To reach $50,000 raised this year, which covers 200 surgeries. I know that seems like a greedy amount, but if it were your child, you’d pay $200K to have the mouth fixed, and you know, Smile Train does it for $250.
The tweed bags are due in March, late March, and if you haven’t ordered one…well, if you wait till they’re in they may be gone. Probably we’ll have a few, but we aren’t ordering all that many.
Looking back on the current year, like Hollywood likes to do, our big stars may be the Splats. We’ve sold out twice, people are liking them, it is really fun to make a really effective cheap product like that. The look and name scares some folks off, but the bold and semi-bold now keep feet dry.
We’re getting a sample of a new dyno hub in next week. Kind of a neat thing. I doubt it’s Schmidt-quality, but we’ll see.
We’re out of L XL 2X Railroad shirts, but are planning some for next year.
Bikes and frames and things of steel are always the biggest funnest things around here. SimpleOnes will be here by April 30, I’m sure. We’re told. We hope and expect. Nothing smaller than a 56 or larger than a 62 this time around. If you really want a size not offered, —- we’ll consider it next time if we get at least ten committments for that size.
Some old favorite things from the past will return in some form next year. Thank you all, a lot and sincerely sincerely, for your patronage and emotional support this year and always. We try to never offend, try hard to make things good and fun, and to fill in gaps that would be unfilled otherwise, and to push forth what kind of amounts to an unracing ethic around here. It isn’t that racing is bad. Racing is good. But racing shouldn’t dominate the whole mood of riding a bike. It’s exciting fringe, not center stage. I’m not even so convinced it’s so exciting, either. It’s worth a watch now and then, but the drugs and all….yuck.
Well. I believe we still have some Smile Train compensatory deal going on, where we partially make it easier. With a $60 donation you get a Taxi wallet with the Smile Train logo. Or you can buy a wallet for $25 and all the profit goes to Smile Train.
It’s all about the mouths. We’ve got ours in working order, but then there’s them.
To get it by Christmas. To make sure it happens, we are offering 2-Day Air for the price of 3 day ($15) for all regular packages sent out on Monday and Tuesday. If you click 2 Day on the web, we’ll adjust the price before we charge your card. Don’t worry when it shows up $21. Human overriding will win out in the end.
Of course, we can’t do this for bikes, wheels, and frames, but for regular parts, books, and clothing orders, last minute shoppers will save a few bucks, and UPS will get it there on time. -John
Although they generally escape the radar, we still do one-of-a-kind/just-4-U custom frames. Since prices are going up next year—-the first day of it—-it might be a good time to remind you. Here’s a fancy one we just got in. You’ll be seeing it before its owner does.
Why no smaller or bigger: It takes forever to sell them, minimums are 30 per size, and we can’t sit on tons of bigger ones that long. We still have, like, six 50cm QBs left. We have long been, and at some level still are, dedicated to the taller and shorter riders not often accommodated by the bigger brands. But we’re kind of tired of having them pile up and collect dust, and so keep them going in the more normal models that sell better.
— Made in Taiwan by our Sam-maker. Hand-brazed. QB was Japan. Quality in this case is every bit as good, at least. — Geometry is nearly identical. — Same braze-ons plus a kickstand plate. — Same tire/fender clearance (for 40mm with fender, or 44 without) — Fancier paint. With the cream head tube, etc, that many of our bikes have. Mark picked a dark slimy green that’ll look super. — Brakes. Uses sidepulls or centerpulls. QB was a canti-bike.
Frame price, with headset: $900 if you reserve one before Jan 20 with a non-refu $400 deposit (see below); $1000 if you wait till we’ve already had to pay for the lot before they ship.
To reserve one: By phone, 800 345 3918.
Complete bike price: We build it as you like, but will offer a package that should allow about a $1,600 bike before shipping.
Delivery: End March to Mid-April 2011 How many: 30 each of 56 cm, 58 cm, 60 cm, 62 cm
Some notes on riding a single-speed, for the benefit of those who haven’t done it. It’s not just harder, it’s different. You give up a lot by not being able to shift, but you get some things in return for that sacrifice:
Having no options means having no pressure to shift, or be in the right gear. You see the hill ahead, and you know the gears are in your legs, so you just go. You grunt more, yes, but it is mentally relaxing to not even have a shift option.
On flat terrain, you go easier. Why spin like the blades of a Waring blender? The gear and terrain dictate the speed, which is always proper as long as it feels good.
On steep hills, you have to get off. This is good for you. Rather than grunt like an overgeared fool, you get off and hoof it. It’s almost, but not exactly, like being a duathlete!
That’s it. Sometimes people say, and I’m sure I’ve said it myself at some point, that there’s less maintenance because of no derailers and shifters. I don’t say that anymore, because I never do anything to my derailers and shifters, and anything that might go wrong with them—-it’s hard to even think of what that might be—-is not going to be long or hard to fix or replace.
