Saturday, November 15, 2008

Confessions of a helmet Geek

whew, that was a lot of pictures!
As you can see, I bought yet another helmet. Why this one? It's an Ironman ILS. As you can see it has a built-in light for night riding. You usually wind up zip tie-ing a hiking light to do this, which sorta comprises the crash worthiness I wish it had a brighter color, but for $50, you're essentially getting a $25 helmet with $24 light built in. It seem ok here in the dark. QA - Seems OK, no carbon fiber, and the straps could be less stiff, but $50? The only other neat thing I noticed is that they have a little pie of foam to keep the buckle from digging in.
Now that you've fallen asleep.
I went for a walk. Not what I had planned, since I could not find sunscreen nor a store that sold it at 8am. It's a season item , even here in the land of endless summer.
Speaking of summer, it was 92 here.
Back to the walk. I was going to start at Milliken and walk the PET to It's a Grind. Without sunscreen I opted for less ambitious walk.I drove to It's a Grind, and walked the PET to Etiwanda and back. I took the usual Mountain pic, and some of the wind. Once I got to Etiwanda. I took one of the PE depot and walked down to where the Construction for the Extension to I=15 was taking place. I took a photo of some vineyards, and noted a hole in the Construction Fence. Did I sneak in? Who knows? I then walked back, and took some photos of the mural on the wall at the Fillippi winery before heading back for social hour. We noticed a smoke cloud to the Southwest appear. not good, as it was a massive wildfire. So I close the day by closing my permanent route that goes to the beach. It runs parallel to the 91 freeway, and form the aerial shots, the trail was burnt. I'll have to get back on the bike to check it out.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Who tests the testers?

Today, I bought a new helmet. No I haven't succumbed to materialism.
The Helmet is a Specialized Propero , Now you may be wondering why I bought a Specialized, since the had to recall some helmets recently.
Therein hangs the tale, eh? as some of you know I'm a Software Quality Assurance Engineer. And yes, some things do slip by ms. anal-retentive.
The story lies in how how Specialized approached things.
Most helmet company rely on company called SEI to do QA for them, Specialized uses the Snell Memorial Foundation. the difference is that once a helmet is initially certified, SEI relys on the companies internal auditing, whereas Snell purchases samples at random and tests them. (see here) I recall when the recall happened that Snell found the problem ( a Subcontractor had used a cheaper grade of plastic for the buckle.) And I've seen "no one will notice if we do..." or "we need this by .... or else!" once too often. Plus it does have several neat features. I like the visor that doesn't need the holes, and the other thing I noticed is that Specialized recessed the Attachment plugs for the straps below the hardcover (totally covering them would be nicer, but more expensive)
And since i do riding a t night, i've been think about getting an ironman Ils helmet