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Postings by Carapace Completed Umber
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by Sheldon "What, Me Worry?" Brown
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Although I am well known to have no sense of humor whatever, my alter ego, Carapace Completed Umber, is silly enough for both of us. This page collects some of his postings to various bicycle-related newsgroups.

Sheldon Brown

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Re: the after work ride and....Bike Snobs.... Rant!!! 1998/05/22

Mark Atanovich blurted out:

> I make it a point to wave to fellow cyclists.  If they don't wave back,
> I chaulk it up to A) they didn't see me, or B) they chose not to.  I
> have no problem with either reason.  

I never wave, because a prankster put superglue on the palms of my gloves. 
Now the gloves are stuck to my handlebars, and it's very dangerous for me to
try to get my hands out of them while I'm in motion.  

I do wink, but since I wear reflective sunglasses that make me look like a
bug, people can't even see me winking.

If the oncoming cyclist is riding the same kind of bike I am, I will raise my
left eyebrow 3/4 of a millimeter.

Carapace Completed Umber
Beverly Hills, California
|   Always be sincere, even when you don't mean it.   |
|                                     --Irene Peter   |
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Re: Virus Alert 'so what' 1998/04/23

nhluhr wrote:
> >It will make you
> >want to remove the forbedden tags from you mattresses and pillows,
> so what?  this isn't illegal!  the tags are clearly marked: "Not to be
> removed except by the consumer"  therefore, if you own them, you can take
> off the tag.  why does everybody think this is illegal?  It's just foolish
> stupidity.

No, actually it's very wise stupidity.  If you tear off the tag, you are
required by  law to eat the mattress, which is not likely to be very tasty.

Carapace Completed Umber
Madras, India
|    You can fool some of the people all of the time,    |      
|    and those are the ones we're after!  --Anon.        |      
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Re: Thin spacer on Shimano cassette? 1998/03/05

Tom Ruta wrote:

> You've obviously stumbled on a pre-production cog from
> Shimano's new 37 speed  cassette!  That's their new 6 tooth
> cog designed for the Micron-drive expected in 1999.

This is madness!  Nobody needs a 37-speed cassette, 36 is perfectly adequate,
and I can't imagine why anybody would need a sprocket smaller than 7 teeth.

These 37 speed cassettes will create too much dishing in the wheel, and
everybody's spokes will break.  Also, the 37-speed chain is too narrow, and
will surely break when used by a strong rider.  

I'm going to stick to the good old tried and proven 36 speed rig, because I
value reliability and simplicity over having the latest gimmick.  I'll be
looking forward to cheap prices on the "obsolete" 36-speed parts as the trendy
discard them in their mad rush to 37-speed.  

Carapace Completed Umber
Intercourse, Pennsylvania
|  I give myself sometimes admirable advice,  |
|  but I am incapable of taking it.           |
|               --Lady Mary Wortley Montagu   |
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Re: How to weigh a bicycle 1997/09/25

Richard Strayer wrote:
> >Can anyone tell me the proper and "industry statndard" for weighing a bicycle.
> >This will help settle a disscusion between my friends and I. If anyone can
> >help shed any light on the subject it would be apreciated!!!
> >
> >Regards
> >
> >Jim
> Glad to:
> 1)  Get a pre-production frame of the smallest size you plan to manufacture,
> preferably unpainted and without any handlebar tape, bar-end plugs or
> pedals.
> 2)  Mount 12-spoke wheels, a trick titanium-railed feather-light
> saddle and a full SRP ti bolt kit (you can change your mind and decide to
> actually sell the bike with more conventional componenets after you've
> weighed it.)
> 3)  Put it on your chief engineer's wife's bathroom scale (gauranteed to
> be calibrated on the "generous" side.)
> 4)  List this weight in your catalog for every bike in your product line.
> I have it on good authority that this is the way most bicycle manufacturers
> do it.

The problem is getting the bike to stand up on the scale; can't use a 
kickstand...too heavy, so the pros tie a bunch of helium balloons to the 
saddle and handlebars.

Carapace Completed Umber
Lakehurst, New Jersey
|   Always be sincere, even when you don't mean it.   |
|                                     --Irene Peter   |
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Re: Campy/Shimano Groupsets DATE

Ian Penner wrote:
>...think about how many people say "ATM machine" on a daily
> basis. Is redundancy more heinous in volume or by severity of each case?

Yeah, and to use the "ATM machine," they have to enter their "PIN 

I really hate, loathe, detest and despise un-neccessary redundancies 
that serve no useful purpose or function of any kind, whatsoever.

