Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it?

Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it?


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At various points (e.g. 00:14) in this BBC documentary on Mostar's Stari Most (Old Bridge) you can see dozens of car tyres hanging from the bridge prior to its destruction in the Croat-Bosniak conflict.

Histories of Mostar's role in that conflict mention the tyres (and mattresses) which were employed "in vain" by its defenders to protect its weakest points from the shelling. It seems the bridge withstood several hits by artillery so perhaps the tyres did help a little.

Were the tyres some use in protecting the structure from shelling?


As far as I can remember, tyres were put on the bridge mostly as a protection against mortar shells which have small velocity. Tyres indeed help with low velocity shells and help absorb the explosions.

However, tyres do not help (much) with high velocity artillery shells and tank shells fired from the sides like the ones that bring the bridge down.


Mostar to Pocitelj: A Complete Guide to Visiting the Ottoman-era ‘Open Air Museum’

Planning a visit to Mostar? Don’t skip the nearby town of Pocitelj. This Mostar to Pocitelj guide covers public transport instructions, the best things to do in Pocitelj, and everything else you need to know for a perfect Mostar to Pocitelj day trip.

‘You have to go to Pocitelj. It’s my favourite place—not just in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but in the world’. I was a little skeptical when Dalida, my guide in Sarajevo, told me this.

She had just finished showing me her Instagram feed, filled with photos of her hiking in Montenegro and travelling all around Europe. But she was right—there’s something outstanding about Pocitelj.

After spending a month travelling all around Bosnia and Herzegovina, this was my favourite place in the country. The crumbling ruins, the fascinating but tragic history, the turquoise Nevreta river winding its way through the town—there’s nowhere else quite like it.

It’s especially wonderful in spring, when the first wildflowers start to appear and last season’s pomegranates are still hanging from the trees.

A little dot on the map 30 km south of Mostar, we visited Pocitelj from Mostar twice: The first time as part of a guided tour from Sarajevo by car, and the second time independently from Mostar using public transport.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding travelling from Mostar to Pocitelj by bus. This post is mainly designed to clear that up by providing instructions for anyone who, like us, wants to travel from Mostar to Pocitelj but doesn’t have a car.

As well as practical information, I’ve tried to fill this post with photos and other tips to inspire your visit.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning I may earn a commission if you make a purchase by clicking a link (at no extra cost to you). Learn more.


A most readable novel connects two worlds

17 June 2021

Porugl: Son of the Underworld by Kamnguru Nem, Independently published, 183 pages. ISBN: 9798520442332. Available from Amazon Australia, ebook $25.94, paperback $42.83

TUMBY BAY - A gigl ambu is a female spirit who lives in the underworld and travels at night into the outerworld, where humans live, to secretly forage for food.

The underworld is ruled by an ancient serpent, Kerwanba. Among her subjects are spirits, dwarfs and the mysterious smoking makan nem who act as landlords.


Review: 6 of the Best Tire Inserts Ridden & Rated

Welcome to the two-part insert test. First up, some visual comparisons and my initial assessment of how they feel. The second part will feature a data led approach with impact resistance and real-world telemetry testing. Stay tuned for part two!

Tubeless tires have won-out against their tubed counterparts in mountain biking but that doesn’t mean that it’s the perfect system. Not only is it vulnerable to the possibility of burping the air out of the tire at high load or while cornering, it also needs to be a system that keeps damage and destruction at bay while withstanding a whole variety of different forces and abrasions.

How to best keep our tires inflated? And, what’s more, is there a way that not only means we’re less likely to puncture but also includes a handful of performance benefits?

Tire inserts are one potential solution. Maybe you need them, maybe you don’t. How we spec our wheels, tires and even our inserts largely depends on where and how we ride. It’s a really interesting topic. Some people would choose a heavy tire and no insert and some would combine the two for all out protection. What I’m interested in during this comparison is the idea of running a slightly lighter tire than I normally would while hopefully reaping all the benefits the insert has to offer.

Typically, I would run a rear tire weighing around 1200g or 1250g. For this test I ran tires that were around two or three hundred grams lighter. My ultimate goal was to have a tire and insert that was roughly the same total weight as a heavier duty tire.

The benefits of this could be three fold. A more supple tire that was yet further enhanced by running lower pressures to give higher levels of grip, combined with added support from the insert in turns while also offering better rim protection.

The testing involved an initial dry run while I was in Portugal using a Trail casing Vittoria Martello 2.35” tire on some 30mm wide Silt AM 29 wheels. This period was very brief and was largely by way of making the above video. I was due to begin another test period on a new set of wheels, a set of Mavic Crossmax XL , also with 30mm width, and I didn’t want to muddy the water by adding a variable.

During this extended period on the Mavics I ran Maxxis Assegais MaxxTerra 2.5" and Exo+ front and back as a control tire. I chose it because it’s a popular aggressive and wide tire choice, and it's also lighter than I would normally opt for. During this comparison we have inserts from six leading brands .

Before beginning testing in earnest, I acquainted myself with the tires and wheels with no inserts in. They behaved admirably, however burping wasn’t uncommon, clangs and bangs were a running theme and I could often feel the tire roll and squirm in turns. For your reference, I weigh 85kg and wouldn’t say I’m overly aggressive on the bike.

