Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Big Lights, Bright City: Seeing The Light, Or Being Blinded By It?


Firstly, ouch:


Secondly, let's talk lumens:


(BLAM!)

That's the Knog Blinder Arc 1.7--on the low setting!

Note also that I've mounted it just below my stem on the steer tube, thereby canting the beam slightly upward for maximum obnoxiousness:


(I've also got a smaller auxiliary light on there to finish the job, just in case you can still see after encountering me.)

They say you could see my distress symbol glowing in the night sky as far north as Onondaga County:


There was also a notable uptick in upstate UFO sightings, which you generally only see when the local chemist cooks up a fresh batch of methamphetamine.  [Reminder: draft treatment for fixie drama TV series called "Braking?  Bad!"]

Then, the next morning, I received the following email with the subject line "You Suck:""

Dear Mr. Rock Machine,

On March 17th I announced to the world that, using the BICEP2 radio telescope in Antarctica, my team and I had finally found what we believed to be primordial gravitational waves, or the so-called "afterglow" of the Big Bang.  The implications were profound and enormous, and I cleared space on my mantel for my Nobel Prize.

Then, after extensive peer review, it turned out what we'd actually seen were not primordial gravitational waves, but in fact merely ripples in the fabric of space caused by your obnoxiously bright bike light.

So fuck you.

Sincerely,

John Kovac

ANYWAY, it's important that we address the fraught subject of frontal illumination etiquette, inasmuch as it has become nearly as controversial as the helment "debate" (I put "debate" in "quotes" because there is no "debate," helments are stupid and ugly and give you bad hair), but first here's a brief history of bicycle lighting:

A Brief History of Bicycle Lighting
Sponsored by [Your Bicycle Lighting Company Name Here, contact webmaster for sponsorship opportunities]

The very first bicycle lights were live monkeys, trained to hold lanterns while perched upon the handlebars of pennyfarthings.  However, these monkeys often turned violent, ripping at the faces and eyes of riders, and so in 1887 the first bicycle "safety light" featuring a 100% synthetic, non-living monkey was sold:



Between the "safety bicycle" and the "safety light," cycling enjoyed an explosion in popularity through the 1890s.  However, racers eschewed the system's excessive weight, so some "drilled out" the monkey, leading to premature monkey failure:


("Drillium" monkey.)

While others skipped the fixture altogether and instead simply set their handlebars on fire--both with predictable results:


But soon the world of bicycle lighting would change forever, thanks to this man, for whom no introduction is necessary:


(It's Thomas Edison, you bonehead.)

Edison, of course, was the world's first fixed-gear freestyler:


But he was also a tinkerer and inventor in his spare time, and one invention in particular would completely revolutionize bicycle lights.

I'm talking, of course, about the phonograph:


(You thought I was going to say "lightbulb," didn't you?)

Which cyclists would strap to their handlebars at night and use to play Sousa marches in order to alert people to their presence.

Sadly, this proved ineffectual, so eventually cyclists just set the phonographs on fire for maximum visibility--with predictable results:


Given the safety bicycle's tendency to burst into flames, it's no surprise that by the early 20th century people began to abandon this mode of transportation for something else:


("Fuck it, I'm leasing a Model T.")

Not only did the automobile have headlights, but it also came with an attractive philosophy and lifestyle:


And thus the humble bicycle all but vanished from use until the early 21st century, when "fixies" came into fashion, and Knog invented the "hipster cyst:"


Thus setting off a lumens-based arms race culminating in the abundance of lighting systems available today.

I think that about covers it.

So yeah, the average bike dork now has a wealth of lighting options at his or her disposal, nearly all of which are bright enough to stage an amateur production of "Our Town."  Some people don't like this.  They think that being able to walk into a bike shop and buy a military-grade laser with a handlebar attachment  is tantamount to being able to walk into a Walmart and emerge with the firepower of a small sovereign nation.  They also think it's rude to ride around with a bright light, because it annoys other cyclists, or something.

I'm not so sure.  The other day on the Manhattan Bridge I passed some riders with some pretty bright lights.  You know what I did?  I averted my eyes slightly.  Isn't that just common sense?  It seems to me that if we can spend every day of our lives beneath the burning rays of the sun without scorching our eyes out we can deal with the occasional bike light.  It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness, and it's also better to look away from the fucking light instead of cursing the brightness.

