Will shot this picture of Corey. It's one of the best bicycle-themed photos of the last 160 years, and here it is, on a BLAHG that's read by fewer than 300 humans on earth. We'll make postcards out of it. Will you buy them? Imagine how fun it would be to send one, and how dumbfounding it would be to receive one. You'll want spares, because when have a super postcard, you don't really want to send it to somebody who might not frame it or at least push-pin it to a sheetrock wall, right?
It's our new Hillybike, fatter than the Atlantis and Appaloosa and even Hunqapillar, but not a "fat bike." When you sign up here you'll get a mix of technical hoo-hah, frustration via rants, development details, delivery updates, and a chance for an early purchase savings, which will help us pay the bill.
We don't sell lists names or hound you with pitches masquerading as helpful information. It's easy to unsubscribe, but this list has a finite life of about 3 months, anyway, and in that time I expect to post no more than six times...my point being that it'll be the least invasive, most benign, one of the most short-lived on-line harrasments of all time, and it's optional, anyway:
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Some representatives from Shimano came to the Bay Area a few weeks ago, and after they were finished with the bigshots (REI, Mike’s Bikes, Sports Basement) they had some time to kill here. I think it went well, but the chances of anything coming of it are slim. Here’s the feedback we gave them. They were both super friendly, by the way. The American guy was from Shimano America and was American; the Japanese guy, from Shimano-Japan. OK now so here:
1. Mark showed how the spring of a Claris front derailer, designed for two chainrings, can be ground with the Dremel to make it work on a triple better than the front derailers Shimano MAKES for triples. At least on our bikes. Anyway, the modification doesn’t affect its 2-ring performance, and the idea here was that Shimano could save us a lot of trouble and nobody else would even know.
2. “Are you going to keep making 9sp stuff, including the Dura-Ace bar-enders?” The answer was “not sure. But the big market for 9sp seems to be in China.” The guys who want sporty bikes but can’t afford 11-speed Ultegra etc get bar-end shifters instead. Ironic that they’re the reason we get to keep buying it, for now.
3. “How about a LONG reach sidepull?” Mark was building a Homer on the stand, and we showed the benefits and gave them a sample. If “gravel” bikes hadn’t gone all to disc, they’d be a perfect market, but alas. Maybe, anyway.
4. “How about a touring group modeled after Deore XT and XTR from 1989 to 1992? That was Shimano at its best.” Doubtful.
5. “Rapid-rise rear derailers, bring them back???” They both like them but said fat chance.
(If I were derailer-less and made $25,000 per year and had the option of a normal derailer for $60 and a rapidriser for $500, I'd do the $500 RapidRiser.)
6. “Yay for Deore stuff!” (it wasn’t all whining and begging)
7. “Yay also for the Mtn Brake levers.”
8. Redesign the V-brakes so the pads open up more. (See below)
BRAKE PAD BUMMEROONIE might be ending soon
Beginning in about 1990, cantilever brake makers started flipping the shoepad from outside the arm to inside the arm, as a way to I don't know, maybe reduce leverage and flex that was never a problem, anyway? But in doing so, the pads moved so close to the seat stays and fork blades that when you release the pads to remove a wheel, sometimes you can't, because the pads don't open up enough. The frame may have plenty of room for, say, a 2.4mm tire, but the brake pads, blocked by the frame and fork, don't let the wheel come out.
Older cantilevers are better in that way. The only new one that works is the Shimano CX50. The CX70 is discontinued. The Dia-Compe canti works in the front, but is 2mm short in back.
We have faint hope but not zero hope that Shimano will redesign its V-brakes. And--let me say this and please go along with it---Shimano V-brakes are amazing and fantastic all in one, and this micro-bugger doesn't wreck them. I don't think they'll do anything, though. They're too market-driven, and the market wants discs.
BUT HERE'S SOME POSSIBLE GOOD NEWS: Kool-Stop (a brake shoepad maker in Washington state), is aware of the issue and has agreed to study it a bit and see how reasonable it would be to make a pad that clears with existing brakes. We carved up some pads to figure out the dimensions and sent along photos. They can do that themselves, but still--we are nearly begging them to do this, and that's where it sits. I'm torn between suggesting you contact Tim and Randy there to express your support, and NOT, out of concern for how irritating that might be, and how they might not want to do us any favors then, even tho it would be a favor to at least 50,000 other riders in the bargain.
FLASH: They got right on it, and we'll see some shoes in a few DAYS. Go, Tim and Randy!
