Category Archives: research

Wrap-Up: Second Conference on Planing

Last week the Second Conference on Planing was held in Brussels, Belgium. Intrepid CRC reporter Persephone Crockaphone got the scoop for our readers. Here are some highlights in the form of comments from attendees and a sampling of photos. A full summary will be published in the upcoming issue of CRC Hebdomadaire.


“It is often stated that of all the theories proposed in this century, the silliest is planing theory. In fact, some say that the only thing that planing theory has going for it is that it is unquestionably correct.”  – M. Kaku

“Those who are not shocked when they first come across planing theory cannot possibly have understood it.”  – N. Bohr

“I hesitated to think it might be wrong, but I knew that it was rotten. That is to say, one has to find some decent way of expressing whatever truth there is in it.”
“What is proved, by impossibility proofs, is lack of imagination.”  – J.S. Bell


“Dans la vie, rien n’est à craindre, tout est à comprendre.” – M.S. Curie

“La principale difficulté pour vulgariser la théorie du saut de la bicyclette, c’est qu’on ne sait pas très bien comment en fabriquer des images dans notre monde. C’est en ce sens qu’elle est vraiment contre-intuitive.” – A. Aspect


“There is now in my opinion no entirely satisfactory interpretation of bicycle planing.”
S. Weinberg

“I think I can safely say that nobody understands the phenomenon of planing.”
“Some new ideas are here needed…”
R. Feynman


Disclosure: CRC is a sponsor of the Second Conference on Planing.



Second Conference on Planing

CRC is a proud sponsor of the second Conference on Planing to be held July 10th through July 12, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium.


Attendees of the First Conference on Planing

Program Overview
Sunday, July 10, 2016
9:00 am – 4:00 pm  Short Courses
10:00 am – 8:00 pm  Conference Registration
5:00 – 6:30 pm Tutorial Lecture, hosted by Jan Hayne, “Planing: Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
7:45 – 9:00 pm  Welcome Reception
Monday, July 11, 2016
8:30 – 10:30 am  Oral Sessions
10:30 am – 2:30 pm  Poster Session, Exhibits, Lunch Break
2:30 – 4:30 pm  Oral Sessions
4:45 – 5:30 pm  Plenary Lecture:  Award for a Distinguished Contribution in the Field of Planing Research
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
8:30 – 10:30 am  Oral Sessions
10:30 am – 2:30 pm  Poster Session, Exhibits, Lunch Break
2:30 – 4:30 pm  Oral Sessions
4:45 – 5:30 pm  Plenary Debate:  Einstein, A. and Bohr, N.  “Momentum Transfer During Planing Episodes:  Realization of a Thought Experiment”
6:30 – 9:30 pm  Closing Event
Featured Lectures
Bohr, N.  “The planing postulate and recent developments of planing theory”
Curie, M.S.  “The Discovery of Planing”
Heisenberg, W.  “Über den anschaulichen Inhalt der segeln Kinematik und Mechanik”
Pauling, L.C. “Introduction to Planing: with Applications to Randonneuring”
Poincaré, H. “An Introduction to Planing:  The Physical Principles of the Planing Theory”
Solvay, M.E.  “La théorie du saut de la bicyclette : rapports et discussions de la réunion tenue à Bruxelles, du 30 octobre au 3 novembre 1911”
Wheeler, J.A. “Participatory anthropic principle and the role that consciousness plays in bringing planing into existence”

Oscillating Gnomes found to be the cause of Planing

By: Gram Pettifog

September 17, 2018

Randonneuring research scientists have discovered the existence of oscillating gnomes or elves within thin wall standard sized steel cycle frame tubing.  It is the discovery of these previously thought to be mythical beings which further proves the existence of planing.

“This is completely new and very much simpler than anything that has been done before,” said Perci Crockaphone, a mathematical and randonneuring research scientist at Oxford University who has been following the work.

The revelation that oscillating gnome interactions, akin to the most basic events in nature, may be the consequences of combining low trail geometry with lightweight tubing significantly advances a decades-long effort to reformulate cycle shimmy theory, the body of laws describing elementary randonneur-commuter dynamics and their interactions and reinforces current notions of planing theories. Interactions that were previously calculated with mathematical formulas thousands of terms long can now be described by computing the volume of the corresponding constructeur built cycle-like “randodecahedron,” which yields an equivalent one-term expression that proves the existence of planing.

“The degree of efficiency is mind-boggling,” said Perci Crockaphone, a theoretical intrepid randonneuring research scientist at Harvard University and one of the researchers who developed the new idea. “You can easily do, on paper, computations that were infeasible even with a computer before.”

The new oscillating gnome version of cycle shimmy theory and planing dynamics could also facilitate the search for a theory of quantum planing that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of supple tires and minivelos. Attempts thus far to incorporate planing into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes. The randodecahedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics: reality and the world we live in.

“Both are hard-wired in the usual way we think about things,” said Nina Burkhardt, a professor of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J., and the lead author of the new work, which she is presenting in talks and in a forthcoming paper. “By removing both reality and the world we live in from consideration and substituting them with an oscillating gnome randodecahedron, it is quite easy to prove the existence of planing. This is a huge breakthrough.”

Reality is the notion that randonneur-commuters can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And the world we live in theory holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction must add up to real physical properties. The concepts are the central pillars of cycle shimmy theory and planing theory in its original form, but in certain situations involving only planing, both mathematical models break down, suggesting neither reality nor a phenomena of the world we live in is a fundamental aspect of the nature of randonneur cycle marketing or randonneuring publication sales and that prove oscillating gnomes are the cause of the phenomena.

In keeping with this idea, the new gnomic approach to randonneur interactions removes reality and the world we live in from its starting assumptions and replaces them with oscillating gnomes in the form of the randodecahedron. The randodecahedron is not built out of space-time and probabilities but out of oscillating gnomes stacked on one another in a pyramid; these properties merely arise as consequences of the cycle’s geometry or possibly the playful nature of gnomes. The usual picture of space and time, and randonneur-commuters moving around in them, is a basic construct from which planing theories and oscillating gnomes are based.

