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The new website is up

Check it out here. It's the same as before, but transferred to a newer template which should solve a lot of the problems people were having with the old site. No more "magnifying glass" product viewing or color bubbles that don't correspond to the actual products color. The search has also been fine tuned to more likely bring up the item you're looking for, instead of articles from 2010.

We've archived the Blug and replaced it with a News section on the front page, which I'll keep updated. It'll likely be a summary of what we talk about here, but in a different format. I promise it'll be more frequently updated than the Blug.

I'm sure some pages will transfer over wonky and we'll figure out the bugs as we go. If you see something awry, feel free to email me and I'll get it fixed.

Also the new site should work better on mobile, which I admit to never thinking about until recently. I checked it out the other day and realized any slideshow homepage pic better have the subject in the middle, because otherwise it's just a cropped photo of trees or something.

The Rollei 35 - Riv related, in a roundabout way

Grant gave me my Rollei years ago now, and said something like "if you can learn this, then using any other camera is a cinch". It's not a camera for someone looking for automation or guaranteed well-exposed pictures. It's a fully manual camera in point-and-shoot sized body with the added twist of scale focusing, which means you set the focus distance (in feet or meters) without any aids from a rangefinder patch. Mine also has a broken meter, which means setting exposure based on past experience. I'm no expert at that, but if you use film with a lot of latitude, like HP5, it's easy to get well-exposed pictures. Err on the side of over-exposure and all will be well.
I used it for awhile and then moved on to other cameras with high tech features like the ability to actually focus through the lens, but recently I've picked it up again after a couple of years and I haven't gone anywhere without it since.
The reason I love using it, which wasn't apparent to me at first but is now, is because of the challenge of it. It's not daunting, but it's enough to make any well-exposed, halfway decently composed frame a gift. Actually even mundane photos (which are my favorite) are totally satisfying if I nail focus and get the exposure right at the same time.
This photo is nothing special, but it was shot wide open and I guessed Pierre's distance from the camera successfully enough that he's in focus. If I'd shot it on my tech-y Nikon F100 correct exposure and focus would be guaranteed and I wouldn't give the photo a second thought but because I used my little Rollei, seeing the that the picture came out well and I did something right made it such a treat!
That's minimum focus distance on the left, so the Rollei 35 isn't the best choice if you're into photographing stuff super close up.

There's a correlation between liking the challenge of using a camera that doesn't do anything for you, and riding a bike like the ones we make and I'm hoping writing this down fleshes it out for me. Our bikes aren't challenging to ride, they're easy to hop on and go, but too much of the bike industry is now focused on taking what little skill is required away from riders.

Friction shifting is easy but it's a skill that a lot of riders may not have had the pleasure of learning. And it is a pleasure to learn something! The consequences of messing up are so minimal too. So you miss a shift or mess up a frame... so what? It's not 8x10 slide film or anything, and the next time you'll nail it, because you'll remember what you did wrong.
"Stretching" your bike also, meaning, making it work for terrain beyond what it was specifically designed for, is also a useful skill to have and isn't encouraged too often in bike mags. Riders are encouraged rather to get a new bike, specific to that purpose, but descending a rocky trail safely and with skill on an Appaloosa is a great feeling and doing the same trail on a double-boinger can't be as satisfying. Having a specific bike for every type of terrain strips riders of the opportunity to see what they and their bikes are capable of
E-bikes becoming the default choice for all riders now is also a potential for growth lost, but I'll cap this little essay before I go too far off the rails.

Rollei 35s aren't made anymore, but you can find them here and on eBay still and I recommend trying one out if the act of taking pictures has lost it's mojo. It's my favorite camera for long walks and bike rides where you don't want to look like a Photographer with a capital P, which for me is often.

New pins

Grant had some pins made. It's the same equation as the stickers we've had before, but we let Olivier work his magic on it. Nothing beats the bike, that is for sure. If something appears to have beaten the bike, it just hasn't been looked at carefully enough yet.

Back in stock 2/12/21

pinetar soap
yokozuna brake pads

Have a good weekend,
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