(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%.
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:
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:
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.