One of my favorites is "The bomb was still ticking, but it hadn't gone 
off yet." 

Carapace Completed Umber
Pago Pago 
|   ...there is humour in all things and the    |
|    truest philosophy is that which teaches    |
|    us to find it and make the most of it.     |
|                      --W.S.Gilbert            |
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Re: Radial Wheels? 1997/11/06

Mark Bulgier wrote:

> Mavic Helium front wheels have 26 spokes.  Which is why I would never
> consider buying that otherwise interesting product, and in fact I
> think
> less of Mavic for coming out with such an anti-consumer, dare I say
> Shimanoish "feature".

Mavic builds these wheels using a special, very complicated, lacing
algorithm.  To keep track of the correct sequence of operations, each
spoke is designated by a letter of the alphabet.  They use 26 spokes
because that's how many letters they are.

Also, users of these wheels are supposed to practice preventive
maintenance, by replacing one of the spokes every two weeks.  Thus, the
entire wheel gets rebuilt over the course of a year, and spokes don't
fail in large numbers at the same time, an important safety feature.

It is also well established that 13 spokes per side is a lucky number.

Carapace Completed Umber
Duotriskadekaphilia, Kazakhstan
|   Let us begin by committing ourselves to the truth -         |
|   to see it like it is, and tell it like it is -              |
|   to find the truth, to speak the truth, and live the truth.  |
|            --Richard M. Nixon, Accepting nomination in 1968   |
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> My bosom buddy, Sheldon Brown, wrote:

> >We've got tit in stock.  See:

Like many computer geeks, he types very fast, but his accuracy is a bit of a
bust.  It isn't that he's that much of a boob, but late at night he sometimes
there is sometimes a cleavage bewteen what he means to type and the letters that
actually get stacked up on the screen.

Carapace Completed Umber,
St. Tropez, France
|  Now, more than ever, America needs  |
|  the strong moral leadership of the  |
|  Nixon-Agnew team!           --CREP  |
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Re: Question about tab on rear derailleur boss 1998/04/06

Walter Knapp wrote:
> That's some trick adjusting a rear derailer while riding. I don't have
> that good a balance or long enough arms.

When I try to do it by hand it's difficult, because I like to be able to
operate the shifter while adjusting the derailer.  If I reach my right hand
down to the rear derailer, I have to operate the shifter with my left.  This
requires better than average balancing skills with down-tube levers, and, with
handlebar-mounted levers, requires moving my left hand to the right side of
the handlebar, which also presents balancing difficulties.

The trick is to use your feet.  This is one of the reasons I like my Shimano
SPD sandals so much, because they leave my toes free for making such adjustments.

Carapace Completed Umber
Palembang, Sumatra
|     Ah, but I was so much older then,     |    
|     I'm younger than that now.            |
|                            -Bob Dylan     |
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Re: Convert Threaded-threadless 1998/04/22

Steve Martin wrote:
> I would like to convert my '98 GT aggressor from a threaded to a threadless.
> Besides the fork and stem what else do I need to get. Can I use any of the
> parts I already have?

If your valve caps are in good shape, they can be reused, but everything else
has to go!

Carapace Completed Umber
Taipei, Taiwan
|  Well, the truth is usually just        |
|  an excuse for a lack of imagination... |
|                         --Garak, DS-9   |
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Re: FS: Collectibles and funky retro parts...GONE!

