Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday catch up...

So I've been a little lazy on posting. Been busy, but I've got a few minutes now to do a little catching up. What's been going on...well, let's see, I sent this Potts tandem frame/fork/stems off to D+D Cycles for a repaint a while back. The stoker stem also got replated. Turned out pretty darn nice. Grease guard bottom bracket, three (yes 3) roller-cams w/ braces, all the nice stuff.

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

From Potts

I kept hearing a frog croaking loudly in the vicinity of the front door. Every time I went to investigate, the croaking stopped. Finally found the frog - little one too with a big voice.
I finally was able to make it to the long-running Appetite Seminar, a traditional mountain bike ride on Thanksgiving morning designed to make room for a feast. The ride was the traditional Pine Mountain loop that I did on my old drop bar Ibis.
From Vintage Bikes

(What's playing: KWMR Think Local First West Marin and getting ready to head out for a quick Bolinas Ridge ride)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black Mountain Cycles bottles in the wild...

I thought I would use this to start a new series: Black Mountain Cycles bottles seen in the wild. This one comes from a rider in the South Bay taken of the memorial to the people on the Australian DC-6 Resolution flying from Sydney to San Francisco that crashed on Kings Mountain in 1953. To top it off, the photo also shows a super clean fillet-brazed Ritchey P-21 Team.

If you have a photo of a Black Mountain Cycles water bottle on your bike taken during a ride, send it over and I'll put it up. Let me know if you're okay with your first name being used or not, where the shot was taken, and if there's anything special about it.

(What's playing: KWMR Daybreak)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

That'll be twenty bucks...

I don't know what it is that makes people who are out on a ride think they can just stop into the shop ask me to fix something and then think they don't need to pay for services rendered. Recently a racer-type in full team kit came into the shop with her bike while her teammate waited outside. She said she was missing a spacer in her cassette. Actually, she wasn't missing a spacer, one of the 10s spacers was simply not in the right spot so there was a double-wide gap between two cogs and another two cogs are snuggled up against each other.

So, I get that all sorted out, wheel back in the frame, shift it through the gears to make sure everything works, squeeze the brake levers to check for proper brake adjustment (it's quite surprising how many roadie bikes have brake calipers that are not properly centered and her's wasn't either) and fix. Do a quick headset assessment (it's quite surprising how many roadie bikes have headsets that are just a touch loose) and adjust the headset.

This is where it gets interesting (to me). In the past I've had other riders come into the shop needing road-side repairs and sometimes I do them pro-bono and sometimes I charge. Depends on what's involved. It I have to put the bike in the stand, I'm going to charge. If I can fix it with a 3-way allen wrench in under a minute, I might not charge. Most of the time the rider says "How much do I owe you?" If I tell them no charge, they are very appreciative and say they'll spread the word about my shop.

Sometimes, however, after I've said all better, the rider simply heads out the door without offering to pay or me saying that'll be 10 bucks. So, I tell the racer that her bike is ready and that I solved the cassette spacer orientation issue, adjusted the brake, and adjusted the headset. She simply says thanks and heads out the door. I thought about saying "hey, you owe me $20," but was kind of flabbergasted that she didn't even think about asking how much. She did say thanks, but dang, I did an amount of work that warranted payment.

Lesson learned for me. Next time, I speak up and tell the person with the repaired bike twenty bucks. Even if she was on the road with no money and no credit-card, that's not a reason to not offer to pay. Earlier that day, I had another racer type who came in with a shredded tire and no money or card to pay for a new tire, tubes, CO2 I do what I've done on other occasions and tell them no problem, I'll fix your bike, get you back on the road and when you get home, just call me with your credit-card number or mail me a check. I've done this on several occasions and have never been burned. And I'll keep doing this. But next time I perform any work on a bike that warrants payment, I'm saying "that'll be twenty bucks" after the work is performed.

(What's playing: Minus 5 The Long Hall)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Social Media: Pros and Legal Cons...

This was forwarded to me. I won't be able to attend (I'll be riding), but there are probably more that a few who should attend. It seems like a good (smart) idea. Just because one can say/write anything on the interweb doesn't mean it's okay or proper or legal. The following is the text of an e-mail that was forwarded to me:

The global bicycle industry has proven it is on the cutting edge of harnessing the commercial power of social media to build brands and win customers. Lance Armstrong’s daily “tweets” during the 2009 Tour de France were followed by millions. During Interbike, industry leaders held “tweetups” and provided real-time discussion of new products, reports on seminars, cyclocross and crit race results and thousands of photographs. A critical mass of manufacturers, distributors, bike shops and advocacy organizations are all finding social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Flickr useful to spread the word about their products and causes. However, social media also poses legal risks. Defamatory statements, trademark infringement, passing off, profile hijacking, rogue employees and false advertising by violating the FTC’s new rules relating to truth in blogging are just some of the issues bicycle companies must now consider when jumping into the stream of social media.

In this one hour webinar discussion, learn the pros and pitfalls of the commercial aspects of social media.

