Bikezilla

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Writing

Posted by bikezilla on March 4, 2012


A while ago my netbook crashed.

That computer had all of my writing files, including over two years worth of research, articles, voice files, collections of links and bookmarks.

It amounts to hundreds of hours of work and losing it all was incredibly disheartening and depressing. I just couldn’t push myself beyond that to get any writing done.

Whatever caused the crash left the computer in a state where the only solution was to reformat it. However, Universal Tech down in Crest Hill, IL was able to recover all of my files (except maybe the bookmarks).  I expect to have that netbook back within a couple weeks, as soon as I can pay for the recovery and reformating.

Whew! Big sigh of relief.

So I’ll soon be writing again. My firest planned project will be an article or series of articles on Greg Lemond, based on the research I did during the time when I was expecting to interview him.That interview seems to have evaporated, but I don’t see any reason that all the time I spent researching it should go to waste.

See you again soon.

Tom / Bikezilla

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Ride Journal: Big Hill: Hell Measured

Posted by bikezilla on February 20, 2012


Big Hill. Waterfall Glen.Darien Illinois. Hell on Earth.

My expert opinion? An educated and brilliant guess? 1000 ft of vertical pain covered in a mere .9 miles. Average elevation? Near f***ing infinity.

One lap. One time around. All would be known.

Rains had turned the trail into a misery of soggy squish.

Tires sinking inches into the sodden mire. My legs pumped and burned over 9.51 miles of strength-sapping goo, forcing me to the very limits of my  endurance and my sanity. Doubt invaded my soul like a Mind-Control-Ray-Wielding B movie alien.

Push dammit! Push! You sniveling little b***h! Push!

Suddenly my tires broke free of the slime and ooze. I flew! My tires barely making contact with the ground.

The speed! Oh, God, the speed! I could sniff the burning rubber of my tires as I ripped past the limitations of mere human locomotion!

Quickly I checked my trusty 305. I had to know! I had to KNOW!

10.3 MPH! Ten point . . .

Thus it was that I first learned how easily my godlike thews could exceed the satellite’s ability to track me. 10.3?

Yet, still I hoped. I hoped beyond hope, that this lowly device could somehow successfully measure the hideous satanic might of looming Big Hill.

My 305 did make a mockery of both my epic performance and of the hellish monstrosity that is Big Hill, quoting numbers unworthy of the true and overwhelming nature of my struggles against the beast.
146′ total ascent. 9′ total descent. Max grade 10%.

Wha?! No, that can’t  . . .

Clearly the scope and vastness of Big Hill, the fire-spewing hatred of its Olympian slopes, blew the circuitry of my 305, revving it beyond the boundaries of its engineering.
1:18? 7.3 MPH average?

Lies! The harpy lies! It taunts and it lies!

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Trash on da Ground

Posted by bikezilla on December 10, 2011


My first youtube video.

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Joe Papp and His Place in Anti-Doping

Posted by bikezilla on November 9, 2011


 

 

I don’t know Joe Papp. I’ve never spoken to Joe Papp. On a day to day basis, I don’t pay attention to Joe Papp.  I have no personal investment in what I’m writing, here.

 

Yesterday (08 Nov 11) I read an article / interview on Cycling News, by Daniel Benson  about Papp’s time as a dealer of EPO to professional athletes, including cyclists, and about his conversion to anti-doping warrior based upon his co-operation with the feds in many doping prosecutions, due purely to his desire to stay out of prison.

 

Joe has received positive and negative feedback on all of this.

 

Regardless of how noble or ignoble his reasons for his transformation from Sith to Jedi, I don’t doubt his commitment to the cause.

 

In addition to keeping his ass out of jail, this journey into the light is also Joe’s claim to fame and his means to remain relevant, at least within cycling.

 

He has no lack of motivation to continue using the Force for good.

 

But, none of that is related to the point I wanted to make. 

 

I have to believe that Papp is in a far better position to damage the culture of doping in professional cycling than many other people who hope to make a difference in cycling’s doping culture, because he’s coming from so deep inside that culture. He’s a man In-the-Know. He knows names, dates, times, places. He can’t be fooled with the “there is no systemic, systematic or organized doping within professional cycling” bullshiite.