rec.bicycles.marketplace 1996/03/13
Re: FS: Collectibles and funky retro parts...GONE! Larry Gottlob wrote: > > Classic, funky, retro parts/bicycles for sale, from the Golden Age of > cycling. Relive those days of cutoffs and Converses, Detto Pietro shoes > and wool shorts! > > Classic 1971 Peugeot UO-8. This is the bike all of us lusted for in the > early days. Nervex-style lugs outlined in gold paint, neat retro Nervar > cottered cranks, dimpled Rigida steel 27 x 1 1/4 rims, smooth- as-silk > Simplex Delrin derailleurs, funky Mafac centerpulls. In great condition, > ready for cruising to the coffee shop for that morning latte! $1250 plus > shipping. Jeez, I'm really kicking myself...I really should watch this N.G. more closely, but I'm afraid I let this one slip through my fingers. I called larry, but a bit too late. He had two overseas collectors bidding for this bike, wound up getting $1850 for it, still a bargain. This beauty was one of the classics with the single braze-on for a shift lever only on the right, and the special clamp that allowed a left lever to be added. It even had the original Hutchinson tires, which had never been fully inflated to 75 psi, so they'd never blown off the rims. Younger readers may not realize the hallowed place in history occupied by the UO-8...this model probably did more than anything else to cause leather saddles to go out of style! Before the UO-8, all bicyles with any pretension to quality had leather saddles...and so did the UO-8, which came with a particularly low-quality "AGDA" leather saddle. The UO-8, however, had two special features in the saddle mounting area that revolutionized the industry:
The result was that people would find themselves just a bit uncomfortable, since they were actually riding on the seatpost, not the saddle. They'd curse the leather saddle, and go buy one of the newfangled padded plastic ones...which would get installed properly, and solve their problems. They'd then tell all their friends how much more comfortable the "modern" saddle was compared with the "old-fashioned" leather one it replaced. Anyway, I've gotta say Larry's a great guy. He felt bad that I missed out on the UO-8, so he gave me a special deal on a pair of AVA alloy handlebars, for only $85.00! These were the special model where there is a downward slope to the tops on each side of the stem, and the drops have a sort of reverse flare, so that the bottoms are narrower than the tops. I felt a bit guilty picking up these beauties so cheap, but business is business! Carapace Completed "36/14 Is The Only Gear You Need" Umber Buttock, Texas +----------------------------------------------------------+ | The longer I live the more I see that I am never | | wrong about anything, and that all the pains that | | I have so humbly taken to verify my notions have | | only wasted my time. | | -- George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) | +----------------------------------------------------------+
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Re: Velox Rim Tape (Fond de Jante)

rec.bicycles.misc 1998/01/30

[neither mailed nor posted]

> Gene Tolli wrote:
> > I'm at the end of overhauling my last bike for the season. Rear tire
> > is off the rim. I find myself staring at the rim tape, Velox, which
> > reads "FOND DE JEUNE" (or JUENE, can't remember). Oddly enough, it
> > occurs to me to wonder how this translates. I assume it means "tape
> > of rim" or something close.

The usually reliable Jobst Brandt theorized wildly:

> Jante is French for rim.  Fond is the base or "rim base tape" as
> in Fond du Lac WI, located at the base of the lake.

What a load of un-founded junk!  Where does he come up with such

First of all, Velox isn't French, it's Latin.

Vercingetorix Velox, the founder of the firm, had a secret crush on his
sister-in-law, Janet.  He couldn't bear to keep this forbidden love
hidden in his heart, so he declared it by having his rim tapes display
the fact that he was "Fond of Janet" first, he figured that keeping
the fateful phrase hidden inside of the tire where it was not readily
visible would keep his brother, Vladimir Velox, from wising up.

To further confuse his hapless brother, Vercingetorix deliberately
mis-spelled "Janet" as "Jante" and had the word "of" translated into
Spanish, the only European language that Vladimir didn't speak fluently.

Unfortunately for Vercingetorix, Vladimir was deslixic, and failed to
notice that "Janet" had had two letters transposed.  Even more
unfortunately, it turns out that "de" also means "of" in Italian, which
Vladimir was a whiz at.

Tragically, Vladimir, once he discovered the inscription, strangled both
Vercingetorix and Janet in a fit of jealous rage (using the 17 mm width
tape, sticky side out.)

Carapace Completed Umber
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin
(Note: "Fond du Lac" _is_ French, and means "Fountain of Milk", a.k.a.,
America's Dairyland.)
|   It is the province of knowledge to speak and    |
|   it is the priveledge of wisdom to listen.       |
|                    -- Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr.   |
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Re: What is equal with a 34t front gear to a 39t ft gear with a 28 rear cog? 1998/01/24

Someone named "Steve" asked:

>What is equal with a 34t front gear  to a 39t ft gear with a 28 rear cog?

You'd get the same gear with a 24.4 tooth sprocket.  

Unfortunately, there's a vicious conspiracy between the supposed "rivals" 
Shimano and Campagnolo, who've combined and used their corporate muscle
to prevent anybody from marketing sprockets with decimal tooth counts, 
so you'll have to make do with a 24 or 25.  I really think the government 
ought to look into this situation, it must be restraint of trade, or something...

Carapace Completed Umber
Howe's Bayou, Louisiana
|  Millions of people say I exaggerate.  |
|                       --Marty Gasman   |
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Re: Brooks saddles in England

rec.bicycles.misc 1997/08/01

Jennifer wrote:

> As it turns out I may be travelling to England for a week in August.
> Since I've been thinking about buying a Brooks saddle it occured to me
> that it might make sense to look around while I'm there.  Any
> suggestions
> on where to start other than the LBS?

It's OK for a woman to buy a saddle overseas, but men should be more
careful.  The Brooks saddles made for the domestic market are built for
men who "dress left."

