It comes in three sizes that fit most riders. Above is the 55cm, our medium. It also comes in 50cm and 60cm.
Our very own Nitto Albatross handlebars come standard. We designed the bars first, then the bike around them. It’s safe to say these bars work great on this bike. The photo above has thumb shifters, it’s an easy upgrade, just ask.
We have a long tradition of great headbadges. Real metal headbadges are making a comeback on bikes, and that’s great! This one features a Cheviot. It’s a sheep. Also a Riv tradition… sheep names.
Shhh! We also have gold headbadges. Here you see the Bigmouth sidepull brake, another Rivendell first we developed to fill the need for a really big sidepull. Sidepulls are easier to setup and maintain than cantilevers, and these Bigmouths allow for the nice chubby tires we like. And fenders.
That robot-eye looking thing is the world’s—currently—brightest dyno light, the B&M Luxos. It is powered by the front wheel and is as bright as a car’s headlights.
Here’s that bike from the side. It’s our 50cm “Small” size with a dynamo generator hub, and matching dyno-powered headlight and taillight. That’s right, both are wired to the front hub. Expect to add a few hundred bucks to your order if you wanna go dyno. The Nitto Big Rear Rack is another Riv exclusive. You can clip panniers on the side and use the top for a basket or lashing on other bags. This one has Bosco handlebars. They’re like Albatross bars on steroids for folks who need the bars really high and close. This is a good setup for commuting with the dyno lights and pannier rack.
Beauty shot of the Cheviot top-head-lug. Lugs create strong and beautiful joints. They’re all but lost on modern bicycles. On the top of the lug you can barely see the blue heart showing. It’s nice to have something beautiful to see when you look down, even if you should be keeping your eyes on the road.
Kind of an odd closeup. But see that nice subtle bend on that rack-stay? We build the bikes up one at a time, to order, and this is a touch that’s hard to come by. You just don’t see that sort of effort put into rack installations most places. But you’re spending good money here. We appreciate that and we do a good job. It’s brazed on, hence the name. Brazing is simple and elegant.
Where the frame meets the fork you get the joy of two lugs! Actually one is called a “crown.” Just like our lugs, our fork crown is our very own proprietary design that not only makes the bike perform better, it looks great, and sets your Rivendell apart from anything else out there. It’s another one of those “nice things to look down at” while riding features. Also notice how effortlessly that fender fits in there. It’s not squeezed in the fork or brake, and no spacers required.
Here you see the flying Cheviot seat tube decal. Cheviots (pronounced shev-eeee-uht) are white-faced sheep from mainly Scotland and less-so elsewhere. You can eat them, but they’re better known for their wool. They have stupendous rot-resistant bog hoofs, also portrayed on the decals. Don’t pronounce it Chevy-ooh in your best French accent. Say Cheviot in your best Scottish accent.
Here ‘dem hoofs. Also one of the fanciest lugs in our lineup, the mixte seat lug with blue heart. The conspicuous lack of top tube makes it easier to get on, lets lots of different sized folks ride the same bike (great for families that grow kids).
Very nice decals designed by first-customer then-friend now-designer Olivier. He also took all these photos. Nice work chap!
Here’s the left side, or in bike parlance: non-drive-side. The decal is blue with the phonetic Cheviot spelling (aka Cheviut) a) because we’re weird like that and b) so when people stop you on the street and ask if your Chevyoh is like their Bleriot, you can say no no monsieur it’s CHEVIUT. Get the net!
Here’s the view from the top. Looking down, albeit out of focus down below, you get to look at the graceful bends of our Nitto Albatross bars, the blue heart of the top lug and the beautiful “batwing” fork crown.
Currently we only have these three samples but now confirmed that our first shipment of Cheviots hits the water on Tuesday February 11th. That’s eleven days behind schedule, but you know the adage… good things….
Complete bikes start at $2650 with our standard parts package which includes Albatross bars, Sneaker pedals and a Brooks B17 Saddle. The 60cm Cheviot above has fenders, racks, a basket and a bell. That brings it up to $3007. There are cheaper good racks out there and you can put the fenders on yourself to save a little more if money’s tight. Call us. We can build up something just for you.
Are you small? We want your business! We have lots of small bike frames in stock. But on the real small end of the spectrum we ARE NOT reordering for summer. So what we’ve got now is it for the season. Small Homers, Salukis, Sams, Cheviots (coming soon).
We’re not abandoning you, no! We sit on the small ones for YEARS though… I mean, when was the last time you heard us utter the word Saluki? Yep there’s a 47 with your name on it.
Great time to buy a Sam. Two colors to choose from. Build kit prices going up NEXT WEEK. Next is shipment in June… so if you need a bike for the season read up. - Dave
The Sam Fleet. Enough sizes to fit most people. All sizes in stock!
Sam Hillborne is a beautiful bicycle with smart features that make it practical and reliable at a price most working adults can stomach. And unlike this year’s comparably priced laptop or tv model, it won’t be broken or obsolete in three years. It’s a lifer. Beautiful, smart, practical, reliable and in its own way economical.
Sam Hillborne is a bike with a human name.
