I got an e-mail this week from "Jersey Bin", which advertises itself as "the waterproof cycling pouch." Jersey Bin is having a sweepstakes in which they are giving away jersey bins. Aside from it being an illegal sweepstakes (you have to order something to enter - a no-no in almost every state I think), the whole concept of the Jersey Bin makes me scratch my head a bit. First, here is a picture of a jersey bin, just so we all know what we are talking about.
So, it is a clear or frosted (your choice) plastic, resealable pouch in which to hold objects and protect them from moisture and sweat. Okay, good idea. They sell them in pairs, either $6 for two small or $8 for two large. So, not a lot of money in the grand scheme of things and there are things, like cell phones and paper maps, as pictured here, that it is important to keep from getting wet. But there is still something troubling about this. Can't quite put my finger on it yet.
Maybe checking the testimonials from Jersey Bin will help. Here is one on their website right now: "I've been riding thousands of miles per year without a cell phone for fear of wrecking my expensive smartphone. The Jersey Bin is the perfect size for holding phone, house key and cash, fitting neatly in a jersey pocket. The price made ordering the pouch a no-brainer. I'll never have to pay a $15 collect call charge after flatting 50 miles from home again."
So, it appears that we have an entrepreneurially-minded guy who has solved a problem for his customers. I guess everything is good. Here is a customer who rides thousands of miles on his bike, but apparently doesn't have the ability to change a flat, and apparently didn't have any way of carrying his expensive smartphone with him, forcing him to make a $15 collect call to his spouse or S.O. to come get him 50 miles from home. Wow. And to think that it only took the creation of Jersey Bin to come to this guy's rescue so NOW when he is riding 50 miles from home and he gets a flat tire he can whip out his Jersey Bin-protected expensive smartphone and call his spouse or S.O. to get in the car and come get him. Maybe with the time and money he saves from not having to walk to a phone and make a $15 collect call, they will have time to swing by the bike shop on the way home and spend their savings on having a mechanic change their flat tire.
If I were Glenn Beck, I would have a tear in my eye right now. I would also have a chalk board, but that is another matter. The issue right now is the tear in my eye. Here is one reason that I might have a tear in my eye, a tear of joy. That it is the American way for entrepreneurs to solve problems with the invention of new products and it is also the American way for people to trade their hard-earned cash for these new inventions to make their lives better. It's a beautiful thing and all that is right about our God-blessed American way.
Here is another reason I might have a tear in my eye though, a tear of frustration. That this testimonial cyclist represents everything that is wrong with America today. Here is a guy who knowingly gets on a bike regularly and rides "thousands" of miles and doesn't have the sense to carry a spare tube or a flat repair kit. His solution for a flat is to call for a ride home, no matter where he is or how inconvenient that might be for his S.O. In America, we used to have this thing called "self reliance." I think that is how the pioneers managed to subdue this continent. I don't think they wrote home to Mother England to complain about the inconveniences and ask for a ride home. No, they made their rims out of wood and went on riding their bikes. They used possum spit and bear fur to plug the holes in their tires and went to the iron smithy to forge their frames. This is the spirit that America was built on!
If you are going to go on a ride, then you should have the ability to deal with the normal, predictable result of doing so. Does this guy call home for a banana and gatorade when he gets hungry or thirsty? Does he call home for a jacket when it starts to rain, even though it was cloudy and the forecast was for 90% chance of precipitation? Probably, but should he? No. These are normal and predictable needs on a bike ride and the credo of the bike rider should be such that he or she is ready to take care of him or herself. I strongly suggest that this particular rider confine himself to the trainer.
But really, here is the reason I am having a hard time with both this ill-prepared cyclist and the Jersey Bin. Because for less than the price of one single Jersey Bin, I can buy a box of 30 replacements. AND THEY ARE CALLED ZIPLOC BAGS!
If you are old enough to buy one and smart enough to use an "expensive smartphone", shouldn't you also have enough sense to recognize there are other solutions to carrying your smartphone?! And hey, even if you don't get the technology behind a ziploc bag when it is "just" a ziploc bag and not yet turned into a Jersey Bin, can't you get out your Bike Nashbar catalog and see those things call "bags" that some cyclists buy to carry things with them. They come in all shapes and sizes, so that you can carry a few essentials like your smartphone AND a spare tube!
I think I am going to cry.