Wednesday, October 24, 2018

I'm All Over That Internet!

Not only do I have a new Outside column about the joys of riding chubby tires...



...but I've also got this whimsical post on the Brooks blog about the insights you gain into humanity by riding a bicycle:


(Spoiler alert: humanity is stupid.)

And yeah, apparently plus-sized tires are out of style now, which I guess makes me out of style like a fox:


I gotta say I love this bike more every time I ride it, and I ride it a lot.  It's pretty much the perfect bike for autumn, which is when you want to be popping in and out of the woods and listening to the delightful sound of the leaves crunching beneath your plush, grippy, confidence-inspiring, and inexplicably outmoded plus-sized tires. 

Finally, let's hear it for helmets and the USA!
Shocking.

63 comments:

Gimmee my worm said...

ERLY BURD

Elderberries said...

Podie?

Matt said...

So logic would dictate that using helmets is DANGEROUS! Doubt we'll see THAT add in Bicycling magazine anytime soon...

Fergie said...

Tour De Bronx coming up this weekend!

Since we are supposed to get an inch of rain this Saturday, it's a perfect opportunity to stay off wet trails and still have a great time.

I hear this year we stop by Snobs Global Headquarters as one of the rest stops!

Glad to see you are putting in some miles at Sprain.

NYCHighwheeler

George Krpan said...

I'm riding a 29+ with no suspension, a Motobecane. I am so done with suspension. 15psi front, 20 psi rear, fast and smooth.
I ran a Jones bar for a while but now I'm running an upside down Wald 867, north road style bar.

Anonymous said...

Re: 27.5+

I used to ride full suspension, most recently a Santa Cruz Superlight. Then, several years ago, the season here in northern Virginia started, and I just didn't feel like riding. The bike sat unused in the garage.

We moved to a house that has access via our backyard to a decent local trail, my wife got herself a low cost bike with a suspension fork, then suddenly she's suggesting I get myself a bike so we can ride trails together.

I wanted to accommodate, but I was sick of all the fiddling I remember doing with that bike. I decided to keep things simple and got a Surly Karate Monkey 27.5+: fully rigid, platform pedals mated to some sticky 5.10 shoes, and those ridiculous high-volume tires.

What a BLAST!

There are lots of different trails and riders out there, and I won't try to talk anyone out of their full suspension bike, but I am loving the simple life of a rigid frame and high-volume tires.

HDEB said...

Stoners on beach cruisers are cool and fun! I believe I'm crazier, faster and stronger than most people and as such feel little hesitation giving motorists in NYC a piece of my mind as well as a solid smack on their silly vehicle. I'm an angry idiot and most people quickly understand they are better off leaving me alone. Cars stink, ride a bike : )

Schisthead said...

To be fair, Surly's 'plus' 26x2.75 is really more like a 2.5 casing, and I think it's a perfect all rounder front tire for my favorite lame dead wheel size.

FWIW, which is approximately nothing, I don't think people are in good enough shape to push around plus tires, much less fat ones. (This is why I think your fat shaming is perfectly acceptable in this context)

wishiwasmerckx said...

I still have my Taxicab Langster in the garage, but with my aging knees, it does not see the pavement much anymore.

Chazu said...

Check out the hyperbole about kids and bikes in this video from Guardian Bikes.

"Riding a bike is the Most Dangerous Activity For Kids"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4W_WK_CljsE

Thomas Watterson said...

I just bought a rigid Kona Unit X with 27.5 X 2.8 tires, and it's pretty damn perfect. I can't fathom how a tire width of two tenths of an inch in either direction (2.6 or 3.0) would make enough of a difference to declare any of those sizes "dead." But I do think that the whole "plus" nomenclature will eventually die, and tires in the range of 2.4 to 3.0 will just be called "mountain bike tires." Y'know, like back in the 90s when you could run a 1.75 to a 2.2 and no one gave a shit about what they were called or debated which one was gong to survive.

nahmean said...

" so far it looks like 2.5in and 2.6in rubber might just make its mark."