Any self-respecting bike needs decals and most bike names are silly anyways, so instead of “seeing what sticks” with a name like Excelsior or Executive or Exclusivo, we opted for a normal name. And in America in 2008, Sam Hillborne was a normal name. If you’re a near-normal person with near-normal needs, this will be a great bike for you.
A 58cm Sam Hillborne with Moustache bars.
Since 2008 or so, because of the versatile design and big value, Sam is our best seller. There have been a few minor adjustments to the color and sizing, but now-in-2014 this updated write up should get all the facts straight.
A 55cm Sam with a typical drop handlebar setup. The number one complaint we hear from customers with other drop-bar bikes (popular new ones, most old ones) is that they are too low and far away. Not a problem on a Sam. Easy to get them up, see? You could always go down.
What in Sam Hill is it?
It’s a country bike. That’s what we call it. But most people don’t know what that is exactly so to kowtow to categorization here we go: Road tourer.
We shouldn’t be pigeonholing Sam like this, but for the prospective bike-shopper choosing options in an established category, we could say it’s a “road touring bike.” And it does that one thing better than any other bike we know of (we’ve tried ‘em all).
Sans-racks you’ve got your zippy mountain roadster. Just add racks for loads. Our 55cm, generally called “medium.” In any case our most popular size.
Let’s face it, for most of us, vacation days are precious and few, and full blown tours are quarterly at best. But the features that make Sam a great bike for a carrying food and camping gear and clothing around the country, make it equally smart for weekday commuting and weekend adventuring.
Like reducing your carbon footprint really effectively by cycling to work? Great bike for that. Grocery-getter basket-bike? Nails it! Like birdwatching and taking pictures in the far reaches of your regional parks every Sunday? No better vehicle. Occasional charity ride or big self-affirming road rides? Strip her down and throw some light tires on and off you go.
51cm Sam Hillborne with Albatross Bars.
So yes, you can still use it to pick up groceries after a century ride. It’s also nimble and more than able for fast fire-road rides with the right tires. There are plenty of tires to attire your Sam from gravel-grinding cross tires to light and zippy road slicks to bulletproof commuters. Off-road “expedition” tourers and single trackers should look to our other models like the Atlantis and Hunqapillar. For the rest of you.. Sam.
Everything that makes it a great touring bike also makes it a great commuter, camper or all-rounder.
Here’s some from the archives. If you do it just right, you can photograph bats at night with your flash. We do overnight campouts on Sams all the time. Go camping!
How does he do it?
When you look at touring today, you have many options ranging from factory race bikes with rack mounts to overkill overkill custom expedition fat bikes. They have their places and uses, but for touring (defined here as: “riding from town to town with your stuff, mostly on the road”) we’d say you need the following:
Tough steel frame
Handlebars within reach
Rack Mounts in the right place
Fender Mounts in the right place
Room for big tires
Wiggle room for those big tires
Room for the fenders
Let’s go down that list. It doesn’t get any tougher than lugged steel, and one advantage lugs have that welded frames don’t is that they can be repaired. When you start logging the miles on a bike, you get sentimentally attached, and when you crash it, if it ain’t lugged, into the garbage it goes, a sad fate for the machine you spent a paycheck on years back.
Comfortable saddle: get the Brooks b17. They have a proven reputation (read about it elsewhere) with long distance riders. One thing nobody talks about is that they were designed 100 years ago when seat-tube angles were much slacker and saddles had much shorter useable rail space. Combine those two things and you have the common predicament of not being able to get the Brooks saddle back far enough on a modern road geometry. If that’s speaking Martian to you, take away this: Designed for the B17. Other saddles work fine too.
58cm Sam with a Brooks B.17 Saddle. Notice easy high bars.
Research all you want, any competition we have out there doesn’t put the bar-exit point high enough. Bar exit height should be listed on every bike’s geometry charts. Visualize it from where the stem comes out of the headset to the ground.
Discomfort, the number one reason we get referrals from local shops, their customers want the handlebars higher and closer and nothing they have in stock gets them there. When it’s too low, all your weight is on your hands and your position on the bike is more standing, less sitting. After a few hours, it’s miserable. For quick fast jams on a race bike, this is okay, but all day… uck. Lower back pain, taco neck, pins & needles, crackly joints, why do that to yourself? To those who just caught the touring bug, trust us on this one, for veteran touristos, duh.
Rack and fender mounts (called braze-ons in our case) are in the right place for our racks and regular ol’ generic bike-shop touring racks.
Sam Hillborne fits 40mm+ tires and fenders with wiggle room. You might be in the skinny tire camp but you’ll come around and thank us for the flexibility. Don’t need fenders? Fine, you can now put 45mm tires (even some 50s with the right rims and brakes). The best road touring tires out there generally tick in around 38mm. Even with a fender you have room so if you hit a blind pothole and dent your rim (hard to do with a big tire, but possible) the wheel doesn’t jam against the frame. Wiggle room is essential in a touring frame.
Where are they made?
That’s the Pacific Ocean in the middle there.