 

There are many people, people with titles like president, owner, manager, director, coach and rider, who could swing a lightsaber at Papp’s side, not because they’re under any legal duress, but because it’s the right, just, ethical, moral and honorable thing to do. You know, like a real Jedi.

However, it’s painfully clear that without inserting their asses into slings that this is never going to happen. There just isn’t anyone in professional cycling with that kind of integrity.

 

I’ll leave you with something Jonathan Vaughters  sent me a while back, which speaks directly to Papp’s value in the fight against doping. And I’ll hope that in the not-too-distant future other Jedis will be found:

 

JV:

 

“Piracy was never solved by the Royal Navy. Corruption prevented solution. Henry Morgan, a pirate, or former pirate, was the single (person) most responsible for the end of piracy in the Caribbean, after he was hired by the Royal Navy.”

 

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Thoughts: Martin Hardie

Posted by bikezilla on November 8, 2011


Remember, this series is excerpted from my raw research notes. There are only a few differences:

1. I’ve corrected most of the typos.

2. I’ve turned disconnected words and phrases in my notes into full sentences, so that someone other than me (you, for instance) will understand them.

3. I’ve formatted the links.

4. I’ve cut out some of the non-relevant thoughts (that is, relevant to the current Thought blurb).to avoid devolving threads.

——-

In the last “Thoughts” I speculated that Martin Hardie is a primary antagonist in the saga of Trent Lowe vs Jonathan Vaughters and Slipstream Sports.

James
Stout said via Twitter:
“. . . we
both (James and Trent) contacted Martin (Hardie) ATF(after the fact)
They both
contacted Martin only after the being fired by their respective teams? Is this accurate?
From his Cycling Tips interview

CT:
So when you were recovering in Denver you started talks with Pegasus. How did that come about?”
[Trent Lowe] 
Martin (Hardie) suggested I talk with Henk Vogels.”


Vogels was Pegasus’ DS.


What was the time frame?


From the same interview:


CT:
When did you begin speaking with Pegaus?”
[Trent Lowe] 
Not until July or August (2010).”


So, Martin Hardie was in the picture and counseling Lowe, at very least, in July or August of 2010, but Lowe wasn’t fired until late December 2010 or early January 2011.

When and how did Lowe’s relationship with Hardie begin? Was it ongoing?


From the same interview:

CT:
How
to you know Martin Hardie and what’s your relationship with him?”
[Trent
Lowe]:  
Basically
I met Martin when he started to interview me for that report (New
Pathways to Pro Cycling) at the Sun Tour 2009. I was happy to do that
and we got to know one another more since then. We’ve stayed in
touch as the year’s gone by
.”


Trent Lowe himself establishes that:


1.  Hardie’s contact with him was ongoing throughout the periods in question.


2. That Hardie pressed him to contact Pegasus without any notification of Jonathan Vaughters (and with no attempt to let Vaughters accept or reject the possibility of extending Lowe’s contract with Garmin) until months later.


3. That while Lowe indeed may have contacted Hardie after the firing, it was by no means his first contact with Hardie regarding the situation with Garmin and JV.





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Followups: Interviews

Posted by bikezilla on November 6, 2011


I get scattered comments, tweets and emails about the interviews I have up on Bikezilla and Cyclismas, usually in regards to my relationship with or feelings about the subjects of those interviews.

So I figured I’d address the most common, here.

— You must really dislike James Stout.

Since we just had a short exchange on Twitter, this one came to mind first.

Dislike James? That’s not at all true.

There were things that happened during the run up to and after our interview that I took personally, perhaps in error, that irked me. THAT is true.

But, on the whole, I think James is a fantastic person. This opinion is bolstered by the fact that people who have had random contact with James have made a point to mention how he’s had a positive and sometimes life changing impact on them.

Another thing that greatly increases my opinion of James is that while he does a lot of volunteering of his time in an effort to educate diabetics in poor neighborhoods, you NEVER hear him boasting about doing this or that, and you NEVER hear him complain about how hard it is or how much time he spends doing it.