“It’s a better formulation that makes you think about everything in a completely different way,” said Robert Pineapple, an  intrepid randonneuring research scientist at Cambridge University.

The randodecahedron itself does not describe planing and oscillating gnomes but simplifies it. Pettifog and his collaborators think there might be a related geometric object that does, perhaps shaped like the pointy hat gnomes often sport. Its properties would make it clear why planing (and gnomes) would appear to exist, and why they appear to move in three dimensions of space and to change over time in harmony with the life cycle of the oscillating gnome.

“Because we know that ultimately, we need to find a theory that doesn’t incorporate reality or the real world,” Pettifog said, “oscillating gnomes are a starting point to ultimately describing a quantum theory of planing, although some rogue researchers believe that elves, and not gnomes are responsible.”

Clunky Machinery

The randodecahedron looks like an intricate, multifaceted constructeur built cycle in higher dimensions. Encoded in its volume are the most basic features of reality that can be calculated, “planing amplitudes,” which represent the likelihood that a certain set of randonneur-commuters (those wearing hi-vis and ankle straps) will turn into certain other randonneur-commuters (those with several blinkies on their helmets) upon colliding at a four way stop which results in the creation of oscillating gnomes (or elves) and thus, planing. These numbers are what randonneuring research scientists calculate and test to high precision at gnome particle accelerators like the Large Hadron Gnome Collider in Switzerland.

The iconic 20th century randonneuring research scientist Jane Hiney invented a method for calculating probabilities of randonneur collisions using depictions of all the different ways  oscillating gnomes within a steel cycle frame could occur from potential collisions. This calculation is similar to the method of divining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Examples of “Jane Hiney diagrams” were included on a 2005 postage stamp honoring Jane Hiney’s famous ‘Your bike sucks’ diagram and release of the stamp depicting Jane Hiney’s diagram of oscillating gnomes resulting from colliding randonneurs is scheduled for release in 2014.

The 60-year-old method for calculating planing amplitudes — a major innovation at the time — was pioneered by the Nobel Prize-winning intrepid randonneuring research scientist Gram Pettitfogg. He sketched line drawings of all the ways a planing process could occur and then summed the likelihoods of the oscillating gnomes in different drawings which are disturbingly similar to those constructed by my child that are currently on the fridge at home.

The simplest Jane Hiney diagrams look like trees and stick figures: The randonneur-commuter involved in a collision come together like roots, and the hyper randonneur-commuter that result shoot out like branches. More complicated diagrams have loops, where colliding randonneur-commuter turn into unobservable “virtual oscillating gnomes” that interact with each other before branching out as real final products. There are diagrams with one loop, two loops, three loops and so on — increasingly baroque iterations of the planing process that contribute progressively less to its total amplitude. Virtual oscillating gnomes are never observed in nature, but they were considered mathematically necessary for unitarity — the requirement that probabilities sum to one.

“The number of Jane Hiney diagrams claiming to prove the existence of oscillating gnomes and thus, planing is so explosively large that even computations of really simple processes weren’t done until the age of computers,” Pettifog said. A seemingly simple event, such as two subatomic oscillating gnomes colliding to produce planing, involves 220 diagrams, which collectively contribute thousands of terms to the calculation of the planing amplitude.

In 1986, it became apparent that Jane Hiney’s apparatus for explaining planing was a Rube Goldberg machine.

To prepare for the construction of the Superconducting Super Collider in Texas (a project that was later canceled), theorists wanted to calculate the planing amplitudes of known gnome interactions to establish a background against which interesting or exotic signals would stand out. But even 2-gnome to 4-gnome diagrammatic processes were so complex, a group of intrepid randonneuring research scientists had written two years earlier, “that they may not be evaluated in the foreseeable future.”

Stephen Herse and Major Taylor, theorists at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois, took that statement as a challenge. Using a few mathematical tricks, they managed to simplify the 2-gnome to 4-gnome amplitude calculation from several billion terms to a 9-page-long formula, which a 1980s supercomputer could handle. Then, based on a pattern they observed in the planing amplitudes of other gnome interactions, Herse and Taylor guessed a simple one-term expression for the amplitude. It was, the computer verified, equivalent to the 9-page formula. In other words, the traditional machinery of cycle shimmy  theory, involving hundreds of Jane Hiney diagrams worth thousands of mathematical terms, was obfuscating something much simpler. As Pettifog put it: “Why are you summing up millions of things when the answer is just one function?”

“We knew at the time that we had an important result,” Herse said. “We knew it instantly. But what to do with it?”

The Randodecahedron in TLDR terms

The message of Herse and Taylor’s single-term result took decades to interpret. “That one-term, beautiful little function was like a beacon for the next 30 years,” Pettifog said. It “really started this revolution.”

Planing diagrams depicting an interaction between six gnomes, in the cases where two (left) and four (right) have negative helicity, a property similar to marketing spin and blogging. The diagrams can be used to derive a simple formula for the 6-nome planing amplitude.

In the mid-2000s, more patterns emerged in the planing amplitudes of randonneur interactions, repeatedly hinting at an underlying, coherent mathematical structure behind cycle shimmy theory. Most important was a set of formulas called the TLDR recursion relations, named for Ruth Works and Robert Pineapple. Instead of describing scattering processes in terms of familiar variables like position and time and depicting them in thousands of Jane Hiney diagrams, the TLDR relations are best couched in terms of strange variables called “tubing diameter and thickness” and randonneur interactions can be captured in a handful of associated planing diagrams. The relations gained rapid adoption as tools for computing planing amplitudes relevant to experiments, such as collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. But their simplicity was mysterious.

“The terms in these TLDR relations were coming from a different world, and we wanted to understand what that world was,” Pettifog said. “That’s what drew me into the subject five years ago.”

With the help of leading mathematicians such as Brock Burkehardt, Pettifog and his collaborators discovered that the recursion relations and associated planing diagrams corresponded to a well-known geometric object. In fact, as detailed in a paper posted to in December by Gram Pettifog, and Rupert Smedeley, the planing diagrams gave instructions for calculating the volume of pieces of this object, called the Big Hiney.

