Thursday, October 6, 2016

This Post is 85% Effective!

Greetings and salubriations!  Don't worry, we're not going to get into a whole Helmet Thing here.  However, inasmuch as it is my bailiwick is to monitor and ridicule the cycling zeitgeist, it is recumbent upon me to address the preponderance--some might even say glut--of gimmicky head bumpers currently entering the bicycle accessory marketplace.

Or, to put it another way, there's a fuckload of new helmets coming out.

To this end, let's take a brief, non-politicized survey of the latest offerings.  Generally speaking, these new helmets seem to fall under one of two (2) categories.  The first category is smart helmets, like that Coros Linx I tested:



Still waiting for somebody--anybody--involved in the production or marketing of this helmet to explain to me why it didn't work properly or if the audio quality is supposed to suck ass.

The second category of 21st century helmetry is helmets that fold.  Brooks has one, MoMA will sell you this Devo-type flower pot thing, and you can even get one that crushes like a beer can at a frat party:

Or like a head between the mighty paws of Max von Sydow:


The 1983 film "Strange Brew" is widely--and quite correctly--considered the Canadian "Citizen Kane."

Anyway, when it comes to the new generations of helmets, you can crush them, or you can fold them, or you can squeeze them, or you can simply open and close them like a paper fan, which is what you do with this latest offering:



Of course, it wouldn't be a helmet pitch if they didn't roll out that same bullshit statistic:


Hey, I'm not getting political here, it's simply not true.  Even the federal government admitted it:

And if you can't trust the federal government who can you trust?

By the way, that's a rhetorical question, so you can put the sign down, dumbass:



It also wouldn't be a bicycle-themed Kickstarter pitch if there wasn't plenty of gratuitous sidewalk riding:


Here's another fictional statistic: 100% of people who believe helmets reduce head injuries by 85% ride their bikes on the sidewalk.

Then again, I suppose I shouldn't be too hard on helmet makers for lying, since it's not really much different than the bike companies who say, "This season's Fred bike offers 20% more lateral stiffness while simultaneously introducing 40% more vertical compliance!"  (Though even the bike companies don't imply that if you don't ride their bike you're going to die.)

I should also acknowledge a third helmet category, which is of course the LEGO hair helmet:


(Via @fissureqt)

It might prevent helmet trauma, or it might not.  One thing's for sure though, which is that I'd pay good American money to see Levi Leipheimer wearing this thing:


("Everything Is Awesome!!!  ...except for me.")

Either way, here's some "Won't somebody please think of the children!" marketing for you:

Hopping on a pedal bike and cruising around town is a rite of passage for many children. But according to the Centers for Disease Control, less than half of riders from the ages of 5 to 14 wear a helmet.

Ah, if only cruising around town on a bike were still a rite of passage for American children.  Today the idea of children going anywhere on bikes or on foot or really doing anything under their own power is basically archaic.  Consider:

In 2009, 31% of students between kindergarten and 8th grade lived within one mile of school, down from 41% in 1969. Of those children that live within one mile of school, only 35% walked or biked — compared to the 89% that walked or biked in 1969 (National Center, 2011; USDOT, 1972).

As far as I can tell the main rite of passage for children now is downloading their first app--or receiving their first diabetes diagnosis.

As for the claim that less than half of riders between the ages of 5 and 14 wear helmets, don't worry, because based on what I see out there roughly 99% of those kids are still using training wheels so they can't fall over anyway.

And here's some more fear-mongering right from the video:


Oh really?  Big deal.  Don't let them go out at 5:00.  Problem solved.

The problem isn't that kids aren't wearing helmets, it's that they're becoming sedentary lumps of crap.  Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the past 30 years--you know, pretty much the same period of time when they stopped riding and walking to school.  (And I know I said I wasn't going to get political or start a whole Helmet Thing, but that's not political, that's just the truth--and we all know politics and truth are mutually exclusive.)

In other news, here's some bike-lanes-and-gentrification hand-wringing for you:


Rightly or wrongly, gentrification is often seen as a process that arrives on two wheels. From Red Hook in Brooklyn to London Fields, fixed-gear bike-wielding young professionals have flocked to former industrial lots and waterfronts.

But does cycling really contribute to gentrification? 