Anything odd here?
I'm no German pronounciation pro, but...
I still admire the high degree of cavalierness.
We're shooting a few photos for the Boots catalogue. A phonetograph and two photographs (Roman using Will's camera to shoot Will. The camera is a Fuji 6x8 that Will's dad gave him.
It was a rainy day, and Will's holding a Billie bar.
Here's one of Will holding a Wavie bar.
Here's a Will photo (Nikon HP5 50mm lens, F16 at 1/30th...sorry) Corey hammering a Gus fork. It's not as profligate as it seems--the steer tube is too short to use, we're getting a replacement.
These have been earworms for decades (Bob Dylan lyrics):
Clouds so swift, rain fallin' in
Gonna see a movie called Gunga Din
Pack up your money, put up your tent, McGuinn—
You ain't a-goin' nowhere.
Ghengis Khan, he could not keep
All his kings supplied with sleep
We'll climb that bridge no matter how steep
When we come up TO it.
He emphasized "to."
Related to that, about 3 weeks ago I called up a distant museum and asked,
"How much longer you gonna have the Gunga Din exhibit up?"
The guy said, "Huh?"
Then I said, "'Huh?' I read that you have a Gunga Din exhibit. Maybe somebody else there can tell me about it."
It went on for another whole minute, with me getting confused, frustrated, I didn't get testy, but it was probably clear that I was flabbergasted that here I was talking to a guy who it seemed ought to know, and if he didn't, just pass me on to the right person. If he was in maintenance but happened to be there when the phone rang, that's cool, but in that case don't even try, just forward me to somebody else.
Then all of a sudden I realized I meant Genghis Khan and not Gunga Din, and I called myself an idiot (apologies to true idiots) and said sorry.
Then he said, "Do you mean the Chinese history exhibit? I think it might have something about Genghis Khan, but mostly it's about Taoists, the Ming Dynasty, ...." ). So, I saved $700 in travel and accommodations.
-----this is also why I don't have COMMENTS open----
THE HHH TANDEM REOPENING:
We have 14 interested "parties." We need 15 people willing to put $1,000 down on the frame and wait up to 6 months, before we can do it. Otherwise, the risk is too big. We'll give it till Jan 5, and then the project either goes ahead (with those deposits), or it dies. I don't think there's a more pleasant, safer, more fun-to-ride tandem out there, or a more versatile one, or one that'll fit such a range of heights. If there's a chance in heck that you'll want one sometime, tell Will. He's
We don't ship whole bikes, but can ship parts to you or your local shop. We can supply everything, but it's cordial to buy some things (at least water bottle cages, racks, lights, and accessories) at your local shop, and prepare to pay them $320 to assemble it. We're HAPPY to supply ever last bit of metal and grease and leather, but Mark will quit if he has to assemble tons-o'-tandems, and we have no boxes for them, anyway. So we'll ship frames in one box, wheels in another, parts in another. It's worked out smoothly with about 100 others, and we're...not worse at it now!
Here's mine. It needs a few things, but if I couldn't get another one (which may be the case), I seriously wouldn't sell it for $15,000. I rode it the other day with my sister, we visited the old neighborhood, and talked about stuff we hadn't talked about for 48 years, with the maturity that comes with all that time. That was worth $4,000 right there. I'm not saying this is how YOU value something, or that I'd pay my sister even $20 to do it again, but some things--like that--are hard to put a dollar sign on, and $4K seems cheap in a way that might be hard to understand if nothing in your life is like that. The tandem let it happen.
I'm absolutely going to round up some people who can't see or otherwise can't pedal a bike, but have memories of it. If the blind people were born that way and have no memories, it'll still count. Those will be precious rides, too, and rides that happen only on a tandem, and, I'd say, only on a comfortable, stable, fun, confidence-inspiring one. I'm waiting to hear back. I think organizations for blind people ought to own a tandem. We'd sell them at a loss to make it easier.
Here's a photo of friend Dan riding in the smokey-air days. It was with Olympus OM-1, 100mm lens, HP5 film pushed twice I think, orange filter, about F5.6 at 1/500th, sorry to be so irritating to 98 percent of you:
Those N95 masks filter 95 percent of the particulate matter down to 0.3 microns, and 99 percent up to 2.5 microns, which is the size of smokey particles...so as stupid as this may seem to you who live in this area and got a good whiff of how bad the air was....it was scientifically intelligent and the right thing to do.