12 Days of ’Toonsmas

Cash-ing in: Emerald Expositions shot our show in Reno,
just to watch it die.

Most of yis probably don’t see Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, the magazine I’ve freelanced words and cartoons to since 1992.

Bicycle Retailer, better known as BRAIN, is a trade mag, not made available to the general public. And so unless you’ve been caught short while visiting your local shop to pick up some Kool-Stop pads for your Dia-Compe 986es and stumbled into the “reading room” to offload some oatmeal, why, you’ve been missing all the fun.

For years I wrote a column for the mag, “Mad Dog Unleashed,” which was ostensibly about cycling and its supporting industry, but often wandered far afield, like a shop rat at Interbike in search of free beer. It would have been fun to call it “Collect Telegram from a Mad Dog,” but Hunter S. Thompson would have hunted me down and Maced me for that.

The column eventually went away, as they will, but the cartoon remains. “Shop Talk” is likewise in theory about the bike and the biz, but in practice it often has something to say other than “Disc brakes are superior to rim brakes,” “You must have a full-suspension mountain bike to ride the local trails,” and “E-bikes are the Future of the Industry.”

Uh huh. La Velo Nostra has had a lot of futures, which makes me think it should consider hiring quantum mechanics instead of the usual sort.

But we are dealing with the past at the present. And thus I reprint the “Shop Talk” strip from the January 2019 issue of BRAIN. It’s Day One of the 12 Days of ’Toonsmas, and my little gift to you.

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9 Responses to “12 Days of ’Toonsmas”

  1. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    Grazie! Happy Winter Solstice to you and yours. A first real ride on my new GIOS today will be followed tonight by this http://www.visitsicily.info/en/feast-of-saint-lucy-in-siracusa/
    “La vita e bella” as they say!

    • SAO' Says:

      Happy solstice? You mean, it’s technically not winter yet? Then that must be 36” of partly cloudy I’ve shoveled in the last three months. Which is fine. Snow shoveling is both cardio and weight training. Also one of the leading causes of heart attacks in folks my age.

      (My age? What is my age? There needs to be a word to describe those of us who check the very last drop-down option when we fill out internet forms. Oh yeah, there is … )

      Like Larry said, Happy Solstice!


      (CBS keeps taking down NX content on the yuber-tube, but somehow they missed this one. So let’s keep it a secret.)

  2. khal spencer Says:

    Happy solstice, all! And thanks for the ‘toonmas, O’G!

  3. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Mucho gracias mi Amigo!

  4. Hurben Says:

    Merry Kirihimete me te tau hou koa


    Geseënde Kersfees en ‘n voorspoedige nuwe jaar

    to all of you

  5. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Ah Interbike…must have over 20 some under my belt. From early Reno to Long Beach to Analheim to Lost Wages. It went from being fun, exciting and best of all affordable to none of those and totally ridiculous. Last time I went I saw 50 Chinese versions of the same bikes and the same parts. There was a time there was sir when you could walk right up and talk to Phil Wood or Al Kreitler. Knock back a sake with Hideo Miyata or a brandy with Sandy Pogue. Cool dudes one and all. As POG will vouch some damn fine revelry after hours too. Hell, sometimes in the middle of the day.

  6. Dave Watts Says:

    More Shop Talk Please! Could never get enough, and BRAIN online won’t help with that. Sure wished they could include ST on their Intertubes version. But alas, I will relish the not so often postings here that you do. Thanks!

    Ah yes, Interbike. First one I attended out west (we had the local CABDA show here) was in Long Beach, way way back when. Met the famous Arnold S. there, at the Schwinn booth, which I kinda got roped into working for a short spell. On that same first Interbike trip, took a night off with some other dealers to explore a few miles to the south to some vile Mexican town that began with the letter T, and got arrested by some fake cops and had to pay a very real extortion fee to be released back north again. Also had most everything stolen at the same time. That’s the Readers Digest version of that story, but there was much more that I won’t rant about. Yes, those were the days, as they say.

  7. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    Anyone old enough to remember Bicycle Dealer Showcase, or BDS for short? I think that was in Long Beach the first time I went – must have been the late 1980’s? Then Interbike came along – a goofy name if there ever was one, was it short for International Bike (Show) or what?
    As Herb noted it went from fun and interesting to “why the f–k am I here?” as the industry introduced planned obsolescence (via model years) bike sizing was reduced to t-shirt sizes and the whole thing became more and more about passion for profits and less about passion for cycling.
    Now they’re trying to get folks interested in something called the Big Gear Show? In Utah? NAHBS in Utah was bad enough!!!

  8. khal spencer Says:

    We need less Interbike and a resurgence of SOPWAMTOS

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