An Insert System or Merely Rim Protection?

How different could two inserts feel from one to another? I thought it would reasonably clear, but I didn’t anticipate just how pronounced the difference in feeling would be between them. In my mind, I quickly separated the inserts into two groups: a system that uses inserts to maximize tire performance and a device that helps cover some of the blind spots of a tubeless tire such as stability and rim protection.

I think it's also worth mentioning that just because something is quiet it doesn't necessarily mean that it means the rim is impervious to damage. Similarly, if something is making noise it might not be from the insert bottoming out and the rim hitting an obstacle but rather something such as the insert slapping the rim. In the second part of testing, we'll look further into maximum loads for the inserts in a more controlled manner. For now, it's a fool's errand to try and assert which impact would mean what in something that is so hard to repeat.

Because of the dozens of times that I refitted the EXO+ casing tires, I'm not that confident in committing my findings in the article regarding the regularity with which the tire burped when pushing hard in rough terrain. For a relatively light tire, this is a problem I would normally encounter and I feel uncomfortable laying anything, positive or negative, at any particular inserts feet in relation to this because I would struggle to be certain. I think they all helped to a degree, and that's not to say I didn't get the feeling that some were less prone to losing air than others, but because of the constant reinstallations being such a huge variable (by the end I could fit the inserts without using levers) I would feel uncomfortable asserting anything for sure.

In terms of installation I would suggest that the Panzer and MegaNorris separated themselves as the easiest to fit. The Rimpact, Vittoria and Tannus would make up the mid table while the CushCore would bring up the rear. It’s not that any were particularly hard, or would dissuade me from buying them, but if this is a concern then that’s how I would rank them.

During tire removal I would rank them in a similar way.

I started each test period with 21 psi in the front and 24 psi in the rear before gradually going lower.

Of the inserts, the CushCore and Rimpact require non-standard tubeless valves to work with them. Handily, they’re all provided with your purchase. All the others use regular tubeless valves. Panzer, even go so far as to provide a bottle of sealant with every purchase. The sealant, which is latex and ammonia free, is remarkably thin to make injecting through the valve even easier.

Each insert got multiple days mainly riding the same test track. It had a great mix of rocks, roots and turns. It also included plenty of areas where grip was essential. This meant I could really reap the benefits of running lower pressures in my pursuit of the optimum setup. My initial run on the track with no inserts, while running 21/25psi, left me wincing in sympathy for my rims as the rock strikes made them call out with concerning regularity. It certainly had the terrain to use the full travel of the tire and turns that you could hit hard enough that they’d highlight any deformation and twisting.


The poisoned fields of Mashkan-shapir

Mashkan-shapir doesn't have the same name recognition as a historical juggernaut like Babylon. But as the New York Times detailed, this ancient Iraqi city once rivaled Babylon in importance. Lying 90 miles southeast of modern-day Baghdad, Mashkan-shapir was technically controlled by the city-state Lasara but emerged as a militarily strategic location and a bustling hub of trade of manufacturing. Its economic heyday started around 2050 BC and lasted for about three centuries. But Mashkan-shapir lost its rivalry with Babylon and became a lost city in general.

The place went out in a blaze, but not a glorious one. One of the contributors to Mashkan-shapir's demise was the very irrigation system that helped it thrive. As outlined in The Triangle of Trade: In the Cradle of Civilization, "irrigation [had] a Catch-22 characteristic." Irrigation waters left to settle in the fields evaporated, resulting in a salty residue that poisoned plants. But attempting to drain the water would have caused erosion.

The death blow to Mashkan-shapir was arguably dealt by death itself. The city fell into Babylonian hands in the 18th century B.C. Babylonian emperor Hammurabi died in 1750, inciting insurrections throughout the region, according to UPI. "Dikes and dams were destroyed and cities, including Mashkan-shapir, were burned."


Cruelty of El Chapo's Sinaloa cartel knows no bounds: Beheadings by chainsaw, body parts strewn in the streets

El Chapo’s Sinaloa cartel is responsible for brutal violence including beheadings by chainsaw and leaving body parts strewn in the streets.

It’s a level of violence so brutal, it is almost unfathomable.

”A couple of years ago, citizens around the world were utterly shocked by the beheadings and immolation murders perpetrated by ISIS. This caught me by surprise,” Joshua Fruth, a risk consultant focused on transnational threat networks, told Fox News. ”Because these tactics have been perpetuated by Sinaloa for some time.”

Fruth was referring to the multibillion-dollar cartel that continues to operate from Mexico and throughout the United States, despite the fact its accused leader, Joaquin ”El Chapo” Guzman, stands trial in a Brooklyn, N.Y., courtroom.

Fruth said the cartel's horrific tactics include the injection of adrenaline and other substances that affect the central nervous system of its victims, "which kept them awake to enhance the responses of pain receptors during slow, prolonged torture." These tactics are used on women and children, Fruth said, including "family members of rivals or snitches, to elicit information and sow fear. These cartels have a history of sexually assaulting the family members of their target, and forcing the target to observe.”

