March 22-ish, random small things, lots of pictures, not...golden or anything
Posted on March 22 2017
Mark was building up a demo Sam and opted to use tape-stubs, and got a lot of colors. The ones on the right are shellaced amber; on the left, clear. They're not the same colors in the same order, but you can still compare greens and yellow and blue. Either way, good.
Clear maintains the color but always makes it richer.
Amber does this. Attn naturalists: It might seem that amber is fake and clear is natural, but nope--the bug mausoleums are naturally amber, and are bleached to clear. Bullseye/Zinnser brand shellack is great. Get it at hardware and paint stores. THey all have it, and I've never even heard of another brand. Bullseye has a good little business going there.
Here's our showroom. Nothing fancy, but lots of bikes and a few turkey feathers and deer antlers above the banner in back.
From time to time I've addressed the problem of boiling eggs that peel easily, and Will here researched it, and this works and I refused to acknowlege or try any other way. You drop the eggs into boiling water. Boil for 7 to 12 minutes depending on hour green and crumbly you want your yolk (try it at 7 min)...then dip into cold or ice water.
The deal is, there's a thin protein layer or something on the outer eggwhite--you've seen it--and if you put the egg into cold or non-boiling water, it sticks to the shell and you're kind of screwed. We all know that hapless feeling, where the first peel grabs a chunk, and the rest follow, and by the time your egg is peeled, the shell still has 30 percent of the volume.
But when you plunge them into boiling water, the sticky film jumps away from the shell. Here's an egg I peeled the other day, and it came off in four chunks. There's some crumbling because I wasn't trying for a world record, but you can see some giant chunks, too:
Is this good or bad or neither? I have no stance on it. But--isn't it kind of weird? Come on, really. Around here we have access to hundreds of miles of great trails, so I'm in no position to scoff. But still, a little odd, right? Ebikes going uphill on Tahitian ramps with mathematically perfect angles. Schwalbe may design tires for those ramps. Get me some ramp tires.
Here's a sign in the showroom. It's slightly out of date:
I'm getting this bike, a 55 Appaloosa.
It's a 55 joe Appaloosa. We now have only five of these left (this color and size), and I felt kind of bad about robbing one from somebody else, but I rode a demo around and really wanted it. Mark is build-free right now, so he had time.
If you read HARPER'S magazine maybe you'll see this:
I'll try to enlarge it:
Well...there's a url at the bottom that, if they go to it, we'll be able to track the responses. We really are wallowing in this plateau, so this is a desperation measure. We've advertised in the bike magazines we can afford, and it's not been working. We have one more HARPER'S ad--it came at a super deal, and it's next month. We'll see how it goes.
-------The MUSA shorts have almost sold out, and have sold out in Large, so..I don't even get another pair. Vince says he'll order more. They are great pants but quite unlucrative for us. As long as we can break even and maintain neutral cash flow on them, we'll get them.
Should I even BE wearing shorts? I don't know, man. I'll be 63 this summer and something funny's happening with my leg hair. It's -- like, patchy and weird. I used to think it was knickers-rub, but no way. It looks like I do a bad job of shaving, and for an Unracer, that's not a good look.
This summer we'll do a run of slightly skinnier shorts. Some people like ' em, and they aren't ultra-skinny, just RIV-skinny, which means not wide-wide.
---------You've heard of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker? It's widely but entirely believed to be extinct. It won't be decided here, but the point is, Teddy Roosevelt called it the Lord God bird, because he saw one and said Lord God, and something along the lines of how could anybody see it and NOT say that? So it's the deal with the Ivory Billed Woodpecker. Here you go:
Lord God!~ but it's not a photograph. I think the American Bird Foundation will pay anybody who can document a sighting a million dollars. I thought about the Lord God bird because my new Appaloosa is a Lord God bike. I'm monkeying around with bars and grips and shifters, not because I need to, but because I want to goof around with some ideas. I'll show it when it's ready.
-------Paul Knoop of Polkadot Steel Bicycles in Lincon, NE sent me this link
It's racery stuff, so I don't care, except that I do care this time, because it lists the finishing times and average speed of classic European races from the '30s to now, and you can see how little the speeds have changed---even though, as Paul points out, the roads and air and coddling factors were so much worse back then. Except for an odd aluminum bike, you can bet that all 98 percent of the winners through 1982 or so rode steel.
