"It's only a little bit live!"
January 10, 2017 4:24 AM   Subscribe

 
Brings back memories of a time when I waded across a river (in heavy rain) and then climbed over what looked like a perfectly normal wire fence on the opposite bank, much like the one in the video. It was only when I was precariously straddling the fence that I realised that (a) it was very much an electric fence, and (b) I'd managed to thoroughly snag the crotch of my trousers on some barbed wire . Not recommended, my friends.
posted by pipeski at 4:40 AM on January 10, 2017 [11 favorites]


Ah, sweet memories of growing up on a farm. Learning that wet grass will conduct some of the electricity. Steering clear of the grass AND the wire and discovered that a nearby wire that everyone swore wasn't connected actually was. Walking along the fence until the charger is found and turning the damn thing off.
posted by Mogur at 5:08 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


My introduction to electric fences occurred on an excursion hunting for frogs with a local farmer's son, Calvin. Standing knee deep in a water filled ditch, I reached for a fence to provide some support so I wouldn't slip and get my pants any wetter. After making a grab of the wire, that concern no longer held much worry as the jolt sent me back on my ass in the water, losing most of my frogs and all of my young dignity. Calvin, perhaps needless to add, was very amused and didn't seem to feel bad at all for failing to tell the city kid about the wonders of electric fencing.
posted by gusottertrout at 5:24 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


Hard to believe these guys' ancestors used to rule two-thirds of the world, isn't it?
posted by Paul Slade at 5:40 AM on January 10, 2017 [11 favorites]


They had so much fun getting that bike off the fence, I suspect they threw it back on and did it again!
posted by HuronBob at 5:43 AM on January 10, 2017 [7 favorites]


I have no idea how this bloke got his bike wedged into the electric fence, or why.
posted by SteveInMaine at 5:53 AM on January 10, 2017 [20 favorites]


Last year our neighbor put up an electric fence in an attempt to keep her chickens safe from some ground-based predators (i.e. foxes and local dogs) My pupper immediately went to investigate and as soon as her nose touched it, she let out an extended howl that sounded a lot like "The devil! The fence is possessed by the devil!!" The fence has since been removed, but nowadays she won't even go near a chicken.
posted by gwint at 5:58 AM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]


It says under the video, he was lifting it over and halfway over he realised the fence was electrified and dropped the bike.
posted by biffa at 5:58 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Gentlemen. Grab the tire, and ONLY the tire (no rim, no spokes, no frame) and lift...
posted by jim in austin at 6:07 AM on January 10, 2017


Do these fences have switches or breakers somewhere or are they hard wired right to the grid?
posted by BentFranklin at 6:11 AM on January 10, 2017


Do these fences have switches or breakers somewhere or are they hard wired right to the grid?

Solar charged ones were not exceptional at all whilst I was growing up.

Gentlemen. Grab the tire, and ONLY the tire (no rim, no spokes, no frame) and lift...

The engineer in me agrees but they seem to try this and fail miserably. Either it's wet enough to not matter, or their gloves are buliker than they realize, or the voltage of the fence higher than I'd care to imagine. Cattle electric fences did hurt more than household/dog electric fences as I recall, so I figure different voltages exist, but I'm on the other side of the pond from these blokes, what do I know.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:15 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Couldn't they just deactivate the electric fence by removing that plastic clamp attached to the cord?
posted by phenylphenol at 6:28 AM on January 10, 2017


Electric fences run around 10,000 volts. It's usually a short pulse (10ms or less) that is enough to cause a jolt without stopping the heart of a sheep.

10kV will cheefully trot over the muddy surface of a bike tyre and straight through your gloves.

The trick is to stroll along the fence until you find the pulse generator. It will have an 'Off' switch.
posted by Combat Wombat at 6:32 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


I once knew a kid who thought it was amusing to just grab hold of my neighbors' mildly charged dog-containment wire and just experience the periodic jolts. He survived to adulthood somehow.
posted by amtho at 6:39 AM on January 10, 2017


They got it off in the end, but I was wondering if they might have wanted to try using nylon straps from a backpack or even their styrofoam helmets for insulation. As they discovered, sticks will still conduct enough to give you a shock.

