#600 – Neodymium

While drawing this I remembered a common sound from when I was a kid. It was popular in my neighborhood to have these little multicolored pieces of plastic clipped on to your spokes. They were about the size of a marble. As you rode your bike at a low speed gravity would make them fall to the inside and then the outside of the wheel. There would be a distinctive metallic plink… plink… plink plink… plink… sound as they all zipped up and down the spokes. Then as you picked up speed there would be a sudden silence as they were all thrown to the outside of the wheel and held there by centrifugal force. As you reached your destination and glided to a stop you would once again hear plink… plink… plink plink… plink…


47 thoughts on “#600 – Neodymium”

  1. Lucretiel says:

    I cringed just looking at it. The caption made it a super-cringe

  2. TomTom says:

    The sad part? I think that’s been done.

  3. SamFisher202 says:

    Some ideas were never meant to be. =P

  4. Dwarg91 says:

    There are some types of pain that you just cant block apparently this is one of them. P.S. ouch.

  5. Dranikos says:

    Ow… The image made me wince. Some things wern’t ment to be seen at 1:33 AM. Just ow…

  6. Libraman says:

    Yeouch, had to hurt
    Anyway, happy 600th comic 🙂

  7. SEA says:

    o_o ouch

    Happy 600th comic chris =)

    Also, i remember those. plink plink plink XD

  8. RG says:

    Yeouch, that had to hurt…

  9. Bazza says:

    Oh the pain. I cringed.

    Happy 600th.

  10. K-Fish says:

    I remember those plastic doo-dads … I had them on a couple of bikes. For the first couple weeks, they were cool, but then you found yourself hitting top speed asap, but still liking the colored blur you imagined you were 🙂

  11. Tia says:

    Congrats on 600. =)

  12. MaskedMan says:

    “Biff’s bicycle jumps up at the wrong moment.”

    I’ve been to this place of pain, but it’s more usually me meeting the bicycle than the other way ’round. Also – liking the rare-earth reference.

  13. angusgangus says:

    Ok, Chris, you’re giving me total nostalgia at the moment! As soon as you mentioned those little ‘plinky’ things, I was immediately about seven again, listening to that sound, on my way to the corner store to buy penny candy- when it actually still cost a penny!
    Here’s to at least 600 more!

  14. Fred says:

    Happy 600th!
    And… ouch…
    TaeKwon-Do gives some experience with these issues…

  15. Rolf says:

    I bet he’s wishing he bought an aluminium bike right now.

  16. Deadite says:

    Does anyone know why exactly that men’s bikes have that cross-bar while women’s bikes do not? Those cross-bar’s have cost many a men their…manhood.

  17. Bryce says:

    Never heard of marblie-things…the only thing we had around here were the cards clipped to the spokes…..That got annoying real fast. Also, never had a crossbar incident, but I’ve got a nice scar from a rock that went in my knee

  18. Happy 600th!

    “Biff realizes why he got such a good deal on the glass bicycle seat.”

  19. Sorry for double posting, but ignore my alternate comment…just realized the bike is not on the ground…and Biff is…ow.

    Again, happy 600th!

  20. Twilightfairy says:

    happy 600th comic.

    And yeah, poor biff. That looks painful.

  21. ChibiSpiff says:


    Women’s bikes don’t have crossbars because of their dresses, back in the day when they actually wore dresses while riding bikes.

    Sidenote: Long time reader, first time poster. Great comic, got all my friends hooked on it.

  22. Gato says:

    Ah, plastic spoke thingys. I wanted some so bad when I was a kid. Never got ’em.

  23. Chris says:

    @ChibiSpiff – Thanks for sending over some new readers and thanks everyone for the #600 congrats. 🙂

  24. samfisher202 says:

    #600 already, hm… just noticed that, anyway, congrats on #600 Chris.

  25. I remember those too. Had ’em on my first bike. Annoyed the hell out of me, so I took them off.

  26. no name says:

    WHOA!! 600 BIFF’s! And a classic 600th. That looks painful.

  27. ” “Biff realizes why he got such a good deal on the glass bicycle seat.” ”


    Man, I’m not even male and I can appreciate THAT enough to FREAK OUT a little bit

  28. Reynard says:

    1. In my neighborhood, kids would install multicolored tubes instead of the “marbles”. Same effect, though.

    2. Happy 600th, Chris! Hope we see lots more Biffery in the future!

  29. Strode says:

    ouuuch… Happy 600th! also I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this yet but the random comic widget seems to be broken. just a heads up

  30. steve-o says:

    Woohoo! 600!

  31. Izual Shima says:

    I remember using plastic plates to cover the spokes. They were in trend when I was a kid, I guess. Seeing the colors whirl as you sped up.
    Alas, they wouldn’t be very reliable, so they’d end up getting off their place, little by little, until they’d clash with the rest of the wheel, thus breaking the edges and making noise…an awful one, too.

