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This thing is only a concept, which if I am understanding design correctly means it really has very little to do with the final product (or reality), but still it won an award…presumably the people giving out that award rarely ride bikes.
There is a lot wrong here.
Lets start with the small things and work are way up.
The helmet has no ventilation, going to be hot on most rides…especially with the visor down. Some people don’t mind that style though so lets move on.
How heavy are all the cameras and computers and display and sensors? I am going to guess heavier than foam and a thin plastic shell. Do you really want an extra pound or two on your neck for long rides? Will it fly off my head due to the extra weight during a violent fall?
How will it perform in the rain? In the snow? My cell phone doesn’t like getting cold or wet and its “water proof” Will that screen actually display anything in the sun? What if its night time and someone shines headlights in my eyes?
What happens to all that fancy stuff when you actually smash your head into something? Do the electronics and display become tiny projectiles? Is the absorbent quality of the helmet affected by having all that crap attached to it? Will I be bathed in optics and display parts all over my eyes?
Judging from the video it presents data in such a way to be far more distracting than traffic itself. Giant blue dots to let me know I am moving in the right direction? Sounds? Text in the middle of my view? How exactly do you select those different options, are we going to toss eye tracking into this thing as well? Or do I have to reach up and tap my helmet to select options while riding? Voice activation?
Why a rear facing camera? It’s actually a good thing to turn your head around and look behind you once in a while, its lets you see what you are dealing with and is a visual cue to other road users that you might be about to turn. PS. a tiny mirror does the same thing and is a lot cheaper.
What are those impact detectors on the side supposed to do? Anyone who has ever been passed by a car too close knows when something is near them, I don’t need expensive sensors to tell me that. Also the way Boston streets are designed I imagine they would be screaming constantly as most of the time you are riding in very cramped conditions. Thirdly, what exactly am I to do when the cars get too close? I can’t always move away from them. Its not like I am backing my minivan into the garage and need to know when I am too close to the wall, the cars are much bigger and heavier than me, when they get too close I am mostly at their mercy if they choose to move away from me or not.
How big are the batteries in this thing? How heavy are they going to be? With all this fancy stuff strapped to my head I imagine I couldn’t ride for more than an hour or two without having to swap them out or recharge them.
What is the carbon footprint on something like this? Am I going to have to worry about e-waste from my helmet now? Will it be full of brominated fire retardants, lithium ion batteries (which can catch fire if punctured), rare earth minerals? Will it be made with sweat shop labor in china? I am riding my bike to try to decrease the amount of emission and suffering in the world, not increase it.
How much is this going to cost? Helmets don’t last forever, even if you don’t crash you should still replace them every few years just because the foam degrades. Are the electronics removable? Is the helmet in pieces so you can only replace what you need? A cell phone or VR helmet with this much tech goes for $500-$600, am I supposed to drop half a grand every time I drop my helmet on the ground, or get hit by a car, or every three years?
This design is a failure.
Tags: over complication, poor design, rant
Posted in bostonbiker, Merch, video | No Comments »
Sometimes people are nice enough to send me products to review. So just know I got this for free, and that might bias me in ways I can’t consciously know about.
I was sent this pump a while ago, and have been playing around with it for a couple of weeks.
Mini-pumps are the ones you toss in your bag, and rely on when you get a flat out in the middle of nowhere and need to push enough air into your tire to get you home. It obviously is never going to work as well as a floor pump, but you need them to get enough air into your tire to roll home gingerly.
The RoadAir mini-pump is certainly small enough and light enough to carry around with you, and if you want you can even mount it to your bike (I just tossed it in my bag). It feels sturdy when you grab it, and doesn’t bend of flex in strange ways when you use it. The all metal frame helps with strength, and the plastic grip isn’t too bad (my hand didn’t slip off when pumping).
The metal body does get crazy cold in the winter, but if you are unlucky enough to get a flat in the snow I would suggest going into a store with your tire and waiting until the whole works warm up…or put a glove on to grab the aluminum part. This isn’t really a problem I think a lot of people will run into.
The pump has a clever way to get around the number one problem with mini-pumps, the pressure put on the valve stem when filling. Most mini-pumps attach right to the valve stem, and because they offer little to no mechanical advantage when pumping a tire, putting 100 psi of air into a tire, requires a herculean amount of force to be applied to your tiny little valve stem.
If you have long valve stems the force from the pumping can easily bend or break them. You end up putting your leg up against them, or trying to figure out a way to brace it on something, this pump comes with a long rubber tube that pulls out of the end allowing you to bend and flex the body of the pump without putting too much pressure on the valve stem. The longer hose also allows you access those hard to reach valve stems on strollers, and other non-bike inflated tires.
The rubber of the tube is very “aromatic” (it absolutely stunk of vulcanized rubber) when you first get it, so I recommend letting it hang out open in a well ventilated area for a day or two to let the rubber smell wear off before putting it in your bag. The contents of my bag had a lovely rubber smell until I let the pump “air out” (bike pump pun!) for about 12 hours. After which the smell was gone.
All the accessories tuck into the back of the pump, and are easy to loose if you don’t carefully remove the back when emptying them out (they flew all over the room), but really the only thing you will probably want is the presta-schrader valve adapter, which is small and easy to loose, so I just leave it permanently attached to the end of the tube, even though it keeps the dust cap from closing. It would haven been nicer to have a more elegant way to switch from presta to schrader, or perhaps just a bigger dust cap, but this is not a deal breaker for me.
The pump puts air in your tire, it does it without weighing too much, or damaging your valve stems. It doesn’t feel like a cheap plastic piece of crap, and I feel like it could take a beating before it broke. All in all not a bad little pump. I would recommend this pump if you are in the market for one. The price put’s it above the average for these sorts of things, but its a quality product that isn’t too pricey.
Verdict: good pump, buy one if you want a good mini-pump that wont break your valve stems off.
Tags: free stuff, mini-pump, review, road air
Posted in Merch, reviews | 1 Comment »
Someone got me the Bikey Face Book for Baby Jesus capitalism day!!! Get your own here!
Its so well done, and funny, and the perfect book for anyone looking to get started with cycling, or anyone who appreciates humor and nice artwork.
Tags: awesome, bikey face, comic
Posted in bostonbiker, Merch | No Comments »
Oh Man! This thing looks awesome, buy five and give them out to every cyclist you know!
Announcing the first Bikeyface book, Bike There! Bike There is a 24 page mini-comic on how to bike around a city. The mini-comic is an introduction to transportation bicycling that was inspired by this original post for bike curious and new bicyclists (as well as any other bicyclists who love to laugh, bike, and share the lifestyle.)
The comic contains some illustrations that have appeared online as well as new ones. All illustrations have been updated and rendered in full color. And while there are many bicycling guides out there, Bike There is a little more humorous and a little less stuffy. You can get it here!
Tags: bikeyface, book, buy this book right now
Posted in fun, Merch | No Comments »
Howdy folks, I have roughly 10 Mini Mum Vertical Bike Hangers with Security Cable.
Free to whoever wants one or all of them. They don’t have mounting screws, but you can get those at any hardware store.
The only catch is you have to come pick them up down town around the park street T stop between 9-5 Monday through Friday. I can meet you in the common with a box of them (they are heavy so if you are going to bike off with them bring a rack or a trailer or a big back pack.
Contact me if you want them, they all have to be out of here by next Friday September 19 2014.
Tags: bike hangers, free stuff, take my stuff
Posted in bostonbiker, Merch | No Comments »