Innovation is the driving force behind the bicycle. So vital is innovation to the cycling industry that there's a company whose motto is "Innovate Or Die." I can't remember who it is though. I think maybe it's Cannondale. Or is it Trek?
Doesn't matter really, it's all the same crap.
Anyway, innovation is what brought us from the pennyfarthing:
To the "safety bicycle:"
And then for a brief period back to the pennyfarthing, only with three wheels:
After that innovation stood still, trackstanding in time like a fakenger at a red light that never changes.
Thanks to the Internet, and in particular the popularity of crowd-sourced funding or whatever you call it, we have entered a new golden age of bicycling innovation fueled by the creative energy of people who have been riding bikes for months, and in some cases even a handful of years, though more often than not, I suspect, not at all. Consider the work of Null Winds Technology:
No, "Null Winds" is not an insult, like "dim bulb" or "numbskull." Null Winds is the cutting-edge think tank behind "Upper Wheel Fairings," which are basically skirt guards for Freds:
"For decades, the bicycling industry has been focussed on improving aerodynamics for the benefit of racing, where the use of fairings is strictly forbidden. The rest of us, however, need not adhere to this senseless drag-inducing restriction."
As a potential investor (yeah, right), three (3) questions leap immediately to mind, and they are as follows:
1) If Freds won't put fenders on their bikes, what makes this null wind think they'll spoil the "elegant lines" of their plastic dork chariots with these?
2) What about crosswinds?
3) If you don't care about racing, why solicit endorsements from "Cat 2s?"
(What, you couldn't have found a Cat 1? Give 'em a pair of free tires and they'll say just about anything.)
Anyway, even Freds who don't race should at least loosely adhere to the "senseless drag-inducing restriction" of racing, in the same way people who play pick-up basketball in the park need to adhere to the "senseless shortness-inducing restriction" of not being allowed to wear stilts. Otherwise, what's to stop your local Sunday group ride from turning into an all-out recumbent freak-fest?
Fairings are only the beginning, so if you see them on your ride stomp them out immediately, lest you find yourself horizontal by next season.
Another part of the bicycle benefitting from both mental flatulence and rider inexperience is the so-called "clipless pedal:"
Like all Kickstarter inventions, this one has a backstory of mild incompetence behind it, and like all Kickstarter inventors, this one rides a Specialized:
(Seriously, they all ride Specializeds!)
Here's that story:
"I started mountain biking five years ago and I found myself struggling to clip into my pedals."
First of all, if you are still having trouble clipping into a pair of halfway decent mountain bike pedals after five years of riding then perhaps clipless pedals aren't for you. Not that there's anything wrong with that, by the way! Sure, clipless pedals have their benefits in certain situations, but if you find them to be a pain in the ass just ditch them and be done with it.
But common sense is not the hallmark of the Kickstarter inventor. Instead, he also uses clipless pedals for his commute, where they really don't do shit for you:
"The more time I spent looking down at my pedals, the less time I spent paying attention to hazards on the road."
A couple of points:
1) Clipping into your pedals is like carrying a beverage from the bar back to your table. The best way to do it successfully is to not look down;
2) If you're futzing with your clipless pedals to the extent that you risk getting hit by a car, you should not only consider a move to flat pedals, but you also might want to consider leasing a Hyundai in the interim.
But hey, if the mountain won't come to Fred, invent a little foot clitoris instead:
Apparently it's called the "Infinity Pedal," though I think the "Hot Spot" would be a better name:
Also, the spring is conveniently exposed to the elements, which is exactly what you want in an all-terrain pedal:
Really, how do you market a mountain bike pedal without at least one image of the thing actually functioning in mud?
Then again, it did win an award--in Utah no less--so perhaps my concerns are unwarranted:
Also, apparently a huge number of people have similar trouble clipping into the many, many, many excellent clipless pedal options already on the market, because he's raised a shitload of money:
It's a real testament to the power of bicycle marketing that so many people who would clearly be much more happy and comfortable on simple platform pedals nevertheless insist on attaching themselves to their bicycles.
Penultimately, what do you think when you read this?
Triathlonbox - A British solution to Triathlon box juggling
Do you think engineering elegance? Of course you don't! "Triathlon?" "British solution?" Oh boy, this is gonna be ugly:
Leave it to the British to figure out how to convert a time trial bike into a bakfiets:
"No longer do you have to struggle with your box," says the video, and nor do you have to struggle to find a sordid double meaning in that sentence:
And check out those enthusiastic endorsements:
Good idea – Joe Friel - writer of Triathletes Training Bible (via Twitter)
Good idea indeed:
Lastly, Stephane in Munich informs me that you can now buy an appropriate balance bike for your "status child:"
Actually, they should offer that in adult sizes too. It's a perfect solution for all those people having pedal trouble.