I think we can all agree that bike advocacy is important but tends to be boring, or can be boring, is always leaning and threatening to be. It's nature trumps its nurture, but bless the advocates and rah rah rah. The link below isn't exactly advocacy, but it's definitely pro-bike and should make you feel even smugger than you do already. It had that effect on me, anyway.
I don't drive much. Ten miles in mid-December for a car-shuttling thing, but not a mile since. On my way to a sub-50-mile year behind the wheel. I sit next to the wheel for maybe 1,200 miles a year, though. I shop entirely by bike and ShopSack and Basket, and it works great. I travel by care locally to hike with my wife or friends. It's not a choice, it's not a lifestyle, it's just a dread of driving, and I can't say it's improved my life. It has kept me from tons of fishing, I can tell you that. From age 15 to about 23 I hitchhiked long distances, mostly to fish but sometimes to hike, and now that I'm past the age of hitchhiking and have a different life to wrestle with, I've given up a lot of good fishing because I can't stand the thought of driving four to six hours to get there. For me it's not the being in the car, it's the me-driving it. Every time I do, I feel like I've commandeered it.
Bikes are a good fit for me, so I'm glad I'm here, and glad I read that link-thing.
There's a lot of hubub in San Francisco about electric scooters on sidewalks and how it's bumming out pedestrians, and the authorities are tearing their hair out about how to deal with them. One power guy said they belong on the street because they're motor vehicles. I think we all get that and don't. I'd rather see somebody pushing a scooter along the way you do on an analog scooter, but I also don't lump electric scooters in with cars, and I think there's a vulnerability thing to deal with when you force them onto the roads. I'd vote for giving them a whole lane. Ebikes and escooters. Then give push-scooters and normal bikes their own lane. It's good I'm not in charge of that.
One of my favorite corporate logos of all time is the Tabasco sauce one.
I didn't grow up eating Tabasco, but I put it on a lot of things now, and I like the history of the company, and I rarely to never miss a Tabasco sauce story, and this one just showed up:
A couple of days ago I was over in Marin County riding my Clem-L 52, open to the possibility of riding up to and then down Repack Road (a fire trail, the descent that shaped the mountain bike), and I had other things to do over there, but I had a couple of hours to kill, so I did that. Repack (whose official "map name" is Cascade Canyon Road) descends 1,300 feet in about 2 miles, and is loose in a lot of places, and more rutted than I remember it being in 1987, the only other time I rode down it.
The fastest time down is 4min 22sec (Gary Fisher), followed by 4:24 (Joe Breeze) and 4:25 (Otis Guy, but a dog ran out in front of him near the end, and that cost some time). My time was about 14 minutes, but I wasn't racing and was riding solo and shirtless just checking it out on a survival ride. In my defense, if I rode all-out I could definitely break 12 minutes, and at my fastest--in the days when I cared about fast descents and rode down Mt. Diablo in 22:44, I might have ridden 10 minutes. It is an insane descent to race, but here's a fun fact: All of those fast times (Gary, Joe, Otis) were on clunkers modified with some non-clunker parts. Gary Fisher had cantilever brakes; Joe and Otis had coaster brakes. In 1983, "Downhill Jimmy Deaton" rode it his tech-for-the-time race bike and got 4:30.
It's not raced anymore, but most riders ride it on current "state of the art" mountain bikes, which seems a little odd. In rock climbing and (snowy) mountaineering, there's an equipment-use ethic that encourages all climbers to limit themselves to the same technology that a reasonably skilled climber can get away with on the same route. In the early years of Yosemite climbing, first ascents were often accomplished over weeks and in some cases months, using drills to bore holes in rocks and placing essentially permanent safety widgets in them, and leaving full ropes in place so you could go up and down more easily, with rests and hot meals and weather breaks in between. That was shamed out, and since then climbers have gone overboard the other way, with climbing crazy scary stuff without any safety stuff at all, even the kind that does the rock no harm.
In mountain bike racing and just riding, it's gone the other way. The early guys were riding unsuitably low-tech bikes, then bikes reached a basic good level of appropriate technology in the late '80s, and now they've borrowed as much as possible—for now—from cars and motorcycles. There are reactions to it the other way, with one-speed mountain bikes, but those are fading fast because...one gear is too limiting for varied terrain for most riders most of the time. There's no restraint at that end, and we're going to show 'em all what-for sometime late this year, if we can pull it off.
Gumwise, it's hard to beat this:
Don't look at the ingredients. No gum is good that way, but it's sugarless, at least. If you must chew gum and you haven't tried it, give it a shot.
Most of you know by now that Ford is quitting most of its cars:
Vehicles including bikes are getting more massive, taking up more space. It's not entirel "form following function." Strong and tough materials can be safe while slender, but brittle materials need bulk, like styrofoam anything.
There's also just the loook. Thick and dark and undetailed are in right now. It's OK, grumble. It's fine.
A prototype bag, rec'd today, there will be changes:
It's too deep. We'll take off 1.5-inches.
Sizing chart from soon-here catalog:
Saturday at Rivelo in Portland-West, John'll have 200 of the catalogs. I THINK I'm doing a handlebar wrap-thing demo there, too. I think there might be a Q&A segment, but I'm not positive. Anyway, maybe I'll see you there.
We're looking at locks. The OTTO lock...great idea, but we're going to put it on hold until we're sure. I've been using one and I hope we get them later, just have to wait and be sure. Meanwhile, we'll have some of the ABUS Phantoms in--now made in China but seemingly still good. They've got a toxic materials warning on them. Now, I'm sure it's German conservatism that lead to that, but it's a little bugging, you have to admit. We're narrowed down our new lock offering to two German-made ABUS models--a folding titanium job and a covered chain.
Bikes on PBS:
I always wonder why, during old-timey scenes in movies and TV, they show people who presumably get around on bikes regularly because they have to go to work and don't have a car, looking so wobbly on bikes. Like, they get on them and jiggle the handlebars side to side (being directed to? why?).
These young ladies in the interviews -- well, it's all fine, but old-timish bikes or not, could they really have been that hard to ride? I don't know, maybe. Whatever the story, it's always fun to see any bike in any scene, isn't it?
You know Major Taylor, the African-American track rider from the turn of the century?
He was World Champion etc, but was also super straight and religious and conservative. He lost out on lots of money because he wouldn't race on Sundays, etc. He didn't drink, was so against it. And yet:
Henessee or however you spell it is affiliated with the movie, so they have some sort of rights, but it's not what MT would have wanted, anyway. Based on what we know of him.