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?

Brewvet #3 and #4

Last week, I did two of the shortest Brewvets possible, back to back.


Third Street Aleworks growler. #BREWVET

Wednesday, June 4th, I rode Angelina’s bike to Third Street Aleworks for a point-eight mile round trip  and two growlers (Puddle Jumper and Anadel Pale Ale). Friday I took a point-six mile out-and-back to Russian River for a pint of Blind Pig, and a growler of Pliny the Elder.

Russian River Brewing #BREWVET

I chatted with a fellow from Seattle at the Russian River, who tried to impress upon me how famous this place is, in the beer world, but I prefer to get my beer from a bartender, not a bouncer. Third Street Aleworks wins on beer, ambience, staff, and graphic design.


Like the Coffeeneuring Challenge, I DNF’d, only getting in four rides, and less than half the mileage. I’d planned to ride my bike to work last week and stop at Lagunitas and Heroine (101) on my way home for the mileage, but didn’t.

Brewvet #2 – Ernie’s Tin Bar

We (at my work) ride a 10 mile loop out Lakeville, up Stage Gulch, and then back on Adobe, most days of the week.
The Stage Gulch climb is called “The Tin Bar,” after the tin fish-shack/gas-station at the bottom of the hill. I’d never been inside, even though it’s a place also frequented by my workmates.

Last Thursday, I was doing a late ride, solo, and I thought, “This is it! The perfect opportunity to drop in at Ernie’s and have a post-lunch beverage!” So I did.

The interior is long and narrow, with just enough room to pass between the barstools and the outside wall. The regulars are at the darker, wider, far end, talking about the Port of Sonoma, the (im)possibility of a ferry every making its way there, and (not) dredging in the (protected) tule marshes.

Down that way the bar opens up a bit, and there’s an opening into the dark space of the old garage, where an older fella with a cap is bellied up to a little bar-for-one, taking part in the conversation.

The barkeep is another older gent, bearded and quietly helpful. The beers run to the Stone Brewery, and more local brews, most with ABVs north of 6%. I bought a pint of Stone Levitation, at 4.4%. Caramel colored, richly flavored and nicely balanced. Very refreshing, with the sun beating down on my bike leaned against the tin siding, and not worrisomely debilitating for riding solo alongside cars*.

The interior has an interesting patchwork quality, with a timeless feel. The old squat white glass doored cooler in the middle of the rear of the bar is filled with bottled beer and covered in local union stickers. Contra Costa Electrician’s Local 302. UA Local 38 Pipe Trades.  Carpenter’s Local  751.

I finished my beer, left a dollar, and continued my ride. 10 miles. You pretty much have to do the loop because westbound Lakeville from the Tin Bar to the top of the rise has the shoulder torn up, and concrete barriers right on the white line. Really torn up, with dump trucks, Cats, and workmen in the trench behind the barriers.

I weigh 235+ – I’m not too worried about a single beer.

Brewvet #1

I did MG’s Coffeeneuring challenge last Fall, and DNF’d like a boss. I hope to do better this Spring on the Brewvet challenge. Saturday, I rode down to the Toad In The Hole for a pint or three with my wife, kid, and friends.


My local brew was the Bear Republic cask conditioned hootsie. I also had a pint of Old Speckled Hen, which is named after an MG, which I like, because it was my first car, and it tastes great. I also had a Hoptimator, which is Sierra Nevada channeling Lagunitas, sweet and dry-hopped all in one.


High points: kid liked the fish and chips enough to go back, even with the insane wait. You know the critic Ego in Ratatouille? That guy actually likes food. My kid… not so much.
Low point: 54 minutes before the server took our order. For drinks.


Our friends go there two or three times a month, for the last 8 years. Regulars. I have never seen Sid so agitated. Catching the server’s eye, bobbing up and down in her seat, visiting the the bar for an update. I think the Dalai Lama would have gone up to the bar to see what the f*ck* was going on. The server forgot about every single one of our beers halfway through the pour process. The cask beers came up 1/4 short, and she said, “Oh, I should probably come back to top these up.” BUT SHE DIDN”T. She was nice, though. The new server had the dead eyes of a killer.

I would say that giving bad service to people who have BEEN servers is bittersweet. We feel your pain, but we can see every single way you could have made the situation better. “You gotta circulate. Get the new people their drinks before you cash out the 14 separate checks. Those people can’t leave until they’ve paid, but the new customers can just walk out.” Regular entitled yuppies would just leave, but entitled dirtbags like us, we’re rapt, watching it like a slow-motion car wreck, except we DO want our beer and chips, just like anybody else.


My kid, new to calculating tips, says, “I was hungry when I came IN. Now I’m STARVING. It’s been an HOUR. This is where I’d bust the tip down to 15%.” You’re a nice boy, Max. Someone raised you right.

We ended up having a good time, but part of that was probably learning how to count bad times as interesting adventures. Lifetime bike-riding for the win.

*One of these asterisks is a footnote, the other stands in for a letter, so’s y’all won’t be offendicated.

2014 Bike To Work Day

Last year I rode to work all week for Bike To Work day. The high point of the Friday ride was meeting an anti-fixie hipster. Then that next Monday I rode to work and fell over from vertigo that lasted a week, and still affects me a little. Probably some kind of hipster curse. This year I notice that due to the subtleties of page layout, and the lameness of the internet, not only do Pingbacks on the Sonoma County Bike Coalition Bike-to-Work page look like the names of sponsors… most of them are flat-out spam. header layout makes pingbacks look like sponsors So that’s me – art nerdery and UI/web nerdery spilling into the bike nerddom. I did set 6 Strava PRs on my commute this morning, though!

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.

