Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Smart Bikes?!? If It's a Bike The "Smart" Is Already Implied.

When we parted ways last Friday before the holiday weekend I was scampering off for a ride, and I'm pleased to report I successfully completed that ride despite my pallid, ineffectual legs:


While I'm boasting, I should also add that I recently treated myself to a new foam bicycling hat, which is the one you see dangling from the cockpit in the above photo.  As a recovering Fred I always wore the more expensive higher-end helmets for pretty much the same reason I shaved my legs.  (In other words, no good reason at all).  But this time I said "Fuck it" and bought the $40 special instead.

And guess what?

They're pretty much exactly the same--equally light, equally comfortable, and equally useless.

What a shock.

Indeed, between the cheap beer cooler on my head and the cheap all terrain bicycle under my scranus (a hair under $1,000 is cheap for our purposes) I dealt a potentially fatal blow to my own Fredness, though sadly it was deflected by my Fred-tastic stretchy shorts which kept my Fred factor in the black.

Then yesterday I bookended the weekend with a little Memorial Day morning jaunt over the Chris Christie Bridge:


These days I tend to avoid the bridge since it's usually teeming with triathletes and other undesirables, but if the weather's even remotely inclement it's generally safe to proceed.  This is because if atmospheric conditions are not absolutely perfect those kinds of people stay home and play Zwift instead:



I'm pretty sure he just said "fitness entertainment," and while I realize he means it in the context of Zwift it's actually the perfect term for any pretty much any type of riding that involves wearing stretchy shorts.

Speaking of people who ride for "fitness entertainment," what few Fred types I did see were pretty much all wearing Gran Fondo New York jerseys.  Furthermore, at least one of those Fondo Freds also still had the number on his bike despite the fact that the ride took place over three weeks ago.  This led me to consider the following possible explanations:

--It's the Fred equivalent of keeping the lift ticket on your ski jacket;
--He did not pay the extra $75 for the official Gran Fondo New York rider number removal kit;
--He was still out on the course.

Anyway, it was an enjoyable little ride, though there were the usual reminders from "society" that as a cyclist I don't belong on the road, such as signs treating me like an idiot and a nuisance for wanting to use a park:


More signs treating me like an idiot and a nuisance, as well as barriers preventing me from even entering the park in the first place (though obviously I did anyway):


And of course the constant specter of death:


Fortunately, thanks to the signs telling me to wear a "protective helmet" (as opposed to a decorative one) and to watch the road surface (which had never occurred to me, I usually just read the newspaper while I'm riding), and to use only a tiny sliver of that road surface so the kinds of assholes who drive through beautiful parks always have plenty of room for their SUVs, I made it back to the bridge intact.  By then the mist had cleared and the flag was visible in all its glory:


Memorial Day notwithstanding and no disrespect intended, given the current political landscape it's hard not to react to the flag the same way I do to those "Share The Road" signs, by which I mean scoffing and muttering, "Yeah, right."

Meanwhile, the Giro d'Italia is over almost before I realized it had begun, and instead of going to Disney World winner Vincenzo Nibali is going to Torture Town, otherwise known as Bahrain:


Astana manager Alexander Vinokourov told Cyclingnews he was still hopeful that Nibali could decide to stay at Astana, but it seems that not even a substantial increase in Astana's offer will stop Nibali from opting to move on and becoming the absolute team leader at the Bahrain Cycling Team.

As we've already addressed, the human rights record of the guy who's starting this team is as spotty as Mario Cipollini's underpants, and it says a lot about the sorry state of pro cycling that sticking with blood doper and race-fixer Alexander Vinokourov would have been the more scrupulous thing to do.

And I shouldn't even have to tell you that this Prince Nasser guy is a triathlete:

Nibali's relationship with Prince Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa began back in February 2015 when he and Alex Carera were invited to Bahrain by the prince before riding the Dubai Tour. Nibali and the prince rode together, and the prince also attended the final stage of the Tour de France in Paris. He is a keen triathlete and has completed several Ironman events, and represented Bahrain internationally. He created the Bahrain Endurance 13 team, signing some of the biggest names in the sport including Caroline Steffen, Terenzo Bozzone, Brent McMahon and Ben Hoffman.

Evil is as evil does.