Yes, because that .1 inch is going to be so noticeable in a fat bike tire and totally won't be overshadowed by the deformation of the tire itself based on pressure and weight of the rider.

I don't know why I sometimes can let bike weenie stuff like that pass and other times it just enrages me....

Anonymous said...

Confirmed finally: Helments are just a reaction to the fact that you're gonna die out there. (But you're still gonna die out there.)

Pist Off said...

So it’s confirmed that Amurican roads are the most dangerous for cyclists? That’s what should be concluded from that helmet study. Foam hats mean little to safety when a cyclist is hit by a fucking automobile.
Fat tires are great, and the debate about sizing and plus being dead is more proof that Barneys are even bigger bike part wankers than Freds. Mountain tire sizing is totally arbitrary so the number you buy doesn’t mean shit when it’s inflated. I do like the actual 2.4 to 2.6 sizes, they aren’t quite as slow as an actual 2.8/3.0. All of those nominal sizes average .2” optimistic from what is actual. So what, big tires are smooth and mean big fun on rigid hardtails.

Dirk Montero said...

A few comments on your prodigious literary output linked to from today's post:

I love the drawings on the Brooks article, but the image projected in front of the bike looks to me exactly like George H. W. Bush, and nothing like Tom Hanks. I think either would be equally effective.

"Use case" is to "use" as "colorway" is to "color". In both cases, the extra syllable acts like a helmet for a writer lacking confidence.

Finally: I'm riding 26x3.0" tires on my adventure bike. You think YOUR tire size is out of fashion? The biggest issue in both sizes is tire availability. If all the tires available in a particular size are stiff, heavy tractor tires, then the size itself gets a bad repuatation and the industry goes a different direction. If Compass were to make 26/27.5 x 2.8/3.0" with their trademark suppleness I think I could ride a single bike for the rest of my life. As it is, the biggest size tire they make is 26x2.3", so I built a bike around those tires and it's all I want to ride these days unless the terrain and load become challenging enough to warrant the 3.0s on the other bike.

Dirk

Anonymous said...

Come on, Snob,

You of all people know enough to understand that trying to correlate two different rates (i.e., rate of fatalities and rate of helmet use) has nothing to do with correlating their actual behaviors. The ones who died may not have worn helmets (or, supporting your argument, they all did). You wouldn't be able to come up with an interpretation because the data don't allow for it. Studies involving individuals as data points rather than entire countries are needed to correlate the behavior with mortality.

-Cycling Epidemiologist

Anonymous said...

Regarding ecologic studies and the known issues with their interpretation. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_fallacy

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:33pm,

I assume you're familiar with the "Safety in Numbers" study showing the more cyclists there are they safer it is to cycle. The correct way to interpret this is that there's safety in numbers and helmet use has no meaningful impact on rider safety.

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

Snob,
It's besides the point. In that study, helmet use is held constant by controlling for it statistically. The interpretation there is basically 'all things being equal, there is safety in numbers'. You twisting the interpretation to support your belief isn't the same thing. If I had saidthat a diet low in fruits and vegetables is associated with increased colon cancer risk. Your reply is "you're familiar with studies that show that smoking is associated with increased colon cancer". With smoking held constant, poor diet quality increases colon cancer occurrence. Seriously, ecologic studies are crap and are not useful at this stage to discuss causal inference. Again, you know better.

Anonymous said...

Might have looked at the wrong study. Sorry. I'm a cancer epidemiologist, not injury prevention. If the one you're talking about is another combination of population-level data, then the original point still holds: you cannot make causal inference at the individual level with population rates.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 1:54pm,

It's pretty clear when you look at all these studies that helmets don't make cyclists safer but lots of other cyclists do. (Does?)

You're just building a straw colon here.

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

You'd have to show me individual-level data (rhetorically). If little exists, I'd say that inference can't be made. If it can and it is decidedly one way or another, then there you go. Citing ecologic studies does nothing for the conversation.

Liked the straw colon comment. Also, thanks for the replies.

