Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sprayed and Neutered: When It Comes To Safety, It's All On You

Part of moving on to the wide-tires-and-leather-saddle phase of life is that you lose track of the professional bicycle racing, and so I had no idea until yesterday that last Sunday's Gent-Bubblegum was torn apart by high winds:


In case you don't follow the sport, Gent-Bubblegum is generally considered a "semi-classic," and it will never attain full-blown "classic" status for the simple reason that George Hincapie has won it:


Alas, for cycling fans this means the race is forever tainted by a mediocrity it can never transcend, much in the same way that Jerry couldn't get over the fact that his girlfriend had once dated Newman.

Anyway, it sounds like this year the riders at Gent-Bubblegum got blown around like those stupid dancing things they put in front of car dealerships:

Only 39 cyclists officially survived the battle through the Flemish fields to finish in Wevelgem, the rest, 160 cyclists, waved the white flag to surrender or simply were forced to a stop in the brutal conditions.

Some cyclists landed in muddy ditches or cold canals. Some, like Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, gave up early to avoid danger.

Riders piled into team cars if there was space. Others asked locals for directions and took the main road back to the safety of the hotel.

Yes, in Belgium, getting blown in a ditch isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.  However, if you saw only the following image you'd be forgiven for thinking it was merely some kind of Lycra-clad fantasy come to life:


(When Freds dream...)

Come on, who hasn't fantasized about lying supine on a riverbank while crabon bikes float by?

And yes, apparently crabon bikes do float:


In fact, throwing bikes in the water would be a good way to check for mechanical doping.  I bet if they threw Hesjedal's bike in there it would zip upstream like a speedboat.

Now check out Geraint Thomas getting blown across the road like one of those black plastic bags they give you at the deli:



Incredibly, he still finished third, and he might even have won if only the UCI's draconian anti-recumbent rules hadn't prohibited him from using the H-Zontal:


Thanks to the prone position it's totally crosswind-proof:



Though when you ride it you do tend to look like you're crawling across a marble floor covered with Vaseline.

And yes, it's also ideal for your off-road exploits:


All it needs is fat bike tires and a metal detector and it would be the perfect beachcomber's bike.

In other news of heroic cycling exploits, a college student recently attempted the hour cycling record:


(Is that noseless saddle UCI legal?)

A student in Oxford has had his own crack at the Hour record – and rode just shy of 47 kilometres last Wednesday. With the UCI Hour record back in vogue and Sir Bradley Wiggins among those planning an attempt, Dan Bigham says he hopes he has set a benchmark to inspire other students to have a go themselves.

Just a note to all you students out there: despite what he says do not have a go at this yourself.  This is a huge mistake.  You are in college, for chrissakes!  You will never have so much independence combined with so little responsibility ever again as long as you live.  So please, for the love of "god," do not squander this precious period of your life in pursuit of some silly record set by professional dopers.  Instead, if you absolutely insist on probing the very limits of the human psyche, do what generations of students have done before you and take some LSD.  It's a weekend out of your life at most.

Competitive cycling on the other hand will ruin you.

Speaking of LSD, someone at Volvo must be on it, because they want us all to spraypaint ourselves so we glow in the dark:



Because apparently riding in "connected helme(n)ts" is not enough.

To illustrate how important it is for us to be visible at night, Volvo include this clip of a speeding cyclist with aerobars rear-ending a car:


I'm not sure how rider photoluminescence would have prevented or mitigated this boneheaded collision in any way, but I'll agree that if he had been glowing it sure would have been cool as hell to watch.

Anyway, you can rest assured that collisions like these will now be a thing of the past, because Volvo have come up with this handy travel-size anti-death spray:


My first thought was, "How do we know this isn't carcinogenic?"

My second thought was, "Maybe they tested it on animals."

My third thought was, "Holy shit, we're the test animals."

Then I sprayed myself in the face with Lifepaint, forgot all my cares, and lapsed into a blissful slumber.

Yes, Lifepaint makes everything okay.  I mean, we all know that nothing bad can happen to us when we're wearing our helments, right?  But you know what's even safer than a helment?  A helment that glows!


Lifepaint also makes a fantastic deodorant:


(He's spraying it down the front of his pants.)

