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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Core Samples, Handlebar Bar End Biopsies and BarCon Lancets

6/10/2013
Danger, danger, danger.

There are risks in any activity. You could take a bikenap (sorry, hashtag-bikenap) and a meteor could fall onto you.

Handlebars can cause injuries. Imagine if the handlebar depicted didn't have plugs on the bar-ends, and then suppose you and your bike were moving forward at 15mph, things go awry, the front wheel oscillates and you begin a forward transition to stopped. An unplugged bar end, whipping around with considerable force, would have the same function as a concrete core sampler: it could take a biopsy of your internal layers that you'd otherwise never get to see.

So what kind of bicyclists fall a lot? Of course: triathletes. Triathletes run, swim, and fall off bikes, especially during the transition into and out of bicycling.


The US Triathlon rule book contains rule 5.11i, which states

5.11i. Handlebars and stem must be fashioned to prevent any danger. All handlebar ends must be solidly plugged to lessen the possibility of injury.



Some people, myself among them, use bar-end shifters (or more archaicly, bar-con shifters. I use them because my decidedly non-standard gear ranges (my chainrings are 20, 34, 46) are incompatible with STI shifters (brifters), which I strongly prefer but one puts up with what one must. The bar-end shifters turn the end of the handlebar from a core-sample drilling tool into a potential icepick or lancet.

I never believed those Letters to the Editor were true until the following happened to me... Last Friday I took a spill on my bike. It was at modest speed, maybe 13 mph, in a non-chaotic situation, a single-bike fall down go boom. My bar-end shifter poked very deeply into my thigh and fortunately the fleshy ponderousity did not yield to an entry wound, but the violence of the impact is suggested by the bruising.

The bar-end shift lever sheared off, and I have ordered new ones. I'm thinking about how to fashion corks around the next installation.

So this post is in the nature of FWIW. No significant injury, lots of bright colors, way-cool bruise and I'm very glad it didn't penetrate.




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