    Silly thing to spend money on, considering how much they cost and how little they lasted in any good shape.

    Btw…a lot of us guys have come to felt that very unique pain. But, despite folklore, it’s not nearly as disabling as people tend to think.

    It’s all about the circumstances and your training/innate resilience, if any.
    Any big pain is disabling, if you let it get to you. If you’re tough enough, or your current state of mind is particularly primal (blind rage for example), it’ll do little to stop you.

    Though it never happened to me (I’m way better at keeping myself safe than beating the other up), through my training in Kung Fu, I’ve seen it full-on.
    Tournament. Black belt seriously kicked in the crotch, in the worst way (with a rising foot between the legs), full strength. Shook the whole guy’s frame (wasn’t very big guy mind you, but not small either).
    The fight was stopped as is usual whenever a point is to be awarded
    or a foul play is to be observed and/or punished. The matche’s arbiter (sp?) checked on him, but he just gritted his teeth and kept going.

    He could only do this ‘cos he’s well-trained, and had his mind fully into the fight. The pain couldn’t get in as a distraction thanks to his strong focus. Also, ‘cos the interruption wasn’t long enough to let his mind get off the fight’s focus.

    Not saying it didn’t hurt or he didn’t look in pain. He crouched and winced and everything once the fight was over.

    In short, it’s awful in most situations ‘cos we’re not prepared, and we have all the time in the world to stop in our tracks and let the pain overwhelm us.

    If you’re prepared, and/or if you’re in a dangerous situation where you simply cannot let distractions and pain put your survival/health at risk…everything changes.

    This goes to the ladies…don’t think you can stop a dangerous guy with just that. It’s only good to give you enough room for delivering more hurt.
    The self-defense techniques taught to women often involve an awful lot more stuff. They all aim to use pain as an entrace for the actually disabling blows, since physical strength is most often not on their side.

    Of course, don’t take my word for any of this (no one can really teach you through a forum post). Go learn if you can. It’s not just about defending yourself, or letting out some tension. It’s also about overall health (very few sports are as complete exercises as martial arts)…and knowing what you’re doing. Way too many people fight clumsily when they have to, and thus take unnecessary risks, or hurt people unnecessarily.

    The real idea behind it all, is to put an end to the immediate threat, while covering for further potential ones. To disable without damaging if you can manage it…or to damage only as much as is necessary.
    And then, all of it done with a solid, steady control of your own actions and reactions.

    What do you say? I went on a tanget? Perish the thought…

  32. Speakerblast says:

    *looks up*
    Wow, I’ve written essays sorter than that, but luckily my friends don’t read enough webcomics to know that kicking me in the crotch should only be a precursor to a finishing move.

    Either way, happy 600, and may I add that the pain of Biff was conveyed very well today, and this concept in the art is what keeps this comic going at such a strong pace.

    *Starts what soon becomes a standing ovation for Chris*

    Yeah I went there

  33. taber_man says:

    Happy 600th Chris!

    Also, I remember those little clackers. They were so foolish, but so stylin’ back in the day.

  34. C4Pottery says:

    Wow. the first nut-hit. With all the slapstick, I wondered when it would happen. Poor Biff.

  35. Madness says:

    Happy 600th!

  36. Chris says:

    @Strode – Yeah a few people have said the random comic button is broken, but it works for me at home on a Mac and at work on a PC. I’m not sure what to do. :p

  37. Jonathan says:

    Happy 600! This is my first post, but it sure won’t be my last, because this has become one of my favorite web comics.

  38. Tygre says:

    don’t you mean centripetal force?

  39. Torg says:

    Centrifugal force is also a legitimate term.

  40. Amake says:

    Neodymium magnets are apparently so powerful two of them would destroy each other if they come into contact. How awesome is that?

  41. dark jaguar says:

    I remember those spoke ball thingies. They were actually more of a diamond shape. I also remember that I only did one wheel because those things were frickin’ hard to snap onto each spoke. Further, I recall that, as the very ends of all my spokes were thicker right where it connected to the rim, over time all those clacker dealies got wedged on the thick part and wouldn’t fall down any more.

  42. Jonathan says:

    Amake, I think you’re wrong about the magnets. I have some that I use for Warhammer 40k. Maybe they’re covered in something, but I don’t know. They DO have a crazy-strong pull, I’ll give you that much…

  43. Zach Light says:

    awwww, thats gotta hurt.

  44. BrainpanSonata says:

    One word: Oooog!

  45. SurveySays says:

    even his eyebrows look like they are in pain

  46. Marscaleb says:

    Plastic bike beads! I remember those!
    Whatever happened to them?

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