Locks are perhaps the most commonly used form of bike security. However, there's one major problem with them:
They're inconvenient for bike thieves.
Sure, some locks such as cables are easy to cut. However, heavy chains and u-locks require power tools and unwieldy levers to defeat. This is so inconvenient that many thieves don't even bother in the first place.
Fortunately, now that we live in the information age, all this is changing. For one thing, inventors are making bike thieves' jobs easier by incorporating all sorts of Bluetooth nonsense that increases the odds of user error or simply allows thieves to open the lock electronically themselves. Ironically, these are called "smart locks:"
Even better for the thieves are bike alarms. Everybody knows car alarms are useless, especially in big cities where their blaring is just part of the background noise. No wheeled vehicle in the history of wheeled vehicles has ever been saved by an alarm. Unless you're an active firefighter, the human response to any type of alarm is to reach for the snooze button and shut it off as soon as possible--or, in the absence of one, to simply ignore it until it goes away.
It's only natural then that inventors would apply this same bullshit technology to bikes. Usually these alarms are incorporated into dumbass smart locks, but now inventors are pitching them as stand-alone items. Consider the "CHIRP," which is the greatest gift to bike thieves since the quick release:
Not only does this motion-sensitive alarm have an on/off switch (!), but it also mounts easily to the handlebars so in the unlikely even the thief can't find the switch all he has to do is pull the fucking thing off and throw it in the gutter.
This is exactly the sort of security system you'd expect from someone who discovered the concept of bike theft yesterday:
My wife and I love to ride our bikes. We often meet our friends at coffee shops to begin our rides. Of course, we all lean our bikes against the building and shuffle inside to have a cup before we get going. I had never worried much about the safety of our bikes sitting alone out there. Then, one day, a friend told me that he had gone into a restaurant for lunch and when he came out his bike was gone; they cut right through the lock. Then, another friend had the same thing happen. It wasn't long before I started to worry that it would happen to us.
This got him thinking, which in the Kickstarter universe is never a good thing:
I thought, wouldn't it be nice if there was a little device that would alarm if someone was getting tricky with our bikes? It had to be small, easily put on my bike, and loud enough to scare away thieves.
Or, even better, what if there was some kind of locking contraption that you could wrap around your bike to keep it in place and then open and close with a key so that nobody could take it in the first place?
Though admittedly that wouldn't also allow you to annoy the living fuck out of people:
I also wanted a device that I can use while I'm riding. Sometimes, I ride on multi-use paths. I like to let folks know that I'm coming up. When the path is busy, I feel like a broken record ("On your left . . . on your left . . . I'M ON YOUR LEFT!"). I want a device that will let people know that I'm there, and all with a little push of a button.
Yep, he's That Guy.
How about one of these devices, genius?
So how much does he want in order to market a device that is as annoying as it is useless? Seventy thousand goddamn dollars:
Kickstarters undermine my faith in humanity even more than people like Kim Jong-un. At least despotism has been with us since the dawn of humankind, whereas people who want to destroy your everyday environment with electronic bullshit are a fairly recent development, and while we're worried about ISIS and melting ice caps and nuclear meltdowns it's probably the cumulative effect of stupid shit like this that's ultimately going to be society's undoing.
It's almost as alarming (get it?!?) as the existence of the Cipollini Bike Academy, to which I was alerted by Elena in Italy:
After alerting INTERPOL I searched for more information using a popular Internet search engine, and here's what I learned:
From 13th to 19th and from 20th to 26th June, participants will be guided by the champion in the best methodologies of training, nutrition and technique.
It will also be possible to rent a MCipollini bike.
If you're unfamiliar with cycling jargon, here's what all that means:
"guided by the champion" = "made love to"
"best methodologies of training" = "doping"
"possible to rent a MCipollini bike" = "you will be charged extra for the lovemaking"
And here's how much Cipollini charges for a "date:"
Interestingly he charges less for the lovemaking session if you're a non-cyclist, presumably because as laypeople they're not impressed by the world champion stripes on his thong underwear and he can't get away from the surcharge.
Lastly, speaking of both stupid inventions and things coming explosively over your head, a reader has forwarded me this article about the Hövding inflatable hamlet:
It's also ideal if you often experience intentional collisions in which you don't even hit your head.
(That's a £249 crash by the way.)
Best of all, sometimes it just goes off for no reason at all:
You can't put a price on that kind of humiliation.