Sam Hillbornes are made in Taiwan at a factory we visit regularly that has the cleanest facilities and strictest quality control of any we’ve seen. And the Sam demands their best brazers, doing their best work.
Taiwan is the steel and bicycle capital of the world and it’s no surprise that they can produce great frames at impossible to beat prices, while maintaining clean and happy work environments. Our American made frames cost more and have some frilly details we won’t even go into mentioning here. Both the imported and domestic frames qualify under our banner of best bikes in the world.
The frames are inspected, prepped and assembled into complete bikes here in Walnut Creek California. When you call to change a part, we just run across the building. It’s a small operation. You’ll get excellent service.
These are some of the guys you’ll likely talk to. Mechanics and salesmen, a few friends in there too.
When can I get one?
Timing is always subject to change, but if it’s in-stock, (call now to see 800-345-3918) there’s a two week turnaround on the build and maybe another few days to pack and ship it. We do the best assemblies that are worth the time. Our staff is here till the end guiding you through the parts and sizing. You’ll get the right bike.
Sometimes you’ll call when we’ve sold out of your size. It might be a few months (really) depending on a number of circumstances. Call 800 345 3918 for current availability. The earlier you get the ball rolling on this, the better it will work out for the whole process. A good time to call would be… now.
Why is it better than my old steel road bike?
Der schlopping tope tube. Now and then the Sam and other frames make a little stir in the “classic” bike community for it’s sloping top tube (it slopes UP from the seat-lug to the top head-lug) which some say “isn’t traditional.” Sloping top tubes have been around as long if not longer than flat or even down-slopers. But we don’t need to defend it, the slope is a back saver and means that you can go longer and farther without suffering.
So many cheap production steel bikes exist with the stock-level tubage they’ve become what people associate with normal, but there’s no advantage to low bars. Wake up! It’s an advantage! Form follows function here, and function is beautiful. See it? If you insist on low bars… you can have that too, it’s just a few turns of a stem bolt. Slam away, raise them up, go hog wild till you find the bar height right for you.
Here’s a Sam in a discontinued color, but you get the idea. Where the stem comes out of the headtube there, you have more flexibility to perfect your handlebar height than any other bike we know of. Part of the advantage is the threaded steerer, all but gone from 99% of bikes being made today.
The Sam’s "expanded" design gives you high handlebars easier, best for comfort and looooong rides. It’s the opposite of the downer you see on some old track bikes and triathlon bikes. The downer looks fast in pictures and gives a theoretical aerodynamic advantage in sprints on manicured surfaces (what those bikes are good for) but in a touring or just-having-fun application, they’re just…. a downer. “Chin up cobber!” Lots of small bikes have upslopers already. Big bikes suffer when they don’t.
The expanded design means that Sam has a big head tube compared to most bikes. When that head tube gets really big, we stick in a second top tube to brace the frame. It should really be heretofore called a mid tube, but double tube stuck. This keeps it from flexing too much under load. When you’ve got front and back loads and an adult human on the bike, too much flex is bad. It makes descending scary. It makes climbing awkward. A little flex is fine, some say desirable, on an unloaded sprinter, but on the long-hauler it sucks.
So buy one already. We have all sizes at the time of this posting. 800 345 3918. We’ll make one that’s just right for you. Order before February first and save on the parts before our annual price adjustment.
seat lug, pretty normal, but the angle of the seat stays coming off the lug suggests long chainstays…It’s a small frame, too.
There was no room at the head tube for a normal diagatube, so…twin skinnies for the diags. The creative head tube connection coming right up.
Here’s the solution-connection.
…and here’s Liesl’s frame. Liesl’s been so great and so patient throughout. It was a challenging frame to design. Small frame, fat tire clearance, didn’t want a mixte, everthing gets scrunched…Mark N. dove into it and helped where my contribution ended, and we love this frame, and Liesl. Now to Joe Bell, and holy moses let the color be right. Reclarify with Mark, Liesl…and be flexible within a range. It’ll be cool, and the only one like it! The weather stinks in the TC now, anyway. You’ll have it when the snow’s gone!
Looking at the sales totals for last year, I’ve compiled this list of the best and worst sellers of 2013. Which is which? Who cares! To celebrate the winners and get rid of those losers it’s all on sale to get us through the slowest weeks of the year.
Web sales only, use the coupon code bestorworst just like that at checkout to get the discount. While supplies last.. the usual.
Cheviot Presale Extended! You have till February 1st to lock in 2013 pricing.
Call now 800-345-3918 to lock in presale pricing on the frame and the 2013 Build Kit prices. A few hundred bucks in savings before it all goes up in February. Don’t miss your chance. Build kit deadline extended too.
BART station light pole base puzzle...and the Cheviot (chevy-ut)
This picture is the bottom/base of a Walnut Creek BART station light pole, but the thing is, it could be any of hundreds or at least a hundred of crumpled BART light pole bases. The question I’ve had for decades (three…) is: How does it happen? I can’t imagine anybody bashing them with a hammer. It wouldn’t happen in the daytime. A crazy nocturnal angry-man? One who manages to travel around to the assorted BART stations when BART’s closed? If you’re local, check out the BART poles at the outside stations. I’m sure there are smooth, uncaved in ones somewhere, but I don’t recall seeing one. This one is typical.