I personally believe that when you do a good deed, that it should remain between you and the person you’ve helped. I admire James greatly for this trait.

As far as I’m aware, there is no bad blood between us. I’m not saying we’re bestest best buds, but we’re not enemies.

— Why were you so mean to Chris Smith from Lazer Sports?

Mean? Hmmmmmm.

I believe, and maybe I’m wrong, that Chris understood going in, that he was, in part, a sacrificial lamb on behalf of the industry. That was not the entire point of the interview, not even close, and I did try to get some input from POC to ease the burden on Chris.

There are issues, or perceived issues, with the bicycle helmet industry that I wanted to address. Chris was gracious enough to step onto the pyre of his own free will to help me out.

I sincerely apologize if it seems (especially to Chris) that I unfairly bashed him or Lazer. I believe Chris is a guy with very high integrity and that Lazer is doing more than most companies to combat known shortcomings in the legal testing standards for bicycle helmets. He’s a good guy and they’re a good company.

To the best of my knowledge everything is cool between Chris and me.

Chris, I’m sorry if you felt ambushed or disrespected. That was never my intent or desire.

— Do you really think JV is good for professional cycling? Or were you just kissing his ass because he gave you a good interview?

Well, when you put it like that, it kind of makes it hard to answer without seeming like I’m just sucking up to JV, doesn’t it? I also think it’s interesting that this comes up repeatedly, because I know that immediately after the final article in our interview series went up, JV did not feel that I’d been especially kind to him.

But, yes, I really do believe that Jonathan Vaughters is good for professional cycling. That is not to say I think he’s a saint or that he’s 100% honest and transparent, or that he never puts self-interest ahead of the sport’s best interest.

As I’ve said several times, JV is the model for the phrase, “a pirate and a good man”.

JV inspires VERY intense emotional responses. There are people who hate his guts and think that because he refuses to openly admit that he was a dope sucking weasel when he rode professionally, that he cannot and should not be trusted. Ever.

I can only say that based on the total body of his public statements, and based on personal conversations I’ve had with him, on and off the record, that I trust him to lead professional cycling and that I think he does so with a reasonable amount of integrity and honesty.

— Do you really believe that Bill Strickland is not bought and paid for by Lance Armstrong?

Bill is very much like Greg LeMond in one respect: When he sees that someone has done something shitty, he’s very inclined to view that as a good person who happened to do a bad thing, rather than as a bad thing that was done because the person behind the act was also bad.

I won’t rehash the entire Postscript of our interview, here. But, yes, I 100% believe that Bill Strickland is a man and a journalist of very high integrity and that he is not bought and paid for by Lance Armstrong. That is NOT the belief I had going in to our conversation, but it is my belief now.

— After you interview these guys, are you like buddies or something?

Um, no. Not at all.

I have only rare contact with any of the people I’ve interviewed.

James and I have very little contact, all  of it via Twitter.

Chris and I spoke very briefly about the Afterword and his response, and like I said, as far as I know we’re cool.

JV is just way too busy for casual, “Hey, how ya been?” kind of emails and I would feel disrespectful even sending that kind of thing. We’ve had a couple very brief exchanges via Twitter.

Bill has been great. I’ve contacted him a couple of times, seeking his professional advice and opinion. He’s responded in a polite, friendly, professional manner, telling me his thoughts without at all saying, “This is what you should do.” But, again, I never write him just to find out what’s up. I’d feel like I was being intrusive and disrespectful.

Non-of these guys writes me just to check in.

I like and respect every one of them, but I’m not friends with any of them.

It’d be cool to meet all of them. I think I’d like a couple of them a lot on a personal level. But, no, I’m not buddies with any of them.

However, two of the interviews I still love the most are tiny deals that hardly anyone even notices.

Those were my interviews with Rebecca Rusch and Joe Lawwill. about clipless pedals.

No one had even heard of Bikezilla when I did those interviews. In fact during the offseason over that time period I had contacted Cadel Evans for a short interview of a similar nature. His agent politely told me no thanks there was enough of that kind of article out there. But, Rebecca and Joe were both great.

