Final cut finished!

Final cut link is here.

Thanks to all the people involved! Rivendell Bicycle Works, the instructors for LMW2a 1311, and everyone else that contributed to the project. It’s been a long hard road that I had to sometimes go alone on. I hope it lives up to expectations.

Finishing up odds and ends before this site is archived and I can no longer edit it…

Thanks everyone!

Michael Tam

 

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Grant Petersen on lightweight bikes.

Quoted in full, since all of it is important.

“WHY LIGHT ISN’T ALWAYS RIGHT

In a cycling scene awash in equipment hype and fads, Grant Petersen champions quiet qualities like reliability and simplicity. He’s gained a small but fiercely loyal following of riders, first as product manager for industry maverick Bridgestone USA and now as owner of Rivendell Bicycle Works (a mail-order company for classical bikes and accessories, 510/933-7304; CA).

Bicycling once dubbed Petersen a “retro-grouch,” a name he adopted with pride. He even ordered T-shirts emblazoned with R.O.N.A. (Retro-grouches Of North America). ButPetersen, 43, is no cultist crank railing against any bike that doesn’t come with friction shift levers or toeclips and straps. Thoughtful, soft-spoken and articulate, he’s a principled guy who loves bikes and hates to think they’re being turned into disposable, trendy toys. As a counterpoint to last month’s special section on lightweight bikes and equipment, here are his thoughts on the current lightweight craze.

Being asked to write a brief contrary piece to an issue that more or less encourages you to ride lighter bikes is almost a setup. I have enough words to get me into trouble but not out of it, and there’s the danger I’ll be branded as one who actually likes heavy bikes. So, for the record: I like light bikes, but I like them to be robust, too. Below a certain point, they can’t be both.

For instance, if you take a 38-pound bicycle deep into the heart of the Belgian Congo and let locals ride it, as I am fond of doing once a fortnight, you’ll see them having a great time on a 38-pound bike. It was the same for all of us on our first ride on a 38-pounder. We learn to dislike it later, after we know more.

Like the first time we ride a 23-pounder. Then we shun the 38-pounder or relegate it to beater-bike status because we have a new standard. Ironically, we shortly get used to the 23-pounder, and it becomes no more fun to pedal than the 38-pounder was after we’d gotten used to it.

So we go looking for the same revelation we experienced going from 38 to 23 pounds. But it was easy to strip 15 pounds off the 38-pounder and still end up with a bike that’s plenty strong and a lot more zippy. Taking 3 more pounds off a 23-pounder isn’t so easy. You’ve already gotten rid of the cheap, heavy, bad stuff. You’ll need to take off some of the good stuff, making a healthy, no-worries bike into something less. That’s a 13% weight loss. Could you lose 13% of your weight without risking your health? If the answer’s “yes,” a 23-pound bike isn’t the anchor dragging you down.

Before you start chipping away at your bike and bank account, ask yourself why you’re doing it in the first place. If you race and want every actual and psychological advantage you can get, OK. Just keep in mind, though, that the best racers in the world regularly ride bikes in the 21- to 21.5-pound range. Sure, they ride them hard – but they get them free, they aren’t expected to last for years and someone else maintains them.

Suppose you just ride hard for fitness and you like to keep track of your PRs. If you do your local lake loop in 1:00:49 on your 23-pounder, and honestly want to monitor your fitness, it makes sense to keep using the same bike. If you get a 20-pounder and break an hour – even if just barely – the hour barrier would have been bought. If you ride in groups, a few pounds less will never make a speed difference. It’s like riding with a wind fairing in a pack. Why? You ride the group’s pace, not the fastest you can extract from your body and bike.

I’m not questioning that light bikes are fun to ride, nor anyone’s motives for buying and riding the lightest bike they possibly can. I’m just suggesting that an obsession with light weight is expensive at best, dangerous at worst and can’t by itself sustain a long-term interest in bicycles.

A good bike weighs what it ought to weigh. Get a bike that feels good, get set up on it properly, and make sure you aren’t lugging around any cheap heavy parts. And if you want to cut the weight, do it in the places where, if the parts do fail, you’ll still be able to finish the ride.

And never forget the joy of the 38-pounder.”

Works Cited

Martin, Scott. “Grant Petersen: why light isn’t always right.” Bicycling Nov.-Dec. 1997: 112. General OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.

Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA20803519&v=2.1&u=lirn15155&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=4fbb177067c495167a0435b2c9595e51

Bike frame sizing. You’re probably riding something too small.

Grant explains some bits to sports writer about bicycles, fit, and racing’s questionable influences on the perceived norms of bicycles.

