Forks, Headsets, Helmets and Stems

Bikecology Summer 1981 catalog continued.  Forks first–all steel.  In the 1980s, it was steel or aluminum.  Mostly steel.  Even my mid-80s Cannondale aluminum mountain bike had a steel fork (they eventually used aluminum and even carbon fiber).  When did carbon fiber forks enter the scene?  2000s?

Headsets!  Is the King headset what we now know as Chris King?  Chris King produced their first precision bearing headset in 1976, so it is entirely possible.The Bell Biker!  I labored under one of these lids for years!  Never thought a thing about it.  Just made sense to me.  It wasn’t a knee jerk thing like it is today, though.  You could decide without a bunch of input from family and friends.  In fact, I remember my dad saying the helmet made me look like a turtle and my mom shushing him and interjecting that it is better that I have a helmet on.  Whatever.  Do what you want.  It is pretty fun to bike without a helmet once in a while.  Problem is, you never know when you are going to need it.  Sad but true.

Stems!  This pretty much sums up my world of quill stems in the 1980s.  Cinelli and SR.  Also some TTT.  Cinelli was what I wanted (I had some).  SR was what I had (much more of).  Not sure why I didn’t see Nitto stuff.  They’ve been around since 1923.  Maybe they didn’t get specified for bicycle builds headed to the US in significant numbers until the 1990s.

 What else?  I pulled ten pounds of bok choy out of the ground and a pound or so of white radishes.  Turned that into two and a half gallons of kimchi fermenting on my counter.  That will make 10 quarts!  Last year I packed the kimchi into pints, but I don’t have 20 pint jars, so it will be quarts and maybe a half gallon if needed.  So much kimchi!

I still have from 2010 a couple of pints of kimchi, a couple of quarts of kraut and one pint of sauerruben (fermented turnips).  We need to get after it.  I watched a video presentation by Sandor Ellix Katz and was glad to hear him discuss botulism.  I wasn’t 100% clear that my approach of putting my ferments in jars with closed lids was safe, so as the months rolled by I’d taste new jars hours before company arrived to see if I would keel over.  I now know that was a waste of time, as symptoms don’t show up for at least 8 hours.  All that aside, I now understand that the environment created in a jar of ferment is not hospitable to Clostridium botulinum bacteria (the source of botulism poisoning, and found in soil).  Heat processed canned goods present the real risk as the Clostridium botulinum bacteria is one of the last to be killed by heating.  Fail to heat a jar long enough and the  Clostridium botulinum bacteria could be the last one standing in a perfect home to live and multiply.  In a ferment, there are so many other beneficial bacteria living that the Clostridium botulinum bacteria can’t survive.  The other bachteria create an acidic environment that is inhospitable to the Clostridium botulinum bacteria.  As such, fermented foods are unlikely to give rise to botulism poisoning.  Canned foods and fresh foods present a much greater risk.  Mr. Katz has done extensive research on the topic and found zero instances of botulism caused by fermented foods.  I feel much better.  Still don’t want to let those 201o ferments hang around much longer.  They are too good!

Be well.


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