I like the look, but I didn’t do it.
Two days ago we got in three sample Cheviot frames, one each of the sizes we gonna offer: 50/650B wheel, 55/650B wheel, and 60/700C. Mark assembled this 55.
The drive-side decal spell Cheviot properly, and is cream.
The left side decal is blue, because we liked both colors and couldn’t decide. This is the phonetic spelling, so you won’t be tempted to think it’s a French word and drop the “t” at the end. The intentional misspelling combined with a different left and right side color may be a first, but that’s not what we were shooting for. No doubt it will scare off a few, which is also not the intent.
Mark did this. Not quite over-the-top, but just right. That’s navy blue twine there, not black electrical tape.
More blue twine here. Needs a black foot. It wouldn’t match the tape twine, which by now you know is navy, but it would match the derailer cage, derailer clamp, and tires..and the saddle too, if it were black. The first build-ups (for the unveiling) generally get the full-dandy treatment, but don’t underestimate the Cheviot on accounta dat. If you’re local, please ride it. ..Anyway, I hope it’s fine to say we think it’s a beautiful bike with lots of invisible beauty masquerading as secret function,
Here you can see both decals at once. The orange is a slightly burnt orange.
The lug fills are blue. Not all lugs are filled, but you know what? It’s not hard to do; absolutely is a home-job. A drop or two of nail polish or model paint, and bazinga! We don’t have a color code for the blue. It’s “eyeball blue.”
The fork has a nice bend and taper, and the dropouts have two eyelets.
In Roman times, the Wing-ed sheep was a symbol of strength, virility, and sensitivity…not to mention wisdom, kindness, and empathy. This is my sense of it, but of what else could it be a symbol of?
The crown got blue details. Almost mixed blue and cream, but Olivier Chetelat, who did the decals and head badge art, thought it looked funny, and I/Grant tend to believe him in all matters like this. I’ll ask him about the sheep. I picked the bikes name/mascot. Now that we no longer have a Rambouillet, and most sheep-breed names weren’t good enough…
The two-strut rack isn’t stock, but Mark-Brian-Jared will do it on reque$t. Cream fender: A good choice for this bike. Bikes CAN be too overcoiffed, but cream looks pretty normal on this bike. Silver’s the other option, that would be fine, too. Blue and cream checkerboard—-no.
Here’s the head badge. My, what a spectacularly clear photo that is. I really had no idea. It’s a Sony X100 camera, I think. A small black one with a Zeiss lens and far more capability than I am able to take advantage of, but that’s always the case with cameras, isn’t it? BIkes, too. Hatchets, too. Almost everything, too.
That is a Cheviot sheep. Most are hornless, but not all are, and Andrew Denman drew a hormed one from a photograph he took, so if you fancy yourself an internet-educated sheep expert and were about to cry foul at the horns…no need!
At some point soon Dave will make up a plan to offer a kind of early buyer discount, to help us pay for the order. It’s a beautiful bike. Same as the Betty, but longer chainstays. No noticeble difference in the ride, but it can’t hurt.
IN a day or today I’ll shoot the kickstand and handlebars, both wrapped carefully and in colors that go with the bike.
Get a good deal on a great bike.
Plop down $1225 for the frame to lock in the “old price.” When they arrive the price is going up… how much? Dunno. Depends on a few things but we can’t announce it yet. In short costs when up. So prepaying is your ticket to a smashing deal on this new orange mixte. We won’t make a whole lot on your presold frame, but you help us pay our bills and that’s good, so don’t feel bad!
Let’s sweeten it even more… prepay before January 10th and we’ll throw in a free kickstand.
Also! The parts! Build kit prices are going up too on the 10th. They’re currently too low if you do the math… the prices of the individual parts went up over the past few years and we never properly adjusted the build kit price. Again, we can’t say exactly how much, but if you prebuy the frame and spec it out with a build kit before the 10th you’re looking at saving a few HUNDRED bucks on the total.
The only way to get one is to call us 800-345-3918 or 925-933-7304.
It’s at 1601 North Main #101, 22 feet north of Radio Shack and next to the Clip Joynte barber shop.
"Grand Opening" is kind of a generic term and not to be taken too seriously. Some are Grand, but ours will be low key. No live music—we tried, but conflictions…just didn’t work out. No alcohol, because we’re too cheap to pay $180 for a permit. Snacks like cheese, salami, and pickles—-for vegaarians, and mayb, if we can get it, some vegan cheese. Dive in! And some high carb fudge, a seasonal evil around here. Made in Kentucky by a gaggle of Trappist Monks. It will be fingery food.
Nuts———we’ll have some of them, too. Do you like nuts? Shelled or in the shell? Salted or not? Raw or r-r-r-r-r-roasted?
We’ll try to have some nice things.
My sister and niece and nephew may attend. My mother-in-law will be there for sure, with a couple of her friends, all of whom will smile nervously at all the hatchets.