I dunno, it all seems pretty simple to me.  People with money want to live close to stuff and the neighborhoods that get gentrified are close to stuff.  Also bikes work best for transport where stuff's close to other stuff, so that's where they put the bike lanes.

All of this can be seasoned to taste with stereotypes and conspiracy theories depending on your own political agenda but it's really just as simple as that.

Either way, I wish people who were against bike lanes could agree on whether they're bad because they make the neighborhood undesirable by taking away parking or because they make the neighborhood too desirable by taking away parking.

I guess we should all just agree that bike lanes are the stress fractures in our society that presage its imminent collapse and leave it at that.

Lastly, speaking of things that take away parking and consequently ruin/improve neighborhoods, Citi Bike wants you to know you can take their blue behemoths to the inconveniently-located Javits Center for Comic Con:
This is a good idea in theory, but in practice they probably wouldn't be able to ride in those constumes--unless they have sufficient irreverent cyclocrossing experience, of course.

Just make sure to wear you LEGO helmet.

57 comments:

Bertrand said...

Yes

Seattle lone wolf said...

Podium

Anonymous said...

podiummm

Ted K. said...

181. As we stated in paragraph 166, the two main tasks for the present are to promote social stress and instability in industrial society and to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial system. When the system becomes sufficiently stressed and unstable, a revolution against technology may be possible. The pattern would be similar to that of the French and Russian Revolutions. French society and Russian society, for several decades prior to their respective revolutions, showed increasing signs of stress and weakness. Meanwhile, ideologies were being developed that offered a new world view that was quite different from the old one. In the Russian case, revolutionaries were actively working to undermine the old order. Then, when the old system was put under sufficient additional stress (by financial crisis in France, by military defeat in Russia) it was swept away by revolution. What we propose is something along the same lines.

babble on said...

G'day,peeps!

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice! The Babe. Unedited even. My faith is restored in this great bikecycling weblog.

bad boy of the north said...

That Lego hellmet looks like the Donald's hellmet,er,i mean hair.no I didn't...I meant hellbent.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Top 10...If I didn't have people screwing up at work, would have been first.

bad boy of the north said...

Damn spellcheck.hellment

Anonymous said...

My "Mad Max" is currently undergoing, uh, a little vacation

le Correcteur said...

If I hadn't paused to read, I'd have been in the top ten!

ubercurmudgeon said...

How many Diminutive Frenchman Units is Max von Sydow capable of?

BikeSnobNYC said...

ubercurmudgeon,

1 MVSHCU (Max von Sydow Head-Crushing Unit)= 100,000,000 DFU.

--Wildcat Etc.

Grump said...

When are they developing special helmets for people who use their feet for transportation?

Anders Hustvedt said...

Snob, you are a genius except with regard to helmet use in which case you're a moron.

I would be dead, twice, if not for my foam hat. (Two crashes in 35 years of riding.)

N/A said...

78% of all statistics are made-up.

McFly said...

Opening titty link. Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice.

N/A said...

I have a pie chart that explains it fully. 95% of all people polled are inclined to believe statistics when presented in pie chart format.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anders Hustvedt,

The number of times you have unwittingly cheated death make the crashes during which you happened to be wearing a helmet statistically insignificant.

Anyway, I didn't say anything about wearing or not wearing, just that the statistic above is demonstrably bullshit.

--Wildcat Etc.

babble on said...

Oh maaaaan! I wrote a comment yesterday and forgot to click publish. And there was just so much to weigh in on, too.
Girl's gotta live up to her name, after all.

Oh babe. :)

Anonymous said...

Levi looks like Phil Liggett!

Schisthead said...

(Though even the bike companies don't imply that if you don't ride their bike you're going to die.)

The caveat in mountain biekcycling being it's implicit you will die if you are riding one of their OLD bikes. Their new bikes are much safer.

Never mind the fact you can barely get around a switchback or pedal a wheelie, it's safer. Like 85% safer, I bet.

HivemindX said...

There is no inconsistency. It is obvious that bike lanes make neighbourhoods undesirable for good right thinking couples, and their partners who may or may not ALSO own a car. It makes them desirable for filthy wrong people who hate America and love killing babies, who die because their parents lost their jobs making cars or working in drive thru's and couldn't buy food.

Fred Fredriksen said...

Once I crashed and hit my head. If I weren't wearing a helmet I might have died. Therefore everybody should wear a helmet all the time.

N/A said...

