My normal riding buddy is a less-than normal, or more-than normal guy named Sean, and he and I went riding yesterday, a fun ride in a part of a local hillsy park that requires a permit, which we both had. The entrance has a motorcycle with a red slash saying none of these, and the same with a campfire and guns
Rivendell MOUNTAIN works was hugely influential on my gear outlook back in the ’70s. It disappeared for a few decades, and has resurfaced no less intense than it was at its peak, although under different ownership. Instead of one fellow (Larry Horton) and a few seamsters and seamstresses (“sewers” sounds write but doesn’t read right), it’s now one fellow (Eric Hardee) and his sewing machine. The menu is smaller, but RMW still makes the pack that made the company, the Jensen Pack, and has recenty brought back a fanny pack and two daypacks, the Lupine and Mariposa.
That’s the link, and here’s the plug: Daypacks are a dime a dozen, and although there are some companies that build as much complication as possible into 1200 to 2000 cubic inches, there is a different appeal to simple packs that don’t claim to do anything other than carry stuff reasonably well, and last, and these packs do. They don’t do it any better, and many day packs will last a decade or so, but if you’re looking for a daypack and you don’t have any strong feelings one way or another, go groovy and get one from Rivendell Mountain Works. They are as well made as they can be, and are priced below what many modern packs are. Fanny pack: $44. Lupine daypack: $70. Mariposa: $76.
SOLD OUT OF HALFMITTS. Yay and dang. Scrambling to get more soon.
I know I said no more Bosco-Rubbe stuff this time, but I’d forgotten about the buttons, which we just got in:
Rosco Bubbe, Bosco Rubbe—-potato, topado, all the same. The 1-inch buttons are made by Todd Zimmer, local button-maker and the maker of our RIV Button, below:
The buttons are on the site, listed for $1 each, but that’s just to weed out people who’ll take anything for free. When you order one, you get it free. That doesn’t mean you can get dozens free, but one or a few, sure, as long as something else is in on the order, otherwise it’s free button, $8 to ship.
Remember, oldsters, when L.L. Bean had free shipping for something like 85 years (since 1912, I think), and then no free shipping for a decade or so, and now it’s free shipping again. Shipping costs are a big deal. On average, it costs us about $12 to ship a package, and we charge $8 unless you’re a member and buy $150, in which case it’s free. We can ship any given lightweight package cheaper through the postal service, but the post office won’t pick up here, so it means a trip to the post office, which takes time and a body out of circulation…and tracking requires filling out forms, and means the cheaper actual postage rate doesn’t reflect the actual cost. So it’s UPS for now, but we’re looking at FEDEX, too.
Sundance (catalogue) charges $16.95 for shipping. I ordered twice from ‘em in the last month, and that’s, like, painful shipping. I understand it, though.
Christmas music is not something that I think of myself as being into, but my 17-year old has been listening to an album by a duo called She and Him, and it’s pretty good. If you like the old classic, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” you love their version.You can buy it at iTunes for $0.99 or something. They have a Christmas album…
SKS is working on a Longboard fender for 29er wheels—-big 700c-ers. We have a sample here and are monkeying with it.
It’s a link to some high-carb (boo!) ultrafantastictasty (yay) fudge. One of our customers sent us some last year and this. We’ve bought more. Hey—-if you’re gonna break out the carbohydrates EVER, it’s worth doing it for this stuff.
This next has no reason for being here or anywhere else, but it comes up in my head a lot, and if I write about it maybe it’ll stop—-not that it’s all so bothersome, but something in my compells me to address it, at a slight risk of offending the super-sensitive, which I apologize for now. It is the stupendous calming effect of — no man, I can’t say it. It’ll be taken the wrong way. Onto other stuffs.
EcoVelo is shutting down (it’s a blog) after many years and many thousands of posts, and what are probably, honestly, seriously, indubitably my favoritely lit and composed bike photos on the webweb. Alan and his wife Michael (think of the actress Michael Learned; same gender and first name, different people) have day jobs already, and want to devote more time to parenting. Got a prob with that? Anyway…good for them, too bad for many of us. They’ve left a good mark. Read and see more here:
A few years ago we recommended these. If you wear blue jeans and want USA made and don’t need to have Sergio Valenti on the label and just want rock-solid denims. then get some of these. They gussets make them more bike-worthy than your current brand,which probably has about eight layers of denim right there where it all comes together in the crotch. Not these.
