We live in a world of instant access to so many things – from where your friends are, to who they’re banging, and more importantly is your personal best on the local climb being threatened.
Like the blog, “Jesus Christ, Silicon Valley” I blame the Segway.
Remember way back when this motorized, two-wheeled podium was going to revolutionize the way we commuted? There was talk that city planners were going to widen city sidewalks in anticipation of herds of Segways like gazelle on the Serengeti. How did that work out?
Now Segways are rolling under the legs of mall cops and travel guides. (In my hometown of Greenville you can get a guided tour onboard a Segway. Yes, we’re a bustling, modern metropolis.)
Now there’s a new Segway type modern convenience that is starting to trickle out publicly – Google Glass. Already the people who wear these glasses have been labeled “glassholes” due to the wearers sense of technological superiority over the rest of us luddites who still have to look down at our smart phone to view a text or snap a photo.
My buddy D.L. Byron has snagged a Google Glass under the guise of “being important in the bike industry” and has been flaunting it on, of course, Google+. Yeah, well go fuck yourself D.L.
Anyways, back to my point.
Cyclists can be a pretty nerdy group of people. Have you ever been to Interbike? It’s our version of Comic-Con: plenty of guys, with a vast majority wearing cycling themed apparel fawning over the newest widget as hot models smile and pretend they’re really interested in your story, shop, bike magazine, or bicycling accomplishments. It really is a combination of heaven and hell under the Las Vegas lights all made a bit fuzzier due to copious amounts of free booze.
Not to be outdone in geek factor are cyclists. We’re a great market for just this type of stuff. Electronic shifting? Hell ya we gotta get it! Eleven speed? Sweet Jesus, how did I live without this before??? And it comes in my choice of silver or black?? Disc brakes for road racing bikes??? I need to settle down and smoke a post-coital cigarette at just the thought.
In defense of cycling’s nerdiness we love all this crap because for some of us it means marginal gains. And yes, for some people marginal gains could be further increased if they slowed down on the Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas, but regardless, we love new shit.
And my newest fascination of new shit is twofold: aero helmets and the Recon Jet HUD glasses.
Do I need an aero helmet that will save me a handful of watts in a sprint? Umm…no. Do I need a pair of glasses that project a plethora of cycling related info on the lens? Once again no. But that’s not the problem. It’s a matter of want.
I want an aero helmet. The byproduct of the desire to wear this type of lid is perhaps a few watts saved over 40 kilometers. And due to the very nature of their polarizing sartorial appearance I will further irritate people, so yeah, that’s an added bonus you can’t put a dollar amount to.
Now the Recon Jet HUD glasses have elevated my geekdom, nerdiness, dork level to a new level.
George Hincapie, who also calls Greenville home, is the face of these new high-tech specs. I participated in his birthday ride the other week and to my surprise he wasn’t on just a standard BMC. Instead for the casual two-hour jaunt he was riding the new BMC TimeMachine TMR01, which looked more aero than a dive bombing falcon and features internal front brakes with the rear brakes housed under the bottom bracket.
I asked him what he thought of the brakes and he told me they work great and then, unprompted, continued to tell me about the aero benefits of the TMR01. Just what I have suspected all along – Hincapie is a tech dork.
Sure he passes himself off as a fashion maven with his fancy stitching on his jeans, but bubbling below the surface he’s into new tech shit like the rest of us. So yeah, it makes sense that his mug is front and center for the Recon Jet marketing campaign.
I asked him to confirm my thoughts on his bike dorkiness (Full disclosure: I couched my tech question by asking if he was a “first adopter.” But come on, we all know that’s code for “Are you a dork?”).
“Yes, I’m very open/excited to try new technology always.”
With a full compliment of features like speed, heart rate, watt measuring, GPS, photo taking, and social media alerting to name a few, I asked what he thought were the most interesting.
“Most interesting factor would be the obvious, being able to access all your data with just a glimpse of your right eye instantly including receiving a text message and potential for a lot more with the open platform.”
Holy shit – George dropped “open platform” on me like a seasoned programer!
For me these are specific sport application optics, not to be worn in public, unlike glassholes who insist this is perfectly acceptable behavior. While George said the Recon Jets were for sports only, I’m sure if he sat down in Greenville’s most exclusive steak house he has the juice to pull off the look. Within the week all of the Upstate’s social elite and visiting Canadian TD Bank executives would be wearing them.
How far into the future will we see this type of glasses become commonplace? If you’d asked me a few months ago I would have shrugged my shoulders. Instead Pat McQuaid is in the fight of his life for re-election as UCI president and as a campaign “promise” said he’s considering the use of bike mounted cameras and real-time telemetry to keep five-hour transitional stages interesting. So to answer that question, I would guess within the next two years we’ll be overwhelmed with a rider’s heart rate, watts, and calorie intake, as we watch the Tour de France on our Recon Jets. Brace yourself.