Speaking of evildoers, VanMoof plans to thwart the ones who steal bikes with this "smart bike," which they're calling the SmartBike, now available for preorder:



So what makes it a "smart" bike?  Well, if it gets stolen, VanMoof's crack team of bike detectives will spend two weeks tracking it down:


Ships with total peace of mind.

With the VanMoof peace of mind service, your SmartBike will always come back to you. If it gets stolen, our team will spend two weeks tracking down your bike, and if we can't find it, we'll replace it.

This is promising (assuming it works), though after two years you've got to pay a monthly fee for the service, so in a way it's just the bike equivalent of an extended warranty, i.e. a slightly more benign Ponzi scheme.

The bike also promises to keep you dry somehow--and as it turns out, this is how:


Arrive dry, every time.

The Smartbike will make sure you never arrive anywhere soaking wet, because it'll scan the forecast and notify you via the smartphone app when you should leave to avoid the rain.

Is there anybody in the 21st century who doesn't already check the weather on a smartphone before leaving the house?  Why on earth would I need my bike to do this for me?  Also, what am I supposed to do when I'm leaving the house for an appointment and my bike tells me not to go?  Better to show up wet than not to show up at all.  After all, my toenails aren't going to pedicure themselves.

Most importantly, the bike comes with keyless entry, just like all those smart locks on Kickstarter nobody in the world is using:


Terrifying to thieves.

The SmartBike comes with anti-theft parts and a keyless lock built inside the frame where a thief can't get to it. It's also equipped with GSM and Bluetooth tracking so if a thief gets their hands on it, you'll get it back.

Hey, it looks like a nifty bike and everything, but I maintain that the only "smart bike" when it comes to urban commuting is an inexpensive one with a big-ass lock.  I was also hoping that the "Arrive dry, every time" meant it would be equipped with one of these:



Look, it's crabon!


Here's how it works:



Unfortunately, at these speeds a windscreen isn't going to do anything, so the only use for it that I can see is as a sail.

Lastly, remember that fake analog artisanal bike computer?  Well here's the real deal:



I'd take that over the Omata any day.

85 comments:

Ted K. said...

Note 22. (Paragraph 137) Here we are considering only the conflict of values within the mainstream. For the sake of simplicity we leave out of the picture “outsider” values like the idea that wild nature is more important than human economic welfare.

Atherton said...

Podio Podio Podio it's my birthday Podio f u tedk

petee said...

Scrodium!

Reggie said...

Fu Ted 3

dancesonpedals said...

My citibike had nom bungee today.

BamaPhrex said...

Tell me true, did anyone notice a windscreen in the second Shield video?

Anonymous said...

Clicky shoes are a dead giveaway, Fred.

Anonymous said...

top scrotium

Spokey said...


well at least top tennis

dnk said...

Helment Troll!

dnk said...

Holy shit, Snob. Just a cursory mention of the "B-Shield?" That has to be the most annoying and ineffective bike accessory ever. Pure comedy gold.

Too much of a low-hanging fruit?

Anonymous said...

Check out Wildcat with the leg show.

Spokey said...


took so long for that guy to put the b shield on that he'd entered the drought season and now doesn't need it.

CommieCanuck said...

I would pay $1000 for that brain saddle. Finally, I could literally brain fart.

Freddy Murcks said...

I have the weirdest boner right now. Oooh yeah. Smart bikes.

wishiwasmerckx said...

The Omerta speedometer refuses to give up any performance information, even when threatened with jail time.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Caroline Steffen, Terenzo Bozzone, Brent McMahon and Ben Hoffman?

Some of the biggest names in the sport?

Which sport?

N/A said...

Welcome back, I hope all youse Fuck-Os had a lovely weekend and so forth.


I enjoyed a sprint finish on a bottle of gin, then a recovery ride in my hammock. Decent.

leroy said...

My dog informs me that
New Jersey has now been sanitized for your protection.

Grump said...

Next time a tree root reaches out and grabs your front wheel, you'll be glad you had that $40 helment on. Instead of slowly getting up and saying "OW", you'll wake up three minutes later to find the some New York Crime Family has taken advantage of your situation to abscond with your bike, jersey, helment, shoes, and bibs, leaving you only with your socks.
You might even wake up dead.

dem_bieks! said...

The podium of the Giro is a joke. A young, fresh, Senor Valverde in third and Nibali's own come-from-nowhere win.


