Post May Day, pre- Cinco de Mayo

Posted on May 03 2018

Post May Day, pre- Cinco de Mayo

I wonder how bike-share bikes are affecting normal bike shops that depend on sales of $300 to $500 bikes. Will people who don't have bikes now get on these bikes and then want their own? That's the hope, but I still wonder.

For a couple of decades at least in Japan there has been this thing called "bicycle pollution," where people buy inexpensive commuter bikes from home to train station, and then after a couple of years the bikes are all rusty and got flat tires and all, so they just sneak-leave them on the street. Even bought bikes get left behind, but not like bike-share bikes, and not like in China.

This short piece in The Guardian shows how the problem can look groovy from high up, but down on earth it's kind of a mess. Interesting images, worth half a minute:

bike beauty in China.

 There are certainly some recycling opportunities there. I hope they do that. All steel bictycle tubing, even the gllitzy stuff, is recycled, so it's hard to imagine all those bikes just staying put for too long, but who knows?


The catalogs ought to be here soon. John at RIVELO in Portland has plenty. When I was up there this weekend, a fellow was shopping around hanging around, doing the normal "I'm in a bike shop thing" and all was fine. Then when he left I noticed he didn't have a catalog, so as he was leaving I offered him one, and he said, "No thanks, man--I've got too MANY catalogs!"   That's fine, just a little bumming that he ranks them all equally. Anyway, we'll have them soon, and in a perfect world if you're a Hail Mary-er, we'd have Harry Mail it to you on Saturday when he comes in, but in fact all those are being bulk-mailed to you from SoCal, and you'll have them in 2 weeks.

As soon as they get HERE we'll include them with orders, and if you end up with more than one, it's not us being wasteful. It's just hard to keep track of who already has one. You can give it to a friend, whatever. Here's the cover and the photo the cover was drawn from:

(It was also the cover of RR44.


Locks again: I hate locks, but I keep one with all of my bikes (5, I think) and since we're quitting the now-made-in-China ABUS Phantom lock, we have to find a replacement.

A couple of posts ago I was raving about the flyweight/ziptie-like OTTO lock. Then it was pointed out (and verified) that OTTO locks had a problem. Mr. OTTO says the problem is in the past, and I'd still be scared of them in a scary maximum security requirement situation, but OTTO says they're for running in and outa the store or coffee shop and that's how I use a lock most of the time, anyway. So we're back on board with them, and will offer them soon.

And probably a couple of German-made ABUS locks. All three up-and-comers are shown below, with the soon gone ABUS Phantom:

 In a week we should have these 1.1, the 1.75, and the 3.95. Part of me hates the idea of selling three locks, but they're so different. Minimum but lightest, medium and barely over a pound, and one for maximum use or maybe leaving on bike rack or post or something you use all the time downtown. Be one of those guys, as long as you don't feel like you're reserving that spot.



We're nearly out of 55 Cheviots and will be soon. We'll try to get more in November.


Bob Dylan has a lot of stuff going on. I love his art and ironwork. I don't actually drink whisky, but I'm buying a bottle to get the bottle. Maybe some of the group around here drinks it. I'd try a sip. I have an accepting palate when it comes to food I chew, but I'm pretty measly when it comes to liquids.

Bob Dylan's art

Bob Dylan's ironwork

click through the images in big mode, they look pretty neat

Bob Dylan's whiskey

It's not just Dylan-branded. He had input.


I've taken some pinhole photos lately. Here's the deal: You don't need to make the camera yourself out of a Quaker Oats tub and black paper and mucilage. If you have an old normal film camera, go here and get a pinhole body cap for it:

I guess you can do it with digital cameras, too. Not with your phone, I think. Come on, anyway--play the game a little, OK?

So the body cap costs you about $50. It comes with instructions. Then, how do you meter?

There's an app called Pinhole Assist. You tap in your aperture (the lens cap will tell you what it is). And if you have a roll of film in your camera, tap in the film speed. Aim the phone at your subject and it'll tell you the shutter speed.  It helps to have a tripod, b/c shutter speeds will be anywhere from 2 seconds to 90 seconds, maybe more.  If you have a lens for the camera, you can shoot some with that, too. It's not like you have to do a whole roll of 36 in pinhole mode, although why not?


We were all set to name the new mtn bike Elephantus--a rebound name after we'd finally opted out of Hunqapillar to avoid confusion...and it turns out there is an Elephant brand bike, so we gotta just let him be with that. So now it's down to Sir Barney Johnston and H. "Larry" Gomez. Maybe "Sir" Barney Johnston. I don't know how I feel about the quotes. It adds a nice twist, don't you think?


Saner minds may prevail, but maybe not.






  • Tony: May 11, 2018

    Sorry I missed the Rivelo meeting, usually stop and see John when I am in town. I live 3 hrs east so not so easy to just drop in.

