Thursday, September 29, 2016

Free Your Head and Your Bike Will Follow

Most of us are familiar with Dyson.  They make vacuum cleaners, bathroom hand dryers, and of course those bladeless fans that singlehandedly made the phrase "When the shit hits the fan" obsolete.

(The shit just goes right through this fan.  Amazing.)

Certainly those of you with feces-flinging monkeys at home can attest to what a life-changing invention that was.

Anyway, someone from Dyson emailed me to let me know they also have a charitable arm called the James Dyson Foundation.  This foundation hosts an international design competition called the James Dyson Award.  And here's one of the top designs:

Problem: Around the world, bike share programs are giving commuters and tourists a convenient, inexpensive way to move from point A to point B. But bike share users very rarely wear helmet. Few people want to carry a helmet around all day, and rental helmets can be unsanitary or ill-fitting. In busy cities, crashes do occur, and wearing a helmet can reduce the chance of injury or death by 85%.

Oy.

Firstly, that "helmet can reduce the chance of injury or death by 85%" statistic is a load of crap, and if that's the sort of BS they're flinging around the Dyson offices it's no wonder they need bladeless fans.

Secondly, is the fact that "bike share users very rarely wear helmets" even a problem in the first place?  Of course it isn't.  There's a reason you don't read about stories about how dangerous bike share is, and that's because...it's not very dangerous.  Certainly hopping on one of these sluggish tanks and riding half a mile is not more meaningfully risky than any of the other stuff we do during the normal course of our day.  After all, as the great Frank Drebin once said, “You take a chance getting up in every morning, crossing the street or sticking your face in a fan.”

Unless that fan's a Dyson, but I don't think they'd been invented at the time.

Nevertheless, despite the non-problem of what bike share riders have or don't have on their heads at any given moment, one designer has gone ahead and "solved" it anyway:

Solution: EcoHelmet is a folding, recyclable helmet for bike share systems. Made of waterproofed paper in a unique radial honeycomb pattern, EcoHelmet allows cyclists to ride more confidently, and more safely.

And here it is:


I've often likened bike helmets to yarmulkes in that both sets of headgear serve mostly to communicate your beliefs to others and identify you as a member of a community, and now the helmet-as-religious-compulsion has reached its inevitable conclusion with this largely ceremonial garment:
Just watch the video, wherein the designer explains her inspiration:




This was born when I was traveling a lot and renting bikes in every city I went to and spending a lot of my time exploring the cities which was great feeling really really anxious. 


If renting bikes in every city was so great then why did she feel anxious?

It was unfamiliar, I was riding on the wrong side of the road, and I hadn’t packed a helmet.


Well here's a crazy thought: if riding on the wrong side of the road is making you anxious, why not try riding on the correct side?

I dunno, that's what I'd do, but I'm not a designer.

I started thinking it would be really nice if I could just get a helmet with the bike and just feel a bit more comfortable on the road:


One of the best things about traveling is learning about another culture.  So why not learn to go with the laid-back helmetless vibe instead of branding the locals with the Exclamation Point of Shame?  If nobody's wearing a helmet then there's probably a reason, and it's most likely that riding a bike is no big deal there whereas American pro-helmet anti-bike propaganda has made you unduly uptight.  Fretting about not having a helmet the whole time you're in another country is like not eating any of the local cuisine and subsisting entirely on food from American fast food chains.  (I am totally guilty of doing that myself which is why I know how sad it is.)

And when I started talking to other people who used bike share that was their number one complaint is that they were anxious to be riding in the city.

The solution for anxiety is not a helmet.  The solution for anxiety is treating the underlying cause of the anxiety.  Using bike share is safe!  Free yourself from your crippling faith in the safety hat!  Let your head go bare and your locks flow free!  If the only thing holding you back from enjoying bike share is not wearing a helmet, just think about how enjoyable it will be once you forget about the damn helmet!

But no.  Instead she designed a coffee filter for your head:


Or, if you prefer, one of those paper party balls:


I want to see these in cities all around the world, letting people ride safely and with confidence anywhere they go, making cities greener and more ecologically sound as well as safer:


That's a shame.  I want to see people riding safely and with confidence even if they don't have the cycling equivalent of one of those paper ass gaskets with them at all times.

In other news, I was checking out a VeloNews bike review:


And I noticed they've come up with a new visually dazzling yet ultimately meaningless graphing system that perfectly complements the florid yet ultimately meaningless prose of the reviews themselves:


Nicely done.

