Thursday, May 12, 2016

Is there a helmet that protects against propaganda?

I don't know about you, but I've got a big ride coming up next weekend:

That means I have to train in order to meet my fitness goals® and achieve my personal best™.  To that end, yesterday I scanned my to-do list, shrugged, crumpled it into a little ball, and fucked off for a ride:

This was my first "real" mountain bike ride since the doctor pronounced my thumb mended and ready for battle, and so I figured the wide gearing and plush tires of the Marin Pine Mountain 1 would help compensate for my rustiness.

As I scampered about the sun-dappled trails, I congratulated myself for shirking my responsibilities, and after awhile I stopped to enjoy a picnic lunch:

"Ah, this is the life," I thought to myself.  "Except for this gluten-free bread, which pretty much sucks ass."

Go ahead, mock my diet.  Hey, I suffer from middle-age onset wheat allergies, what am I supposed to do?  Thankfully I've eaten enough pizza and bagels for two lifetimes, so I suppose I can endure the rest of my existence without them.

By the way, astute readers will note I'm using the helmet I bought when I visited Melbourne:

I chose it for two reasons*:

1) Being rusty, I knew that no harm could possibly come to me while wearing a piece of bicycle safety equipment that meets Australia's rigorous standards;

B) My less dorky speed-biking helmet needs a new "retention system," which I've been far too lazy to replace.

*[I actually only chose it for the second reason.  In fact, the Australian helmet's sheer bulk caused me to hit my head on one or two tree branches I've ridden past countless times before without incident while wearing my more streamlined foam hat.]

Anyway, it was a delightful ride, and my rustiness only caught up with me towards the end of the ride when I got a little hung up on some rocks:

As I fell, I held my tender freshly-mended thumb in front of me while crying "NOOOOOO!!!" in slow motion, and in one deft move I removed my Australian helmet from my head and strapped it to my hand.

Thanks to all that nanny state magic from Down Under my thumb survived the tumble intact, and I'm pleased to report I landed just shy of the disgusting stagnant swamp coated with the glimmering sheen of motor vehicle exhaust from the adjacent parkway:

Yay me.

Anyway, spills like that are the equivalent of slurred speech at the bar, in that they're both signs you should head home now before you get into real trouble.  So I pointed the fat tires of the Marin back towards the Bronx, stopping briefly in the park to expose my pasty mud-splattered legs to the sun:

And then switching to a completely different orange-and-gray bicycle for the school pick-up:

Between riding to and from the mountain bike trails of Westchester and hauling two children over the highest natural elevation in the Bronx on a 50lb bicycle it's clear I am going to be unleashing some serious power on the Gran Fondon't.

You have been warned.

Speaking of ride preparation, you know how everyone's obsessed with #whatpressureyourunning?  Well forget that.  Because now it's all about #whichdowntubeyourunning?

Am I the only person in the world who thinks that most bikes are adequately smooth, especially when it comes to riding on pavement?  We've got some spectacularly carpet-bombed streets in my neighborhood, yet I haven't encountered the road surface that can't be adequately mitigated by some wider tires and perhaps a little bit of rider finesse--both of which seem a lot more straightforward than a bike that requires swapping out your freaking downtube:

Not to mention the inevitable disappearances when people lock their bikes up by that great big elastomer dong and the thieves just open them up like carabiners:

Alas, it's only a matter of time before the gravel-riding set latches on to this exciting new technology and riders start carrying quivers full of different downtubes on their backs:
Finally, a bike that combines all the best (or worst) attributes of the Slingshot:

And the Softride:

In other news, it's still Bike Month (won't it ever end?!?), and the misinformation campaigns and anti-cycling propaganda is coming fast and furious, like Mario Cipollini in the bathroom at a cocktail party.  Consider this tweet from the Automobile Assholes of America, which marries good old-fashioned victim-blaming with the art of thoroughly brainwashed children in a downright offensive fashion:

Yeah?  Well I'm guessing at least 90% of those bicyclists were killed by drivers, so the AAA can take that helmet and shove it up their ass.

