11 December 2011

A couple tidbits and an explanation

Here are some things that I've seen. Now you can also see them:

-I was just going through the photos that have piled up in my phone and came across this poor thing: This is a bike that was brought in for some work several months back. The guy refused to believe that there was anything more than some shifting issues going on with it. I don't even want to know how long he'd been riding it like this.

Cannondale's new Lefty frame. 
 I can't believe that it took probably 5-10 minutes to explain that his bike had a serious problem.

-Over at the generally excellent Off The Beaten Path, Jan Heine says that Compass will now be selling some neato LED conversion bulbs for older style tail lights. They come with a standlight built into the unit, too, so the light stays on for a while when you come to a stop.

I love this on a couple levels. First, it's great because at a lower cost than upgrading the whole unit, people can move to a better, and safer, light system than their bulb light. Second, it means that maybe we'll see less people with rocketship-looking things on the back of their bikes. Third, it's always good to see thoughtful solutions. Good show to all involved.

-Maybe this is the most popular thing in the world and I'm just late to the show, but I'm going to push it anyway. I stumbled my way into the blog "Cosmic Country" tonight, and it's by far the best thing I've seen so far tonight. Practically every single photo looks like way too much fun. Biking is great.

Now, on to the explanation part:

You might be wondering what "upvision" is, as it is mentioned up in the top-of-the-screen-thingy up there. The term "upvision" comes from an incident in the shop about five months ago. A lady was looking at the handlebar mirrors and seemed somewhat dissatisfied with what she was seeing. Eventually, she explained that she was looking for something with "upvision." It turned out, after some explaining (and a lot of very enthusiastic hand motions), that what she wanted was a mirror mounted on the handlebar in such a way that she could ride with her head staring straight down at the bars, and the mirror would show her what was ahead on the road.

"You know, upvision!" She said, making hand motions as though some kind of vision fumes were wafting up from the handlebar towards her eyes, and acting as though we were from Mars because we didn't stock such a product. Now maybe I'm crazy, and there is a segment of the population out there riding around with weird periscope things attached to their handlebars, but probably not.

Eventually "upvision" came to be a multipurpose term at the shop. It represented the ridiculous, and downright embarrassing up-selling that the then-owner would always attempt; any piece of gadgetry, gimmickry, or marketing hype that has gone well beyond the point of common sense usefulness; and the absurd mental gymnastics required to get to a place where riding with a mirror on your handlebar as your guide seems like a good idea.

Oftentimes it seems to me like the bike industry, or maybe not just the bike industry, has a bit too much "upvision" going on. Maybe just getting your bike set up so that you can comfortably look forward with your own eyes, as simple and unsexy a solution as that may be, might just actually be good enough? Although laser beams and rocket ships and periscope mirrors are neat, too, I guess.

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