And that's only the tip of the blood-soaked iceberg. Other methods used to murder are too callous for even the most horrid of Hollywood horror movies.

There’s beheading by chainsaw - a rumored favored method of Guzmán, who is said to feature in a 2010 video doing exactly that to murder victim Hugo Hernandez. Even worse, Hernandez's face was reportedly peeled off after he was killed and stitched on a football.

Then there is the practice of putting people in drums and either boiling them or setting them on fire or feeding humans to exotic animals like lions and tigers.

One wealthy Tijuana native described to Fox News the day she came home from work one day to find a package containing her husband's body, chopped up in pieces and sent back by cartel associates.

Drug cartels like the Sinaloa have been known to torch buses and blow apart roadways. (Fox News)

In other cases, it is referred to as “disappearing” people - as bodies will routinely never be found, or are unable to be identified. The reasons for “disappearing” cartel enemies varies.

Perhaps they were connected to a rival gang, or didn’t do their jobs correctly. Maybe they ran up too high a debt, or were deemed a security concern, by speaking to law enforcement. And of course, sometimes it’s merely a case of mistaken identity, or simply being caught in the crossfire.

One senior U.S law enforcement official said it's routine to wake up to reports of a murder accompanied by a swath of intensely graphic images - from headless torsos dumped into acid baths, to gouged-out eyes and other body parts.

”The cartels really seem to like decapitations. They chop off heads, throw body parts in the street or at parties to intimidate and threaten,” said Derek Maltz, former Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Special Operations Division in New York. ”They are killing at unprecedented levels.”

Craig Caine, a retired longtime veteran of the U.S Marshals Service in New York, said the ”tricks of the trade” learned by the Sinaloa were developed by preceding Colombian cartels in the 1980’s and 90’s.

”The Italian mob mostly (was) hands off with a gun to the back of the head. Then Colombian cartels came in and wanted to send a message and instill terror,” Caine said. ”The Mexican cartels have their own ways . And now, they have just become greedier and don’t know where to stop.”

Caine recalled seeing warehouses in Brooklyn loaded with drugs and money, in which the enforced dress code for women was being naked, while mixing bags of crack cocaine on behalf of the cartels. The women would then endure humiliating body searches before leaving, to ensure no product had been pilfered.

In another case, Caine said, a young couple who had crossed the cartels were discovered dead - hog-tied, feet-tied together, naked and impaled on a fence - with ”his lower parts stuffed in her mouth.”

”The violence is ruthless,” Caine conjectured. ”There is no honor code.”

Bodies lie beside a road after a shooting in Mexico's Sinaloa state this past June. (AP Photo/Enric Marti, File)

And while the vast majority of the barbarity takes place south of the U.S. border, American soil is far from immune. Authorities refer to this as "overflow” violence.

In June, the body of 49-year-old Alabama grandmother Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old granddaughter Mariah Lopez, a middle-school student with special needs, were viciously slain - the alleged result of being caught up in Sinaloa cartel violence.

Mendoza had reportedly tried to shift a quarter kilo of meth from Norcross, Ga. to Huntsville, Ala. with her Sinaloa-associated boyfriend, and an ex-boyfriend. But on the journey, the men are said to have raised the alarm about someone double-dealing. Sensing the danger, Mendoza texted an unidentified friend, asking her to meet them.

But the men with Mendoza are believed to have discovered the texts late that night. They woke up Mendoza and her grandchild, and told them they would be transported to safety. They instead took them to a nearby cemetery, where Mendoza was repeatedly stabbed, prosecutors said, and left to die.

The headless body of Lopez - presumably a witness to her grandmother's murder - was later discovered by a farmer, still wearing her gingerbread man pajamas. Both men have been charged with two counts of capital murder.

South of the border, meanwhile, officials say the Sinaloa is responsible for much of the cartel-linked violence that has left an estimated 80,000 dead since 2006, when the Mexican government officially launched a war on drug trafficking. Other experts put that number much higher, and say as many as 200,000 may have fallen victim to the drug gangs. Another 26,000 people are said to have gone missing during that time.

”The Sinaloa Cartel is a savage and brutal organization. There is an epidemic of murder in Mexico and the majority of it is committed by organized crime,” said Jeffrey James Higgins, retired Supervisory Special Agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. ”The Sinaloa Cartel is the oldest and largest cartel in Mexico and as such, it has an outsized influence on the murder rate south of the U.S. border.”

David Gaddis, CEO of international protection firm G-Global Protection Solutions, and a former chief of enforcement operations at the DEA, said the Sinaloa Cartel at one time slaughtered more than a thousand people per month. ”Now it typically varies between 200 and 300 per month."

Violence typically surges in times when cartels are squabbling for further territorial control or when faced with a military offensive.

Given the power vacuum since Guzman’s arrest and extradition, analysts say the mayhem is again on the uptick.

”Judges, prosecutors, and police are killed because they refused to take bribes, or as a way to free defendants under their control, or as messages to threaten other members of the law enforcement community,” Higgins said. ”Military may be killed in direct confrontations with cartel members, or to protect the cartel's produce. Politicians are often killed for standing up to the cartel or to damage the rule of law. Civilians are killed for testifying in court or for informing on the cartel.”

