Cycling helmets seem to be a recurring theme here on JustAnotherCyclist as of late. To wear or not to wear. To promote or not to promote. Blah blah blah… There has got to be some way to resolve the issue. Perhaps with better technology?
Folks seem pretty happy with the air bags in their cars. This probably has a lot to do with the reams and reams of evidence for their collective benefits. Unfortunately the same concept does not apply to bicycles. First off there is simply no practical way to mount an airbag on the handlebars of any but the most heavily customized bikes. More importantly is the fact that it is usually the ground or a car – and not the handlebars – that you smack into if you are injured in a cycling crash. If only there were some way to get that same level of passive protection on a bicycle…
Maybe there is.
I was sitting in my new favorite greasy spoon – Heidis Pies on El Camino Real in San Mateo – when Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper” came on the radio. As I was half-listen while reading the latest issue of Road Bike Action magazine, I could hear the cowbell in my head. Only, the cowbell isn’t really there – at not least as much as I heard it. The cowbell had been engrained in my subconscious so much that I actually thought I was hearing it.
I’m referring, of course, to the Christopher Walken skit done on Saturday Night Live featuring that song. That particular skit has become so iconic that most folks from my generation will know exactly what you are talking about if you mention “I gotta have more cowbell!”
(Yes – this will eventually have something to do with cycling)
I’ve always felt there was a strong affinity between technology folks and cycling. Admittedly I spend a fair amount of time in Silicon Valley, so my opinion may be somewhat biased. The cycling industry itself has its own fair share of cool gizmos for all of us Freds to drop or hard earned cash on. From cycling computers to helmet cams to bikes that post to twitter for you, electronics have found their way into the cycling world.
This was taken to a completely different level, however, by Steve Roberts. Not only did he spend years of his life pedaling around the country, he did it on one of three “unique” bikes he put together himself. It is not the frame or configuration of the bike that makes them particularly interesting. No, it is the array of electronics that he incorporated into his rides that really sets him apart.
If you haven’t yet had a chance to see the 60 Minutes interviews with Tyler Hamilton regarding the doping allegations against Lance Armstrong, I’ve included the video below (parts 1 and 2).
So now the question is – what do you make of this situation? Is Hamilton believable? If so, what does that mean for cycling? For the Livestrong foundation?
I’ve also posted this same question over in the Pro Cycling forum on VeloReviews.com. Share your opinions and thoughts on where we go with this.
Floyd Landis continues to have his name surface in cycling media, and it is doubtful that will change any time soon. Ever since he leveled his original allegations at several American pro cyclists, he has garnered nearly as much media coverage off of the bike as he did on the bike. Whistle blower to some, crack pot to others, and witness for the federal government – Landis will continue to be central in the world of doping investigations for the foreseeable future. In that environment, it is no surprise at all that he would have representatives – legal and otherwise – working for him.
But this is Floyd we’re talking about here, and things are often not what they seem.
But Wobblebiks. Now that’s where its at! (Can you hear the sarcasm there?)
I seriously don’t know what to say about these. Here’s a quote from their own page:
“It must be difficult to ride”:
Yes it’s absolutely impossible to ride!
I can still convince myself it must be impossible to ride, even when I have just woven in-and-out of a crowd of people on it. That’s what makes it fun!
You can find the craziest bits of information in the strangest places. There is no question that the late Sheldon Brown’s website is the go-to site for bicycle technical information on the internet. However, clearly there are other repositories of cycling wisdom out there too. What I didn’t expect was to find an extremely articulate article on wheel truing posted to – get this – the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories website. No kidding… If the internet is great for only one thing, it is trails of breadcrumbs just like this.
Note: I originally wrote this as a guest piece for the awesome BikingInLA blog. Seeing a video posted over on Cyclelicious reminded me a lot of the sentiment of this post, so I decided to share it again.
There are many of us so-called avid cyclists that are big on participating in, but also promoting cycling. I’m one of those folks. For me, this is partially self-serving. The more folks that we have out on the road riding their bikes, the more accustomed to bikes on the road motorists will be. Makes it safer for all of us overall. Socially I think it is a win. The oft-cited benefits to health and the environment seem like obviously beneficial gains to me as well. That, and the natural human compulsion to want other folks to enjoy what I enjoy.
For some, it is about fostering a “bike culture.” A culture where going to the grocery store, or tootling down to the local cafe, or getting the kids to soccer practice, are all things that are perfectly reasonable to do on a bike. A culture where riding a bike in the rain to get to work doesn’t make you extreme, eccentric or even on the fringe. A culture where riding a bike is normal. As normal as driving a car.
And now we have a conundrum.