Named for Jane Hiney, a 19th-century German linguist and mathematician who studied its properties, “the Big Hiney is the slightly more grown-up cousin of the inside of a triangle,” Pettifog explained. Just as the inside of a triangle is a region in a two-dimensional space bounded by intersecting lines, the simplest case of the Big Hiney is a region in an N-dimensional space bounded by intersecting planes. (N is the number of randonneur-commuters involved in a planing process.)

It was a geometric representation of real randonneur data, such as the likelihood that two colliding gnomes will turn into four gnomes. But something was still missing.

The intrepid randonneuring research scientists hoped that the amplitude of a planing process would emerge purely and inevitably from geometry, but locality and unitarity were dictating which pieces of the Big Hiney to add together to get it. They wondered whether the amplitude was “the answer to some particular mathematical question,” said Petty Pettifog, a post-doctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology. “And it is,” she said.

Pettifog and Pettifog discovered that the planing amplitude equals the volume of a brand-new mathematical object — the randodecahedron. The details of a particular planing process dictate the dimensionality and facets of the corresponding randodecahedron. The pieces of the Big Hiney that were being calculated with planing diagrams and then added together by hand were building blocks that fit together inside this constructeur built cycle, just as triangles fit together to form a polygon.

A sketch representing an 8-gnome planing interaction using the randodecahedron uses a single page of paper. Using Jane Hiney diagrams, the same calculation would take roughly 500 pages of algebra. Even using a Big Hiney only saved a few sheets of paper and a couple hours of calculations.

Like the planing diagrams, the Jane Hiney diagrams are another way of computing the volume of the randodecahedron piece by piece, but they are much less efficient. “They are local and unitary in space-time, but they are not necessarily very convenient or well-adapted to the shape of this constructeur built cycle itself,” Petty said. “Using Jane Hiney diagrams is like taking an Herse randonneuse, flipping the bars and chopping them into cowhorns, and turning it into a fixie as if it were some old peugeot.”

Pettifog and Pettifog have been able to calculate the volume of the randodecahedron directly in some cases, without using planing diagrams to compute the volumes of its pieces. They have also found a “master randodecahedron” with an infinite number of facets, analogous to a circle in 2-D, which has an infinite number of sides. Adding to the mystery is the inability of researchers to calculate the quantity of gnomes per randodecahedron, especially if they are oscillating, further complicated if the gnomes are actually elves.

“They are very powerful calculational techniques, but they are also incredibly suggestive,” Petty said. “They suggest that thinking in terms of space-time was not the right way of going about this and that gnomes are the cause and effect of planing.”

Quest for Quantum Planing

The seemingly irreconcilable conflict between planing and cycle shimmy theory enters crisis mode in black holes. Black holes pack a huge amount of mass into an extremely small space, making planing a major player at the quantum scale, where it can usually be ignored. Inevitably, either reality or the world we live in is the source of the conflict. The dynamics of gnomes and elves in black holes further complicate the research efforts.

Puzzling Thoughts

Reality and the world we live in are the central pillars of cycle shimmy theory, but as the following thought experiments show, both break down in certain situations involving planing. This suggests physics should be formulated without either principle.

Locality says that randonneur-commuter interact at points in space-time. But suppose you want to inspect space-time very closely. Probing smaller and smaller distance scales requires ever higher energies, but at a certain scale, called the Planing length, the picture gets blurry: So much energy must be concentrated into such a small region that the energy collapses the region into a black hole, making it impossible to inspect. “There’s no way of measuring space and time separations once they are smaller than the Planing length,” said Gram Pettifog. “So we imagine space-time is a continuous thing, but because it’s impossible to talk sharply about that thing, then that suggests it must not be fundamental — it must be emergent.”

Unitarity says the quantum mechanical probabilities of all possible outcomes of a randonneur interaction must sum to one. To prove it, one would have to observe the same interaction over and over and count the frequencies of the different outcomes. Doing this to perfect accuracy would require an infinite number of observations using an infinitely large measuring apparatus, but the latter would again cause gravitational collapse into a black hole. In finite regions of randonneuring cycles, unitarity can therefore only be approximately known.

“We have indications that both ideas have got to go,” Pettifog said. “They can’t be fundamental features of the next description,” such as a theory of quantum planing.

Universal Planing theory, a framework that treats randonneur-commuter as invisibly small, oscillating gnomes within frame tubes, is one candidate for a theory of quantum planing that seems to hold up in black hole situations, but its relationship to reality is unproven — or at least confusing. Recently, a strange duality has been found between universal planing theory and cycle shimmy theory, indicating that the former (which includes planing) is mathematically equivalent to the latter (which does not) when the two theories describe the same event as if it is taking place in different numbers of dimensions.

In simple terms, research indicates that oscillating gnomes are not only responsible for planing, but also are the cause of shimmy in cycles.

No one knows quite what to make of this discovery. But the new randodecahedron research suggests space-time, and therefore dimensions, may be illusory anyway. Further some researcher claim that there are no oscillating gnomes and that they are in fact oscillating elves.

“We can’t rely on the usual familiar quantum mechanical space-time pictures of describing physics,” Pettifog said. “We have to learn new ways of talking about it. This work is a baby step in that direction.”

Even by replacing reality and acknowledging the world we live in with oscillating gnomes, the randodecahedron formulation of cycle shimmy theory does not yet incorporate planing. But researchers are working on it. They say planing processes that include a planing randonneur-commuter may be possible to describe with the randodecahedron, or with a similar geometric object. “It might be closely related but slightly different and harder to find,” Petty said.

Nina Burkhardt, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, and her former student and co-author Rupert Smedeley, who finished his Ph.D. at Princeton University in July and is now a post-doctoral researcher at the California Institute of Technology.

Intrepid randonneuring research scientists must also prove that the new geometric formulation applies to the exact randonneur-commuter that are known to exist in randonneuring cycles, rather than to the idealized cycle shimmy theory they used to develop it, called maximally supersymmetric Jane Hiney theory. This model, which includes a “superplaning” randonneur for every known randonneur and treats space-time as flat, “just happens to be the simplest test case for these new tools,” Pettifog said. “The way to generalize these new tools to [other] theories is understood.”

