Right Place, Wrong Fred

Last week I included that video of the enraged flyer-grabbing Fred in a post about my plastic bike. I admit I had misgivings about doing so–not because I didn’t think the guy was a gigantic douche, but because I had a bad feeling about the collective desperation to uncover his identity. However, I embedded it anyway, because after everything is said and done I’m a sucker for footage of assholes stumbling around in cycling shoes. [Pro tip: if you’re ever accosted by an asshole in cycling shoes, just sweep the leg and they’ll go down like a foal in an ice rink.]

Anyway, it turns out my misgivings were warranted, because as a result of the aforementioned desperation they got the wrong guy:

Yes, his only crime was using Strava, which in the Fredly penal system barely even qualifies as a misdemeanor:

It was based on that initial, false information that Weinberg had become a suspect for the internet mob. To his surprise, the app that he used to record his regular rides from Bethesda into Georgetown via the Capital Crescent Trail shared that information publicly, not just with his network of friends and followers. Someone had located a record of his ride on the path on June 2, matched it to the location of the assault from the video, matched his profile picture — white guy, aviator-style sunglasses, helmet obscuring much of his head — to the man in the video, and shared the hunch publicly.

Inasmuch as the video had already gone viral long before I posted it I certainly don’t feel directly responsible for making his life miserable. However, the whole debacle does reinforce my increasing distaste for Twitter, from which I’ve backed away in recent weeks. (I’m reluctant to say I quit Twitter altogether since I’ll no doubt backslide on that in the same way I’ll almost certainly end up racing again at some point despite announcing my retirement. Also, I still look at Twitter in the same way I still get dressed in stretchy clothes and ride a road bike. So let’s just say I’m keeping it at arm’s length.) There’s much to be outraged about and to protest in the real world, but then there’s social media, and people on Twitter have a way of running off with the hermit.

As for the larger implications of all this, certainly an asshole Fred who accosts people in this manner deserves to face some kind of consequences. However, I wonder if crowdsourcing an identity search via social media is the best way to set those consequences in motion, given the obvious potential for collateral damage. Then there’s the irony of involving the police department at a time when so many people are demanding that we defund the police. Or maybe I’m overthinking it. Ultimately the wrong guy just got yelled at on Twitter for a little while. It’s not like anyone got shot.

Moving on to helmets–which, believe it or not, people used to consider controversial–the Hövding headbag just won some kind of foam hat test or something like that:

Each helmet was given a score relative to the average (median) test results across all the helmets. Results from the oblique tests were given a higher weighting because it is these impacts that tend to lead to more brain injuries.

The Hövding 3 scored highest and performed 76 per cent better than the average. Of those available in the UK, the Scott Vivo Plus MIPS came out on top, scoring 22 per cent above average.

While I’m sure they’re out there, I have yet to hear any “My headbag saved my life” stories, and to date the only real-world Hövding anecdote I’m familiar with is this one:

That thing ate his head like a hungry clam.

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