Wednesday, June 4, 2014

"They didn't want it good, they wanted it Wednesday."--Robert A. Heinlein

I may like to make fun of Kickstarter campaigns, but I recognize genuine innovation when I see it, and I have no reservations saying that this invention is going to completely revolutionize the sport of triathlon forever:



It also has other potential applications, because even cyclists who are more skilled than triathletes, such as toddlers, will likely benefit from it as well.

As a cyclist and owner of a human child I was intrigued by this product, which is the most ambitious childhood bicycle learning tool since that remote-controlled brake thing:



I live in a pretty hilly neighborhood and I wouldn't have minded having a MiniBrake the time my human child lost control of his bike on a steep street, hit the curb perpendicularly, and went over the bars.  Then again, after a good cry he asked if he could do it again, so maybe physics is the best teacher.

However, the Jyrobike is different.  Whereas the MiniBrake is arguably similar to keeping your kid on a leash (which plenty of parents do), the Jyrobike is more of an invisible disembodied hand magically keeping the bicycle upright until your little Fred-in-training learns how to do it himself.  (Or your little Frederica-in-training, obviously.)  Sure, the Jyrobike spares your precious offspring the essential experience of falling (as well as the subsequent humiliation of trying to extract himself or herself from the frame of the bicycle, also essential), but at least the device is not random and punitive in the Old Testament sense like the MiniBrake is.  Instead, the Jyrobike seems to involve your little Fredlet in the process of learning to control the bike.  Basically, it's more New Testament, kind of like riding alongside an omniscient and benevolent Psychedelic Disco Jesus.

Anyway, let's take a closer look at the video.  Here's someone covered in sensors:


Ironically all these electronics have nothing to do with the development of the Jyrobike itself.  This is just one of the lab assistants arriving at work.  Between Strava, GPS, keyless bike locks, video cameras to mind the homicidal drivers for you, and all the rest of it, this is what all bike commuters will look like by 2020.

Here's someone else studying something called "lateral perturbation force:"


I am laterally perturbing and vertically vexing, so I'm tempted to change my own name to "Lateral Perturbation Force."  It's also a nice complement to my cat's gaming name, which is "Retarding Force:"


Remote control brakes?  Self-balancing bicycles?  Video games for cats?!?  The world's gone screwy, I tell you!  SCREWY!!!

Here is what I assume to be a set of really sweet artisanal shifters:


And here's my most favoritest part of the video, when they guy walks alongside the preternaturally upright Jyrobike, slapping it like it's a constipated dog:


("Take a dump already, wouldja?  It's freezing out!")

Amazing.

Also, the Jyrobike allows you to determine how much balance assistance the flywheel will provide:


There are three settings: Low, Medium, and Somerville:


There's also a volume control:


I don't know what volume it actually controls, but if they've also invented a remote that controls the volume of a child then they're going to raise at least $30 million in the next six minutes.

Still, as intriguing as it is, an adult Fred such as myself would never, ever employ such a device, for it would be a source of great shame if one of my seventeen (17) children were to learn how to pilot a bicycle any other way than at mine hand and under mine own tutelage in an analog fashion.  That's why I'd also never employ a bicycle tutor (via Klaus at Cycling Inquisition again):


Ah, that first bike ride, a time-honored rite of passage for kids and parents alike. The wheezing gasps as Dad or Mom runs alongside, holding up the frame. The secretive release, the momentary ­independence — the topple, the skinned knees, the tears.

There’s got to be a better way.

Enter the bike tutor, one of an underground army of instructors working to get kids — and adults who never learned as children — riding.

Their going rate is $90 to $125 an hour for private lessons, although some set up higher fees for open-ended sessions or offer lower rates for group instruction.

This seems about right.  Anecdotally I'd say children are learning to ride later and later, as the average age of the kids I see on Magnas with training wheels these days is about 17.  Moreover, if a kid in the playground so much as eyeballs something with wheels a parent will materialize screaming, "DON'T TOUCH IT WITHOUT A HELMENT!!!"  You can't blame parents entirely for any of this, since increasing car traffic over the years has made it nearly impossible to play in the streets, but the upshot is that more and more of them seem to be saying, "Fuck it, I'll wait until he's older and lease him a Hyundai."  My guess is that the next generation of suburban children won't learn to ride bikes growing up at all, and will only do so after college when they move to Brooklyn, at which point they will take exorbitantly expensive artisanal cycling lessons so they can be in compliance with the city's strict bicycle licensing requirements and not interfere with driverless car traffic.