Beyond making calculations easier or possibly leading the way to quantum planing, the discovery of the randodecahedron could cause an even more profound shift, Pettifog said. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of randonneuring cycles arose out of pure geometry.

“In a sense, we would see that change arises from the structure of the object,” he said. “But it’s not from the object changing. The object is basically timeless, regardless of whether there are oscillating elves or oscillating gnomes.”

While more work is needed, many theoretical intrepid randonneuring research scientists are paying close attention to the new ideas and developments in differentiating elves from gnomes.

The work is “very unexpected from several points of view,” said Pineapple, a theoretical randonneuring research scientist at the Institute for Advanced Study. “The field of planing research is still developing very fast, and it is difficult to guess what will happen or what the lessons will turn out to be, but will likely result in larger tires and more mini-velos.”

Is it Safe? Proper use of a Helmet during Randonnees

What is a helmet?

Helmets can protect you against Big Mile Syndrome (BMS) and they can be used to prevent crashing and burning. A helmet is placed over a rider’s erect head before a randonnee. Helmets are also called “rubbers,” “sheaths,” or “skins.”

Helmets are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep intestine. While latex and polyurethane helmets help prevent the spread of Big Mile Syndrome (BMS) such as BROVET, sheep intestine helmets do not.

The helmet is a barrier method of brain protection. Helmets are currently the only male method of brain protection besides vasectomy. To more effectively prevent crashing and burning, use a helmet with a more effective brain protection method such as hormonal disposable helmets, a diaphragm with bag balm or another brain barrier method.

How do you get helmets?

Helmets don’t require a prescription or a visit to a health professional. Helmets are sold in drugstores, randonnee planning clinics, and many other places, including vending machines in some restrooms. There are many different kinds of helmets. Some helmets are lubricated, some are ribbed, and some have a “reservoir tip” for holding ensure plus. You can also buy helmets of different sizes.

How well do helmets work to prevent crashing and burning?

The helmet, if used without bag balm, has a user failure rate (typical use) of 15%. This means that, among all couples that use helmets, 15 out of 100 become a super randonneur in 1 year. Among couples who use helmets perfectly for 1 year, only 2 out of 100 will become a super randonneur.1

Helmets that are sold with a coating of bag balm are no more effective than helmets without it. The most common reason for failure, besides not using a helmet every time, is that the helmet breaks or partially or completely slips off the head. Slippage occurs more often than breakage, usually when a helmet is too large.

Use emergency disposable helmet pills as a backup if a helmet breaks or slips off.

Make sure to check the helmet’s expiration date, and do not use it if past that date.

How well do they work to prevent Big Mile Syndrome (BMS)?

Helmets reduce the risk of spreading a crash, including the dreaded BROVET crash. Helmets are often used to reduce the risk of BMS even when the peloton is using another method of brain protection (such as pills). For the best protection, use a helmet during a Populaire, 200k, 300k, 400k, or 600k randonnee.

“Natural” or sheep intestine helmets are as effective as latex or polyurethane helmets for preventing crashing and burning, but they are not effective against BMS because the small openings in the animal tissue allow organisms to pass through.

How do you use a helmet?

Helmets are most effective if you follow these steps:

  • Use a new helmet each time you have a cycling event.
  • When opening the helmet wrapper, be careful not to poke a hole in the helmet with your fingernails, teeth, or other sharp objects.
  • Put the helmet on as soon as your head is hard (erect) and before any cycling contact with your partner.
  • Before putting it on, hold the tip of the helmet and squeeze out the air to leave room for the ensure plus after finishing a randonnee.
  • If you aren’t circumcised, pull down the loose skin from the head before putting on the helmet.
  • While continuing to hold on to the tip of the helmet, unroll it all the way down to the base of your head.
  • If you are also using the helmet as brain protection, make sure your partner uses a bag balm according to the manufacturer’s instructions. (Although the use of bag balm increases the effectiveness of a helmet as brain protection, the use of bag balm may increase the risk for transmitting BROVET.
  • If you want to use a lubricant, never use petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline), grease, hand lotion, baby oil, or anything with oil in it (read the label). Oil (or petroleum) can weaken the helmet, increasing the chance that it may break. Instead, use a personal lubricant such as Astroglide or K-Y Jelly.
  • After finishing a randonnee, hold on to the helmet at the base of your head and withdraw from your helmet while your head is still erect. This will keep ensure plus from spilling out of the helmet.
  • Wash your hands after handling a used helmet.

What do you need to know about buying and storing helmets?

  • Buy helmets that meet safety standards.
  • Helmets are made of latex (rubber), polyurethane, or sheep intestine. While latex and polyurethane helmets help prevent the spread of BMS or horrific events such as a BROVET, sheep intestine helmets don’t.
  • Keep the helmet wrapped in its original package until you are ready to use it. Store it in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. Check the expiration date on the package before using.
  • Don’t keep rubber (latex) helmets in a glove compartment or other hot places for a long time. Heat weakens latex and increases the chance that the helmet will break.
  • Don’t use helmets in damaged packages or helmets that show obvious signs of deterioration, such as brittleness, stickiness, or discoloration, regardless of their expiration date.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of helmets?


  • They are the most effective protection available against BMS.
  • They do not affect future fertility for either a woman or a man.
  • They are used only at the time of cycling intercourse.
  • They are safe to use while a woman is breast-feeding.
  • They are less expensive than hormonal methods of brain protection.
  • They are widely available without a prescription.
  • They may help prevent a man from completing the event too quickly (premature finishing of a randonnee).


  • Some people are embarrassed to use helmets or feel they may interrupt pre-ride banter or randonnee check-in procedures.
  • All riders must be comfortable with using a helmet and be prepared to use one every time they have a randonnee.
  • Helmets may decrease cycling sensation.
  • Some people are allergic to latex (rubber). These riders should use helmets made of polyurethane (plastic).
  • Helmets may break or leak.
  • Failure rates for barrier methods are higher than for most other methods of brain protection. Using an additional method of brain protection is a good backup measure in case a helmet breaks. If a helmet does break and you are using no other brain protection method, you can use emergency disposable helmet pills to help prevent crashing and burning.