Then, via a reader by the name of Geoff, comes this study that says bike share users need to wear helmets more...just because:

Public bikeshare programs are becoming increasingly common in the United States and around the world. These programs make bicycles accessible for hourly rental to the general public. We seek to describe the prevalence of helmet use among adult users of bikeshare programs and users of personal bicycles in 2 cities with recently introduced bikeshare programs (Boston, MA, and Washington, DC).

We performed a prospective observational study of adult bicyclists in Boston, MA, and Washington, DC. Trained observers collected data during various times of the day and days of the week. Observers recorded the sex of the bicycle operator, type of bicycle, and helmet use. All bicycles that passed a single stationary location in any direction for a period of between 30 and 90 minutes were recorded.

There were 43 observation periods in 2 cities at 36 locations; 3,073 bicyclists were observed. There were 562 (18.3%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 16.4% to 20.3%) bicyclists riding shared bicycles. Overall, 54.5% of riders were unhelmeted (95% CI 52.7% to 56.3%), although helmet use varied significantly with sex, day of use, and type of bicycle. Bikeshare users were unhelmeted at a higher rate compared with users of personal bicycles (80.8% versus 48.6%; 95% CI 77.3% to 83.8% versus 46.7% to 50.6%). Logistic regression, controlling for type of bicycle, sex, day of week, and city, demonstrated that bikeshare users had higher odds of riding unhelmeted (odds ratio [OR] 4.4; 95% CI 3.5 to 5.5). Men had higher odds of riding unhelmeted (OR 1.6; 95% CI 1.4 to 1.9), as did weekend riders (OR 1.3; 95% CI 1.1 to 1.6).

Use of bicycle helmets by users of public bikeshare programs is low. As these programs become more popular and prevalent, efforts to increase helmet use among users should increase.

Wait a minute.  Why should it increase?  Just because it can?  This is like saying earmuff use on the New York City subway is low, and as mass transit ridership increases so should use of big fuzzy ear coverings.  If anything the opposite is true, because as more and more people use bike share the less necessary helmets become.  After all, cities become demonstrably safer for cyclists after bike share:

Late last week, several media outlets ran stories on a study published in the American Journal of Public Health that allegedly showed head injuries increasing in cities with bike-share programs. Kay Teschke, who studies city cycling at the University of British Columbia, read the news with great interest. Then she read the actual journal publication, and her interest changed to alarm.

"When I actually looked at the data, I thought, oh my goodness, the injuries actually went down," she says. "In the bike-share cities, the total number of injuries went down, and the number of head injuries went down."

The reason they don't use helmets in the Netherlands isn't because the laws of physics are different.  It's because when everybody rides bicycles the streets get a lot safer.

Nevertheless, plenty of people want to scare you right off your bike and into the Hyundai dealership:

(Via Cheryl)

Nationwide, you’re more than twice as likely to die while riding a bike than riding in a car, per trip, according to a 2007 study led by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention epidemiologist Laurie Beck. Bike riding is also about 500 times more fatal than riding in a bus. Though Beck didn’t run numbers on subway and commuter rail systems, they may be the safest form of transportation of all. Despite a series of well-publicized accidents and maintenance issues, Metrorail and Metrobus reported just two injuries per million riders in 2015.

There you have it.  Cycling is more dangerous than riding the bus, so you shouldn't do it.

And if that wasn't a powerful enough argument against commuting by bicycle, how about this one?

In addition to accidents, cyclists face another major health risk: Air pollution. Bike commuters inhale about three times as much air pollution as drivers, according to a 2015 study conducted in Fort Collins, Colo. For that study, commuters wore backpacks that measured their exposure to different kinds of air pollution, including carbon monoxide and black carbon. The Colorado State University researchers found that cyclists, due to their heavier breathing and longer commute time, ended up huffing far more pollution than drivers.

