No. 19: the usual, then canteens, books, enviro-stuff, Doris Day, grips, and HILLYBIKE details
Posted on May 16 2019
If you've been reading the BLAHG recently you know I've been talking about race, racism in bicycles, distasteful topics like that. It's not going well. I am/and Rivendell is trying to do a helpful thing, but it's a all hornets nests and land mines out there.
There is a white history that led to white privilege and all the stuff that goes with that--being the color that never gets looked at with suspicion when I go into a store; knowing that skinheads won't beat me up just because I'm not their color, because I am; BEING the same color as slave owners and KKK members and modern Alt-RIghts. Yes, we get Jimmy Carter and Albert Schweitzer out of the deal, too, but Hitler was white, too.
Overall there's a lousy history of black-white relations that is white doing. (The Hillybike stuff is way down at the bottom, by the way--if you'd rather skip this!)
Anyway, I am muddling and stressing, fouling up, but reminding myself that compared to what black people have had to put up with, being doubted or misunderstood and scolded is like being fed ice cream on a mattress.
I am all for reparations of all kinds. The only reparations WE can offer are price reparations. Deals. We've had three recipients. If we had a flood of, well, black people taking advantage of that, we'd have to reevaluate or go out of business, but at the current rate, no problem. Speak up, if you're reading this, have bought from us before, are buying for yourself, and, uh, qualify.
Somebody will object to my use of "reparations" there, saying it cheapens the usual use. White people will wonder why they should pay more, and ask if that means Oprah gets a deal, and may on principle shop someplace else, like they're being penalized; black people may take price reparations as an insult--to their ability to pay, or the idea that this makes up for anything.
That's not the intent, none of that.
Here is where I try to sell you some Books About Black People You'd Have Heard Of If They Were White. I've talked about two of the books before, but now we actually have them, and another.
They're graphic, books, like comic books. They go down fast and sink in, and they're all good, fun to read, and you'll turn the pages in a blur. If you're white you'll like them and will want your children to read them, or be read them; and if you're black--same thing. They're people stories, and you might not pop into them at your local bookstore.
We'll never make money (or die trying) on book sales, but these are good books and we want to make it easy to get them. We're also not trying to compete with your local book store, but it probably doesn't have these books. We'll have them temporarily. If we sell out, we'll reorder. When we've sold 50 of any one title, we'll cut it from the list but hope you get it somewhere else.
These will be up on the site by Friday Noon.
--------------end of racial section, start of Canteen section--------------
We now sell clean canteens. Not Kleen Kanteens. Kleen Kanteens are excellent (many of us have them, and they're not plastic). The thing-of-it-IS, though: A KANteen isn't a CANteen, and we just got in some CANteens.
Order early if you want to. We expect to have spotty inventory, and this is a discontinued model (a shame--it's the grooviest one they have). We'll try to get more, but we'll have them for, I'd guess, at least a week starting May 15. Seventy-two minus the 10 or so John takes is 62 minus the 6 or so RIV employees will take leaves 56 minus the 10 or so we'll sell to walk-in customers this coming weekend leaves 46. Maybe I'm overestimating their popularity. Maybe you can wait a month.
They're Laken brand, aluminum, made in Spain, and not readily available in the U.S. We brought in 72 of them. They're the classic "flounder-eye" style canteens, with a belly and a back and the eye-spout upjutting from the back in the classic flounder-'clopes spigot proven in war after war. Here's mountain guide will on a recent (today's) guided trip with customer Taylor:
I know what you're thinking: Will's sporting a Spooner! Harry has eighty of them and you can expect to see more of them in our images. Here's something about them.
This one was on sale.
If you want to get hooked on Aloha shirts, listen to this podcast.
I think it makes too bigga deal about pocket pattern matching, but that's just me. It's like lumberjack shirts. Plaid-matching them looks weird, not classy. It looks like you're a tech millionaire from SF or Brooklyn who's just discovered outdoorsy clothes.
It's a leap to get your first Aloha shirt. Friends and family will think you've changed, that something's been going on with you that they haven't been privy to. It comes off as loving concern.
The canteens are a natural complement. It was a hard ride up that ridge, and Will got thirsty:
These Laken Spanish clean canteens will stay clean because they aren't in the Zone of Flung Trail Crap, as are trad water bottles and Kleen Kanteens that don't stay clean.
They come with a fabric cover which can be wetted and allowed to evaporate. The old "desert water bag evaporative cooling science principle." And good gracious, they have a shoulder strap, too. They could use a cross strap to hold the back when you ride. It is easy to make one with some combination of webbing, parachute cord, knots, sewing, and/or common pack hardware that REI sales.
Imagine riding with your pals. Stopping at a hilltop (it's a Hillybike ride). While they're sucking water out of a dust cylinder, you're cowboying up with a genuine Spanish flounder-'clopse canteen.
You might expects a genuine Spanish canteen that came to us from Spain because there is no U.S. distributor, to cost you $50. It should. Ours are $30. The next batch will cost $35. Sorry, but Spanish stuff doesn't come cheap.
We got as packing material (multi-use handoff!) this:
He got some Campy parts, and wanted to re-use the foam. Re-use, good! But Campy should stop doing this.
It's hard to be consistently environmentally good. If you're conscientious and aim for complete goodness in everything, you'll go naked and eat wild mushrooms. But--you have to pick some areas to nail or at least improve, and hope enough other people or businesses are watching out for some you're ignoring.