They were both big deals in MTB and I was this schmoe blog writer. They had no reason to say “yes” and they were paid nothing. Yet, they still took the time to talk to me. It was and still is incredibly cool to me.

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Thoughts: Martin Hardie

Posted by bikezilla on November 6, 2011


Martin Hardie, the lawyer who helped but did not represent James Stout, is also the lawyer who represents Trent Lowe.

What are the common threads between Stout and Lowe?

1. They both dealt with a mysterious alienation between themselves and the managers of their teams. They seemed to have a sound relationship, then all or nearly all communication stopped, seemingly with malice on the part of the managers (Phil Southerland at Team Type 1, Jonathan Vaughters at Garmin).

2. The both had / have issues that don’t seem to make sense surrounding their separation from their teams.

 

3. Both dealt with or are dealing with their former teams and managers refusing to pay them and / or withholding bonus money after separation.

4. Both were counseled by Martin Hardie.

In both cases Hardie was antagonistic toward the teams and managers.

In both cases Hardie displayed a habit of making provocative public statements, then sitting back and maintaining that neither he nor his charge was able to speak on the matter due to pending legal actions. We are just to ignore the fact that he continues to throw out little jabs and poison barbs during the entire period of said pending legal actions.

In both cases Hardie’s charges demonstrated both fear and paranoia based solely on information and counsel gained directly from Hardie.

Martin Hardie seems to be poison disguised as caring, causing more harm than good in any situation that he touches, giving advice that damages not only whatever current situation his charge may be in, but also the future career potential of those charges.

I have to wonder if Hardie’s advice and interference was the direct cause of the rifts that opened between Stout and Southerland, and Lowe and Vaughters.

Hardie utterly lacks professionalism. Here is an example of an email he sent to JV:

I am trying to be open and honest with you.

I am also trying to keep Trent from blowing his lid and going public. I have made it fucking clear as to when and how he will talk to you. Just tell me now if you will pay him or not and when. If not I will let him do what he likes and you can deal with that without me helping. It is really quite fucking simple. I don’t know why you are being such a scrooge about paying him.”

If Hardie is not the root cause of the conflicts between Stout and Southerland, as well as those between Lowe and Vaughters, then he is at a minimum a contributing factor.

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Thoughts: Trent Lowe, Jonathan Vaughters, Matt White

Posted by bikezilla on November 5, 2011


Jim Barlow, Vice President of Finance, Slipstream Sports, promises Lowe his $2,000 bonus, admits that the bonus has been EARNED and promises it to be paid in January 2011.

Yet, it was never paid.

Why is JV risking serious legal action in refusing to pay money that the team admits Lowe has earned? Why is he withholding money that he legally owes Lowe, punitively?

We learn that in August of 2010 Trent Lowe informed JV of the intended move to Pegasus, but not of what form that exchange took place.

Then we learn that Martin Hardie discussed the same issue with JV via email in September 2010.

Yet, JV stated that he was never made aware of this, by anyone at any time in any manner.

Clearly now we see that JV is not being honest when he speaks of the Lowe issue.

But, why? And why when it’s no difficult matter to prove him to be lying?

Again, this just doesn’t fit what we know of JV. He lacks the reputation for being a guy who fucks with his riders or even his former riders, who screws with them about pay issues, who deals with them dishonestly.

So, again I have to ask myself, WTF? What is going on here? What is the source of this bad blood between them? Why is JV demonstrating such malice toward Lowe? What is its root? And why are all parties (Lowe, JV and White) all so intent on hiding it from the world?

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Thoughts: Trent Lowe, Jonathan Vaughters, Matt White

Posted by bikezilla on October 30, 2011


This is a new series, which will simply contain blurbs of my thoughts, related to things the I’m researching for larger articles or interviews.

They may seem to be cut from the center of something larger, thoughts snatched form within thoughts, incomplete on their own.

That’s because they are.

My hope is that they will inspire you to ask your own questions and increase interest in the subject matter itself.

