I grew up on the west coast and to me the Ivy League was mythical. It was a group of schools inhabited by people with extraordinary intellectual abilities that vied for things like Nobel Prizes and were trained to take on leadership roles to guide the rest of us with subpar intellectual capabilities.
I visited one of the Ivy League schools recently, Princeton, and it only took one second for the image that had been cultivated over decades to be shattered. What great act would could cause years of previously held beliefs to crumble? Well take a look at this -
A President (Woodrow Wilson), a Supreme Court Justice (Sonya Sotomayor), a Secretary of State, (James Baker), a top Military Commander (David Petraeus) are examples of the graduates Princeton churns out, consistently . . . and local officials need to label bike racks?
You can imagine the confusion and sense of dissorientation I felt. You mean to tell me that leaders such as these would not be able to identify a simple invention to assist with bike security? I can just imagine this list of great leaders staring, stupified, at a bent piece of metal bolted to the ground and saying, "What possible purpose could that serve? I wonder what it is meant to be used for?"
As I walked around the now mere mortal shire of Princeton I continued to be my mystified. I live in New York City so you must realize the horror I felt when every bike that I saw "locked up" was secured with a 99 cent store lock, and most were locked like this -
The cheap lock is securing only the frame and the wheels are left completely defenseless.
It's almost like the people in Princeton hold to some ancient belief that someone who buys a possession should continue to maintain full and unblemished ownership of that possession until willingly departing with it. How crazy is that!?
New York City is literally a show room floor for bikes. A lock or locks on a bike are merely an inconvenience for "shoppers." If locked outside for very long either a whole bike will be taken or it will start to get picked clean like a turkey in the days after Thanksgiving.
This beauty would not last 5 minutes in NYC.
Some of my faith in the intellectual merit of Princeton students was restored when I learned that they have a bike share program - a true sign of genius. It's called the U-Bike Program and here is one example of their bikes, a Worksman Cycles model.
One other slightly depressing thing is that I saw at least 50 bikes in Princeton and not one of them had what I would identify as a hack (except for plastic bag on the seat in one of the above pictures). I guess it's because people spend all their time studying.