Also, you'll be happy to know that even though this is a cyclocross bike you're allowed to ride it on gravel, but first you'll have to re-dish all your wheels:

Cannondale engineers gave a nod to the burgeoning gravel scene when designing the
frame, creating a bike that can accommodate tires up to 40 millimeters in width with 5 millimeters of clearance to spare. They did this by moving the drivetrain 6 millimeters outboard. But there’s a rub: The rear wheel needs to be re-dished to work properly with the drivetrain offset. That means if you need to swap wheels in the pits, you better be sure you’ve got a properly dished wheel at the ready. It also is a problem if you’ve got an existing set of pit wheels that aren’t dished specifically for this frame.

I realize the bike industry constantly has to futz with frame spacing, wheel retention systems, and so forth--and that's fine.  Look, we all realize you've got to sell new stuff.  Just do us all a favor and let us know when you get it all sorted out and we can use a set of wheels in more than one bike.

Until then I'll stick with my old-timey 130mm spacing and quick-release skewers, even though I am sacrificing precious lateral stiffness and missing out on the awesome stopping power and modulation of dick breaks.

Or, maybe I'll just leapfrog the industry altogether and get one of these:




Wonder what pressure he's running in that front caster.

71 comments:

Mr. Lund said...

Podium!

dnk said...

Top?

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Hitting REFRESH for the Podium!!


vsk

Anonymous said...

Missed it by THAT much.

Unknown said...

Top fivus scranus

82medici said...

"helmet can reduce the chance of injury or death by 85%" if you fall off your bike jumping the curb.

Or "helmet can reduce the chance of injury or death by 0%" if you get hit by a speeding semi.

Which is more likely on a rental bike?


I had to identify waffles in the Captcha. Can you put them in little foil packets, too?

Anonymous said...

Are those colors in the graph supposed to be correlated with the percentage of a "perfect score"? because, they're not.

Schisthead said...

That seems like an unfair comparison.

I hear those ass gaskets actually come in handy occasionally.

Anonymous said...

I'm digging the Halbrad. Think you can do an exclusive multi-modal review, Snob?

le Correcteur said...

Top ten two days running; read before commenting 2 days running.

janinedm said...

I didn't watch the video. What's the deal with the strap? Do you just tie it with a knot? Also, what if you're a sweat pig like me? The I feel like the half inch closest to my head would be pulp, and lacking in lateral stiffness that would provide me with "protection." For the record, I'm wearing a helmet today. It's chilly and hats fly off of my pea-sized head without a strap.

Matt said...

Uhm, yeah...that little tiny front wheel on that freaky bike...what could possibly go wrong riding THAT! I thought we learned long ago that a bigger front wheel is better going over obstacles than a tiny front wheel. That bike should be called "Face Plant waiting to happen". Maybe that stupid folding helmet should be worn over your FACE when riding that little bike. They go together good IMO.

il Pirata est Mort said...

Should have called the helmet the Origami.

schwetty said...

Hehe, you said party balls.

wishiwasmerckx said...

1) There are few DC bikeshare/aoto accidents because the bikes are primarily ridden across and around the Nartional Mall and surrounding monuments, and not in the streets.

2) Could have sworn I read on here of a Chicago bikeshare fatality, but I suppose that could have occurred after the linked article claiming none nationally was written.

3) Janinedm, pigs don't sweat, but bacon is delicious.

4) The bikeshare helmet looks like my cat's scratching post. Is it Snell and ANSI approved? Does it have MIPS? Would BabbleOn face certain demise if she wore it?

5) I kinda liked the mutant unicycle. It inspired me to move the steering wheel in my Tesla into the back seat. It steers "intuitively" now.

Visegripmikey said...

Helmet debate aside, that helmet actually is a pretty cool invention - I think it has to pass certification in order to be sold, but it looks like it functions the same way Koroyd does. http://cyclingtips.com/2016/09/origins-how-airplane-seats-turned-into-koroyds-quest-for-safer-bike-helmets/

Unknown said...

The unicycle with training wheels is an excellent reason to wear a helmet, preferably with face guard.

bcstractor said...

If the helmet is made of waterproofed paper it is NOT RECYCLABLE. In fact almost nothing is recyclable in paper or plastic unless it is a bottle or plain paper. It's like the Terra chips bags - let me know where you can recycle those with the oil and crumbs inside. Green washing.

Anonymous said...

the helment looks like a walnut - or a vagina - i can't figure out which.

maybe a "walgina"

Drew Pflaumer said...

So... I actually shared an article about this helmet with some friends a few days ago. With the reminder that, as of publication day, only one person has been killed using a bicycle share in the United States.

The kicker?

She was wearing a helmet.

Sounds to me like wearing a helme(n)t while using bike share is 100% more fatal than not wearing one.

Grump said...

