Thursday, September 8, 2016

Pie in the Sky: Make Way for the Fred Bus!

"On your left."

Again with this shit, seriously?

Yes.  Once again there I was, riding slowly on the right-hand side of of that same empty suburban bike path, when those three annoying words jabbed me from behind like an open safety pin in the small of the back.  I jumped a bit in my saddle.

Only this time it was not a Fred who uttered the phrase; rather, it was a casually-attired gentleman riding an old ten speed.  As he passed, I noticed his frame was badly out of alignment--so badly that his front wheel was about four or five inches to the right of his rear wheel.  In fact, it appeared that this was causing his bike to pull to the right, so every few feet he had to correct for it and veer left again.

In a way this made me feel a bit better, because I suppose if you're constantly drifting right you really have no choice but to warn people.  I also couldn't help wondering if perhaps a good wheel counterbalance kit might help address his bike's handling problems, though from the state of things I imagine it would take a metric fuckload of "tungsten slugs" to correct the tracking on that piece of crap.

Speaking of "On your left," I wonder how many times you'll get to hear it during the New York City Century, which takes place this Saturday:


(Always point out potholes and road hazards to your fellow riders.)

I may or may not do the Century, I still haven't decided, because as an urban sophisticate my life is more complex than you can possibly imagine.  (That's another way of saying it depends how late I stay up watching TV the night before.)  Either way, the organizers would like you to know that they've added a second start site in Brooklyn, because Brooklyn is the new Manhattan and all that:

You talked, We listened.
Back by popular demand, Transportation Alternatives has added a second start site for the September 10th Century Bike Tour. While you are more than welcome to start at our new site in Manhattan, Pier 97 at 57th Street on the West Side Highway, we do understand the draw of starting an hour later so close to home.
Bib pick up & day of registration: Bicycle Habitat in Prospect Heights, 560 Vanderbilt (between Dean and Bergen streets)
Start Times: 7am for the 100-mile Century, 8am for the 62-mile Metric Century

When I lived in Brooklyn people acted like it was the other side of the planet if they even deigned to come visit you("How will I know which direction to walk when I get off the subway?!?"), now it's the center of the universe and it gets its own Century start.

Go figure.

And in other passing etiquette-related news, the Team Sky bus almost flattened somebody:*

*[WARNING: Contains the sort of NSFW language you'd expect from someone who's nearly been killed by a busload of dopers.]
Wow!  Makes this seem downright considerate in comparison:


It's ironic that pro road cycling is the most motor vehicle-intensive sport on the planet, and that includes actual car racing.  (Car racing is driving cars, bike racing is riding bikes fast while being followed by cars.)  Sure, the football douches may tweet about wanting to kill us, but at least they play their dumb game inside giant fortresses which they travel to by airplane.  Meanwhile, for some reason bike racing requires so many cars and trucks and buses and motorcycles that you can pretty much count on at least one rider getting run over at some point--and now it seems this extends to non-combatants as well.

Anyway, we can all relate to how infuriating it is when a driver nearly kills you just because they're in a big hurry, and perhaps the most infuriating thing about it is that you always suspect they're rushing for completely selfish reasons.  Well, in this case you know they're rushing for completely selfish reasons, because it's a fucking bike racing team, and the only way bike racers could contribute less to society would be to skip the racing altogether and just stay home and masturbate.  In fact staying home and wanking would probably be more of a contribution, since at least we'd be safe from team buses and cries of "On your left!"

Pending that, if you want to feel safe you could always try wearing one of those "smart helmets," and here's yet another one:


(Via @verntasco)

It's got all the features you've come to expect from a head-mounted Volvo, such as blind spot detection:


As well as all the features drivers will completely ignore, such as turn signals:


And let's not forget navigation, because apparently the next generation of helmet designers assume people have no idea how to get around in their own cities:


Yes, you need this helmet like a hole in the head--which it's also got:


Not convinced?  Me neither.  Nevertheless, there's a video:



I was particularly taken with the navigation feature, and I look forward to a future in which helmets guide riders around town by shining lights on their faces:


Just follow your nose.

Best of all, "you can also livestream your commute:"


Which you should never do.  I mean sure, by all means you should feel free to record your commute just in case Team Sky's bus driver runs you over, but until that happens please spare the world your unedited adventures.

Anyway, based on my own experience with a "smart helmet" I remain skeptical.  Indeed, I'm not sure why people keep adding all these silly features to helmets when the biggest problem with them is what they do to your hair:

Who needs a helmet with lights and cameras when you can just put them on your bike?  But if someone invents a helmet that will comb your hair while you wear it (and in my case also cure baldness) then I think we'll finally have a winner on our hands.

And heads.

63 comments:

Chesse Spleen said...

first

Ted K. said...