Rivets Galore

Holy cow.
I saw this as an ad on Kent’s Bike Blog. Oh myyyy… Rivet porn. Almost unlimited styles of rivets: split rivets (like I used on the Swift), solid rivets (like Brooks uses, and Wallbike sells), semi-tubular rivets like I used on  Angelina’s bike, and something called “Riv-nuts,” which I like just for the name.

Rivets - all kinds! buy rivets online


Something that does NOT make me happy is trying to write a post from the iPad. I swear it worked okay for a few months. Now it just makes me want to kick a programmer in the nuts.

So, since links can’t be formed, Wallingford Bicycles is at www.wallbike.com, and sell Brooks rivets.  Kent can be found at kentsbike.blogspot.com. Google BROOKS BIKETINKER to see Angelina’ B72 repair.

Repairing a ripped Brooks leather saddle

I bought a bargain-priced titanium-railed Brooks Swift from one of my internet friends. The Swift is a ‘racier,’ ‘sportier,’ ‘spendier’ leather saddle than my B17, and a whole different category of throne altogether than Angelina’s B72. I needed a new saddle for either the Singular Gryphon (more on that later), or the Ross (as it gets the Singular’s gears), and I liked the idea of narrower (for the Gryphon), and lighter (for the Ross).

Brooks Swift Repair

The price was right, but with one drawback. The leather was ripped at the nose, cutting underneath one of the rivets. The seller said it was “ride-able as is,” but at 240 lbs, I figured it would last me about a week. Simply squeezing the ‘roof’ of the saddle towards the rails made the stretched leather pull away from the nose rivets. My first thought was to glue Tyvek to the back of the leather as a reinforcement. Tough, and free in the form of Fed Ex envelopes, I figured it would at least buy me time. Guess who doesn’t have free Tyvek Fed Ex envelopes anymore?

I raided my wife’s sewing supplies, and got a square of mattress ticking material. Tough, cool-looking, and free. Those are like my favorite qualities in a material! I cut it to go around the post of the rivet, removed the cantle from the nose of the saddle, and glued the fabric to the back of the leather.

Patching a ripped saddle with a fabric backing. Followed by extra rivets.

The backing definitely helped keep the leather rip from spreading under pressure, but it didn’t seem strong enough to do the job on its own. I added some Crazy Glue to the torn edges of the leather and squeezed them together while I moved on to Plan C.

Plan A was actually to buy a new leather top and some rivets and just replace the leather entirely, but apparently I just dreamed that possibility. When I went looking in the usual places, no new Brooks leather tops were to be found! The titanium undercarriage alone costs about as much as a whole new saddle, though.

Patching a ripped saddle with a fabric backing. Followed by extra rivets.

So my brainwave here was to add some rivets to reinforce the leather at the nose, and spread the stresses. I had some rivets from my last project, in a couple types and sizes. I would have liked to use some real Brooks rivets from Wallbike, but I was seeing a funky server notice on their domain, and was afraid to order from the site.

I went to Orchard Supply Hardware in my town, and asked the lady by the gazebos and chaises longueses where the rivets were. “We have some kits. Like rivet guns? Pop rivets?” “No, I just need some rivets to hammer in by hand. Do you have a section with fasteners and things? Little drawers with different sizes of nuts and bolts?” “No, we don’t have anything like that.” (dumbfounded) “Would you like to see the kits?” (I thought you were a hardware store!) “Uh, no thanks.”

So I pawed through my own little drawers of fasteners, and came up with a handful of different rivets I’d bought as spares. The best bet seemed to be a pair of split steel ones. They were longer than the others, and it seemed like it would be easier to peen them over (Angelina – “‘Peen?’ Is that a word?”) in the awkward space inside the nose of the saddle.

So I needed to drill two holes through the leather and titanium. There’s plenty of extra material behind the existing rivets, and I had a Dremel with an 1/8″ bit. I marked each spot, and drilled neat holes in the leather… and made tiny dents in the titanium. Lots of nasty dentist-drill whining, lots of holding the Dremel exactly perpendicular, and very little progress. After about 10 minutes and a noise complaint from the child, I put the project aside and emailed a cycling work friend who is a mechanical engineer.

He said that with titanium, you want low speed, lots of torque, and probably a drill press. So… the opposite of a Dremel. He probably just Googled it, but it was helpful. I got out the de Walt 12v drill, set it to “1,” and used a different 1/8″ bit to drill the holes, never pushing the trigger more than halfway, keeping it slow. It was work, but at least it made progress. For the second hole, I put a cork inside the nose to protect the bit when it finally popped through.

Brooks Swift Repair

I used a small hammer with a smooth striking face to drive the rivets into the holes, then popped them out to wallow the hole out a little wider), then tapped them back through. I wanted the rivets snug in the holes but they didn’t go as flush as I would have liked.

I separated the ‘legs’ of each rivet with a sharp steak knife (the least used knife in a vegetarian household), and used a nail set and the hammer to beat them flat against the inside of the nose. I have a large antique monkey wrench I used as a makeshift anvil.

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

It actually worked! I put the head of the wrench inside the nose, and did the final beating-down of the rivet with the hammer, and then went around and touched up the original rivets that were coming away from the leather a bit.

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

“Bam bam bam!” Much nicer. “Oh, that was easy.” Next time, I’ll definitely get the official Brooks copper rivets.

Brooks Swift Repair

I put a little Sharpie on each rivet head (lasted 30 seconds of riding), and also on the ragged edge of the fabric I used as the backing reinforcement (lasted much longer).

Brooks Swift Repair

Brooks Swift Repair

So this makes two Brooks saddles I’ve rehabilitated with rivets and the Internet! After three rides, I can say that it’s a very comfortable saddle, maybe more so than my B17.