Well I don't know what that means either, because I get all my financial information from "The Money Programme:"
It's hard-hitting financial news, but sadly about 40 years out of date.
Nevertheless, according to the illustration accompanying the article, Citi Bikes are the new BMW:
They just had to squeeze a helme(n)t in there, didn't they?
Of course, I would have taken the illustration in a different direction:
Either way, if you are a financial genius and you know of a way that I can make money off any of this please let me know:
Money is very useful because you can use it to purchase goods and services.
Sadly, I doubt there are many financial geniuses among you. First of all, you're cyclists, and cyclists are terrible with money, which explains the existence of Specialized. Secondly, anecdotal evidence suggests most of you are academics of some kind, because subsequent to Tuesday's post a sizable number of you were kind enough to email me PDFs of that helme(n)t study I was too frugal and idealistic to pay for.
Please note that I have not taken the time to thank all of you individually, and in fact I may never do so, but rest assured I am profoundly grateful.
Also, I'm assuming you all had free access through your places of study and employment, and that you did not pay the $31.50 on my behalf, because if you did we just gave the publishers a fuckload of money which might have otherwise been used to purchase goods and services:
In any case, the study would appear to support the notion that the way helme(n)ted riders behave is far more of a safety factor than the helme(n)ts themselves:
Note in particular that 20% of the non-heme(n)ted riders were boozing versus only 6% of the helme(n)ted riders. (Jeez, Freds really are no fun.) Note also that almost 14% of the bare-headed were using an "electronic" device, versus only about 8% of the foam hat set. As for running lights, almost twice as many non-helme(n)ted riders did that too: roughly 11% versus roughly 6%.
Perhaps most interestingly, 67.5% of non-helme(n)ted riders were involved in collisions with cars, whereas "only" 59.8% of the helme(n)ted riders were.
I take this to mean that, on balance, non-helme(n)ted riders are drunker and hitting (or being hit by) more cars. Therefore, the conclusion I choose to draw from all of this is as follows:
DON'T RIDE DRUNK.
Of course the problem with that is riding drunk is already illegal and generally understood to be stupid, so if you're a doctor seeking media attention and more grant money you get a lot more mileage out of saying we need helme(n)t laws.
Or, I suppose the other possibility is that helme(n)ts are so effective that the drunks don't even wind up in the hospital when they crash, and that it's perfectly fine to ride drunk just as long as you're wearing a helme(n)t--just like you should go right ahead and drive drunk just as long as you're wearing a seatbelt.
There are also limitations to this study. The primary limitation is that this study only reflects those bicyclists who presented to BHC with an injury and therefore may not be representative of others who were involved in an injury-free collision, refused to present to the hospital, or were declared dead at the scene. Many bicyclists who are injured and hit their helmets may not seek medical care unless injuries to other parts of the body are serious enough to warrant an ED visit . The fact that extremity injuries were more common in the helmeted group in our study may be evidence of this. Future studies using a population-based control group may reduce this limitation .
Additional limitations of this study include potential inaccuracy of the data because it relied heavily on patient self-reporting; it is possible that individual patients may have underreported certain behaviours for personal, economic, and/or legal reasons. This study was conducted at a single institution, so its results are representative of the patient population of BHC in NYC and are not generalizable to all bicyclists and regions.
Yes, you can make number say anything you want, and I suspect this study is basically the equivalent of this ad:
So with that, I resolve to stop worrying about it, and instead place all my faith in the Urban Sombrero:
(Is that a serape or a tallis?)
In other news, there will be, or has already been, a "Breaking Away" reunion in Las Vegas:
Most noteworthy is that Dennis Christopher (a.k.a. "Dave Stoller") rides a bike in New York City, and Dennis Quaid is now a giant Fred:
While neither Christopher nor Quaid were big cyclists at the time Breaking Away was in theaters, both came to love riding bikes. Christopher especially likes to ride in New York City, where he spends much of his time these days. And Quaid, who now owns multiple race bikes made by Italy’s storied Pinarello brand, often rides 100 miles a week, mentioning that he has toured in Tuscany and brought a bike to a recent shoot in Canada. “I started riding with my wife because running just got to be too hard on my joints,” says Quaid. “I feel like I’m 12 years old every time I get on my bike.”