Bullshit.  This is compelling just as long as you ignore the fact that riding your bike makes you fit, whereas sitting behind the wheel of a car while slurping coffee and scarfing drive-thru cuisine will send you to an early grave in an oversized coffin.  Sure, thanks to our sedentary lifestyle the typical American needs to be buried in a piano case, but at least we remain safe and deeply in debt behind the wheels of our leased shitboxes that kill 30,000 people a year.

Make America great again?!?  It already is, baby.


commie said...


commie said...


commie said...


commie said...

yay mecha doping

N/A said...

Helment for your thumb? Could be a big seller. Thumbments?

N/A said...

I can't do the great Fondon't, sadly, but if I were to do so, I'd be doping to the max. Moto-doping, blood-doping, sock-doping, dope-doping, and I'm pretty dopey, as well. That's a lot of dope, son.

P. Bateman said...

top tanner! seriously, so bronze from this florida sun.

and god you should see how dark and lovely my new russian secretary is - she obviously doesn't listen to all that skin cancer propaganda.

leroy said...

I told my dog today's post reminded me of that Ramones song:

The AAA towed my baby away,
They towed her away from me.

He said it reminded him of a stagnant brand trying to maintain relevance by coopting bicycles and of the auto industry's campaign against pedestrians 100 years ago by inventing jay-walking to shift responsibility for crash injuries.

I decided it was too early in the morning to argue with him.

N/A said...

I notice that Wildcat's Marin is filthy. Is it as filthy as Janinedm's?

bad boy of the north said...

glad thumbody didn't get inhured in yesterday's's about getting buried in a cardboard bicycle shipping box?perhaps it's too thin,but at least it's bio-degrable.

dancesonpedals said...


bad boy of the north said...

oops....meant injured.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...


McFly said...

You never mentioned that one of your 17 children was a bowling ball.

Unknown said...

From a few weeks ago No one has died using bike share in the US in the millions of trips taken so far and most of the users don't wear helmets.

commie said...

"You never mentioned that one of your 17 children was a bowling ball. "

shhhh....we don't talk about L'il baby Brunswick.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Nationwide, you’re more than 1,000 times as likely to kill or maim a pedestrian or cyclist while operating a motor vehicle than while riding a bike per trip, and infinitely more likely to be polluting the earth's atmosphere while burning fossil fuels or consuming electrons generated from fossil fuels than pedaling a bike.

No studies were performed or harmed in arriving at this conclusion.

Eric the Infrequent said...

In order to reduce your exposure to vehicle pollution, you should drive more. What brilliant chucklefucko came up with that?

dnk said...

Anyone see John Oliver's brilliant rant a couple weeks ago on the importance of science and it's concurrent diminishment by bullshit "studies" that media organizations love to report?

Embedded in the rant is a guy giving this fake TED Talk:

"Our scientists at the Skittles Foundation for Rainbow Tasting have done some pioneering work. We placed 37 volunteers from Tulsa, Oklahoma on an all-Skittles diet for six weeks----and guess how many were killed by baboons?


Thirty-four people lived! Two were killed in a non-baboon related murder-suicide."

Conclusion obviously: wear a helmet while eating Skittles or get your head torn off by a baboon.

Here's the link:

Regular guy said...

Geez, those kind of statistics always get me riled up. Since I've ridden a bike far more than I've driven a car in 4 decades of pedaling, I should be dead by now. It makes me feel so vulnerable, I'm sure my number is almost up.

And what bus lines are they talking about, and at what time of day?

Hee Haw the Barista's dairy farming uncle said...

Make American cheese grate again!

FR8 said...

that 50lb bicycle is actually closer to 70lbs, before you add L'il Baby Brunswick! You are much fitter than you think!

N/A said...

Bike riding is also about 500 times more fatal than riding in a bus

Haha, no shit? I'm less likely to get smooshed by an asshole while sitting in what is usually the biggest vehicle on the road vs. riding what is the smallest (and unprotected)? Good job, scientists!

sideshowglen said...

