I love you.
Secondly, my Valentine's Day gift to you is that I won't be updating this blog next week and will return on Monday, February 22nd with regular updates:
See, the schools are closed next week, and so I will be spending my days with my children making memories and taking them to New York City's finest cultural institutions:
Just kidding, that place is way too highbrow. I'll be dumping their futures into a slot machine in Yonkers while they work the floor picking pockets just like I taught them:
Speaking of lousy parenting, instead of getting your kid a bike, why not start them off on the path to douchedom early by getting them one of these instead?
My favorite toy when I was a kid was a bright red Power Wheels Jeep. Even though I never left the sidewalk, the driveway, or the yard with it, that Jeep gave me my first taste of the open road. Five miles per hour felt like 100 behind that plastic wheel.
But then I turned 5. I hit a growth spurt and found myself above the recommended weight limit for the Jeep. I tried to scrunch myself into the drivers seat and ignore the fact that my size was making it almost impossible for the tiny electric motor to do anything. The joy it gave me was replaced by seething anger as I watched my kid brother inherit the Jeep.
Wow, that's depressing. Squeezing yourself into a plastic box with a tiny electric motor? Pathetic. My favorite "toy" when I was a kid was a bicycle, and you better believe I left the driveway with it. It also went way faster than five miles per hour, especially on the downhills. Even the plastic Big Wheel I had before getting a real bike was comparatively badass, although once you skidded a bunch of flat spots onto the plastic wheels it was basically like riding on hexagons--which I suppose has its own romance as it evokes riding on the pavé in a certain way.
But why waste time on human-powered conveyances when you're going to spend your entire adulthood behind the wheel of a leased Hyundai?
Dave Bell, the CEO of startup Actev Motors, has a solution to my problem, even if he is about 25 years late. "By the time [kids] get to 5 years old, they’re pretty much done with Power Wheels," he says. "They’re bored with it. It doesn’t go very fast, it doesn’t really have any features."
That's why his company created the Arrow Smart-Kart, an electric go-kart for pre-teens that will make its debut at this weekend's New York City Toy Fair. And like all the best toys, it's the kind of thing that makes me wish I were still a kid just so I could drive one.
See, you don't want to give your kid a bicycle, or a skateboard, or anything they've got to work to propel. What you want to do is shut off both their bodies and brains as early as possible by giving them a motor, slapping a helmet on them, and limiting their range electronically:
That alone is enough to make a kid want the Arrow, but it's all the smart features that will make it attractive to parents. The most important one is probably geofencing. Parents can use the Arrow app to draw a boundary on a map, and if their child tries to cross it the motor will automatically shut off. That's a big deal — my Power Wheels Jeep obviously never had this option, so my mom was forced to stand in our driveway and yell every time I drove near the road. (Thanks, Mom!)
It should be interesting to see what happens when the "geofenced" generation eventually sheds their electric shock collars and comes of age--though I suppose by then self-driving cars will be the norm and they'll never really have to.
(And hey, I'm not saying I wouldn't have been all over that designer go-kart as a kid. I'm just saying it was probably a good thing I didn't have one.)
In the meantime I'm developing an app that helps you tell your ass from your elbow, I predict it's going to be a huge seller.
Lastly, I was reading a review of some high-end Fred flippers recently and found myself once again marveling at bike reviewers' ability to invent superlatives for qualities that are wholly unremarkable:
The fit is fantastic, with a reassuringly snug and shrink-wrapped feel around the middle of your foot and an almost ludicrously secure hold on your heel.
Ludicrously secure heel-hold? Is heel ejection a big problem with cycling shoes? I don't think I've ever encountered it. And not only is it secure, it's ludicrously secure. Like hang-you-upside-down-by-the-shoes secure:
Then again I did once see someone come out of his shoes at a cyclocross race while dismounting to clear a barrier, so maybe I just have overly bulbous heels--though it's probably more likely I know how to fasten my shoe straps properly.
And now, I'm pleased to present you with a quiz. As always, study the item, think, and click on your answer. If you're right you'll know, and if you're wrong you'll see someone with a drinking problem.
Thanks very much for reading, ride safe, and Happy Valentard's Day!
See you back here on February 22nd.
I love you,
--Wildcat Rock Machine
1) Today is:
--International Winter Bike To Work Day
--International Winter Hug A Messenger Day
--International Winter Drive To Work Day
--International Winter Fuck It, I'm Staying Home Day
2) This proposed safety device for trucks is called the "Wanking Window."
(Another designer "disrupting" the status quo with douchey hand gestures.)
3) What is this bike called?
--The "Femke Sled"
4) The species known as the "MAMIL" is increasingly taking to the:
5) What is this?
--The ultimate commuting bike
--The ultimate porteur bike
--The ultimate foraging bike
--Steampunk triathlon bike
6) It's only what?
--Rock and roll but I like it like it yes I do
--Doping if you win
7) What's going on here?
--He's trying to remove his rear wheel with his knees
--He's checking the bike for a motor
--He's participating in a wheelie contest
--He's getting blown
***Special People Don't Drive Good-Themed Bonus Video***