Thursday April 26---sort of rambling, but if you live in Portland, go to Rivelo on Sat.

Posted on April 26 2018

Thursday April 26---sort of rambling, but if you live in Portland, go to Rivelo on Sat.

I think we can all agree that bike advocacy is important but tends to be boring, or can be boring, is always leaning and threatening to be. It's nature trumps its nurture, but bless the advocates and rah rah rah. The link below isn't exactly advocacy, but it's definitely pro-bike and should make you feel even smugger than you do already. It had that effect on me, anyway.

I don't drive much. Ten miles in mid-December for a car-shuttling thing, but not a mile since. On my way to a sub-50-mile year behind the wheel. I sit next to the wheel for maybe 1,200 miles a year, though. I shop entirely by bike and ShopSack and Basket, and it works great. I travel by care locally to hike with my wife or friends. It's not a choice, it's not a lifestyle, it's just a dread of driving, and I can't say it's improved my life. It has kept me from tons of fishing, I can tell you that. From age 15 to about 23 I hitchhiked long distances, mostly to fish but sometimes to hike, and now that I'm past the age of hitchhiking and have a different life to wrestle with, I've given up a lot of good fishing because I can't stand the thought of driving four to six hours to get there. For me it's not the being in the car, it's the me-driving it. Every time I do, I feel like I've commandeered it.

Bikes are a good fit for me, so I'm glad I'm here, and glad I read that link-thing.


There's a lot of hubub in San Francisco about electric scooters on sidewalks and how it's bumming out pedestrians, and the authorities are tearing their hair out about how to deal with them. One power guy said they belong on the street because they're motor vehicles. I think we all get that and don't. I'd rather see somebody pushing a scooter along the way you do on an analog scooter, but I also don't lump electric scooters in with cars, and I think there's a vulnerability thing to deal with when you force them onto the roads. I'd vote for giving them a whole lane. Ebikes and escooters. Then give push-scooters and normal bikes their own lane. It's good I'm not in charge of that.


One of my favorite corporate logos of all time is the Tabasco sauce one. 


I didn't grow up eating Tabasco, but I put it on a lot of things now, and I like the history of the company, and I rarely to never miss a Tabasco sauce story, and this one just showed up:


A couple of days ago I was over in Marin County riding my Clem-L 52, open to the possibility of riding up to and then down Repack Road (a fire trail, the descent that shaped the mountain bike), and I had other things to do over there, but I had a couple of hours to kill, so I did that. Repack (whose official "map name" is Cascade Canyon Road) descends 1,300 feet in about 2 miles, and is loose in a lot of places, and more rutted than I remember it being in 1987, the only other time I rode down it.

The fastest time down is 4min 22sec (Gary Fisher), followed by 4:24 (Joe Breeze) and 4:25 (Otis Guy, but a dog ran out in front of him near the end, and that cost some time). My time was about 14 minutes, but I wasn't racing and was riding solo and shirtless just checking it out on a survival ride. In my defense, if I rode all-out I could definitely break 12 minutes, and at my fastest--in the days when I cared about fast descents and rode down Mt. Diablo in 22:44, I might have ridden 10 minutes. It is an insane descent to race, but here's a fun fact: All of those fast times (Gary, Joe, Otis) were on clunkers modified with some non-clunker parts. Gary Fisher had cantilever brakes; Joe and Otis had coaster brakes. In 1983, "Downhill Jimmy Deaton" rode it his tech-for-the-time race bike and got 4:30.

It's not raced anymore, but most riders ride it on current "state of the art" mountain bikes, which seems a little odd. In rock climbing and (snowy) mountaineering, there's an equipment-use ethic that encourages all climbers to limit themselves to the same technology that a reasonably skilled climber can get away with on the same route.   In the early years of Yosemite climbing, first ascents were often accomplished over weeks and in some cases months, using drills to bore holes in rocks and placing essentially permanent safety widgets in them, and leaving full ropes in place so you could go up and down more easily, with rests and hot meals and weather breaks in between. That was shamed out, and since then climbers have gone overboard the other way, with climbing crazy scary stuff without any safety stuff at all, even the kind that does the rock no harm.

In mountain bike racing and just riding, it's gone the other way. The early guys were riding unsuitably low-tech bikes, then bikes reached a basic good level of appropriate technology in the late '80s, and now they've borrowed as much as possible—for now—from cars and motorcycles. There are reactions to it the other way, with one-speed mountain bikes, but those are fading fast gear is too limiting for varied terrain for most riders most of the time. There's no restraint at that end, and we're going to show 'em all what-for sometime late this year, if we can pull it off.


Gumwise, it's hard to beat this:

 Don't look at the ingredients. No gum is good that way, but it's sugarless, at least. If you must chew gum and you haven't tried it, give it a shot.


 Most of you know by now that Ford is quitting most of its cars:

Vehicles including bikes are getting more massive, taking up more space. It's not entirel "form following function." Strong and tough materials can be safe while slender, but brittle materials need bulk, like styrofoam anything.

There's also just the loook. Thick and dark and undetailed are in right now. It's OK, grumble. It's fine.


A prototype bag, rec'd today, there will be changes:

It's too deep. We'll take off 1.5-inches.


 Sizing chart from soon-here catalog:

Saturday at Rivelo in Portland-West, John'll have 200 of the catalogs. I THINK I'm doing a handlebar wrap-thing demo there, too. I think there might be a Q&A segment, but I'm not positive. Anyway, maybe I'll see you there.