According to experts, specialized hitmen have a crucial and increasingly important role within the Sinaloa structure. ”Assassinations are generally carried out by sicarios - professional hitmen,” said Fruth. ”But I surmise it is not uncommon for junior members to be de-sensitized to the violence by showing their loyalty through an initiation that requires the performance of an execution.”

And it's a threat seemingly not limited by geography.

”The cartels have hit men who will travel anywhere or anytime to take care of their dirty murderous business,” Maltz added. ”The Mexican cartels like Sinaloa should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations and we should apply way more pressure to stop the madness around the world.”


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Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it? - History

Some things we buy without much thought – milk, mascara, socks etc. – because they don’t cost us a lot, even if we get it wrong sometimes. Or we don’t have to live with them a long time. Other things though require more careful consideration. These are the big-ticket purchases. The things that cost us a lot of money or we will have for years. And they don’t get much bigger than a car.

At the same time the way we move around as we live our lives has changed massively in recent years. From public transport to the rise of easy app-enabled on-demand services like Uber and Lyft to the possibility of autonomous vehicles in the future – our relationship with the car is changing more than ever before.

All of which means that the way they’re sold also needs to change. Car retailers need to get closer to customers than ever before, to be part of their lives before they even buy. Here’s 13 top initiatives that show how automotive retail is changing to do just that. Get even more inspiration with one of Insider Trends’ Future of Automotive Retail presentations.

Image credit: Intersect by Lexus

1. Intersect by Lexus

One of the big trends in automotive retail is selling more than just a car. The Intersect by Lexus spaces are a perfect example of this in that they are not spaces to buy cars. It’s aspirational. It’s making you want to own a Lexus by selling you the accompanying lifestyle.

The newest Intersect space in New York is also perhaps the best. It doesn’t feel like any typical sort of automotive retail, but more like a warm, luxury home – which is exactly what it is really. It has a coffee shop, restaurant, art gallery, meeting and events space, and a retail area, which together provide a host of reasons to visit.

Lexus aims to form real connections with customers who, if they take the brand to heart, will hopefully choose its cars in the future. It’s an approach that’s being taken more and more across the automotive industry – it’s not about selling one car to a customer, but everything that goes with that choice.

2. Rockar’s customer-focused approach

One of the things that people have traditionally associated with buying cars is pushy sales people. It’s easy to feel coerced into a decision when you’re way out at some car showroom somewhere and someone is throwing jargon at you.

This is one of the things that Rockar is changing when it comes to car buying. The company wanted to make the process work better for the customer by combining online and offline into one seamless journey. This means bringing the showroom to the customer with digitally-enabled shopping centre-based spaces. Having started off working with Hyundai, in 2016 Rockar opened a store with Jaguar Land Rover in Westfield’s Stratford shopping centre.

For a start all the whole journey can be completed online if desired from finding a new car, configuring it to your needs, financing and delivery. Customers can also start online and go in-store to complete, or vice versa. Test drives are also available from the shopping centre stores.

The physical spaces are staffed by Rockar Angels who can help answer any questions of needed, but crucially they don’t receive commission from sales. This removes pressure and classic sales tactics from the conversation. Instead the customer feels they’re getting genuine information to make the best decision for themselves. More of this to come we believe.

3. Rally Rd’s share model

Fancy owning a luxury or classic car but can’t afford the price tag? Fintech start-up Rally Rd. can help you get closer to that dream. The company allows anyone to buy shares in collectible cars for as little as $8.25. The whole thing is done through a mobile app and shares can be traded and sold once bought.

What’s interesting is that Rally Rd. has now opened a New York showroom. The space will showcase a rotating line-up of the cars available to invest in. It’s a move designed to attract new customers to the service by giving them something tangible in exchange for their money. It’s easier to sell a dream of owning part of a luxury car if you can actually let someone see it in the flesh. And if you’re a current investor then you can pop by and see what you’re putting your money into.

It’s not the conventional way of buying a car, but it just shows what opportunity there is in automotive retail outside of the traditional ownership model.

4. Audi’s Innovation Space

Audi has experimented with a number of different retail spaces that use digital to connect with customers. The new Audi Innovation Space in Hong Kong is the latest of these. This time VR is the focus with visitors able to use the tech to explore all of Audi’s current models.

They can also customise more than 40 different cars to create their perfect vehicles including paint colour and interior choices. VR then lets them view their design in an immersive way and even take it for a virtual test drive. While VR is still finding its feet when it comes to useful retail applications, here it does give customers the chance to get a sense of what their dream Audi might be like. And we all know it’s easier to sell a dream if you can make people believe it.

The Audi Innovation Space shows how tech is becoming a valuable tool for automotive retailers. Particularly when it comes to the trend of opening smaller brand spaces in high streets, shopping centres and other locations where customers are, which can’t hold multiple models of cars. Tech can help bridge this gap by making all of the brand’s offerings available to explore.

5. Volkswagen We

The future of mobility is a big consideration. Volkswagen We is the well-known car manufacturer’s attempt at tackling it. This digital ecosystem brings together a variety of different interconnected services, such as cashless parking, in-car retail offers, delivery to car and an upcoming car sharing model. Some only work with Volkswagen vehicles, but the company is also partnering with others to make some more open.