Bike variety is a good thing, especially if you ride the same routes all year long. A different bike makes the ride different, and when one’s a one-speed, each bike makes it easier to appreciate the other one even more. Not shifting the one-speed teaches you that you don’t have to shift as much as you’ve been shifting on your 27-speed. If you’re really sweating it out on the one-speed, you really appreciate the gears on the 27-speed.
A one-speed is a good way to put together a really durable, high-quality, fun bike for not all that much money.
One thing funny about riding is that if it’s so fun, why is it also so important to shave seconds, or even a minute or two off a ride that isn’t a timed or competitive or timed competitive event? A recreational ride, for example.
The normal ways to cut time —- I’m not saying they work —- are:
Lighter bike lighter wheels more aero wheels aero clothes click-in shoes, and assuming a severe overbite so you can exhale to the rear (that last one was my old trick in time trials in the mid’-80s, and it won for me many a top-three time trial finish, so I can vouch for it).
There’s lots of emphasis on shortening your ride. It usually flies under the banner of “riding faster,” but it’s not as though you go for a ride for a set time and stop wherever you happen to be at the end of it. It’s a place to place thing, front door to front door. Given that, and given that riding your bike is assumed to be fun, it seems funnnnny that everybody wants to reduce the time spent on the bike. That’s not how people think about it, but the emphasis on speed everywhere you look tends to permeate every aspect of cycling.
The link below has made the rounds, and you can go to it I think and see comments pro and con.
The con comments say how well sure, traffic is the great equalizer, but let’s put the two kinds of bike in a race, and then we’ll know the TRVTH, and the lighter carbon will cream the other.
I have two short related stories to tell. These stories are the main influencers of how I think about this stuff.
When I worked at Berkeley REI decades ago, and I was racing, every dadblasted ride was a time trial, because I could ride only 16 to 32 miles a day in 16-mile stretches, and that’s pathetically not enough for a racer, so I had to make each mile count. I timed everything, and my gold-standard time trial was from the bottom of Wildcat Canyon Road to the kiosk at the parking lot at the top of it, exactly 2.5 miles and 600 feet up.
I did it at least 4 days a week (sometimes I rode in another way, also timed). I was riding a Ritchey road bike with 700x32 tires (never loved skinny tires). My average time was about 9:40, with a fast one being 9:35 or better. My best solo time was 9:21, and my best in a race (when a skinny cat 1 racer wanted to race me) was 9:18.
If you know the climb and want to try it yourself, know that your split at El Toyonal should be around 4:30 if you want to come in around 9:40. Because it’s about 5 minutes from El Toyonal to the Kiosk, at least at that pace.
At the time, my bike weighed about 23 lbs and I weighed 176lbs.
I also owned a 53lb Schwinn Heavy-Duti paperboy bike with a huge Wald basket on it. It was my shopping bike. When I was riding 9:40s or so on my Ritchey, I rode 11:14 on the Heavy-Duti, or 1:34 slower. That’s a lot slower, but it’s also at full-speed, and the percent difference would be less at 75 percent, I think.
But a couple of years later, in late ‘84, I started work at Bstone, and my sprint-climb riding became a one-way 27-mile road and dirt ride, with no sustained steep sprints in it. I thought the added miles would make up for the lazier effort, and I’d be in shape. By then I’d quit racing, so I didn’t have that gauge.
Around 1988 or so I bought another Ritchey, built it up to 19lbs, and wanted to see if I could match or beat my old time up Wildcat. I weighed within a pound or two of my fast weight, and the bike was 4 lbs lighter, and had lighter wheels on it, and I rode 12:30, or 1:16 slower than my Heavy-Duti time.
So…anybody can say anything they want about how important a light bike is, but I’m not going to believe a letter of it, because I KNOW, from THAT.
I still say what’s the hurry if you aren’t racing? And at night or in the rain or whenever getting a flat would be slightly more of a bummer than usual, it seems like trying to trim seconds by riding tires more likely to flat in the first place is a weird kind of gambling.
———- On an unrelated note, this was emailed to me about 7 weeks ago, but I don’t know if the link will work. If it doesn’t, no biggie. Here it is.
And here’s a fatty-treat link for you, of some deadly delicious stuff that one of you sent us, and now……well, primal or paleo or whatever, it’s off that, but if you have to give it up during the holidays, there are worse ways to do it, and maybe no better: Try the #91 3-kindsa fudge sampler.
We got some yellowy warm orangish wool tops in today. They’re double-knit crew neck longsleevers from Australia, and sort of hit the crosshairs of warmth and visibility. I don’t know of any other orange wool out there. Orange and wool often don’t go together. It’s a light orange, and pops.
