Basically, it's a device that lets you convert your cable-actuated drivetrain to a wireless electronic one, and the inventor is launching a Kickstarter for it on November 1st.
I know what you're thinking: "Why is this even necessary? My mechanical shifters work great." Well of course they do. Mechanical shifting is awesome. This isn't even remotely necessary; as I said, it's nifty. After all, what bike dork doesn't like a good kludge? And just think of all the kludges you could pull off with all the crap you've got in your parts bin and a remote control shifter!
For example, consider my artisanal singlespeed all-terrain bicycle:
Now as far as I can tell all I'd need to do is switch the drive-side Paragon rocker dropout for one with a derailleur hanger, get one of these XShifter thingies, and I could palp it with gears!
So why take a designer singlespeed and do this when you've got two other perfectly good multi-speed bicycles? (Well, one, until I finish fixing this one.)
Because I can!
I have pretty much no interest in electronic shifting, but there's just something beautifully kludgy and delightfully obnoxious to me about the idea of riding around on a handmade custom electronic multi-speed conversion. Indeed, I'd ridicule anybody else who did such a thing, which is exactly how I know I'm onto something. And sure, I could probably pull off the same conversion with judicious use of zip ties, but the electronic shifting is what would make it not just a regular kludge, but an infuriatingly elegant one.
It just seems like a fun accessory to experiment with is what I'm saying, and hopefully I can convince them to send me one to try out.
Maybe then I can also build the all-wheel drive fat bike of my dreams:
I have no idea how helpful all-wheel drive would be on a bike (if at all), but I have no doubt Kate Leeming will succeed in cycling across Antarctica because she looks incredibly serious about it:
She's also cycled across Greenland:
And is a high-ranking professional tennis player:
Whereas you, on the other hand, suck.
Moving on to more everyday heroics, the New York Times did a nice little story about New York City kids:
Which I only mention because one of the kids takes a Citi Bike to school:
While technically against the rules (he's 13, the minimum age for using Citi Bike is 16) this pleased me immensely, as I love the idea that one day this sort of thing could become normal. Sadly, in the meantime, we get this shit instead:
And a mayor who's so disinvested in Vision Zero that he makes seven-mile trips by helicopter:
In a car, it might have taken 30 minutes or longer for him to make the roughly seven-mile drive from his old Brooklyn stamping grounds to an event in Queens.
And of course bus drivers who run over people and drag them for "several blocks." (The bus driver was actually charged with failure to yield, despite the best efforts of the Transit Workers' Union.)
Even the UN says we need more bike infrastructure:
BARCELONA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Governments should invest at least 20 percent of their transport budgets in infrastructure that promotes walking and cycling, to save lives, curb pollution and cut climate-changing emissions from vehicles, the United Nations' environment agency said.
Almost half of the 1.3 million people who die each year from traffic accidents are pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) noted in a report.
Though when President Trump takes office I assume we're going to boot the UN out of town and turn the building into a parking garage.
I was, however, treated to an oddly inspirational sight yesterday as I headed out for an afternoon road ride. (I generally ride early as I find it unseemly to be in Lycra after noon, but a riding window presented itself and I took it.) As it happened, the Tour de Bronx was rolling through my neighborhood, and so I got caught up in a gaggle of Freds. (My aversion getting mixed up in rides like this is yet another reason I generally ride early.)
Anyway, we were making our way through the somewhat treacherous back roads in my neighborhood when we passed a police car. I figured they were going to ticket everybody for excessive Fredness, but instead they were using their loudspeaker to warn the riders that there was gravel ahead. I thought this was very considerate of them, especially as they would have been well within their rights to arrest everybody for not riding industry-approved gravel bikes.
I was also pleased to see a Cipollini bicycle make a cameo in the subsequent news coverage:
Yes, nothing explores unseen nooks and crannies like a Cipollini.