Monday, July 30, 2012

bikes in this week's gizmag

Dave C forwarded this week's Gizmag newsletter, and there were two bike-related things that caught my eye. The first is another company making bamboo bikes:

They're the first bamboo bikes I've seen where the tube joints aren't horrendously ugly. Most bamboo bikes build up the joints with strips, then slather over the top with some kind of plastic-y compound. But at least a little attention has been paid to making these joints look finished:

They're obviously trying to show off that thsese bikes can take some abuse, too:

The other article is about Marrs M-1 electric bikes, heavy bikes that are an unapologetic mix of bicycles and motorcycles. According to the article, they weigh about 140 lbs. which is about as much as the rider on many of the Tour de France bikes. Still, "The smallest [battery] pack (20 amp hours) reportedly allows a 175-pound (79-kg) rider to travel up to 20 miles (32 km) on one charge without pedaling."

They're obviously going for an early-20th-century-Harley look:

One of the things I like about the whole electric bike thing is that the models are so different - this is a huge departure from that Faraday Porteur I posted last week, and both of them are far away from that boring, utilitarian Schwinn Tailwind.

But I still don't think there's an electric bike in my near future. Or a bamboo one, either.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

long, fast ride before event weekend

The Princeton Freewheelers Annual Event is scheduled for August 4. From the site:

Tour the New Jersey countryside on one of many rides from an easy 16 miles to a scenic century, from flats to rolling hills.  Routes of 20+, 35, 50, 65 Almost Hilly, and flat metric are also available.

Laura OLPH has assembled a team of thoroughbreds to do the century (I was invited, but I'm volunteering; if you get to the Millstone Presbyterian Church, be sure to say hello to me, and to The Excellent Wife [TEW], who will also be dealing out bagels and mixing Gatorade there). This week, Laura got nervous because she apparently hasn't done enough long rides, frequently enough, this season... so today she called out some of her minions to do a 70-mile ride to be sure we were in shape (an extra 12 or so if we rode from her house to the start).

I got to her house at about 6:30am, as did Jack H; we picked up Gordon (whom I've only met once), Joe M, and Dave H at the East Picnic Area at Mercer Park at 7:30. Much of the route followed the Ride for McBride, and many of last year's arrows were still there. We went down by Fort Dix (we had a smokin' paceline going on Browns Mills-Cookstown Road - both ways - and whipped around Browns Mills, too), then out to Wrightstown before we came back through Allentown. The guys who started from Mercer Park did just about 70 miles; Laura, Jack, and I did 83, and my average over all that time and distance was 16.9. TEW was amazed when I walked in the house as early as I did.

That included hanging around while Gordon fixed a flat. Although we had CO2, he had me pump up the tube; I got it to probably 60-80 psi, but Gordon was satisfied with that, and rode the last six miles or so on it. And he kept up with the group on that soft, high-rolling-resistance tire.  Well, I was impressed.

It was a great group, and a great ride, despite lowering skies and the threat of rain (and constant checks of smartphone weather apps). We were a well-matched group, despite some tiredness after four hours of riding, and mostly knew each other. We alternated between pushing the pace and easing up (although the emphasis was definitely on the former). I had been looking forward to this ride all week, and when the forecast went from 20% chance of rain to 40%, as it did two days ago, I was a bit grumpy (at least TEW suggested I was), but now that I'm relaxing and writing this after the ride, I'm more than glad I got it in. I'm also more than glad to have the riding buddies I do, and to get invited to do this kind of pick-up ride. Thanks, Laura, etal.

why spend so much on your bike?

Remember that sheet-metal bike frame that I thought was so fugly?

Dave H sent me this link. This is a bike made of recycled cardboard. It cost $9 in parts (and who-knows-how-much in experience and technical knowledge). From the article:
Bike enthusiast and designer Izhar Gafni built a functioning bicycle out of cardboard...Gafni ran his idea by some engineers who told him to give up the dream, that it was impossible. He tried it anyway. The result is an attractive, working bike that costs as little as $9 to make. Of course, that price tag doesn't include the immense amount of R&D time Gafni put into it.

