derailers are too complicated for us.
New crank (not a replacement--current one is perfect and will still be the most versatile of the two). Sample by March.
New lugs for new models and new variants.
Two new bags. Front bags. Maybe by late Spring.
COMPONENTWISE: None of it is desperation or fishing for anything. It's all incremental, logical. The goal, as always and I'm repeating myself, is less dependence on the big parts and accessories manufacturers who supply parts for the big bicycle makers who are forced to follow all trends and create artificial new ones to expand the market and sell more stuff. I understand "that need," but it's not our path, and we're glad not to have it. And I know these big makers employ more people than we do, and that's a super thing, but when big parts makers quit making trad/boilerplate stuff that should be around for a hundred years...and replace it either not at all and just let the gap fill in itself, or make something else that's worse but sells because it's newer....well, that's not a crime, but it's a real drag.
Shimano, Tektro, SRAM, microSHIFT, they all do this. But I want to point out something Shimano has strangely but wonderfully continued to make, even tho who knows why? It's this road lever:
It's an oversight, like the Dura-Ace bar-end shifter, which is going on its 26th year of continuous production. I think mainstream bikes are going to go totally unmechanical in the next 15 years. Maybe five.
Below a bit, you'll come to it, is a link Kent P. sent to me, it's pretty good. The photographer (it may interest you to know) is the guy who shot the Nat'l Geographic cover photo of that Afghani woman with the spooky eyes. It is ONLY the most famous National Geographic covers of all time, and in the top two of all magazine covers of all time, as rated by...well, none other than ye olde yours truly. He (Steve McCurry) is also the guy who was given the last roll of Kodachrome ever made, and an assignment to make some good pictures out of it.
Here's the Nat Geo cover:
Here's a closeup:
Here's a 30-minute video about his last roll of Kodachrome. You can hate photography and still get something out of this. But half an hour is a long time, so skip it unless you're really into film photography.
and here's some steve mccurry bicycle content, the link Kent P. sent:
If you like sardines, here's a 10-minute movie on them:
Summary of this next section in case you don't want to read the whole thing, which was written in VELO NEWS: Pro racers like their headphones so their team managers can tell them where they are relative to other riders. And they get mad when they have to race without them.
------ ARTICLE ENDS HERE, but comments on it below------
Imagine what the riders would do if they had to fix their own flats, or had to ride the same bike the whole the whole season. Or what they'd do if they had to use SILVER shifters and mere 9-speed cassettes. Would racing be worse?
This is the direction of the shift that's happening all over, not just in bikes, but the bikes one is our fight. We're supposed to sit tight and watch, applaud all the technology and directions as though they're no skin off our noses, as though coexistence is inevitable, but I don't think it is. What IS inevitable is that we're in the MIDDLE of a 40-year transition from muscle-powered mechanical bikes to something that is mindblowingly different.
Bikes aren't simple anymore. Not mainstream bikes. They're getting rid of cables, mechanical movements, parts you can fix or replace yourself. We're not going there. Our time is up? No, I think we'll be better when Will and others are running the show and I'm gone. It's not like he's not already, but without my influence, better.
----- TOTAL END OF THAT EARBUD THING--------
THIS is a partial non-final microsnippet (but long in the context of this BLAHG) of a thing I've been working on-and-off on, but mostly on and when I'm not at work, for about 7 years: It will be illustrated. It's prehistoric and historic stuff about wheels and bicycles and history. There may be some good ol' CRT in there, too. I am aware that I am not supposed to leave my narrow path and I do so at my peril, but I cannot emphasize enough how little of a disincentive that is.
Probably no publisher will publish it because it doesn't fit into a defined category, and I'm not famous enough. THat's OK, just another layer to the non-disincentive. Bear in mind that it is highly illustrated. It's a picture book.
There is a phenomenon out there, a thing, where people are reluctant to buy or use or ride something good or pretty or expensive, sometimes for fear of wrecking it, or they think they're not worth it, or the task at hand doesn't warrant it, or they don't want to wear it out—so they'll save it for next time. Where the fine thing that somebody worked on to make it good makes the user nervous and gives them an "I'll save it for next time" kind of weird comfort. "Beater bikes" are an example, and I'm not going to try to talk you out of them. I have a beater bike, a 1983 Bridgestone MB-2. I have ridden it, I've "Riv'd it up," but my Rivendell version is probably my Cheviot will a million stickers on it, or maybe my T. Gabner Rughut, a 1979-/80 Ritchey I had modified and painted, and is still obviously a Ritchey to anybody who is familiar with the way he made his seat binder and the radius of his fillets. That sounds like I'm big-talking about something I know and you may not, but I'm not. It's of no value to know how to identify a Ritchey, but I happen to be able to because of my history with them. Anyway, my point is, it's nice to have nice beater, to know the bike is better than it looks locked up in front of Trader Joe's, and to ride it home loaded up when you're tired and it's dark and cold or raining, and you'd rather not be riding. The good thing you're riding makes it better...for me it does, and it might for you, I don't know.
But I know it can't make it worse, and that it would make ME feel better to know that you're comfortable enough to ride your Rivendell on low-level utility tasks. Those end up being a big part of living with a bike, and when you can no longer ride, you don't want to feel like you left a lot of unrealized potential behind.