In the meantime, I understand Rapha is also getting into the children's bicycle training tool market, and they've already introduced a pair of glasses that will shock your tot if he or she places them under the helment straps:


(Unwitting child smiling in the moment before electrocution.)
Epic.

Lastly, here is a video that has been making the rounds recently in which people can't return their Citi Bikes:


Expect a new fleet of self-balancing Citi Bikes by 2025.

109 comments:

wishiwasmerckx said...

Podiodium!

Mr. Kavanah said...

I used my Air Spear.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Going for the sweep?

streepo said...

scranus

Anonymous said...

chiledgn dinna want em electrocuted!

Jasper said...

Early doors

streepo said...

invented a remove that controls the volume of the child?

Euro Spondee said...

Couldn't help but read that as 'labial preturbation force'. Take it away, Babs - even with one arm.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Top ten self-balanced.

Kenny Banya said...

not a robot

Blog Drafter said...

A riot.

tobeistobex said...

this didn't make it?
"Charges: Rosemount man pointed gun at neighbor telling girl how to ride bike"

http://www.startribune.com/local/south/261609161.html

3G said...

ZIPP

Anonymous said...

Too much slap and tickle cost me a top ten.....

dcee604 said...

Wow, so early?!
Keep your hands on the bars!

Comment deleted said...

Nice post, LPF/WCRM/RTMS/BSNYC.

Buffalo Bill said...

Loose headset + Lateral Perturbation Force = Don't ride no hands.

Schisthead said...

Lateral perturbation force--is that the mental repercussion when someone gets in your way and you have to swerve around them?

Mick Belker said...

As a child of the 70's I seem to recall cars slowing down when we played and OMG rode bikes in the street, yes unhelmented. Today it seems like drivers don't give a flying rat's ass if they buzz kid doing 40 on a 25 mph road. It pisses me off. Kid's are not riding bikes and we will all pay for it.

le Correcteur said...

Top twenty; better than yesterday.

P. Bateman said...

did i miss the race (he says out of breath...sipping coffee)?

Morning Machine Fred said...

I realize you are a master grammarian and all that, but isn't it spelled "helmut?"

Bama Phred said...

Sweet Psychedelic Disco Jesus,
take my hand,
lead me home,
'Cause I lost,
My smarting phone

mikeweb said...

What are the big Tri-dork sites and message boards? I need to advertise my $175 per hour bike handling services.

mikeweb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lectrichead said...

For years I've thought the idea of the self-balancing bike using centrifugal force would be epic, for bicycles and motorcycles too.
Guess I should have pulled on a suit and started selling the idea instead of sliding on Lycra and going for a bike ride. Heh.

Comment deleted said...

Can't...stop...watching...doucheclamation-point...crash.

mikeweb said...

Whoa. Just noticed the MILF in the FMBs on that Jyrobike page.

In a few years all his friends will want to hang out at his house.

balls™ said...

I hope they don't fuck like they park their citibikes, they'd never...

Oh, sorry. That joke is so bad I can't finish it.

crosspalms said...

I only charge $90 an hour to tutor people on how to take the bus when it rains.

I think I saw an episode of self-tutoring yesterday morning. A guy going really fast in the opposite direction was yelling "faster! faster!" at himself. Or maybe it was "bastard! bastard!" Anyway, despite his I'm-just-riding-to-work clothes, he had the clenched unhappy look of a Fred. Probably doesn't pay himself enough.

Anonymous said...

"The secretive release"

SQNYC

JB said...

FMB = fat man boobs?

CommentorBot9000 said...

"...in which people can't return their Citi Bikes"

The video only show difficulties with the 2 docks in the middle; no issues with the docks at the end shown. I'm guessing the 2 docks are broken and can't accept a bike, not that the people are broken.

Jon Webb said...

Meanwhile, in the Twin Cities, people take their bike training seriously. Really, really seriously.
http://www.myfoxtwincities.com/story/25665112/charges-neighbor-61-pulls-gun-on-father-teaching-girl-to-ride-bike#.U428RPXfT4Q.twitter

mikeweb said...

..."Training wheels are the devil's hand"...the results seem miraculous...

Dafuq? Someone please enlist this guys services and put your young'un in a Rob Zombie t-shirt or something.

mikeweb said...

JB,

Whatever works.

crosspalms said...

"Mega Sound - the Control Hub will feature three cool sounds at launch. A booming siren, classic bugle charge and roaring dinosaur will come pre-installed in the Control Hub. "

I want those for my bike, so I don't have to yell "get out of the bike lane, jackass" like I did to some guy in a Chrysler LeBaron this morning. A couple of dinosaur roars ought to do the trick.

Dave said...