Featured Speakers:

  • Chris Matthews, Global Marketing Integrations Manager, Specialized Bicycles;
  • Carlton Reid, Executive Editor,;
  • Thomas M. Williams, Esq., Partner, Howrey LLP; and
  • Eric T. Fingerhut, Esq., Partner, Howrey LLP/Founder, ICLA.

Instructions for signing up for the webinar appear below. For more information, please contact Eric Fingerhut,, 202-383-6804


Topic: ICLA - Social Media: Pros and Legal Cons
Date: Monday, November 16, 2009
Time: 12:00 pm, Eastern Standard Time (GMT -05:00, New York )
Meeting Number: 744 749 576
Meeting Password: (This meeting does not require a password.)

Please click the link below to see more information, or to join the meeting.

To join the online meeting
1. Go to
2. Enter your name and email address.
3. Enter the meeting password: (This meeting does not require a password.)
4. Click "Join".

To join the teleconference only
Conference toll-free phone number: 1-866-5028312
Conference toll/international phone number: 1-719-3875595
Attendee access code: 259422

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Burly Surly Cross Check...

What my idea of a Surly Cross Check should be. If FFF (Fatties Fit Fine), why not specify the fatter tires instead of the skinny-ish Ritcheys? Add a granny ring to get up some steeper hills (or use as a bailout when all day in the saddle results in fried legs). Some folks just want a bike like this to ride the dirt and not race. With the bigger tires, this Cross Check just looks tough.

The result is a Surly Cross Check, Black Mountain Cycles style. Standard price is $1050 for a complete, unmodified Cross Check. With the changes I made to this one, it can be yours for $1095. This one's a 54cm, but bigger or smaller sizes ain't a problem.

From Bikes for sale

From Bikes for sale

And the Tiagra "double" front derailleur works just fine with three rings and a bar-end shifter.
From Bikes for sale

From Bikes for sale

From Bikes for sale

From Bikes for sale

(What's playing: Neko Case Whip the Blankets)

Monday, November 9, 2009


Some great footage and a great soundtrack. Beloki's crash still makes me cringe. Dave Z's crash in the TTT was heartbreaking. It was hard to watch Michael Rasmussen go through such agony in the TT after working with him briefly during his mountain bike race career. Passing your two minute man is an incredible feat. Blowing past him is the stuff of legend.

It appears the youtube clip can't be embedded so click here to check it out. Thanks to my buddy Brian for posting it.

(What's playing: Patti Smith Gloria)

Bruce Gordon BLT...

To complement the new touring section, I've got the new Bruce Gordon BLT (Basic Loaded Touring) frameset in stock. It's a definite classic touring frame with its 1" threaded fork and quill stem. The bike I have here is what Bruce calls a 56cm (60cm to the top of the seat tube - add 4cm to Bruce's size to get the center to top seat tube length). It's plenty big to fit my 6'3" frame.

The bike is nicely appointed with a custom specified tubeset appropriate for long distance touring. It would also make a great city or commuting bike. Other nice touches are: threaded cable stops for derailleurs and rear brake, CNC dropouts that will eliminate eyelet fatigue, rack boss locations that match up to the BG racks.

The frameset includes frame, fork, stem, headset, front cable hanger and Made in Petaluma genuine Bruce Gordon racks. You can have them powder coated the standard black or the ultra-cool blue.

The frameset package with US made racks is $975. Check out the specs on Bruce's site for more information including geometry.

From Bikes for sale

From Bikes for sale

Not one to hide the fact that the frame is made in Taiwan, the down tube decal says "Basic Loaded Touring" in Chinese (Mandarin to be precise).
From Bikes for sale

The threaded cable adjuster is a nice touch for the rear brake.
From Bikes for sale

The classic Bruce Gordon rack in powder coat blue looks great on the gray frame and matches the blue in the decal nicely.
From Bikes for sale

That's a 37c Schwalbe Marathon tire there and it's got plenty of clearance for fenders.
From Bikes for sale

(What's playing: The Rolling Stones Rip This Joint)

Shop makeover...

With the help of friends Ken & Amanda, I got more slatwall up in the shop to convert a corner into touring central - racks, fenders, panniers... The touring section complements the touring bikes I have in the shop - Bruce Gordon BLT, Surly Long Haul Trucker, and Raleigh Sojourn. The touring bikes and cyclocross bikes I plan to focus on reflect my like for bikes with sensible, large volume tires and drop handlebars.

There's more merchandising to do to reorganize the clothes and other accessories in the shop. Big thanks to Amanda for helping with this project.

From Shop Photos

Sport being ever vigilant with the birds on the skylight.
From Shop Photos

From Shop Photos

Touring bikes from Bruce Gordon, Raleigh, and Surly.
From Shop Photos

Relocated the other couch to the work area. Might be too tempting for me to take breaks during the day now. Might have to do somthing about the chipped paint on the floor now.
From Shop Photos

(What's playing: Tom Waits Blind Love)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Another 2-tone Potts...

For those who may want to see more Potts 2-tone paint schemes. This is a friend's bike who bought it new back in the day.

(What's playing: Exene Cervenka Willow Tree)