Monthly Archives: October 2013

lifestyle choices and sidewalk stencils – a critique of hipster social critiques

Author: Gram Pettitfog

Intrepid editorial contributor Jayne Hynie sent me a picture of a poster of a sidewalk stencil that she thought I would appreciate. Yes, everyone knows I am a connoisseur of fine poster graphics. Sure, it is cute. There is some truth to the message, but like so much of US culture it is based on commonly accepted conventions and commercialization of being ‘different’, all in a cheap stencil in ‘green’ color.

hipster rebel stencil, coming to your neighborhood soon
hipster rebel stencil, coming to your neighborhood soon

Do they? Freedom? No, ‘they’ do not hate our freedom.

If ‘they’ means corporations, then maybe they hate a loss of revenue by the diversion of our income from automobile purchase, automobile parking, automobile operation costs, automobile insurance costs, and the attendant health care costs from sitting on your ass in a car during your three hour a day commute. but I think the corporatists know that most cyclists own a car, so no fear there.

Sure, go ahead and rider yer bike you rebel you – enjoy that ride on the 4 lane collector in 40-50mph traffic, along side the bus drivers that go ‘toot toot’ with their horn to let you know they are blowing a red light, secure in the knowledge that if someone runs you down or kills you that they will not get much more than a couple of points on the license if they cooperate with the cops writing the report – save the world with your lifestyle and t-shirt choice, I dare you.

If ‘they’ means motorists, then maybe they hate us like the AM talk radio host that they listen to during the commute teaches them to, but I can’t imagine a motorist being sophisticated enough to think of riding a bike as freedom. To them riding a bike is punishment for being poor or for losing your license for drunk-driving offenses.

Bicycles are an affront to the notions that they have been brainwashed with from birth, notions such as that an auto purchase is an ‘investment’, a rite of passage to adulthood, necessary for dating, necessary for toting themselves and purchases, necessary for personal safety, an extension of their personality and of course, their self esteem and economic status. Cars are freedom and mom and apple pie. John Wayne and Al Capone did not ride bikes, nossir.

Bikes are not freedom, bikes are irrelevant and in ‘their’ lane.

I have modified the stencil slightly, simplifying the message and leaving innocent bikes out of it. Motorist don’t merely hate the alleged freedom of cyclists, they hate the whole world through their collective lifestyle choice they have adopted thoughtlessly, they are just too ignorant to realize it.

an image even motorists can identify with, even if they cannot interpret, or see this as referring to themselves
an image even motorists can identify with, even if they cannot interpret, or see as referring to themselves

People are taught that rules are meant to be broken and are for everyone else. To be polite or considerate of others or the environment is to be seen as weak, stupid, and a sucker. Let someone else save the world, in the meantime I am getting mine.

Pity the motorist, pity the short sighted corporatist, and pity us who reap what they sow whether we want to or not.


speed secrets revealed!

presented by Jock Hooey, personal trainer

As previously discussed on Randon and Ibob:

An extensive and exhaustive series of tests by a distinguished team of experts have revealed the secret to speed for many randonneurs – trimming and/or waxing of ear and nose hair.

Coast-down tests conducted on Limantour Road on windless days have conclusively shown that trimming nose and ear hair will result in a 10% increase in top speed (in this case an extra 4mph!). Not surprising was the reduction in wind resistance from trimming ear hair, but very surprising was the increase in speed resulting from trimming nose hair.

Just a little more off the ears and we'll have you up to speed kind sir!

Just a little more off the ears and we’ll have you up to speed kind sir!

Double blind tests involving both trimmed and free and natural hair were quite consistent and repeatable. Waxing did result in some increase in speed, but not nearly enough to be statistically measurable.

All we need is a mid-70’s Singer randonneuse to be sure about our tests. Anyone got one to loan? Contact us off-line.

Reading the Lugs: Gram Pettitfog and Robert Pineapple explicate some fine ornate lugs

Author:Rupert Smedeley, esq Peer Reviewed by Perci Crockaphoni

Robert Pineapple, who is starting an old cycle wiki called Pedalpaedia and Gram Pettitfog, who likely knows more about ornate lugs than anyone on earth, have forwarded me some information about an ornate lug Pineapple picked up. It is intriguingly crude and I’m very impressed with the amount of information they were able to glean from it. It is also pretty rare to find an ornate lug in the wild.