June 4th, 2025:
The rectal motivator was a little cold this morning as I slid onto my bike. I touched the map and put my RealWorld helmet environment on, brought up my favorite fifty sites, and started pedaling, out into the vast shuffling stream of self-driving ladybugs heading down I-66. The BSNYC blog was so hilarious that I forgot to pedal fast enough for the Master, who shocked me via the probe several times to keep me above the recently mandated 8 mph minimum. Good thing the bike can't fall over. But things can still go wrong in this mechano-paradise. I was careless in touching the map, and instead of delivering me to my job at the soylent factory, I ended up at the city protein recycling facility and had to look sharp to avoid becoming soylent myself! Ha ha! I put the whole video on Twatter and we all had a jolly laugh about it later.

mikeweb said...

crosspalms,

Chrysler LeBaron?!

A dinosaur roar would only get the driver reminiscing about their childhood.

Mr Plow said...

Gyro bikes sound delicious. I hope they are available in lamb.

leroy said...

Tried to hurry my dog on a chilly evening.

He told me he's an artist and his art takes as long as it needs to take.

I told him he was a BS artist and I wasn't going to suffer for his art.

Then I realized: The problem with leashes is you never can tell who's walking whom.

dancesonpedals said...


have you ever really looked at your hand?

ken e. said...

kind of early to be tripping... is it a disembodied?

Mr Plow said...

Snob
This post has me officially feeling like and old man. "Back when I was a boy we didn't have jyrobikes or helments, we crashed on our heads and we liked it". Sigh

Comment deleted said...

Hope the surgery went well, Babs. Heal quickly.

McFly said...

My kiddo's are good bike handlers. Their friends that visit on the other hand......them lil shits crash a lot.

I just wonder what the hell is wrong with a parent that does not teach their child the time honored tradition of self-propelment via their own power.

Anonymous said...

needs more MILF

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

"...my human child lost control of his bike on a steep street, hit the curb perpendicularly, and went over the bars. Then again, after a good cry he asked if he could do it again,..."

Perfect, he learns to overcome fear and wants to keep upping the ante. Eventually he grows up to enlist in special forces and is sent to Bush's Scranus Bag of hell on earth (a.k.a. as Iraq) to die for the most corrupt government on earth, not the US, that's the best government uber wealthy money can buy, the government of Hamid Karzai.

McFly said...

Oh and secret release ....can't forget the secret release.

Baghdad Calling said...

The Bike Coach guy is wearing a Blackwater hat. So the kid will learn how to ride and at the same time gun down Iraqi civilians on the street.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Angry Beaver,

Or, a nice doctor or lawyah!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

The rack mounted shifters look like ping pong balls, a driver will see them and will be seized by the impulse to play ping pong ball with that cyclist.

Anonymous said...

Glasses over straps?! but the reason I wear a helmet is because the straps hold my glasses in place...

crosspalms said...

mikeweb,
He was going pretty slowly, which gave me time to notice the model. White convertible!

Anonymous said...

We have plenty of kids riding bikes to school in my neighborhood. Over 200 go through this intersection on a typical morning:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doYI-jnTdDQ

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

Babble - Hope the surgery went well and you get to enjoy Wreck Beach in no time. I hope the surgeon was a young stud who looks like an on TV surgeon, who, when he saw you naked in the OR (socialized medicine can't afford gowns or sheets) thought to himself "why didn't I become a Gynecologist?"

Freddy Murcks said...

I clearly gave up trying to be a nice person a long time ago, but I could probably watch that Somerville crash 1000s of times and chuckle a bit every time.




evinced ktlygen

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

Babble - Just heard that Commie Canuck is being sent over to spoon feed you soup and tell you Rob Ford jokes. Amazing what social medicine will and won't pay for.

Anonymous said...

I looked like Somerville guy last night!!
Although at 3 mph.
Got a flat on Kent Ave with the "fender bike". 531 and drainpipes red Peugeot.
Anyway, heard the psssfsssfsssfsss of the front getting flat. Slowed down in the bike lane. No car traffic, no bike traffic, no armored cars pulling in the depot.
Started to pull up the 7 inch total height (basically flat) driveway and BAM. Metal edge slipped me rear wheel out from under me. Little road rash on the calf and bruised ribbage. What the fluff!?! It wasn't even a crash, it was just a frikkin fall really. My calf and ribs would be perfect if I had a helment on I am certain.

On the bright side, I fixed my flat and a few riders stopped to see if all was OK.

If the humidity is over 60%, fuck it I'm taking the train.

vsk

Dooth said...

Damn, are we coddling our kids today or what? Shoot, I was practically track standing right out of the womb. Left skid marks on mom's vajay! And we loved it.

ge said...

