As you may recall, here's where matters stood after my first ride:
--The audio quality was somewhere between "on hold with the cable company" and "listening to your smartphone on speaker;"
--The helmet seemed to spontaneously un-pair itself from my phone while I was riding (in its defense people, animals, and things generally do their best to un-pair themselves from me, so who can blame it);
--Owing to the above, the emergency notification function did not seem to work, though as you can see from the above video my test was less than scientific;
--I was subsequently unable to pair the helmet with my phone again.
So now you're basically up to date.
As it happened, yesterday afternoon I noticed a hole in my schedule, and though it was small I was determined to squeeze a ride into it. Therefore, I grabbed my Engin and my safety orange nerd lid and spun my tiny little gear on up to the mountain bike trails:
By the way, so determined was I not to waste any riding time that I didn't even bother to change into stretchy clothes first. Instead, I fled with only what was on my back at that moment. The recent brutal heat wave is over and so for the most part I was comfortable, but during the ride the sweat did fall from my brow in just such a way as to make it appear as though I'd urinated in my pants:
Of course I could have saved even more time by riding a bike with gears, but that's the kind of sensible observation that will get you kicked off this blog. Plus, I lost the remainder of both my common sense and my dignity two children ago.
As for the helmet, I successfully paired it again by "forgetting" the device from my phone and connecting it again from scratch. I also placed the remote on my stem, which you can't do with those pathetic stubby little stems the kids are putting on their mountain bikes these days, so there:
Anyway, the helmet was definitely paired, which I confirmed by queuing up some music, and I snugged up the helmet straps a bit to see if that helped with the poor sound quality.
It did not.
Next, as I spun my way on up to Westchester I decided to try the calling feature, so I placed one to my emergency contact, and the sound quality was perfectly adequate in this regard. Sure, you can place a call using your headphones just as easily, but I suppose technically you could get a ticket for doing that in some jurisdictions, plus how often do you get to call someone and explain to them you're speaking to them through the miracle of "bone conduction?"
Sure, if you're Mario Cipollini it's just assumed, but for the rest of us it's kind of a novelty.
Before long I reached the mall that shares the ridge with the mountain bike trail, and realizing I hadn't eaten since the morning I popped into a popular high-end grocery store for a very quick lunch. Not being one of those people who keeps his helmet on while in the grocery store (seriously, it's almost as bad as walking around with toilet paper stuck to your shoe, don't do it), I left it outside with the bike. Then after my light repast of kale and craft beer, I returned to the helmet, only to find that of course in my absence it had un-paired itself again. So I tried to re-pair it over and over again. As I tried, the helmet kept saying "pairing" out loud in a female voice, which probably sounded odd to any bystanders, though maybe I'm the only person who could hear thanks to the hallucinatory miracle that is bone conduction.
Either way, I once again had to quit the app, "forget" the device, and start again from scratch.
This did the trick, which I confirmed by piping some music through it, but now the music was all glitchy and kept skipping, which I thought we had left behind in the vinyl era.
So I gave up on the music and finally hit the trails proper. I knew the helmet was paired, and so once again I decided to test the "emergency contact" feature, which honestly I think is completely stupid but still I WANTED TO SEE IT WORK GODDAMN IT! Furthermore, I was also determined to be more scientific about the whole thing this time. So instead of simply dropping and chucking the helmet repeatedly I unfastened it and left it sitting on my head as I rode. Then, as I rolled on down the trail, I knocked it off in order to emulate what would happen if I were to suddenly go flying over the bars. The helmet did land a little ways from me as you can see in the photo below, but not far enough to un-pair itself from my phone, which I confirmed by playing some music through it once I retrieved it:
I then eagerly texted my emergency contact to see if she'd gotten anything.
She had not.
I'm sure some brainiac will tell me I'm missing something, but as far as I'm concerned this feature doesn't work.
Oh, and I also tested the ride tracker again, but only for a very short portion of the ride since it eats batteries like I eat kale at Whole Foods:
I'm totally going to get my average speed up to 4mph next time, you can bet on it.
Lastly, concerning the fit and comfort of the helmet, I mentioned in the last post that it seemed a bit heavy and inclined to move around compared to other helmets I've used. I still felt this way on yesterday's ride. In particular, the front of the helmet seems to sit a bit low and enter your field of vision, kind of like a Neanderthal's brow. You can even see it in one of the photos on the Coros site:
So after two rides I'm inclined to say this helmet is not so much a piece of serious cycling equipment as it is a somewhat buggy novelty accessory, sort of the 21st century equivalent of a fishing rod with a built-in FM radio. (I have no idea if such a thing ever existed, but it seems like something Fisher-Price would have made at some point.) After all, chances are you've already got a helmet you're quite comfortable with, and if you're determined to listen to music how hard could it be to augment your beloved foam hat with some kind of audio device? Probably not very hard.
As for the emergency contact feature, even if it worked I see this mostly as a selling point for neurotics, and if you or your loved ones are that worried about your safety you're probably much better off keeping them apprised of your ride plans, checking in periodically, and riding with a partner whenever possible.
But hey, I'll keep fiddling with it, and if Coros have any insight for me as to why it doesn't seem to work well or how I'm missing the point of this thing I'm all ears. (Or whatever the bone conduction equivalent of "all ears" is, I suppose that would be "all cheekbones.")
And with that, I'm off. Thanks for reading, ride safe, and see you Monday.
--Wildcat Rock Machine