no. 25 AUG: REGGIE, RACE, SONGS, GALLOP, WOOLBACK

Posted on August 02 2019

no. 25 AUG: REGGIE, RACE, SONGS, GALLOP, WOOLBACK

That's Reggie McNamara, an Australian racer from the '40s. You can read about him HERE. The finger story is a deusey.

 

I think we're all tired of hearing how groovy those Scandinavian and Dutch places are when it comes to bike support, but I'm Danish, don't speak the language, but I will promote Danish things whenever something comes up, count on it.

Although, deep down, I don't believe in nationalism or nationalistic pride, or anything. I'm more of a "we all came from Africa, many of us got screwed, let's make the best of our overpopulated world" kind of guy---and to some degree, and acknowledging that Mexicans like Cinco de Mayo and Chinese like CNY and all Americans have the 4th of July....nationalism is still, to some degree, divisive. On the other hand, I am all for Black History Month, but it should be longer, and should be taught at least in middle-and-high school as mandatory. Below that, maybe teach a soft version of it, so little African American kids don't get terrified. I realize my opinion as a white bicycle guy isn't going to carry any weight here, and might be resented, but this is only a Blahg.

Here's a long bike-ish, car-ish story from the New Yorker. Cut yourself a wide swath of time before digging in. It's not enough to "know it's there" and that somebody cares, so there must be something going on there.

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You probably haven't read this before, and nobody'll read the whole thing, but it's worth a look through, honest. It's the Wheelman's Gazette from 1887.

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 Once isn't enough for this one. One tough Australian living la vida loca on the bicycle, Reggie MaCalester. No. Reggie McNamara, that's him.

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Are all these links cheating? I don't think so, man. Look, here's a cycling publication from April 1889. Read about Wip Van Rimple, look at the illustrations. If you're in the printing business, imagine the process of getting it all together. Look at the fonts, the headers. It's all so good.

wheelmensgazette41889spri.pdf

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Here's another story about carbon that makes me thank gosh we don't sell it. I understand that steel can fail, but it can't fail the way carbon does. HERE.

Just don't ride carbon forks. Just-like, don't, I mean WHY? The best thing you get from a carbon fork is risk. Can you ever descend a hill and be really sure? Steel can fail. It's unlikely, and it won't snap. OK, I'll shut up. These are good companies, but they're in a trap. They'd close in a month without carbon. The irony with this one is...who it is. They should OWN their original material, and put on steel forks like they used to when there were no carbon options.

The saying, "Racing improves the breed" hasn't been true for several decades.

Nobody here feels smug or satisfied when this stuff comes out. Steel has been vindicated for decades, so we don't need more of that, either. I don't know what KIND of problem this is. Is it with carbon itself? With the manufacturers who know it goes, who fear theirs will fail, but who do it anyway? It's easy for me to squawk as long as we don't have a history of broken carbon bikes, but how holy would I be if we did, and depended on continuing to sell them? I know who I wouldn't want riding one, besides me. This guy, that's who. Reginald Von Magillicuddy. He looks like he just got crashed by one and came back for vengeance:

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Not to harp, but you're wondering what he rides when he's not racing. According to my sources from 1939:

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The grooviest hat company in America is going out of business because not enough orders. We got samples four months ago, put in an order 3 months ago, and have our first and only order of hats coming in a week and a half or two. There are other American-made ballcappies, but this one was the only maker who offered a stubby bill, so one of the three styles we ordered is like that. 

When we put them on the site, there will be minimal explanation, because I hate to see them go. And they'll be expensive. Your're going to have to really want one, and I'm sorry about that, but it's got to be. There will be three styles:

 

Stubby bill

Normal bill

Pork-pie variation, kind of a sloppy beach or catfish fisherman's hat. Roman picked that one out.

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Glen Burke invented the high-five. Sad story here. 

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Race coverage more inspiring than the Big Old Race Around France.

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 Hodges B. Gallop didn't get back to me about the bike name thing, and I've since discovered that he died in 2017. This HBG thing is about a name for a new bike that'll happen in about a year. We all like the name Hodges B. Gallop, and you (we, a business) CAN use the name of a real person, as long as the person isn't famous and the use looks like an endorsement that's trying to capitalize (sell more) because of a connection that doesn't exist. I'm sure several of you are copyright lawyers, and if so, I'd like your free counsel on this. A sentence or ten, but not a link to the official law or "further reading."

