the disturbingly slimmed down reno international bike show

Posted on September 22 2018

the disturbingly slimmed down reno international bike show
That's Will in his favorite helmet. He "sometimes" doesn't wear one, but he likes the look of this, and if you know Will you understand why. He is the Pro-tec helmet model perfectified.

--------

The big bike industry trade show is called Interbike. It ended Friday, and this year it was about 25 percent as big as it has been in any of the past 35 years. Specialized, Giant, and Trek have their own shows, with captive audiences, and they save money by not renting space at Interbike, and they can give their dealers a more royal treatment. It makes sense.
Three of us--Will and Roman and I--went there, showed some bikes even tho we don't sell much to dealers. There are other reasons for going, other than "opening new accounts," and those other things got done.
But there we were, and it went fine for us, but here's the deal: The U.S. bike industry is at a low and scary point, and is desperately hoping for a salvo, and the salvo seems to be the electric bicycle, which ought to be called  mo-ped (motor + pedal)--since even mopeds have given up their pedal-ability, so why not a bike with a motor that you really can pedal, too? Perfect!
But they're "eBikes" to skirt licensing and registration and certain restraints on motor vehicles. At Interbike, 1/3 of the space was eBikes. The Raleigh booth was more than half eBikes. Univega is coming back, with carbon road bikes and eBikes. A German journalist told me that 80 percent of the mountain bikes sold in Germany are eBikes. I would say then that mountain bike sales have fallen by 80 percent.
A few months ago I thought I'd jolt you with the prediction (by one guy who studies trends) that in 5 years 30 to 40 percent of the market will be eBikes. I think it'll happen in two years, and it'll be 50 to 60 percent.
We'll keep making pBikes, and that's what they might be called. "eBike" may just be shortened to "bike," since it'll dominate.
Expressing a disopinion about eBikes inevitably gets misconstrued as being against older and physically challenged people's mobility and independence and right to the same fun others have. That's not our evil plan. We have no evil plan!
It's not whether they're good or bad. Obviously, there is potential in either direction. It's whether they're bicycles, and that's not making a big deal about semantics. To an alien, if one's a bicycle, so is the other, even with a motor. I can't subscribe to the alien way of thinking, no matter how little I try.
To me, a bicycle is the fantastic wonderful synergism of so many sub-machines that are so simple a two-year old could understand them. Wheels roll because they're round, and there are wheels all over. The threads on bolts are wheels. The pins on chains are wheels. Then there are the levers, like cranks, stems, handlebars, pedal axles, hub axles. Chainrings and cassettes are obvious wheels, but they're levers, too. There is friction where you need it and slipperyness where you need IT--like, think of tightening a stem in place. The quill is a loose fit inside the steer tube, and on top of that you grease it so it doesn't meld to the steer tube. There's no connection there until you tighten the stem bolt, which makes the stem wedge crawl up it on wheels and falsely make it wider than the inside diameter. You grease the outside of the wedge so IT doesn't stick, and you're supposed to oil or grease the threads that end up going into the wedge too, and all the time it's wheels doing things that wheels do.
When a wheel turns or rolls, it's a kind of lever, too. Have you ever thought it odd that the bigger the chainring, the harder the gear, but the bigger the rear cog, the easier? It makes sense when you turn the chainring into a longer lever and the cog into a smaller one--and they all turn in circles, and move around by your legs, which are levers, and the ball-and-socket joints in your knees are like wheels, and without them your leg levers wouldn't move like that. They'd just stiffen up and crunch and snap and stop.
That's what a bicycle is and why it works, and of all the levers and wheels in it, the ones that MAKE it a bicycle are the ones that motors replace. You can still pedal, but you don't have to. There's no direct-connection between effort and movement, because the motor takes over. Motors take over these fantastic cooperative movements. They don't "enhance" them or "supplement" them any more than somebody dipping a spoon into your bowl of ice cream is "helping" you eat it.
Still and all, there is potential to do so much good.
Motorcycles do good. They tend to be kind of loud thru the neighborhood, but they dooo good, because they're obviously taking over for a car, and they use less space and gas.
The deal here is that they have a motor so they're not bicycles, they’re motor-cycles, or at least mo-peds. Calling them bicycles gives them most or all of the privileges of a bicycle (depending on the state you live in), and the only restriction is that they can't ride with cars--because they have a maximum speed of 28mph unless you know how to work around that. (A friend of mine got his up to 35mph, unassisted.)
But "restricting" eBikes from riding with cars is like telling swimmers they can't swim with sharks.
The bicycle media is in a pickle over this, because it can't defend the actual bicycle without ticking off its current bike-making advertisers and guarantees that they won't get advertising from the super rich eBike makers, whose first choice and most natural audience would be bike riders who read bike magazines.
I understand that, because if eBikes were essential or seemed like they might be essential to our existence, to Will's job, for instance, then I'd dive right in. 
With eBikes showing up everywhere and the bicycle makers making them, they can't help but explode. I don’t buy the green argument that they’ll take cars off the road. Bikes don’t, and they’re even greener and healthier, but neither eBikes nor real ones are great for badweather shopping or family transport.
The thing that wins for most people is the thing that’s easiest and most convenient. For bicycles to win in the mainstream, cities would have to require motor vehicles to park in the outskirts and walk or shuttle into down—or grab a city-provided bike for the last mile or two. 
Enough of that, but we're sticking it out with bicycles.
--------
 MKS (pedal maker, Japan) and NITTO (bars, stems, seat posts, racks) came by today to talk about the new stuff they’re making mostly at our request. A new pedal and a basket rack. They’re coming along, and we helped at least the basket rack along today.
 ------
 In the 10x10 booth next to ours at Interbike was Larry Fine’s grandson:
 