That's not to say you shouldn't be considerate.  For example, I wouldn't use my light cannon where there's heavy bike traffic or lots of streetlights.  However, if it's dark and the roads are windy and you're pretty much the only cyclist out there I don't see the problem.  Also, a bright light up front is good because it's the only way the average dolt parallel-parking his car at night is going to see you, because they sure as hell aren't looking for cyclists at night when they slam on the brakes and lurch clumsily into that coveted spot.

Meanwhile in other news, bikes have gotten so stupidly expensive that even James Huang thinks it's out of hand:


Wow.  James Huang saying bikes are too expensive is like Stevie Wonder saying bike lights are too bright, or like Stephen Hawking asking you to explain a physical theory in "layman's terms."

If it's come to this, things have gone too far.

103 comments:

JB said...

Monkey shines!?

Adam said...

Bam!

Anonymous said...

#3 BamBam

Marcel Da Chump said...

Light up on Wednesday.

Synonymous said...

Fuck it, I'm leasing a fat bike.

crosspalms said...

Can I stop averting my eyes now?

Mohaupt Photo said...

Holy Bright lights! Top ten?

ge said...

You mentioned helment debate and you think we're going to talk lights? 3...2...1...

siddres victim - close enough robot, close enough

RoadQueen said...

TOP 10?

Anonymous said...

I've always hated history, so knog it off!

McFly said...

Pretty sure that's Nikola Tesla on the fixed-gear freestyle joint. Ol' Tom got credit for his work one more time I see. Nice. I mean nice.

JB said...

Nice 29ers on that Model T. Nice fat tires too. I wonder if he's running tubeless?

Stephen Hawking said...

Well, in laymans terms, your scranus is the area midway between the black hole and its first lagrange point.

You're welcome.

crosspalms said...

Looking forward to the video of Henry Ford doing doughnuts and wheelies in a Model T.

RoadQueen said...

Hey, your high beams are on.

Nice tits.

mikeweb said...

Prices are out of hand? 'Cuz when there's a dick in hand, there's no room for anything else.

McFly said...

And thus the jadedness and vitriol behind the Ass Monkeys has been revealed.

Fred of the Sea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fred of the Sea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blow me said...

top ten

the Jimboner said...

moremrotherfruckingmonkeyorimmafruckingkillya

le Correcteur said...

Nice Jay McInerney reference, Snob; cleverly inverted.

Why do I always get numbers; I want words!

34583445 169

Big Titty Bitches said...

My eyes are up here.

Fred of the Sea said...

Bloody Oath on the lights, mate, as they say when discussing the matter down underneath.

To combine two controversies, my second pronouncement of the day is that affixing lumens to a helmet, like a collier's carbide lamp, is an act of supreme dorkitude or geekdom for those who do not habitually mine anthracite. Moreover, it is hard on the cervical muscles for those who adopt an "aggressive" riding position.

which isertail? Just have to try both ends, I guess.

Kenny said...

GIVL the "AngryAsian." He won't let me enter a valid comment.

Where's my drawing of the tri-dork who needed pumping? My basement's almost finished and I got a wall to hang it on!

le Correcteur said...

The below: very funny; how about fixie riders with cancer delivering meth? Or should it be medicinal marijuana, to counteract nausea?

"[Reminder: draft treatment for fixie drama TV series called "Braking? Bad!"]"

mikeweb said...

Wildcat, you visited City Hall? You and Bill be tight like that?

CommieCanuck said...

pffft. Edison.. wanker. He stole the bike light idea from Johan Bieklight, and original output was one lumen, which is all you needed back then. Kids today with your superbrights, back in my day, we just rode in the daylight. True Story.

I give James "the wang" Huang's complaint 5/5 stars: very beefy and vertically compliant and spins up very easily.

Matt said...

Watched the Edison fixie video. Good thing those sounds didn't come out of the first phonograph or we'd still be stuck with brass bands in the park after church.

CommieCanuck said...

Reminder: draft treatment for fixie drama TV series called "Braking? Bad!"

Sponsored by SRAM.

babble on said...

Ha!I knew it! Cars are a fucking fascist conspiracy...
Stellar post, snobbers. Heh heh. :D

Anonymous said...

that huang dude wanted to store my cookies. fuck that shit.



now I'm basking in afterglow

Anonymous said...

Snob you are showing your downstate big city centric view. Everybody in CNY knows that it is Oswego County that is the meth headquarters of the land.

Rebadged pick-and-choose commodity item sourced in Asia said...

What am I? Chopped liver?

Anonymous said...