Gallop will stick no matter what, but the first name is the thing. I don't want it to be too "olde country Welsh" or harken to the glory days of tweed, if you know what I mean. The first name shouldn't go with the last, in that way. Hodges works, Hiram doesn't--for that reason. "Jack" works, but the hard K at the end doesn't prepare your mouth for the hard G in Gallop. They're too blendy. If it were Jacky or Jackie it would work. This is how it goes, this isn't ANYTHING we spend valuable company time dwelling on, but it is real for whatever time it takes, so it goes in the Blagh here. I like Harry Gallop, too.

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It looks like a royalty/poodle, but this is how Cheviot sheep are.

Now I ask for your complete attention, which is why this is bolded.

In the past, going back starting about 2007, we had a line of sweatery things, vests, cardigans, short-plackets, made for us in England out of 100 percent Cheviot sheeps wool in a color (it doesn't seem like a "color") the maker calls Derby Tweed. 

This is a Cheviot sheep. They don't shave the faces and legs--they come that way. You'd think it was a prissy sheep, from the looks, but Cheviots are actually the hardiest breed of them all. Plus, the can forecast the weather, plus, they're the most independent of all sheep—violating the stereotype we've all had in our heads forever.

The sweater wool looks olive-like from across the moor (that's me being irritating whilst trying to be British), but is actually made of 7 different colored wool fibres (apologies). Like this:

It LOOKS like fleckered olive, remember. Not like it was vat-dyed.

It shames all other sweater-colors of all time and always will. CHEVIOT sheep wool is about 25 microns. Merino is 15 to 21 microns. Rambouillet wool is 22 to 23 microns. Cheviot wool is thick, strong, scratchy against your skin, but feels like grampa's wool, so you wear something under it. 

We have to pick a style. We can go with something we've done in the past, and with that you get some sizing or pattern quirk that's entirely my fault and came about because I overthought everything and had the false confidence that pushed me to modify tried and true, established and successful sizes and patterns. 

But I don't want the "Grant Petersen wrecks sizing while trying to improve it quirks," so we're going with the maker's style and sizing. They've had 50+ years to get it right for industry and military, and you don't want to tick-off the military. 

The RIV-difference this time is that we want an existing style (with a vertical rib) made in a lighter weight wool, because it's as much for riding in as it is for hanging out at the pub and eating bubble-and-squeak, bangers, or mutton. A heavy wool sweater that takes up most of a saddlebag when you inevitably take it off is not a good deal even for free. Your grandkids would give it to the Good Will, or maybe their mom would just toss it.

We'll show the style way after we need the pre-orders. That's the drag here. But here is the shortest, clearest description I can muster:

Long-sleeved, crew neck, VERTICAL RIBS, olive-ish from afar. Clingy, because of the VERTICAL RIBS. It will hug you, for better or worse, but the VERTICAL RIBS are slimming! Longish body and sleeves. Super tidy, non-slouchy looking.

This midweight wool variant using the same pattern (with a vertical rib) has a minimum order quantity (internationally abbreviated as MOQ, and is the thing that keeps us from bring super prolific)...is 250 sweaters.

They'd get here around as early as Halloween or as late as Ground Hog day. We're shooting for Thanksgiving for sure. An order like this is too risky without promises of sales. We'd close up and I'd have many peoples lifetimes supply of fine British sweaters, which would always remind me of my foible, and so even I would hate them.

UNLESS you commit to buying one (with a vertical rib) for $120. Ye olde odd bargain hunters won't do it, and shouldn't. You can buy U.S. military sweaters for $25. But you can buy lots of way worse things for much more. A 100 percent wool, British-made sweater for $120 in 2019 is nothing too much to apologize for or defend, and yet...

If $120 won't impact you and you can trust us to deliver a cool sweater without even seeing it, then click here and hope for the best. It's not merino wool. **Please place pre-orders separate from any other parts.** It's an outer layer. It'll look dressy and smart, but it'll be good on a cold bike ride. It's 100 percent wool. It will shrink if you wash it hot with your sox and undies. I am a perfect Large, but I'm going to get an XL and wash it warm and not dry it. You could, conceivably, buy two sizes up and wash it and dry it and nearly turn it to felt-for-Antarctica. 

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Here's an oldie that I wonder how it would do on today's Top 40 Pop 40 or whatever it is.  The one after it would  probably do better.

One more, from 1963, the year before the Civil Rights Act. I was riding home yesteday on a hilly route in the hills on my Cheviot with the new basket rack that only me and Roman have (they're coming in), and you know how things and songs come into your head for no clear reason? This one came to me. Some of you will remember it. I wonder how IT would do if it were released today.

 

 

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