We are working on more Derby Tweed tops, like we had before, like everybody who has them likes and wants another one of, and we’ll just see. The homeliest sweater in the land (intentionally) was the most popular one we sold, and we’ll have something like it again, plus something slightly more sporty.
A while back in a product descriptions somewhere or something I said, I forget the exact wordage, but I said that Abraham Lincoln was not a racist, and got called on it. You have judge him by the standards of the day, and toss in the fact that he wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, which by the standards of any day is, considering the number against it, ballsy.
I also got an email last night scolding me for what the writer thought was an attempt to be cool or retro by means of not showing helmeted heads on some (OK, most) pictures on our site. It is not like that, but it is fun to feel righteous indignation whether it’s warranted or not.
We now have a small sized Splat. By popular demand, if one request constitutes that. My Splats work great. We’ll keep them in the line forever.
Reader 43 is now up to 48 pages, but it’s different this time and a lot of you won’t like it. That’ OK, because you don’t pay for it anyway, unless you buy it, and it’ll be worth, I’d say, the $5 we charge for the paper version. It’ll be free and in color on the site, but only for a short time. I’m just not sure what to do, but of course we or I reserve the right to be willy nilly about it. Look for it Late Jan. I like how it’s coming out. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s a bit out of the mold for a Reader, and change is rarely welcome.
Several of you, five or six, have reported massive weight loss on the foodstuffs recommended in The Primal Blueprint and by Gary Taubes. And improved blood scores. So…way to go. The Gary Taubes Dartmouth presentation is worth an hour of your time if you’re interested in stuff like that:
On another Lincoln note, I’ve been working on the Gettysburg Address, memorizing it. It’s about a four-evening plus 8 bike ride project. There are some great lines in it, with sounds and mouth-movement qualifications that rival the best of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Bob Dylan’s complicated mouth-movement lines. For instance, from Bob Dylan’s Jokerman:
It’s a shadowy world, skies are slippery grey A woman just gave birth to a prince today and dressed him in scarlet He’ll put the priest in his pocket, put the blade to the heat Take the motherless children off the street And place them at the feet of a harlot
It’s not the words but the mouth movements. The words aren’t nothing, for sure. We’ve all seen skies that are slippery grey, we know it’ a shadowy world, and “harlot” is a good old fashioned word. Mainly, though, I like the mouth movements. It’s a lot like this one in Coleridge’s Kubla Khan:
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething, As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing, A mighty fountain momently was forced: Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail, Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher’s flail:
That may be the best verse of poetry ever written by man or beast. “Ceaseless turmoil seething” is worth hundreds of dollars. The description of the earth erupting (the mighty fountain) with swift, half-intermitted bursts. Can’t you just picture that? We’ve all seen hail rebounding off the blacktop, but he describes huge fragments doing that, and you can see them all cold, white, and chunky. They may not have been cold. If they were, they might not be erupting; but I see them as white, anyway.
But the Lincoln Lines are these (not poem-form):
It is for us, the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us —- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion —- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain;
That is one hard two sentences to memorize exactly. He says both “dedicated here” and “here dedicated,” and “for us, rather” and “rather for us.”
There are a few versions of the Gettysburg Address, but they’re all basically the same. It was given on November 19, 1863 at a memorial service honoring the almost 3,800 soldiers who died in the Battle of Gettysburg the previous July 1-3, and all he was saying was that nothing, no speech or anything, could do justice to their sacrifice, and you don’t have to be a war-hawk to appreciate the 272 word in the Gettysburg Address.
And here’s another Samuel Taylor Coleridge passage from Christabel:
There she sees a damsel bright, Dressed in a silken robe of white, That shadowy in the moonlight shone: The neck that made that white robe wan, Her stately neck, and arms were bare; Her blue-veined feet unsandaled were; And wildly glittered here and there The gems entangled in her hair. I guess, ‘t was frightful there to see A lady so richly clad as she- Beautiful exceedingly!
Earlier in Christabel there’s this:
Sir Leoline, the Baron rich Hath a toothless mastiff _______;
And the funny thing is, how would you complete that line? If you know a mastiff is a dog, you might say “bitch.” In fact, I have it in a book as “bitch,” and that’s the way I learned it. On many a bike campout I’ve said either to myself or outloud, “Sir Leoline, the baron rich, hath a toothless mastiff bitch” and laughed. I like the way “hath” and “toothless” go together, with the strong “th” sound. When you say “hath a toothless” it feels like you’re saying “hath a toothleth.” But more to the point, now online I’m reading
..hath a toothless mastiff, which…”
And now I’ve got to wonder. Somewhere there must be a copy of it. Somebody knows. Why change something like that?
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. The main thing is: Orange Wool! The tagua tiddly winks are slowly moving. Not Splats-fast, but a bag a day or so, and that’s OK, actually.