Articles from October 2012



Mainstream media and bicycle helmets

Photo Credit Ross Del Duca / VeloReviews Media. Used with permission.

Of all of the things I’ve written about here on JustAnotherCyclist, few subjects tend to spark as much disagreement – from both cyclists and non-cyclists alike – as my posts regarding bicycle helmets. Many seeing me roll up to work or wherever without my helmet on have referred to me as reckless, stupid, crazy, nuts, or even… well, you can probably imagine. I’ve been told I’m an irresponsible parent, setting a bad example for my children. I’ve been told I make drivers on the road nervous, thus increasing motorists/cyclist contention. I’ve even been told I “deserve to crack my skull open” because I opt to sometimes ride without a helmet.

I’ve never once encouraged anyone to ride without a helmet. Instead, I’ve spoke of my own opinions and ideas on the subject, encouraging others to find out the facts and make an educated, reasonable decision on their own.

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Will the real Greg LeMond Please Stand Up

Ahhh social media. Not only do you get provocative messages - you get provocative discussions about who the provocative messages actually came from.

Adding to the “intrigue” is the fact that the message was posted to the Greg LeMond timeline at least 13 separate times – the identical post – at the time of this writing. Speculation was already rampant that the posts didn’t in fact come from Greg himself.

Maybe, maybe not. But here’s the full text of the post in quesiton:

http://velonews.competitor.com/2012/10/news/kimmage-felt-rage-deflation-during-mcquaids-armstrong-press-conference_262474
Can anyone help me out? I know this sounds kind of lame but I am not well versed in social marketing. I would like to

send a message to everyone that really loves cycling. I do not use twitter and do not have an organized way of getting some of my own “rage” out. I want to tell the world of cycling to please join me in telling Pat McQuaid to f##k off and resign. I have never seen such an abuse of power in cycling’s history- resign Pat if you love cycling. Resign even if you hate the sport.
Pat McQuaid, you know dam well what has been going on in cycling, and if you want to deny it, then even more reasons why those who love cycling need to demand that you resign.
I have a file with what I believe is well documented proof that will exonerate Paul.
Pat in my opinion you and Hein are the corrupt part of the sport. I do not want to include everyone at the UCI because I believe that there are many, maybe most that work at the UCI that are dedicated to cycling, they do it out of the love of the sport, but you and your buddy Hein have destroyed the sport.
Pat, I thought you loved cycling? At one time you did and if you did love cycling please dig deep inside and remember that part of your life- allow cycling to grow and flourish- please! It is time to walk away. Walk away if you love cycling.
As a reminder I just want to point out that you recently you accused me of being the cause of USADA’s investigation against Lance Armstrong. Why would you be inclined to go straight to me as the “cause”? Why shoot the messenger every time?
Every time you do this I get more and more entrenched. I was in your country over the last two weeks and I asked someone that knows you if you were someone that could be rehabilitated. His answer was very quick and it was not good for you. No was the answer, no, no , no!
The problem for sport is not drugs but corruption. You are the epitome of the word corruption.
You can read all about Webster’s definition of corruption. If you want I can re-post my attorney’s response to your letter where you threaten to sue me for calling the UCI corrupt. FYI I want to officially reiterate to you and Hien that in my opinion the two of your represent the essence of corruption.
I would encourage anyone that loves cycling to donate and support Paul in his fight against the Pat and Hein and the UCI. Skip lunch and donate the amount that you would have spent towards that Sunday buffet towards changing the sport of cycling.
I donated money for Paul’s defense, and I am willing to donate a lot more, but I would like to use it to lobby for dramatic change in cycling. The sport does not need Pat McQuaid or Hein Verbruggen- if this sport is going to change it is now. Not next year, not down the road, now! Now or never!
People that really care about cycling have the power to change cycling- change it now by voicing your thought and donating money towards Paul Kimmage’s defense, ( Paul, I want to encourage you to not spend the money that has been donated to your defense fund on defending yourself in Switzerland. In my case, a USA citizen, I could care less if I lost the UCI’s bogus lawsuit. Use the money to lobby for real change).
If people really want to clean the sport of cycling up all you have to do is put your money where your mouth is.
Don’t buy a USA Cycling license. Give up racing for a year, just long enough to put the UCI and USA cycling out of business. We can then start from scratch and let the real lovers in cycling direct where and how the sport of cycling will go.
Please make a difference.

I’ll let you be the judge.

 

I’ve got an idea – name the hole that now exists

Ugh. I know. I probably shouldn’t be writing about Lance Armstrong now. Enough is enough. What I was really thinking about is all those folks that are now going to have to go over the record books with erasers, Wite-Out® and heavy black markers obliterating all occurrences of the name Lance Armstrong from the official record of winners. I think the ancient egyptians were good at erasing fallen pharos from the record too, so maybe we can take some cues from them.