The bike went through a tremendous amount of prototyping and tweaking. The finished piece is dipped in a coating material that gives it a shiny outer shell and protects the material from the elements. You wouldn't know it was cardboard just by looking at it.

There's video that Blogger wouldn't let me link to at the original article.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

rider down

On today's ride, fellow rider Ron S was hurt when his front wheel broke. Although he hit his head, there were not signs of intercranial injury at the time he was picked up by the rescue vehicle.

Our thanks to the Amwell Rescue Squad. I have not been able to find a site to make a donation; if you have a link to a site, please put it in the comments.

I do not have a good idea how the accident occurred. No other rider or vehicle appears to have been involved.

After the accident, with the storm upon us, we cut the ride short. See the route at this link.

Addendum: I have spoken to someone who saw Ron after the hospital; she said he had a small wrist fracture, and "road rash" abrasions (even under clothing that was not torn). Although he hit his head, the helmet apparently did its job; there was not evidence of intercranial injuries. While no thinking person would call Ron "lucky" today, it is true that the outcome could have been much worse.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

old guys ride with 3 weirdnesses

Yesterday, Erich sent out the email about the "Ride to the Ride" for the Wednesday Old Guys Ride. On last Wednesdays, the Old Guys go to lunch after the ride, but not all of us like to commit that kind of time, so one of the women who planned to come asked if anybody was planning to do the Ride BACK From The Ride right after we got back to Allentown, rather than going to lunch. I figured this was my out, so, dressing myself up in the livery of chivalry, I said I'd go.

When I got to the park this morning, six of us were there to do the Ride to the Ride, including the lady in question, so down we went, to do this route.  Although it got a bit windy by the end of the day, it was cool and clear, and a beautiful day for the ride. there's noting about those roads that's new, and I'm beginning to get a handle on where we're going on parts of those routes. We stopped in Columbus. There wasn't anybody who seemed to be having a hard time keeping up today.

There were three oddities, though. The first was this: Dennis, the guy who leads the ride, allowed his attention to wander for a minute, and got into a collision with a car; he snapped off the driver's side mirror, and got a little bloody on the arm and fingers. It's not clear at this writing whether he needs medical attention, although with some wiping up and bandaids, he was able to lead us back. The driver of the car was remarkably patient and thoughtful (and rides, sometimes; maybe she'll come out with us someday!)

Then, towards the end of the ride, Vern H had a flat. Almost everybody else went on, but Don S & I waited with Vern to make sure he was OK. We were only about 2-3 miles from the start point, but when I got there, I saw that the lady who had asked about company for the ride back to Etra Park (where my car was) was not there; she must have gone on without me. That was odd; I didn't think we had taken that long.

Edit: I have removed something I probably should not have included (I was not present when the event occurred), and I'll put this in, instead: As I was driving home, another driver nearly drove into my driver's side door; I barely avoided the collision. When I got to the next stop sign, I saw he was on his cell phone. I lost it; I jumped out of the car and roared, "Hang up! Hang up the phone!" Then I got back in and drove away. I was still hoarse when I finally arrived home.

On the way home, Vern said that he'd ridden in, and I provided him some company for the ride back (our ways were in common for several miles). We spelled one another riding into the wind; it was tougher than it looked! I was glad to see him, and I hope to see him and his group of Major Taylor riders if they come out to the Event, where The Excellent Wife and I will be working the rest stop at the Millstone Presbyterian Church.

Monday, July 23, 2012

faraday porteur electric bike

Dave C forwarded this week's Gizmag newsletter, and I was smitten by this bike. If you're going to have an electric bike, it should look like this.

That's a Velo-Orange handlebar beneath that painted-to-match stem...

...and a Brooks saddle, with matching leather accessories.