Not sure I follow, HivemindX. Are you saying that if you hate America, then you love killing babies? If so, then HELL YEAH! But then you lose me again at making cars that work for parents in drive-thrus. Sorry, I'm just not good with the politics.

N/A said...

No helments here and I hit my head all the time, and it hasn't effected me one bit!

Doug McKenzie said...

Rosebud, eh?

janinedm said...

Somebody hit a cyclist during a safe streets rally:.

1904 Cadardi said...

Helment-schmelment, wear it or don't. I'm still hung up on yesterday's post. What the hell is with the face paint? I raced in every category the USCF had to offer back in the day and never once did I see any sort of face painting. Dork.

BikeSnobNYC said...

1904 Cadardi,

It's fixed-gear specific face paint.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

How come everyone who lives in Amsterdam is not dead by now?

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:44: Everyone in Amsterdam *is* already dead, it's just a big cover-up by all the anti-helmet radicals in the media.

In other news....scranus! (heehee)

wishiwasmerckx said...

As our 16th president, the great Abraham Lincoln, famously said, you can't believe everything you read on the internet.

Visegripmikey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Visegripmikey said...

PLAYMOBILE? NO, now my kid doesn't want that at all, get that LEGO description out of there. Where's the reporting accuracy gone to?

Donald said...

Do they make the Lego hair helmet with swept over blonde hair?, that would be HUGE. (Sniff). Is it made in Ginah?

Anonymous said...

I tried to find some data on the on the link between gentrification an cycling (in the US) a few years ago. The only sources I could find suggested that there was a higher use of bicycles for commuting among lower income groups than among higher income groups. Of course this might change/might have changed as gentrification pushes/has pushed people with lower income out of inner city neighborhods.

CommieCanuck said...

As our 16th president, the great Abraham Lincoln, famously said, you can't believe everything you read on the internet.

That's fucking ridiculous, everyone knows this quote was tweeted by John F. Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

They totally horked the plot, eh!

1904 Cadardi said...

Wildcat,

"It's fixed-gear specific face paint."
Ah, well that makes it okay. Wait, sorry, "okay" is the wrong word. Not okay, that makes is even douchier.

Next time he should do a tiger or lion!

HDEB said...

Buried in today's NYT - 17,775 people died in auto crashes in the first half of this year in the US. "Traffic deaths in the United States rose 10.4 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2015,maintaining a steady climb...to 17,775 in the first six months of 2016"

Drock said...

I've been out riding for the past 15 months, good to read this stuff again, I wonder if your hats come in blue yet? I also wonder what all I've missed in the past about the cycling world, I hope there is still a loathing for dick brakes, god help me those things don't belong on streets. We should also start a conversation about why electronic shifting is silly, rode with a guy about six months ago and he was two speed only which is cool but he didn't care for it cause his battery had died poor thing, I waved and flipped the down tube shifter one click and rode away. Glad to be back and happy to be reading the wit once again. From the state next to the worst state in the world, peace and hair grease.

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

I like pie.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice! The Babe. Unedited even. My faith is restored in this great bikecycling weblog.

bieks said...

Showing sidewalk riding is totally legit since concrete is much harder than asphalt and peds are unpredictable as hell.

Oh, and in 1969, approximately 0% of kids wore helmets when riding to school. How's that factor in?

The Return of the Ta Ta's said...

RE-cum babe now has American citizenship it would appear having thrown away her maplefeafs.

Anonymous said...

Tittttiiiiiiiiieeeeeees! Love stm1.

Bogusboy said...

A helmet that requires a Quick Start Guide? Seriously?

Anonymous said...

RCB has the kickstand down and is either sunbathing or juicing up the seat. There's nothing wrong with either but it's a strangely mixed message for a bike blog.

David G said...

The helmet-throwing video played in reverse could be the basis for a sci-fi horror flick. "Attack of the Radioactive Hedgehogs (Episode IV)", maybe.

ken e. said...

comedy gold!

PUKE BRTH

PowerBar Farts said...

isn't there an uncropped version of recumbabe out there where we see she's in Birkenstocks? or is that my imagination?

JLRB said...

top 100% !!!

Blaue Reiter said...

really? late to the party but the only one smirking because 1904 Cadari said he was still "hung up" on yesterday's post? Where there was testicles and stuff?

Sigh... OK, then.

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