Dang, I hate this. Some of the bamboo banks—-well, it’s like this. Sooper gruvy banks, but when they’re stored near heat they split. Sometimes. And, it turns out, the same Chinese people who invented fire crackers and spaghetti and Marco Polo got the firecracker idea from tossing bamboo into fires. How that led to explosives, I don’t know, by my source said there’s a connection between the two. Heated air expands, and ker-pow! It kind of makes you want to throw a bunch of closed bamboo sections onto the hearth, doesn’t it? Gramma, don’t be scared.
This doesn’t happen with the fabricated boxes, of course. Bamboo outlasts most wood (I know it’s a grass, I’m just saying it outlasts mosts wood) in any application, so no worries there. Now, if you got a boo-bank and you’re nervous, well either take it back before doomsday (which is not inevitable unless you, say, put it by the hearth or the area heater or store it in 100-degree dry heat for a while). And we will give you 50 percent extra credit, if it comes to that. I’m guessing that 95 percent will be perfect boo-banks forever, but I want to throw the option out there. Rich here uses some split ones (stored at 120-deg upstairs here last summer) for ultra-classy spoke holders for his wheel-building station. See here:
We are planning next year a little. The plans are never big, but the idea is to improve things where we can. We will be more visible. There may be an ad or two in Momentum magazine. We will have a paper catalogue for the first time in 6 years.
We hired a new guy to replace Jay. His name is Brian, and he’ll start in January. Jay, meanwhile, will continue to build bikes and take calls and make videos.
Note to ten Special Mystery Bike buyers: John here will call you tomorrow for a deposit.
Riv $ News: We’re on track to have a worse loot year than last. Sales up a bit, but no profit. That’s how it’s looking. It’s not unfamiliar territory for us, but we need to work on it some. The strength of the Yen vs the weakness of the dollar is wounding us a lot.
I’ve been riding it a lot and in different conditions, and it’s good. Yesterday Mark and I rode trails in nearby Shell Ridge (out to the gate just before China Ridge and back), and even though it’s not a traily bike, it’s good enough for any of that stuff.
I taped the bars:
Notice how your eye goes right to the wabi-sabi gap there. Planning on a gap, doing it intentionally, takes the pressure off of a perfect wrap, and when you’re an imperfect wrapper like me, that’s a good way to go. So much better than trying so hard to make it Mark-perfect (it comes easy to him) and ending up with a gap underneath after it’s too late to fix. Although these bars are easier to wrap than drops.
I got some sticky letters at an office supply store and was experimenting with names:
I do like the name. I don’t know where it’ll go, but the nine Risk Taqueurs and one Taqueuse don’t know what their bikes will say, and I have free rein, and I’m goofing around with variants. I like BOSCO RUBBE (“rubby”).
And here, on the seat tube:
And here’s the whole bike, closer to complete:
I now have a 24t ring on it, too. For me, I think the best combo would be 36 x 28 with a 12x36 in back. It’s easy to foot-shift down in front, but you have to get off and finger-shift back up. It’s easy, and the fingers can be a stick if you don’t want to touch grease. Basically—-easy.
The effective chainstay with the wheel pulled all the way back is 47cm. The front-center, from center of crank to center of front wheel, is 68cm. This is my bike. I think I want to go longer in the rear for the other bikes—maybe up to 50cm. That means getting a new chainstay that doesn’t yet exist, but I’ve drawn it up and I think it’s gettable.
I like this bike more than I’m telling you. I hope more people can ride it. If you come by, don’t expect to be wowed. It’s not a wowy kind of bike. The biggest diff is the huge range of positions the bar provides, and that’s also related to the toptube length and stem length, and —- well, back to the new longer chainstay: One thing it will do is something that may not even need doing, which is: evenize the weight distribution between the wheels. Think of this:
Let’s say you have an extreme wackybad bike with a 40cm chainstay and a 70cm front-center, and to really ultra screw-up the weight distribution, you have a wayback seat post, a short stem, and the new Joe Slacker type handlebar that’s on the RUBBE here.
