We have filled the mechanic’s position.
FLASH: It was filled until this morning (Thurs the 1st). The good fellow, underestimated the commute time from his distant home, and had to quit. So we’re again accepting resumes (send, with salary requirements, to firstname.lastname@example.org). If it gives you the willies when you don’t know what to say—then you may not be a good fit.
FLASH UPDATE MID DEC: Job is filled.
About four months ago I mentioned that for whatever reason I was going to get a custom bike that didn’t duplicate any bike I already had, because what would be the point?, and I came up with a good idea that made sense and I could nearly totally justify. From there it lead to me suggesting the same kind of bike to nine others, the idea being that I’d design them, our custom builder, Mark Nobilette, would build them, and we’d try to cap the cost for a complete bike at $4300 not including tax and shipping…but the thing is, you’d have to order it without knowing any more about it other than it doesn’t overlap toooooo much with our current models, and you most certainly don’t have something exactly like it already, and we’d make sure it fit you and all, but for the relatively low price of $4300 (note “relatively”), you’d surrender all rights to…..the personalizing touches that usually come with custom bikes, and often even non-customs.
In about five days we presold all ten bikes. Haven’t collected a dime yet, but the deal was that you’d have to pony up $2500 nearly upon request, and bad timing with Christmas and all, but the time for that is right about…well, you knew it was coming. So if you’re on the list, it’ll be soon.
My bike was to be, is to be, is the tester for it. I’ll have it Dec 2, I think—-unpainted, but otherwise ready to build. I think, rather than wait two weeks for Rick to paint it, I’ll just spray it with Boeshield, and assemble it and ride it, or maybe I’ll get mine clear-coated (not an option for anybody else anymore), because that’s quick and easy and I want to be riding it. I can’t imagine that it won’t “perform” as I expect it to, but these things need to be tested, because I don’t want to send the other buyers experiments.
The next round of NewBar samples will be here Thurs also—or close enough—and one of those will go on the bike. They’re here now. Photos will be up by the end of the day.
Twelve years ago a fellow sent me his old pair of Phil Wood pedals, just to have. He wasn’t using them anymore—-he got paralyzed or afflicted with something really bad that kept him from riding. I found the pedals—-or, Vince found them—and here they are. The model was the CHP, for California Highway Patrol. They were the only proqual pedals up to that point that came with the reflectors that earned them compliance with the law, and that may have been why you never, ever, saw them on race bikes. Rich tourists rode them, and ultimately Phil quit making them because, as I heard it, it cost too much to replace the bearings. Even though sealed, the bearings needed replacing after a while. The ones I now have are as smooth as glass, though, so I don’t know.
The bright, elusive, Phil Wood CHP pedals of love, from the late ’70s.
Back in ‘82 or ‘83, Bridgestone designed a really neat sidepull brake (Dia-Compe made it for ‘em) called the SC, for self-centering. It had an extra link of leverage in it that guaranteed that the rim would always be centered between the brake pads. It was semi-genius, or at least a better way to make a brake, and it was a good example of how trickle-up doesn’t happen. Bstone was not a brake maker, but had good engineers, and was more concerned with mid-priced bread-and-butter bikes with volume, than with token pro racy bikes…and that’s why it was an inexpensive brake. We put it on lots of then-$280 to $420 bikes.
It’s not like normal sidepulls, well-adjusted, had problems with pads rubbing, but the BStone SC had no drawbacks and was clever and guarded against it. If Shimano had introduced it—-first at the Dura-Ace level, then the next year at Ultegra, then after that at 105 or whatever the equivalent was, I think it would have taken off. Anyway….one of our customers is a guy from Sweden, and he recently (yesterday) visited and brought me a set of these brakes that he got from a friend who used to distribute Bstone in Sweden, and has a bunch of these. This particular model is short-reach, but they came in medium reach, too.
Bad close-up of the mech that self-centers it. A dumbbell-shaped piece of plastic joins the front and rear arm, passing thru the extra plate there on the way. I still don’t get it, but it worked.
Another quirky but smart example of Bstone coming up with something cool and introducing it to the low and mid-end, thereby killing any possibility of it ever making it to ‘spensive bikes, was the Klimatic (maybe “Klimactic”) rear derailer, introduced in ‘79 or ‘80, as I recall (it was before my time there, but we had a few in the warehouse, and in any case, they were used only on bikes sold in Japan). It was the first modern indexed derailer, and …. that’s worth thinking about. The indexing was actually in the derailer, not the shifter, as we know it now.
I rarely even think about indexing, and when I slip up and do, the thought pops up that I hate it, or at least have no —- it doesn’t appeal to me at all. BUT this Klimactic derailer is pretty interesting historically, if you’re into the history, because it may have gotten Shimano’s attention and played some role in Shimano’s game-changing indexing. The Klimatic was better in some ways, though. Because the indexing was in the derailer and not the shifter, it didn’t matter what shifter or cable or housing or chain you used, or how stretched out or kinked they were. Eventually the force would be transferred to the derailer, and it clicked and moved the pre-set amount every time.
The drawback was no friction option, and when Shimano introduced its indexing in 1985, that was a selling point. Now only Shimano’s bar-end shifters have that option, so somebody at Shimano, or more likely the whole team, think it’s not important. They may be right for some, but they’re wrong for me and lots of others.
Oral B dental floss is made in Ireland. It says so right on the bottom of the thing. There has to be a story behind that.
Several years ago, maybe ten, I seem to recall a push to get stuff made in Ireland, and maybe this is a holdover from that.
Australian pennies used to be as big as silver dollars, and all copper, with a kangaroo on them. I doubt it’s that way still, because a penny costs more than a penny to make, even tho they’re not all copper anymore (zinc under it).
Lindt is a Swiss chocolate company, and if you’re into the darker, lower-carber chocolates, you know that the higher the percentage of cocoa, the lower the carb content (less room for sugar). Almost all choco-bars list the carb content per Xg, and one standard is to look for half the gram size in carb grams. Follow that? So, let’s say “one serving” is 40g. Then you sniff out chocolate in which a 40g chunk has 20g or fewer carbs.
The Halfmitts are doing better than we expected, which isn’t to say good, but they actually are really good. They’re too weird for prime time. Full mittens and full gloves work, no doubt, but can you do this with either?:
And then, when it gets hotter, you can shake them off, and the wrist strap keeps them from falling. You can layer them with fingerless gloves or full gloves, or use them as a windshild and waterproof layer for wool mittens. Hey, whatever…but they’re a good cheap MUSA accessory that despite our sincerest efforts may never make it big. But I swear to Zeus, we’ll never be without them for long.