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April 21, 2005

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All my respect to Bruce Gordon, he builds beautiful bikes, but frankly, if you have such disdain for the bicycle industry, and if you hate so much that you make so little money building bikes then quit.

I'm sure you could put your degree to good use AND make more than $6.00/hr snapping photos of kids and families in the portrait department at K-Mart.

Todd Guess

He is by all accounts a major misanthrope/crumudgeon and that becomes abundantly clear here. Did he really not understand the simple questions he asnwered with ???

I do love this:

21. What do you find most funny or peculiar (in a kind way-not brutal) about the cycle-buying public... what don't they get or aren't they seeing?

The Rivendell Cult

I've only sipped the Kool-Aid but some folks have consumed gallons of the stuff, so, yeah...

I tend to agree with BG and fixedgear regarding the Riv cult. While it is evident to anyone who reads my site that I admire the Riv approach and bikes, I find that I can't relate to many of the folks I meet on the Riv email list (where I intersect with Riv owners most frequently). I think many of them are fine people, and some are impressive bicyclists, but most of them, it seems, are far more concerned with owning certain products or setting things up in a certain way than they are about just having fun riding. While bike detailing is a fine hobby - I won't deny anybody that pleasure - it seems that there is no end to it, and if you aren't going to ride it, what's the point? This was elucidated for me on about the first day I signed up to receive the Riv-list emails. Somebody posed a question regarding whether Atlantis, Rambouillet, QB owners could legitimately claim to be "Rivendell owners". The responses were varied, but I got the impression that the owners of the full custom bikes considered themselves to be in the upper eschelons of the club, and didn't want to be seen as equals to those of us on lesser Atlantises and Rams, etc.

Another side of it, and where I think BG's bitterness is rooted, is that Grant Peterson knows how to operate a 21st century business (though he may not carry the most contemporary merchandise). He is selling far more than bicycles and accessories. He is selling identity and an experience in the same way that Home Depot is not just a hardware store but is also selling the "you can do it, we can help" experience. BG and many others just sell bicycles, and as nice as they are, they don't come with the sense of community that has been built around Riv ownership. In other words, BG has spent a lifetime of hard work producing extremely fine bicycles, and has seen it be diminished to an extent by a 10 year old upstart (Riv) who understands that the customers are, by and large, looking for more than the bike.

The Cult of Riv - pretty small cult all things considered. You nailed it IMO Jim, it's all about selling a lifestyle. And yet it is rooted in practicality and simplicity. For me I'm only as far in the cult as it intersects with those and other principles that I share. I like that Riv has a philosophy and that it is a harmless or even positive philosophy. To contrast consider say, the Surly philosophy. They are selling a rebel attitude, and I find rebellion through consumerism to require a little too much cognitive dissonance for me. You could look at Riv as promoting a responsible consumerism, I mean most of us will need to consume to some degree and I think that Riv tries to get you to buy stuff that has a proven track record, will last and works. If it is simple enough that you can work on it yourself all the better. Where I separate from the Cult members is when you see those guys (and it's always guys) who have like 6 Rivendells. Too be honest I can't really see owning more then 2 or at most 3 bicycles.

But if you really want to see a genuine cult check out any fixed gear message board. Jesus.

Ya gotta give it up for Bruce on one thing though... he NEVER leaves anyone sitting on a (err-strike that), on *any* fence in how they feel about him.

He's an original...

-Me (Large Fella)

Man, can I relate to this guy.

One of the joys of aging and life experience is that you can get away with being a major curmudgeon. It's fun,and you get to say *exactly* what you mean.

He obviously gets some joy out of what he does, or he'd be doing something else.

"He obviously gets some joy out of what he does, or he'd be doing something else."

Yet I know plenty of people who hate what they do, and don't do something else. But I have a feeling BG isn't as miserable as he lets on.

Me, I love Bruce I find his curmudgeon-ness, amusing and cuts through a lot of BS. That being said I'm not really a fan of his bicycles - can't get those handlebars high enough for me. But I'll buy a titanium shot glass off him if he seriously makes those.


Don't believe that $6.00/hr smoke screen.

BG is Big Buisness.

Look at the web site: http://www.bgcycles.com/

"Don't believe that $6.00/hr smoke screen.

BG is Big Buisness.

Look at the web site: http://www.bgcycles.com/"

Posted by: Miles |

This post in particular caught my eye - Do you know something I don't know????, are you and my accountant hiding something from me???? You are certain that BG is "Big Business"?? I don't know how much smaller BG Cycles can get - I am the only full time employee besides the Shop Cat Linus, and the welder who works one day every week or two.
Regards,
Bruce Gordon

Miles is just sucked in by a well designed web interface.

"Miles is just sucked in by a well-designed web interface."

That snappy Tom Waits tune sucked me in. I saw Waits live roundabout '76 and "Big in Japan" sounds a whole lot different than his "Closing Time" stuff. I'm tempted to buy "Mule Variations." Sold!, Bruce!

>>>The Rivendell Cult

HeHe. Good one. Curmudgeons rule! I'm happy that we have Grant/Riv, though. Would the Albatross be around without them?

I had a bike that was damaged by UPS on the down tube. Bruce was nice enough to take a look at it and advise me that it was very safe to ride. The bike (Bridgestone MB1) has been riding for twelve more years without a problem. Actually, it has one problem. I gave it to my brother, who knows nothing about maintainence.

Bruce has been kind enough to offer additional advice over the years.

Cheers,

Kane

Three cheers for Bruce for keepin' it real.

Three '???' for the rote, boring questionare and the cult of the framebuilder.

:)

keepin "what" real?!

time for some decaf, warwick!

Whoa. If those answers by BG make him a curmudgeon, then the curmudgeon label is far easier to come by than it once was!
Seemed like pretty straight-forward stuff to me. If honest answers make one a curmudgeon, well... sign me up.

Keep on truckin' Bruce. We need more folks like you.

Due to health problems, I have to sell my lightly used Bruce Gordon Rock and Road. Can anyone refer me to a forum for selling bikes? Thanks. wfr2@earthlink.net

if that was really bruce gordon who responded then that is hilarious.

Logan-

I assure you, that was Bruce Gordon.

-Me

I met Bruce at Interbike. I was taking macro pictures of his bikes there. I told him what a truely brilliant artist, adn craftsman he is and that I wish I had the $ to buy one of his bikes. I could tell that he appreciated the praise. The next year he wasn't so nice. I was taking pix again when he said something like, "If you like it so much why don't you buy one." I gotta hand it to him...I feel the same way when looky lou's come through my shop asking questions, wasting my time. I'm a one man band too. I have two kids in college, two more to go who are in high school now. I worked at Boeing for 18 years building wings and the pay was "Good" but I got no respect, or appreciation for doing a good job no matter how much craftsmanship I put into it. I actually make about as much take home pay now running my shop but that's not taking into account the loss of benifits. And there's a lot more stress now that I'm the one responsible for paying myself. I have anxiety attacks from time to time. I'm my own manager, secretary, assembler, salesman, buyer, mechanic, etc...you get the pix??? I love what I do. But believe me when I tell you I can relate to Bruce Gordons bad attitude. It's easy for Grant Peterson to write a Riv Reader every now and then...He's got like ten people working for him. (I'm not knocking Grant) but please understand that it'd be nice if people who could afford it....support Bruce Gordon...buy one of his bikes. Grant Peterson said you should buy something for $5.00 each time you go to a bike shop. Well, Bruce Gordon doesn't have anything for $5.00. But my promise to him is true...when I buy my next bike, It will be a Bruce Gordon. Thanks again Bruce

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