At some point I think they were just having too much fun to even want an easier solution, though.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:39 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Well if that isn't a bunch of monkeys fucking a football I don't know what...
posted by e1c at 6:42 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


"Be brave"

FTW
posted by chavenet at 6:44 AM on January 10, 2017 [7 favorites]


WIth some minor tweaks this could be a sequel to A Field in England.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 6:46 AM on January 10, 2017


I once knew a kid who thought it was amusing to just grab hold of my neighbors' mildly charged dog-containment wire and just experience the periodic jolts.

This looked to be a livestock containment fence. If your acquaintance had been neighbors to a cattle farmer who preferred electric fences I bet that behavior would have been extinguished mighty quick.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:48 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Growing up on a farm, we would periodically release a herd of young cows into a new field. They would immediately explore every inch of the electric fence perimeter with their faces.

Such moo. Wow.

Also, that regular ticking nose in the video is the electric fence pulsing. One tick = one zap.
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:55 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


Anybody else screaming at them to take their phones off their armbands? Just me? It couldn't have been good for the phones to keep getting buzzed like that.

My electric fence story happened when I stayed home alone for the first time as a kid, the same day a storm hit. Lightning hit the electric fence, traveled up the underground wire, and blew up the controller box on the porch in one spectacular, loud explosion. Terrifying but super-cool at the same time.
posted by jhope71 at 7:01 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Grandparents' farm had an electric cattle fence so I thought I knew how to be wary. But once at a gathering at a friend's sheep farm, a group of us bored teens decided to hop the fence and go check out the sheep. We hopped the fence just fine. After a ram decided he didn't like the look of us and started heading our way, we ran back to the fence and hopped back over. Mid leap, with my hand on the top wire, was when I learned that the fence was in fact electrified.
posted by thecjm at 7:22 AM on January 10, 2017


I don't know how modern bicycle tires are for conductivity, but modern automobile tires are actually pretty conductive (among other things, to try to help reduce static shock risks). So grabbing the bicycle by the tire may not be a terribly useful thing...

(And, yes, I'm a country kid who grew up in an area where NYC folks had weekend homes, I've got city kid + electric fence stories...)
posted by straw at 7:25 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


The phones are fine. You'd be badly advised to hold the bottom of the phone and touch the top to the fence, but otherwise they'll be perfectly safe.

Best way to get your bike out is, as suggested, walk along the fence to where the box is and turn it off. It'll be nearby and accessible - the farmer needs to turn it off to work on the fence. Just remember to turn it back on afterwards. Or lean something large, wet and vegetable against the fence; it'll take a lot of the spike away.

Do not urinate on the electric fence. This is bad.

And do not establish base camp with your portable amateur radio equipment for a couple of days near an electric fence, especially if you've trekked out to camp in the deep country for the express reason of getting away from the electrical noise of civilisation and have nice quiet bands to work on. I had got everything set up and was just settling in for some primo ham fun on shortwave when the nearby farmer put some new calves into the adjacent field and turned the fence on, and a knitting needle proceeded to stab through my headphones. Once. Every. Second.
posted by Devonian at 7:31 AM on January 10, 2017 [9 favorites]


WIth some minor tweaks this could be a sequel to A Field in England .

I was thinking Top Gear, but that works too.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:51 AM on January 10, 2017


Do not urinate on the electric fence. This is bad.

Indeed.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:04 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


My love of the electric fence featured in a story I told on stage a couple years back as part of All Night Radio, an assortment of stories about developing an interest in electronic music.

It was not a healthy love, that.
posted by sonascope at 8:07 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


I am legit terrified of electricity.
posted by Room 641-A at 8:17 AM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


That was funny, but I hope they either fixed that fence properly or paid for the damage.
posted by Brockles at 8:25 AM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


There are an awful lot of comedians who have tried and failed to write/film a sketch of physical comedy that funny.
posted by straight at 8:53 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think I would have just walked the fenceline until I found the off switch. But that makes for less funny youtubez so hey.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:57 AM on January 10, 2017


Is this something I would have to have an electric fence to appreciate?
posted by Samizdata at 9:02 AM on January 10, 2017


I am legit terrified of electricity.