It's supposed to give you up to 15 miles of "full pedal assist" riding, whatever that means. At $3500, it's ludicrously expensive. But if you're going to make an electric-assist around-town bike, you can at least make it not look like a bikeshare station-wagon.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

away for the weekend

No rides this weekend. In another example of the triumph of hope over experience, I've been re- and re- and re-loading Laura OLPH's blog, in hopes that not only had she done a ride or two, but she had quickly posted about it, so I could get some vicarious pedalling in, but no such luck - Laura gets her blog posts up in her time, not in mine.

No riding this weekend, because The Excellent Wife (TEW) made other plans. These included the excellent lunch buffet at the Boar's Head Inn in Charlottesville, for which we left the house by 6:30 Saturday morning, and despite rain, construction, slow traffic, and detours,we made it on time (and haven't you ever driven six hours to attend an excellent lunch?). Following that, we strolled around downtown Charlottesville, full of university students, young families, and the occasional slightly creepy destitute older guy (and may whatever gods there be preserve me from the fate of becoming a creepy older guy), then off to check in at the hotel.

After the hotel, down to Staunton, to the American Shakespeare Center, to see their production of Two Gentlemen of Verona. Which rocked, as every one of their productions we've seen has done. TEW pointed out that in these productions, the funny parts are actually funny. Further, the audience member doesn't have to know a whole lot about Shakespeare to know what's going on in the play; the plays are produced and directed in such a way that, despite the Elizabethan language, a person could come in on the way home from CostCo and be able to catch up with what's happening on stage.

You don't need to know this, but the theater of the American Shakespeare Center is a re-creation of the Blackfriars theater, one of the Will's original staging places. It's my belief that this staging helps bring the play to life. Of course, they get good actors (some of whom have been with the company for several years), and directors who know what they're doing; that helps too. The outcome, though, is theater that is engaging.

Then back to the hotel. This morning, up for exercise and breakfast, then back in the car and home, to grilled steak and the responsibilities of the upcoming week. Life is good. (It would be better if I could read about people I know riding bikes, but it's nonetheless good.)

maybe he wasn't lying

Maybe Ronald Reagan was just misinformed when he said the wealth would "trickle down". But now there's research to verify what you've known for decades: wealth doesn't trickle down, it moves offshore.

$21,000,000,000,000 of it. Twenty-one trillion. One million TIMES $21,000,000. Enough to give every man, woman, and child in this country $70,000.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

john & jane's excellent adventures

John D & Jane are off seeing the Tour de France, and riding the course a day ahead of the racers.

They've set up a blog to record and report their adventures. I keep forgetting to bookmark it, and then I thought it was worth posting here. Check it out.

(It appears Jane has been smitten with Campagnolo gear. This trip may be more expensive than they had expected.)

Monday, July 16, 2012

polska cycling team

The Excellent Wife (TEW) got me this Polish team cycling jersey this past Christmas:

I don't like it to sweep in (I have solid-color jerseys, red and orange, for that), and the pockets don't offer much room. Still, I love the graphic, and I like the way it fits; it's my favorite jersey. I was wearing it on yesterday's ride.

Bob W noticed it, and sent me an email saying, "I wanted to send you a picture of the Polska cycling team and their equipment," with the picture below:

I've got two responses:
  1. What kind of equipment do you suppose that is? Carbon fiber? Titanium? Trusty, reliable steel?
  2. THAT is the reason I wear black shorts.
Thanks, Bob!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

i needed this ride

I'm blaming Laura OLPH for this one.

She was feeling a severe case of bike guilt yesterday: after Cheryl's cancelled ride, Laura went to the gym, and emerged after a spin class (!) to sunny skies and, apparently, a message from Cheryl that they had decided to ride locally anyway, did Laura want to come? Laura had missed the message, and, thus, really wanted to do a ride today.

The local NOAA forecast called for a 60% chance of rain. After a few backs-and-forths of the emails, I agreed to meet her there (with no grace or charm in the agreement, I assure you).