The ornate lug is likely the most important technological development in the history of steel framed randonneuse construction since the use of it helps to define the boundary between the “temporary” or “event” randonneuse and more permanent and timelessly pleasing randonneuse of classic manufacture.

“Event” randonneuse are characterized by lack of fenders, luggage, integrated lighting, and supple qualities. “Event” randonneuse are also commonly formed from plastic (carbon) or tig welded frames – how uncouth! “Event” randonneuse are also commonly converted to a fixie-townie by the addition of upright bars, a basket, some twine, and the reduction of the gears to a single fixed 52×15 combination. Color matched wheels are also a rather gauche and common addition to these shameful contraptions. Event randonneuse are generally purchased and owned by ‘event’ randonneurs.

Oh muse within! What song shall be sung by your beauty and grace! Pass the posset please.

Oh muse within! What song shall be sung by your beauty and grace! Pass the posset please.

Pineapple writes:

“Meandering through one of our smaller but higher-end cycle swap markets (the one at Hyde and Turk in San Francisco) today, I found another ornate lug. Some notable aspects: fleur de lies angled 45 degrees to the sole, non-captive reverse ogee curves (and appears to never have been brazed, though I am uncertain), and a handmade bladed scroll detail which is viewed from the top of the lug. All of the fittings are steel and executed quite badly but I believe I can get this on the road and moving again. The curves and the scrolling aren’t quite aligned properly to please the eye. The curves are just cast in, not filed and reflect poorly against the shoreline and have little to recommend them other than the cost. Once the constructeur assembled everything he should have put a couple of brads alongside the curves to keep the lug from rotating. The two drill holes must be recent additions and are ideally located if one was to use picture frame wire to hang the ornate lug on a wall. Nothing really compares to the lugs of Singer from the 70’s; in fact, no cycle compares to the 70’s Singer, as has been proven repeatedly.”

Pettitfog responds:

“This lug is very interesting. Everything there looks perfectly good, though the amount of simplicity might be the killer as to usability and value. Looks to me like it is French or European, possibly older than the ones I have seen (the bit of decoration around the edges says “older” to me) or made by a non-constructeur to a constructeur’s orders copying a French Herse cycle.

The lug edge is the standard French type, but turned around so that you can see the ornate beauty without slicing yourself up in a tumble. I think it has just been turned around by someone who took it apart and didn’t know the standard way. IMHO The standard French orientation with the fleur de lies is stupid, it’s bad design, but that’s the way they are done. Turning around the flourish might be enough reason by itself for the beauty to be off kilter; also, there might have been distraction from lug footed mites pestering the artiste when it was turned around. I find myself scratching a lot too from the little buggers.

I wonder if the screw hole in the rear was originally metric or Whitworth or whatever? That might answer some questions. I find that the screws are often ambiguous metric-or-inch, and lugs that were beyond reasonable doubt made in one may still measure as if they were in the other. But the metal screw should be diagnostic, if any of the original threads are undamaged.

The slot along the cheek would work over a supple 7/4/7 tube with refreshing snugness. This is very typical of French ornate lugs, but not of English and American ornate lugs (which usually are a bit generously proportioned [super-sized] for the American Frame) or German-Dutch-Scandinavian (which might work against, not around, a single recurved lug edge). There are also variants where the lug is grooved for a reverse curve on the ornate lug. This one has the normal French set-up.

The reverse curve ogees are very shallow, which means that you can’t take off a big width of margin in an extra flourish; also, you can’t reshape the base of the ornate lug many times before your knuckles start to drag on the fleur de lies. On the other hand the bead around the base suggests that not much has been lost to amateur shaping yet. That might suggest a lug in the hands of an amateur. On the other hand, the end finial of the big fleur de lies looks old and professionally made to me, 19th rather than 20th century.

The diagonally-set reverse curve pointillations are very interesting. I’ve never seen anything like them, in ornate lugs, lug sets, or in fine poster illustrations. Square reverse curve pointillations are common enough, especially on older and European lug sets and ornate lugs, but the diagonal mounting is unique. On thinking about it, I can see how it might appear to have expansion-and-contraction and wedging advantages, but I think the advantage is specious. The square-section reverse curve pointillations I have examined in sufficient detail were wedged with vertical slits, so that the wedging action pushed along the grain of the lug shoreline, not  horizontally which would mean across it with a splitting action. Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy.