We don’t know how many people will be there. No idea. We expect Manny will show up with some others in tow. Hey, Manny!
It’s a small place with nothing bad in it. Your presence, if you can make it, will be sooo appreciated.
John will be down from Oregon, and will be the DJ. All LPs all the time. Some records will be ones I bought in Berkeley when I was 15, 16… It feels odd to be hearing the same scratches and skips more than 40 years later.
Join us Saturday December 14, 2013 for our Grand Opening!
The party starts at 4pm. We will have live music, giveaways, a large raffle, feats of strength and pretty bikes.
Rivendell Bike, Book & Hatchet 1601 North Main Street Suite 101 Walnut Creek, CA 94596 (925) We-R-RBBH
Doors have been open since mid October, sales are chugging along. It’s a whole new crowd coming in, not just customers who know who we are. And a few bought bikes, on the spot. We are minimizing our existing showroom at 2040 N. Main just up the street and steering folks to the shining well-lit, heated showroom downtown. If you want to pick something up in person, this is the new place to do it.
Rivendell Bike Book & Hatchet Grand Opening
Saturday December 14, 2013 @ 4pm-7pm
Take BART to Walnut Creek Station, head down Ygnacio and hook a right on North Main Street. We’re next door to RadioShak and across the street from Stadium Pub. There is plenty to do in the area; restaurants, pubs, bike paths, tougher rides up Mt. Diablo, shopping. Basically, your family won’t be bored while you geek out on hatchets and wait for the raffle. The big main pedestrian mall is a few blocks down the street. We look forward to seeing you there.
"What ever happened to y’alls printed catalogies, ‘member those?"
When the internet happened and the printing industry went into crisis mode, prices went way up and they became an drag on cash-flow. So something like 6 years went by since we released Catalogue 19. But for a leather and lugs company like us it seemed almost necessary to print one again, for the sake of the printed word, and to establish our permanence in an age when any cheap imitator can make a slick website for pennies.
So after more than a year of work we have printed catalogues again!
Catalogue #20 is here.
Complete with Olivier’s smashing photos & layout, Grant’s text and right-there-on-the-page final edits.
They are neat, informative, cost us a bundle, and took Grant out of circulation for almost a year working on it.
First 5000 copies are in the mail.
There was a sign-up for a mailing to the first 5000 signuppers. That list is long closed and those cats are arriving in mailboxes now, and may take another week or two to reach you.
But we can’t afford (really) to just send the rest of these out like junk mail. Imagine the $1-2 postage and multiply it by 15,000 and you see the potential for financial ruin.
So how to get one?
Order something, anything, from our store and as we’ve been doing for the last week or so, we’ll throw one in with your order. After a few weeks they’ll be on a by-request basis. Just ask for one.
The latest installment of our very own MUSA brand Chambray Shirt. The fabric is the same all cotton chambray as the last batch of blue (now only a few available in XL), same weight, etc. But this time in handsome Black Chambray. It looks grey from far away due to alternating black and white threads. The buttons are black this go round, still with red threads. The cut is a tad slimmer around the torso, slimmer in the arms, and shorter in length than the last round.
Sleeves are a little on the long side on fit model Dave but he always has to get his sleeves shortened, so no problem there if you’re normally dimensioned. Give $15 to your local dry cleaner and have it fit just right if you must. But wait, here’s an exercise we can all do at home: simulate your arm position riding a bike and wah-la you see the advantage of a little more arm in a bike-specific situation.
A bonus for odd sizers is that the neck is wider than usual so even fat-necked size-17 Dave can button the top button, which is a boon on cold descents (we bikefied it a little) because you can pop the collar and keep your neck warm. The tails are not as long as on previous runs, which is better for untucked but will still tuck in fine if you wear your pants at tuck-in height.
Brian in a pre-shrunk Medium. He generally wears Mediums. Goes with khaki.
A tad wrinkly because it was transported in a saddlebag after the wash/dry. The fabric is really nice and the black buttons and new cut are a big hit with the staff here and folks at the new RBBH store.
You can see with arms up, the side cutouts reveal a little of his untucked black undershirt. If that worries you go one size up. Or tuck in your undershirt and show off your belt.
Here’s Dave doing the roll-up thing, going on three days straight of wearing it as his go-to work shirt. It’s nice enough for a fancy dinner, but also tough and practical enough that when you stain it or tear it or otherwise “ruin” it as a dressy garment it can live on as a shop shirt. Goes with dark brown pants too.
Here’s the back again, trying to show off the new cut. Medium fits great on 5’11” 190lb Dave. A large after shrinking would work fine too.
Same Medium works on 5’9” Jenny too.
Posing with her beloved A Homer Hilsen.
Again with the back. Even goes well with blue jeans.
Close up of the cuff. Has two buttons for watch and watchless operation. Nice stitching.
Same ol’ pen slot on the left chest pocket for writing down those dreams before you forget, if you slept in the shirt. Fell asleep in it last night and didn’t bunch up around the armpits and wake me up. Again, the arms are slimmer but not “slim.”