Snobby, you forget about the placebo effect of wearing a helmet. "I think, therefore I am", said some French guy. Maybe, just maybe, if I think that a helmet will save me, my brain will exert some Superhuman power to do just that. After all, if getting bitten by a radioactive spider can give you Superhuman powers, why can't the placebo effect do the same thing??

bad boy of the north said...

Gee... someone said"hmmm.... let's see what I could do with this delivery hand truck....voila!".

Cat 6 Nor Wall said...

Never wear a helmet -I read a study that says bike riders wear helmets intimidate people.

Double seat tube on the Halbrad pays homage to some of the Rivendell frame designs, enhancing its retro appeal. The makers must be going retro for a reason, I can't imagine anyone putting out a new transport deviceway without e-Assist in this day and age. Bars in back are cool - gives the riders the appearance of giving themselves the Belgian Reach.

Dave - Everywheere said...

I wear a helmet because a)my cycling club insurance requires it and b) the lunatic drivers on Long Island make me very cautious. Last year around this time I was in Amsterdam and the hotel I was staying at had bikes (bieks?) available to guests at a very modest cost. One drawback - no helmets were provided. When I asked the clerk about this, his response was more or less "Fuck all, another American. We don't need them here. We don't allow guns and our drivers arent fucking crazy". Armed with these thoughts, we rde all around the city for two days. No incidents, no damage and a wonderful time was had by all.

PowerBar Farts said...

love the disembodied hand in the picture of the toilet seat cover.

Ric said...

82medici said...

I had to identify waffles in the Captcha. Can you put them in little foil packets, too?

Yes, you can get them in little foil packets. Well, kinda waffles sort of:
http://www.honeystinger.com/organic-stinger-waffles.html

JLRB said...

Wishiwas @ 2:52

Not sure of your point on bikeshare accidentals, but I see lots of bike shares specific bicyclists outside the DC Mall zone - many out into the VA burbs - with stations positioned pretty far out. I would be 90% of the use is outside the tourist zone.

Everbody said...

12.5 lbs.

N/A said...

That's a huge turd, Everybody!

Everbody said...

The diaper is rated 10-15 lbs.!

N/A said...

Those honeycomb paper helmets are one of the more hilarious bikey things I've seen recently. If you're the sort that is so over-the-top worried about having a helmet, then you should probably just wear one anytime you leave the house, bike or not.

In celebration of the fall season, I've switched to my new helmet.

HivemindX said...

I completely understand how cycling in a strange city, possibly on a different side of the road, can make someone anxious. I do not understand how wearing a helmet gets rid of this. Are there really people who think, "Well I might get hit by a car but I read somewhere that my chance of death is 85% less with this thing on my head so I'm cool with it".

You had it exactly right. The solution to people worried about how deadly bike share bikes are is not to give them a placebo it is to make them aware that your chance of being in an accident is very low and your chance of dying on one is virtually non-existent.

Back to point one, I could of course be wrong and the world is full of people like this. After all someone complained to me before that strict liability would lead to cyclists just throwing themselves in front of cars. Presumably happy that the hospital fees for their crippling injuries would be paid for by the poor motorist-victim.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...shit or get off the potty, even if you're wearing a waffle helment
...and if you do, don't fling it through the bladeless fan

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Turdy turd,! Scranus!

Anonymous said...

Hey Snob, are you going to let Bill Nye get away with picking out bikes for people? https://www.diamondback.com/bill-nye/lets-ride

nscadu 9 said...

To the eco-helmet inventors credit, she did properly identify that her paper decor helmet is just as effective as wearing a styrofoam helmet.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

Hey, Anon 4:18,

...dude at minute 1:00 asks if 'maybe you're a Cat6 racer'...
...that's plagiarism

Frickus Rungus said...

I'm waiting for the 2.9" wheeled version of the uni-hand-cycle-truck. Or maybe the 2.75"+ wheeled version...

Papa papa said...

Dave everywheeeeerere:

Insurance for a cycling club? What assets could you possibly be protecting? A coffee machine? A park tool stand?

Baffled in Borneo

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Paper helming from Isis Shitter? Time for a name change. What is the female version of Edsel?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Paper helming from Isis Shitter? Time for a name change. What is the female version of Edsel?

BamaPhred said...

I'm being immersed in another culture, and I haven't even left the house! Musica Nortena, if I'm not mistaken, and I probably am. No, it's not me, it's some guys doing repairs, you know, fixing what the house husband broke trying to fix.

McFly said...

You know what else was born when I was traveling a lot? Illegitimate bastards, but you don't see me strapping them to my head.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Wowiee, a folding Christmas decoration to wear on my head!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Anon 259.

