I recently signed up for an event through Active.com and got quite a bit more than I bargained for out of that $20 entry fee. As always, I don’t want to spend a whole lot of time tinkering with signing up for an event so I tend to horse through it… Well, sure enough, I got bit by Active.com – a complete scam. So much that I will be boycotting, from now on, any event that requires registry through Active.
See, when you sign up for the event, they sign you up for a “free” month membership with Active. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, at the end of that month they automatically bill your credit card for a full year membership (I’d bet there’s probably a way to opt out – my problem with them is they automatically opt you in) that costs $65 US.
So from this day forth, I’ll be publishing any local event that uses Active.com as a sign up so people can avoid them like the plague.
There it is… The Frankenmuth Fahrrad Tour is the one that nailed me.
In any event, should you bump into Active.com when you’re registering for an event, either skip the event or proceed with excessive caution, those bastards are sneaky.
UPDATE: A credible friend of mine, in the comments section, disagreed with my assertion that the Active.com deal is a scam. He actually likes and uses his membership, so I’m inclined to leave the issue alone, even delete the post to the ether black hole save two things:
1. All I wanted to do was sign up for a 100k ride.
2. If I wanted a membership to active, I would go to their website and sign up for the membership. To automatically sign someone up and force them to cancel at a later date to avoid a $65 charge is shady. Plain and simple.
Jens “Shut up legs” Voigt will be going for the 1 hr record this afternoon at 1 pm (EST – US). The attempt will be streamed at Trek’s website.
3 hours from now.
UPDATE: He did it! Just over 51 km/h!
A Cautionary Note to After Dark Cyclists… Do your lights and reflectors work as well as you think they do? I doubt it.
I almost killed a cyclist this morning on the way into the office. He was travelling down the center of the lane with no reflective clothing on but he had a tail light, head light and his bike’s top tube and down tube were both wrapped in some kind of fluorescent rope light and I couldn’t see any of it until I was damn near on his wheel, traveling at 54 miles an hour (speed limit was 55). This is the second time in a month that a cyclist snuck up on me in the dark. I would bet my lunch that this poor fella thought he was lit up like a Christmas tree but his thinking was deeply flawed.
Where to start? Reflective clothing methinks.
I’m a big proponent of removing the reflectors from a bike within minutes of getting it home from the shop. My pedals don’t have reflectors on them either… Of course, I don’t ride in the dark either. Still, my shoes have reflective backs, my leg warmers have reflective zippers and my jacket has a reflective patch on the back. I’m going to figure something out for a better vest though and get it to market. One of those Home Depot construction vests would be great if they didn’t look so goofy but until I figure out what I’m going to do, I’ll be wearing mine at night… After just missing that guy this morning, I realized just how important all of that reflective stuff is in the dark.
Next has to be the lights. He was running the cheapest shit they carry at the local shop. I looked the tail light and head light up online… He had a Serfas Seat Stay tail light which was absolutely worthless in traffic and a Serfas SL-3 LED headlight, which was even worse. In fact, the headlight was so small and not bright, I don’t know how he could see the road in front of him. Now, I also use Serfas lights – the USB rechargeable combo set (ironically $5 cheaper than the two lights above) and as well as I can tell, they work excellently. In truth though, I really don’t know. The only thing I do know is that they’re pretty bright and flashy and considering I only use them once a year and when riding with a group, it made sense that they were good enough. Today’s experience changed my thinking considerably.
Finally, that silly rope lighting… Now, if you’re worried about someone T-boning you or you want your bike to look cool in the dark, then by all means, go with the rope lighting. If you think that it’s going to make you more visible to traffic behind you, don’t bother. It’s virtually useless.
So, if you’re an after dark cyclist I implore you to look at your evening/early morning lighting from the perspective of a driver. In my case, I have my wife who I’m certain will help with this. Over the weekend I’ll hook up my lights to my bike and hit the road with her trailing in my truck… Then I’ll do the same for her so we can see how visible we really are. Or aren’t and adjust from there. One thing is for sure, I’ll post my results here.
In closing, I stopped a half-mile up the road to flag the guy down but he pulled into a small manufacturing plant before he got to me. I got back in the car and drove to the parking lot to let him know that he was virtually invisible.
UPDATE: A friend of mine who goes by Fatguy2Triguy found fully reflective cycling apparel by Sugoi… The ENTIRE jacket lights up like a Christmas tree when it’s hit with artificial light: Sugoi Zap Bike Jacket. Check it out here…