Maybe your only chance to get this heirloom quality 100% cotton, made right here in the Bay Area, stylish and tough Black Chambray Shirt. Get them while they last. Reorder? Maybe, but for xmas, order pronto. Operators are sitting by.
This won’t continue publickly…but I’ve been absorbed with this lately, it being the first week and all, and…well, I don’t need to promise or lock in. The diarya is therapeutic. Can’t knock that…
Monday Oct 21
The store opens tomorrow and it’s about 85 percent ready as of this morning. Today, lots to be done. Fix or at least upgrade the picture hanging…do more book and item blurbs..clean the windows, re-apply the white sign so it’s not so bubbly. Window display needs work. It’s close, but little details…and I think it’s risky as it is, better for later, but for the opening it should be spartan, so I think we’ll put a clean bike on two rounds of wood and work in a hatchet or two and book or two, and that’s it.
We need to bring in $900 a day to break even, and I have no idea how we’ll do, especially the first month. Opening’s a big deal here, but do actual normal people care? We need a publicist. I am so lousy at that. And if people come by, of course it’ll be to check out the new place, not necessarily to buy anything. That can’t bum us out. Maybe at this point there won’t even be many of them. They’ll want to know (if the enter) what we do. The name of the store should tell them that, but still, it’s a reasonable question. And then: What’s the relationship btw bikes, books, hatchets? Are we crazy urban survivalists, are we retro riders, are we—- weird like that in any way? Eventually they’ll know us, nut right off the bat, we’ll be the weirdos.
I wonder how we’re all going to feel at the end of tomorrow, and the end of the week. We need to hook up a printer here and get a computer, so when I’m here and the place is empty I can at least be productive.
The iPad station-register thing should be here today. I need more practice on the Square. And we need to put some cash in the cash box. All we have in there now is $2 bills. I wonder if people will reject them in change. And, holy cow, I hope no drunks and crazies come in and start obsessing over the hatchets. We can’t allow that.
How we going to do music? We need some, because as Will says, if customers is solo in a silent store they’ll feel too conspicuous. We have a record player, but most of the records are my taste, and I want generic music, classical or instrumentals or stuff like The Flying Nun, or Don’t Cry Daddy. Bob Dylan’s newest would be great, but maybe not generic enough. I don’t know how to hook up an iPhone or iMusic—whatever it is. And I don’t want to argue about the selection. Will it even matter?
Do I keep this private or post it? Who cares?
Oct 22 night
We had an OK day, not great from a money point of view, but a new customer brought us a bottle of wine and water, which was so nice; lots of friends and friend-customers from RBW came by and spent most of the $750 we brought in ($350 short of break even). At first I didn’t count the “charity purchases,” but how great it is to have friends come by for that, to show support and to, you know, get good stuff.
We need to price the display clothing and tell about it, more and better signs. We had music on a turntable, and it seems to make the place less spooky-silent. Mostly books and clothing, although we sold one Japanese knife and a few books, too. Not bad, overall. Will bring more records tomorrow.
A common question is: What’s with the hatchets? So I wrote something and posted it by the hatchets. I don’t want people to think we’re hatchet…fiends, or anything like that.
OCT 23 NIGHT
Only $412 today and $42 of it was my own…and $38 was from Mark’s wife, Amy. I think if I subtracted all the charity purchases from friends and relatives, out $1200 so far would be more like $400…but it’s still OK, and maybe tomorrow will be better. I am whupped. We need a way to hang clothes. Dan suggested something…
Oct 24 Night
Just $316 today, seven sales, and one was the landlord, who bought two hatchets, saving us from a super measly day. Need more information up. And I think people walk though hushed, like they’re in an art gallery. We need to break out of that.
Oct 25 night.
No sales today until about 6:30, holy cow. And then the most surprisng thing of all went: The Japanese bamboo hatchet. The fellow had runaway bamboo….and a regular hatchet doesn’t work. A machete is too big and unwieldy. The machatchet is perfect, works on my oleander and olive tree, too.
We put signs up outside and inside, explaining about our history and business. Some people read them. Sales today, about $139. Tomorrow’s ouir first Saturday. Man, I hope we bring in at least $700. We need to advertise. No budget for that, but we’re unknown here on Main, so gotta do something..
I’m glad we’re doing well with books. People recognize them, especially the children’s books, and I guess are buying them for their own children. Yep—-really want a good Saturday, then Sunday…
Sat Oct 26 Day
It’s 5:30 and I’ll go in at 6 till closing…I wonder how we’re doing today. At least 500, I hope. For a Saturday, good grief, we should do at least that…and I hope lots of visits. The visits have to count, even if nothing sold. It’s a good location, and when everybody knows it’s here, we’ll survive. We don’t have to thrive, just getting by will be fine. It’ll be good to have Dave back. He says he has ideas, and will make a small website.
OK, going in now. It’s a weekend, so we all have to spiff up a little.
Sat OCT 26 10pm
A few walk-ins this evening, but sales only $313. Still, people learning we’re here. That has to be good, right?
We just got in The Circle (new Dave Eggers book).
