Next: A Journey Not
Previous: The Bozo Filter
In May of 1988, Autodesk overflowed the office space available
at the Marina Plaza complex we had occupied since 1985. We had
to split the company between that office and a building at 3 Harbour
Drive, further north in Sausalito. Recalling the problems we
faced when the company was divided between offices in Mill
Valley and Sausalito, Dan Drake suggested that we obtain free
bicycles for inter-office transit, just like the Provos of
Amsterdam. We couldn't get white bicycles, but we did get a
fleet of black and pink clunker Schwinns. Not long thereafter,
Kelvin overheard a disparaging comment about the bikes we'd
bought. So, he was moved to write the following.
To: Uneasy Riders
From: Kelvin R. Throop
Subject: High performance bicycles
Date: May 10th, 1988
Grouse, grouse, grouse.
Not one company in a thousand would brave liability and flout
convention to provide free Provo bicycles to permit primate-powered
peregrination among the far-flung buildings of Autodesk's Sausalito
But, of course, this is Marin County--Marvelous Marin, where the
possible is bounded more by lack of imagination than
constraints of reality and resources. So Autodesk's bicycle fleet is
regarded with a jaundiced eye by the truly trendy, who say ``a
dérailleur is de rigueur!''.
Because Autodesk believes so strongly in upholding the standards and
image of Marin County, however mylar-thin and trivial, we have decided
to solicit bids for high-performance bicycles to supplement the
existing fleet. Turbo Digital Cyclery of Bolinas have agreed to screen
entries and maintain the new bicycles after they are delivered.
The new bicycles will be equipped as follows:
Pedals adjustable for leg length from 0.5 to
1.5 metres. Kevlar belt and carbon-fibre cone microprocessor
controlled continuously-variable transmission (CVT) delivering power
to rear tire. Toe clips equipped with automatic impact-release
Bendix carbon/carbon disc brakes on both front
and rear wheels. Bosch computer controlled ABS antilock system with
deceleration sensor balancing load between front and rear discs.
Forward Looking InfraRed (FLIR) pod for night riding, presenting
imagery in a helmet-mounted Head Up Display (HUD). Laser ring gyro
inertial navigation system coupled to moving map display also
presented in HUD, with optional superimposition with FLIR information.
Backup coordinate fix system using LORAN, Navstar GPS, and Soviet GLONASS
systems, with automatic recalibration of inertial navigation data.
Terrain and pothole database complete from the Bay Model
Feng Nian. Also a speedometer and an idiot light that
indicates something failed.
Computer controlled, expert system
driven, automatic countermeasures suite. Automatic countermeasure
delivery system capable of delivering Milk-Bones if chased
by a dog (automatically sized to dog's jaw radius), chaff if
illuminated by radar, and Lotto tickets if pursued by bozos.
In addition, low observable techniques reduce the radar cross-section
to less than 20 cm².
Zero-zero ejection seat,
mortar-deployed quick-opening parachute, automatic inflating life vest
with EPRIB transmitter and strobe light triggered by ejection.
Watertight survival kit includes can opener, good-luck quartz crystal,
PFIX 2.0, Oreo Big Stuff cookie, supply of requisition forms, and Torx
screwdriver. In case suicide is required, a Sony Walkman and New Age
music cassette are provided.
Four 2 litre tanks are mounted below the centre of
gravity. These supply, on demand, Jolt, Gatorade, Coiled Springs
Mineral Water, and Diet Toxic Waste. An automatic crossfeed system
maintains balance as well as delivering any desired mixture to the
rider. The tanks can be jettisoned to improve acceleration in an
Few combat engagements are anticipated for these
bicycles while fulfilling their inter-office mission. For those
cases where there is no alternative, four Marinchip BGM-25L
bozo-seeking missiles are mounted. These missiles home on the nearest
erratically-steered, slowly-moving vehicle, then deploy a balloon in the
shape of a Sausalito police car and emit the sound of a siren along
with a speech-synthesised ``Pull over, asshole'', permitting the
cyclist to pass safely.
On-board cellular telephone, FAX
machine, Quotron terminal, UPI newswire, and UUCP mail and news feed.
system will be automatically alerted when the rider departs,
so it can interrupt every trip with a ``you have 35 messages'' call,
whether messages are waiting or not.
Curb weight (less rider)
not to exceed 8,000 kg. Acceleration from 0 to 40 km/hour not to
exceed 20 minutes with average rider. Training time to solo not to
exceed 500 hours.
This is, after all, Autodesk. Why not the best?
Next: A Journey Not
Previous: The Bozo Filter
Editor: John Walker