Saturday, May 03, 2014

Nerd rigging

 The other day I rode my bike to an appointment. As I was talking to the person afterward, right before I pedaled off again, I suddenly thought about how I must look with all the nerd rigging that has gradually accumulated on my helmet and my face.
Every piece has a reason beyond mere geekdom. That's what I tell myself,  anyway.  The outlandish sunglasses provide excellent protection and hold a prescription insert. Yes, they're weird looking,  but they do their important job well. I only wear them when riding.

The fuzzy fake sideburns are the Cat Ears I've been testing. In theory,  the less wind noise you hear,  the more you should be able to detect and interpret traffic noises. They should help with conversation between riders, too, but only if both riders are equipped. Still cheaper than helmet radios. Talk about nerd rigging! "Breaker, breaker, good buddy!"

The helmet cam functions as my dash cam: the silent witness to events on the road. I wouldn't mind if it was smaller, even small enough to mount inside the helmet vents, but I wonder if its visible presence suppresses some motorist misbehavior. People are increasingly aware of the power of video and the Internet. I've been getting a fair amount of room from drivers this season. Is the camera sticking up there like a propeller on my beanie functioning as a protective threat?

The shiny mess on the front of the helmet is black duct tape to reduce the flow of cold air into the front helmet vents until the weather warms up. Comfy nerd.

Nerd rigging extends to my bike, too. See my dynamo hub and light system? Cooooool. And my full fenders keep me from getting all splattered when the roads are wet. Got a rack. Got a pack. I carry stuff: tools, spare tube, shift cables, things that might save a ride. I've even saved other people's rides from time to time with my nerdy tool kit.

I try to go by fast enough to leave only a fleeting impression on the observer. That may not be very fast at all, as long as I move steadily into and out of the scene. Don't let anyone get a good look. If you get caught, act natural. Escape as soon as possible. Pedal away with as much dignity as you can summon.


John said...

So whats the verdict on the cat ears?

cafiend said...

The Cat Ears definitely reduce wind noise. However, they don't eliminate it, so you have to get used to the new noise level and the sensation that it has been moved away from your head. So you may be able to detect more noises in your surroundings but you have to learn how to interpret the new levels. They have not completely eliminated "phantom car syndrome" as I hoped they would, but that may improve with use.

As for conversation, I'm usually alone, so that testing has proceeded slowly.

Anonymous said...

That last paragraph is funny! Dignity! I leave that at home, then it magically reappears at work after I've showered (yes, I'm one of the lucky ones) and dressed. I lose too many sunglasses to worry about how they look -- just how much they cost!

I do believe that the visible helmet camera makes certain drivers think twice or three times before passing too closely, or worse.

I can't decide which direction is best for it to face, however. Except for those due to my own stupidity, most of my close calls have been with drivers entering from a side road ahead of me. But plenty of mirrors come pretty close to my side as the vehicle passes from behind.


cafiend said...

If I could afford it I would have cameras facing front and rear. Talk about nerd rigging, I would like to have a monitor for the rear view camera on the handlebars. Finances save me from that level of geekdom.

Jeff said...

Nerd Rigging you're entire ensemble might resemble something like a Rigmaroll, or Rigmarole with emphasis on nerd blogging. But hey, it's all Mumbo Jumbo.