Sun Oct 27
Wow—an $88 day. Will and Vince were there mostly, but I put in 4 hours, including the last three. Nobody came by at night. The other stores are closed, just some bars open…
I think we need a photo on the easel out front. I’m working on a “buya guya hatchet” thing that…drives home the normalcy and importance of hatchets. We’ll put one in Diablo mag, which has 80 percent women readership. Then we’ll put them up around the stores, and …we’ll get it together. Dave has ideas. We’ll do events. Mary can read to children; Keven can lead rides on weekends?
We don’t need two people there during the day. Two’s almost scarier for customers, I bet. But—one of the points was to get P/T to Full-Time.
Charlotte’s Web and The Circle went on the shelves today.
Dan has a good idea for the hatchet display.
And here’s an ad we might run:
I had to stretch the lad to fill the space, but I can’t run it like that, so maybe lad’s dad has an uncropped version that’ll work.
Now that BBH has been open a week, I don’t need to be there every day. I want to get a feel for how it is, and live there some so I can see what we need that I can supply…but I have a handle on that.
———— Tuesday 7:30… our seventh day. Sales so far, $270. Harry bought a book, though. We’re here throwing monkeys fists into a small garbage can. Not much traffic, but this dad-and-son came by:
Ferdinand the Bull.
—— The PLAN was to not do mail order, just have a tiny tidy store. We might have to reach out a bit more. We’ll see how it is after a month. We can ship out of here, of course. We’ll see how it all goes. I always used to walk downtown and wonder how it was to be a streetfront retailer and not be able to reach out, just to sit back passively and watch people walk by (or not walk by), and now I’m learning. It ain’t great. We’ll get more well-known with time, we tell ourselves. It can’t NOT work that way. The events, they’ll help.
The phone number is 925 937 7224 (WE R RBBH), and nobody knows it yet, so not one actual customer call so far, on our 1972 Westinghouse telephone. Which is right here:
That’s the phone. A hundred dollars online, works with modern stuff, and should last, the guy said, for like…thirty years. OK!
Mon OCT 28
It was slow, but not as bad as yesterday, and ended up good.. We were at $297 five minutes before closing, and two guys walked in—one late 30s. one about fifty, and I said, “We’re three dollars short of $300 for the day, can you buy a tub of beeswax?” They looked at the bikes, drifted to the hatchets, and bought a Sven Saw and a nice hatchet, and we ended at $472…but mainly it was a huge emotional upturn. I’m so glad.
Post by Dave (autoposted, actually on vacation till Nov. 5)
Old posters for sale
Rivendell has an attic. I was up there looking for paper napkins and more specifically a fork when I found this old Rockmount steel sign
We used to sell Rockmount shirts, I wear them all the time. They don’t intend you to throw them in the laundry with everything else, because they shrink. All of mine shrunk. Size up. Made in Denver since 1946. Buy them, but not from us anymore.
Here’s a lower head lug with threaded cable stops. Not ours.
Nitto stainless rod brake bars.
NITTO. NITTO. NITTO.
And some Fujis. None of that stuff is for sale. But wait!
What’s that hiding behind 60 raw pounds of “The Primal Blueprint” by Mark Sisson?
Count ‘em forty thick old Bridgestone posters. Big ones too. Three feet up & down by two feet horizontal.
"A man in a passion rides a mad horse." -Ben Franklin. It says this nowhere on the poster, just thought of it.
Not quite half as tall as Kevvy Kowlick and twice as wide. Keven is wearing our not-many-left WoolyWarm vest.
We’ve seen these selling on eBay for $80. Yours for $60 plus shipping. You might as well include some other posters and combo the tube. That way you’ll (maybe) qualify for our October $80 free shipping deal.
Consider them “collectibles” and maybe even an insider bro-deal. They are pristine, but sold as-is. Framing this big boy will set you back mucho, but don’t hesitate to thumbtack it. No we don’t have “the other one with the horses.” Really. Just this one with the sheep. Limited quantity.
Grant here now, and here’s what’s going on in Rivendell-America (Dave is not in America right now).
In two hours and ten minutes Riv Bike Book and Hatchet (BBH from now on) opens, and it’s not quite ready. We’ll make it work fine—it’s nearly read, but not quite. It’s a “wholly owned separate entitity” kind of thing, and so far, no shipping. It’s just a downtown store. The only things it has that RBW doesn’t is a few more hatchets and lots more stumps; and it’s a downtowny-tidy place.
The point of it—-as all RIV-emps know—-is to help our cash flow, which is always tenuous, with three or four super dreadful times during the year. If we can sell $1100 of stuff a day there, it may work for us. In the meantime, it’s a wild experiment. People have stopped by as we’re working, we invite them in, and they say perfectly normal predicatable things like , “What’s with the hatchets?” And yesterday a guy came in and immediately thought we restored old bikes to newlike perfection, and thought we could do a good job (and would love to try) on his beloved old Nishiki.
In that way it’s so diff than where we are now, when—everybody who comes by tried to find us and knew our deal before they got here. Let’s see how it goes, but if you’re local, stop by„,and if you’re an outa towner, stop by, too. Street parking is horrible, but there are lots, and if you can find Arryoyo just east of the south end of Target, park on that and walk seven minutes and you’ll be there, at 1601 North Main, just north of Radio Shack and next to a barber shop.
