Pi Day Ride

An online acquaintance mentioned that he was leading a 31.4 mile Pi Day ride, and I had to steal the idea.

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

It’s a nerd’s nerd thing, Pi Day, and today’s is special. Today’s date is 3/14/15, which is the first five digits of Pi, 3.1415. Further, at 9:26:53 this morning, we were good to 10 digits of Pi!

Epic Pi Day.

Bike nerd? Check. All-’round Nerd? Check and double-check. I started my ride at 9:26:53 (Strava should have a time counter into the hundreds of seconds for starting rides like this. You know, the ones that happen every hundred years)… or so.

I was kind of surprised I started on time, but I woke up naturally (the reason we have Saturdays), thought, “I’m not sure if that dream was troubling or comforting,” and started putting on bike clothes. Full Riv regalia: sneakers, wool socks, Riv knickers, Wooly Warm jersey, Devold underwear. The jersey was green, which didn’t match all the blue everything else, but my baby blue jersey is looking kind of green itself after all these years.

In addition to the ONCE IN A LIFETIME MAGICAL NUMBER THING, I also wanted to get some miles in before the Strada Rossa, and assess how enjoyable the 50k is going to be after a “winter” of sloth. Turns out, that’s a good length to feel like I accomplished something, but still enjoy the whole thing.

So, I rolled out, bought a double Americano (very nice, $2.07 (that’s a stupid price – not egregiously high, just a dumb number. I was going to pay cash, but switched to a card because I didn’t want 93 cents in change rattling around my pocket, so it cost them whatever the card companies charge)), and headed to the Prince’s Greenway.

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

 Holy Grounds coffee shop

My plan was to run the loop of Sonoma bike paths I’d mapped on Google Maps that added up to 31.4 miles.

  Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride
Oh yeah – this is me, before the ride.

Mostly I did that, with a couple wrong turns side quests. I have to say, that the trails are pretty awesome, but the signage is designed to please the people standing back admiring their handiwork, not the people navigating intersections while focusing on moving automobiles.

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

I took the Greenway/Creek Trail to Willowside road, shelling grandpas and kids on trikes like a Cat 6 monster, then took Hall Road into Sebastopol, where I finished my coffee in front of the Whole Foods.

Pi Day 2015 - Quickbeam ride

Heading North on 116, I stopped at Andy’s Market (legit produce) for another Americano. This one was marginally cheaper, at $1.75, and tasted smokier than the Holy Grounds espresso. I very much enjoyed it, and it would appeal to people who like Portland espresso. Frankly, it had all of the good and none of the bad (“What? This is no longer a fluid. It’s a solid. You just steamed the grounds.”) aspects of Portland espresso.

Redlands Strada Rossa patches!

My pal David is putting on a 100k bike ride with a 50k option, down in Redlands. It’s a mixed-terrain bike ride, part road, part gravel, part singletrack.

David (and Jacquie Phelan) asked me to design a patch for the ride, so here it is: the two routes, more or less. The 50k is just the left-most lobe, and the 100k is the whole enchilada. I don’t know which I’ll do, since I’m not getting any fitter as the date approaches.

Redlands Strada Rossa embroidered patch

You can preorder patches here, $5 each: https://www.etsy.com/listing/222080664/redlands-strada-rossa-100k50k-bike-ride

Mailing out Entmoot Patches

Every Bay Area Rivendell Rider who mailed me an SASE* from Canyon, CA (a place fighting to keep its post office) last Sunday got a free Entmoot patch. A bike drawing was worth extra points, but was not required.

These are the outgoing patches, with the incoming envelopes.

From the Bay Area Riv Rider's ride, and the Canyon post office.

Cool stamps were also worth points.
From the Bay Area Riv Rider's ride, and the Canyon post office.

Points are not redeemable for cash.

This is the paperwork and envelope stuffing operation at “the office.”
From the Bay Area Riv Rider's ride, and the Canyon post office.

*Self Addressed Stamped Envelope. From the old days. You buy two stamps, and two envelopes. On one envelope, you write your own address, affix a stamp, fold it in half, and put it into the second envelope, which you mail.  Someone puts something in the first envelope, and mails it back to you.

Loosening Bike Bolts

Pedals and bottom bracket (BB) cups aren’t all threaded normally. For most American and British bikes (Italian and French bikes are different (of course)), the pedals can be loosened by turning the wrench toward the BACK of the bike. Bottom bracket cups can be loosened by turning the wrench to the FRONT of the bike.