Tom / Bikezilla

Trent Lowe had informed JV (in writing?) about his intent to sign with Pegasus, which would seem naturally to indicate that at least a possibility of Lowe attending training camp at Pegasus in November 2010.

Lowe, clearly should have followed through with the formality of gaining written consent to attend the training camp. But, considering that JV was fully aware of Lowe’s intention to leave Garmin for Pegasus, was this really such a sticky situation that it merited firing Lowe and confiscation of his salary and bonuses?

Or was it merely an excuse to end the relationship in a passive aggressive manner?

This issue itself shows a considerable malice directed from JV toward Lowe. I find this surprising, in that JV is widely and commonly known to be a “riders’ manager”. JV, more than any other manager, seems to view his riders first as human beings and second as racers on his team.
So, where did this bad blood come from?

Is it entirely related to the del Moral problem? And since it was Matt White who sent Lowe there, and since White clearly did so with intent, why is JV directing his ire at Lowe?

There is something in this that none of the involved parties is sharing.

JV claimed, in Velo News, that he had in fact NEVER been informed by Trent Lowe (nor by Svein Tuft), that they were intending to move to Pegasus.

Yet, JV himself had made no effort to speak to Lowe regarding ANY topic, seemed to very intentionally avoid any type of communication and had not made even preliminary efforts at extending Lowes contract with Garmin.

It’s also interesting that VeloNews knew in September 2010 that Tuft was leaving for Pagasus, but JV claims to have been ignorant.

This is just one of many areas where the stories do not mesh and where there is evidence of something deeper and hidden going on out of the public view.

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Interview: Chris Smith from Lazer Sport: Afterword

Posted by bikezilla on October 3, 2011


Part 1, Part 2, Afterword

I had been contemplating a helmet article for a few months, when, bam, I stumbled onto Chris Smith from Lazer Sport on Twitter.

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that my entire initial conversation with him was not based on curiosity about helmets as much as it was about whether or not he’d be a good interviewee. Every one of those initial questions were just probes, feeling out his knowledge base and his frankness.

I mean, was he just going to spit out the company line? Or would he say something interesting?

While many of his answers look like the “standard company line,” and some of them certainly are, many are also truthful in a practical sense. He was a lot more open than what I’d expected, but I still had some frustration in the nature of a few responses.

For instance, is it a cop-out when a company builds helmets within the current – and admittedly inadequate – legal testing standards, and falls back on the argument of ‘lack of empirical data’ as a reason for continuing to make helmets without faired or recessed vents; or with more and larger vents even though it means that smaller sections of harder foam crush against a rider’s skull in the event of a crash; with a visor; or to justify the “aero tail” for purely recreational riders when it gives no clear benefit but may in fact increase the chance for a rotational brain injury?

Yes and no.

If there are concerns regarding unfaired vents, unrecesssed vents, aero-tails, the potential of being sliced in the face by a visor, thinner and harder vent ribs actually being less safe despite performing identically during testing of the legal standard, then who is it incumbent upon to study those concerns? Shouldn’t that be helmet manufacturers? Do they get to turn their heads and ignore possibly serious and even dangerous failings in their products merely because the current legal standard fails to make them responsible for that specific aspect?

It’s clear from the interview that the legal standard is widely acknowledged within the industry to be inadequate and unrealistic. Once that is acknowledged, doesn’t it become the responsibility of manufacturers to ensure that their helmets are safe according to real-world standards and not merely an ineffectual and unrealistic legal standard?

Are helmet manufacturers negligent if they fail to at least examine the possibilities that certain features may be inherently unsafe?

But if helmet manufacturers are negligent, then don’t consumers hold some responsibility as well?

Chris said:

“ … if safety is the only goal in helmet manufacturing, then you’re not going to survive as a company.”

And he established several times during our interview that customers are not purchasing helmets based on which one has the best safety features, nor based on which has the fewest unsafe features, and that consumers – when they bother to contact Lazer either directly or through their dealers – aren’t concerned with safety-based features, but instead with cosmetics and things like “will I be able to put my sunglasses in the vents of this helmet?”

It would seem that, at a minimum, consumers are complicit in any negligence on behalf of the helmet industry.

