I kept reading the news this week and there seemed to be quite a bit of information I dug out that I found worth mentioning here.
First, Dave Moulton wrote an interesting essay on rights and privileges. So if you want to understand why "driving is a privilege, one that can be taken away, whereas cycling like walking is a right", go on.
Next, remember when I mentioned the unique Infinity Seat a few months ago? I wrote that the giant prong in the center of the saddle looked like asking for an ass-trouble. Now, the idea of riding with a saddle deep in your buttocks has been taken to the ridiculous level. Shark Saddle is clearly the most idiotic bike bicycle-related invention I have seen recently. But if you look for some anal stimulation on your ride, go ahead and try it.
Shark Saddle (Source: bikebiz.com)
Kickstarter is full of some really weird ideas and at first I thought that Bicymple is just one of them. A short-wheelbase bicycle with both wheels steered looks clearly nothing like ordinary. After watching the video I realized that this thing is actually rideable and probably makes sense. Still, I think that the market for Bicymple is just not going to be huge.
Bicymple (Source: kickstarter.com)
The next thing is not really news anymore because this was news over a year ago. Or even much, much earlier. But it's an interesting fact worth noting - American teens don't drive. That is - not as much as teens in earlier generations. Roughly from the late 80's we have seen a steady decline in the number of new driver's licenses issued to young people every year.
Teens drive less (Source: nationalgeographic.com)
This is a "new" problem to have for all car manufacturers and there are four reasons for this phenomenon discussed in the article. Teens don't drive because with cell phones and Internet access everywhere they simply don't have to (1), they don't drive because in tougher economy securing a higher-paid job and being able to afford a car is increasingly difficult (2), they don't drive because they don't want to and prefer to use bicycles or other means of transportation (3), and they don't drive just because they are too busy to find time to get their licenses (4). Whatever the truth is, the article is an interesting read.
And the last thing today is the story of Stanisław Królak (Wikipedia page, in Polish!), someone you probably have never heard about. I was reading a story about this cyclist a few days ago and it made me think how much different professional cycling in the 50's and 60's must have been. You see, back in the 50's when the Western Europe had their Tour de France, the communist Eastern Block had their own Peace Race, which was "very different" than those imperialistic bicycle races in the West since Peace Race cyclists were "strictly" amateurs. Yes, I used quotes twice, but that's because those amateurs being simple working-class miners, farmers or lumberjacks had never seen a mine, farm or a forest, respectively. Even though they were called amateurs all they did year round was to train for the Peace Race. Which makes them no different than Tour de France cyclists.
Anyway, Królak was the first Pole to win the race, which happened in 1956. Interestingly, the race tactics at that time was drastically different than what we see on TV today. When the leading cyclists were entering the stadium for their final lap and finish they had to ride through a short tunnel. This was the only place during the race where TV cameras and radio reporters couldn't see them. And since all of them carried bicycle pumps, they used them as weapons, whacking each other. Now keep in mind that bicycle pumps in the 50's looked more like an iron gas pipe, than those lightweight mini pumps we use today so you can picture the damage a solid whack in the head could do. The tunnel fight of 1956 was won by Królak and Soviet cyclists who often used the same method during earlier races lost the leader's jersey that time.
Stanisław Królak on Warsaw's stadium (Source: Wikipedia.org)