Part of the aim with Volkswagen We is to educate customers about mobility, tech and the cars of the future. Last year the company opened the We Space in Berlin to act as a community hub with in-store events, presentations, installations and hang-out space. It’s somewhere to start and continue conversations with Volkswagen keen to get customer input into the development of new services. And of course at the same time customers can find out about and sign-up to We services. Again it goes back to an idea of not just selling a product, but an idea.

6. Alibaba’s car ‘vending machine’

Last year Alibaba teamed up with Ford to create a temporary Super Test-Drive Center where customers could essentially pick a car from a giant vending machine and take it for a three day test drive. Based in Guangzhou in China, the facility was completely unmanned with customers using an accompanying app to retrieve their vehicle.

Customers used the app to pick their car, pay a deposit and schedule a time to collect. Once arriving at the centre they had to prove their identity via a selfie. The car was then retrieved from the multi-storey storage facility for them to start test driving. If they didn’t like the car they chose they could swap it for another.

By letting potential customers live with the vehicle for a number of days, rather than minutes or hours (as with a typical test drive), Ford hoped to make them want to not live without it after. If a customer did want to keep the car, they just had to visit one of Ford’s 4S stores to pay the rest of the cost. They were also offered incentives, such as discounts, based on their history with Alibaba. This is one of the most interesting mixes of online and offline automotive retailing and one we can see being expanded upon.

7. BYTON Place

BYTON is one of the new electric smart car companies that have been popping up in recent years. It’s so new in fact that it’s first cars aren’t actually on sale yet but are expected to arrive this year. This has prompted a move into physical retail with the launch of BYTON Place in Shanghai, an education and sales space that uses tech to engage with customers.

Customers can use AR to learn more about the car technology, VR to see what it might be like to drive one and other interactive displays to explore the brand. There are also physical elements that customers can pick up and interact with.

What’s really interesting is that visitors can videoconference with the people behind the cars themselves from management to engineers and designers. BYTON Place is all about building a movement around the brand and part of that is making customers feel like it belongs to them.

8. CarMax’s online-offline shopping programme

CarMax is another used car dealer that is shaking up the normal car buying process. The company has invested heavily in ways to tie together the online and offline journey having recognised the importance of digital. Customers can now do 90% of the process of buying a car online, including order a test drive from their home. Once they’ve settled on a car they can choose to pick it up from one of CarMax’s stores or have it delivered to their home, where the assistant will complete the purchase.

Importantly CarMax has also focused on tying these threads together. If you start buying online you can pick up where you left off in-store (and vice-versa) without having to start again. The other thing that CarMax is doing is leveraging all the data it has on customers to recommend them car models. This is something that is likely to grow in automotive retail as brands work to offer a more personalised sales experience.

9. Cluno car subscription service

Based out of Munich, Cluno is start-up that sells car subscriptions. Rather than buying a car, customers can pay one, all-inclusive, monthly fee to subscribe to the vehicle of their choice. You have to subscribe to that car for a minimum of six months, but the fee includes insurance, tax, ongoing maintenance, breakdown cover and the car itself. The only thing you have to pay for separately is fuel. There is also a set-up fee.

After six months you can renew your subscription, upgrade or downgrade your car or pause/cancel your subscription. It’s a really flexible model that means if you have a change in circumstances, such as a new job, a new arrival, an overseas opportunity etc, then you don’t have masses of capital tied up in an unsuitable or unusable asset.

At a time when we’re all used to having the latest shiny gadget or smartphone, the ability to keep upgrading your car is also an appealing one. There’s also a lot of convenience in having everything covered by a single fee. And of course, for Cluno it gets to maintain an ongoing customer relationship, unlike some traditional automotive brands. Expect to see more of this approach.

10. Carvana’s easy online service

Carvana doesn’t sell new cars. It’s an online-based sales platform for buying, selling or financing used cars. But it’s helping set some new standards for car buying thanks to its buy online and as-quick-as-next-day delivery options, which mean customers can have their new car brought to their door in as little as a day.

For those who prefer to pick-up their new purchase at a time that suits them, Carvana also operates a series of multi-storey car vending machines. Customers use a code, or in certain locations a special coin, to retrieve their vehicle, which also works as a little bit of theatre.

The whole online buying process can take as little as 10 minutes. Carvana runs its operations like a dealership by acquiring and vetting cars, and then letting customers view every detail via 360-degree imagery online. The company has thought about the entire car buying journey from the customer perspective and then worked to strip out the unnecessary or long-winded parts. The result is an online buying experience that’s more akin to how we shop for other things – and a window into how we may buy cars in the future.

11. Ford’s Next store showroom

While it’s now becoming quite common to see cars being sold from branded spaces in shopping centres, last year Ford took this a step further by opening a space inside Next’s Arndale flagship. This was all about putting Ford in the path of potential buyers as they go about their daily lives.

When someone comes to a car showroom it suggests a strong intention to buy, but customers may be thinking about the possibility of getting a new car long before that. At the same time visiting a showroom can seem like quite a time commitment. By being able to discover and explore Ford cars while out shopping for other things, customers can get started on their journey to buying much earlier.

