Grant Petersen’s Just Ride, the Rivendell Reader & an E-Less Stanza of “The Raven”

Grant Petersen, of Rivendell Bicycle Works, appeared at College Park Bicycles last night to talk about his book, Just Ride. I had a great time seeing familiar faces of the #BikeDC community AND meeting the man behind Rivendell Bicycles. Woo!

I won’t rehash the evening too much, as I think he covers much of the material he talked about with us in his book. 

Surprisingly, I found Grant to be quite gracious, friendly, and relaxed. I had worried that the opionated nature I saw in some of his writing might translate into a formidable bike guy. Not true. Thank you, Grant, for visiting our area AND for talking to me despite the fact that I was wearing Sidis!

After discussing the evolution of his book, themes Grant touched on included:

  • you don’t need special clothes for cycling,
  • ride a practical bike that’s comfortable,
  • you don’t need to use cycling as your primary form of exercise because you can get your heart rate up higher by doing other more vigorous activities for shorter periods of time than a bike ride takes,
  • bike advocacy is tough stuff (though he is not an expert in this area), and
  • cycling shouldn’t be approached as work. Rather, it’s something to enjoy. With friends, even.

At least, that is my abbreviated version of the evening’s topics.

Rivendells at Swings Coffee

Grant’s appearance reminded me of several Rivendell Readers back when he discussed the prevalence of the letter “e” in our vocabulary and invited people to submit e-less stanzas of Edgar Allen Poe’s poem, “The Raven.”

It sounded like a fun exercise and I sent in an e-less stanza I wrote. Mine did not make the cut of those that were published in the Rivendell Reader, but I did receive a nice Rivendell gift certificate that helped to offset the purchase of a Nitto Campee rack I bought from them.

Below is the original stanza (which is the third of “The Raven”) followed by my e-less version.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me– filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more.

E-Less Version

Tragic silky sighs from rustling curtains of dark orchid stain
Disturbing sounds do thrill my body with ’til now unknown fantastic horrors;
So that now, to halt such soul-dizzying strain, I stand continuously saying,
‘Tis a visitor wishing to pay a visit rap tap tapping at that room’s door
A nocturnal individual who prompts admission at that door;
This is all, and not a myriad of crazy thoughts that in my brain do war.

That was a fun activity. Not a bikey post, really, but certainly inspired by a bikey person.


    • I would imagine so. Someone else mentioned Perec’s book. I thought writing a stanza w/out the letter “e” was challenging. I cannot imagine 1. writing an entire book without it, and 2. TRANSLATING that book from French to English without using “e.” !!!


    • Yes, I just saw your writeup. Not sure about the practicality of all those bike racks, but they look cool. And yeah, Grant is seriously on the move!


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