Waffling in THREE dimensions.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A prank that doesn't involve altering body chemistry

Wired has an article about April Fool's Day. Here is a contribution of my own:

April 1st will soon be upon on us. I have a few minor ideas of my own I plan to implements and one rather large one I won't be able to. Because I won't be able to execute it this year (I have in years past with various results), I've decided I would like to share with you. It's nothing too great, but it is a fun night and pays off for a few weeks, depending on how effective you are. It's also not that expensive, depending on your scale. You could have a great run under ten dollars, and I wouldn't suggest trying to hit more than 200 targets really. We took a few hours (perhaps less, it seemed like a long time because we waited until 1am before we embarked) with only approximately 75 bands (we had 100 initially, but many broke due to poor quality), but we were also dodging the retarded (and needless) police force of Rexburg, Idaho. Whatever, I'm not there anymore.

This is how it is done: You must purchase zip-ties, or Gardner Benders, or whatever. This is easy, the are sold in many establishments and often in large amounts. You may desire many different sizes, and I encourage you to avoid anything smaller than five inches in total length untied as these are difficult to manipulate under the cover of darkness. Likewise, anything above eight inches may be unwieldy. Luckily, this prank may involve many different sizes and still work effectively.

I should probably note that I am unaware of the legality of this prank. As with all pranks, you should avoid being caught. I suggest a reconnaissance mission ahead of time to better play your (escape) route and just to save time later. In my case, this includes knowing where your going to avoid getting lost.

But what are you looking for? Bike racks. Lots of bike racks. You and your party will visit these under cover of darkness, or whenever you feel comfortable, with your zip ties. You'll need to ration out the ties ahead of time to ensure efficiency.

Next comes the difficult part:
While hilarious, this is not the intention of this prank. If you would like to take it in this direction, you have my blessing. Fasten the tie around the frame (not the spokes!) of the bike (front or back tire) such that the loose end of the tie sticks into the spokes of the tire, as pictured below. Try to avoid placement which would interfere with the bicycle chain, for this reason shorter ties are recommended as well, although longer ties may wrap more easily around the thicker frame of the front tire.

Please note that in the picture, I tied a child's bicycle so a smaller tie was necessary than you will likely need or desire, but the placement is correct.

When done correctly, the bicycle should now emit a distinctive clicking sound (think baseball card in the spokes) as it rolls forward (some of you may have done this when you were little because it is kind of neat). Depending on how tight your zip ties were, they may be very difficult to remove. The real joy of this prank comes from hearing that clicking sound and riders pass you. Some people might even enjoy this, and you can have the distinct warm fuzzy feeling when you hear it knowing that you did that. I found that the real fun of this prank was just as much the acts of stealth (flip out!) as it was seeing the ties on bikes weeks later. This may have had something to do with my silly Canadian roommate at the time putting the ties on the spokes, which I told him not to do multiple times! He was really sorry aboot it though.

Of course, all of these pranks have their merits as well.

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