169. In the third place, it is not at all certain that survival of the system will lead to less suffering than breakdown of the system would. The system has already caused, and is continuing to cause, immense suffering all over the world. Ancient cultures, that for hundreds of years gave people a satisfactory relationship with each other and with their environment, have been shattered by contact with industrial society, and the result has been a whole catalogue of economic, environmental, social and psychological problems. One of the effects of the intrusion of industrial society has been that over much of the world traditional controls on population have been thrown out of balance. Hence the population explosion, with all that that implies. Then there is the psychological suffering that is widespread throughout the supposedly fortunate countries of the West (see paragraphs 44, 45). No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that cannot yet be foreseen. And, as nuclear proliferation has shown, new technology cannot be kept out of the hands of dictators and irresponsible Third World nations. Would you like to speculate about what Iraq or North Korea will do with genetic engineering?

Anonymous said...

ONYR LEFT

wishiwasmerckx said...

Just missed the podium. Need more and better PEDS....

P. Bateman said...

sweet corn rows snob.

ever notice how the neighborhood you used to live in have all gone up in value after your departure? coincidence? me thinks maybe not....

also, top tennis! seriously, you watching that us open? some great legs on display.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Back to school sixth, SCRANUS!!

Anonymous said...

ANDHASGIVESBALLCANCERANDBALDSHIT

Gecko said...

Top ten on a BMX. AYHSMB

Anonymous said...

how about that mountain biking in the wilderness?

Holy Roller said...

Smart helmets are for sinners. I use the word of GOD and JESUS and PRAYER and VISIONS to guide me.

Buffalo Bill said...

I find my delicate coiffure is barely ruffled when I wear an appropriate cycling cap under my helment. Surprised our host doesn't use them.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Buffalo Bill,

I wear a cap unless it's really hot, as it was when I took that photo. (Hair also looks silly after wearing a cap, just
differently silly.)

--Wildcat Etc.

Anonymous said...

Just Ride! (and my vote: cap + a helmet)

Anonymous said...

I think I heard an Oy! Bell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6scpLi4jNqE

Old timer said...

Huh? What?

BamaPhred said...

Did your impact detecting helment ever work? I would be tempted to give it an old fashioned high arcing punt into the Hudson. Detect This!

Buffalo Bill said...

Well, it's your choice Wildcat.
I guess from a thermal insulation perspective, riding capless has some merit. On the other hand, having the sweat drip off an inch in front of my eyes rather than directly into them has a certain appeal.
Either way, I am enjoying the cooler weather this month.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Andy Rolfe's voice sounds like Pink Floyd's Another Brick in The Wall to me.

Anonymous said...

Different hole patterns in helmets make for different "helmet hair" hairstyles. Nobody thought that the "foe hawk" hair style would catch on, and now there are many famous celebrities that have that hair style. I am certain that the right shape of holes in the helmet could produce a trendy hair style that covers male pattern baldness, while still providing protection and scalp-cooling ventilation. I bet that U.S.A. presidential candidate Donald Trump has such a helmet already, look at how effectively his hair style conceals his bald spots. Truly, such a helmet deserves the appellation, "Smart Helmet". As I age and go bald, I might try to preserve my natural hair by installing holes in one of my helmets. Even if I keep losing my hair, nobody will be able to tell.

N/A said...

Whoa, what happened? I had a comment at 12:46. Did the blogulator have a re-do?

leroy said...

My dog wishes to point out that the only streaming he performs during our commute takes place at the dog run.

I wish to point out he's not entirely truthful.

Anonymous said...

A dingo ate your comment

Spokey said...

coveted comment 23

CommieCanuck said...

Meh, Smart helmets.
The future is Google, and autonomous bicycles that take you safely to your destination while eating a triple cheese hoagie.
Pink Jersey of the future.

CommieCanuck said...

As I age and go bald, I might try to preserve my natural hair by installing holes in one of my helmets. Even if I keep losing my hair, nobody will be able to tell.

It's easier to just convert to Judaism and rock a yarmulke.

GOYK IPPA

Anonymous said...

Instead of "Onyerleft" I yell "Up your ass"

Spokey said...


i say "passing on your left" most of the time. i'll also ring me bell but i don't think anyone ever hears that.

P. Bateman said...

if they can't hear the bell, try a .44 calibre revolver. that usually gets people out of my way.

Red Ross said...

Brooklyn, half a planet away, eh? When I tell people I'm in Jersey City. I might as well be saying China.

Anonymous said...

indeed helmets fuck up your hair and are hot. my wife is always on me to wear one on my commute, but she doesn't understand priorities.

Anonymous said...

I'm launching a retro dumb helmet that is clueless about navigation, can't communicate to save its life, sleeps in the basement and smokes weed.

10cc said...

requesting quiet

Sax Huret said...

I just pass without saying anything, which is dangerous I suppose.