Pedals loosen toward the back of the bike, BB cups loosen toward the front.


Print this out on acetate, so you can look through it from the back when you go around to the other side of the bike.



Military Surplus bag for Wald baskets

My kid and I stopped into a military surplus place in Cotati, and I picked up a little medical kit. It’s a green nylon pouch with a green plastic box inside. The box closes, and the pouch has nice snap-through hardware. On the back of the pouch are two metal clips that lock.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

It turns out these two clips are EXACTLY the height of two Wald basket wires, top to bottom on the medium.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

The clips snap down and lock, and there are two grommets at the bottom of the pouch that you can zip tie to the bottom wires of the basket.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

I put some first aid stuff in the pouch (since it’s a medical kit), and big gauze pad fits behind the box.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

My wallet fits in front.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

Inside is a tube, tire levers, some allen keys taped together, and an inhaler.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

The box is easily removed for use.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

And overall it complements a green Quickbeam quite well.
Wald Basket bike bag pouch.

State of the Ross Porteur – 10/11/14

State of the Ross 9-30-2014 Left it under the oak tree for six months, the fenders are jacked up, and I sold the front wheel with the matching S3X rear. Sad.

I sold my S3X/dyno wheelset and halogen lights, leaving the Ross without a front wheel (because I didn’t go get one off the pile in the shed and put a tire on it), and I took the chain for the Singular, or maybe the Quickbeam after I rode it on gravel paths in a rainstorm.

Stripping the Ross porteur down. Maybe build it as a road bike?

I had planned to make this into a geared roadbike, with the old SON hub and new IQ Cyo LED headlight, but no derailleur hanger or shifter bosses make it seem better off remaining a fixie. Maybe the Quickbeam needs to become the fendered winter commuter, and the Ross setup as the fixed/free double-single “fast” roadbike.

FS: Amazing 56cm Bombadil Frame

Rivendell Bombadil mountain frameset: 56 cm frame
Frame/fork/headset/BB, asking $1200 shipped.
Bought on the 'bay

The seller (friend Pudge) says, “There are some chips and rubs, no dents. If I kept it I would probably have had it repainted, but I’m a bit fastidious about such things.” I read that as “almost flawless,” but I am NOT fastidious about such things. I love the solid blue color for this style of bike. It’s an early Bombadil, with the parallel twin top tube, not the diaga-tube, and without the later “extra” mid-stays.

Interested, click through to comment on the Flickr picture.

If you’re interested in the bike as built, you’re going to have to make an offer, which might necessitate some research to get values on the unique parts build. Ghisallo wooden rims, creme Hetre tires, and the great custom “cats” chainring. Put on your sunglasses, this is awesome.

Rivendell Bombadil glamour shot


56 cm frame; Nitto Lugged Stem, Mini Front Rack and Bullmoose handlebars; Brooks B-17 Select and Plump Grips; Ghisallo beechwood rims; Weigle-modified Campy front and White Industries ENO rear hubs; Bruce Gordon cantis with replacement cork pads to accommodate wooden rims; Paul Canti levers; Stronglight 49D crankset with Bespoke Chainrings “Solida Cats” 44 tooth chainring; Phil Wood pedals; Berthoud Saddlebag and rack; Grand Bois Hetres.

Rolling Tires… off the rim!

So this happened. Twice.

My new (to me) Phil Kiss-Off wheelset, WTB Dual Duty rims, and new (actually new) Vee Rubber “Mission” tires don’t seem to work together. I don’t know if the fault is with the rim, the tire, or if they’re each slightly out of spec.


I rolled the tire in the neighborhood after installation, reinstalled it, it blew off, then I put the tube in another tire on another rim. Twenty minutes after installation, the tube exploded like the Death Star. This Stan’s-filled tube off another wheel stayed on fine for two days and 1.25 rides.


Riding up a steep short climb, traversing to work with my 36×17 gear, I suddenly was rolling on the rim! My first thought was “I am SO HAPPY this didn’t happen going DOWN this road!”

I rode home super slowly, after my riding friends bailed me out with CO2 (I bought a box of cartridges online as soon as I got back to my desk).

My plan is to replace the WTB Dual Duty with a Velocity Blunt 35 (same ERD), and throw the tire in the trash. I’m scared of both of them, now!

Entmoot Patches arrive!

I got the shirts on Wednesday, and the patches arrived today!

Entmoot Patches Arrive!

They look BETTER than expected.

Now’s the moment of reckoning, where goods get matched to orders, and the shipping labels get printed.