And best of all it makes you look like a vengeful specter who's returned from the beyond to torment the driver who hit you and left you for dead:


You'll know a driver has a guilty conscience if, upon seeing you, they make the sign of the cross and then steer their car into a tree or off the nearest overpass.

The video is also full of testimonials, including this one:

"Putting something on that will make you scream out to drivers like me is a fantastic thing."


Wow.  So it's not enough to be visible anymore.  Now we've got to "scream out" and glow from head to toe or else we're fair game.

I assume when she says "drivers like me" she means "oblivious idiots."

Amazing how drivers keep outsourcing any and all responsibility.

Hopefully this backfires on Volvo and the streets of London get covered with glow-in-the-dark penises.

You know, the idea of a spray-on reflector isn't even the worst idea in the world in and of itself, but when it's branded by a car company it's downright offensive--and don't get any smart ideas either, like covering yourself in Lifepaint, riding into a car on purpose, and then suing Volvo:

Volvo Cars/Grey/Albedo accept no liability or responsibility for any individual or individual's accident or injury by any road user or other object whilst wearing Lifepaint, damage to property caused directly or indirectly by the paint and that it is transferable. Cycle safety is the cyclist's responsibility and Lifepaint is one of the many products that can aid visibility but cannot prevent accidents caused by the individual or other road users.

This product has been brought to you by Volvo Car UK Limited.

In the making of this film we used both reflective paint products available from Albedo100.
Lifepaint was used on textiles and is water based, and the other Alebdo reflective paint products are for metals and are oil based so not suitable for use on textiles due to permanent nature. The film has not had any post production enhancement to the reflective capabilities seen.

After all, it's just repurposed pet spray:


Albedo100 Horse and Pets is a spray with light-reflective properties intended for use on fur. The spray has a light grey shade that might be perceived as colourless but is light-reflective in the dark.

The reflective effect is useful for the evening walks with your dog, horse-riding or jogging. Increase the visibility and safety of yourself and your pet in traffic by spraying e.g. the leash, tail or legs of your horse or dog.

Sounds about right.

And not to be outdone, GM is offering a flame retardant version for the American market, which may or may not be rebranded spray-on truck bed liner:



If the car companies can't tar and feather us then one out of two ain't bad.

82 comments:

T. Macleod said...

The early bird gets the scrodium!

Anonymous said...

screwed by the echelon

bad boy of the north said...

holy april fool's day eve!wow..podio'd

Jasper said...

Early doors

LeSoigneur said...

I mean I try to love all of humanity equally, but hearing Flemish always makes me laugh.

Fred from Milan said...

Excuse me, Mr. Snob, for diverging from the theme, but comments on this?:
http://www.sadabike.it/en/the-bike-project/

Italian video (but you have to wait for the ad to finish…):
http://video.corriere.it/bici-pieghevole-senza-raggi/d2bff9ca-40dc-11e4-b86b-2611bc0782c6

Forget what happens if you hit a pothole. If you look carefully and consider the physics of the drive system, it's actually propelled along the road by a 5" jockey wheel, with the "spokeless rim" only there to smooth out the bumps:
So it's basically a brakeless fixie with a 20" gear ratio equivalent to a mtb cliff-climbing 22/32 (that's a 22 sprocket chainring pulling a 32 sprocket cassette…)

I would prefer to get to work by hopping on one leg or crawling on my knees, like a penitent pilgrim to Fatima.

Another silly folding bicycle here (if you haven't seen it yet):
http://www.kwiggle-bike.de/index_en.html

Don't you just wish you lived in Europe?!

P. Bateman said...

early birds are just the worst kind of birds.

P. Bateman said...

from H bike's site:

Is the women breast compressed ?
No, the breast is not supported on the boobies....

.....let the pipe go out, you could drink without raising the head.

Anonymous said...

Top ten!!!!

JB said...

BOTE BYKE

balls™ said...

You're drunk, go back to sleep!

Bryan said...

Lifepaint: It would be cool to fuck with drivers thinking we are specters or wights. There is a certain bike forum (.net) with a commuting subforum that would be all about that - lots of those people seem to like wearing orange safety vests. I let my Knog Blinder do my alerting for me

Freddy Murcks said...

In case of inclement weather, this blog may be early.