On my ride in this morning I was cat-sixed by some duder in Central Park. I was just pedaling at my usual casual "I'm going to work so I don't want to exert myself or break a sweat" pace and passed this guy on a slight hill. He retaliated by unleashing a furious sprint, totally dropping me...until the next slight hill. I wanted to tell him that I wasn't actually racing him, but he was locked in - dead-eyed stare, hunched over his handle bars and akwardly pumping away at his pedals in the wrong gear. Just to fuck with him I started drafting him, hands in pockets and casually whistling. I'm by no means a fast rider but this guy was pretty funny.

gregor samsa said...

I awoke this morning from unquiet dreams & found myself transformed into a hideous cat six vermin.

absurd tmentsbs

Jimmy Spitball said...

Any two cyclists traveling in the same general direction are racing.

Yeah Cleveland ! said...

Not that I have a vote but if I did I'd vote for CommieC @ 1248 for COD.

Aaron Tsuru said...

Related to your monkey theory: http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/21zwxm/monkey_giving_handjobs_at_a_guest_house_in/

DB said...

Yeah Cleveland !
You certainly do have a vote and it counts as much as mine. (Well, almost)
The Great Lob didn't come down to earth and proclaim me the COD giver.
Feel free, Sir or Madam, to vote whenever you feel it is deserved.
This is a huge responsibility and I'll be happy to share it with my fellow commentators.

DB said...

I was thinking that yesterday's Fly6 video on the Manhattan Bridge soundtrack could have been West End Girls.

Evan Reehl Ryer said...

'First Prize! First Prize!'

Anonymous said...

Top XL ...oops

Top L ?

whsgerm oscar

The King of Park Slope said...

The antique roadshow guy will not be impressed that you drilled out that monkey.

Anonymous said...

snotalk hurrell

$10,000 too much for the top of the line. But $1000 is ok for entry level.

Cat6 said...

Dude, it had nothing to do with you. I was chasing the Fly6. You're just jealous that I can lick myself. Ooh, I hear the can opener, gotta go.

purchasers dborni? More like purr chasers

paulb said...

The head-scratcher is, finding sh*t to complain about. Biking around NYC is great rain or shine, day and night. Even though I got a whopping stupid ticket from the whopping stupid NYPD last month, and my bike got robbed because I was careless locking it up. And even though I have a stupid job that's not good enough for me, but I get to ride there and back. The mobs of riders now making the same trip I do say we are on to something.

crosspalms said...

I hope you send that first photo to the Bollards of London guy, I think he'd like it as a Guest Bollard.

robot threatens me with the Bugntsch

Anonymous said...

49

1904 Cadardi said...

Split the Century!!

Whoo hooo. Prizes and shit for me!!!

McFly said...

Isn't drilling out a monkeyhow the A.I.D.S. epidemic got started?

Anonymous said...

There isn't one place within the confines of Onondaga County that ever looks like that. Ever. Get your head out of your ass. You're an idiot. I hate you. Put your head back up your ass. I really hate you. Take your stupid head back out of your dumb butt. What a moron. You suck.

Into ybroalb

Anonymous said...

Ease up on the Jesus jingles about cursing and the lighting of candles will you please, Snobby? One comes to this site to get away from that sort of thing.

As for your bright lights, the parallel with the sun is stupid. When the sun is low in the sky and pointing right in your face it is frightful. At least if you do look away you can see the area in the immediate vicinity and can still have some confidence in your ability to navigate. If at nighttime, on the other hand, some lumened up psychopath is pointing their arc light straight into your eyes, you can't see anything except their uncivil light. Look away and all you can see is a dark empty void where, quite possibly, a dire fate awaits you.

So, verily I say unto thee; when fitting your lights do unto others as you would have them do unto you, unless you think the sun shines out of thine's arse in which case thou is beyond redemption.

Anonymous said...

True story:

I met a girl with these crazy beautiful eyes. Deep blue with a light blue ring around the pupil and a dark blue ring around the iris. Little sparkly gold flecks. So amazingly crazy beautiful that I had to occasionally stop looking at her boobs to look at her eyes.

Flyover BC said...

Mount your light on your helment, if you have one, or both actually. That way you can turn your head to avoid blinding oncoming traffic, or aim it if you want to blind oncoming traffic.

More lumens are better, especially when there street lights are inadequate, or you are blinded by oncoming cars.

Roille Figners said...

Fuck it, I'm moving to Cortland.


HOME OF DIO

Dooth said...

Oh Wildcat, are you getting sentimental Vito memories? Just go ahead and have a good cry. We're with you.

crosspalms said...