The ride was scheduled to leave at 9:00, and, as I was making the turn onto Disbrow Hill Road to Etra Park, I saw a dozen-or-so riders already leaving. My heart sank; I figured that I had either misread the list, or there was a late-breaking change that I hadn't gotten. But as I got to the park, I saw a few riders gathering, including Gary and Donna, the leader and his wife (who rides sweep; one of the reasons I wanted to do this ride was because I knew she does that I I wouldn't feel I had to).

I had a great time.  We did this route, through the Assunpink (up the hill today, that we went down yesterday), to the Wawa in Jackson, then back via Aggress Road (a couple of neat hills there, too; I was cookin' on Aggress) to the park. Fourteen went, including Tom H of the infamous El Capitain ride, Bob W, Ed&Michelle (married last summer; I heard about their bike-honeymoon!), John D, Jack H.  Along the way we picked up another John who had ridden with me on last month's B+ ride, and he and I had a little support-and-competition thing going.I had a good day, I was strong, and I rode everywhere in the group: up front, in the back; in the middle. I met a couple of folks, too; I hope I remember their names when I see 'em again!

I needed this ride. Due to family demands, I won't be riding next weekend, so if I missed one today, I would have been even more grumpy than usual.

Thanks for calling me out, Laura.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Bastille Day Consolation Ride

"Jim?", Dave C said when he answered the phone

"Yeah. Whaddya know?"

"I know I'm pissed off. Cheryl's cancelled the ride."

Cheryl had planned a Bucks County ride for today, and I'd made arrangements to meet Dave and a couple of the other Pennsylvanians early, and ride the few miles from their development to the start. That meant I had to pack up the car and get going early. Grey skies were overhead, and drizzle coming down as I loaded the bike and left, but I hoped that the signs of clearing that I saw to the southeast meant that the ride would still go on.

No such luck.  At 7:18, Joe forwarded me the cancellation email, but by that time I was already close to the Route 1 bridge to Pennsylvania. I pulled over a few blocks from Dave's house (I didn't know how close I was at the time) and made the call that included the conversation that leads off this post.

It's a tough decision for ride leaders; they have to make the best choice they can  with the information they have at the time. Since I don't lead rides (being perennially lost), it would be unfair to second-guess a cancellation. But this one was especially disappointing, since I had missed the July 4 All-Paces ride when I made a bad call about the weather myself (I was grumpy about that for days!).

Since it turned out I was so close to Dave's house, and the ride start, I set the GPS and found the start location (in case I have to go there again). Then I started home... but on the way, I thought I might just make it to Cranbury in time to make that B ride with Ira.

And I did make it to Cranbury just about in time. And I was pleasantly surprised to see Ken L, whom I've seen rarely since a bike accident over a year ago. He doesn't come out when the weather's too hot (and there may still be some family ill-will about his riding at all), so I was delighted to see him.

Ira, however, was not there; instead, club treasurer Peter F led this ride, apparently his first in some time (we had earlier talked about how he'd stopped leading rides, then stopped riding almost entirely, when his leading got to be like another job). I made the mistake of calling this lead his "debut", and he informed me he'd led over 300 rides... but he's also said he rode only 34 miles last year.

Also not there was Ed P for the B+ ride. Some of those riders came with us, and we wound up with a group that was spread way out; some faster riders way off the front, slower folks struggling to keep up in the back. I swept, and twice sprinted up to Peter asking about directions and letting him know who was off the back.

We had a flat tire, which the rider fixed, but then the fixed tube went flat, so I gave him a tube and CO2 and helped him with the fill. (Now you know another reason why you want me to sweep for you, leaders: I carry two tubes, two CO2 cartridges, a multi-tool with a chain tool, and replaceable links for 10-speed chains. Call me the next time you're planning an unmanageable ride.)