Freddy Murcks said...

The Sada Bike links posted by Fred From Milan reminded me of this. https://screen.yahoo.com/adobe-000000741.html

By the way, I'm a Murcks, not a robot.

grog said...

Looking forward to tomorrow's holiday edition episode.

babble on said...

Woot! Crash Test Dummies unite! Top twenny... I need better dope. ASSSSpirin just isn't cutting it.

babble on said...

I lived up on Haida Gwaii for a year, and was always amazed at how the trees on the islands' coasts practically grew horizontally, so used were they to strong winds. That bubblegum race reminded me of the Haida trees. You get used to seeing a cyclist lean into corners, but it was odd to see the whole peloton leaning at an angle on straight aways, like a lycra clad forest of windblown trees.

And in other news, Tom Tom has again voted Vancouver Canada's most congested city.

Anonymous said...

IGUESSTHEYGOTRUNNAINADEETCH!

It's An Ill Wind said...

PUTTEM IN THA DEETCH!

Mo Ill Wind said...

ESP for the obvious? WTF?

le Correcteur said...

Missed top ten; missed top twenty; fascinated by how hair fashions in Seinfeld have aged very, very badly. The male ones that is.

And did that rider in the Ghent Bubblegum get blown sideways, or did he simply drift all on his own onto the grassy verge and biff?

Anonymous said...

"You'll know a driver has a guilty conscience if, upon seeing you, they make the sign of the cross and then steer their car into a tree or off the nearest overpass."

hmmmm, maybe I will try a can or two...

Anonymous said...

College students should get blown for an hour and then spray their white paint on each other... for visibilty

Retroreflective said...

Leroy's dog better have something to say about that reflective pet paint. I imagine it might have been good at raves or dance clubs.

McFly said...

TRON Paint bitches.

Craig Richards said...

That's going to ruin the small niche of night time bicycle portraiture.

Anonymous said...

12,000 accidents in Canada involve cyclists annually.

11,869 of those accidents involve Babble On.

NYCHighwheeler said...

Seeing those rides in the wind reminds me of crossing the Verrazano–Narrows Bridge during the last Five Boro Bike Tour.

A whole family (including a couple of young girls) got blown off their bikes in the wind.

The big difference between those little girls and the pro riders? THE LITTLE GIRLS GOT BACK ON THEIR BIKES AND FINISHED THE TOUR!

trama said...

I have a one mile commute, it goes kinda down a country road, about a mile. Straight Through exactly One intersection, my shop is on the left a ways. Any how, this morning I'm following a sedan when it gets T boned by a hulking Ford SUV after the intersection. "Failure to successfully turn left onto the road from a barbershop". Smashed the poor four door, which I'm sure needs some of that reflective spray, even on a sunny morning. head on a swivel my friends, head on a motherfucking swivel.

Fred Nifacent said...

another perspective on sinker and floater

Utah Fast Food Eater said...

I wonder if I could market a special rubber cement to Freds who want more"adhesion" on their tyres in crosswind bubblegum rides? ...back to the lab

Frederick Anonymouse said...

Allegations that pro riders are using motors in their bikes during races have been resurrected after video footage emerged on the internet purporting to show Ryder Hesjedal’s bike moving by itself after he crashed on stage seven of the Vuelta a Espana.
Read more at http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest-news/fresh-motorised-doping-claims-ryder-hesjedals-bike-moves-134745#e4RkfiMw6ZMgmqhe.99

Is it possible that today's professional racers have become so pussified that they cannot hack wind riding. In Lance's/Floyd's/Tylers day they had medicines that overcame the wind.

janinedm said...

I'd love to have a reflective bike. Not for safety, I just think reflective things are cool looking. I think it's left over from my high-school/college days in the mid-90s when black lights and things that lit up were cool. I mean, I'm not still listening to Orbital and wearing velour, but I am a sucker for reflective things. Reflective clothes are also great for ruining group photos you resent being forced to pose for.

dcee604 said...

I was blown away.
haha.

Freddy Murcks said...

Regarding the crashes in the crosswinds at the Ghent-Vulvagem: Perhaps the deep section, high profile carbon rims weren't such a good idea. Those things are like freakin' sails in a cross wind. The cross forces on those wheels due to the wind must have been equal to at least several DFUs (i.e., Diminutive Frenchman Units). That's surely more than the atrophied upper body muscles of a professional bike racer can manage.