The partnership aspect is also interesting here. Ford clearly sees alignment with Next in terms of the types of customer it is targeting. It also benefits from Next’s footfall and location rather than trying to open a comparable space of its own. We may well see more tie-ups like this between automotive and other brands that appeal to a certain lifestyle.

12. Roll by Goodyear

For something a bit different when it comes to automotive retail, you might want to check out Roll by Goodyear. Aiming to be a new way of buying tyres, Roll gives the customer all the power. To start with the physical Roll spaces look nothing like your typical garage. They’re bright, colourful and approachable – whoever you are.

When it comes to buying, customers can either order their tyres online or in the Roll showroom. They can then pick from a range of installment options – either dropping their car off at a showroom, book to have Goodyear pick up their car from a location of their choice or have the tyres installed wherever they are. It’s all about making getting new tyres as simple as possible.

This is a trend that’s happening all across the automotive industry. There’s a shift towards making things more accessible, less complicated, empowering customers and not bombarding them with jargon. And it’s only going to continue.

13. Space10 autonomous vehicles

Ok so this isn’t about selling cars per se, but maybe it could be. Last year Space10, the IKEA-backed lab that aims to create solutions for the future, unveiled its Spaces on Wheels concepts. The company took the approach that if the vehicles of the future will be self-driving then they no longer needed to look and act like cars. So what else could they be?

Based on the Space10 models we could see flexible workspaces on wheels, a roaming coffee shop, a mobile pharmacy or farmers’ market, a space to game while you travel, and one for sleeping. Naturally, one of the concepts is a store that travels. Not that Space10 considers these serious plans for the future, but more ideas to start a conversation about what is possible.

Certainly, adding retail opportunities into the mix makes sense – why not shop while on the bus or in a cab? And while that would be one form of automotive retail, what about an autonomous vehicle to sell cars from? Want to take a test drive? Why can’t the store, including your chosen vehicle, come to you?

What’s the future of automotive retail?

One thing is for sure – automotive retail is becoming more convenient for customers. Whether that’s through stores in shopping areas, the ability to shop online, test drives from home or something else, automotive retail is coming to where customers are. The buying process is shifting to be on the buyer’s terms, rather than the dealer’s.

There’s also a shift towards selling more than a single car. Automotive brands want to be part of their customers lives before and after a sale too. This is only going to become more important as the ways we move around develop. After all, if we’re not necessarily going to always want to own cars in the future, but want to have access to them, then automotive brands need to respond accordingly.

Retail spaces for brand building, conversation and community are becoming a bigger focus because this is how automotive companies ensure they are part of customers’ lives – however they choose to move around. It’s about positioning the automotive brand as part of a lifestyle choice. The great thing here is that there’s a customer’s existing lifestyle, and their aspirational one, which can both be fed in this way.

Tech is another key element of automotive retail’s future. Perhaps the most important is helping customers shop in the way they want – particularly when it comes to online. But it can also connect brands and customers and help them understand the USP of the particular vehicles on offer from virtual car walk-arounds to VR driving experiences.

The road ahead may get bumpy, but if automotive retail can move with the times it can go the distance.


BE SMART, BE SAFE

Motorcycle Safety:

Want to reduce your odds of dying in a crash? Get educated. New riders should complete a basic rider course from the MSF or similar while advanced tuition is available at race tracks. It can be cheaper than you fear.

Safety gear doesn’t just help prevent injury in a crash, it can also make riding more comfortable, put you in better control of your bike, and help you be seen by other drivers. Bright colors on your helmet and jacket/suit will help car drivers see you, potentially avoiding some of the common accidents detailed below.

1: A Car Turns Left In Front Of You

The most common motorcycle accident. A car fails to see you or judges your speed incorrectly, turning in front of you at an intersection. Blame inattention, distraction, blind spots and even psychology a driver looking for cars perceives merely an absence of cars, not the presence of a motorcycle.

How To Avoid It: Simple, you just need to see it coming. Part of your job as a motorcyclist is to develop a precognitive sixth sense. Look for signs that could indicate someone may turn in front of you: a car is at an intersection waiting to turn, there’s a gap in traffic near an intersection, driveway or parking lot. In either situation, slow down, cover your brakes and get ready to take evasive action. Yes, you do need to take something as innocuous as a car waiting in a turn lane as a major and immediate threat to your life. You also need to account for objects outside of your vision. Gaps in traffic indicate the possibility of someone coming through that gap, even if you can’t see them. Again, MAJOR THREAT, PREPARE FOR EVASIVE ACTION.

And once you’ve identified said threat, you can work it through levels of severity. Is the driver clearly able to see you, without obstruction from their window pillars, trees or signs? Is that person actually looking? Are they looking at you? How are they situated in the road? What is their speed? Where are their wheels pointing?

Look at their wheels, not the car – they’ll give you the first clue of movement. During all this, also be aware of what’s behind and to your side. Should you need to take evasive action, you’ll need to know your routes of escape. It’s no good braking in time to avoid a turning car, only to be swatted from behind by a tailgating SUV. What’s the road surface like? Is it going to be able to handle the full force of your brakes or are you going to lock them? You do know how to use the full ability of your brakes, right?

