What is it about competitive hobbies and having the best kit.
If you go fishing and have the best rod, bait, hooks, where's the upside? You cant be sure that massive fish you caught is your skill or just tech.
Everyone would expect you to catch a big fish because you have all the kit.
If on the other hand you just have a cheap rod etc, that big fish you catch, you caught because of your skill. The guy sitting next to you with all the kit, that's just caught a massive fish is ok, because he has all the kit.
I've noticed the same thing with cycling and golf.
I suppose you could say its to prove you're part of a group, but isn't being sat in the rain, next to a muddy pond proof enough?
Myself, I generally strive to find the stuff at the point of diminishing returns. Top stuff is often just expensive in comparison, bottom stuff you just have to fight all the time.
They aren't uncomfortable if you're fast. The harder you ride, the more force you're applying to your pedals and so more of your weight is borne by your feet and hands. The saddle on a racing bicycle is more of a perch than a seat; it's a very important link in the connection between rider and bicycle, but it doesn't need to be plushly padded. A wide and heavily padded saddle deforms and creates a large and unstable contact area with the rider, which increases friction and leads to nasty chafing on longer rides. It seems superficially insane to use a hard and narrow saddle and padded shorts, but it's actually a very comfortable solution for a fast rider who spends a lot of time in the saddle.
It's also worth bearing in mind the relatively enormous forces that a fast rider can apply to their bicycle. Solutions that work fine when you're pootling along at 120w are hopelessly unstable if you're banging out 500w in a hard effort or 1500w in a bunch sprint. You need a very stiff frame, you need stiff shoes with a rigid attachment to the pedals, you need high pressure tyres with good lateral stiffness. That stiffness can be bone-rattling at times, but it can also be very satisfying. There's a directness and agility to a good road bike, a precise connection to the road that is essential for professionals and hugely enjoyable for a certain sort of amateur.
You can't do this on a "comfortable" bike:
I had one of those bikes. You lower the saddle, and they're very, very comfortable, because of how light those bikes are. You can pick them up with one hand and throw them 5 meters easily. For comfort, I guess you'd replace the steering wheel, but these are kinda cool.
The saddles are built so athletes can realistically sit on them for 10 hours a day for 4 weeks. I assure you, they're pretty comfortable. Not motorcycle saddle comfortable, but those get in the way of actually pushing the pedals. They're as good as they'll get.
You want to take them on the bus/train ? Talk about easy. You need it standing up in an elevator ? No problem. Bounce on stairs ? They do that unbelievably well, even with you on them. And they're fast, very fast.
Only thing you could say is that they're built for speed, and the compromise is that they slip really easily. Don't use in snow, mud or on ice or something like that, you'll break something.
Also anywhere in Europe they get stolen faster than a steak in a bengal cat nest. Which is a pretty serious disadvantage.
1500w though, that's very high, like Greipel territory. I wasn't quite thinking of that when I had my rant.
As a hobbyist cyclist, I like having a decent bike simply because it’s more fun to cycle with less effort. Of course I could get an old crappy one to show off my skill and constitution, but that’s not the point for me. The point is to have some fun and while part of this fun is due to achieving goals, achieving a hard goal with a little help such as a good bike is still more fun than not achieving the hard goal, especially if it’s due to comparably-bad tech.
Whether your threshold for bad tech is now a really old bike or a not-newest bike is merely a quantitative difference and in the end subject to personal preferences.
"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish that they are after." - Thoreau
Consumerism is a drug, and it's incredibly addictive. It took me a long long time to stop caring about having the best stuff. New phone every year, new laptop every 2. As fancy a car as I could afford, high end fishing gear, etc.
Thankfully, having kids let me "grow up" a lot in a very short timeframe, and I now have a 15yr old car, 4yr old phone, and generally just cheap but functional stuff around me, but it's still hard to shake that urge.