On one hand, manufacturers have a responsibility to make the safest helmet possible, and when they know that the legal testing standard is inadequate and unrealistic, then they have the additional responsibility of developing helmets that protect in real-world situations.

But, if the consumer proves through their buying habits and through an utter lack of expressed interest in those safer helmets, and the manufacturers might in fact run themselves into the ground by producing maximally-safe helmets that will then be purchased by virtually no one, then it seems right and reasonable that, as an act of self-preservation, such helmets are not offered.

If consumers say they want more vents, and they don’t care if the resulting helmet puts smaller sections of harder foam crushing against their skull should they crash, then what?

Is it the manufacturers’ responsibility to save us from ourselves and refuse to make that type of helmets? If one manufacturer refuses, then won’t there be others willing to oblige?

But Lazer’s (and I assume most if not all manufacturers’) practice of looking, as Chris said, “at what consumers are already buying in that segment” seems to blatantly ignore any possible direct input from consumers. There are no studies, no polls, no questionnaires, no focus groups, no email queries via a database of existing customers.

It’s just, “hey, which helmets are our competitors selling the most of and what features do those helmets already have?” That’s not only a very indirect method of gathering data, but it fails to take into account that consumers only have a specific selection of helmets and features available without even wondering if maybe we’d like something different if we were given an opportunity to provide direct feedback. It’s like the industry doesn’t really give a damn about whether or not we want safer helmets, it’s going to offer us what IT thinks we want and if that isn’t good enough, well just too damned bad.

When Chris says, “I would politely take issue with people saying that’s what they’re looking for, because that’s not what they’re looking for, because that’s not what people are buying,” isn’t at least a portion of that due to the fact that we can’t buy those helmets with specific safety features because they aren’t even offered?

You can say that consumers “vote” with their wallets, but they can only “vote” in that manner for products that are already on the market and readily available for purchase.

The claim of not knowing or being able to tell if certain features, like faired vents, recessed vents, rounded vent opening edges, or lack of an aero-tail are truly safer or not because of a lack of empirical data and lack of testing standards, on the one hand is true and practical, but on the other is disingenuous. They’d have that empirical data if they gathered it.

And I apologize if this seems like I’m picking on Chris and Lazer. They just happen to be the sacrificial offering, laid upon the altar on behalf of the industry entire. And as of this writing, POC has not replied with requested feedback.

Let’s take, for instance, the Lazer Rigidity Brace System (RBS). Is there a legal testing standard to determine if this is actually safer? Have there been official studies? Or did someone just say, “Hey, if we manage to keep the foam together in multiple low-speed impacts that might be a good thing and save some riders from suffering brain or skull injuries!?”

I mean, sure it SEEMS like a great idea, and quite logical, but shucks, without that legal testing standard and that empirical data, it’s just pointless to even try to know for certain. Right?

Of course not. So I don’t buy the argument that commonsense can’t be used in evaluating the benefits or dangers of certain features. Like, I don’t buy that you just can’t know without a legal testing standard and an official study supplying official empirical data that narrower vent ribs made of harder foam will cause more damage when smashing into your skull than will wider vent ribs made of softer foam.

X amount of energy reaching your skull over a smaller area, delivered through a harder, less giving surface is a bad thing. I don’t need an army of engineers and scientists to spend millions of dollars and hundreds of hours in a lab to figure that out for me.

As I mentioned above, the people who bother contacting Chris and his industry counterparts at all seem only to be concerned with cosmetics, weight, airflow and convenience features, instead of with any facet of helmet safety. I find that very disappointing.

Because I know from reading what cyclists and fans of cycling say on Twitter and elsewhere to me, that many people are very concerned with helmet safety issues. So, why aren’t any of those people complaining to the people who actually make decisions about what features go into the helmets we buy and use? Why aren’t they calling and writing Chris at Lazer and his counterparts at other helmet manufacturers? If you’re going to expend the breath or energy to complain, then, damn it, complain so as to actually make a difference.

Even more disappointing is this; when Chris addressed the issue of customer contact he said, “…if I did get those questions, it would have to go back to, well, you know, our helmets are designed to meet and exceed the current testing standard.”