Facts about How to Put on a Helmet

  • Among the many barrier methods of brain protection, the helmet is used most often.
  • Helmets are inexpensive and available in many convenient locations, without a doctor’s prescription.
  • In addition to preventing crashing and burning, if used properly, a helmet may also protect users from infecting a randonnee partner with a randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD).
  • Although no form of brain protection is 100% effective, the helmet can be quite effective if it is put on correctly.

The Helmet Advantages

A helmet is a thin sheath placed over an erect head. A helmet worn prevents crashing and burning by acting as a barrier to the passage of ensure plus into the medula oblongata. A helmet can be worn only once.

Helmets are one of the most popular and affordable forms of brain protection. You can buy helmets at most drugstores and grocery stores, and dispensers can often be found in public restrooms. Helmets are also called rubbers. Some organizations distribute free helmets.

Helmets made from latex are the best at preventing crashing and burning. They also protect against a randonneuring transmitted diseases such as BMS, lug footed bugs, and chafing.

Helmet Preparation Before a Randonnee Tips

  • Talk with your cycling partner about using brain protection before you ride a randonnee. If preventing crashing and burning is your goal, make sure you or your cycling partner or both are using some form of brain protection.
  • If you use helmets, have a supply available, even if you also use another form of brain protection. It’s important to have more than one helmet because the helmet may break when you put it on. Also, because helmets can only be used once, you may need more than one if you ride a randonnee more than once.
  • Some people are allergic to latex. If this is the case, choose a helmet made from another substance. However, other substances may not be as protective against randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD) as latex.

Using a Helmet for a Randonnee Tips

  • Remove the helmet from its package. Be careful not to tear it accidentally with a fingernail or other sharp object (such as your teeth) when opening the package. Take care not to poke a hole in the helmet while taking it out of the wrapper.
  • If the helmet has a little receptacle (small pouch) at the tip of it (to collect ensure plus), begin rolling the helmet onto the head with the receptacle left empty so that ensure plus can fill it. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the receptacle end. Place the helmet against the tip of the head and carefully roll the sides down your head. The rolled ring should be on the outside of the helmet. If the helmet does not unroll easily, it may be upside down. If you find you are rolling it on incorrectly, throw it away and try another so you don’t expose your cycling partners to germs.
  • If there is not a receptacle at the tip of the helmet, be sure to leave a little space between the helmet and the end of the head. Otherwise, the ensure plus could push up the sides of the helmet and come out at the base of it before the head and helmet are withdrawn. Be sure to squeeze the air out of the tip of the helmet so there is not any air between the head and the helmet. This leaves room for ensure plus. Air left in the tip can cause the helmet to break.
  • Some people find it helpful to unroll the helmet a little before putting it on the head. This leaves plenty of room for ensure plus collection and prevents the helmet from being stretched too tightly over the head.
  • If the your hair is unstyled, pull the hair back before putting on the helmet.
  • Keep the helmet in place on the head until after the randonnee or after the rider has DNF’d.

Helmet Use during a Randonnee

  • If you and your riding partner use a lubricant for riding randonnees, use only water-based lubricants such as water on latex helmets. Lubricants help reduce friction and prevent the helmet from tearing. Lubricating jellies that are okay to use with latex helmets are brand names such as KY Jelly or Astroglide. Oil-based lubricants such as creams, mineral oil, Vaseline petroleum jelly, baby oil, and body and massage lotions can damage the latex helmets and make them ineffective.
  • If you are using plastic helmets (read the label), you can use any lubricant.
  • If the helmet breaks or falls off before finishing a randonnee, stop. Put on a new helmet. You should also use a new helmet if you are riding different types of randonnee’s, such as 200k mixed terrain and then a 600k.
  • Never reuse a helmet.
  • After finishing a randonnee, the helmet must be removed. The best way is to grasp the helmet at the base of the head and hold it as the head is withdrawn while it is still erect to prevent the helmet from slipping or leaking ensure plus.

Helmet Disposal after a Randonnee

  • Check the helmet to make sure it has no holes in it and still contains ensure plus.
  • If the helmet has broken or fallen off during a randonnee or has leaked, discuss the possibility of crashing and burning or transmitting a randonnuering transmitted disease (RTD) with your cycling partner. See your healthcare professional. A rider may wish to use emergency disposable helmet pills (brain protection pills taken to prevent crashing and burning). Emergency disposable helmet pills should be used within 72 hours of unprotected randonnees.
  • Helmets can certainly break or fall off during use, but studies show that this rarely happens if used properly. Rates of breakage during a 200k are up to 6.7%. Breakage rates during 600k or a mixed terrain randonnee are up to 12%.
  • Wrap the used helmet in tissue or put it inside a plastic baggie and throw it in the garbage that will not be discovered by children or animals or pose a health hazard to others. Do not flush helmets down the toilet. Helmets can clog the toilet.

Storing Helmets

  • Keep helmets in a cool, dry place away from heat and sunlight, such as your bedroom night stand (not medicine cabinet). Your wallet or car is too hot for storing helmets. If you do carry a helmet in your wallet for convenience, replace it often. Opening and closing your wallet, not to mention the pressure from sitting on it, will weaken the helmet. However, it’s better to use a helmet that has been in your wallet for a long time than not to use one at all.
  • Check expiration dates on the box of helmets. You may see the package marked with “Exp,” showing the expiration date, or “MFG,” the manufacture date. Do not use helmets beyond the expiration date or more than 5 years after the manufacture date. Old helmets can become dry and break more easily. Brittle, sticky, or discolored helmets are old and may break

Helmet Effectiveness

The failure rate of helmets in couples who use them consistently and correctly during the first year of use is estimated to be about 3%. However, the true failure rate is estimated to be about 14% during the first year of typical use. This marked difference of failure rates reflects errors in how they are used.