After the break, we split into the faster and slower groups, and some riders elected to simply go home rather than try and keep up with even the slower group (since I was sweeping, I had among the lowest averages, and mine was 16.5, high [though in-range] for a B-rated ride). On the way back, Peter and I got to discussing my trouble with directions; it may be that I just don't put enough effort into learning the routes, but I think I surprised him with just how hopeless I am when it comes to velo-navigation. We did have a few sprints on the way back, and it was a fun ride.

I still wish I'd gotten to see the Pennsylvanians, and the others I'd hoped to see on Cheryl's ride, though. Maybe tomorrow, if the weather holds...?

Naaaah. 60% chance of showers as I write this. Oh, doodies.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

to pemberton bakery with the old guys

I've been invited on a number of unofficial pickup rides with the Freewheelers, that don't get in the list,usually because they're scheduled only a few days in advance (to get in the lists, rides need to be planned three to ten weeks ahead, depending on who you talk to). An exception to this occasional-ride rule is Erich W's Ride-to-the-ride. Dennis W leads the old guys out of Byron Johnson park on Wednesdays. That's about ten miles from Etra Park, near where Erich and a number of Dennis's other regulars live, so Erich runs a ride to Dennis's Wednesday ride, most Wednesdays when the weather holds. Since there's also a ride back each time, Erich winds up leading far more than enough rides to earn a leader's jersey, but he says he doesn't give a hoot about such things, and his actions (or lack thereof) in this regard suggest he may be telling the truth.

Erich's rides start 50 minutes before Dennis's advertised time.  That meant leaving Etra at 7:40 this morning, and that came early. I got the car packed (almost forgot my bag with the gloves, headbands, and sunscreen), and had to get gas on the way, but made it to join five others on Erich's ride; we had 20 on Dennis's.

We went down to the nifty bakery in Pemberton, one of my favorites of Dennis's stops, via this route. One of our number noticed a gash in his tire before he left (it held together), and, while there were some slow folks today, they weren't the same slow folks from two weeks ago; the rider who was slow then was crankin' today!  One rider brought his daughter, and two other women came, including ride captain Sue M (and this is a crowd that could use some female energy!).

62 miles for me, at 14.6mph; not worth posting on Strava. That's OK; I was tellin' Erich that Strava is probably not the best fit for me. On the other hand, he relayed a to me couple of overheard compliments, so now my head's so swelled I'm having a hard time getting up to answer the phone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

games make a better world

OK, so it's not a bicycle-related post. Check it out anyway. There's a video below the text.

Game-developer Jane McGonigal first got my attention several years ago with a talk she gave at the SXSW conference on how game developers can induce happiness, and how games are happiness machines. She pointed out the four things that lead to happiness:
  1. Satisfying work;
  2. Being good at something;
  3. Spending time with people we like; and
  4. Having the chance to be part of something bigger.
In this video she talks about recovering from a head injury, how she used her game-development skills to enhance her recovery from an all-too-common suicidal depression, and how the stuff she learned changed her life, and can change ours. She does the research and applies it to her life and work, which, to me, increases the quality of her presentation. And she's got a great look.

Check out the video (if you're on an alternate device, here's the original TED page), and you may know better why you like to do some of the things you like to do. And you may change the way you live your life. (Now I know better why I like group rides so much, and why, for me, amicitia quam celeritate is better than Strava*.)

*OK, there's a little bike stuff in this post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

rides a bike tumblr

It's just a feed of (mostly passé) celebrities riding, sitting on, sitting near, or ignoring bikes... but I just can't get enough of it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

pickup ride

Dave H wasn't taken with any of the rides listed in the Princeton Freewheelers' schedule for today, so before the start of the ride yesterday, he arranged for an impromptu ride with Philippe S; Philippe contacted Ira S. and the four of use gathered at Village Park at Cranbury to do about 34 miles today. I had breakfast at Bagel Street, rode in the short four miles to meet them at the park, then rode the eight-mile route back to the parking lot; you can see my total route here