Doris Day died a few days ago. I know there were Doris Day aficionados, but she was always one of the old lady actresses to me, so I was never into her, though everybody in the western world knew who she was.
Will's grandfather was a pilot, did some heroic refugee-saving flights during the Vietnam war or a bit after it, and was a technical director (and stunt pilot) for Hollywood in the mid-last century. Here he is with D-Day:
That's from the movie, Julie. Will and I look at the photo and try to guess the camera, or at least the format. It's a great photo, don't you think? The guy on the right is Will's grampa.
Will says Linda Ronstadt lives a few blocks from him. In a fancier neighborhood, but still. On that note, Rita Moreno once lived next door to my brother-in-law and borrowed a shovel from him--it was about 11 years ago.
Here's nothing to copy, but just experimenting with homemade grips. This is on a Billie Bar on a Boots I've been riding lately:
It's one of the new Hunt-Wilde grips with half a grippy rubbery grip on it, then wrapped with cloth tape (to be shellacked), and with ballcock washers to raise your hand above the brake lever clamp and to stop forward sliding, not that it happens a lot, but it feels good, that washer:
Thirty percent of you know that we’ve been working on mountain bikes minus the gonzo, which we’re calling Hillybikes. They’re mountain bikes not on steroids. They’re for travel over rough terrain, and fun, not for competition, stunts, or winning battles with nature.
They lack technology borrowed from motor vehicles, and yet they are our most advanced bicycle designs yet. Like a lot of our models, maybe all of them, they’re anachronisms.
The point isn’t to be different. The point is to make best-riding, easiest-riding trail bikes we can possibly make, without any concerns for trends or familiarity. Whatever you think they might lack in comfort or safety—because they’re unsuspended—is all in your head, and is made up for in design. They all have long wheelbases, allow high handlebars, and fit tires to about 2.8-inches, which you can and should ride soft. After that, it’s all skill and judgment and walking. These bikes track straight over horrible ground and breakneck speed, but you're still the commander.
A year ago we’d planned to make one version, the Gus Boots-Willsen. We’ve had eight to ten prototypes, have ridden them nearly daily for months, and have added minor refinements for the ones you’ll get. Small things, but we’re about small things.
But the Boots is overbuilt for light riders carrying light loads. So we added a lighter version (with a different name, which you'll soon know) for riders up to 165lbs, and non-camping loads. They have lighter tubes and use quill stems and threaded headsets (the Boots has stronger tubes and is threadless). Those things make sense in 2019 on mountainISH bikes. It's not us selling souls to devils.
So as not to confuse, these lighter ones will come in sizes 1cm smaller than the Boots sizes (59cm, not 60…56cm, not 57….53 instead of 54, and 50, not 51). Those are the sizes, but sizing on these bikes—the normal or the lightie—is different from what you’re used to, so we’ll reduce them all to S, M, L, XL, and give size recommendations based on our extensive experience.
What you get, either way: Frame, fork, headset.
What you don’t get that we usually supply with frames, and why you don’t get ‘em with these:
Seat posts: All these bikes take 26.8 posts. Usually we supply a Taiwan Nitto knock-off. This time, we want you to buy a genuine Nitto Frog (2-bolt) post (26.8mm). It’s the best seat post in the world, and fitting for this bike. We’ll stock them, and they’re close to $118. Ouch is right, but you can get a non-Nitto post for $30.
Bottom Bracket: The crank you use determines the bottom bracket you need. A fashionable single-ring crank uses a shorter spindle than a double or triple, and we’re not going to guess or force you. You pick the crank, we’ll tell you which BB to get (if it’s one of ours).
Colors: We’ve narrowed it to a blue and a green). Each type and size will come in both.
The Gus Boots-Willsen is simply the Gus Boots-Willsen, although we shorten it to Gus and Boots a lot. It's our standard-weight bike, good for allweights above 166lbs. Here's the decal for it, on a sample bike we've been riding—
The lighter version for flyweights has two names (one on each side of the downtube), because we liked both names and couldn't decide. They are
Susie W. Longbolts and Wolbis Slugstone
Here's the artwork for that decal:
Remember, you get both names, so refer to it as you like.
Both names are anagrams of Gus Boots-Willsen. We were going to offer two fully named versions, but that got too complicated, and would have made you pick between boy and girl. This way—with Susie W. Longbolts) on the left side of the downtube and Wolbis Slugstone on the right, you get both and there’s no decision. This came after long, hard thinking, all the while knowing we’ll lose some customers for it. Be non-bimarily bold.
Construction: Lugged seat tube, fillet-brazed main joints. Tubular tigged fork crown. Investment cast head tube reinforcing rings. We might be forgetting something else, but the point we want to drive home is that these frames are expensive to make, and priced to reflect that. The shop that makes them can make fewer than two frames per day.
This is how tiny, poor, cash-strapped us can do these incredible groovy things without shooting ourselves in the crotch. We do the bikes, we pre-sell enough to pay for a good part of the shipment, and you wait some and get a good deal. Que sera, sera.
----------- movie below. Some Hillybikes on a hill. The guy who is not Will wearing a hat, is Taylor-from-Utah, who was out here and wanted to tag along when Will and I went out for some canteen shots. He agreed to be the city slicker in the canteen photo, and proved to be buff on this trail. I've made it up twice in 85 tries, and he got it on his first try. He makes it look easy. It is really, really hard.
More hats in eight weeks (mid July) and T-shirts soon.