mid dec 2019, the 31st BLAHG of the year?

Posted on December 14 2019

mid dec 2019, the 31st BLAHG of the year?


This tool was inevitable.  


 I think it's fair to allow ourselves some good old-fashioned mixed feelings about it, right? Fascination, intrigue, a pinch of disappointment. Maybe we just hope this isn't how kids learn to draw stuff. It's not the same as two-year-olds in a restaurant entertaining themselves with an iPad. 

Vermeer did this (watch the movie, Tim's Vermeer), and apparently so did others. I don't care about that, I still like the paintings. Did Rembrandt? He was Dutch too, right? Who was older: Rembrandt or Vermeer? That is a question for the ages, my friends. Rembrandt. Thanks, google.

If you aren't going to see the movie, but you want to know what this is about,  here's a short discussion:




NY UPS cargo bikes



Hey man, I bought an entire 1971, twelve-issue collection of Bicycling! magazine. One might think it'd cost a fortune, but nay not so--only $49, I think it was. Keep in mind this was eight months after the Big Bicycle Turnaround of April or May 1970, before which no adults except your odd uncle rode a bicycle or dad rode a bike. We were either hungry or thirsty for information. Bicycling! magazine had existed in newsletter form before that, but now with the market all big it could support a magazine. I'm giving you a Christmas present with these phone-copied excerpts:


Proof. I assume Willard Saul is long gone, but if you ARE Willard Saul and you're still riding, PM me for a killer deal, provided you let us do a "What's Willard doing now" piece. If you are related to Willard and you think I'm making a joke at his expense, I promise you I am not.

This is from a technical article, talking about the two kinds of bearings in derailer pulleys. Campagnolo had the bushing kind (bronze bushing, said to soak up some oil and stay lubricated, but not adjustable). Huret's better derailers had ball bearings. Super classy and good, but it didn't help Huret survive.


In an old Rivendell Reader, ancient paper that people like the idea of more than they like IT, we talked about making thorn-flickers. This fellow, whom you'll hear from a few more times before the day is over, is a British cyclist who was helping American newbs learn some tricks of the trade. I think the thornflicker is underutilized. Here, though, he shoes it mounted to the fork. At the mounting point, there are often brazing vent holes (required, sometimes filled, but useful for anti-rusting the inside of your fork). The thing is, those holes are like 2mm in diameter, and those bolts shown in the photo look like they must be fatter than that, unless they were "thumbtac-style."

Did he enlarge them? Not advisable. Anyway, the cooler way to mount thornflickers (made of a leaather thong or bootlace) is to mount them directly to the fenders. You ream a hold in the fenders, knot on the outside, come on, it's easy. 


Page 6. Not all pages need comments. The author, Brian Walker, also did the illustrations. I really love this guy.


page six, a gem-of-a-page. They don't make cycling publication pages like this anymore.


same Walker wisdom. How can you not love this guy?


The thing below is not from Brian Walker.  Neither of the things on this page would make the cut in 2020. 



Here's an ad in a 1987 Bicycling! magazine. It sums up the late '80s, and shows the crayons-to-perfume progress Americans made for sure:

 The Need We Say More.... part is kind of scary, too. If you say NO, you're tacitly agreeing. If you say YES, who knows what you're asking for.

There's disagreement on question marking or not rhetorical questions, like that one. This is the first time in my life that I haven't included one. One writer, I forget who, but it was in a book I recently read, doesn't even include them in quoted questions...like:

What's going on with that head tube angle, he asked, hoping to get a scientific answer. 


We got the sample Britishweater in. It looks PERFECT, which is what you get to expect when you're getting them from a company that's made them for 60+ years. Ours is lighter weight than what they've done before. A special knit that took a while, so we're glad it's good.


We also got some Charlie H. Gallop decals in, the foreign kind that Americans can't figure out how to apply. I google it on youtube and got a video made in Bulgaria, aka Hungary.

It gave me some tips, but not good enough, and I'm still doing it wrong. This is not your problem. In Taiwan they're masters. All of our Taiwan bikes (and all Bstones back then and no doubt now) have the same kind. I learned how at Bstone, but never had to do it, and I think, as I recall, the guy "teaching" me had his two hands in on the action, covering for me.






There's the total final Charlie badge next to the not quite final Susie.


 Gravel Grinding is partly, it has to be, a response to the competitive, restrictive, intense-and-not-all-that-fun sport of bicycle road racing. But it's getting rather intense itself:


EVERYTHING intensifies....or gets diluted and goes extinct. EVERYTHING gets diluted or intensified. EVERYTHING turns competitive, or gets diluted so it can sell more, and so many excellent things go extinct because the rules of survival have changed. EVERYTHING gets a pecking order, just give it time. 

OK, there's a new patch coming up.


The ONE THING I think I'm the BOW at, best in the world, is making funktional bicycle grips that nobody else likes. I experiment a LOT, my friends. I use them every day. I KNOW this stuff. I'm GOOD at it...and that's enough build-up to my GRIP of the GODS:

You start with a Hunt-Wilde grip, which we sell for a buck each, which works out to $2/bikesworth. Made in the USA, the classic American bicycle grip from about 1902 to 1969. Well, they're still available, friends, and we got 'em in black and red. We can get custom colors if we order 5,000, but we're NTD, not that dumb.

Then you get one of the hot-shot foamy ESI also made in America grips and which we also sell, this time for $20. To this you do the unfathomable: Cut one in half with scissors. Then, if need be, shorten it to Hunt-Wilde length, also with scisscors.

Then you get some bar tape, which we also sell for $5 a roll, good for half of a drop bar or a two dozen GOGs.

You're into it to the tune of $27 now, but you won't exhaust your supplies, except for the Hunt-Wilde grips.





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