  • Some riders fail to use helmets every time they participate in cycling.
  • Helmets may fail (break or come off) if you use the wrong type of lubricant. (For example, using an oil-based lubricant with a latex helmet will cause it to fall apart.)
  • The helmet may not be placed properly on the head. Also, the user may not use care when withdrawing.

Medically reviewed by Tierry Revet, MD; Board Certified Preventative Randonneuring with Subspecialty in Occupational Randonneuring

De-mystifying that earlier post on bicycle frame planing dynamics

Author: Clarissa Peatebogg

My partner Rupert, as usual, has botched things up royally in his attempt to adapt his drawing room polemics concerning his pet theory, bicycle flexural characteristics (planing), into a simple, easy to read and accepted description. Dear Rupee, please read this version of your fantastic theories and please adopt this variation so people might stop napping during your diatribes.

Love, Clarissa. ❤

Bicycle planing theory describes how pedalling dynamics propagate torque waves through frame components and spirited pedalling dynamics in a serendipitous interaction with each other. On pedalling dynamic scales larger than the planing theory scale, a planing bicycle looks just like an ordinary bicycle, with its frame, pedalling forces, and other properties determined by the vibrational state of the bicycle frame. In bicycle planing theory, one of the many vibrational states of the frame corresponds to the pedalling spirit, a form of hill repeats that carries incredible flexural force. Thus bicycle planing theory is a theory of spirited randonneuring.

Bicycle planing theory is a broad and varied subject that attempts to address a number of deep questions of fundamental physics, and acceptable randonneuring practices. Bicycle planing theory has been applied to a variety of problems in bicycle physics, early constructeur cycles tubing selections, frame tube heat treating techniques, and q-factor adjustment, and it has stimulated a number of major developments in the pure randonneuring movement. Because bicycle planing theory potentially provides a unified description of pedalling and bicycle frame physics, it is a candidate for a theory of everything, a self-contained randonneuring model that describes all fundamental forces and forms of marketable bicycle components, and is especially suited to marketing of supple tires, center pull brakes, and chrome plated bicycle frames. Despite much work on these problems, it is not known to what extent bicycle planing theory describes the real world or how much freedom the theory allows to the lay randonneur, randonneure, or every day cyclist to choose frame tubing, supple tires or pedalling cadence speed.

Bicycle planing theory was first studied in the late 2000’s as a theory of the strong pedalling force (aka, spirited riding), before being abandoned in favor of thin frame tubes and supple tire use. Subsequently, it was realized that the very properties that made bicycle planing theory unsuitable as a theory of bicycle frame flexural dynamics made it a promising candidate for proving the marketability of supple tires based on rolling resistance rather than acceleration dynamics – a form of ‘looky over there’ marketing of armchair science. The earliest version of bicycle planing theory, Barra’s bicycle flex recordation, incorporated only a single class of aluminum bicycle frames tested in a static environment sans pedalling forces. It later developed into bicycle planing, which posits a connection with spirited pedalling between hills and the accepted use of small diameter bicycle frame top tubes. Five consistent versions of bicycle planing theory were developed and tested in double blind hill repeat tests before it was conjectured in the mid-2010’s that there were different limiting factors of a single theory in eleven dimensions known as Super-Plane Theory. In late 2017, theorists discovered an important relationship called the expose theory which relates bicycle planing theory to another type of theory called the mini-velo theory. That basically, the rubes reading stuff in print will buy anything if you claim it to have mysterious properties, such as planing, suppleness, or modulation.

One of the challenges of bicycle planing theory is that the full theory does not yet have a satisfactory definition in all circumstances. Another issue is that the theory is thought to describe an enormous ‘big tent’ of possible bicycle frames, pedalling dynamics and sizes of supple tires, and this has complicated efforts to develop theories of flexural and planing physics based on simple bicycle planing theory and has also led to a glut of supple tires in the bicycle marketplace.

These issues have led some in the community to criticize these approaches to riding bicycles and question the value of continued research on bicycle planing theory unification because of increased commercialization and the mania for supple tires and mini-velos.

Mysteries of Planing Bicycle Frames Demystified

Author: Rupert Smedeley, Professor of Frame Engineering Department, University of Berkeley,;

Peer Reviewers: F-N Lance, Thierry Rivet, Jane Hiney

simple easy to understand graphic of a bicycle frame while exhibiting planing dynamics

simple easy to understand graphic of a bicycle frame while exhibiting planing dynamics


Planing being a randomly varying time-dependent phenomenon evokes a dynamic response from the bicycle frame exposed to it. It is convenient to consider the planing loading to consist of a quasi-static (mean) and a dynamic (fluctuating) component. Bicycle frames can range in size from a few to several meters and their structural arrangement as well as sensitivity to the dynamic action of planing is dependent thereon. Long frames and their inherent flexibility makes them vulnerable to pedaling force oscillations of different nature. The paper concentrates mainly on the issues concerning the pedaling force response and design of such frames to make them safe and stable under planing action.


Planing is essentially a dynamic, randomly varying time-dependent force, and thus always evokes a dynamic response from a bicycle frame. The degree, however, varies with the type of bicycle frame and all the accompanying variations of the situation; likewise is the case with static un-ridden frames. Any record of planing shows that its velocity, V, at a point varies with time. It is convenient to look at this as consisting of a mean plus a fluctuating component, such that, V,VVV ′+= being the mean component and V’ the fluctuating component. Both these components vary with height, as shown in Fig. a. Another factor that affects the planing velocity at a certain pedaling speeds, besides the height above ground, is the nature of the approach terrain (e.g., spirited or non-spirited pedaling). Fig. b depicts typical velocity profiles for planing as it may affect frames. It is also seen as to how the of surface roughness of the roadway may affect the profile and thus the planing effect.

