Right Around the New Year
Posted on December 29 2018
Starting off with this, but it gets way better:
Holiday sales here were lousy. We lost $2,900 today--calculated by the cost of keeping the doors open, the daily overhead, and the net profit on sales that came in. Overall, a good year, but we could use a little boost. How about a gift certificate for $20? Spend it whenever. This isn't another Hail Mary thing. We're not that terrified this time around. It's just that we are draining too fast from a reservoir that's not where it ought to be, and if you can buy credit here, please do. It isn't risky, I promise. This is the nature of a business that is underfunded and requires relatively huge outlays of money months in advance of receiving the inventory that takes six months to a year to sell.
Rosco Baby News
We got prototypes in, built up, being ridden, and we'll modify them as necessary or just to make them as good as they can be before we say Go. Here's a photo of a just-built RB 52:
Seat tube angle is superslack 68 degrees. Why so shallow? To make it easier to put feet on ground when saddle is set right. On a bike like this, it makes sense to put the saddle an inch lower than normal, for the same foot-on-ground while butt-on-saddle potential, which seems like it must be helpful on a baby bike.
And it moves your belly away from the back of the baby seat.
The chainstays are ONLY 50cm, which for us these days is not that long, by world standards is still the Empire State Building. But the front wheel is way out there, and I didn't want the wheelbase to rule out some bike racks. I don't generally design bikes with that in mind, but on a bike like this, I figured it might be driven to a park, so overall length matters, and it's already so long...so why add an extra 2-inches?
The top tube is 75cm, and if you think that's too long, you aren't understanding the purpose of this bike, and are discounting the 9-inch sweep back of Bosco bars. I could see somebody wanting to put genuine cruiser bars on it. THey'd come back another 5 inches. Whatever--the bike isn't welded together, and all bikes welcome certain customizations.
The downtube is 31.8mm (normal for us), but maybe we should go to 34.9 for extra stiffness, to compensate for the long top tube and the open design. We'll try it with a kettlebell and then a baby, and see. There may be other ways to stiffen it. When I ride it empty, it feels pretty normal. And anyway, it's not an aggressive bike. It's for gentle pedaling with your baby, and that's all. It's not a post-baby touring bike.
We'll get together a good budget parts package, which probably won't include the SILVER crank. We'll offer completes and frames only, and we're kind of now a YEPP kiddle-seat dealer, but have to verify that they're not made in China.
FLASH: I loaded it with 40lb and rode it and it's as squiggly and a sopping noodle. Scary squiggly, not for the meek or faint or anybody not able to keep his or her composure, for sure. The YEPP is rated to 45lb, and the Internet says a typical 45 pounder is 5 years old, and I say that's old enough to pedal, at least on one of those trailer bikes. Or a rear trailer, or something other than a front-mounter like this. Vince rode it, too.
So we're going to experiment with adding bracing tubes, and maybe bigger tubes. The length is great. We just have to stiffen it.
I put the same rig on a CLEM L 59, and the ride was great, but the fit was tight. We have to keep the length and reduce the wiggle. This is what prototypes are for. I'd ride it with a 30-pounder in a minute, all day long. You get in sync with the bike and all's well, but it's not good enough to sell. I'll be interested to see Dave's reaction with young Hank (he's almost 16 mo. by now).
Here's some kind of thinking:
Sorry about this, but it's good to know. Does it feel better to know it's not happening HERE? Probably not. If it were, we could all gang up and make the politicians make it stop, but over there, nothing we can do. Shoot, this is so bad. Do they have to do this? It's MORE depressing than global warming. Don't even read it. It's about child fighting in Thailand, apparently a national pasttime, part of the culture. Rich guys bet on poor family's children fighting for money for food. Gross, get off the planet.
We got notes on the Bamboo Harvester (Silver2) (name to be determined sometime) shifter. Here's a revised drawing (or dwg as it's referred to by people who refer to dwgs constantly):
The colored areas are being revised to our exacting, scientistic specs. This is one of a handful of "before I die" projects that I want to complete. I really honestly don't care how few care or buy it, but I do hope people see it as a zero-nonsense, beautifully conceived manual shifter that is kind of a "last gasp" product in a bicycle age that is undeniably macho-electronic-electric. To use this and say it sucks is to blame the pencil for the lousy novel you're writing. This is a 100 percent potential shifter, and most people want 100 percent guaranteed perfect shifts shifters.
