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Old 05-14-01, 07:05 PM   #1
Cambronne
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I noticed something peculiar today... I wore my ugly helmet... and turned a much better avg. speed than I have in weeks. I wore the same helmet on the ride home, with the same results.

I have three helmets... a mid-1980s Bell, well past its "use by" date, but with hand painted "halibard" flames, done by a mad Dutchman I knew in France. I have a much newer Scott, which is very comfortable, and of a low profile design that doesn't attract more than the usual incredulous stares when I wear it into the supermarket. Then there's the ugly helmet... A violet and frighteningly expensive Giro, with all of the latest technical and styling features... but it gives me a decidedly Beldar The Conehead appearance when I wear it. It is my size, it fits well, but it rides very high on my head, and, well, I hate the thing.

Every few months, guilt overcomes me, I take it down from the closet, dust it off, and wear it on a ride. I begin to notice my shadow on the roadway, my reflection in a shop or car window... one would think that at 47, I'd be beyond such vanities... but I'm not. The Giro makes me look like an idiot, thus I feel like an idiot. I remove it, and it sits on the top shelf for another half a year.

Well, this time out, I turned an average speed that was a full mph better than I'd been doing lately, and an e.t. for the commute that I hadn't seen since my early '30s.
I shall try again tomorrow.

If a silly hat can make me a little faster, what if I went out wearing a dress? How 'bout NO pants? A Batman costume?

Can embarrassment make you faster?
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Old 05-14-01, 08:35 PM   #2
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Yes, Cambronne, I have noticed the same exact phenominon. The uglier the helmet, the faster I go.

I figured it out like this:

When I wear my ugly helmet, nobody will bike with me.

I bike faster alone.

Ugly helmet = alone = fast.
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Old 05-14-01, 08:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cambronne
If a silly hat can make me a little faster, what if I went out wearing a dress? How 'bout NO pants? A Batman costume?

Can embarrassment make you faster?
According to Mr. Mike Stone (he knows these things, you understand,) embarrassment can make you faster.

The "Arkansas Handshake" (a friendly pat on the appealing side of a cyclist by a passing motorist,) has propelled many a cyclist into record breaking sprints.

I guess "no pants" is out, at least in the "Snowy Midwest..."
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Old 05-14-01, 09:43 PM   #4
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Oooohhh, Pete, you are trying to lure me into this one.
well, it 'aint gonna work.

I'm not even biting on this one.

I'm not even going to mention the photo in the July 4th, 1973 edition of the Atlanta Herald of young Mr. Peter Clark streaking down main street and through the parade all naked on his banana seated Schwinn Stingray.

Was he going fast because he was embarrassed, or was he going fast so he could get more exposure in less time?

NOOooo no, I'm not even going there.
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Old 05-15-01, 12:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cambronne
Then there's the ugly helmet... A violet and frighteningly expensive Giro, with all of the latest technical and styling features... ...Well, this time out, I turned an average speed that was a full mph better than I'd been doing lately, and an e.t. for the commute that I hadn't seen since my early '30s.
gives you comfort knowing that at least there is some science behind expensive helmets.

I also noticed that somehow I cycle more efficiently with a helmet rather than no helmet (although that might just be my impression)

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Old 05-15-01, 06:44 AM   #6
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Whatever it is, what model is that Giro? I could use a 1 mph increase. Any other ugly stuff that makes you go faster? Rainbabe says I wear such ugly stuff now I guess I could get any worse.

Cambronne, maybe there is just something in the air down here in the south right now. My legs felt really tired on the way home yesterday afternoon so I opted out of the longer route home and took the best route at a very easy pace. This morning, I intended to take it easy and felt like I was. When I checked my computer, I had my fastest inbound time ever by a good minute and highest average speed to date. Now part of it was probably because I had VERY good luck catching green lights, having to stop for only a couple of reds vs 6 or so usually. That certainly helps.
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Old 05-15-01, 07:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by mike
I'm not even going to mention the photo in the July 4th, 1973 edition of the Atlanta Herald of young Mr. Peter Clark streaking down main street and through the parade all naked on his banana seated Schwinn Stingray.

Was he going fast because he was embarrassed, or was he going fast so he could get more exposure in less time?
Thanks for reminding me of a great training principle, Mike. How do you think I got to be so fast, by following the crowd?

Here's the real formula for developing speed and power:

No pants = chased by cops = fast
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Old 05-15-01, 08:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Pete Clark

The "Arkansas Handshake" (a friendly pat on the appealing side of a cyclist by a passing motorist,)
Is that also another expression for a "mullet", a "Canadian Passport", "hockey hair", a "Mississippi Mudflap"?

Jonathan
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Old 05-15-01, 09:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by RainmanP
When I checked my computer, I had my fastest inbound time ever by a good minute and highest average speed to date.
Under-inflated front tire can make a surprisingly big boost in readings... But probably doesn't go along with a feeling of "taking it easy."
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Old 05-15-01, 11:44 AM   #10
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This is mighty strange,everybody seems to be going faster. This afternoon I was riding around taking care of some errands on my way home from work. I was flying, I kept thinking," you're spinning to fast matt, you're gonna bonk". But I never did. very strange. Maybe there is a national air pressure decrease an we're the first ones to know.
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Old 05-15-01, 11:48 AM   #11
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Originally posted by fubar5
Maybe there is a national air pressure decrease an we're the first ones to know.
Or a shift in gravity! Watch for decreased tread wear....
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Old 05-15-01, 01:13 PM   #12
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I've done some research on Cambronne's ugly helmet theory.

The following is gleened unashamedly from http://www.schwinn.com/heritage/timeline.html:

"1941: Drafting a race car, French racer Alfred Letourner sets the speed record of 108.92 mph on a Paramount bicycle with 255 gear inches. Now that's pushing a BIG gear."

Wow! 108 miles per hour on a bicycle - in 1941!

You guessed it, check out the helmet:

Last edited by mike; 05-15-01 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 05-15-01, 02:12 PM   #13
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After seeing that photo I'll bet he not only set a world speed record, but had severely bruised elbows!
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Old 05-18-01, 10:44 PM   #14
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Originally posted by JonR

Or a shift in gravity! Watch for decreased tread wear....
Oh My Gosh!!! What if gravity is giving out because of all the fat people??? Maybe gravity isn't strong enough anymore!!!
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Old 05-19-01, 10:14 PM   #15
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I wonder what you could do for fun in a weightless environment?
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Old 05-19-01, 10:43 PM   #16
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Let's say you get caught with a car behind you and cars on both sides (this has actually happened to me). Then all of a sudden there's a huge pothole or a dead dog or something ahead of you. (This part hasn't happened yet.)

Without gravity, you could easily sail over the obstacle, or maybe even over one of the lanes of traffic.

Of course you'd still need some gravity for the traffic and dead dog to stay on the road in the first place.
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Old 05-20-01, 07:14 PM   #17
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Ok, pure stuff dreams are made of...

Partial weightlessness (moon), pothole, bunny hop, "Wheeee!"

Uh, oh, uh...

In an ugly helmet, of course!

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