Again, my loyal followers, apologies for irregular updates. I suppose I could wax poetic about how much there is to make me angry in a slow shop, but mostly it just depresses me, and I'd rather not bring you down. Will do my best to update regularly in the future.
In the meantime, there are a few websites I check regularly to keep abreast of developments, learn new shit, and reinforce the shit I thought I knew. Rivendell Bicycles, founded by Grant Petersen (formerly of Bridgestone), is one of those sites. Petersen is among the more polarizing of figures in the industry. His opinions about the "right" way of doing things, including fit, component selection, and frame material are by no means the final word, but those opinions are also based on decades of experience, above-average intelligence, and a lot of common sense. I've copied below the tips for happy riding found on the Rivendell website. I dare you to argue any of them intelligently.
Original content can be found at: http://www.rivbike.com/article/misc/tips_for_happy_riding
Tips for Happy Riding
Learn right away that the front brake is the most effective one, and to never lock the front wheel in dirt (or on the road, but it's more likely in dirt). Learn how far you can lean over without scraping a pedal.
Learn to keep the inside pedal UP when you corner, and learn to ride safely in all conditions. Be the master and commander of your own bicycle.
Signal your approach to pedestrians, especially if they're old, and a bell is better than "On your left!" If no bell, try clacking your brake levers. If all you got is "On your left!" that's fine, but if you ride a lot on paths, get a bell.
At least one ride in 10, go without your sunglasses and gloves. Sometime next month, put some double-sided cheap-style pedals on a good bike and ride in non-cycling garb. It works shockingly well, and sends a good message to would-be bicycle riders.
Carry an extra tube you can give to somebody with a flat tire and just a repair kit.
If you're a guy, don't try to be a mentor to every female cyclist you meet.
Don't ride in shoes you can't walk through an antique shop in.
Don't wear clothing that makes your sweat stink even more.
Don't think you'll go faster in a significant way if you and your bike become more aerodynamic.
Put a $20 bill inside your seat post or handlebar and hold it there, somehow.
Don't ride until you're confident you can fix a flat.
If you ride more than one bike, have a set of bring-along tools for each one. Learn how to remove your rear wheel (put the chain onto the small cog, etc.).
If you ride in a group, bring food for you and somebody who forgot to.
Go for a one-hour ride underdressed sometime, because it's good to be really cold on a bike every now and then.The reverse (overdressing in hot weather) is not necessary!
Never blame your bike or your health or anything else if you're the last one up the hill or in to the rest stop.
If your brake hoods are black, wrap your bars with a different color tape, so it doesn't look like a one-piece set-up.
Never let your chain squeak.
If you pass another rider going up a hill, say more than "Hi," but if it's a woman and you aren't, don't assume she wants to chit-chat. Treat her as you'd have a generic guy-rider treat your wife/daughter/girlfriend.
If you're a woman and it's a guy, you can chit-chat all you like, they won't mind.
If you see another rider approaching you from the rear and trying to catch you, let it happen. Fun is more important than fast.
Don't put any cyclist up on a pedestal, except Lon and Freddie.
Sometimes, bring normal food on your ride. Sometimes bring none. If you're reasonably well-rested and have eaten anything at all in the last eighteen hours (and are not diabetic), you should be able to pedal your bike for two to three hours without supercharging your system with carbohydrates. Believe it or not, carbs really do make you fat, and are necessary only for long, hard rides.
Shoot photos on your rides and give them away.
Feel comfortable mixing high tech and low tech, old and new parts and technologies, and don't apologize to anybody for it.
Compliment other people's bikes, especially if they're new.
Buy the cheapest helmet that fits well.
Try seersucker shirts for hot weather riding, and long-sleeved ones are best.
Don't underestimate fig bars. If you get a new widget and like it, don't "swear by it."
Don't always shop by price and never ask for discounts at your local bike shop. Every time you go into a bike shop, spend at least $2, and if you ask a question and get good advice, spend $5.
If you buy a rack, don't ask for free installation.
Don't assume your bike shop is making money.
Ride only when you feel like it.
If you know a fast new rider, don't say, "You really ought to race."
If you see a stocky woman rider, don't suggest she race track.
Have at least one bike you feel comfortable riding in a downpour.
Ride in weather that keeps other cyclers indoors.
Never keep track of your pedaling cadence.
If you have a normal loop or ride, count the number of times you shift on it; then the next time you ride it, cut that in half and see if it makes any difference.
Learn to ride no-hands and to hop over obstacles, but not simultaneously.
Never hit a pedestrian. In traffic, be visible and polite. Don't feel as though you must be a role model for all other riders; be polite for selfish reasons.
If you have several bikes, set them up with different equipment but always ride the saddle you like best.
Don't try to keep up with faster descenders if you're not comfortable descending.
Never apologize for buying something that's not quite pro quality by saying, "I'm not going to race or anything."
If you buy a stock bike, do something to it that makes it the only one exactly like it in the world.
Don't think it's important to match front and rear hubs or rims.
If you borrow somebody else's bike, for a short test or a long ride, say something nice about it.
Always bring a pump.
Build at least one wheel.
Wear out something.
Don't ever describe any bike, no matter how inexpensive or dilapidated, as "a piece of crap."
If you get a fancy bike assembled by somebody else, allow them a scrape or two, especially if the bike is really expensive.