Anonymous said...

Some individual-level studies. Found in PubMed by searching "head injury and bicycle helmet":
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29843009
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30291153
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30197205

Without an exhaustive search, I wouldn't make an actual determination; but these data are better than the useless stats you cited.

Anonymous said...

And this one is a meta-analysis. Not a huge fan of this type of approach, but it is useful for summarizing data across studies.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29677686

Bicycle helmets - To wear or not to wear? A meta-analyses of the effects of bicycle helmets on injuries.

Abstract

A meta-analysis has been conducted of the effects of bicycle helmets on serious head injury and other injuries among crash involved cyclists. 179 effect estimates from 55 studies from 1989-2017 are included in the meta-analysis. The use of bicycle helmets was found to reduce head injury by 48%, serious head injury by 60%, traumatic brain injury by 53%, face injury by 23%, and the total number of killed or seriously injured cyclists by 34%. Bicycle helmets were not found to have any statistically significant effect on cervical spine injury. There is no indication that the results from bicycle helmet studies are affected by a lack of control for confounding variables, time trend bias or publication bias. The results do not indicate that bicycle helmet effects are different between adult cyclists and children. Bicycle helmet effects may be somewhat larger when bicycle helmet wearing is mandatory than otherwise; however, helmet wearing rates were not found to be related to bicycle helmet effectiveness. It is also likely that bicycle helmets have larger effects among drunk cyclists than among sober cyclists, and larger effects in single bicycle crashes than in collisions with motor vehicles. In summary, the results suggest that wearing a helmet while cycling is highly recommendable, especially in situations with an increased risk of single bicycle crashes, such as on slippery or icy roads.

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and who doesn't enjoy an old-fashioned dispute over correlation not implying causation?

Ah, figures don't lie but liars figure.

...or something like that

wishiwasmerckx said...

I heard that congress sent the White House a suspicious package.

It reportedly contained some responsible budget proposals.

The FBI bomb squad exploded it before it could do any harm.

janinedm said...

I was trying to look up some stats on the percentage of U.S. cycling deaths where the rider was wearing a helmet (or not), because I've come upon it before and know that it was 40% were and 60% weren't. If you ask me, a sometime helmet wearer, those numbers aren't convincing enough to quite match the knowing absolutism attached to "always wear a helmet!!" especially when compared to the numbers you see when you, say, create dedicated or protected bike lanes.

But anyway I found something more concerning on the CDC website: "Males die 6 times more often and are injured 4 times more often on bicycles than females." I think it's clear that the men on here need to send me their bikes. For your safety! For your families sakes! I'm going to call on my girls at WE Bike, Biking Betties, CycloFemmes, Black Girls Do Bike, etc. to join me in a safety campaign called "we'll pedal that for you!" What do you think of the motto? Where do y'all want to meet up to give me your bikes? Can we start with the steel bikes? Guys, I just want you to know I care.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:13pm

Um...

Motor vehicle involvement increased the risk of hospitalization.

--Tan Tenovo

wishiwasmerckx said...

"Bicycle helmets were not found to have any statistically significant effect on cervical spine injury."

Fuck, now I have to wear a cervical spine helmet in addition to my regular helmet?





Anonymous said...

So what? That doesn't mean that helmets were ineffective. You can't be this thick.

Agent Kay said...

Hate to break up the helmet debate, but....

"(Spoiler alert: humanity is stupid.)"

A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.

Back to the Helmet Debate said...

OK for those arguing in favor of helmets:

1. If you want to wear a helmet, you can; no one is saying you can't.

2. If you want to win an agreement, you need to address the original statement:

"Riders in the U.S. had the highest rates of helmet use among the countries included. But American cyclists also had the highest fatality rate per distance traveled."

You can not win the argument by citing studies, facts, explanations, etc., that do not address the original statement.

Skidmark said...

I think an automobile operator who scatters bits of bicyclists and pedestrians all about should at least be charged with “Littering the Roadway”; even if they “Didn’t see them”.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 2:42pm,

The helmets are not keeping the people from driving their cars into the children. You can't be this thick.

