Tuesday, August 3, 2010


Edward is one of the hard core CDC's. He commutes virtually every morning, and I have rarely not seen him on the Coega bike path. I tried to help out Edward this morning with a flat wheel and noticed some interesting features on his bike.

I asked what the strange metal thing was wedged between his seat stay and bottom bracket. "Its a shock", he replied. Strange I thought - there are no moving parts? Turns out Edward works at CV Exchange and his Shock is a real shock and is used as his weapon to ward off Tsotsi's (South African word for criminal) trying to steal his bike.

I showed Edward my Magic Wand (courtesy of my bike doctor Theuns Kotze). Its similar in concept, but, is lighter and works better. Its got that rare impossibility in cycling - lighter, cheaper, stronger (in effect that is!). Edward was mighty impressed, so in the interests of public safety, I thought I would share the Magic Wand technology.

1) I carry the Wand on my backpack, but, one could as easily stick it somewhere on the bike or make a shorter one. For me this option is best. Its easily accessible and I can use it while riding. I draw the wand with the left hand, swing it once and its armed and ready for use. In fact, as it extends, it can be used. As you can see, the wand looks like (and is) a simple piece of PVC electrical conduit. The one I use is about 35cm in length, but, you can easily customize according to your requirements.

2) Here is the wand armed and ready to swing. Fully extended its roughly double the length of the conduit. A length of cable, just less than double the length of the conduit is looped around a retaining bolt inserted into the conduit. Therefore, when the wand is not in use, the cable is inside the conduit. When you want to use it, a flick of the wrist brings the cable flying out the conduit and turns it into a metal whip, ready to inflict very serious damage!

3) You need to add a little weight to the end of the cable to get it to flick out of the conduit nicely. You can get really creative here. While mine just has some lead weights, there are no limits to the types of horrors one can inflict with the weights which you use. On mine the cable has unraveled and cuts my finger when I touch it - would hate to see the damage when used in defense!

4) Here is the cable retaining bolt on the conduit, which basically stops the cable flying off completely.

Touch wood, I have only had to use the wand on dogs (failing dismally in my attempts to connect), but, the Magic Wand gives a wonderful sense of comfort. Edward's route is a little more dangerous than mine and personally I think his issues are more related to what would happen if his bike breaks in a vulnerable spot. As you can see from the photo's Edward's bike is seriously battered. South Africa should really have a Bike rebate scheme where employers / employees can get tax rebates on their bike purchases for bike commuting. For a more detailed overview check my post of February this year. Now if only......

No comments:

Post a Comment