Using segregated bike lanes is like walking around a university using disabled infrastructure instead of the stairs. It takes longer, it's a pain in the arse to find and navigate and it would be more successful if it was integrated into the standard infrastructure.
I rode my bike for a month in Geneva where there's few 'bike lanes' there's just wide single laned roads, lots of no parking zones and trained drivers. It was the best city I've ever cycled in. The best part was, I could take the most direct route to get where I was going and felt perfectly safe.

Anonymous said...

"... helmet use varied significantly with sex..."


BamaPhred said...

Scranus. Turn your back on the blog for a work break and Boom! Missed the podium, sprint, etc.

BamaPhred said...

And that eagle needs a helment. Marks-a-lot FTA on the side of it. I'm waxing nostalgic.

crosspalms said...

Sorry I can't make the Fond Grendel, but hope you don't get our weather: foggy yesterday, thunderstorms overnight, foggy again today. I look forward to the Foam Hats on Parade photos.

DB said...

Um, Wildcat: Do the Folks at Marin read this blog?
They may be a little concerned about the condition of their bike when you have to turn it back in.

Nich said...

I wonder why safety researches are always focused on how likely is for you to die rather then how likely is for you to kill?

Roille Figners said...


114. As explained in paragraphs 65-67, 70-73, modern man is strapped down by a network of rules and regulations, and his fate depends on the actions of persons remote from him whose decisions he cannot HA HA JUST KIDDIN!

Spokey said...


oh hello there. didn't realize everyone was up yet.

Go ahead, mock my diet. Hey, I suffer from middle-age onset wheat allergies, what am I supposed to do? Thankfully I've eaten enough pizza and bagels for two lifetimes,

thank lob, you are saved. i'm sure others have it as well but Lenny's Pizza has gluten free pizza.

i also found recently that wegman's has nitrite(nitrite?) free, organic hotdogs. couple that with a gluten free potato roll and you have a feast fit for a masochist.

hrc said...

lies, damned lies, and statistics

Red Ross said...

Thanks to our sedan-tary lifestyle - fixed that for you! :)

JLRB said...

As someone who has been forced on to an elimination diet for the past three weeks I scoff at your gluten avoidance. I am down to fresh vegies, low-glycine fruits, no grains other than rice and quinoa, raw nuts, turkey, some fish. No sugar, no honey, no diary, no eggs, no bananas, no strawberries.


janinedm said...

What can be said about this research that hasn't been said about Billy Madison's test answers? Anyway, I can spare some room in my pannier for anyone's refrigerated blood if they need it for the Gran Fondon't.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Oh Where Oh Where Could My Recumbabe Be
Oh where oh were could my recumbabe be
The lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good
So I can see my recumbabe when I'll leave this world

We were out on a date on our recumbent bikes
We hadn't ridden very far
There in the road
Straight ahead
A car was stalled in the bike lane
I couldn't stop
So I swerved to the right
I'll never forget the sound that night
The screamin tires
The busting glass
The Painfull scream that I heard last.

Oh where oh were could my recumbabe be
The lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good
So I can see my recumbabe when I'll leave this world

When I woke up
The rain was pouring down
There were people standing all around
Something warm falling into my eyes

But some how I found my recumbabe that night
I lifted her head
she looked at me and said
Hold me darling just alittle while
I held her close
I kissed her our last kiss
I found the love I knew I had missed
but now she's gone
even though I hold her tight
I lost my love, my life that night

Oh where oh were could my recumbabe be
The lord took her away from me
She's gone to heaven so I've got to be good
So I can see my recumbabe when I leave this world

oooooo oooooooooo


nahmean said...

We've got some great statistics interpreters here in Philadelphia, too. From this article about bike safety concerns, "Last year, nine cyclists were killed in crashes on city streets and so far this year, there's been two."

OK well, it's May 10th, we are 35% of the way through the year. With two deaths, if the rate stays the same, we'll end up with 5.7 dead (the 0.7 presumably being a maiming). Isn't 5.7 deaths significantly better than 9? You've cut down by more than a third!

N/A said...