Under no circumstances should you “lay the bike down.” Your best chance of survival comes from shedding as much speed as possible pre-collision, and you’re going to be able to do that best with the bike completely upright, using both brakes. Even if you only have time to lose 10 or 20 mph, that could be the difference between going home with bruises and going home at all.

2: You Hit Gravel In A Blind Corner

You’re out riding the twisties when, seemingly without warning, you round a corner to find a patch of sand/gravel/leaves/horse dung/whatever in your path. You put your front tire in it and wipe out.

How To Avoid It: Don’t hit it in the first place. Ride at a pace where your reaction time and ability to take action fit within your range of vision. On the road, “Slow In, Fast Out” is an effective rule of thumb. Enter a corner wide, to increase your vision and at an easy pace. You can pick up the speed on the way out, once you can see.

Trail braking is a slightly more advanced skill that you’ll need to learn and practice on a track before applying on the road. Using it, you brake all the way to the apex using the front brake before swapping brake for throttle. Since you’re already on the brakes and the bike’s weight is distributed forward, compressing the front suspension and increasing the size of the front tire’s contact patch, you can easily tighten your line by applying a little more brake or widen it by letting off. Doing so should help you avoid obstacles such as gravel.

Another advanced skill, which is oddly controversial in rule-loving America, but which is taught by advanced police riders abroad, is to maximize vision by using the full width of the road, regardless of lanes. Vision equals safety equals speed. Again, learn this from a trained professional before trying it yourself.

3: You Entered A Corner Too Fast

And now it’s unexpectedly tightening and you’re just not going to make it around. Oh no.

How To Avoid It: Don’t be a dummy. Only ride as fast as you can see and use visual clues like telephone poles and signs to judge a road’s direction, even if that road is disappearing over a blind crest.

If you do find yourself going too fast in a corner, the best approach is to trust the bike and try to ride it out. The bike is likely more capable than you are, so it’s really you that’s not capable of making it around. Take as much lean out of the bike as possible by hanging off, look where you want to go and be as smooth as possible on the controls. Do not whack on the brakes, chop the throttle or do anything else that may upset the bike and cause a loss of traction. Don’t panic if a peg or knee or something else touches down, just try to hold that lean angle, look for the corner exit and ride it out.

This is another situation in which trail braking can be a real help, allowing you to safely shed speed while already in the corner.

4: A Car Changes Lane Into You

You’re riding in traffic when a car in another lane suddenly veers into the space you’re occupying. Remember, our tiny motorcycles can easily fit into blind spots and drivers looking for cars aren’t psychologically programmed to see motorcycles.

How To Avoid It: Be aware of where blind spots lie and spend as little time in them as possible. If you can see a driver's eyes in their mirrors, then they have the ability to see you, too (But remember that still doesn't always mean they're looking – Ed.).

Beware of situations where lane changes become more possible. Is highway traffic slowing, with one lane moving faster than others? People are going to want to be in that lane. Don’t be where they want to be.

Look for signs of a car changing lanes: turn signals, wheels turning, the car wandering around its own lane while the driver checks his/her mirrors and, of course, the driver’s head moving. Be aware of all that, in all the cars around you, at all times, and you’ll be good.

5: A Car Hits You From Behind

You come to a halt a stop sign/crosswalk/intersection/to avoid a family of baby ducks when the driver behind you doesn’t see you or isn’t trying to and plows into you at high speed. The most common car accident is a “fender bender.” A fender bender can kill a motorcyclist.

How To Avoid It: Use cars as your very own crumple zone. A single car stopped at a multi-lane stoplight, with more cars coming from behind? Pull in front of it (wave nicely) and you’re cushioned from any subsequent impacts. Between a line of cars works just as well.

No free crumple zones available? Stop to the side rather than the center of a lane, rapidly flash your brake light by tapping a brake lever, keep the bike in gear and your right hand on the throttle. Pay attention to what’s coming up behind you and be prepared to scoot away should it appear someone’s about to come plowing into you.

Be particularly aware in situations where there’s bad visibility, at times when drunk driving is prevalent (do all the bars around you let out at 01:00?) and when stops are unexpected, such as at pedestrian crosswalks on very busy streets and stuff like those cute baby ducks crossing the road.

6: Your Riding Buddies Are Idiots

You’ve seen it happen. A group is out for a ride when one of them stops suddenly or something similar. His buddy is too busy daydreaming to realize and hits him from behind. This has happened to us it can happen to anyone.

How To Avoid It: Make sure everyone is aware of proper group riding etiquette and knows to ride in a staggered formation. You’d be amazed how many people are unaware of this simple technique. Doing so increases vision and moves bikes out of line with each other, meaning a temporary lapse in attention won't result in a collision. Pick smarter riding buddies or do what I do: ride alone.

7: You Locked The Front Brake

Oh no, a deer/cute girl/cop/stopped traffic. You grab a fistful of front brake and, next thing you know, you’re lying on the ground, watching your bike cartwheel down the street.

