I believe that a person cannot know himself without first understanding his limitations. I’m not good at pure mathematics, and as a consequence I have only a tenuous grasp of physics properties such as wave behaviour or quantum mechanics (I’m better at Newtonian physics, metallurgy, and manufacturing processes). My omelets are mediocre (but cheese solves many problems). I’m rubbish at giving or following driving directions. I am however, better than most people at bike mechanics. And when I say better than most people, that’s me being modest. So when I talk about how useful a bike tool is, rest assured that there is a certain weight behind my statements. And something that I can state is that the more features a tool has, the less useful it becomes. I call it the Multi-tool Paradox. In short, as a tool is heaped with more and more features, it quickly becomes so ungainly that it becomes inefficient to use for any purpose. This phenomenon is something that the typical cyclist often doesn’t see.
“The 112mph BICYCLE: Bike shop owner spends £5,000 building a vehicle that has earned him a place in the record books”
This is a headline from the website of Daily Mail (UK). Granted, this is not a cycling publication, but it’s sooooooo irritating to me to see such a lackadaisical approach to simple, expository writing. I mean, a few minutes on google would have cleared up a lot of the errors.
Guy Martin is a British motorcycle racer who has had moderate success, even several podium appearances at the Isle of Mann TT, but he is perhaps better known as personality than as a champion sportsman. Recently he has been featured in Channel 4’s series Speed. The Daily Mail features Martin’s attempt at a motorpaced speed record. Beyond that, the tabloid newspaper’s writers manage to bullocks up every other pertinent fact.
Jason Rourke is the bike shop owner named, and the business includes a framebuilding operation. Rourke built the bike in “ten days”. That’s not exactly a big deal if you’re talking about fabrication; it would depend on whether or not that included design time. However, that five thousand quid price on the bicycle is rather unimpressive. I can spend that pretty easily with just 10min on the Competitive Cyclist website and have it delivered blue label within three days. Big deal. But that is just a matter of perspective. That and I’m not actually sure how Rourke, shop owner/framebuilder, actually earned a place in a record books, being that he didn’t actually ride the bike. But the rest of the article is actually wrong.
Guy Martin rode 112.94mph, but that was no “world record”. It couldn’t actually even be called a “world record attempt”. Frenchman José Meiffret rode 127mph behind a modified Mercedez….FIFTY YEARS AGO. In 1985 American John Howard (Olympic cyclist, 4x US road champion, 1x Kona Ironman Champion, 2nd place inaugural RAAM) rode 152mph motor-paced across the salt flats of Bonnevile, Utah. But the current absolute record belongs to Dutch professional Fred Rompelberg, who in 1995 motor-paced to a speed of 167mph. Daily Mail, be assured that Martin and his support staff would have known that they wouldn’t be setting a world record.
I mean, 113mph is scary fast for those of us with average size testicles, but that doesn’t pass as world class in this century. Later in the article it is stated “Mr Martin broke the previous record set by Dutch cyclist Sebastiaan Bowier who reached 83.13mph (133.78 km/h) on a pushbike in September this year.” Bowier set a WORLD RECORD for human-powered vehicles in a fully-faired recumbent bicycle, unpaced. That differs from motor-paced absolute records in that in the latter uses a motorized vehicle speeding in front to shelter the cyclist from air drag. Furthermore, motor-paced absolute speed records allow the rider to be towed by the motor vehicle till almost up to speed. So Martin’s British record has nothing to do with Bowier’s record at all.
I despise television for the most part (too many stupid people, too many adverts, too many stupid people in adverts), so I had to research a little to figure out who Guy Martin is. The message boards abound with comments saying that Martin’s personality is something that “the British nation could stand to have more of” and that he is great on television because he is so “un-telly”. Is it me, or does no one else notice the innate self-contradiction of that latter comment? You do know that reality television is an oxymoron in practice?…. like a sociological corollary to Heisenburg’s uncertainty principle.
I’m just irritated because some git wrote an article about speed records and got all the facts wrong. THEY’RE FACTS. THEY’VE BEEN RECORDED. YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK THEM UP. WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALL THEM “RECORDS”? That and the people who actually hold the world records and their support staff seem to have put a lot more effort into their accomplishments.
FYI, Bowier beat the previous HPV record by a scant 0.37mph (specifically flying 200M time trial), set by Canadian cyclist Sam Whittingham of BC. Whittingham, who still holds several other cycling speed records, is also the founder, designer, and framebuilder of Naked Bicycles. Thus Sam Whittingham is a bike shop owner who has actually earned a place in the record books.
PS. Wikipedia had it wrong too…..I corrected them.
We’re in the Create tent during SXSW Interactive
We’re back in Austin during SXSW in the space where the bike and tech meet with rides, talks, and Nokia mobile photography. While we’re still finalizing the schedule, here’s what the weekend will look like:
- Friday, March 7th – Rapha ride, evening event with Techcraver
- Saturday, March 8th – Talks from Chris Matthews, Byron, Myriam Joire, and Dan Rubin; afternoon ride
- Sunday, March 9th – Mobile Social SXSW 14, reception
Taking part in SXSports Too
Of course, our annual ride is happening too with our friends from Tern. That looks like this
What them MoSos look like
Pacific Northwest roadies know that winter training bike in this How To Be A Road Biker video wasn’t properly fendered at all AND no mention of Tuesday Worlds or Sanctioned Racing v. NON. Riding in the rain here cleanses your soul and destroys your drivetrain, that’s why we have bikes with fenders, like this and this
Spiteful Mark V wrote TWO rants about road disc brakes in Issue 08 of our Magazine available now on iTunes. He’s installing mechanicals on the Crux this week and I haven’t seen him this agitated since I declared I’d worn out a Ti bike from the massive miles I ride. A recent text from him said, “I sliced it off like a cancer, doubled-bagged b/c the tumor is bleeding DOT.”
Immediately attempting to change the narrative, I responded with, “where we riding next week? Iron Horse Trail?”
If you’re not already subscribed, subscription revenues directly support the writing, editing, and production of Bike Hugger Magazine. That’s where you can read Mark’s take on disc brakes and how he’s recommitting to Cantis.