Can you see the funkiness of that? I want this sooooo badly. I really do, actually, care about reactions and how others feel about it, but I think what I mean to say is that I wouldn't like it any less even if I were the only one who liked it, but I know there are at least 50 others. We've got a lot of time and money in on it. It's been a work in progress for 3 years. It almost ruined a 30-year friendship with a Japanese guy, but we cleared that up. We (RIV) gave up a lot to get it -- details not appropriate here--and I don't feel great about that, but we WILL have it.
We're getting a 3-D printed version in a couple of weeks. Then they'll be heading off into the black hole, aka Chinese New Year, for 2 weeks, and we'll lose momentum, and we'll pick it up again in March, April.
This is where a 13-hour flight might help to speed things up, but I can't stand flying. I don't fear it, I just hate sitting down all that time, and the lack of sleep and rigmarole.
I haven't driven a car for more than a year now. It wasn't the goal and still isn't, and I wonder if my skills will drop off because of it. Can I get a break on car insurance?
Will's still on vacation till Saturday, Roman till the Monday after next. I want a vacation, but I really do like work. It's not even work, it's just working on things that matter to me and I hope to more than me. It's the wrong decade for it, I know that.
Here's something we're working on. First sample, just for measuring. We have them on a bike, are riding them, they're working fine. I am actually not supposed to talk about it too much. Well...it's just complicated. It's about shortening brake shoes so they open up past fork blades and seat stays. The bike industry is giving up on the best brakes (rim brakes). They'll continue to make them, but in smaller numbers, and yet every damn year they develop newer duplicate disc brakes. Argh.
You can see the reflextion of my iPhone in the pad holder. It's white with red nail polish spelling out reward if lost, or something. Look how sharp it is. I like this picture, a real actual photo, a lot more:
It's friend Bill, on Mount Diablo on a long chainstay Atlantis on a steep short climb after a long climb and coming down through that high area behind. He hasn't seen this picture and I don't know if he reads the BLAHG, but there it is. OM-1, 100mm lens, yellow filter, HP5 film, probably f5.6 @ 1/125. It's not sharp like the digital, but it's a funner photo. He's a good bike rider, and coaches a high-school mountain bike team.
Photo from a local ride a couple of months ago, a mixed bag:
Here's a book I just finished:
Bike riding and racing and all of that has a strange and shameful history, at least in the U.S.. The now League of American Bicyclists--started in 1880 as the League of American Wheelman, and was that until modern times--used to be full of garden variety racist mysoginists. They, at least, didn't want black people riding bikes or women racing them. It's a good group now, I'm sure.
WOMEN ON THE MOVE is about women racers btw 1895 and 1902, and focuses on the lives and racing of the main five of them. This is a super book. Well-written, and if you still read books you'll like it a lot. We're now stocking it. We got 10 in. We're getting 40 more by Jan 5. The cover price, which is the real price, is $29.95. We don't do uneven dollars, so here it's $30. They cost us, with shipping, about $19. Amazon has them for $20.04 and free shipping, but then the author gets a smaller royalty--probably $2.40 instead of about $3.75.
If you order it from us and we're out, can you give us a week or so? We'll have 40 more by Jan 7, and it's unlikely that your local independent bookseller is stocking this book. If you ask them to get it for you (I am encouraging this, make no mistake), they'll look it up and see that it's published by a press they don't have an account with, so they'll say, "OK, I'll try," because they know trying is the right thing to do in a case like this. Then they'll see the "1 to 10" price and the freight and the cover price and they'll think but not say, "Holy moley, this isn't worth it, but not getting it for this customer looks really bad, so I gotta."
Then they'll run into the same unusually high-barrier hassles I ran into trying to get it—three official proofs of forms with numbers that they're a legitimate book seller—and if they grind through it all even though their (likely) 6 emails with at least 3 attachments—they'll realize they've spent 30 minutes to an hour trying to get one book that they'll gross $12 on, all the while risking either bumming you out during the wait, when Amazon can deliver it for $10 less in two days, or maybe after all the work they put into it, you'll still buy it from Amazon, and they'll have a solo book that's really good but has little demand, and they'll sell it below cost in a year.
This is Dan on a Gus Boots-Willsen, and this is what it feel like now. Buy a credit if you can...if you think you'd be buying something in the next month or two, anyway. It'd help. But we aren't "Hail Mary" desperate. This isn't another one of those.