How To Avoid It: Learn to use your front brake. It might seem counterintuitive, but that front brake is the most powerful and difficult-to-master component on your motorcycle it can alter your speed much more quickly than your engine.

If you’re just learning to ride, have simply never mastered this skill or bought a new bike and need to learn it, find a big, empty parking lot and start practicing. From a set speed (say, 30 mph), start braking at a certain mark, then repeat ad infinitum until you’ve reduced your braking distance as much as possible. You should be able to feel the tire on the very edge of locking up and the rear wheel lifting off the ground. Then go and practice at higher and higher speeds until you can employ the maximum braking ability of your motorcycle reliably and safely.

Or just buy a bike with ABS, remember you have it, and squeeze the lever as hard as you can when you need to make an emergency stop.

8: A Car Opened Its Door

The biggest gap in traffic was between a line of parked cars and a stationary line of active traffic. So you go scooting through it when, all of a sudden, Nathan-no-look swings his door wide open right in front of you.

How To Avoid It: Never, ever, ever, ever ride between an active traffic lane and parked cars. Not just because of the opening doors thing, but because pedestrians step out, cars pull out so they can see, and for a million other reasons. Just don’t do it. If you do, somehow, find yourself in a door-opening situation though, follow all the advice above and brake as hard as possible. Even if a collision is inevitable, shedding even a small fraction of your speed can really help.

Cyclists call the area next to parked cars, within a door's width “The Death Zone” for a reason.

9: It’s Slippery!

Stuff is coming out of the sky! That stuff is cold, wet and, surprise surprise, slippery. Listen to Douglas Adams and don’t panic.

How To Avoid It: Does your bike have decent tires on it or were you silly and decided that running track rubber on the road was a good idea? Hint: it’s not. So long as you’re running reasonable tires and those tires aren’t worn out, you’ll be surprised at how well a motorcycle does in wet or even snowy conditions. Just slow down and be as smooth as possible on the controls.

In the wet, stuff like manhole covers become super, extra slippery and you’ll need to watch out for oil and diesel on the road as well. Look for patches of rainbow and avoid those. If it hasn’t rained for a while, the first hour or so of rainfall is the most treacherous it lifts all the oils and whatnot out of the pavement, floating it on top. Treat yourself to a hot cup of coffee and wait for a solid downpour to wash all that junk away.

Also, beware of the limited visibility rain creates for other drivers and their general ineptitude car drivers don’t seem to understand that slippery conditions necessitate longer following distances and earlier braking.

Ron Haslam advocates keeping revs up in the wet. The thinking is that, should your rear spin up, you’ll be using a smaller amount of throttle opening, allowing you to regain traction much easier than if you’re riding at 30mph in 6th, at wide-open throttle.

10: The Most Common Bike Accident

According to the 1981 Hurt Report—the largest study ever conducted on motorcycle accident causation—alcohol is a factor in 50 percent of all bike wrecks.


Chronic Hero Syndrome

Chronic Hero Syndrome is an "affliction" of cleaner heroes where for them, every wrong within earshot must be righted, and everyone in need must be helped, preferably by Our Hero themselves.

While certainly admirable, this may have a few negative side-effects on the hero and those around them. Such heroes could wear themselves out in their attempts to help everyone or become distraught and blame themselves for the one time that they're unable to save the day. Spending so much time and effort saving everyone else can also put a strain on the hero's personal or dating life. A particularly bad case of this may develop into a full-blown Martyr Without a Cause. Maybe they simply like being in the line of danger.

If they aren't smart about their heroism, and they have a tendency to intervene without getting the whole picture, then they're liable to just make things worse. Their predictable heroism also makes them particularly prone to manipulation by certain devious villains. Interestingly enough, as Don Quixote lampshades, this syndrome was noticed by Chivalric Romance writers and they devised a temporary cure: The Damsel Errant must simply ask the hero not to engage in any other adventure until he has finished hers.

This is extremely common in video games as a way to make the player deal with plot threads like Fetch Quests when they should have more important things on their minds. The characters are just too darn heroic to leave people to suffer, so time to go wander around in caves for a while. No matter their personal situation, they're always willing to stop and help.

Small Steps Heroes tend to suffer from this. A related disorder is Samaritan Syndrome, where the hero bemoans that their duties leave them no free time for their personal affairs.

Self-Care Epiphany is when they realize that they do need to take care of themselves and not put too much possibly unnecessary work to help others.

The exact opposites of this are Bystander Syndrome and True Neutral. Also contrast with Chronic Villainy and Changing of the Guard. If they get paid for this kind of work, it's We Help the Helpless. When it's because the victim is female, the diagnosis is The Dulcinea Effect. Someone with Chronic Hero Syndrome who travels from place to place is a Knight Errant. This type of hero never fails the "Leave Your Quest" Test. An inactive one will Jump at the Call.

For when the hero is this way mostly to people close to them, see A Friend in Need.

Contrast the decidedly unheroic Heroism Addict, who is the cause of the problems they solve, and only cares about appearing heroic. In real life, the term Hero Syndrome is also used for this kind of criminal.


Watch the video: Identify a Dangerous Tire - 53 Seconds That Might Save a Life