Final note: In today’s online NYT, in a column titled Room For Debate, there’s a thing I wrote about bike rights in city traffic.
I’m sure I didn’t consider downtown small town Kansas in it, but it was supposed to be geared for hustly bustly cities, and…yep, that’s about how I feel, although I am not going to fight tooth and nail for it in all my spare time. But still, it would be nice… Grant
Every now and then we are victims of ourselves and delivery…things don’t show up on time, then when they do show up, the bill is due the same day or week as another big one, or two, or three…and that’s when life sucks, that’s when none of the products or projects even seems worth it. Cash flow rules our life. We’ll get over this, but sheesh. Buy futures. Buy something. Shop early for Christmas. Pay off a bike you owe on. Something?
The new store is coming along, but has, you know, not exactly cost nothing. We haven’t gone big and stupid on anything. Nothing extravagant. It’ll look good, but—-it’s pretty basic. Tree branches from my back yard. Plywood, not solid wood fixtures. A used phone, no new computer—we’re going with the square and an iPad.
Stocking it with inventory is the worst of it, and that’s not so bad, since we have the bikes, and the hatches aren’t that many. The books are expensive, but there aren’t that many titles, and we’re well stocked and deeply with the books we want. Don’t suggest any more. Now’s not time.
Some neat bike projects are in the works. We’ll have a new mixte sometime.
New store opens maybe Tues. Some guys are down there now, a-spiffing.
Free shipping deal
Most orders over $80 ship free till the end of October
We are loading up on stuff for the holidays and still have certain items from last year we want to clear out. The usual exceptions apply. Only deliveries in USA, nothing rim-sized or larger (wheels, frames, bikes, duh). Just add $80 worth of in-stock stuff to your order and be sure to select “Free Shipping” at the dropdown during checkout. Or phone it in. 925-933-7304
This means most handlebars ship free (among other things), including the new Albastache and Bosco bars. Albastaches are the new go-to Roadeo bar for anyone who never uses the drops, wants approximately but just a tad less reach to the hoods than a Noodle and the extra ‘upright’ bonus section. Check ‘em here.
No coupon required, just add $80 worth o’ stuff, select the free shipping option and you’re golden.
Hey there, a new MUSA garment:
Here’s Jared modeling the new MUSA Mock-neck 100% Merino wool top.
Yep, it’s sage green, just like the last two new MUSA items. See how this works? We get many large rolls of the best fabric, stamp out a few styles and then move on to the next color. This is just about it for sage. If you like sage we have short sleeve, long sleeve and now mock neck. Lots of other tops at that link too.
The sometimes-controversial MUSA butt label is easily and discreetly removed if you must. Use a sharp tipped pocket knife or scissors. But if you like flying the old red-white-&-blue for every cyclist and driver in your wake, leave it.
Loose mock-neck. No scratchy. Perfect underlayer. The creases were from the packaging.
At $73, it might seem expensive for a top (in this day & age not really), but you probably don’t wear much Merino wool if seems it so. Major unnameable brands sell lesser wool tops for $150. Ours is 100% merino and the lightest, softest we could get without being so thin fingernails rip them up. No synthetic blends at all but still stretchy from the weave. And they are made right here in Oakland by Americans of Chinese, Boer, Saxon & Scandinavian decent. So how do we do it? We’d like to say that like our bikes and Japanese parts we only buy and sell direct, but in MUSA clothing’s case there is a giant middleman involved (Rivendell Bicycle Works) but we don’t pay him. All the design work, sampling, communications, stocking, warehousing, back and forth…. we don’t charge you for that. So don’t think of it as “sheesh, I just spent $73 on a shirt,” instead think “geez, I just got to spend only $73 for a wool shirt I can wear daily and proudly proclaim: ‘made in USA! By Rivendell & their friends.’”
These are great tops, not too many in stock and the last big run of anything sage. Returns and exchanges are easy too, there’s a form in the box.
For Sale: Jenny’s 59cm A. Homer Hilsen city scorcher. Saddle is set high so we don’t scratch the post. With 85cm or so PBH it’ll be lower.
The lastest in the Bike of the Month series. Shipper Jenny Klug’s turn. It’s a great setup for city riding thanks to the deep-V Chukker rims and chubby Little Big Ben tires. While not pot-hole proof, this is certainly the first choice for rough commutes. Don’t skimp on your rims, because rims aren’t cheap, & unless you build them yourself, you’ll pay a lot for labor on a new wheel too. Upright bars (not ones we stock, but Nitto and perfectly good, Jenny’s favorite). Jenny left this build rackless so we’ll let you pick the racks, & for now it’s just as shown. If you have a PBH of around 85cm and about $3800 to burn, grab it. It is ready to ship. A super bike and a few hundred bucks off the retail price: discounted plus we forgot to invoice the headset, bottom bracket and bell. Your gain!
Only one like it, no dupes. If you want one just like it, it would be around $4100 after this one sells.