This is however why I love wheels with noisy hubs.

Spokey said...


don't have a .44, and oldest bro has the .22 cap gun. Maybe get one of those horse mounted holsters(? wadda ya call those things) for the 12 ga. i'm pretty sure that'll make more noise anywho.

N/A said...

I think you all may appreciate my latest invention, which I will soon be dropping on Kickstarter: It's a fitting for a cymbal that you mount to your chainstays, and every rotation of the cranks causes you to strike it with your heels, thus alerting anybody that may be ahead of you that they are about to be passed. Of course there will be smartphone integration so that all pertinent metrics may be recorded.

DB said...

More dirndls.
It's almost Oktoberfest.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...ha.. i know the dude from brooklyness. he's tried to reinvent the wheel--pun definitely intended--on the bicycle quite a few times. i have not followed his progress for a long time... but from the smart helment i presume he wasn't too successful with his previous reinvention.

...or maybe he already solved the problem with bicycles, now he's tackling the plastic yarmulke

DB said...

At International Terminal at OHare picking up my wife.
There are some very attractive foreigners in Chicago this weekend.
The ladies from Germany are on the podium.

bieks said...

Anon 2:56 - your wife completely understands your priorities.

Spokey said...

oops

brain fart. i guess those things are called scabbards

Bottle Ready said...


My wife completely understands my priorities too. In fact she gives them to me every day. How's that for love?

Fredder said...

Thanks for the heads up on the century. Truly thrilled that I will be out of town this weekend, enjoying Indian Summer in the Jewish Alps. Condolences on the hair loss. Long may your scalp live!!

Anonymous said...

Ted K has to stop claiming two places. Yesterday, it was First and Second. Today, he took Second and Third place. Kind of a jerk move.

Bryan said...

Greetings from America's comb over!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Anon 256,

Did you pay for 6 years of higher education for the dope smoking lump in your basement like I paid for the one in mine?

Some guy from upstate said...

Tuesday: Snob posts blog entry noting poor cell phone coverage in the Adirondacks.

Wednesday: Amy's uncle and US senator Chuck Schumer releases survey showing dead zones in upstate cell coverage (http://m.timesunion.com/local/article/Schumer-Dead-zones-plague-cell-service-upstate-9209104.php).

You da man.

Dooth said...

Looks like someone got a real bad helment head. It's offensive, actually. Total Buzzkill. And I was feeling groovy till I saw it.

BamaPhred said...

I'll see your 6 years of paid for higher ed, none of that student loan stuff, and a worthless degree ending in "Studies".

Anonymous said...

Is this helmet going to explode and catch on fire while I am wearing it or cause brain tumors a couple decades from now? I hope it does both.

Doc Sarvis said...

Are you getting enough ketchup?

Grump said...

I wonder if the bus driver for Team Sky is Otto....You know, Otto Mann. He could be in the U.K. for a Metal Fest.

Anonymous said...

Can marijuana cause facial acne?

bad boy of the north said...

hey,what happened?my new b17 saddle may need balance weights....we'll see.

dancesonpedals said...

If I ever need to weld my frame in Delhi, I know where to go. The miracle of the internet

dop said...

None of this on your left for grandpa. He'd just wave his penis.

JLRB said...

DOP - Great find on the old Steve Martin gag - how scary is it that his bit is so much like THE DONALD's ads that I have been subjected to (sucks to try to watch TV in a battleground state). I was binge watching Better Cal Sal while mending a couple of weeks ago and there is a similar cheeseball ad. You can fool most of the people ...

JLRB said...

AND forget about the Sky Bus - I nearly got taken out by two Freds today. One on a motorized/e-bike/mtn bikabomination who just had to pass me while approaching a narrow entry into a steep downgrade - he was not pedaling, but he was in full Fred Kit despite not needing to pedal.

Second was on a MUP - I saw a jogger doing the big U-Turn - as I gave him a wide berth a crabon jockey Fred came within 2 inches of me as he passed - too busy worrying about his strava points to notice that others were using the trail. (Snob - you may be glad to know he did not say "on your left" or provide any other warning)

Happy Friday!

dop said...

I'm used to getting passed by ebikes. The first time I was out-of-the-saddle climbing & a heavy guy delivering pizza blew by me was startling, but I don't let it bother me any more.

Anonymous said...

gee your hair looks terrific

Casual said...

"casually-attired gentleman" Wearing a Harris Tweed?

NYT Cross Word Three Letter Word said...

Isn't it Friday, quiz time question has to be What Bike Team Bus almost ran over someone with the ability to use lots of four letter words.

Car 54 Where Are You said...

"...riding an old ten speed." I had an old Fuji steel frame 10 speed, indestructible. Of course it was stolen ages ago, could it be the same bike, still being rode by the same then young thief?

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