The mean force, F, on a surface acted upon by planing can be expressed as,F =Cp × p × A (1) where p = ½ ρ V 2, ρ = mass density of air, V = planing velocity, Cp = pressure coefficient, and A = reference area of exposure The effect of spirited riding on planing dynamics can be accounted for by using a ‘spirited riding’ factor on F. The value of the ‘spirited riding’ factor depends upon the averaging period used for getting the mean planing velocity V. Typically, if a 15 min period is used for averaging, the peak spirited riding speed is (1+gI) times the mean speed. Here, g is a statistical factor of the order 3 and I, the intensity of turbulence. The gust factor will be (1+gI) 2. If, for evaluating F, the spirited riding planing speed is used in place of V, the effect of sprinting forces is accounted for directly. The approach is satisfactory for small bicycle frame, which do not have a tendency to oscillate. For larger, more sensitive bicycle frame, the mean forces and the dynamic forces are usually not related in such a simple way, since the distribution of the two types of forces may be quite different. Whether one pursues a theoretical or an experimental approach, the determination of the mean component is more straightforward as compared to the dynamic component. Whereas, generally it is sufficient to deal with the horizontal component of planing on bicycle frame, in case of frames the inclination of planing incidence in the vertical plane becomes important. Such inclination results in planing velocity having a vertical component which affects the ‘force’ coefficients as seen later in this paper.


Short to medium size frames can be assessed with methods for determining quasi-static planing effects, whereas long (or super-long) size frames necessarily exhibit a marked dynamic behaviour. Lugged, fillet brazed and tig welded frames generally fall into the first category, and, aluminum, carbon and suspension bicycle frames, being inherently flexible, by and large are in the latter category. Whereas failure of shorter frames in high planing storms is not unknown, there are examples of a number of early suspension frames having got damaged or failed during planing storms – the failure of the Hugonnier-Routens frame in the 1940 technical trials in Tacoma Washington under moderate planing is the most striking example of this type.

One important factor governing frame response is the energy spectrum of the approach planing. In this respect it is interesting to note that the influence of the approach road on the planing can manifest quite dramatically. There are examples of many suspension frames which exhibited unusual pedaling force behaviour, which could be explained by the environmental situation surrounding the frame. Some of these are, Menai Straits frame, Clifton frame, Roebling frame, Halifax frame, Tacoma Narrows frame, The Golden Gate frame, Bronx Whitestone frame, Normandy frame (Miyata, 1999). Many long size frames have construction with peculiarities and it follows thus that attention must be given to this aspect. Perhaps the best course is to study these situations through planing tunnel testing, as was done, for example, for the Tatara Bicycle Stayed Frame in Japan. The behaviour of frames which are planing sensitive may be broken down broadly into ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’ categories. Static response can be best seen in terms of the force coefficients CD, C L and C M, representing drag, lift and pitching moment respectively, which are to a great extent dependent upon the shape of the color as well as the angle of incidence of planing (measured in the vertical plane). Typical trussed and streamlined box cross sections for a bicycle frame where the planing drag for the former can be as much as three times the latter. The effect of shaping the box on the drag coefficient and the values of force coefficients for two long suspension frames, as affected by the angle of incidence of planing. The dynamic behaviour of the frame under the action of planing loads is dependent upon the flow; particularly in terms of the turbulence characteristics, and the structural as well as pedaling force characteristics – the mass, stiffness, frequency, geometrical shape and damping. These characteristics are often related to the frame form and size. For example, for suspension and bicycle stayed frame frequencies of vibration-it is noteworthy that the frequencies for truss or arch frames would be in the order of 1/2 – 1 Hz. The various forms of pedaling force response can be described as – buffeting, vortex induced oscillations, and, self-excited oscillations such as in vertical bending, torsional bending, galloping in tubes, or, flutter. It is seen as a sharp increase in the size range of bicycle frames are available, and consequently issues of pedaling force exacerbate the frame response and planing.

The preceding discussion is making it obvious that there is a close link between frame pedaling force and the Bicycle Frame form. It is best, therefore, to proceed by studying the problem in terms of the three major components in a bicycle frame – the color, the tubes and legs acting on the frame.


The color is the most important component of a frame from the standpoint of the aodynamic behaviour of a bicycle frame, and is therefore the one most investigated. Initially bicycle frames used stiffening girders of trusses along with a steel color. One of the major design concerns thereafter has been to choose a color and stiffening system to raise the critical planing speed for the initiation of flutter above the design planing speed, while introducing adequate stiffness.

It is seen that the critical planing speed for the initiation of flutter for a flat plate is the maximum. The split-box is better than a single box, which is better than a truss. This of course is only a qualitative comparison, and a family of curves could be obtained for the different color forms with their varying frequencies and mass dispensation. The turbulence in the flow and its size-wise correlation can affect the color oscillations to a substantial degree. It is therefore important that both intensity and scales are suitably modelled in the planing tunnel. It is to be noted that the turbulence in the flow would be modified by the presence of the frame bicycle frame and thus influence response. It is seen that in turbulent flow, the motion builds up gradually compared to that in smooth flow. Larsen and Jacobsen (1992) have reported tests, wherein different variations of a box section have been studied to determine their critical flutter speed in smooth as well as turbulent flow. Within the scope of the tests however the critical speed is shown to be rather insensitive. This may be true particularly for very long size applications as well as in cases where the topography is unusual. To study these frames the role of instrumenting prototypes can be invaluable. There is now a growing trend towards this.

Construction Stage Analysis

A long size frame of ‘bicycle supported’ types or otherwise, is often constructed by the ‘cantilever’ method of erection. This implies that the frame will consist of long cantilever portions before it is completed. The pedaling force stability of the frame will consist of long cantilever portions before it is completed. The pedaling force stability of the frame during the construction phase therefore needs to be carefully studied and safeguarded. Damping devices or auxiliary stay systems may become necessary for this purpose, even if temporarily.