In the old days, the Italians said you should have 55 percent of your weight on the rear wheel and 45 percent on the front, for racing. But the Italians were wrong about a lot of things back then, and we just believed them anyway, and lots of the things they were wrong about got passed down through the decades and is now commonly accepted as gospel, when it’s not. Maybe the 55/45 is one of those. I’m saying that only because there’s a strong tendency to fixate on numbers and think they’re right even when they’re wrong. I’m just saying, 55/45 is probably halfway normal for racingish road bikes, and it’s a benchmark more than a goal.
Now, with the 40-70 rear half-front half with the short stem and wayback seat post and all, your weight distribution would likely be closer to 80-20, and in some conditions this wold be bad. Slippery or low traction turns, for one. But on a super steep descent, it would allow you to brake more on the rear wheel before locking it up. It might screw up front wheel braking, though. I will try my bike on the steep descents of Burma Road on Mt. Diablo one of these…weeks, if it’s still dry. That would be a good test. Anyway…
The longer chainstays might make things even neater than they are, although I’ve got to say I can’t imagine anything neater.
I’m riding tomorrow morning and will have the ROSCO here around noon, and I some some locals will come on by and try it.
"It makes me feel like King of all I survey." --John, as he rode it.
Jay built up my bike yesterday. It was great having somebody else do it. I really like that. Mark has helped in the past. It was super busy today, with several job interviews, two missing (Dave and Miesha), and lots of visitors. But I sure did appreciate the help from Jay. Last night I rode it to visit an old friend in another town, and it’s…well, listen. It’s just a tester, to see if what I think should happen what I’d hope would happen would happen, and actually, it did, so I am relieved, not too surprised, and really happy. This is what makes me happy—when something new works as well in real life as it does in my head. It makes me feel competent. I don’t bat 1.000, but you’ll never see the misses.
I may change some things, but it is wonderful right now. Lotsa people here rode it and agreed, and no, they are NOT yes-people. If you’re local, come and ride it.
As Jeremy guessed on the Rivendell forum—based on the long top tube—it’s basically a flat-to-rolling land bike that, by virtue of its superlong top tube (62.5cm on this 54.3cm frame), locks you into a sweeepyback bar. That doesn’t rule out touring or dirt riding, but those aren’t the point, and to drive home the actual point, it has one water bottle, and no way to mount a front derailer.
The bike below also has a 12cm stem, which, with the longie top tube, really shoves the stem clamp out to kingdom come, but jacking the bar up reels it in some, and you can really, honestly, fine tune it to nirvana with stem extensions and raising and lowering. In between the stem clamp and the end of the grip is somethiing like 9 inches of comeback…and then the grips come up a lot, so when you’re back on the sweepback you can sit up, and when you’re up on the flat part, you get down lower, as is only natural and good in that position. How low and far you lean is easy to adjust with the stem length and quill insertion. We have the supergroovy Tallux stems now, and a short-armed, short-waisted woman could ride the bike with a 7 or 8cm stem, and a long=waisted, longer-armed guy can sink a 13 stem down low and do fine.
On a drop, your wrist-in grip is forward of the stem, and on this bar (and all sweepy bars) it’s oppositely—the bar comes back toward you. The combined effects of the tall stem quill and 7 to 13cm extension that gives you the range, but it wouldn’t work without the starting megalong top tube.
I don’t mean to say that this combination is genius, or that it trumps all other bar-stem-top tube combinations, because that’s nuts. I’m just saying/suggesting that it’s kind of a neat and novel way to go about getting a tremendous range of body positions, from Professor-Upright to Obree-Downright, with one bike.
My idea was…it’s a limo-‘muter, but with speed potential, and insanely comfortable. And furthermore, the idea is that you’d lock it in with commutable specs that make sense for you, and then hone your other bikes in for other stuff. I’m not explaining that well.
Here it is:
It’s the old (but still current) 40 x 32 Sugino “Quickbeam” crank, but with the 32 removed. I’ll probably put it back on, or ask Jay to. I have an 11-28 cassette on it, and the 40 x 32 is low enough for my uses, but the 32 weighs a couple of ounces, and hey, what the hey.
The loopy things are for a webbing strap, a grab-handle for lifting. But hmm, you see, the loops and straps and a front derailer (if you insist), and in the case of this sample here, even the water bottle braze-ons all want to or do occupy the same region, and it can’t work. So…easy to move the bottle braze-ons to the diagatube. Nobilette suggested that (I had him add the straploops after he’d put on the bottle braze-ons—-so, it’s not like he’s a fool. It was my mistake.) On the next ones, the bottle will be on the d-tube, but the issue of loops versus front derailer still remains, and the neat thing about the next 9 that have been pre-sold is that as part of the program—-the low price for a bike of this type—is that those guys (and one woman) don’t get to say whether they’d rather have a front derailer or the strap loops, and in some cases maybe we WILL put a tube-handle on it. But the thing is, the diagatube itself is a nice enough handle for lifting, and how ergo-cushy does a lifting handle have to be?
