on friday afternoons, i teach a couple of further education classes through the auspices of argyll college and the university of the highlands and islands. the subjects are somewhat akin in nature; digital photography and digital multimedia, made only slightly less simple by the fact that few of the computers are sufficiently up to date to run the necessary software. the class and i are becoming particularly au fait with microsoft's error messages as we try to shoehorn multimedia software into barely sufficient memory to run the operating system. however, as this is not an unknown or unexpected quantity, 'tis but a case of making do.
teaching certificated courses entails some form of assessment at some point and in keeping with the course subject headings, at least part of these assessments are carried out on computer. while this has led to a modicum of ingenuity on the part of the college's i.t. department, to be quite honest, it basically consists of a series of multiple choice questions involving the ticking of boxes and the dragging of correct labels underneath what the candidate supposes are the right answers. it's all very pretty, but in point of fact, it could be just as easily done as multiple choice questions on paper.
ingenuity for the sake of it.
sadly, this isn't confined to the realms of academia; the world is full of clever ideas that are really only clever because they're clever, supplanting the previous method of achievement to no real purpose. much of education in schools has now also been moved onto computers principally because it can be, rather than for reasons of notional improvement. i blame the ipad myself.
chris boardman was recently quoted as saying helmet use wasn't even in the top ten when it comes to improving cycling safety. i'm none too sure that mr boardman made it clear just what ten factors he considers would make cycling a more safe activity, but i think it may have been a minor error of judgment to exclude helmets from the agenda. personally i have no desire to have draconian compulsory helmet laws introduced in the uk; i still figure it ought to be up to individual choice, even though i'd scarcely head into the wide blue yonder without one strapped to my head.
i'm also not naive enough to figure that in a head to head meeting with one of the forty-foot trailers servicing the island's distilleries, a helmet would keep me as if wrapped in cotton wool. but there's an evens chance that falling into a ditch trying to avoid one of these vehicles would benefit from a helmeted noggin. (it should be pointed out that those driving the forty-footers of which i speak are probably the most courteous of road users on the island). in a similar manner to that of an insurance policy, it's surely better to have and not need than the other way about? however, there are occasions when carting about a cycle helmet can be a bit of a pain.
the sunday ride and associated rides are of no real nevermind, since we're not really heading anywhere special (other than debbie's), and the helmet is going to remain firmly attached to one's head other than during froth supping. but consider the hapless commuter, who may have need of occasional shopping en-route, such as goodies for lunch or reading material. i have observed one or two cyclists visiting in the summer months who seem content to wander the averagemarket aisles while still wearing cycle helmets. yes, i confess, i am prone to sniggering.
light weight and airy though the modern cycle helmet is, there's little doubt that it's not composed to fitting in a shopping bag or basket. but suppose that wasn't the case; suppose you could take the helmet off, fold it up, and pop it easily in a bag. wouldn't that just be ingenious?
coincidentally, i happen to have just such a helmet, and darn me if it isn't quite remarkably clever. it morphs easily from the customary helmet shape into a far smaller form factor by sliding two side panels into the top of the helmet, leaving the rear panel to fold flat(ish) onto what's left. and in a 'one size fits most' sort of affair, two ratcheted clips attached to the rear panel allow size adjustment by allowing fore and aft movement to better grasp one's head.
this range of movement does, rather concomitantly, add to the helmet's bulk. the polystyrene liner is less smooth than most modern alternatives and a tad thicker to allow those side panels to slide above. thus, the biologic folding helmet weighs almost twice as much as a giro air attack, but that's still only just over 500 grams. in practice, the weight is barely noticeable when wearing; though i figure it's aimed at the commuter rather than the more active cyclist, i popped it on for a morning's mud plugging in bridgend woods. though i'd be loath to offer that my off-road perambulations would have proved onerous for the likes of sven nys or jeremy powers, it's all relative, and my poundings raised more than a mild sweat, none of which was enforced by the folding helmet.
the chin strap is easily adjustable, but i had serious misgivings over the fastener, one that eschews the usual buckle found on pretty much every helmet on the planet. however, it's almost as ingenious as the rest of the pango, fastening by means of a magnet and released by an easily operated slider.
i've not improved my testing methods to the point of deliberately falling off into rock strewn undergrowth to test the veracity of its proffered protection, but its certification appears to be impeccable. a slotted top section is covered by what seems to be a removable screen, preventing golden eagles and blackbirds from straying into particularly effective vents. of course, in everything, there is a downside, and while those may be appear to be confined simply to a sense of aesthetics and possibly weight, in the case of the pango helmet it's far more insidious though nonetheless a tad trivial.
watch any advertisement for cosmetics or shampoo and they seem all infested with technologies, mostly fabricated by the respective marketing departments. the pango is, sadly, no exception, for printed just above those sliding side panels are the words with pulsium technology. what the heck does that mean? i have a higher in physics yet i cannot recall ever being on the receiving end of a lecture regarding such a technology. assuming at sometime biologic find it necessary to update the pango, i'd strenuously recommend that they leave this part of the helmet blank.
on the plus side, it does have faint star wars aspirations.
the biologic pango is quite ingenious, and not just for the sake of being clever, and at a cost of £100 not that hard on the pocket. if you're in its target market, i wouldn't hesitate if i were you.
the lastest version of the biologic folding helmet (with pulsium technology) is distributed in the uk by paligap. it's available in either black or white at a cost of £100 the helmet is not available in the usa, canada, australia or new zealand
sunday 23 february 2014..........................................................................................................................................................................................................