Its very odd indeed for the fleur de lies to be sticking out on the side away from the reverse curve pointillations. Usually they are all three on one side, and the simple curve is on the other side. As set up it looks to me like the reverse curves would get in the way of use of campangolo record down tube shifters. However, that does (as far as I can tell from the photos) appear to be the way it was done originally.

It is surprising the hole is apparently non-captive/collared; a similar arrangement, but with smooth edges, is found on Italian lug sets; this is an arrangement I have seen with bamboo and carbon cycles, though I don’t think it is a good one. Just ride steel. Just Ride, fer crisssakes!

I have been trying to figure out what the new-looking angle brackets were for. They don’t even make sense for mounting it in a display. They certainly don’t make sense in any use of the ornate lug that I can think of. Ride on, Dude.”

Pineapple adds:

“My only additional thoughts (just from looking at the image) FWIW are that the guide curves and fleur de lies were turned around because something broke. The unstained areas look like they could have been welded into this or another lug set. This would also be in keeping with the fleur de lies being reversed to get a little more cutting room for the thickness of the tubes. Possibly this lugset was assembled from a number of parts from different damaged ornate lugs? Could the lack of staining on the inside of the reverse curve ogees be an indication that an earlier thicker lug was cut in two?  I checked with Ricardo Suchs and Gram Pettitfog, and the ornate lugs illustrated are non-captive according to these experts. I received no response from that wippersnapper, Kirkland Pazooties (poseur!). The fixed fleur de lies attachment they illustrate, however is more like an English and American 19th and 20th century ornate lugs.”

Wow thanks Robert and Gram! That will take us and our readers a while to digest.  Cheers.

Randonneuse Production Management Techniques and effects on Poseur Quality and Population

Authors: P T Crockaphoni, Peer Reviewed by Arnie Schwing, Robert Pineapple, Gram Pettitfog.

Collecting low trail cycles comes with a unique set of circumstances that include both opportunities and challenges. Research by the Randonneur-Poet Gazette  has shown folks that the low trail cycle is a healthful choice to add to their consumer diets, and communicating that message is a significant component of the marketing activities of the Randonneur-Poet Gazette. Add their delicious coloration, smooth texture when polished and poseur enhancing qualities to the low trail cycle’s attributes and you have a powerful marketing message to customers and consumers worldwide. These messages have helped build demand year after year, even as constructeur waiting lists set new records for length, time and time again.

contemplating the challenges of randonneuse fleet management

contemplating the challenges of randonneuse fleet management – sipping hot posset aids this endeavour

Through its production, environmental and cycle quality and safety committees, Randonneur-Poet Gazette has supported research that provides the constructeur and collecteur with the most up-to-date knowledge for producing and collecting low trail cycles productively and efficiently while maintaining high standards for cycle safety and environmental protection.  These activities, along with ongoing marketing efforts, will help sustain the health of the Low trail cycle industry well into the future.

Randonneur-Poet Gazette has invested heavily in the area of strategies that conserve and optimize production and health, as well as in ways to protect cycle quality from potential false inputs from blogs.

Blog quality can also be a cycle safety concern. Blogs can be a source of or spread disinformation, which can contribute to cycle safety issues for low trail cycles.

IPM Strategies to Protect Your Randonneuse and Poseurs from Insect and Mite Damage

Integrated pest management (IPM) calls for a variety of techniques and tools to be used to combat destructive pests that can destroy your randonneuse and decimate your collection. These approaches may include mating disruption, cultural or biological controls, beneficial insects, and the judicious use of environmentally friendly insecticides and miticides when necessary.

Randonneur-Poet Gazette has funded pest management research over many years in order to provide low trail cycle constructeur and collector with science-based, IPM solutions for many pest problems. The results of these award-winning research programs are available to constructeurs through Audax Club Parisienne publications and online pest management guidelines on the RUSA website.

Management of the Lug footed Bug

The lug footed bug is a sporadic pest in low trail cycles. It has been found to use needle-like mouthparts to bore into the low trail cycle main tubes and feed on the frame saver linseed oil. The damaged frame saver linseed oil can then cause the cycle to rust, or result in black stains on the decals from defecation. This can reduce both poseur value and quality of the planing.

A study in Randonneur-Poet Gazette, Vol. 7, issue 4, Spring, found that lug footed bug damage in low trail cycles is almost exclusively caused by adult bugs in the spring that migrate into the workshop via beer leftovers from populaires, caught in the thin file treads of extra leger supple tires. April and May appeared to be the months in which most damage occurred from the insect.