Was Recumbabe wearing a helment?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

I've given up on Recumbabe, am really happy janinedm is here and wish Babs would not disappear for months on end!

BamaPhred said...

I don't remember recumbabe wearing anything except some sandals, and an aura of complete no caring about what anyone thought.

commie said...

Conclusion obviously: wear a helmet while eating Skittles or get your head torn off by a baboon.

Well, that's just science.

Even according to the <a href=">AAA</a>, 40% of riders killed had healments on, which is obviously causality.

commie said...

The AAA.

If President Trump has these stats, he would conclude that 40% of bicyclist were killed by wearing Canadian NAFTA helmets, then raped by Mexicans.

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Wait, the Fonz is catholic?

Regular guy said...

Maple leaf pasties, Phred. That is all I remember.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...hey, BikeSnob, you mind teaching us your technique for quickly removing your foam hat from your head, and onto your hand?

...I want two foam hats for my hands. Kickstarter anyone?

Anonymous said...

Fuck yea Snob!

Chazu said...

You didn't use the word "onanism" today. I feel slighted.

Anonymous said...

Slingshot and Alter Cycles are both from Grand Rapids, MI. Yet I've only ever seen one on the streets here.

1904 Cadardi said...

The local news "outlets" were just pushing a story that said people that commute by bike are healthier despite inhaling more polluted air than the people driving cars.

CommieCanuck said...

The Fonz was eyetalian.

grog said...

She was wearing nothing but her maple leaves.

Roille Figners said...

Was the Fonz Jewish?

Jew score: 6

Joe said...

That section of Sprain (the narrow rock garden before the climbing past car carcasses back up to the mall?) is no joke. Although, I dream of being able to ride those tight, rocky switchbacks by the fetid water on those fat, fat tires. I also am glad to see I'm not the only one who uses a musette bag for trail lunch. There is no better companion when you ride to the tails and want to ride all day.

ken e. said...

planning to counter-fondon't in envy.


BamaPhred said...


gsport george said...

I always like to summarise it like this:-

Cyclists live longer on average and are healthier than non-cyclist.
Therefore; cycling is much safer than not-cycling. Therefore not-cycling should be banned.

HivemindX said...

Isn't that study really saying that driving your car is 250 times more dangerous than riding the bus? Wow! Driving sure is dangerous and still car occupants almost NEVER wear their car helmets.

bad boy of the north said...

my eyes!my eyes!my lob,bamafred,where are her marpleleaves?or is that nippleleaves?thanks for the return,though fleetingly,of recumbabe.joe,you made me look up musette.

Anonymous said...

In real life henry winkler is jewish, on the show Arthur fonzarelli was of Italian extraction.

what no bike themed calf/lower thigh tattoos. Come on, all the bros are doing it. don't you read radavist?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Henry Winkler is Jewish. I was wondering how one gets a picture of the Fonz onto a website called

And regarding oral, not aural Onanism, it is apparently an urban legend that Marilyn Manson and Prince had ribs surgically removed. See No. 9 here.

Dooth said...

Not only should not-cycling be banned...not-cycling should be deported, with a fenced built to keep not-cycling out of America!
Studies show not-cycling is a leading cause of rape and incest.

JLRB said...

"There were 43 observation periods in 2 cities at 36 locations"

Because Somebody had nothing better to do

Anonymous said...

They recorded the sex of the bicycle operator? Are they selling the videos to raise money for more research?

crosspalms said...

To make up for missing the Fondont, at least I got my copy of the new book today.

Janinedm, there's nothing in it about bubble baths, whether before, during, or after riding. I assume Snob will fix this in the next edition.

Unknown said...

Seriously ? A bike manufacturer who has been around since 198whatever does not have $29000 to invest in itself? If I'm an employee I'm cashing oayroll checks immediately.

BikeSnobNYC said...


Yep, that's the spot!

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Spokey said...

i timidly pose the following questions. please, oh please fellow fuck-o(es), bless me serious answers.

questions: has anyone gotten the kindle version of the new book? are there pictures, particularly color that won't render well?