--Tan Tenovo

BikeSnobNYC said...

"There's places where it's really safe to ride a bicycle and it's obvious why. Let's pretend they don't exist and do a bunch of studies to determine if, when a driver plows into you, helmets help a tiny bit or not at all."

--This Person

pbateman thinks its getting hot in here, so take off all your foam said...



wow. getting pretty hot up in here over the foam hats and whether a bit more rubber or a bit less rubber is best.

to those who are on the: "Wear a helmute or else you get what you deserve" team...

i'll tell ya what mom likes in her straw colon: MORE rubber.

the stats don't lie. more rubber is directly correlated to her enjoyment.



Snob, thanks for the link to John tomac's old raleigh.

I thought my SBDU raleigh was bad ass but that thing is beyond radical.

Thinking i need a nifty stem/bar combo like that on my Dawes...along with new wheels and tires since my 650b x 38's are I guess wildly outdated now?

Bikeboy said...

IMO, the helmet/fatality graph is meaningless, since some countries have longer blue bars and others have longer yellow bars. No apparent correlation, one way or t'other. (But TRAGIC that the fatality rate in Trump's America is so dang high!) (I doubt it has changed much, since 2 years ago when it was Obama's America.)

I choose to wear a brain bucket. I've had two events (in 180,000+ miles) in which I can confidently declare the bucket saved the brain inside it. So - it was pretty much useless for the other 179,999+ miles... right?

I'll never hector other cyclists about wearing a bucket (except for my grandkids). It's their brain and they can do a risk-benefit analysis and decide what level of protection it deserves.

(I wear a MOTORCYCLE helmet, too, when I'm astride one of my motorized beasts. If asked for my opinion, I tell other riders, "If you use your brain, wear a helmet. If you don't use your brain... well, it probably doesn't matter quite so much.")

Anonymous said...

Sheesh, enough about helmets already. Can we get back to 650b wheels and the plethora of tires available for them?

Dooth said...

Whether you ride chubby, or you’re ridden by chubby, there will be joy.

tt said...

There's a very few things in life that are so damn near perfect at their inception they can't be improved: the mousetrap is one, the diamond frame bicycle is another and then there's the saying; "lies, damned lies and statistics".

I report to you from the frontline of helmet hysteria (the cycling dystopia that dare not speak its name) where for more than two decades we've been assailed with a fusillade of surveys and studies and research and polls about the efficacy or otherwise of our mandatory bicycle helmet laws.

Some are judged to be credible, others flawed and many simply meaningless — lots of sound and fury signifying nothing. Interestingly, those studies considered credible very often contradict each other and their publication will be the cue for an army of data freds to swarm all over the internets zealously testifying as to the righteousness of the figures or feverishly denouncing the findings as the work of the devil. There will also be a battalion of personal-anecdote-wielding warriors insisting with a religious fervour that they've seen the light which now compels them to proselytise that the helmet is the one true path to salvation: 'it saved me, it'll save you too. Hallelujah!'

Well, here's a word of advice from a war weary veteran of these helmet battles: everybody; just shut up. Just. Shut. The. Fuck. Up.

Everyone involved has a vested interest or is in it for professional advancement or personal aggrandisement or for the lols or is seeking validation or is driven by some rivalry or is simply a dogma drone or etc etc etc...

So, you know, on this subject everyone is full of shit, and if they won't shut up about it, the best course of action is for you to not listen to them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tenovo for reminding me of the shouting match I had with a driver just yesterday.

Peanut Farmer said...

It's your right to kill a cyclist with yer SUV in the US. Helmet ain't gonna help you when that phat grill smashes yer midriff.

As far as the plus tire thing, folks need to learn how to ride. Technique over technology. Just Agree.

Anonymous said...

I wear a helmet to watch"captain video"

Anonymous said...

I wear a helmet but have a difficult time believing any of those helmet statistics for the life of me. Positively false i say.

bad boy of the south said...