Neither a fast ride nor a long one; for the three of us who rode on Bob's ride yesterday it was kind of a recovery ride for that fast-paced listed-as-a-B (but there were riders who picked up the pace, and a few times the folks off the front had to do U-turns to catch up to Bob's route); for Ira (who called the route) it was (I think) a back-on-the-bike-for-the-first-time-in-several-days ride.  We went up to Dayton and across Route 1 at Sand Hill road, and went up a hill I never noticed, even though I live near it (it's just different when you're driving!).  Then down a piece by the canal, and to the Main St Café in Kingston, where we met John D & Jane B. They're moving into a new house, and, days later, going to France for a ride-on-the-Tour-de-France-route vacation... and it sounds incredibly dense to me, to have to do all that stuff! John told us about his troubles getting the cable installed in the new place, and showed us his iPhone Tour-de-France app, which was cool.

Then back on the bikes, mostly straight back to Cranbury. We cut past the health center near College Rd, then back to the park, avoiding the densely-trafficked Plainsboro Road. My not-quite 46 miles is enough for today.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

hottest day ride

Temps were predicted to go up to 100° today (and I saw that on the car thermometer on the way home), but after missing group rides both days last weekend, and missing the all-paces ride on July 4 due to early morning rain, I was going on a group ride today if they were later to find my lifeless body on the road somewhere, like a suburban Tommy Simpson. Tom H had a ride planned for Burlington, but he was planning to shorten it due to the heat, and that's a long way to drive not to do a long ride, so I decided to do the B-rated ride out of Cranbury. Sometime-photographer Ed C thought he might go on the infamous "B+-that's-really-an-A" ride, but probably thought better of doing it in this heat, so he came on this ride, too, as did Dave H, Cliff H, and sixteen others (including y'r ob'd't servant).

I drove to Bagel Street Café in Plainsboro, then rode to the start point at Village Park in Cranbury along the route that Cliff showed me a few weeks ago (I wasn't sure I was going to have the energy to do it all in the afternoon, and I wanted the extra miles {it turns out I did the extra miles in the afternoon, too; see the whole route here [and doesn't that route look like an upside-down picture of an anteater sticking out its long, prehensile tongue to slurp up the Bagel Street Café?]}).

About 57 miles; the group ride was about 41. We got spread out, and eventually the folks for whom I was sweeping in the back got cut off from the main group. The main group was faster than I would have thought in the heat today... and, frankly, I was faster, and stronger, than I thought I would be. The route went by the infamous "Ptomaine Ptowers" rest stop in Clarksburg, and we stopped at Phil's, where I loaded up on liquids - I went through well over 96 oz. of  water and juice today, and didn't have to use the bathroom until I got back home, which is a suggestion of how dehydrated I was (and the scale was kind when I got on it before I drank anything!).

Three of use who had fallen off the back were making our own way home when I ran over a rock and got the dread snakebite puncture. This was my first tire change in over a year, and, while Cliff was impressed with my effort, I'm sure that most of the other Freewheelers would have sent out for a pizza and gone to a movie by the time we were ready to ride again. Cliff stayed with me; the other rider went on (thanks, Cliff!).

When I got home, the tube was defective: I couldn't get the valve to release the air in it (I used a CO2 cartridge,and wanted to make sure I replaced the gas with real air... and the valve wouldn't release). Rather than be stuck on the road with a funky tube, I changed it, so now I've got a fresh tube, with real air, and two new tubes in the bag. While I had the bag open, I looked at the patch kit I was carrying, and it looked like it was fossilizing (what was going ON in there?), so I've got a new one of those, as well. I guess I'm grateful I didn't have to use that stuff until today, because it looks like I might have been stuck if I were depending on it! I guess I gotta check out the contents of that seat bag more often than once every eighteen months or so, huh?

only a lack of imagination

When people say, "Nobody would ever do that!", what they mean is they would never do that, and they hope that the people with whom they associate think the same way they do.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

a thought on suffering

It says, eloquently, something I've thought for a long time. I got it from Oddman.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

good enough

Although I had plans to ride to the Freewheelers All-Paces ride today with Ed C, it rained twice today before 8am, and by the time the weather cleared, it was too late for me to get to the start in time. So I went on a ride by myself.

