About the project.

IntroThoughts on Rivendell Bicycle Works.

This project aims to explore the working concept and philosophy of Rivendell Bicycle Works; purveyors and espousers of the practical, all-around bicycle.

I am looking at the non-sensical approach to the development of modern bicycles and how artificial marketing trends have turned the bicycle world in the USA into a fragmented mess of strange and highly specialized machines. Then at the niche counter-culture at Rivendell Bicycle Works, with how their philosophy and development of well-rounded bicycles and accessories has started a small trend that refuses to follow.

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Bags always add more utility to a bike. You always carry stuff without question in a car, but for some reason, it's not a common thing on a bike in the USA.

Bags always add more utility to a bike. You always carry stuff without question in a car, but for some reason, it’s not a common thing on a bike in the USA.

About Rivendell Bicycle Works.

Grant Petersen and his small company in Walnut Creek, CA, continue to push for more pragmatism, as well as the odd handcrafted accessory in the biking and non-biking world, in both serious and humorous fashion. Business has been tough, but they hang on, trying to make their own way in the world with their own sensibilities, flying in the face of fashion, harsh criticism, high prices, and other complications.

Anyone who wonders why race bikes, mountain bikes, and fashion (read—hipster) bikes have become so pronounced in the USA, will want a glimpse at the way things have evolved over time; from how bicycles used to be everyday practical transportation (where they still are in other places in the world), to the unusually serious and niche construction they now employ as a marketing exercise gone too far. Where have all the simple, practical and classically beautiful bicycles gone?

A fairly self explanatory poster, describing RBW's commitment to high quality, lugged steel bikes.

A fairly self explanatory poster, describing RBW’s commitment to high quality, lugged steel bikes.

How this project will be created.

I have access to procure and create various media (video, stills, audio) from Grant and the employees of his company. There are two locations in Walnut Creek, CA where information and media can be obtained. One is at the main warehouse and showroom of Rivendell Bicycle Works. The other is the retail arm, called Rivendell Bike, Book, and Hatchet.

Both are within minutes of each other by car, and about 10 minutes by bike.

Everyone so far has been very supportive of me coming by to bug them for pictures and info, so I expect there will be no problems creating a short documentary on RBW.

More details about how the documentary will be created is available here, or at the menus above.

My stake.

I have had an interest in the way Rivendell Bicycle Works goes about, as I own one of their bikes myself, and I feel glad for doing so, since I could not find anything else I was happy with from all the larger manufacturers.

How that came to be was quite a long story in and of itself.

– Michael

My bike from RBW, an A. Homer Hilsen.

My bike from RBW, an A. Homer Hilsen.

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