Entmoot Patches Arrive!

I only have about 5 patches to take to the Entmoot itself, and a couple of those are spoken for already. The Patch Hoarders will be able to flip their extras sometime next week…

Entmoot Patches Arrive!

Entmoot Patches

In addition to the tee shirts (and posters, hopefully) for the Rivendell Owner’s Bunch unofficial RBW 20th Anniversary Jamboree and Get Together, I have arranged for “Entmoot*” patches.

These are drawn by me, produced by Falls Creek Outfitters. I’m pretty excited; it’s the first patch I’ve ever designed. I may do a lot more if this works out.

It shows the China Camp derelict boat, to tie it to the 2014 Jamboree, and there are three Quickbeam bicycles.


They represent the three runs of Quickbeams:

And three possible styles of setup:

My first thought was a simple flipping of the jamboree graphic, and replacing its Sam Hillborne with a Quickbeam. But… an Entmoot of one is no Entmoot at all, right? Plus I’ve had this idea of showing multiple setups of Riv bikes for a while. So, with the lower fidelity of patches, and my new interest in showing the handwork in my finished artwork, I busted out a new drawing last weekend. It took longer to color it in Photoshop than it took to draw the bikes.

There were a couple of versions – the first one had worse bikes, and too much blackness.


The second version had the wheels, bike overlap, and front end geometry adjusted, and the ship simplified.

entmoot patch - cleanup

I didn’t know how the “colorway” should go, except for the colors of the bikes.


After leaving the two colorways alone for a couple of hours, I chose the final one. Maybe a little plainer, but definitely clearer, and without the background color coloring the bike colors.

I learned not to outline silver parts (maybe not outline anything) – they get knobbly. Much better to simply make a solid bar for a crank or a stem. Next time.

*Entmoot = Gathering of Ents from The Lord of the Rings. Rivendell’s “Quickbeam” bicycle is named for the ‘hasty Ent’ in that book. So a gathering of Quickbeams = an Entmoot. A nerdery at least three layers deep.

Mixte is one of many styles of women’s bike frame!

My old friend, inspiration, and mentor* Sheldon Brown, states that a “Mixte” is a ladies’ style of bike characterized by twin top tubes that extend all the way to the rear dropouts. He further states that there is a variant with a single top tube and the extra set of stays. He says if it don’t have three sets of stays, it ain’t no mixte.

I have always been leery of this interesting pedantic fact, because:

    • Sheldon presents the definition with no supporting evidence
    • In French, “Mixte” means “co-ed” in the old-fashioned sense, which seems appropriate for all step-through frames
    • Really, who cares?

His main point was “don’t use the word mixte to refer to any old ladies’ frame bike,” because it’s a specific style.” I generally skirted** the issue: I tried not to make any embarrassing gaffes, but didn’t correct people on the internet.

Cut to the big mixte news this week on the iBOB list:  Greg Reiche posted a link to a C. S. Hiroshi page about creating a ladies bicyle, specifically a “Sport.” One of the pictures showed a publication from FNCRM (Fédération Nationale du Commerce et de la Réparation du Cycle et Motocycle), a French bicycle and motorcycle trade group. Another image was of a page of that publication, showing some of the different styles of step-through frames.

I’ve redrawn the graphic here. Don’t sue me, bro. Popular styles of French women's bicycle frames Mixte – Twin tubes from the upper head lug all the way to the rear dropouts. Hot.
Sport – A single top tube, with a third set of stays. Also hot. Rivendell and J.P. Weigle style. Sheldon calls this a kind of Mixte.
Berceau – Bendy twin top tubes, for more standover height. Lots of potential, but I’ve never seen a truly sexy implementation of this style.
Jumele – Twin top tubes, with NO third set of stays. I have never seen this style of bike. Doofy.
Anglais – Second top tube, no extra stays. Angelina’s Steyr was this style. Workmanlike.
Col de Cygne – Swoopy top tube, with supporting struts to the down tube. Nice, but tend to look heavy.
Double Col de Cygne – Swoopy top tube, and down tube, with struts.  Trying too hard?

I propose that Americans call the “Sport” style “Mixte Sport.” Other bike nerds know what you’re talking about, and it clarifies Sheldon’s postion. 

Of bikes that have passed through my house, apparently the Steyr was a “style Anglais,” while the Belleville is a true mixte. The couple Suburbans Angelina had were… variations on the Anglais?


* Internet-style. He may or may not have recognized me on the street. ** See what I did there?