Also, consider this: On a two-chainring bike like this, where the second ring is strictly a bail-out, do you need a front derailer? Use your fingers or a stick. Stop, change gears, get back on. It’s super easy, and is a nice little protest against the ultra-dumbing down of shifting that is happening now with electonics masquerading as technological improvements. For racing—whatever—-those guys take dope and tout whatever they’re paid to tout, and shouldn’t drive the market, but they do. I like digital or woody shifting for a bike like this.
The right shifter here is a Silver set up on a super cheap stem-shifter. Jay removed the original shifter (pure friction, fine, but with a plastic wingnut) and put on the Silver. Left shifter removed, stump remaining (see below) and begging for a bell.
A rider’s view of the front, pre-bell.
I put a bell on it. Now I can fulfill my longtime dream of being able to ring and shift at the same time.
Here’s the bike, shot pre-bell. I’ve ridden the bike about ten miles so far, including some hill-sprints that I often do on the way to work, and everything’s fine. I use all parts of the bar. The off-the-saddle climbing position and grip is great—-as good as on a drop bar or better. The narrow time-trialy grip is, too. The normal grip is fine. I’ll go to cork soon, but for trying out stem lengths (I got a 12 on, may go to 11, not sure), I’ll stick with the cloth tape over cork tape that Jay put on it. I’ll have a kickstand on it by 3pm.
The curvey diagastays are part style, part theoretical function. The main chainstays are 47-48cm long, and I’m far from a whippy chainstay fearer, but I like to use their bracing function as an excuse to curve them. They could have gone right to the dropout, but let’s have some fun.
I’ll soon add fenders, maybe a Mark’s rack and basket, and I already put a saddlebag on it. It’s stylish, but first it has to be useful.
Any of you who are local are welcome to come by, try it out.
(Note to all who ordered one of these without knowing anything about it: Thank you for doing that. We’ll ask for the deposit soon, but mainly, thanks. It allowed this to happen, and yours will be better than mine. A little different, but only in good ways. I am really happy with it. Still don’t know how to decal it—-will decide later. Also, altho we’ve stopped doing clear powder coating, if you live inland where the air isn’t salty and you don’t ride on salty roads, clear powder may be an option. Otherwise, I’ll pick the colors for everybody, and they may be different. I’m waiting for version 2 of the dropouts to come in before making yours.)
My odd new frame came in, and read the post below for its history and what it’s about and all. Right now…here are some pix.
There it is, in all its raging glory. Its oddpoints jump right out at you, don’t they?
But all frames mellow out with parts, as complete bikes. Besides, anywhow—-I like this. There is…much beauty in it, and even more function.
Let’s jam that head tube full-o’-lugs! It is hard to make a functional case—-on this bike—-for the diagatube. I don’t own a bike with one yet (getting a 56 Sam soon, but I’ve been riding the demo, so there’s no immediate need)—-and I’ve had diagatube envy, now solved. Oh. You want “trad”? “Classic”? Hmm. I’ve been there, I know what it’s like. Now I want better.
Nice dropout. I wanted our new ones, but at build time we were out of them.
The bike isn’t a normal road or trail or touring bike. It’s something else. It will DO those things, because it’s a good all-around bike…but it’s FOR something else, and is not for everybody, and that is not reverse psychology. It really, truly, is NOT for everybody.
Lots going on here. Maybe too much. Well, it’s mine, and subsequents will be a little different here. It’s being clear-coated now (that place is 200 yards away and has promised to return it tomorrow, and I’m eager to build it).
All for now.
FLASH: It just came back from the painter. You’d THINK, since I am the boss, that I could kindly snap my fingers and have minions build it up. We got no minions here, though—-just busy people, and I’ve got my own load, so between all of us, I hope to have it together by Wednesday.I’ll rig up the bars, shifters, grips, brake levers. I’ll find wheels, or borrow them from another bike. The usual scampering, trying to get it together as cheap as possible but still good.