You would not believe this one if you made it up. The head of USA Cycling's anti-doping committee recommends doping. http://road.cc/content/news/191633-legalise-epo-says-british-anti-doping-advisor-usa-cycling

Well, this is USA Cycling, the same people that ran the USPS doping program, so yeah.

DB said...

Hey, Leroy:
Is that Van Moof dog a friend of your dog's?

cdinvb said...

That does it. I'm airing up my tires. Say, what's everybody running these days?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

top 25? Welcome back!

JLRB said...

Next up on Kickshitter - Smart Toes that pedicure themselves

Bryan said...

So, there is a wheel size restriction to ride in that park? What, do they not like foldies? You should go and ride your Brompton there sometime, just to spite 'em!

Chubby said...

I'm so disappointed in the commentariat. The smoking hot spokes model for the wind screen, and not one boner joke? I, for one, shall not let this indignation pass. Let me find a bigger HD screen to watch the video again. On my smarty phone it's hard(did you see what I did there)(thanks Snob) to get a good look.

Francois said...

Wearing a helmet is mandatory in the park? Can the park legally ask people to do that?

balls™ said...

Boner joke.

Freddy Murcks said...

I will point out that the Republic of Kazakhstan, which provides much of the financial support to the Astana team, does not exactly have an unblemished human rights record. Professional cycling is rife with shitbags and petty tyrants. Hell, if it weren't for the shitbags and the petty tyrants, the whole operation would have probably folded decades ago.

leroy said...

This morning, I saw a Brompton with a toddler in a child seat on the back. She turned around and smiled. My faith in the future is restored momentarily.

DB -- my dog thinks the Van Moof spokes-canine used to work for Oscar Mayer. But I say that's a stretch.

wle said...

great bikey sign:"OBEY ALL SIGNS"

like barney fife lecturing the dangerous prisoners at "the rock"

{plus "no writing on the walls"}

wle

Joe said...

No joke about how the guy looks like he is using a prosthetic arm to masterbate the SmartBike's downtube???? I fear your splipping, Mr. Snob. Please don't make me look elsewhere for sophomoric bicycle masturbation humor.

CommieCanuck said...

The podium of the Giro is a joke. A young, fresh, Senor Valverde in third and Nibali's own come-from-nowhere win.

His win didn't come from nowhere, the lithium battery came from Korea and the motor was probably German, and the dope was Swiss.

I have an second Omerta speedometer. While riding downhill at whoo-hoo speeds the gauge read somewhere between, "you didn't see nuttin'" and "fuggedaboutit". The first speedometer told me how fast I was going, but then it disappeared and was found months later in the harbor encased in cement. Both smelled like marinara and sausage.

BADA BING

Bromptonaut. said...

Min wheel size 26"? So you're not allowed to ride a Brompton in the park? Scandalous (Scranulous?)
Whatever happened to equal opportunities?

CommieCanuck said...

I will point out that the Republic of Kazakhstan, which provides much of the financial support to the Astana team, does not exactly have an unblemished human rights record.

The Tour of Amgen takes place in a country where the minimum wage is only $7.25.

CommieCanuck said...

Why do this bike gadget videos all have this dopey whimsical music as if to imply, "hmmm..that's really smart".

Snob, your comment is sexist. The B in B shield is named after bosoms, and we can no longer ignore women's health issues on bikes and ridicule protection from nipple windchill. We can't have the headlights on 24/7.

Boner.

Bikeboy said...

Is BikeHelmetSnobNYC still available? Maybe Mr. Snob could grab it and focus his brain-bucket animus there, instead.

I've been transportation-cycling (and fitness- and recreation-) for 30+ years, 160,000+ miles. Most of the time I wear a brain bucket. And Mr. Snob is right! If your noggin isn't slamming off the pavement or something else hard, it's a total waste! It's been a total waste for me to wear it! Oh - except for those TWO times... both of which involved a hard slam-of-the-head to asphalt.

Based on my personal experience... yeah, putting a helmet on is probably unnecessary. But on the other hand... in the unlikely event you DO need it, it'll be too late to change your mind. My advice: "If you use your brain, wear a helmet. If you don't, well, it's probably not so important."

Anonymous said...

Joe @ 154: How's Devon?

American Carpet Baggers for President said...

You can take the brain saddle off and wear it as a helmet at Anti Trump demonstrations.