In other words, even if you do get off your ass and direct your needs, desires and complaints to the guy or the place where it matters – or should matter – you’ll get brushed off. Why? Because companies like Lazer don’t really give a damn about what you want? They only care about focusing on selling you what they want to sell you? When it comes right down to it, that’s really how it seems to be.

How is it possible to combat that? Well, Lazer and other companies might blow YOU off if you call. But, what if it wasn’t just you? What if it was you and three of your friends all in a week, plus a guy from your club and three of his friends, plus a guy you pass on the trail a couple times per month and three of his friends, plus…? As the numbers mount it becomes more difficult and less practical to ignore them.

Or what if you initiated a petition directed to the heads of several major helmet manufacturers at someplace like Change.org? What if a few thousand people all signed up for something like that and all those names and requests or demands went out to all those helmet manufacturers? What if you did that again every six months until they finally granted you the notice and respect you deserve and began producing better helmets? Helmets with commonsense safety features, like faired and recessed vents, like fewer and smaller vents and thicker vent ribs, like no aero-tail and no visor, like rounded shells. Wouldn’t that be better than having them fall back on, “Well, these other helmets meet the legal testing standard that all of us in the industry readily acknowledge to be inadequate and unrealistic.” Why not upset the paradigm that the consumer will buy whatever these companies make and keep their mouths shut and like it?

Chris says, and I don’t doubt his sincerity, “We are a helmet manufacturing company and the rider’s safety, at the end of the day, is our number one priority.” But, is that true? I mean, in a practical, real world sense, is it true? Because that notion seems to contradict a lot of what we covered in our interview.

I do not mean to say – not in any way or to any extent – that helmet manufacturers intentionally make unsafe helmets. But, I do mean that they are ready and willing to settle for “safe enough” while using the known-to-be-inadequate legal testing standard as a shield and a convenience.

Companies like Lazer and POC are at least attempting to change on some level with the introduction of MIPS to (so far) a very small portion of their overall product lines. But unlike MIPS, those other features that we’ve mentioned – faired vents, etc. – don’t require any special period of compatibility development and they don’t cost an extra $20 per helmet to introduce. They can be done now and at very minimal cost.

Chris and the guys at Lazer, POC and other helmet companies are not evil people. They don’t want you to have unsafe helmets just so they can line their pockets with fat stacks of your cash. But, if they’re going to become motivated to alter the helmet lines to reflect YOUR desire for specific safety features, then YOU will have to express your thoughts directly to them, and you’ll have to encourage your friends to do the same. They’re going to need to know that “if they build it, you will come” (to thoroughly mangle a Field of Dreams quote). They’ll need to know that in giving you helmets with these features, that they won’t be sacrificing their very company to insincere whim and caprice. They need to know that we’re not only asking for helmets with certain features and without others, but that if those helmets are offered to us, we will buy them.

So contact the manufacturer of your favorite helmets and express your opinions. Then get your friends to do the same. And have them get their friends involved. And so on.

Here is some contact information for a few helmet manufacturers for you to begin with:

Lazer:

Chris@lazersport.com

POC:

info@pocsports.com

Giro:

@GiroSportDesign (on Twitter)

Bell:

Bell Contact Form Page   ————————————-

Chris has written a rebuttal article that I hope all of you will read.

In reference to that rebuttal I would like to make two points:

1. The supporting and explanatory links that Chris says are missing, are actually at the very top of Part 1, with more links sprinkled throughout parts 1 and 2.

Chris was, in fact, made aware of this material well in advance of our interview, and again at the start of our conversation.

2. I make an intentional point to say in the Afterword: I do not mean to say – not in any way or to any extent – that helmet manufacturers intentionally make unsafe helmets.” 


The rest of Chris’ rebuttal I love, because it reframes the presentation of helmets, the marketing of helmets, in the context of safety and safety features, which is a habit the industry does not seem to have developed. That’s very curious to me, considering that this is, in fact, an industry based on safety.


My sincerest thanks to Lazer Sport, but especially to Chris. 

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