Yep, Quaid is not only the genuine article, but he's also a member of the elite 8% of helme(n)ted riders who use electronic devices while riding:
(Oh please, don't act like you don't do it too.)
Speaking of Interbike, the glowing reviews by "stoked" journalists who have ridden bikes for short amounts of time at the Dirt Demo are coming in hot:
When it comes to hype, few companies generate as much internet skepticism as Specialized (however unjustified it often is), and few trends are lambasted as pure marketing BS as much as the new crop of so-called ‘plus’ bikes. Call me a shill, label me a sellout, and cast as much anonymous keyboard ire as you want my way. But after riding the new S-Works Stumpjumper 6Fattie, just call me a believer.
Gee, somebody sure woke up on the defensive side of the hotel bed.
Relax, we believe you. I'm sure it's a really fun bike to ride--and only $8,600 at that!
I'll take three.
By the way, in addition to being frequently "lambasted as pure marketing BS," Specialized are also frequently counterfeited:
I am SHOCKED that aggressively marketing very expensive bicycles results in a black market.
Yes, it's all to easy to dupe overzealous Freds (redundant I know, "overzealous Fred" is like saying "wet water") in their relentless quest for performance:
Though Tombragel picked up riding relatively late in life, he made up in ability what he lacked in experience. As his fitness and physique transformed, friends suggested he try racing. And as he upgraded (he is now a category 2), so did his bikes. In 2010, he bought a BMC Racemaster SLX01, a light, stiff model made from carbon and aluminum. When the seatpost seized in the frame four years later, and the warranty claim dragged out, he began looking for a replacement bike. He tried to buy a used Specialized Venge on eBay, “but you can’t touch a one- to two-year-old frameset for less than $1,500,” he says. “I put in a few bids and lost.” Although he has a good job at GE, he didn’t want to spend the $5,500 it would have cost to purchase a new, race-ready Venge.
Yes, that is a dilemma. Certainly a more sensible Fred might pick a cheaper bike from Specialized's vast lineup. Sadly, there is no such thing as a sensible Fred, so instead he bought a $500 "Venge" on eBay:
Ironically, it was his search for legitimate items that led him to a murky deal. “Because I’d been looking on eBay and Google, I got served up an ad in Gmail from DHgate. Sure enough, you have a frame that looks dead-on like it’s a Venge,” he recalls. “You could tell it was Chinese-direct. But I’d bought things from overseas on eBay, so I was comfortable with it.” The bike was openly advertised as a Specialized. The cost: $500, including shipping.
And soon discovered it was a piece of crap:
When the frame arrived, he took it to a shop to have the parts switched from his old BMC. But from the start, there were issues. Over the next few months, he began to notice that the dropouts weren’t totally aligned. To spin freely, the rear wheel had to be clamped slightly askew. Other oddities: Standard water bottle cage bolts didn’t fit in the frame. And after a few weeks, the screw-in cable-stop adaptor for the internally routed cables began to rust. These weren’t the only signs something was amiss. Not long after getting the bike, he had an unsettling experience on a descent. “In the chainstays and fork, there was a kind of squishy feel,” he recalls. “I just didn’t have any confidence in high-speed turns.” Similar sensations followed on other rides. Additionally, he felt unstable on the bike when sprinting. A return trip to the shop to try to fix some of the issues confirmed what Tombragel had begun to suspect. The shop owner showed a visiting Specialized rep this mysterious Venge with misaligned dropouts. After a few moments, the rep dropped the bad news: “That’s a fake.”
So he went back to his original bike, yet still dreams of one day owning a Specialized:
Regardless, Tombragel’s direct-from-Asia experiment is over. He figures, between the cost of the frame and swapping parts from (and back to) the BMC, he’s probably out what it would have cost to buy a secondhand, legitimate Venge on eBay. He’ll get another bike, and he’d like it to be a Specialized. “I respect the brand,” he says. “The Venge and Tarmac, to me, are the best-reviewed race bikes out there. I mean, that’s what I wanted before going down this crazy path.”
That's just about the saddest story I've ever heard. Let's all put our hands together and PRAY TO GOD AND JESUS ON HIGH that poor Tombragel one day sees the light, stops chasing "the best-reviewed race bikes out there," and discovers bicycles made out of metal.
Lastly, here's over three minutes of Dutch people using roundabouts:
When I find myself getting overwhelmed I watch videos like this in the corner while sucking my thumb.