“Grant Petersen is on the phone, and he insists that he really, really does need to know the distance from the floor to the mid-point of my pubic bone.

“You’re in bare feet, right?” he asks.

I assure him that I am and wonder what he’s going on about. * Petersen is the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works (800/345-3918; rivbike.com), a small company dedicated to the proposition that 98 percent of us ride bikes that are too small. And wear the wrong kind of cycling clothing. And sit on the wrong kind of saddles. Grant’s thinking is so old school that you halfway expect him to tell you to get rid of your clipless pedals. *

“You should get rid of your clipless pedals,” he tells me, referencing page 68 of his company’s summer/fall ’03 catalogue, on which it says that having your foot attached to the pedal may be more efficient, but so what?

And those small bikes we’re all riding, well, that’s just because we’re letting racers tell us what kind of bikes we should ride. Most of us don’t race, so why use racing geometry, Petersen asks. * I’ve reported on and written about a lot of sports, from minor league hockey to baseball to NASCAR to mountain climbing. And I’m here to tell you that no sport attracts more freethinkers than cycling. True, there is an orthodoxy about bike materials and training methods and gear and fit, but for some reason, our sport draws an unusual number of Grant Petersens, who are convinced they can do things better than the rest of the pack. Tilting at windmills? Maybe. But we need guys like Petersen.”

Works Cited

“Not framed in.” Bicycling Apr. 2004: 20. General OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.

Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA117860368&v=2.1&u=lirn15155&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=473bf948d458ecafe4a2724efefb7788

A blurb on practical cycling from a little whiles back.

Grant Petersen hasn’t only been talking about making more moderate bikes for normal people in the short term, but has had that vision for quite some time.

“Racing has influenced general road bike design and spec to the point where it’s hard to find a high-end bike that makes sense for people who don’t race.

The high-end road frame has gone beyond “racy” to borderline dysfunctional. If you break a spoke on a typical high-end road bike, the wheel jams against the frame or fork. If you want to mount a larger tire, you max out at 700×25 for half of them, and 700×28 for the rest. They’re unsuitable for riding in the rain because you can’t fit fenders. The handlebars are too low, and the 52×12 and 53×11 gears are too high.

Customers buy them not because they want such an extreme bike, but because they don’t know what to look for and put too much faith in others to look out for their needs.

We need road bikes for real, normal people.”

 

Works Cited

Petersen, Grant. “We need road bikes that make sense for the rest of us.” Bicycle Retailer and Industry News 15 Apr. 2005: 38. General OneFile. Web. 7 Oct. 2013.

Document URL http://go.galegroup.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA131937893&v=2.1&u=lirn15155&it=r&p=GPS&sw=w&asid=22d4443a7c9264751645ce9c9ad12a3c

Over thinking the practical bicycle and the dangers of marketing (yes, I’m looking at you, hipsters).

Never quite content with whats par for the course, I had to get something made by Nitto.

Never quite content with whats par for the course, I had to get something made by Nitto.

Just posted an opinion piece by me, garnered from years of first hand experience, as well as some other sources.

Over thinking the practical bicycle and the dangers of marketing (yes, I’m looking at you, hipsters).

 

Interview with Rivendell Bicycle Works’ founder.

The Rivendell Bicycle Works logo.

The Rivendell Bicycle Works logo.

Just posted a page of a short interview I conducted today with Grant Petersen, the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works. I asked him about the origins of RBW, challenges they face, and some pretty unique and esoteric items they carry (for a bike shop).

It’s a little long, since we went over the 10 minute mark by double, but the questions were pretty open and hard to answer in a short time. I’ll try to transcribe it when I have some more free time, but unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow, and need to get prepared for that.

Link to page of interview with RBW’s founder.

Big thanks to Grant for letting me use his time.

Rivendell Bicycle Works, bike assembly area.

Like most work areas, it’s creating order out of disorder.

 

Rivendell Bicycle Works quick showroom tour.

This little sculpture is about the only sign you notice a bike shop is in the area when arriving at RBW HQ.

This little sculpture is about the only sign you notice a bike shop is in the area when arriving at RBW HQ. Yes, it’s a penny-farthing.

The front door.

The front door.

Test ride bikes just hanging around, waiting to be ridden.

Test ride bikes just hanging around, waiting to be ridden.

Some step-through frame "Betty Foy" bicycles on the side.

Some step-through frame “Betty Foy” bicycles on the side.

A picture of the side wall.

A picture of the side wall.

An small, eclectic assortment of books for sale.

An small, eclectic assortment of books for sale.

General bike sales practices around these parts.

General bike sales practices around these parts.