A few more items for the BICYCLING RESEARCH PAGE. At the top are a few papers about some esoteric aspects of bike messengerdom. I found them interesting if not weird -- weird is good -- but occasionally objectionable due to the author's misunderstanding of injury statistics relating to messengers (a familiar mistake but especially disappointing from an ex-messenger). Which means his articles are based on faulty assumptions.
The 2009 helmet article by Piet de Jong above cites my Art of Urban Cycling, but in an unfortunate way. The author uses the infamous Design News fatality risk chart as the basis for the paper's claims about cycling safety, treating it like real data. In the second edition of the book (rebadged Art of Cycling), I try to make clear that this very official-looking chart, which gives figures for the relative deadliness of different activities, expressed in fatalities-per-million-hours, has proved to be completely unverifiable despite its undeniable juicyness and should not be used for any serious scientific purpose.
When that book Art of Urban Cycling came out, somethng a little strange happened, considering my long history as a down-by-law messenger and the book's realistic take on traffic rules -- it was endorsed by the bicycle police. Mitch Trujillo, an instructor with the International Police Mountain Bike Association, wrote a fairly glowing review in the Association bulletin. "I enjoyed the way Hurst broke down the cyclist experience and scrutinized the behaviors that I've practiced and taught," he wrote. Thanks officer. I'm especially proud of that review, it's just a little wacky considering the ... unsolicited advice ... I've received from various police over the years. But wacky is good eh.
Since they liked my book, maybe they wouldn't mind if I offered some of my own unsolicited advice on the nuts-and-bolts bicycling aspect of their job:
I suspect criminals remain less than intimidated when they see these officers lugging around at 10 mph on 40-pound mountain bikes with full suspension, sitting and spinning those tiny gears, sweating like -- well, sweating. It's a travesty of justice is what it is. I know these officers have to haul a lot of heavy stuff, some of which must be carried on the person and some on the bike. Still, they should take some lessons from real mountain bikers on the one hand and messengers on the other, riders who know how to haul while hauling ass. Basically, they should be on much lighter, more maneuverable machines. You can still haul plenty of stuff on a light bike. You can still hop curbs and all that stuff. And ditch the suspension entirely. Most of these guys are on cheap, heavy knobby tires as well. They may as well pour a constant stream of molasses in front of their bikes. Tires should probably be about 1.5 inches and light, supple semi-slicks, which would still offer reasonable flat protection while providing massive improvements in ride quality. You don't lose anything by going to a light bike, except fatigue and maybe money. Cost is of course a major consideration, but I suspect the bike cops' tank-like mountain bike paradigm has as much to do with American culture and expectations as anything else.
Okay, I've been wanting to get that out there. I look forward to being more efficiently busted.