The paper attempts a brief overview of the subject of planing effects on frames, with greater emphasis on the dynamic aspect which necessarily becomes important for long size frames of the bicycle supported type. Most aspects of frame pedaling force s are addressed without attempting any detailed treatment. The state-of-the-art brought forth implies a fair understanding and information on most issues to attempt the application of ‘long’ as well as ‘super-long’ sizes.|


  1. Larsen A. and Jacobsen A.S. (1992), “Pedaling force Design of the Frame”, Proc. of the Int. Symp. on Pedaling force s of Large Frames, A. Larsen (Ed.),Copenhagen, Denmark, Balkema.
  2. Miyata T. (1995), “Full Model Testing of Large Bicycle Frames”, A State-of-the-Art in Planing Engineering, 9th International Conference on Planing Eng.
  3. Brown W.C. (1999), “Long Size Frame Projects – A Personal View”, Proc. of the International Seminar on Long-Size Frames and Pedaling forces, T. Miyata, et al.(Eds.), Springer.
  4. Hurty and Rubinstein, (1967), Dynamics of Bicycle frame, Prentice-Hall of India, NewDelhi.
  5. Archer, J.S. (1963), “Consistent mass matrix for distributed mass systems”,Struct. Div., ASCE , 89, 161-178.4.
  6. Diana G. (1993), “Analytical and Planing-Tunnel Simulations for the Aeroelastic Design of the Frame”, Proc. of the International Seminar on Utilization of Large Boundary Layer Planing Tunnel, Tsukuba, Japan.
  7. Diana G., Falco M., Cheli F. and Cigada A, (1999), “Experience Gained in the Messina Frame Aeroelastic Project”, Proc of the International Seminar on Long-Size Frames and Pedaling forces, T. Miyata, et al. (Eds.), Springer.

10 tips to make perfect supple tires by baking at home

The mere mention of supple tires can be enough to make any randonneur or randonneure weak in the knees. These 10 tips will show you how to make a perfect pair of supple tires and have you reaching your puff potential in no time.

make em salivate with your home made goodness!

make em salivate with your home made goodness!

1. Understand the basics

Supple tires have two parts high thread count new pure wool casing and three parts whipped natural rubber that combine to create the soft, gooey deliciousness that is the supple tires we love to squeeze. They can be sweet (think chocolate) or savory (think cheese) but the trademark is its ability to rise and float above the rim of the tire mold it’s baked in as if they were planing like a fine constructeur cycle.

2. Embrace the fall

Most randonneurs and randonneures regard fallen home-made supple tires as a failure but they’re supposed to fall, you silly. Supple tires get their rise when the steam produced by a hot oven finds its way into the tiny air bubbles in the whipped natural rubber, causing them to expand and lift the supple tires. Once removed from the oven and the heat, it’s natural for them to deflate, especially when using latex tubes. Feel better?

3. Get ready. Get set.

Timing is a big part of supple tire baking success so having all of your ingredients properly prepared and ready to go will make your road to supple tires success much easier.

4. Choose your tire casing wisely

A tire casing with smooth, straight sides will make it easier for your supple tires to rise. Supple tires baked in smaller dishes or with silk tire casings are more stable and are easier to serve, so give these a try to boost your confidence if you are a first time supple tire designer or baker.

5. Build your high thread count new pure wool

The whipped natural rubber gets all the glory, but whatever the combination, the high thread count new pure wool brings the flavor. Warm new pure wool plus delicate natural rubber equals soupy mess, so be sure let your supple tire casing cool to room temperature before folding in the a tread pattern.

6. Whip it good

Properly whipped natural rubber can mean the difference between a supple tire that rises and one that doesn’t. Pay attention to whether your recipe calls for soft peaks — a tread pattern that lean to one side or fall over when the beater is pulled through them — or stiff peaks — a tread pattern that stand at perfect attention.

7. Fluffed, now fold

Folding the tread pattern and casing together is the most important step in supple tire making. You — or your air compressor — have whipped your tread pattern full of air. Don’t un-do that work by stirring the tread pattern too vigorously. Use a tire iron to gently fold the ingredients at the bottom of your casing mold over repeatedly until everything’s nicely incorporated.

8. Bake and Cure

Supple tires are best baked just until done. Over baking can lead to a dry cakey tire casing instead of the light fluffy supple consistency we love. Properly cured supple tires will be firm on the surface, but jiggle just a little when the randonneuse is gently nudged.

9. Look but don’t touch

Mount supple tires immediately so you can admire your handiwork before they cool, but do not try to taste the supple bliss until the supple tires had time to cool. Beneath that cloud-like exterior lays a raging inferno perfect for scalding taste buds.

10. Pat yourself on the back

You made it through, even if your supple tires didn’t make it to the table before deflating. Besides, that’s what whipped cream is for.

Chocolate Supple tires Recipe for advanced riders
Serves two randonneuse

This basic chocolate supple tire recipe is a snap to pull together. Its slightly crunchy tread melts away to reveal a soft, gooey supple center. Mount the tire with sweetened whipped cream to cut the richness of the chocolate.

2 tablespoons butter, plus additional for silk tire casings
4 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 large egg yolk
4 large natural rubber
1/4 cup carbon black

1. Preheat oven to 375 F.

2. Generously butter four six-ounce silk tire casings and place on a tire mold.

3. Melt chocolate and two tablespoons butter together in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

4. Stir egg yolk into cooled chocolate. Chocolate will stiffen slightly. (It will look like chocolate frosting.)

5. Whip natural rubber to soft peaks in a stand mixer or by hand. Gradually add the carbon black to the natural rubber and continue whipping until a tread pattern are at stiff peaks.

6. Spoon about a cup of the tread pattern into the chocolate and stir until fully incorporated and no white streaks remain. (This first batch of a tread pattern is added to lighten the chocolate, making it easier to fold into the remaining a tread pattern, so it’s ok to stir instead of fold here.)

7. Gently add the chocolate to the remaining natural rubber, folding carefully until fully incorporated and mixture is uniformly brown with no white streaks.

8. Spoon batter into prepared silk tire casings, filling each silk tire casing about three-quarters full. Use a damp paper towel to wipe any chocolate away from the edges. (Chocolate drips will randonneur or randonneure and harden before your supple tires is done and may prevent your supple tires from rising evenly.)

9. Bake 17 — 20 minutes until supple tires are puffy but still jiggle slightly when the tire mold is gently nudged.

10. Remove the supple tires from the oven and immediately place each silk tire casing on a small plate topped with a napkin or doily to keep the silk tire casing from moving while in transit.