 
-------
The mountain bike has become such a motocross bike that there are now tons of companies making mountain bike riding clothing:

  And THIS (this clothing) and all that is why we're awkardly (for now) referring to the Gus Boots-Willsen as a "Hill bike."

We're making 10 changes from the prototype. In a few more months we'll build one up and show it. It's a really fun collaborative effort and involves lots of people here, directly and in support roles and contributing stuff that I'm incapable of...and people you've never heard of, about five of them--Frank, Patrick, Yi-Yi, Joanne, Karen, Meg, Vincent, Tim.   So far it seems to be a polarizer. One guy on some blog hates it (and me, apparently). Others, and I'd say most, are jazzed. It is what it is...a hill bike.

ANAGRAM stuff:

We made up a contest to rearrange the letters in Gus Boots-Willsen. Would you like to see some of the entries? These are about 20 or 35 of many more. I love all of these, in alphabetical order. Many not listed I like as much, but I'm not going to list them all.

GUS BOOTS-WILLSEN, aka:

BEN, IT'S SLUGS' WOOL

BLESS WONGO-LUST

BOGUS WELLINSOT

BOLTSOSS GUWELIN

BUSTELLOS SWINGO

GO TELL BOSS U WINS

GUS BELLOWS, "IT'S ON!"

LEW'S GOT SOIL BUNS

LION'S GLOB WETS US

LOUIS B. GLOWNETS

LUGLESS BOOT WINS

NILS TOWS LEGO BUS

NO SOULS WILST BEG

O, 'TIS SWOLLEN BUGS

SGT. LEON LUSSIBOW

SGT. LINUS B. WOOLES

SLEB GUTSO WILSON

SLOB (GUS) WETS LION

SLUG BONES WILT SO

ILL SOW SNOGS TUBE

ST. LINUS B. SOOLWEG

ST. LOUIS B. GLOWSEN

LOUIS B. GLOWSEN St.

TWINS GOOSE BULLS

US NOBLES WILST GO

USE BOWLING SLOTS

USS BELLINGSWOOT

USS WOOSTINGBELL

WILSON BOSSLETUG

WINSLO BUGLESOTS

WOGENTILS BUSSOL

WOGUS BOLLITSEN

WOILST BOSS LUNGE

WOLBIS SLUGSTONE

WOOL'S LUBE STINGS

WUGLEIN SOBS LOTS

There are lots more. We have three outside judges. They're making the rules, they're picking the winners, not me. Don't boycott Rivendell if you aren't on the podium. That's the problem with podiums. I'm anti-podium. There's no podium.

G

 ------------------------

 

 

Recent Posts