Wall Street Hill was paid $240,000 for talking to Wall Street investors about the brain saddle. Investors said "we're in Hill" and "Oh Yeah, BTW, please keep the Carried Interest Provision of the Tax Code".

Anonymous said...

Who knew that after Kip married Lafawnduh he nailed down a job with VanMoof? Guess that cage fighting thing never worked out.

CommieCanuck said...

Bikeboy, nice, but you could have fit in a few more clichees. Think of the children.

From the CDC:

Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Half of which are repeat fallers.

According to the CDC In 2005, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of a fall. Up from 7,700 a decade earlier.


This wholesale slaughter could be prevented by seniors wearing crabon healments. Kinda surprised RONCO hasn't started selling them already.

JLRB said...

And wait, what, no mention of the < a href = "http://katv.com/news/offbeat/cyclist-says-breast-implants-saved-her-life-when-jumped-by-a-kangaroo"> breast implants as airbags for cyclists?!?

1904 Cadardi said...

On a beikeen maintenance related note:

Finally got around to replacing the derailleur cables and housing with a fancy new Shimano teflon coated setup and boy howdy! The shifting is smooth, light and quick with none of the Front 242 ticka-ticka-ticka-ticka-chunk-cha-chunk-chunk-chunk sounds that janinedm mentioned. Spendy, for sure, but surprisingly well worth it.

Now back to non-bikecycle maintenance issues:

Is that park with the 24" wheel size limit in NY or NJ? And is that wheel or rim size? What is the ETRO value?

Trotsky said...

Commie, get back to work you blowhard!

JLRB said...

Long weekend and HTML goes to hell ...

breast implants as airbags for cyclists

P. Bateman said...

already breaking out the white pants now that its memorial day.

wait, those are your legs? does america's riding cap, canada, block all the sun up there?

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

My helment saved my life this weekend.......

while riding Clinton's Folly towpath up in beautiful Brockport, NY, I passed a gaggle of geese wandering aimlessly about the trail, disregarding other trail users, similar to their human counterparts. As always, there were some youn ones present, who were blocking the path with random , unpredictable motion. On of the goose helicopter moms took offense a my passing within proximity to the unruly gosling. She ( or he, who the hell really knows) flew right at my head, wins spread, and her body bounced off my head. What would have happened if the gooses belly hit my head without a helment on?

bad boy of the north said...

Heading back to dc on family business.if i get any downtime....anyone have recommended trails to ride? i am familiar with the c and o from chain to m street.anything beyond that?

bad boy of the north said...

Have to let go of one in my stable...any takers?

Dooth said...

Yeah, if your Vanmoof gets stolen, Dura Ace Ventura bike detective will be on the case.

bad boy of the north said...

Someone's goose would have been cooked.glad you're okay.hope your feathers weren't too ruffled .

Spokey said...


From the CDC:

Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Half of which are repeat fallers.



the hell you say. if that's true, i ain't been gettin' mine. who the hell has been taking my falls?

P. Bateman said...

@Dooth - dura ace venture....

well done sir. very well indeed.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. CommieCanuck --

I don't mean to brag, but my dog told me I'm the inspiration for his senior safety wear clothing line available for funding on kickstarter.

ken e. said...

that's funny. if there's one thing cyclo-cross (cruelly) teaches, it's that your bike-handling skills can ALWAYS be better.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

1904 Cadardi - that "park" is in New Jersey. It is Henry Hudson Drive (although everyone I know refers to it as River Road) and runs along the Hudson River in the Palisades Interstate Park from Edgewater to Alpine. The only thing I've ever seen the Palisades Park police ticket cyclists for is speeding down the descent from Alpine, as the speed limit is 25 mph and a cyclist died from a crash on that descent a couple of years ago. I've seen plenty of helmetless cyclists on that road, and also in Rockland County, NY, just over the border a few miles North, and Rockland County has a law on the books that all cyclists must wear helmets at all times. But I've never seen a cyclist get ticketed for not wearing a helmet.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

Why do you have no knees?

Well, now I am imagining what I could do with one of those enormous fleshy non-jointed appendage...

bieks said...

Wheel size restriction is just a sly way to tell the BMXers to F-off and as a bonus, the offroad skateboarders & rollerbladers. Banning Bromptons? That's just because they're bear bait. Ride your Brompton in the park and a bear will eat you and steal your bike.