    Anyways, how about a new road bike that is “almost” as tough as the Atlantis but lighter, but not as light as the Rodeao and name it “Rocky Colovito”, great former baseball player for the Cleveland Indians. He was a class act. I would buy a bike just on the name.

  • Joe Bernard: May 10, 2018

    “Don’t bring the current blue again” is an amusing approach to a bike maker/seller. I love the RBW Blue on my Cheviot and strongly encourage anyone on the fence from web pics to see it in person out in the sun. Great color, great bike.

  • Masmojo: May 09, 2018

    How bout, Montpellier?

  • John Thurston: May 09, 2018

    re: OTTO
    I bought one. I returned one. It was faster and easier to open it by feel than by sight. To replicate: Apply gentle pressure on the release button while rotating the wheel nearest the button. As soon as the button settles, rotate the next wheel. etc.
    With a trivial amount of practice, I could do it one-handed, in five seconds, with my eyes closed.

    Please consider the TiGr

  • Vic: May 09, 2018

    This video made me think twice about buying one of those Abus Bordo locks:

    Maybe it’s unfair because he has the lock secure in a vise. But still…

  • Piskian: May 09, 2018

    Had bike for every day of week thanks to abandoned puncture bikes in Tokyo.Couldn’t bear to see them left lost and lonely…

  • RT: May 09, 2018

    I worked at a bike shop in NYC when Citibike was launched. We hoped that it would introduce more people to bicycling, and that some portion of Citibike users would get tired of the sharing system and buy their own bikes. That didn’t happen – sales dropped dramatically that first year (we catered to commuters) and never recovered.

    There are two big reasons why 90% or so of New Yorkers who could be using bikes as their primary mode of transportation are not: they’re afraid of getting hit, and they’re convinced a bike will get stolen.

    The first is a legitimate concern. There are bike lanes, but NYC drivers ignore traffic laws with impunity and kill 100+ pedestrians and a dozen or more bicyclists per year. Maybe that will change if we ever get political leaders who have the courage to end traffic deaths.

    The bike theft issue is solvable – we heard countless bike theft stories at the shop but they always involved either a flimsy lock (that the customer believed was robust) or a failure to properly use a lock. We pushed our customers to buy badass chain locks, even though they didn’t like the weight (nevermind that it’s on wheels) or the price, and I never heard a report of a Krypto “NY” chain being busted.

    Bike share is the other solution to bike theft. Unfortunately, bike sharing is a much weaker commitment to bicycling than bike ownership. I think that educating people about locking their bikes in NY would help the most. I always pushed two points: 1) Leave the bike outside or else it will end up gathering dust in your apt (we’re talking regular folk not bike nerds). 2) Get a really solid lock and thieves will move on to the abundant easier targets.

    I don’t think many shops try to advance either of these two points. They sell pretty, shiny bikes that customers wouldn’t dare leave on the street overnight, and nifty, lightweight locks that customers’ eyes were drawn to. Within a few months, either the customer gets tired of wrestling the bike through the narrow entryway/staircase of their building, or the bike gets stolen. It’s too bad – if shops pushed practical bikes and practical bike use, the bike-owning population might expand far beyond bike geeks and 20-somethings and bike shops could thrive.

  • doug couch: May 09, 2018

    I was as at the Revelo gathering. Got away without a catalog. I have several Rivendell catalogs. It was a nice gathering as always. My Cheviot has trouble shifting to it’s small ring but I will continue working on it.

  • Andy Vibes: May 05, 2018

    Keeping with both large trunked creatures and the lore of Middle Earth you could use Mûmak.

  • Jeremy: May 05, 2018

    Dr. Denise-Elise Ambrose, DVM

  • Hernan Atencio: May 05, 2018

    Be sure to get a good color in the new Cheviots. Like the grey or the green from previous years. Don’t bring the current blue again. I will get a size 60.

  • Kent Peterson: May 05, 2018

    A second vote for TiGr locks. Light, strong, MUSA. I’ve used one for a couple of years.

  • Tom: May 05, 2018

    New Mtn bike, hurray! Pachyderm? Tusker? I like Gomez but not as much as an elephant reference. Happy May, Rivvers.

  • Paul: May 05, 2018

    I like that Mr. Dylan has a painting of a bicycle in there, though there are some odd things going on in that rear triangle – maybe not as odd as Picasso would have painted it. Bob should start a postcard business, though, give the current trend away from snail mail, the whiskey is probably more profitable. Don’t send me no more letters no.

  • Mammouth: May 04, 2018

    Mammoth, Babar, Burrow

  • Paul Hogan: May 04, 2018

    In the early ‘80s I imagined making a “city bike” out of a mountain bike, and selling it as an “Urban Gorilla”. A play on Patty Hearst’s self proclaimed occupation upon her arrest. If you like the name, and it is not otherwise taken, it’s yours.

  • michael: May 04, 2018

    why not tigr locks?

    made in usa

    lightweight titanium

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