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« My low-tech bicycle computer | Main | Jean Robic: The little giant »
Friday
Jul132007

What happened yesterday?

I have a little thing on my blog called Stat Counter; it tells me how many hits per day this blog gets and from what area they come from.

At the beginning of this year, I was getting about a 100 hits a day; now, six months later that has crept up to 200-250 hits a day on average.

When this suddenly doubled to 521 hits yesterday, I wondered why. It was due in part to a link posted on a British Forum; appropriately named Another Cycling Forum.

Like most of these forums, they cater to the younger generation, whose enthusiasm is only surpassed by their lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge, that is, outside their own little world they live in.

These British kids were discussing the New Jersey Quick Release Ban; old news here but for whatever reason they thought it was worth discussing. Some of them thought my blog on the story was “Silly.”

What people in other parts of the world have to understand is that here in America we have politicians who constantly pass laws to protect us from ourselves.

Then we have lawyers who uphold those laws, when what we really need are laws to protect us from politicians and lawyers.

I’ll give you a hypothetical example. On the South Coast of England there are the famous White Cliffs of Dover. Chalk cliffs that a quite beautiful and rise several hundred feet above the English Channel.

You can walk along the top of these cliffs and on a clear day see the coast of France that is only some 25 miles away.

There are signs posted along the cliff top footpath, warning people not to go near the edge because the soft chalk may crumble and they could fall to their death.

If that were America the there would be a chain-link fence with barbed wire on top because someone thought that Americans were stupid enough to go to the edge to see if it really would crumble.

Such a fence would spoil the natural beauty of the cliffs, and ruin the view for everyone. But, of course if Dover were in the USA someone would eventually fall over the edge, and someone would sue the Town of Dover for their entire budget for the next twenty years, so it is cheaper to put up a fence.

So to these young British cyclists, yes I think quick release hubs are a good idea, but here in America it is “Cheaper to put up a fence,” like fitting solid axels and hex nuts to some bikes.

In particular, the ones sold at Costco or Wal-Mart, were the checker at the cash register will not show you how to adjust the quick release spindles, so your wheels won’t fall out.

Reader Comments (9)

I just came here from a post on the iBOB list

>I've been reading Dave Moulton's >classy bike culture column. Wow!

I'd have to second that your Bog has a great eclectic mix of information one could spend days here tangenting back and forth from the themes you touch on.

Thanks
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Phelim Burgess
Exactly Dave!
In Mexico, the hotels and resorts (at least the ones that don't cater totally to Americans) don’t have fences around their pools; no gates that close and lock by themselves and no warning signs that the water is deep enough to drown in. That is learned young. Or at least it is by those still around.
A resort can never get away without fences in America, and even if they have one someone will sue the resort if their child drowns.
Not having a fence forces people to learn quickly that there is danger when they get near the pools. Having a fence gives a false sense of protection and if a child does slip through they can drown because all the safety features designed to protect have failed. They don’t think about the danger and just fall or jump right into the water.
Kind of like the spoke protector on a bike: lean how to adjust the derailleur and you don’t need one.
Do these laws supersede learning?
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter VintageSpin
On the other hand, in America it may be illegal, but perfectly acceptable, to ride your bike after dark without any sort of lighting. Perhaps it is because we treat bicycles as toys, and not as vehicles capable of reaching the take-off and landing speeds of small aircraft. Try to put a fence around that.
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Bob J
You are spot-on Dave. Having a simple hex bolt would solve a lot of problems.

I find "innovation" to be quite funny. As the years progressed, we finally started to see QR hubs emerge in department store bikes (such as in Walmart). Not because a QR wheel was the superior way to go for these price points, but rather because in previous years, issues of cost prohibited them from offering this option. Now that they get everything made in China, they can get QR wheels on even the lowest end of bikes.

You should send your suggestion to the folks at Walmart. If they saw a reduction in cost as being available, they'd order their vendors (bike companies) to start doing hex nuts immediately.
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Patrick
shorter version of today's post:

"in the old days we knew how to make things work. damn kids, GET OFF MY LAWN!"
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Anonymous
Here's a sign along the cliff in Santa Cruz, California informing visitors that "CLIFF EDGES ARE DANGEROUS." There's also a fence along the cliff here to hinder access, though in reality all the kids hop the fence and jump into the water from the cliff for thrills. A teen jumped off the cliff last week and remains in a coma.
July 13, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Fritz
It's sad to read these sort of things, but somehow, I pray that common sense, which seemed so common not so long ago, returns to our society.

Two days ago, a 4 year old boy drowned in a theme park "wave pool" while only in two feet of water. His mother had no idea where he was, seemed not the bit concerned and sent her 9 year old daughter to find him. Obviously, this is a very tragic event, but as was to be expected, the boys death, according to his mother, is the fault of the Park's. Common sense would have dictated that she be there with her son as he entered the pool, but unfortunately, it wasn't so.

Last weekend a 20 year old jumped from the Hacienda Bridge and landed in the Russian River (60 miles north of San Francisco), only to drown. While his friends egged him on, they failed to realize that his drunken state might cause a problem when he reached the water below. I am now waiting to read of the lawsuit his parents will file against the county for not having a "Dangerous...do not jump" sign up at the bridge.

As the song says "old Billy was right...let's kill all the lawyers, kill them tonight."

I could go on and on, but I won't.
July 15, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter maltese falcon
I'm surprised and not a little flattered that you think the contributors to Another Cycling Forum (ACF) are 'enthusiastic kids'! Unfortunately, the reality is that our average age is probably nearer 40 than 20, and there are several of us in our 50s or older. The level of cycling experience represented therein is considerable - if you're familiar with BikeJournal, you'll see that the ACF 'club' is consistently in the top 5 in terms of mileage completed.

The comments on the QR legislation issue followed (IIRC) a news item in the British press; inevitably, early comment was probably given without the benefit of much factual information. While one contributor may have found your comment 'silly', I think the general thrust of the discussion broadly agreed with you.

Hey ho. I'm off to enjoy my newly-restored 'kid' status!
July 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter TimC
Tim C,

Thank you for your comment. I have had some bad experiences with rudeness on bicycle forums when I have tried to offer the benefit of my 37 years in the bike business. As a result, I will not usually participate.

I thought this situation was typical. Someone on the forum picked up on this one article and dismissed it as “Silly.” They totally ignored over 120 other posts on this blog that may have increased their knowledge of the bicycle.

I wrote this piece just to see if anyone from Another Bike Forum would even find it. I’m glad someone did, and I hope at least you will go to my blog archives page and browse through it.

Dave.
July 20, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter Dave Moulton
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