Today's dilemma.... big rubber vs.foamy hats.
janinedm,sounds cool.very madison ave.
A keeper.

Anonymous said...

Shin guards protect you shin. But they don't stop a driver from killing you. No one is arguing that helmets don't protect you head. People are arguing that fuckin drivers kill cyclist, but idiots are trying to fix the problem by making people wear helmets. Get now?

pbateman is more aero with less skin providing drag said...

here is what I now know for a fact about bicycle safety:

riding in flippy-floppies is maybe not the best idea.

you can potentially grind the end of your big toe off, bleed profusely, and writhe about in great agony for some amount of time (your results may vary).

I never have an issue when i ride my bikey's that have shimano pedulls, but i was riding my Raleigh that has Looks

I dont know what this says about the french....

... but I can tell you that my toe is half gone and that while I'm still not super concerned about a stupid foam hat for my head, I am now intrigued by these "shoes" I see everyone people talking about.

In positive news:

- I did manage to keep the f'er upright and unscathed as i was coming to a hopping, skipping, grinding halt Fred Flintstone style with bare feet on asphalt.

- The searing pain confirmed I'm alive.

- The blue brooks looks insanely perfect on the red raleigh with its various white accents. It's like an ode to the UK and the USA... much like how i shoot my cups of tea with a 9mm and drink through the entry holes each day.

The helmat debate may rage on, but I think I'm solidly now in the shoes camp.



wishiwasmerckx said...

Let's switch up the tiresome helmet debate for a moment, shall we?

Condoms, good or bad?

To quote Madonna, the world's foremost authority on everything:

"Hey, you, don't be silly, put a rubber on your willie."

And that, as they say, is that...

Matt said...

I have absolutely NO data whatsoever to back this up, but to ME, it seems my odds of crashing with no involvement by a motor-vehicle is MUCH greater than my crashing WITH motor vehicle involvement (of course, I do NOT live in a big city, so likely it's apples and oranges). Yes there are occasionally vehicle/cyclist crashes around here every now and then, but I'd venture to say that someone goes down on a curve or pothole or slick spot/whatever around here at least a few times a week (I've personally been with a few of them). Been lucky enough to never seen/been involved w/ a car/bike crash (fingers crossed). I do know bouncing my head off the pavement would likely really suck (I bounced my head pretty hard on the slopes snowboarding years back, quickly realized I SHOULD have had a helmet on...who thought snow could be so hard). One thing they taught in Motorcycle Safety that sticks is that for anybody who rides on 2 wheels, it's not "if" but "when" you will go down. And you won't get to choose the moment, it will be chosen for you. I ride (both MTB and road) keeping that in mind.

JLRB said...

WEAR SHOE

I may not be wearing a Helment but I am enjoying a damn fine beer

dop said...

A statistician went deer hunting. His first shot was six feet to the left of Bambi. His second was six feet to the right.

I hit it! He screamed.

Unknown said...

Eben:

Normally I am more than willing to grant latitude for artistic flourishes in your writing, but I was reading your Outside article and came across something I just couldn't let by. As a nematologist and taxomonist, I have to climb up on my pedantic soapbox to insist upon two things:

1) When you employ a Latin binomial (e.g., Bursaphelenchus xylophilus), you must capitalize the generic name (the first part).

2) The aforementioned species does NOT, in fact, feed on roots. The Pine Wilt nematode infests the vascular tissue of certain pines ("xylophilus" means "xylem-loving". If you wish to refer to a "root-swallowing" nematode (a patently silly thing, since nematodes are so tiny that they cannot, of course, "swallow" roots), maybe roll with Ditylenchus destructor or, perhaps, Cactodera weissi.

Thank you. I feel better now. I feel better than James Brown.

Hal Kitzmiller said...

I would argue that a helmet probably saved Kramer's life the time he was roundhouse kicked by Crazy Joe Davola.

BenDE said...

