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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Rivendell's Yves Gomez Mixte aka Betty Foy

9/1/2013 18m
Rode around Redwood City and Palo Alto today for about 18 miles. Thought I'd jot down a few more details about the Yves Gomez, Rivendell's mixte, which is also the same bike as their Betty Foy.

The dual-name is kind of a marketing kludge. I'm under the impression that Rivendell originally named the bike the Betty Foy. It's the perfect bike (IMO) for "guys of a certain age" who are are getting a bit tired of hoisting their leg over the rear rack and trunk bag. But it seems some men were reluctant to buy a bike named Betty, and so they've repainted some of them and positioned them as the Yves Gomez.

Who was Yves Gomez?

Many people do not know who Yves Gomez was. When he was fourteen years old he had an assignation with Marie Antoinette. He taught Rasputin to play chess and he taught Casanova about women; he is considered the prototypical Renaissance Man. Some people believe that reading Yves Gomez' memoir inspired Ayn Rand to write her character John Galt. A museum in France has an artifact that may be Yves Gomez' safety bicycle, which today we'd classify as a mixte; his diary notes that he preferred this frame because he found the normal top-tube "too constrikting {sic} for my private bits".

At any rate, the Rivendell mixte is also available in the Yves Gomez namespace with an testosterone-supplemented colorway. In fact, the original head badge on the Yves Gomez bore the tagline, "the international man's mixte".

The Betty Foy - Yves Gomez that I've been riding sports a really clever arrangement of the brakes and shift levers. Although my standard bike (a Surly LHT) is friction-left and index-right, this bike is friction-friction and that worked really well. This arrangement is just a pleasure for shifting and braking.

The Tektro 559 brakes are very authoritative and modulate quite well. The bike I'm riding has Schwalbe Big Boy Tires, 700x50s, which is a testiment to the clearance available on the frame.

This is a really nice bicycle.

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