A terror brought to you outside and inside your head by your friend, electricity.

(says the chap who spent his early teens rebuilding 15kV generating circuits ripped out of TV sets on open metal chassis. Do not let your earth clip disconnect while drawing arcs across things.)
posted by Devonian at 9:22 AM on January 10, 2017


This looks like a job for Bicycle Repair Man!

(Because Bicycle Repair Woman would just laugh at these guys' ineptitude and say "You're on your own boys!", knowing that sometimes, you just can't fix stupid.)
posted by radwolf76 at 9:25 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


I don't know how modern bicycle tires are for conductivity, but modern automobile tires are actually pretty conductive (among other things, to try to help reduce static shock risks). So grabbing the bicycle by the tire may not be a terribly useful thing...

Bike tires generally have a metal bead running where they contact the rims. However, most of them don't have anything added to the bulk material that would make the tread parts conductive. They're not steel-belted or anything like a car tire. The puncture-proofing reinforcements found in some tires or as aftermarket tire liners are generally made of nylon or kevlar rather than metal.
posted by tobascodagama at 9:39 AM on January 10, 2017


Ha! You beat me to it, Room 641-A!
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 9:40 AM on January 10, 2017


Yes, but I had to post it at 4:30am to do it!
posted by Room 641-A at 10:03 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


I love that the last line spoken is, "We'll have to straighten up the fence up."
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 10:09 AM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


> Gentlemen. Grab the tire, and ONLY the tire (no rim, no spokes, no frame) and lift...

> I don't know how modern bicycle tires are for conductivity, but modern automobile tires are actually pretty conductive (among other things, to try to help reduce static shock risks). So grabbing the bicycle by the tire may not be a terribly useful thing...


Yeah, I'm pretty sure I've heard that what insulates you from a lightning strike is not the tires (as we all grew up reporting) but the metal skin of the car itself.

Also, am I the only one who (not know that there would be a switch nearby) would've thought to take one of the other bikes to find the farm the fence belonged to and ask the farmer for advice? I mean, presuming from the look of these gents and the other nearby bicyclists that the local area is not the place one would be shot on sight for approaching a farm unannounced.
posted by maryr at 10:58 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


The problem with the UK is that it is very hard to find the farm associated with a particular field, sometimes even if there is a farm right next door. Fields are leased out and proximity doesn't at all mean ownership or responsibility. But it should have been obvious that the fences had an off switch - these are pretty easy to see if you have spent any time near an electric fence.

I love that the last line spoken is, "We'll have to straighten up the fence up."
There are pretty strict sets of rules in place in the UK relating to the prevention of damage to farmers fields and fences/gates etc. Public access on private land is a right on established paths/thoroughfares, but conversely there is legislation protecting the stuff that is on that land from damage. Which is why I was cringing a bit at how badly they damaged the fence and fence post and hoped they fixed it properly. One of the excuses a lot of UK farmers try and use to remove the nuisance of hikers etc crossing their land is to cite damage to property, so this is something that matters a lot if we want to retain access to these paths and walkways. With the significant lack of actual public land/wilderness like the US has, public footpath access across farmland is a major part of the outdoor activities access for UK residents.
posted by Brockles at 11:05 AM on January 10, 2017 [5 favorites]


Oi mates, see that black cable running up the post?
posted by humboldt32 at 11:08 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


The first little bit was funny, but after a while it was annoying. Really, are you stoned or just easily amused.

Dogz help these guys if they ever find out about electric palm buzzer joke toys.
posted by BlueHorse at 11:51 AM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


In more UK fence news, lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury tries to jump over a fence.
posted by edeezy at 12:22 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Brockles- that explains the Shaun the Sheep episode where a camper randomly sets up on the farm and various other references to characters hiking through or why an old stone fence on a pasture would have a cut out and a sign. Mystery solved!
posted by zenon at 12:44 PM on January 10, 2017


One of these gentlemen sounds strikingly like Karl Pilkington.
posted by lumpenprole at 12:45 PM on January 10, 2017


When I was a little girl I remember my grandfather, who was otherwise the sweetest man, was able to hold on onto the electric fence and he would stand and wait for an unsuspecting grandchild to get near enough for him to touch their hand. He was a funny guy in every sense of the word.
posted by InkaLomax at 1:11 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