Vaginut sounds better and tasty too!

sTONEdEADLAND said...

Isn't helmet lady a host on Globe Trekker?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised neither Snobby nor his battalion of commenters made this observation about that funny bike: it's a unicycle recumbent!

And that helmet, insects are gonna get trapped in there and they'll set up colonies and reproduce and eventually infest the host rider who'll be assimilated into the collective and these insect/human hybrids will prowl the streets on share bikes ensnaring innocent citizens and they'll all be forced to prostrate themselves at the feet of the diabolical overlord, James Dyson and serve in his evil army to fulfill his long held and perverse ambition to enslave the earth.

You should still fund the kickstarter if you want, though.

Anonymous said...

That bike is like a reverse pennyfarthing.

Sax Huret said...

The best thing about the VeloNews review redesign is that it tells you the bike's ranking in the category even when it's not a relevant ranking. The bike in today's post is the #1 rated bike in the cyclocross section... a section that contains 2 whole bike reviews.

SoFlo'd said...

"Safety" is a relative term, as in Life on this earth is inherently dangerous. One could expire in any number of ways. The mitigation of risk(s), (somewhat), via thoughtful assessment is all that a rational human can accomplish. The helmet is risk reduction equipment, not to be confused with risk elimination equipment, which is nonsense.
The 85% stat may have a point if the word "death" was removed.

The impact of a human skull against material that is harder than itself will result in injury. Putting something between the skull and a harder material reduces impact by the "something", absorbing a portion of the impact. Not all. Half a loaf is better than none? Sometimes a slice is better...

The secondary impact of the brain on the inside of the cranium is the source of most of the injury due to the primary impact. The result is concussion. A serious injury that can have lasting consequences.
So, any reduction in the duration and severity of the force on the head during an impact event is significant.

A helmet does that. Even a small collision could result in a contusion and the removal of hair and skin from a human head. Again, mitigating impact is very desirable. Que sera sera, is a nice song, not a good way of risk reduction.

In summation, life is not like a box of chocolates.
(in the scene on the bench, the chocolate box has a top showing all the choices in the box...)

Btw, my monkeys never fling. They demonstrate their dislikes by propagating waste at reasonable velocities. (Sometimes even it's their own...)

Anonymous said...

Paper, foldable, scranus

BamaPhred said...

Free your head, or Feed your head? Remember what the dormouse said!

Its a Free County said...

...you don't have to like it.

Doc Sarvis said...

It's kinda hard to believe that "Helmet Lady" invented that thing. Most women aren't that dumb. It really seems more like marketing, because, you know,'Wimmin!"

Doc Sarvis said...

It's kinda hard to believe that "Helmet Lady" invented that thing. Most women aren't that dumb. It really seems more like marketing, because, you know,'Wimmin!"

leroy said...

My dog informs me that he knows the inspiration for the paper helmet.

Anonymous said...

The fan definitittely (sic) shit the hit on that last contraption. Clowns don't wear helments, for Lob's sake!

Barney Rubble said...

Me and my pal Fred have dibs on the "burgeoning gravel scene". No, really, that's his name...

plastic injection molding said...

I like bike sport

James Dyson's over engineered ball sack said...

14.6/15!

N/A said...

Me too, plastic injection molding. Me too. Bike sport is my favorite.

dop said...

It's Friday...Quiz...Noes?

Lateral Stiffness, Indeed said...

"what if you're a sweat pig like me?...lateral stiffness" Janine replaces Babble in the what are you secretly implying game.

The $64,000 Question said...

Friday Quiz on the horizon?

Emily Litella said...

Rape Culture? I thought you said Grape culture.

Never mind. :)

Pist Off said...

Rich inventor Foundations should do more for the common good than promote placebo paper hats. If these catch on it will be easy to identify Americans internationally though. What could possibly go wrong?

David G said...

I think the accumulated offenses in the Halbred video might force New South Wales to bring back the death penalty if someone tried that there.

JohnR said...

I was just telling my new best friend how much I hate having to redish my wheels

Maynewoods said...

singlehandedly made the phrase "When the shit hits the fan" obsolete. It wasn’t single-handed.
It looks like Dyson isn't so original Tokyo Shibaura Electric was there 30 years before. So at least in Japan theses didn't necessarily hit the fan.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/6377644/Dyson-fan-was-it-invented-30-years-ago.html

This is a cycling website so I guess we call this IP Doping

vitrier montreuil said...

J'ai le plaisir de visiter votre blog.

Toby Vidler said...

Here's a helmet related statistic for you:

http://www.smh.com.au/world/new-zealand-mother-dies-moments-after-posting-cycling-selfie-20161004-gruzo1.html