JLRB said...

Not sure what that was about .... I heard police sirens and voices - looked out the office window and saw a long steam of bikecyclists rolling by with police escort. They were all wearing blue jerseys ... maybe the League of American Wheelies is in town ?

Spokey said...

not league of american wheelies for years (since 1994). now the league of american bicyclists or lab. of course the iowa chapter is known as labia.

Knüt Fredriksson said...

JLRB, are you sure it was a police escort and not a slow speed pursuit? Was OJ doing a local charity ride?

Knüt Fredriksson said...


Anonymous said...

The Altered guy is the Glendale guy is the Slingshot guy, I remember the "minibike with the broken down tube rode smoother" story from back in the day.

Eric Steenbergen said...

The guardian ran this article stating that the benefits of cycling out weight the draw backs from pollution in all but the most polluted cities.

Jerome said...

Helmets. Again. Bikeshare cyclists don't wear helmets? So what? Bikeshare is same as taking the bus or the subway: commute to/from work. Do you wear a seatbelt riding a bus to work?

Anonymous said...

Here is a nice bike month story from up the Hudson.

WIZ !! JAY said...

Can't find any stats on
this perspective....

babble on said...

Lieutenant- Heh, spot on. I am here, and enjoying every post, and the post-post conversations, too, all the while seriously disappearing!! Finally I am race weight, and my kids have begged me not to race.

Snobberdood? Too true, hauling those little monkeys makes you strong! That's where I got these muscles from, for sure. And after thirty years of commuting and usually running five minutes behind, I am pretty fucking fast, too, even on good old 61 lb Bea bike. Heh. I love how some guys hate getting chicked by a girl in heels on an Electra... :D
Which brings me to Janinedm? Yes, yes, yes DO do the Fondont, even on your Workcycle. You'll Prolly kick some serious ass, my dear beauty. I would love to join the lot of you, even if it is a bit far to travel for a bike ride. Call me crazy if you like...the shoe fits after all.
Commie? Many kisses... xxxxxx

dancesonpedals said...

Did France and Germany ever have make up sex? Compare and Contrast. Use examples from your own life, or from people you know.

Hello Babble, nice to hear from you.

Bromptonaut said...


Serious response: I now have the digital version of the best selling bicycle selection, maintenance and culture book (ever). The pictures come up fine on the Kindle app on iPad.

Frivolous response: Do we get a software patch to sort out the whole front fender (mudguard) shambles on the front cover?

Spokey said...



and i get updates for the kindle for lots of books. we'll see if snobbie publishing is as customer oriented.

JLRB said...

Hey look - it's raining!

Hey, look, it's raining

Captain Oblivious said...

It's raining; it's pouring.
The cyclist is snoring.
He went to bed and bumped his head,
And he couldn't get up in the morning

Now there is micro-agression against pedallers everywhere if I ever saw it!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MSquaredVelo said...

Au contraire, mon frere! My commute is 15 minutes compared to the subway ride that takes 30. I think I'm breathing in far more pollution and filth down in those hell holes than above ground where we belong. Not to mention the huffing and puffing generated from my speed walking to said subway while dodging the human shit on the sidewalks

McFly said...

I though make up sex was when you rubbed off all of her lipstick. My woman has really been into politics lately and it's getting old. She even weaves it into our lovelife by making crude sexual references like Would you like to apply for a lower level position in the Bush Administration if you know what I mean and I believe you do.

dinerwhore said...

car culture

Your Part-Time Spiritual Adviser said...

The reason they don't use helmets in the Netherlands isn't because the laws of physics are different. It's because when everybody rides bicycles the streets get a lot safer.

And they learn to ride as children, have essential handling skills down pat, have a sense of civic responsibility AND THE LAW HOLDS DRIVERS ACCOUNTABLE!

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Unknown said...

You made some decent points there. I looked on the internet for the issue and found most individuals will go along with with your website.

Robert said...

This is very important post about a driver. A driver need to use helmet. bilt bluetooth helmet