Friday, January 22, 2010

Rivendell Reader

The latest Rivendell Reader is now available for download off the Rivendell site. I've been a fan of this publication for many years - the older print version and now the downloadable PDF version.

In case you don't know, it's put out by Grant Petersen, the guy behind Rivendell Cycles and the much missed Bridgestone USA. I don't subscribe to all his views on cycling - dislike of index shifting, clipless pedals and racing bikes. I'm not really interested in multiple types of bags for my bike or how to wrap my handlebars with twine.

I do however enjoy his views on bikes for transportation and general use. That's always a good thing. And even though I may not be interested in 15 different models of cloth bags for my bike, I really enjoy his written description and passion for the products he sells. The Rivendell Reader and Rivendell catalogs are works of bike geek art - and I mean that in a complimentary good way.

The Reader and catalogs go beyond typical bicycle info and include interesting stories on other topics as well. I always enjoy when they focus on one of their suppliers - some bag manufacturer, frame shop, etc. - and see the people involved and experience their story. You'll also find great articles that have absolutely nothing to do with bikes.

Rivendell is also very cool with showing the people behind the scenes with running their own operation. Much more refreshing then the usual marketing facade found on most companies. There's a homey, honesty that comes across as genuine and that's pretty rare nowadays.

Most catalogs I flip though, then toss into the recycling bin in a few minutes. The Rivendell versions I tend to keep and reread later. The other day I found myself rereading a 2006 Rivendell catalog that I saved and digging it yet again. Sounds nuts, but true - we're talking about a catalog here. Rivendell media promotes not just their company, but bicycling itself. You can't get much better then that.

Grant Petersen would be an interesting to guy to have lunch with and yak about bikes. There would be some disagreements and debate on some topics, but probably an interesting afternoon. Well, for a full fledged bike nerd like me anyway - and probably a few others reading this post.

If you've never checked out the Rivendell Reader, give it a go. Bicycling magazine it's not.


  1. Thanks for the heads-up. I will check it out. Rivendells are not very common on my side of the pond, after all!

  2. I have had a interesting week and yesterday I had downloaded my copy of Rivendell Reader. This is the first time that I have seen the Reader.

    I have to agree with what you have said in your post. I think he fits the round peg in the square hole in the bike world. That's what I like about him. If that makes any since!

    Great write-up!

  3. Yeah, on some aspects Rivendell is way off the retro scale for me - but I always enjoy Grant's writing and expressing his views.

    I think his take on carbon fiber is extreme, but after seeing some examples on the Busted Carbon site - I'm not as comfy on carbon as I used to be.

    If I was in the market for a new road bike, I'd include the new Rivendell Roadeo on my list. It's a cool bike.

  4. As I've said before on my own site, I am a lover of the modern conveniences of carbon, deep-dish lightweight wheels and shifter/breaklevers. But, given the resources, I would love to have access to a various retro bikes, including one with friction downtube shifters.

    Great post, thanks for posting the link to Rivendell, printing now.

  5. Frank - oh yeah, I dig my STI and clipless pedals. However, I also like the old stuff.

    Part of that is from my early '80s bike shop days. The retro stuff reminds me a bit of that era, plus I own some older bikes as well.