On my ride home last night I passed a family walking on the path. Boy about 8 or 9 raised a red cellphone toward me and said "emergency bowtie." Either I completely misheard him or I just met the evil genius behind Captcha.

dancesonpedals said...

Hey, anonymous at 2:23: Put your left thumb in your mouth & your right thumb up your ass. Wait until I clap, then switch them.

odynold quently

Anonymous said...

Crosspalms,

Maybe the kid was simply informing you of what's on his playlist;

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Hq02SBpFa_g

D Bater said...

Helments are awesome. They don't mess up my hair at all. You are dum.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe, crosspalms, it wasn't a cellphone at all;

http://a856-citystore.nyc.gov/Products/Large/04110-a-large.jpg

crosspalms said...

I'll be damned. The kid was trying to enlighten me. He'd already looked ahead to the topic of Snob's post and was obliquely sending some lumens my way. None are so blind as those that will not see.

I must don my thinking cap. Robot, fetch the turbans actoren

CommieCanuck said...

Isn't drilling out a monkeyhow the A.I.D.S. epidemic got started?

I thought it was how Michael Jackson wrote Thriller. Poor bubbles.

CommieCanuck said...

The lumen (symbol: lm) is the SI derived unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total "amount" of visible light emitted by a source. Luminous flux differs from power (radiant flux) in that luminous flux measurements reflect the varying sensitivity of the human eye to different wavelengths of light, while radiant flux measurements indicate the total power of all electromagnetic waves emitted, independent of the eye's ability to perceive it. A lux is one lumen per square meter.

The lumen is defined in relation to the candela as

1 lm = 1 cd·sr.

A full sphere has a solid angle of 4·π steradians, so a light source that uniformly radiates one candela in all directions has a total luminous flux of 1 cd·4π sr = 4π cd·sr ≈ 12.57 lumens.

You idiots.

babble on said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Broke College Girl said...

What if something is already in my ass?

Anonymous said...

I run the knog blinder standard 4 - black. 80 lumens bitches. It's alright I guess but it needs to be recharged fairly often and the attachment "system" could use improvement. Knog guys, get on it. But it is small, bright and rechargable.

ken e. said...

whaat!?!

Cortland's prodigal son Ronnie James Dio said...

Million to one shot doc, million to one shot.

Anonymous said...

What do gusty winds have to do with lights?!

I use a bright Baja Designs Stryker (very retro design) on my helment to illuminate certain drivers' cockpits who think "right turn after stop" only pertains to other drivers...

Of course my commute is in the 'burbs of NH, so I rarely see any other bicycle commuters out there.

(I know, I know, windy...)

-NHcycler

Biking the Live Fantastic said...

Very, very funny, and thanks for the helmet comment. I don't wear one.

fancesco ciombola said...

James Huang - please follow this simple (even for you) analysis... In 1984 a Colnago Superissimo with Campagnolo Super Record which cost AUD$2K. Most finance people will tell you that money halves its face-value roughly every ten (10) years.
So, the Colnago would now cost AUD$2K exp(4) = AUD$16,000. {Noting that $2K exp (1) is the 1984 price}
So basically a $10K bike now is actually mid-range and your Obermeyer / SR EPS equipped C59 is just about right-priced.
I'm sure the USD arithmetic works out exactly the same.
So James, so us all a favour - be quiet and go ride a Giant....

Anonymous said...

In the picture of the burning bike, there appears to be the severed hand of a child jammed in the rack.

I know you embraced satanism a while back, Snobby, but tone it down a bit, would you please?

emotions dlanen -- damn straight, robot!

3G said...

Good stuff snobby!


Comprised Havouri

sounds like some kind of turkish cheese or something

Anonymous said...

http://cedarrapids.craigslist.org/bik/4375275784.html

crosspalms said...

Captain, the Steradians are targeting our lumen array!

Shields up! Brace for impact! Arm the Fly6 torpedoes!

Vegas said...

Look away, look away, look away...


ramdso conflicts

Anonymous said...

A four or five years ago I took part in a cross race in Syracuse and on the start line was my 7th grade social studies teacher (who was recently retired). He attended SUNY Oswego and he often would wax on how bad the winters were there. He beat me in the cross race. I started 7th grade in 1982.

The Great Putdowner said...

Hey Wildcat, no fear of anyone ever having to curse your brightness.

Wey Shine said...

Lights at Chinese restaurant not too bright. They always dim some for you.

McFly said...