For some reason I watched this PSA today about what do when there are power lines on your car: This Might Shock You: Downed Power Lines and found myself trying to coach them through the right way to get the bike free.
posted by bendy at 3:08 PM on January 10, 2017 [3 favorites]


Maybe the farm I grew up on was different but man, compared to the fences of my youth, that fence is insanely high powered.
posted by Cosine at 4:01 PM on January 10, 2017


I don't know how old you are, but the Kiwis got ahold of electric fences and holy shit...
posted by stet at 4:55 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


This exact thing happened to me and a good friend of mine years ago as kids. We were mountain biking in a large state park and needed to take a shortcut to get back to a road since a trail had been washed out. I was riding my new light Bianchi mountain bike and had let my friend borrow my old incredibly heavy steel Huffy-style bike. I tossed my bike over the fence. Sure enough, as he was lifting his bike over the fence, he dropped it in the exact same way.

I went to lift it off for him and got that same delayed shock that seems to snap its way from joint to joint, tendon to tendon. To anybody who is saying to just grab the tire, or the seat or the handlebars: yes, you try this, but somehow you still slip, or the wheel turns, or the grips or seat were sweaty, or it is too heavy too lift by a light pincer grasp on the rubber grips and tire nubs. The main factor is that you don't put a lot of effort into it until you have made sure everyone has also gotten shocked so you aren't the only one.

So, as that first shock snapped my wrist and elbow joints, I recoiled without saying anything, and my friend asked me what was wrong. I replied, of course, "Nothing. Try lifting it here." And of course, he then tried and got the same shock. Our effort to remove that thing basically proceeded in a similarly hilarious way as in the video.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 5:16 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Do not urinate on the electric fence. This is bad.

When I was young and had no sense,
I pissed upon an electric fence.
It stung my ass and shocked my balls,
It made me shit my overalls.
posted by Greg_Ace at 6:57 PM on January 10, 2017 [4 favorites]


Greg Ace, I'm embarrassed how much that mad me laugh. I just texted it to my kid, line by line.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 7:35 PM on January 10, 2017


I am legit terrified of electricity.

Pffft. Ask me about the time I was peering into my gas furnace relighting the pilot light and pushed the override button instead of the pilot button.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:06 PM on January 10, 2017 [2 favorites]


Gas is an asshole, is what I'm saying.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 8:07 PM on January 10, 2017


Did your eyebrows ever grow back?
posted by Greg_Ace at 8:50 PM on January 10, 2017 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm no fan of fire, either. I think because I grew up in a temperate climate, where fireplaces are more decorative than functional, I go into serious OMG FIRE mode on those rare, cool, days when you can smell fireplaces here and there. Of course, sticking my face over a full-strength gas burner to light a cigarette never gave me pause.

Re just turning the fence off, as a hapless city mouse I'm not sure it would occur to me that there would be a switch right on the fence, or that the switch wouldn't be acres away (I don't know, it's a farm! They're big!) but even if I did I'd never assume it would be accessible to the public. Then again, I'm the same person who thought people would obviously steal all the corn from farms without fences.

I can be a big dummy sometimes.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:43 AM on January 11, 2017


Greg Ace, I'm embarrassed how much that mad me laugh. I just texted it to my kid, line by line.

pH Indicating Socks, are you grandfather? Because that would be his exact response.

...If he had ever figured out texting.

...And didn't think it would cost him money.
posted by maryr at 10:38 AM on January 11, 2017


One of these gentlemen sounds strikingly like Karl Pilkington.

I find this observation fascinating. Because, while I can hear what you mean, none of these men have an accent that is, from the perspective of a British person, remotely similar to Karl Pilkington's (they all have fairly strong south-eastern accents, while he's from the north west) . Which isn't to say you're wrong, just that it's interesting to be reminded how differences which seem enormous close up look tiny (or even nonexistent) from enough distance.
posted by howfar at 2:38 PM on January 13, 2017


Did your eyebrows ever grow back?

They were crisped a bit, but my eyelashes were worse. Fucking gas, amirite.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 2:58 PM on January 13, 2017 [1 favorite]


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