Spencer said...

Carbon Canal Bike!

Beavis Cleaver said...

03-31-15 or in Europa 31-03-15

Snob posts @ 7:36 AM. Most likely posts early so he has the time to compose his epic April 1st blog post.

This fan smells a recumbabe flashback issue. Full crabon with teat helments.

One request please. Uma the Inflator's contact information. Thank you in advance for your ASSistance re this matter

Weather Man said...

"And did that rider in the Ghent Bubblegum get blown sideways, or did he simply drift all on his own onto the grassy verge and biff?

I'm guessing the wind was coming from the front and the left of the riders, sort of from where the camera is. He came out from the leeward side of the riders in front and was hit with a gust he was not ready for. He stops pedaling and has to turn right to avoid being blow over, and hits the grass before he can steady him self.

Weather Man Again said...

To further a point...pausing the crash video, you can see the rider in the red kit to Thomas's left is visibly leaning into the wind while going straight.

crosspalms said...

I bet Banksy will enjoy Lifepaint.

CommieCanuck said...

Tom Tom has again voted Vancouver Canada's most congested city.

Dristan, the official decongestant of Vancouver.
I'd be congested too if I had to squeeze into a 91 sqft condo.(from the low $300's!)

CommieCanuck said...

Bah. Wind. It's always been a major factor at Gaunt-Vulvagum...the pro secret is knowing when to break the wind.

That canal bike is clearly doping on frame helium.

CommieCanuck said...

To further a point...pausing the crash video, you can see the rider in the red kit to Thomas's left is visibly leaning into the wind while going straight.

...and after the umbrella is opened, a puff of (weed) smoke appears from the grassy knoll, Thomas' head moves back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. That is one magic doped bike.

babble on said...

OMG, that race just blew me away.

The big ass bruise has a life of its own. I decided to track it over the next week or so, and keep tabs in pictures on the post. yeOWza.

JB said...

Babs, take a photo every day and they challenge readers to put them in the chronological order. The winner will get blown (off the road).

wishiwasmerckx said...

Tom Tom Club is, like, my favorite band ever. Great to see a shout-out to them in today's column.

BTW, Tom Tom Club is the Talking Heads minus David Byrne, who does not own a car.

Anonymous said...

Suplesse! The pros! Microdosing! Yowza!

balls™ said...

Talking head? Is that a thing now? I guess it's probably better than getting blown in a ditch.

Wiener von Braun said...

Siemens to announce bicycle full crabon seat post motor that is not only invisible to x-ray detection and will function underwater to a depth of 300 meters.

leroy said...

Well this is odd. My credit card bill says:

1. Case Albedo100 reflective pet spray.

2. 3 dozen glow sticks

3. 10 gallon drum soap bubble mix

4. 1 case Chassagne-Montrachet

I think my dog is hosting a rave again.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

I'm just gonna wear a disco ball on my head when riding at night.

Genius of Love said...

What you gonna do when you get out of jail?




Ipsimama

CommieCanuck said...

I'm just gonna wear a disco ball on my head when riding at night.

I'm sticking to fabulous fashion sense, no eyes can avert from a nice pair of Bruno Maglis and silk Zegna pants. Just try and look away.

Angry Beaver in Miramichi said...

Down on Coronado Beach I'm seeing people riding bikes on the soft sand that have tires almost as wide as the one's on dune buggies. I'm thinking I'd like to see a video of BABBLE riding one on Wreck Beach. Once the tush heals that is.

Freddy Murcks said...

Luca Paolini won the Gent-Vulvagem and showed the world that old dopers can still win bike races without fear of sanction from the UCI or their national federations*. It helps to be on a Russian team that has access to the best doping products that Eastern Europe has to offer.

* Ol' Luca has already been investigated by the Italian authorities because he was getting drugs from Ivan Basso and his sister, but, because Luca was apparently smart enough to not leave the drugs, used syringes, etc. in plain view, it was "no criminality suspected."

Wake Up You Ripple Heads said...