I was rolling my bike along the station platform this morning. The station attendant interrogated me over whether I actually folded my bike when I was on the train (if he had looked, he would have seen me unfolding it). Fuck it, I'm leasing a Hyundai.

dancesonpedals said...

it's a choice...

start at the 20 second mark...oh so smart or oh so pleasant

Roille Figners said...

Bike tutor! Because you don't expect me to actually spend the time to raise my own status-child, do you? What are you, high on your poor-people drugs?

commentatorbot_cima_coppi said...

Oh, that's a sweet fail from Somerville.

Idiot apparently did not read his rule book because it forbids taking hands off the bars on the finish line FOR THE EXACT REASON SHOWN.

The days of training wheels are very well over. Get your wee lad or lass a balance bike.

A less conventional way to do it is to put just one training wheel on kind of high so the rider can "bounce" on it while sorting out left-right balance.

DB said...

Dooth @ 1:59 for early COD pick.

ge said...

I'ma gonna strip off the drivetrain from trials bikes and market them as Adult Balance Bikes. Better yet make a fleet of them for my bikeen skool.

Roille Figners said...

“Maybe next time I should have shot him.”

Maybe next time you did.

1904 Cadardi said...

A jyrobike in an adult size might be good for people requiring various adaptations, e.g. missing or prosthetic limbs, paralysis, etc. Anything to make it possible for people who want to ride, to be able to ride

That said: Sweet Psychedelic Disco Jesus, I don't even have kids and I will buy 10 child volume controls right now if you tell me where to send the money!

ge said...

Ooh, I'll call my invention the Dandy horse™. Very hilpster.

Freddy Murcks said...

It really is too bad that they aren't making a tri-specific version of the jyrobike wheel. Since a lot of tri geeks use dick rear wheels anyway, it'd be perfect. But they'd have to make a crabon fibre version. And it would have to be light. Plenty of tri geeks with excess body weight, but excess bike weight is totally unacceptable.





ftsmsh four

dancesonpedals said...

Days of traing wheels are over?

In a series of 2 children, what got the 9 yo to ride a big girl bike was fear that the 7 yo would do it first...she'd outgrown the trek lion cub, and they didn't make training wheels for a bike her size a half hour riding around the school yard on her new bike & she was fine..little sister graduated next, I saw that she rode without the training wheels ever touching & took them off...held her in a track stand...and pushed off

Spokey said...

mikeweb @ 12:23

look further down the page. That's

Cloe Parsons

in charge of Customer Happiness



robot told me 100 times to take the bike off the roof before going in the garage.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. Angry Beaver in Miramichi @ 1:37 PM --

My dog informs me that ping pong sous le ding dong predates the automobile:

Mr. Brooks provides historical context here at the video passage 1:26 to 1:42.

leroy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CommieCanuck said...

Bah, six years ago I invented a self-righting bike for kids and sold it through CommieTech LLC. It was an innovative design with an added third wheel to the rear. Impossible for a kid to fall off, thus saving money on healmentes. Plus, you could smack the kid and he wouldn't fall over, which is what he deserved for talking to Daddy, while Daddy is drinkin'.

CommieCanuck said...

Ooh, I'll call my invention the Dandy horse™

My beard grew 1/2" just while reading that.

commentatorbot_cima_coppi said...

dancesonpedals,

A balance bike or the one-wheel trainer makes less tears and frustrations is for us less gifted balancers gene pool.

I don't think having both training wheels works very well for transitioning to two wheels. Maybe it does for some though?

wishiwasmerckx said...

Dandy Horse, you say?

That's what my girlfriend calls my male member.

BikeSnobNYC said...

commentatorbot,

It is fashionable to malign training wheels now but going back and forth between balance bike and regular bike with training wheels worked best for us. Helped to learn the mechanics of pedaling and braking without worrying about falling. (Balance bike took care of the balance part.)

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Barney said...

Time for an update on the old song:

He will ride forever on the streets of Brooklyn, he`s the man who never returned... his CitiBike

JLRB said...

Criminality Suspected -

I think the dude with the fire escape camera did something to cock block the Citibike dock.

What is interesting to me (and who the fuck cares who else - sipping coffee) is
the variety of people that the video shows making use of the bike shares.

dancesonpedals said...

Defacto balance bike: take off the pedals...I heard about that too late for my kids...result that older daughter didn't learn until she was 9...though at 18 I goaded her into forming a tri relay team...sensing that the 10 mile bike ride was the easy leg, she took it & didn't train at all.she cursed well describing the assholes who cut off teenage girls in what's supposed to be a time trial

dancesonpedals said...