Since most American men dress right, British-market saddles are
uncomfortable and dangerous.

Carapace Completed Umber
McMurdo Bay, Antarctica
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Re: indoor trainer

rec.bicycles.misc 1997/05/19

Oliver Bryk wrote:
> What are the main pros and cons? I don't want to spend a lot.


You stay dry, you are unlikely to crash.



Carapace Completed Umber
MIR, Low Earth Orbit
|  Nobody that has anything to do with bicycles  | 
|   has _all_ of their marbles, and some of us   |
|               are certifiable!                 |
|                           --Sheldon Brown      |
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Re: Opinions on road saddles 1996/05/07

"Me" wrote:

>I would appreciate opinions on comfortable road saddles (I'm 190 lbs).

My opinion is that they are a good idea!

Carapace Completed Umber
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Re: Seeking Book on Wheels/Wheelbuilding 1997/06/12

Jobst Brandt wrote:
> Paul S. Cutt writes:
> > I'm trying to get more info beyond Brandt's book.  If you have any
> > other references, please pass them on.
> What is it that you are pursuing?  I am always looking for subjects
> that need expansion in the book.

While the purely rational, material aspects of wheel building are,
indeed covered very thoroughtly in your book, it is a bit weak on the
emotional and spiritual side.  You should really include a chapter on
the appropriate incantations and blessings, stretching exercises,
prayers etc.

I find that the use of balsamic incense during wheel building produces
wheels with more harmonious te, better able to stand up to the rigors of
use in second-growth forest terrain.

Frankincense, however, is preferred for working on road wheels,
especially highly dished rears...

Carapace Completed Umber
Karakoram, Tibet
|   Whatever became of eternal truth?   |
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Re: Tyre sidewall repair 1997/06/02

Tom Gibb wrote:
> >I managed to get a radial cut in my tyre across the edge of the black
> >rubber.   It is large enough so that my tube blew out when I pumped
> >it up to 100psi and rode down the road.   Is it possible to effect a
> >satisfactory repair to this or is the tire history?
> >
> A simple dollar bill (or local equivelent) will hold for a long time.
> Patches are too flexible for large rips.
Jeez, Tom, this is rec.bicycle$.tech!  Anybody knows that if a dollar
bill will do the job, a double sawbuck will do it better, and prob'ly
make you faster too!  Don't be such a cheapskate!  

The pros use 200 franc notes, or sometimes 10,000 lire; much more

Carapace Completed Umber
St. Tropez
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Re: Chain Lubrication

rec.bicycles.misc, 1997/05/19

Ryan wrote:
> Sorry guys, but I've found the ultimate way of cleaning a chain...
> Simply remove ALL of the pins from the chain, then drop ALL of the parts
> into a bottle full of the solvent of your choice.  Shake vigorously.
> Remove, rinse, and dry... Lube everything with the lube of your
> choice...
> Occupy your next two days putting the chain back together!!!

If that's too much trouble, you can buy 58 Craig Super Links for $290,
and save the expense of a chain tool!

Carapace Completed Umber
Chicago, Illinois
|   A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;   |   
|   an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.   |   
|                               -- Sir Winston Churchill    |   
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Re: hello

rec.bicycles.misc 1997/02/27

Garry Lee wrote:
> Eleanor MacMaster wrote:
> >
> >A "wheel" welcome to you Mel.
> well spoke-n Eleanor. You are one of the people at the hub of this group,
> which is of a rather skewered distribution, and you never have any axle to
> grind...

Quick, release me from this thread; it is too much for bearing...
it has no cone-nection with the axleual purpose of this NG...
You guys have a lot of balls, or maybe you're just plain nuts, to
waste the precious bandwidth with this frivolity.

Carapace Completed Umber
Boston, The Hub Of The Universe, Massachusetts
|      If you want to succeed                 |
|      as a jester, you need                  |         
|      to consider each person's auricular;   |
|      What is all right for B                |
|      Might quite scandalize C,              |
|      Because C is so very particular!       |
|                    --W.S.Gilbert            |
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More Carapace Completed Umber Postings...

More Bicycle Humor

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Articles by Sheldon Brown and Others

Reports of the demise of this Web site are greatly exaggerated! We at thank Harris Cyclery for its support over the years. Harris Cyclery has closed, but we keep going. Keep visiting the site for new and updated articles, and news about possible new affilations.

Copyright © 1997, 2008 Sheldon Brown

Harris Cyclery Home Page

If you would like to make a link or bookmark to this page, the URL is:

Last Updated: by Harriet Fell