Dooth said...

For those hard-to-crack cases, Vanmoof calls on Inspector Peugeot.

BamaPhred said...

And you thought you had hazards where you ride, I'm not sure my gatorskins are up to this.

Vote Early and Vote Often said...

"According to the CDC In 2005, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of a fall. Up from 7,700 a decade earlier."

O'Holy Jumpin Leaprechauns. Dottie and The Donald (with Donald getting his all puffed up via an assist from Devon) will double that number. If elected he'll remove helmets, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, walkers and false teeth from seniors (just try walking, stepping off a curb and eating a Burro, I mean a Burrito, at the same time with out your helmet). This is America, we can double that number, I know we can. This message brought to you by the Donald for President Campaign. For saying the same thing Hill gets $240,000.00, but advocates raising the minimum wage for speeches to $250,000.00

Sure Not in Alaska said...

When I ride I wear latex, it's like a million little fingers urging Devon to let go.

Tie Me GaRoo Down Sport said...

The Australia Edition of USA Yesterday said something about seniors throwing themselves off a cliff, but said crabon helmets could reduce, but not eliminate, dementia, caused by eating a Cafe Devon McMuffin, and yes, it's down under, by that I mean in Australia.

Some guy from upstate said...

"For no good reason at all", indeed. I am presuming that, as a recovering Fred, no leg-shaving has taken place for a while, but from the looks of things, it doesn't seem like it could possibly have made any difference. Nice mud spatters, though.

AARP Approches said...

I'm not over 65, but I've already fallen, what does that portend for my future? Respond with free advice only please. I'm so sick of falling for pay me mo fo.

Kerry said...

Sorry Snob.. but that ain't no analog speedometer... That looks (and sounds) very much like a servo device being driven by what I highly suspect is an Arduino type processor..

McFly said...

Better to show up wet than to not show up at all I always say.

Notsosanta Klaus said...

Hey Commie, this is not a brain saddle, those are the last riders large intestines.

bike bum said...

not clicking on anything giro, nibali or valverde. I,m making my protest by doing even less than I normally do.

Spokey said...


most of my clicking stopped by installing a new BB. i can live with what's left as that requires installing a much more expensive new knee.

JC said...

Anyone seen this wonderful clip showing what it's like to cycle down under?

Road Rage

babble on said...

Heh heh I love this place.... a brain fart. Yer on a roll today, doc. :)

Sorry bout yer luck, New Yorker park goers. Here in Lord Stanley's backyard, the signs are minimal, and the only two that show up with any regularity read:

30 km/hr &
Motorists yield to cyclists

As it should be, given who's driving the lethal weapons, n'all.

Heh and as I wrote that, Rick Cluff, the host of On the Coast was talking about sharing the road in Stanley Park, and about respect for one another... and the last thing he said (in a lighthearted tone) was "... or it should be just for bicyclists."

And THAT's why the smart Americans are moving north.

babble on said...

JC, yer link leads to a 404 error.

Carlos OC said...

24'' racists!

dnk said...

babble @10:30,

Trump says that the Canadians will be begging to live on our side of the Wall once Donald gets lawfully coronated preznit.

babble on said...

Yeah, well maybe that's true of a few fat old white men who get a boner imagining the possibilities, seeing people of colour, and those of a certain religious heritage rounded up and sent to "camps."

Ooops. Did Goodwin just enter the room? He's all over the place these days, it seems.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Babs, I'm not taking the bait. The only real threat to Canadians is a shortage of Labatts.

babble on said...

Ewwww, yuck. And it appears to me the biggest threat to the Canadian way of life is the massive influx of immigrants attempting to escape the madness. And even that's not a threat, just as long as you don't bring your park signs with yeh when you come.

JC said...

Cheers Babs. I really do give up on this html code thing. If you see the address that's trying to link to and amend the text accordingly you'll get a good idea of what life is like as a cyclist in Oz, and particularly WA (not noted for its drivers, but renowned for its rate of ice/meth addiction). Thank heavens few of these nut-jobs have guns...

Steve Barner said...

That's a magnet out of a hard drive on the wheel in that last video. Incredibly powerful, perhaps it will also serve as flat protection by sucking up the tacks tossed onto the bike lane!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure no one will motor-dope their trainer to win a zwift KOM

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