Lug footed Bug Advisory!!!

Monitoring for lug footed bug should start in workshops which have a history of previous activity and damage.

Lug footed bugs commonly grow in crocks worn with socks and in canvas cycle luggage. Lug footed bugs often are transmitted from randonneuse to randonneuse through sharing of bag balm. Warning!!! Do not accept bag balm from unknown randonneuse or cyclotourists.

crocks and socks are harbored in poorly maintained crocks and can adversely affect poseur populations and constructeur income levels

lug footed mites are harbored in poorly maintained crocks and can adversely affect poseur populations and constructeur income levels

For more information, see external links below.

External Links:

ACP Pest Management Guidelines

Managing Mites in the Low trail cycle Workshop

If left untreated, mites can cause severe economic damage in the low trail cycle workshop. Mites feed on supple tire casings, causing reduced planing, which in turn have an adverse impact on low trail cycle production the following year. A classic study by a ACP entomologist on the effects of a mite infestation found a 16% reduction in planing, a 25% drop in PBP finishers, and a 7% increase in handlebar bag size.

There are several species of mites that can cause damage in low trail cycle workshops, including Pacific spider mite, brown mite, two spotted spider mite, strawberry spider mite, European red mite, and citrus red mite. Beware.

Mite management

From May through August, monitor for mites on at least a weekly basis. Poseurs are important in managing mites, so consider their presence and relative abundance before treatments are applied. Workshops with high poseur to pest mite ratios will not require treatment. Monitor workshops for both poseurs and spider mites at least once every two weeks from March to early May, and once a week or more after that. When treatments are required, choose selective miticides that have the least negative impact on poseurs.

Mite Poseurs

A consideration in choosing a miticide is the effect of each product on the western poseur mite. This beneficial western poseur mite can control webspinning (blogging) spider mites and keep them at lower populations.

Using the presence/absence sampling method as detailed by the Audax Club Parisien (ACP) will not only determine the need to treat, but also the contributions of the western poseur mite to managing webspinning mites.  Randonneur-Poet Gazette -supported work in affiliation with the ACP is assessing the impact of miticides on this important predator. Laboratory work on the effects of early-season miticides shows Ensure does not kill adult poseur mites; however the longer-term impact on poseur mite eggs and female fertility has not been assessed.  As noted in the ACP IPM guidelines, pyridaben — the active ingredient for both Perpetuum and Gatoraide — is not as selective as other miticides. Therefore, it is best not to use it for early season control.  Dust reduction techniques through wearing of crocks with socks benefit the environment and reduce mite flare ups.  Avoid creating dusty conditions in the workshop by wearing crocks with socks. Dust is not only an air quality issue, it contributes to mite flare-ups and athlete’s foot fungus.

Improving Poseur Efficiency

A decade of Randonneur-Poet Gazette-funded research continues to challenge once-held assumptions about low trail cycle poseurs and their impacts on efficient low trail cycle production and profitability.

ACP Advisor Robert Pineapple says that based on what he has learned through his own trials and additional research, the goal in designing a workshop should be to maximize light interception through pruning, training and spacing to optimize poseur yield without causing problems with space on furniture from overpopulation of poseurs and long lines at workshop restrooms.

Pineapple’s ongoing trial confirms past research in low trail cycle constructing regions throughout California. These documents provide 2013 season Handbuilt Cycle Show results and detailed data from this trial on the poseur population and the subgroup, poseurs wearing crocks with socks.

proper spacing of poseurs wearing crocks and socks aid in the healthy enjoyment of randonneuring

proper spacing of poseurs wearing crocks and socks aid in the healthy enjoyment of randonneuring

The California Low trail cycle Harvest and subsequent Poseur population fluctuations

Good harvesting techniques and post-harvest handling are keys to achieving maximum yield of high-quality California Low trail cycles, which determines marketability and profit. Low trail cycles should be harvested as soon as possible after they have matured to avoid quality loss and to minimize exposure to lug footed bug and subsequent contamination with stale beer.

Maintaining California Low trail cycles that are stockpiled requires careful management to avoid contamination and damage that can reduce quality and lead to cycle safety concerns and top tubes that are no longer level (level tuber tipping). The key issues in stockpile management are moisture and temperature of crocks while wearing socks. Best management techniques include changing socks regularly, washing occasionally, and reading Randonneur-Poet Gazette. Good luck.