For what it's worth, here in Germany in my little village two cyclists were involved in a high speed crash without wearing helmets (an adolescent boy and myself) and both were fine. Two people were killed by drivers, a pedestrian and a cyclist. The cyclist was wearing a helment, the pedestrian not.

The rectal surgeon above can talk population studies and people being dense all she wants but this past week is just about all I need.

As an aside, if I had been in my car on that day, That kid would have been dead - with or without helmet.

Frieden, usw...

STG said...

Cyclists shaming other cyclists about helmet use is not helpful. I wear a helmet nearly 100% of the time, but also I race once or twice a week and ride fast on my commute. Its appropriate for me to wear a helmet because I like to get RAD on my way into work and hop curbs and potholes and get air off of speed bumps. The helmet is there to protect my head if I screw up and end up on the pavement, or fall in a road race where everyone is moving in the same direction, but its not going to save me in a head-on collision with a car (WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON ACCIDENTS).

So when I see some master's racer chastising a young woman slowly cruising on a city bike for not wearing a helmet I tell them to shut their god damned mouths. Yeah man, you crashed once in some age-group road race and the helmet "saved your life" according to some non-existent forensic analysis. That has nothing to do with the risk factors of a person riding slowly near vehicles.

In a crash with a motor vehicle, your best hope for energy absorption is the metal body of the car. The helmet might protect you when you hit the ground after the collision, but the amount of energy that a car has is way way bigger.

A 65 kg (around 140 lb) person traveling 7 m/s (~16 mph) has a kinetic energy of 1600 joules. Her energy from falling is around 1200 joules, if she falls while moving that speed the vector addition will result in an energy at impact between 1200 and 1600 depending on the incidence angle.

a 1600 kg midsize sedan traveling 18 m/s (40mph) has a kinetic energy of 240,000 joules!

The helmet is there to help you in a fall. A car hitting you is orders of magnitude worse than a fall and your helmet is not saving you. Your only hope is that your other body parts take the hit from the car and you only dash your head against the asphalt, but you may be dead already.

Too many Americans behave like savages when they drive, and that's why people die.

Anonymous said...

Wishiwasmerckx 9:02PM

Norman Mailer, while interviewing Madonna, observed that “condoms are one element in a vast, unconscious conspiracy to make everyone part of the social machine. Then we lose whatever little private spirit we’ve kept.”

Probably thought the same about helmets.

wishiwasmerckx said...

STG, I lol-ed at your comment.

An American who weighs 140 lbs? Maybe a toddler...

The "average" American male is 5" 10" and weighs 190 lbs.

huskerdont said...

Fascinating.

Tires. Yep, I use them. Still enjoy some 23s despite what people tell me I should do, although I also enjoy some 25s, 33s, and 650b x something or others.

Helmets. I bought a MIPS helmet this summer, thinking that, since MIPS addressed one of my concerns about helmets, I'd be more likely to wear said helmet in the summer. I was wrong; I did not wear said helmet in the summer, but it was 35 degrees this morning and I am now. Well, not right now; typing on the computer does not seem especially dangerous to my cranium.

huskerdont said...

Forgot to mention that I wore my helmet when visiting NYC and felt like a total tool. I seemed to be very much in the minority, as opposed to here (outside DC), where I'm in the minority when I don't wear one. Maybe I'm just destined to be in the minority.

True Dat said...

"The helmet is there to help you in a fall. A car hitting you is orders of magnitude worse than a fall and your helmet is not saving you."

There is correct, worthwhile information in the helmet debate, but finding it is like panning for gold.

STG said...

Wishiwasmerckx 140lb is a reasonable weight for youngish woman on a city bike, which was the example. I'd say that's representative of a vulnerable user group, and representative of a non-hardcore new cyclist that city-bike and new infrastructure is working to attract.

Statistically speaking the average american is a woman.

George Krpan said...

The Message fork is still way too complicated. Yesterday, while riding my no suspension 29+ I was thinking how brilliant it is.

Joe McNamara said...

So when you say plus size you don't include fat bikes? Where I'm living they are selling like hotcakes. IMO they are the funnest bikes to ride.