Brian here sent me this, which is kinda like the ROSCO we're re-running now. Ignore the rod-not-chain drive and harp on the admirably over-obsessive low-down triangulation, and the piercing/welding required to do that. I'd say, "hey bud, leave a little more room for a bemittened hand," but it's dangerously inspiring to see somebody taking the long-cut instead of the other way. I wonder if the rod-drive automatic chainstay there drove the ultra-triangling. Like, maybe any tilting or flex fouls up the secret hidden gear action. If that's the case, then--envy out the window. But still, interesting.
CHAINS are not to be avoided. It's so easy to anti-sell chains and grease by pointing out that they've been around since the 1880s, as though that in itself is proof that they're stupid. All it proves is that the mechanism is so simple and sound and suitable for the task that no finger-snapping techwiz who sees historical success as a blank slate has come up with a better solution.
BELTS, I know, but they aren't better. They're sold cheatingly by scaring cleanfreaks away from oily metal by suggesting it jumps out at you and ruins your clothing and skin. That's easy to sell, but it's not true. There are measures to take, and heavens, let's be realistic. Chains are under attack, but even if you buy your mansions by selling belts, you have to agree that chains are remarkably efficient and effective.
Fourteen or at least eleven years ago I was reading somebody's over the top (to me) description of French oil-impregnated bullhide fender flaps, to catch whatever spray the fender missed, and my reaction was Lord God, that's ridiculous. I'd rather have duct-tape ones. There should be a balance btw task and materials. So to go nuts and make a joke of it, we had Nigel Smythe tweed mudflaps made, and I must say, they looked good. I felt like a fop for liking them, but there was something about the combo of green tweed and golden leather that's hard to resist, eye-wise. I still have one on a bike, and it's been at least 11 years, and so far, so good.
We don't to the Nigel Smythe thing anymore, but we've had nearly-as-uppity Sackville mudflaps made, actually and greenily, out of scraps left over from the pattern cuttings of Sackville Bags.
You can use duct tape or old tongues from the shoes of hobos or water bottle cuts and get them on with zip ties, and DIY mudflaps should probably be your go-to solution. BUT when you look at the Sackville jobs and see how insanely magnificent they are, you should aspire to own one sometime, because--well, they're $18, not $40, and they are the fanciest and nicest mudflaps in the world, and when you can get the best of anything in the world for $18, you just forego the next solo restaurant meal and put your money down and keep the Sackville bag clippings out of the landfill. Here's a link to the new Lord God Mudflaps:
BLUE TAN BROWN OLIVE GRAY
or for an extra dollar each:
LAPIZ LAZULI MUSHROOM MOCHA MOSS GRANITE
----------- you ream or drill holes in plastic fenders and zip-tie them on -----------
You can cut the zip ties or use genuine hardware or twine, but there you go.
Here's another option that solves the problem of what to do with that mini-reflectorange you bought before you got into saddlebags and now have nowhere to put it:
This way it hangs the way it's most effective and might do something as a mudflap, although not tons, because you strap it around the fender stays and that requires a high perch, so there's not much hanging below the 'der. But the point is: There's a way around and an alternate use for anything.
My bike's not ready, but in a stroke of epifaniacle genius last night, I came up with this the thing you'll see below, but first an explanation:
When you mount internal thumbies, the brake lever knob can interfere with the trav-path of the the shift lever. So you (we) use the left lever on the right, and vice versa--to move the lever clamp out of the way. But then the clamp jut is on the outside of the bar and it's not ultra smooth on your hand, so---this is a case where you have to accept or deal or workaround or just not grip the bar in a way that it pokes. You have to cowboy up. Or go to bar-end shifters, or move the thumb shifters to a different spot...or get some plumbing supplies with the scary name of Ball Cock washers, and do something like this:
No--I've got another idea, no time now, but soon. It's pretty slick. Next Blagh, in four or five days.
HHH Tandems ship here April 5.
The ROSCO BUBBE re-run mixte production will go thru only if we get 8 for sures, and we have five now.
ROADINI samples will be here in a month. There are 330 "interested" people and we'll have no more than 70 bikes. At some point those on the list will be notified to commit or not, and we'll see how it all goes. You can read about the bike a post or two ago.
CLEM L will be made end of April, so we'll have them end of May. Our Japanese dealer bought a ton of them (good for our cashflow=good for us), but I expect we'll sell out of some sizes before Summer.
This is good for us--2017 has been pretty stressful, and last year wasn't so good--we lost $20K--so these pre-sell deals help a lot with cash flow.
Here's Scoutie, the Lord God dog. She was rooting around in the backyard muck. She's supposed to be white.