I had previously agreed with The Excellent Wife that I wouldn't ride to work, but I took a ride that way today because I figured traffic would be light on the holiday. I continued into New Brunswick, then along Easton Ave, then down to 514/Amwell Road. I took a back way through Colonial Park, then down the canal, and back home. 26 miles, average 16.8.

The best part was I did it on the commuter bike (see the bottom of the linked post), wearing my cotton McBride Ride t-shirt, civilian shorts, and Teva sandals. Take that, Strava-nauts.

another view of strava

Friend Dave C (not Dave H, from the previous post) has other thoughts on Strava. From an email he sent me:
I love the way it's kind of extends the ride, we can sit at the computer and study the ride, I am already yearning for more details, I want to know how fast I was going on this section or that section, or even how fast some one else was doing, what I did and were they we're faster, etc etc. hills and sprints(...)
But he's got a concern:
(M)y fear is active Strava, you know its only just around the corner, the next gen of bike computers will have everything we have now, but you won't have to wait until you get home. We will enter into the "I'm just going to ride that section again, I know I can do better". I fear it's going to turn bike riding into another video game. It's getting close to that now.
If that happens, I'll turn off that feature. That need to continually do better will suck most of teh fun out of my rides. And if it's not fun, why bother?

Monday, July 2, 2012

more thoughts on strava

Friend Dave H has been responding to my Strava progress, and apparently following the Strava lawsuit, as well. In a comment on one of my posts, he posted this link to a discussion of the merits of the suit.

There's the usual polarized discussion: the partisans of "FREEDOM! FREEDOM! FREEDOM!" on one side are saying that everyone is responsible for his own actions, and nobody is doing dangerous stuff because of Strava who would not be doing it anyway. On the other side are the "Ban everything remotely dangerous!" folks, saying that the mere existence of Strava is too sore of a temptation and it should be done away with.

And don't we all know folks in both those camps? In fact aren't we in one or the other of those ourselves, sometimes?

But there's also the beginnings of some sense in the middle.

The argument that Strava hasn't changed behavior doesn't hold water with me. I don't know that Strava has changed my behavior, but I can allow it to suck me into a competitive attitude that I don't really like in myself.  One of the riders who commented on the post the Dave linked to said:

I know at least one rider who doesn't wait as often and I might be stopping less frequently on the longer downhill runs just to see how I compare with others. If I'm doing it to some extent, others are most certainly endangering others by pushing harder on the downhills.

But it also doesn't make sense to me that Strava should be done away with. Nor can I see that they have any liability.

From the linked article:

The lawsuit, filed yesterday*, accuses Strava of negligence and is a result of his family wanting "justice".

"They [Strava] assume no responsibility. They don't put cones out. They don't have anybody monitor and see whether a course, or a specific segment, is dangerous," said Susan Kang, the lawyer representing Flint's family. "I strongly believe, and Mr. Flint's family strongly believes, that it is only a matter of time before somebody else dies."

*The suit was apparently filed 6/18/12.

I don't buy it. I don't see how Strava is liable. The rider assumed the liability as soon as he got on the bike. It was his decision to go for the course record, and it was his primary responsibility to ride safely.

 I don't descend well. I've only broken 40mph once; I'll not soon do it again... and, frankly, riding like that is too scary to be fun for me, so I'm giving up the quest for the 45-to-50-mph downhill. I don't feel I can do it safely, and it's my responsibility to ride within my limits.

I'm sorry for the family of the rider who died. But that rider took on his own risk.

Still - I think I'm going to limit my Strava exposure. I'm not sure I like what I might allow it to make me.