Obsidian Monarch saddle customization and repair

This looks great.

Obsidian Monarch in Oakland can refurbish your Brooks (or other) leather saddle.

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.

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?

Pass-Fail Bicycle Flowchart

I thought this up while riding my bike. I think it applies to anything that people might obsess over.

Pass- fail bicycle tinkering

I am very particular about some things. Words. Pixels. Behaviors. Presentation phenomena, mostly. Bicycle fit and feel.

In other things, I don’t even register major differences. I like coffee, but I can’t tell the difference between the Kona and the Italian Roast at work. They taste like coffee. Ten years ago, I had already drunk more coffee than you will ever drink in your life. Coffee is pass/fail. “Does it taste like coffee?” Good. Does it taste like great coffee? Great!

Is it coffee?

It’s not like I have blind tastebuds. I can taste large differences. I can tell “delivered today” from “delivered last week,” because today’s coffee tastes better. Weak coffee gets poured out. I like espresso Americanos, because they generally taste like great coffee.

My kid is a supertaster. We go out for sushi, now, which is a big development. This is a kid who lived for years on goldfish crackers. All his crackers go in airtight jars, because if we keep them in the bag or box, he won’t eat them. “They’re STALE.” “Dude, they’re four hours old! It’s… only a little stale.”

He likes the red tuna more than the lighter fish like maguro or super-white tuna, so we always order a custom “rainbow” roll without the rainbow – just tuna. I am not a supertaster. To me, they all “taste like sushi.”

Pass-fail sushi connoisseurship

I worked in a sushi bar as a teenager. I ate a lot of sushi. I also ate a lot of tonkatsu chicken. I know that avocado mysteriously robs wasabi of its fun nose-rush high, a thick slice of octopus tentacle is bouncy to the tooth and oddly astringent, and uni is ‘challenging!’ Sushi tastes like sushi. I like it. Mediocre sushi tastes like sushi, and good sushi tastes like awesome.

Riv Jamboree Poster draft




My friends in the Rivendell Owners Group (Bunch? I don’t know) are putting on a shindig in July. Rivendell Bicycle Works is 20 years old this year, which is pretty cool. I remember when “Ever Since 1994” was funny, because it was like… 3 years or something.

I volunteered to make a poster, because I don’t enjoy calling and planning and pestering in order to make an event actually happen. I’m not even sure if I volunteered… I kind of just did it.

The next step, apparently, is to turn the art into some form of permanent commodity: poster, tee shirt, bandanna, etc.

So: which style, and what should we make?

The first pen outline has its proponents on Flickr.

rivendell owners bike jamboree



The watercolor version is about 5% more chromatically amped up than it is in person. I enjoyed filling in the color, especially the red/green at the bottom. Two layers of scumbled color. Definitely the most work in this one, but if it isn’t as satisfying…   oh well. Rivendell Owners Jamboree July 12

The black block print one is the au courant style I was imagining from the get-go. I like it as a graphic. Also easiest to print. 
rivendell owners bike jamboree - china camp



I had a good week of riding to work, including Bike To Work Day. 18+ miles each way, fixed, every single day. Flipped one guy off, flirted with a car full of cute girls, and had a nice woman offer to throw away the nail I picked up at a traffic light.

I figured out how to successfully and safely enter Rohnert Park from the North (use the inside turn lane, because every single person in the outside turn lane is getting on the freeway).

Bike to Work Day started with hearing a fellow manning the coffee station sharing his opinions. See if you can fill in the blanks.



“I think fixies are ridiculous. Because, like, brakes. Duh. And they’re terrible for your knees.”

I think the gist is that fixies are just so unfashionable, now.