We're looking at locks. The OTTO lock...great idea, but we're going to put it on hold until we're sure. I've been using one and I hope we get them later, just have to wait and be sure. Meanwhile, we'll have some of the ABUS Phantoms in--now made in China but seemingly still good. They've got a toxic materials warning on them. Now, I'm sure it's German conservatism that lead to that, but it's a little bugging, you have to admit. We're narrowed down our new lock offering to two German-made ABUS models--a folding titanium job and a covered chain.


Bikes on PBS:

 I always wonder why, during old-timey scenes  in movies and TV, they show people who presumably get around on bikes regularly because they have to go to work and don't have a car, looking so wobbly on bikes. Like, they get on them and jiggle the handlebars side to side (being directed to? why?).

These young ladies in the interviews -- well, it's all fine, but old-timish bikes or not, could they really have been that hard to ride? I don't know, maybe. Whatever the story, it's always fun to see any bike in any scene, isn't it? 


You know Major Taylor, the African-American track rider from the turn of the century?

He was World Champion etc, but was also super straight and religious and conservative. He lost out on lots of money because he wouldn't race on Sundays, etc. He didn't drink, was so against it. And yet:

Henessee or however you spell it is affiliated with the movie, so they have some sort of rights, but it's not what MT would have wanted, anyway. Based on what we know of him.







  • Joe Kubera: May 18, 2018

    Not a fan of Tabasco here. I find it tastes mostly of vinegar. Maybe the newer flavored versions are better? I like the label though.

  • doug moore: May 09, 2018

    On the Staff bike page, it’d be cool to add in some copy about the miles each employee commute to work. Thanks!

  • Masmojo: May 10, 2018

    In the carcentric past, things like rental bikes and now scooters & Ebikes were litigated into irrelevancy (remember mopeds?), but municipalities can no longer do that, they are starting to realize that we need to be open to new opportunities. My personal feeling is that these things can’t be forced. It is tempting to do that, but people resist things that they feel are being forced on them (like “New” Coke).
    Lime bikes & their competitors showed up here almost a year ago, multiplied like rabbits & pissed people off; now they are starting to fade into the woodwork & scooters are being introduced with rental Ebikes quick on their heals. Growing pains? Sure, but let’s see what happens!?
    I like Tabasco, but have you tried the Chipotle Tabasco!? OMG, over the top great! I especially love it on my Halal Guys Gyro or falafels!!!
    The idea of self driving cars is repellant to me, but I do think it could be helpful in the city centers especially to ferry commuters around. Even so at some point, there might just be swarms of autonomous E-Ubers darting here & there. Sorry to say, but the average Toyota Camry driver here has no business behind the wheel of anything.

  • Ant: May 03, 2018

    I love tabasco sauce, my parents bought it when I was a kid and I grew up on it, and interestingly, they were immigrants from Hungary.

  • Anthony Koleszar: May 02, 2018

    I love tabasco sauce, my parents bought it when I was a kid and I grew up on it, and interestingly, they were immigrants from Hungary.

  • Bill Rhea: May 02, 2018

    Coolest use of the Tabasco label design I ever saw was the bass player with Buckwheat Zydeco. His electric bass was shaped like the Tabasco bottle and painted that way. Tabasco was a sponsor of Buckwheat’s tour that year

  • JohnM: May 02, 2018

    Here’s a logo to consider:

  • Tom: May 02, 2018

    Ebikes are coming to everywhere fast. I don’t know what that means beyond more car-bike conflict.
    If the Repack/appropriate technology section means there’s a more Off-roady Riv bike coming, then yes please! A Clem is MTB-like, but the B.B. is quite low, and in combination with the long stays, it’s a no-go for me. The fat-tire Bubbe mixtes were pretty hot, but I missed out on them twice. The new wider tires are awesome, please make a big-clearance Hunqa/Bubbe happen…

    Also, I was so glad to hear that Scout is doing better.

  • Conrad: April 27, 2018

    In a real city, a dense metropolitan area, there is not enough space for everyone to get from point a to point b in their own personal 100 square foot box. There is not a single example of a large city where cars work well that I am aware of. The nicest cities I have been to are where there is mass transit and certain sections of the city outright ban cars. Rome and Buenos Aires for example. In the US there is so much hand wringing about a war on cars when it is really just basic physics. Cities are crowded. There ain’t room for your car. Driving should suck!

  • Ray Varella: April 27, 2018

    On a trip to Louisiana years ago, I wanted to visit Avery Island where Tabasco is made. My friends begrudgingly indulged. It is such a worthwhile place to visit.
    The island is full of ponds with alligators and jumping mullets, for an inexplicable reason, they make three consecutive jumps.
    The real attraction is the migratory bird preserve, hundreds of thousands of birds visit there. The founder likely had no idea what a valuable stopover he was providing.

    The island was originally a salt mine (still is)
    The hot sauce was originally made for a few friends and bottled in perfume bottles. They all asked for more and a hot sauce company was born.

    Definitely worth a visit and the whole state is flat enough for a single speed.

  • Joe Bernard: April 27, 2018

    And ebike/escooter lane would be great, although it’d be a bloody miracle if it happened. I ride my eCheviot pretty much like I ride non-assist bikes now, i.e., bike lane/side of the road, with occasional moves to take over the whole car lane. But the ebike is faster so the ‘whole road’ part is more than just occasional. It’s not realistic to be whizzing by regular bikes and parked cars at those speeds, so out into the road I go like a (very slow) motorcycle.

    There’s about to be a whole lotta ebikes out there, and giving them their own lane would legit eliminate a whole lotta cars on the road.

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