Bike SnobNYC flames Fuseproject

Brings up a good point, sometimes you need to be reminded to cut the BS. I found extra humor out of how ID mag and others praised all of the Yves Behar stuff a year or so ago.

He certainly does flame them, and deservedly so I might add.

My favorite part:

It’s also typical of the non-cyclist to focus on the helmet as a symbol of cycling safety. Indeed, the helmet has become a symbol of safe cycling just as the condom has become a symbol of safe sex. However, there’s a big difference between the two. If you use a condom properly it will be highly effective, but if you use a helmet properly it won’t make a difference if you’re still doing everything else wrong. Riding without a helmet will not make you crash, but riding with a bunch of stuff dangling off your handlebars might. If the City of New York and “fuseproject” really cared, they’d have designed a really “cool” and convenient basket instead of a helmet:

And how their Y-Water concept is the first water you take anally…

That site is pure gold!!!

“fuseproject” is an assembly line of douchery and that people pay them to take things that already exist and “bullshitify” them. For example, helmets have obviously been around a long time, but it takes an expert to bullshitify them by putting a hat on them. Also, Birkenstock has been around for a long time too, but it took “fuseproject” to figure out that they should “showcase” their “overall brand evolution” by copying Crocs:

They also came up with “Y Water,” which to be perfectly honest I can’t figure out, but which appears to be the world’s first beverage that you consume anally:

It’s great New York City is promoting cycling, though it’s too bad they paid “fuseproject” to help them “appeal to the new generation of bikers.” They could have saved a bunch of money by just asking the human cannonball at Ringling Bros. Circus for advice, since his approach to safety seems to be the same: put on a stupid outfit, strap on your helmet, close your eyes, and hope for the best.

Oh yeah. It’s a daily read for me. I find myself refreshing every 20 minutes around Noon (central time) to read the latest. So great.

I feel the same way about these darned Bixi things we have cluttering up Montreal:

They do have a fairly useless looking basket on the front though. I’m waiting for the city to get sued out of their minds for not providing helmets. Also, I’ve heard bike accidents are up since newbies have been the early acceptors to the concept.

Did I mention they are ugly and seem to have be some kind of god awful '80’s Modernist ideal forced on top of a very mixed architecture city where nothing looks '80’s Modernist (accept for the random hipster)? How ever got an IDEA award for this abortion is beyond me. BTW, note that everything on the site looks '80’s Modernist. Consistency is everything.

Back to Fuseproject though. I’d like some NYC condoms with holes in them so I can lock them to my bike. That would be so functional.

So you want a condom with a hole in it?

Loverly. One more bullet in the chamber. Industrial Design gets commoditized even more.

what do you mean?

As pointed out by Bike Snob, Fuse’s biggest failure was designing to the brief, rather than designing the brief.

While I am enjoying this thread I will come to the aid of fuse here. I’d there is a type of firm that would design their own brief, wouldn’t it be them? I wonder if maybe there were other issues, or maybe they missed altogether. From the outside, they’ve always seemed style focused rather than user focused, so maybe this just supports that pov? Also, I wonder if they’re struggling to maintain quality as they grow?

You’re right, that was a flip comment by me. I’d like to know more.

Seems like designing products already available by the free market for a government is a bit odd.
How do they market them?? Is NYC giving them away for the good of the people? Using them to raise money?

The idea of having city government give away helmets was probably dreamed up to help increase safety, and “build awareness”.

The cash flow of a government is a little different than a buisness’s.

Basically they spend tax money in ways that meet criteria they set. Someone decided that number of free helmets corresponds to number of people who will wear the helmet which corresponds to bicyclist safety. Who knows if this is true?

Overall its not a bad idea, hes trying to make the helmet covers into a fashion item that people will buy many of. Still, the “user interchangeable/customizable” trend died a few years ago.

What market is he aiming at with the three fabric covers that were shown? They look like their made to match ski jackets. The upscale cyclist will stick with their professional helmet, they’re not ironic enough for the hipsters, and many people will think they’re kinda dorky. Also, there was no need for the huge orange star trek style NYC on the side.

There is also a very over looked problem. Back in the 80s-through early 90’s there were helmets made with fabric covers that came in the neon spectrum. Then standardized test found that the helmets caused serious neck injures because the helmet causes the head to just stop on the pavement not slide across it. That is why you never see helmets any more with fabric covers except for the fuse project one. Not saying they did not think about this but if you look anywhere on the market you will not see a helmet for cycling with a fabric cover.

That’s the whole joke here. The whole “Safety is Cool” message is lost with the dorkiness of these helmets.

Jehan raises an interesting point. It’s one thing for a government to hire someone to design a light post or a new library, but bike helmets, condoms and bicycles? I’m all for promoting design, but I think design is best when the market forces companies to innovate (see history of design in America). Do we need to spin off another thread from here? How does everyone else feel?

A “government entity” providing a bicycle helmet to the public, implying that the wearer is now “safe”, is an open invitation to a law suit. In this litigious country I’m surprised the proposal ever made it past the “what if we…” stage at the city council meeting. Non-profit foundations would be a better method of providing bicycles for public use.