There is joy in doing a hard thing well, in improving yourself. But the only way to actually improve is to have an objective-enough standard for the thing you're doing - weight of fish, speed on bike, number of strokes in golf. Without that it devolves into "I only caught a small fish? Oh well, I was using a cheap rod, and my left hand, and I wasn't really trying anyway". Whereas if you caught a bigger fish this time, there's no way to fake that.
Yes, which is why I'm confused. I'm not asking why people cycle instead of motorcycle, or don't go to the fish shop instead of fishing.
With fishing surely theres an upper bound on the size of the fish, the worst rod can still catch it, while showing superior skill.
Well, it's two sides of the same coin: why is "no motor" a restriction that makes for an interesting hobby but "crappy bike" isn't? My answer is that trying to be as fast as possible subject to x can be interesting provided there's a clear sharp line between x and not-x. E.g. plenty of people ride single-speed bicycles - but they'll still try to be as fast as possible within that restriction, and may well buy an expensive single-speed bicycle for doing so. Indeed the vast majority of cyclists follow UCI's decidedly arbitrary rules which are explicitly designed to make cycling a bit less pay-to-win (minimum bicycle weight so that bikes made with cheaper materials can still be competitive, arbitrary spoke/frame shape requirements to make wind-tunnel testing less effective and limit innovative designs).
You could say that people stick to the UCI rules so that they can compare to other UCI cyclists and be part of the same community, and I'm sure that's a part of that, but IMO that's a minor factor. The really important thing is having a ruleset that you can't easily change yourself: the UCI rules are external and fixed, whereas if I tried to follow my own definition of what a "crappy bike" was and be as fast as possible within that, there would always be a question of why that particular definition, and whether I could/should change something. If I got a new bike and was faster on it, would that be "cheating" because the new bike wasn't "crappy enough"? What about things I hadn't thought of in my ruleset? (e.g. when I first started cycling I hadn't even heard of cleats, so would switching to cleats have been breaking my rules?)
98% of cyclists don't compete in time trials or races. If you single out the 2% of cyclists whose hobby is trying to go faster than the guy next to them, and ask why they buy equipment to make them go faster than the guy next to them, isn't the answer obvious?
Plus 98% of cyclists don't ride around on sit up and beg bikes, wearing normal clothes etc, outside of the Netherlands and a few other countries.
We obviously live in different UKs.
It is more of a weekend rider thing, I note theres still only one sit up and beg, to the two drop handled bikes.
Just to add, that picture is quite encouraging. People actually cycling in 'normal' clothes, a sign of an improving cycling culture. Hopefully it will spread to the rest of the UK.
what is it about the look of someone on, say a hybrid, who's wearing gear appropriate to their commute (which may be athletic gear) that induces so much tut-tutting?
I wasn't complaining about the hybrid bikes, I did mention the drop handlebars, hybrids don't tend to have drop handlebars though.
well for 51% of the population in places like the US and UK, it's also a cultural thing...
Similar lines could have been written about once crazy ideas that we take for granted today.
Some of the products being mocked actually look like interesting ideas written off because of their bad marketing copy.
I actually looked up the mini dishwasher from one of the pictures because I’d like a portable dishwasher for my small apartment kitchen. The the ones on the market right now are really clunky and it appears to have been a zero-innovation kind of space for some time. Unfortunately the first version is Euro-only, but I have my eye on it for the future.
That's right, I hope some startups will succeed even if they are mocked or criticised like it was the case for Dropbox.
The post mocks the presentation of the products, not the products. Submitted title here in HN makes it look like it is about mocking the things.
This blog post is mostly just making fun of bad English marketing copy though. Yeah lots of international companies have trouble describing things well in English, but that isn’t really the right metric to judge them on.
I guess there's a market for mindless consumerism products, but I can't help feeling that a lot of smart people could be of better use solving real world problems...
That's all I get instead of pictures.
original twitter thread https://twitter.com/edzitron/status/1083476320808398849
Looks like the next presentation is January 16.
That would've been something.
Edit: Works in Safari.
It's a good thing the internet has enough ad space to sell all this crap