Fuck the lights I had an aluminum bottle cage break this evening and WHAT THE HELL KIND AM I SUPPOSED TO GET? I dont think I have ever bought one I just ended up with several. Kind of like QR skewers. I found 2 SS ones on the ebay for $17 and pulled the trigger. I hope they are not too heavy. Shit.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking that not a single person in Nigeria reads this blog, because

its tmmini

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I wear a healmeat so I have somewhere to hang my mirror. It doesn't mess up my hair because I don't have any up top. It's all on my chin.

McFly -King Cages, Ti or Stainless. both are awesome. I hate aluminum cages because the anodize always wears off and your bottles always end up with that black streaky stuff on them.

Anonymous said...

fancesco, I sincerely hope your job doesn't involve giving financial advice or playing with other people's money.

BikeSnobNYC said...

fancesco ciombola,

Yeah, I'm betting that $2K bike in 1984 would be closer to $4K or $5K now.

$2K+ wheelsets and all the rest of it are 21st century phenomena.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

ouabacher said...

CC A candela is a green-ass stogie, dummy

ge said...

The more money they can drain out of rich fuckers, the better they'll be able to compete on the bikes on my end of the spectrum. Ask as much as the market will bear, I say. But then I'm not a dentist, nor do I play one on Blogger.

Unknown said...

Tesla. And what does wind have to do with the need for lights?

four hour erection said...

ouabacher- actually, it's just the wrapper. rookie.

Jan! said...

Two years old, but maybe you haven't seen this obvious piece of mechanical doping: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2zpU7StU3Q

ce said...

Dear Wildcathode Ray Machine, I thought you were supposed to be some kind of history buff, yet I find your "Brief History of Bicycle Lighting" to be so brief as to blatantly ignore the whole era of intensive bicycle light testing that occurred during the mid 20th century. Take for example Einstein's testing of a powerful rear blinky light during Operation Sunbeam at Nevada Test Site in 1962. Admittedly this was during the Car War when bicycle light and fixie technology was kept top secret, but it's not like a bunch a hipsters just suddenly decided to invent these things one quiet day after the turn of the century as you suggest. I still remember back in 1989, as a kid, seeing those historic images flash across the television screen as the East German artistic bicycling team hopped their way over the Berlin Wall for the first time. Inspired, the East Germans took to their bikes en masse and followed suit... thus bringing down the Steel Curtain, exposing fixie technology to the rest of the world and putting the "free" into fixed gear freestyling.

Electrical Banana id going to be the very next craze said...

The music Edison picked out for his iPhone vid, it doesn't really work for the speed he's riding at, he'd need to go a lot faster to make it work.

This Land is Your Land said...

Does anyone remember when lighting companies, a.k.a. electric & gas companies, used to pay big stock dividends? All were bought out and taken private, the dividends are history, but your monthly utility bill has gone through the roof. From West Side Story, sing along with me "Only in Amerika, land of taking the 99% to the cleaners,..."

McFly said...

I know its been played slayed and chic-fil-a'yed but two headlights are better than one.

JB said...

Tilford's going to see Big Head Todd and the Montsters tonight.

QM Graves said...

Clara is 2403 km into her 12,000 km big charity bike ride around Canada. Come out and support her as she makes a stop in Baie-Comeau today! https://livingalpha.com/journal/trois-villes-et-un-traversier-24-heures-occupees-pour-clara-hughes

Anonymous said...

I like the King Iris cages in stainless steel because they look nice, don't leave black marks on your plastic bottles and are one of the few cages that don't rattle when carrying Kleen Kanteens.

On the other hands I've heard that when you buy a titanium cage it's the last cage you'll ever need.

Fred Nifiacent said...

Vito has been shellacked and a latern stuck in his hand and here I thought he was living on a farm upstate

Anonymous said...

century


stationed ydatari

dancesonpedals said...

it happens every time albert eats beans


onsebs fue

agentdetroit said...

the photograph of thomas edison was taken in port huron, michigan by j.m. white, a local photographer. edison grew up in port huron, and when he returned, would sit for photos with his friend mr. white. mr. white's widow lived with my family in her later years, and thusly inherited some of mr. white's belongings, including 20" x 24" glass negatives of edison. they were stored in crates of excelsior in a spare bedroom closet. one day in the late 70s i heard a strange crunching/chewing sound from the closet, and discovered termites had infected the crates. in the interest of preservation, the negatives were donated to the henry ford museum. they were only able to make 12 contact prints without destroying the negatives. white's original studio still stands, although it is a music themed bar,with the facade engraved "white's art hall".

Bicycle Headlight said...

The very first bicycle lights were live monkeys, trained to hold ... ibicycleheadlight.blogspot.de