'assholes' is the wrong word..freds or tri-freds maybe

Bama Phred said...

Although FMB is hot and the Jyrobike is very hilpster and every hovering parent will want one, my kids would have broken it in 5 minutes, tops.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the nut job filming the Citibike rack problem should put an out of order sign on the bad rack and call the company? Nah, that's not nearly as fun as filming scores of people dealing with a malfunctioning device and posting to "social" media. Or antisocial, as the case may be...

Have a nice day!

Herschel Raney said...

First, what the fuck happened to Babs arm?

I can't stop saying "I can't heppitt!"

New Scott helmet arrived. Looks too nice to bash on a roadway. If Hillary runs for Prez, we can ease the Republicans minds now and just make her wear one all the time.

Jyro bike is kind of delayed genius.

And yesterday, saw a man on a motorcycle with a sling on his right arm preventing extension, riding with one functional arm, no shirt and no helmet. I saw the ambulance on the way back.

And fuck the robot test, though it has gotten easier.

(Another fine blog entry takes my mind off my job. Thanks again BSNYC.)

Roille Figners said...

FMB always will be Fire Marshall Bill, ever since we nicknamed a co-worker that. (Had to use the initials so as to be more covert in our snippy cattiness.)

So of course I was trying to think what article of clothing FMB would wear that would flatter the MILFly figure.

LEMME SHOW YA SOMETHING

Christo said...

Agree, I have had the problem where my youngest wouldn't brake at all. It took an afternoon of practice at ' dirt skids' to get him to realise that the coaster brake worked better than get down.

I prefer using both and as a true bike dork dad, I get to play with two bikes per kid..

Anonymous said...

"The one in the Daisy Dukes?"

"No, the one in the Fire Marshall Bills."

jdlvtrn said...

push bikes where child's feet are at ground level seem to teach the brain to be the gyroscope without this tech dependent step. Why is it better - for the child's delicate ego or the parent's laziness?

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Bicyclist Gets Robbed at Gunpoint and the Thieves Didn't Realize His GoPro Recording the Crime http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/failblog/~3/kd9MWBLoSXo/61477121
Wonder if it's real? I'm skeptical of everything I see on the interwebz.

ge said...

Hershel, I think she gave the details on Monday. Something about not being able to get prescription refills from her last accident? I forget. Kidding. I kid, I kid.

Lewison Clark said...

I didn't see anything about a 700c version of that balance wheel on the Kickstarter site. That would be just the thing for getting home from the bar. Cool noises? That's just gravy.

JLRB said...

Smack a Wing Foil on that Jyro Bike

Anonymous said...

Can't place the Heinlein quote.
Damn, I'm getting old.

JB said...

I just figured out Kickstarter. One used to have to convince a rich person that probably knows business, marketing, etc. to loan money for one's venture. Now, one just had to convince dozens of stupid people.

Wheee!

3 Sheets To The Wind said...

I think the Jyrobike should have a balance control setting for 'trying to ride home from the bar in a drunken condition'.

Zeno said...

Dear Mr Snob,

Unironic thanks, sir, for all your postules. I am currently working my way through the oeuvre, in order, and have thus far managed to make it all the way from 2007 to mid 2010. In addition, I have purchased and read your first novella, but found it to be, while generally entertaining and indubitably the finest of toilet books, lacking in bite compared to your online emissions.

Also, I would like you to know that if you type 'bsnyc' into an Apple device, it shall be autocorrected to 'nancy' (note the lower-case initial letter). What does this mean?

Nonplussed regards,

Zeno

wishiwasmerckx said...

Oh, well, what the heck. May as well bookend my 1st comment with...

wishiwasmerckx said...

...100th comment!

Zeno said...

Oh, and: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/06/02/hipster-beards-animals_n_5430461.html

McFly said...

I think there should be a lower cat for KickStarter that are crappy idea's.

That category should be called PullRope. Or PullRope & Ether.

Anonymous said...

Scranus

JLRB said...

Snob -

You are the paperclip of the bike blogging-thing.

JLRB said...

Afghan Women Bike-Cycling Team

"They face poor road conditions, terrible traffic, lots of gawking and even threats of violence in pursuit of their sport."

Sounds like the indignities of bikecycle commutating

Well, somebody has to have said...

I wonder what happens if you put the balance wheel on backwards...

ge said...

McFly, it would have to be the kind of pull rope that doesn't self retract and isn't even attached, so you have to wind it back on after each pull. And one of the funding options is "Frayed Knot".

Bama Phred said...

Frayed Knot. Now that's good spondee. That's the stock company answer to all of my funding requests

babble on said...

Thanks guys. :)