Much like shopping carts, the initial purchase of the bicycle is only part of the equation; who maintains and repairs them, and retrieves the ones left out in the boondocks? How many will end up stolen? “Drive it like a rental” is a phrase that comes to mind; no personal investment = no personal responsibility.

Besides, providing for the specification, and manufacture a bicycle is not (or should not) be within the purview of the do-good amateurs down at city-hall. I expect my tax dollars to provide for essential public* services; police, fire, public health, transportation (roads), etc. Most local governments in the US are finding it difficult to do even that right now. If the town fathers decided that “we” were going into the bicycle manufacturing business I would have an even bigger problem with it. I understand the the unique appearance of a “public” bicycle would lessen the frequency of theft for personal use, but it is not the place of government to be the financial supporter of its development.

  • public adj. 1 of the people as a whole 2 open to or shared by all

Even though I do, not all citizens ride bicycles.

Here in Montreal, you need a credit card to rent a bike. They place a $150 hold or something on the card until you return the bike. I’ve also seen some trucks with trailers carting them around in the evening. I don’t know if that is for maintenance or redistribution.

Montreal is no better than the cities in the US, probably worse. Half the roads are beyond their projected lifetime, most of the sewers are past their lifetime and too small. We also have a very inadequate highway system as they haven’t added a new artery since the '60’s, if I’m not mistaken. The city has doubled in size, but the highways are downright barbaric.

I agree with you lmo. Public services. Which brings about another aspect. We all enjoy police protection, fire, water, sewage, waste disposal etc, but I’m never going to use these bikes, but I paid for them. I don’t know how I feel about that.

been shadowing this thread without adding much to this point. here’s my 0.02$ worth-

  1. don’t get all the hate for the concept bike/helmet. looks pretty sweet to me.the helmet I also think is pretty novel and a good approach to public safety and encouraging safe riding (esp in a city like NYC which is notorious for cyclist-car difficulties.

  2. the idea of shared bike systems i think is a good one and more cities need to adopt it. When I was in Denmark (already a very cycling friendly country) the city I was in (granted a lot smaller - pop. 300.000, but the second biggest city in DK) had a very successful and easy to use system. I can’t speak much of the MTL bixie system, but from what I’ve heard looks good.

  3. bike sharing systems and costs are not really any different than any other infrastructure/public transportation systems. Sure not everyone uses it, but neither does everyone use public transit (busses, etc) or the road/highway system. yet we all pay for it. I think there is something implicit about how taxes and city/province/state revenues are collected/used that not everyone is paying for their own use but rather it is a system of collective good.

OT, but this kind of thinking (“I don’t need it, why am I paying for it?”) is the biggest non-sequitur and misleading argument for a variety of issues. Not to open a can of worms, but look at the sorry state of healthcare in the US, compared to the Canadian system. Everyone is covered if you need it and as a whole the country is more healthy and financially stable. Bike sharing systems do the same thing in principle. YOU may not ride a public bike, but those that do take pressure of the roads that YOU (car rider) might use or the busses that YOU might take instead.

If you follow the argument that “I don’t use it, I don’t wanna pay for it” to it’s logical conclusion, every road will be toll road, every interaction with the infrastructure/government will cost $ (entrance fees to public parks, $ assessed per sq.ft of sidewalk cleaning, everyone would have to deposit a coin to put trash in a public garbage can, you need to pay the fire department COD upon arrival before they put out your house that is one fire…etc… it’s nonsense…


That’s where I’m going with this. The government could have invested that money in creating a competition that would spark freemarket innovation, much like the X-Prize or DARPA Challenge. …Or did they? What was the design brief exactly?

That’s true, you can bring any idea to it’s illogical extreme, but the idea is to find a balance. I could extrapolate bike sharing schemes into some big government/1984 type thing, but I’m not going to.

Basically the government’s role is to provide infrastructure and laws. It should only provide infrastructure that private enterprise is unable to provide. Are condom dispensers infrastructure? Maybe. The people of New York seem to think so. Water is essential for human life. New York as a whole benefits if when you turn the tap, water comes out. Since condoms are essential to stopping STDs and unwanted pregnancies, New York has implemented a sort of a “condom tap”. Nobody is going to feel like taking a condom from a dingy government grey box in the corner. Kills the mood. The (very nice I.M.O.) industrial design that fuseproject was commissioned to provide for the condom dispenser is integral to it’s function of getting people to take the condom.

We can really only guess at New York’s motive with the helmet, but it was probably to increase helmet use. Will it? Maybe slightly. Probably not more than subsidies or sales tax holidays on helmets. Beyond the dorkiness issue, I think one of the big problems is that anyone willing to wear one of these already has a helmet.

Of course, millions of government dollars are spent on harebrained schemes every day. Why shouldn’t our field get a cut of the pork? Unfortunately, helmet design is pretty visible and generally accepted as not being part of government’s responsibility. This, combined with fuseproject’s over serious self importance, provides ample ammunition for jokesters like bikesnob nyc or whatever.