"7:36 AM" was the first comment of the day, that's EST. Out here on the Left Coast that translates into 4:36 AM. I once had a GF wake me at 4+AM to engage in some adult recreational activity, but I'll be damned if I'll get up a 4 plus whatever minutes to try and grab some podium. I'll just let the peloton zoom on by.

America Runs on Donuts said...

FM @ 3:45 "no criminality suspected."

Sounds like the NYC Police Dept was on the scene and hungry for a donut.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Speaking of Tom Tom, I had one of the early prototypes. It was called the Steve Steve, and it sucked major ass.

Anonymous said...

Let he among us who has not been blown on the side of the road or by a creek cast the first sidelong glance. Or is it whom?

babble on said...

Nope, it's who. You can tell if you substitute he or him for who or whom, and if he works in the sentence stick with who, if him works, use whom. So since you would say "he has not been blown," you then use "who has not been blown," though in either case, you can't help but feel sorry for any guy who has not been blown.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

You have officially become the Jerry Springer of bikecycle blogdom. It just becomes freakier and freakier! Horizontal bikes and spray on reflective paint. I wouldn't believe it if I didn't read it on the internet

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Hey, right under Babs...better than podium!

BamaPhred said...

Reflective body paint in hand, next up nekkid nite ride.

babble on said...

Honoured Old One: :) xo

BamaPhred... and wouldn't THAT fuck up the guilty motorist but good.

Spokey said...

i wounder if there are any stats on the number of head injuries in motor vehicle accidents. how bouts a healment for drivers? and maybe that reflective paint for autos so i can get innadeefukindeetch.

babble on said...

Spokey - That's exactly what I've been babbling on about! There ARE stats on it! And it's something near to 50% of all head injuries reported in hospitals that are caused by motor vehicle accidents. What we really need is a mandatory helmet law for motorists, if we are going to enforce any helmet law at all.

Um, and further to yesterday's discussion about the MHL in CA, where they were going to make it a CRIMINAL OFFENSE to ride without a helmet and reflective clothing, while it remains perfectly legal to run a cyclist over with your motorized murder weapon... don't you think it's high time we organised a revolution?!

babble on said...

From Brain and Spinal cord dot org:

The leading cause is falling, which accounts for 28 percent. However, the traffic accident brain damage accounts for the greatest number of hospitalizations.

Obviously they left me out of the mix, for fear I would skew the results.

HAH! made you look! said...

That road bike in the water. It has fenders.

Frobac said...

If the rider's in the prone position, how can it be a recumbent?

JLRB said...

all drivers of volvos should paint themselves

Do Actions said...

Eveyone on fire .haha :D

babble on said...

Heyyyyy! I recognise that bike in the ditch. It was a Schwimm.

Cipo said...

Yes. I use'a the Vulva Lifepaint. It help'ah the little Cipo to find'da the target.

Spongebog Kukupants said...

It is! And it has floating caliper brakes.

Karl Donitz said...

Das Biike.

shining trapezoid said...

Why is the windspeed measured in miles, but the race is measured in km?

crosspalms said...

Babble @ 5:38 for COD.

I was reading about the New Yorker's Mary Norris and her new book "Between You and Me" this morning. Your comment made me think the two of you would get on very well.

Emily said...

Looking forward to tomorrow's holiday Ee

Jone Mark said...

nice post thanks for posting i will read this post another time

موقع عاجل - محرك بحث اخباري عربي (اخر الاخبار من جميع المصادر) موقع عاجل - محرك بحث اخباري عربي (اخر الاخبار من جميع المصادر)
عاجل اليمن (اخر الاخبار والاحداث في اليمن) عاجل اليمن (اخر الاخبار والاحداث في اليمن)
عاجل السعودية (خبر عاجل اخر التطورات والاحداث بالسعودية) عاجل السعودية (خبر عاجل اخر التطورات والاحداث بالسعودية)
عاجل مصر (عاجل ام الدنيا كل ما يحدث بمصر اولا بأول) عاجل مصر (عاجل ام الدنيا كل ما يحدث بمصر اولا بأول)
عاجل موبايل (لا تبحث عن الخبر مع عاجل انت في قلب الحدث ) عاجل موبايل (لا تبحث عن الخبر مع عاجل انت في قلب الحدث )

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Carlos said...

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