It's like when you have plans to use but don't. You "have an appreciation" for the thing, or the genre of those things, and might collect them like they're going out of style, but you never or rarely use them. Then you get too old to use them and eventually die and leave your heirs nice gear to sell as "in near mint condition." We all do that a little, but let's try to cut back. I'm not scolding anybody. This is semi-autobiographical, but not with bikes, but with fly rods...I've always felt comfortable using good ones (bamboo being that); but I basically don't drive (I used to hitchike to fishing), and between raising a family and trying to keep Rivendell alive, and then along the way getting another one or two used or new when they were affordable, now I have l like seven of them, and I'll never go through them. They can last, even with tons of fishing, sixty or ninety years. Now I look at them with awe and shame, and it's a crappy feeling. I see the end of my life in them, and the idea of leaving eBay fodder to my children really bums me out. I'll leave written notes on things, with suggested prices according to the year. I'm healthy, by the way.
What is happening or has happened to bikes is happening and has happened to fly fishing 10x more. There is competitive fishing. It seems to have started either in Poland or the Czech Republic. It is competitive market-hunting of trout. Colleges have fly-fishing teams. There are systems and short-cuts, and the social media fishing celebrities.
Everything you do, everything you like, everything you're into or thinking about getting into becomes competitive and sponsored. Small companies get bought by big ones and somebody mean takes over the books and changes the culture and the vibe. Most graphite rode are like light-as-air killing sticks. You can't feel the flex, they don't load themselves. A bamboo rod loads itself and you can feel the fibers in it, or maybe even the molecules, slide against one another as the rod bends. On a bike there's a corresponding connection and feel, and in the case of carbon, a lack of it. It's the same empty or invisible feeling there is when you flex a graphite rod. In both cases it's justified by "the result," which is supposed to be catching a fish or winning a race. And there becomes a kind of pride in having bought the carbon thing, because it's advanced technology, whatever that may mean. Also in both cases, there a vibe of being in nature or getting around on a non-polluting way that doesn't gibe with or address that the material you're fishing with or pedaling can't be recycled, and is essentially garbage if it gets worn out or cracked or something happens that makes it unusable.
I'm feeling that way about fly rods right now. When I was sixteen I bought an Orvis Midge, bamboo. There was no graphite (carbon fiber) back then, so it went from a Garcia or a Shakespeare or Eagle Claw fiberglass rod to a Fenwick fiberglass rod. And then if you were feeling extra flush, you could get a Winston fiberglass rod...or if you were super into it and afraid of bamboo, a Russ Peak glass rod. But then there was a chasm, and on the other side were the bamboo rods, back then when the Gulf of Tonkin political scene was a mess and had been for decades (?) there was no source for the right bamboo, also more specifically known as Tonkin cane, because it grew in the Gulf of Tonkin, and we'd cut off trade there. Or they cut us off, the Chinese, I'm not sure. Or more specifically, Arundinaria amabilis. The right way to write Latn genus and species is Genus species, capitalizing Genus, lower-casing species, and italicizing both. That is an irritating and unnecessary fact.
It's related to "It's just a tool" thinking, but that works sometimes and doesn't others. Relationships with tools vary, and the relationship of the tool to the task varies with the tool-user's relationship to the tool. I'm not telling you what that should be. That sounds more confusing than it is, and it's true. If you want to use a promotional pen to write a love letter or a letter to your grandma who doesn't own a computer, that's legal but weird. You should've used a better pen or a typewriter. If your task is scraping dog-doo off your driveway and flinging it over the fence and into the easement, then you use the lousiest appropriate shovel you own to do it. Sometimes you might want to blend into the scene. When you fish a chalkstream for trout, you don't take a $15 in 1966 Garcia fly rod OR a $900 Orvis graphite one. In both of those cases the tool doesn't match the stream. Bicycles and bicycle accessories are kind of the same and kind of different. On one hand, a beautiful bicycle in a beautiful biome makes sense and seems like an obvious fit. Put a motor on it and it's not. Add black and yellow vinyl panniers, and that's just too bad. Make it ugly and it takes away from the scene. Make it aggressive-looking, no good. The same bicycle commuting through an ugly town in a pouring rain is totally appropriate. The bicycle shouldn't detract from the beauty of a scene, and at best will combat ugliness. A beautiful bike in urban blight or whatever it is, stands out not inappropriately, it just makes the scene slightly better.
I left work and rode to Trader Joe's to shop before going home. I noticed my rear wheel was low, but I left anyway. I was on my Appaloosa, and the tires were stout. I'd noticed the softness on the way, but figured it wouldn't continue to get softer, but it did, and when I got to TJ's, there was no air. I didn't have a pump. I shopped and loaded up the bike and rode it (on wire-beaded tires) until this happened:
I wrestled the tube out and rode tubeless. The tire stayed on the rim for at least half a mile, and then it was completely off to the side, not getting in anything's way, allowing me to pedal pure rim-on-road, for about 200 yards until I got back to Riv. I took off the wheel, it was true as can be, with just a little roughness on the perimeter of the rim where it was rolling unprotected. There's no lesson here, but I put in a new tube and have ridden it many hours since.