But in our digital age, getting rid of records is a little trickier because any joker with a keyboard (say, like me) can write an article. And those articles will have undoubtedly used the name Lance, Armstrong or, if you’re not into that whole brevity thing, Lance Armstrong. But it becomes really awkward to just schwack his name from all the records. I mean, sentences wouldn’t even make sense.

For example: “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…” just doesn’t work with his name redacted. “…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner has been closed with no charges filed…”  See – that just doesn’t work, because, well, there now is no one that has ever won 7 Tour de France victories.

Or how about this: “Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.” Take out his name and “Despite the evidence, continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs” just sounds like a court transcript where the court reporter got lazy.

So it occurred to me that we need some sort of a place holder we can use to replace his name, and fill the gramatical hole created by redacting his name from the record. Something to fill the gap – fill the space left by the absence of Armstrong’s name. Something to fill the hole left behind by Armstrong – the Armstrong hole. Hmmm… Something to fill the Armstrong hole.

Oh! The A-Hole!  That’s perfect!

So now, wherever we would have said “Seven time Tour de France Winner” or “Lance Armstrong” or “Lance” or “Armstrong,” we simply substitute “The A-Hole” and it all works:

“…the federal investigation into seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has been closed with no charges filed…
becomes…
“…the federal investigation into The A-Hole has been closed with no charges filed…

Likewise, ”Despite the evidence, Lance Armstrong continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”
becomes…
“Despite the evidence, The A-Hole continues to maintain that he never used performance enhancing drugs.”

Nice thing is, this can become a handy twitter hash-tag too! In fact, I highly encourage anyone posting any tweet about The A-Hole to also include #theahole in the tweet, so that we can all easily find it without needing to type out the guys actual name.

Just a modest proposal.

How a cardboard bike saved my mood

I’ve been moping and whining about the fact that, after seven years of destroying the peloton, Lance Armstrong was able to do it one final time without even spinning a pedal. I couldn’t come up with anything worth mentioning on the case Neil Browne hadn’t already said. However it is such a huge story that I find myself, like the mainstream media I lament, feeling compelled to talk about nothing else.

Well, thanks to the constant stream of updates coming from VeloReviews.com and their Facebook page, I found a story right up my alley – just teed up for me to run with. And that story was about … cardboard.

I loved it because it immediately made me think of how Lance had become sort of a cardboard-cutout of his former self to many people. But this story was much better. Because unlike Lance, this was not a story about someone or something that was less than it appeared. Rather, it was the story of someone making much, much more out of something than was immediately obvious. It was a story about a fully functional cardboard bicycle.

Now some will undoubtedly take my analogy a step further, pointing out that through the use of chemical treatments the cardboard has actually been made stronger than its natural form. Sure, someone could say that the glue is the EPO, and the laquer is the transfusions that allow this cardboard to achieve super-cardboard feats of strength. To that I would respond: You think too much.

What I see here is a great opportunity to have what could amount to a disposable bike. Imagine the possibilities here when a bike is can be manufactured in a guy’s garage for $20? Now imagine how much that price could be reduced to on a higher production run. Now imagine those cheap bikes made from potentially post-consumer cardboard being deployed around cities as a means of public transportation. Imagine a vending machine at the airport that would allow you to purchase a fully functional bicycle for less than you’d likely pay for a cab? Imagine schools able to check out bicycles to students for the year for less than the price of a textbook.

Sure – this is just a prototype. And sure, the $20 number may not pan out. But you’ve got to love this guys innovation and vision to even try. Do I love my Fred-tastic carbon fiber bikes? Hell yes. But you better believe I’d ride on of these bikes too.

Funny thing is, the other “new bicycle design” that seems to be taking off around the internet isn’t new at all. I’m talking here about the Bicymple. Look – there is no denying it is a beautiful design (if you are into weird things) Fundamentally, however, this is essentially a fixed-gear wobble bike, slightly less articulated. Maybe it is my naiveté, but I really don’t see why two wheel steering is necessary on a bicycle. Even on cars – which you can’t pick up and move sideways to park – four wheel steering was never more than a novelty.

Ahhh – doesn’t it feel better to write (and read) about bikes instead of bio-chemistry and doping? Time to drop my digital copy of the “Reasoned Decision” into the virtual trash can on my computer.

Now every cycling fan is trying to be a lawyer

I’m not a lawyer, nor do I play on one TV. But I nonetheless found myself spending a whole lot of time yesterday reading over legal documents. It would be cool if I were trying to gain understanding into my legal liabilities if I lead a ride and someone gets hurt. Or perhaps finding ways my auto insurance is legally required to cover myself and/or bicycle in the case of an accident in the saddle. Or how about the technicalities of home owners or renters insurance and a stolen bike.

Nope – as you probably guessed, I was all wrapped up in the USADA Reasoned Decision in the Lance Armstrong case. Across the internet, everyone seems to be writing that as “Reasoned Decision” – in quotation marks – as if it is a sarcastic remark.  Turns out that a reasoned decision is actually a specific type of document that the USADA was required to release. From the publication itself:
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