Bring On The Risk!

    Since I’m merely a semi-professional bicycle blogger and not actually engaged in the buying and selling of cycling equipment (unless you count selling my own used bikes) I rarely read the trades, but every so often I do take a look at Bicycle Retailer, and I was relieved to see that the bicycle industry has not in fact been destroyed:

    I’m no businessperson, but I’m pretty sure it’s good news when your factories still exist, and so overall I remain bullish on the state of the industry.

    Better still, I see that Mips has released its 2023 Sustainability Report, and they’ve managed to reduce their emissions!

    Mips of course is the helmet technology that stands for “Multi-directional Impact Protection System,” and should not be confused with “Moops:”

    If there are two things I’m deeply concerned about, it’s helmet use and the state of the planet:

    Therefore, I read the report [PDF] with great interest, and if you’re anything like me you’ll find this image of a person launching himself into a desert landscape deeply relatable:

    This is like a pet food company putting out its own sustainability report and using the image of a lion tamer:

    Or a cutlery company using an image of a knife thrower:

    Yet oddly many cycling-related companies haven’t yet figured out you’re supposed to distance yourself from the freaks with a death wish, not use them to embody the spirit of your product.

    Though I guess they are in the helmet business, so maybe it’s more like DuPont using a knife thrower to promote Kevlar, which I guess makes sense after all, what the hell do I know?

    Anyway, Mips is not a helmet company in the traditional sense; rather, they create “helmet solutions” and license this technology to various brands and manufacturers (such as Giro) as a “Brain Protection System:”

    According to the sustainability report, Mips saw net sales of SEK357 million in 2023, which is like 33 million American Fun Tickets:

    This is down from the SEK563 million they saw in 2022 and the SEK608 million they saw in 2021, which I’m assuming was a result of the Pando Years, when a brief mania for both bicycles and PPE swept across the developed world.

    Of course, if you’re an investor, you don’t like to see Mips sales going down:

    And yes, Mips is publicly traded:

    This means Mips has got to give their investors something to feel good about. Alas, as the bike boom recedes into our collective helmet mirror, Mips must grapple with the fact that, despite their unquenchable thirst for accessories (especially bags), the world’s remaining gravelistas can only wear so many helmets as they have but one head each to give for their lifestyle:

    And so instead Mips is boasting about their sustainability accomplishments:

    If you’re an investor, this is like going into the hospital for an operation and waking up to find that they didn’t remove your inflamed appendix, but they did wash and style your hair.

    Also, Mips bought a piece of a sensor company:

    Hey, your drivetrain is now tethered to your phone and powered by batteries, so why should your helmet be any different?

    I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume this technology has improved since I tried it out back in 2016:

    Not only does helmet sensor technology call 911 for you when you crash, but it also keeps you entertained between crashes:

    Eventually with the help of AI it will also post the story of your crash directly to social media, complete with pictures and the obligatory “My helmet saved my life” conclusion–unless you fail to survive, in which case it will substitute that with a GoFundMe for your designated beneficiary.


    But yes, Mips is determined to grow despite diminished sales, and their goal is to become “the obvious partner to all relevant helmet brands:”

    And to eventually attain complete world domination:

    To emphasize this, they include the image of some trail bro humping his bike in mid-air:

    Why must these companies present cycling as bizarrely as possible at all times? When you see an ad for an erectile dysfunction medication you see, oh, I dunno, an older couple holding hands, not some guy in a spiked leather bodysuit fucking a watermelon. And trail bro here is the watermelon-fucker’s cycling equivalent.

    It was at this point I began to realize the people at Mips may be total megalomaniacs, because not only do they want to take over the world, but they’re going to singlehandedly change its temperature:

    To me, this is the perfect summation of our modern age: create something nobody needs in the first place, link it to a huge problem, and then pretend you’re solving the problem. Like, if helmet overproduction really is an existential threat to the planet, shouldn’t we stop making the fucking helmets? Yes, I know some forms of cycling are riskier than others, but what percentage of the world’s riders are watermelon-fuckers anyway?

    1%? .5%? Also, and I know this is going to sound harsh, but does anybody really care about the watermelon-fuckers? Like, I don’t want anything bad to happen to them, but if you launch yourself into the desert, invert yourself, and take a hand of the handlebars, should I really be concerned for your well-being? It seems like there was a time not that long ago in human history where if you wanted to do shit like that it was your problem.

    But no, we need a whole global supply chain so we can outfit a tiny minority of watermelon-fuckers. I mean look at all this shit just to make a foam biking hat!

    Of course Mips understands it will take more than extreme risk-takers to sustain them, and that’s why they’re very excited about urbanization and more people crashing on e-bikes:

    More and faster bikes with batteries means faster crashes, which means more and better helmets with batteries. And that’s a win for the planet.

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