Air Bag Leathers- What Will They Think of Next?
Ain’t innovation Grand?
I read an article in Cycle News that was absolutely intriguing. Clever scientists invented leathers that inflate- like an airbag- to protect you during a motorcycle crash. That means we can ride even faster and stupider without consequences. Thank you, scientists.
It’s a wireless, computer controlled contraption that figures out if you really are in a crash, then inflates. First, it doesn’t inflate a lot, or you would bounce down the racetrack, or through an intersection or something, looking like the Michelin man on steroids. It blows up about two inches everywhere.
If you’re like me, you wonder if it could make a mistake and accidentally deploy. The thing has around seven criteria before blast off. Like for instance, it wants to be assured that you:
Are a person wearing the outfit.
Are on a bike.
Are moving, presumably at some sort of speed.
Are falling off a bike.
And a few others. It computes all this stuff in EIGHT MILLISECONDS. That is plenty of time. I know. I’ve fallen off bikes, lots of times, and there is ample time to say the following:
“Oh no (or perhaps, your favorite expletive). This is going to hurt.” The suit inflates at: “ (That would be, before you gasp). Truly amazing.
How did they test the suit? They CLAIM they booted it up and tossed it down a stairway. No way. Here’s how they tested it, I’m sure.
First, the two brainiacs hustled off to the mailroom.
“Tyler my man, you always said you wanted to be a Cycle News tester, right?”
Tyler’s eyes light up. “Sure!”
“Okay, put on this suit. Good job, Tyler. Now come on over to this stairway…”
“Make a note. The suit did not accidentally inflate.”
Lastly, here’s the amazing stupidest thing about this suit. It inflates in eight milliseconds, then stays inflated for five seconds, apparently plenty of time to crash and stop. I don’t know about that. Sometimes it feels like an hour before the chaos stops. Anyway, then it deflates, and there’s no repacking. It is ready to go again. I figured it deflated so medical people could get access. No, it resets so you can get up and race again!
That’s the first question. A few more:
The second question is, ‘are you crazy?’ Apparently so. Actually, I have jumped up and tried to race- okay, scratch that- raced, while injured. So it makes sense on a stupid level.
Last question. Race what? Your bike just cart wheeled through the air at 120 miles an hour, and is scattered across the asphalt. You have a pretty good concussion (hence the desire to get back on the bike), and the race is long past gone. That’s okay. Pick up the bike. Find the handlebar in the grass. Set the gas tank back on. Go race. You da man!