After lumbering about on a fat bike
there's no better chaser than riding a tiny one, and so yesterday I got multimodal with the Brompton:
You can keep your Lucas Brunelle videos. To me, there's there's no more exhilarating form of urban cycling than arriving in a busy railway station at rush hour, unfurling a folding bike, and flitting about like a clown on a unicycle beneath the Empire State Building's gleaming spire:
In fact I'm working on a sick edit called "Premium Fold," and I'll let you know as soon as it drops.
Anyway, as much as I was enjoying the nimble Brompton it seems I can't escape the bloated specter of the fat bike, and here was one in service as a delivery bike:
It's a new world out there I tell you.
Continuing downtown, I neatly circumvented Dr. Douche, who had decided to block the protected bike lane with his BMW:
(Yes, I said "his." Relax, I don't assume all doctors are men, I just assume all douchebags are.)
As you can see, there's plenty of parking to his right, which means there are two possibilities here:
1) Those spots were all taken when he arrived;
2) He wanted to park ten feet closer to his destination, cyclists be damned.
I'm not sure which is worse. In the first scenario, it means that until those cars moved he had plugged up the entire protected bike lane. In the second scenario, it's only defensible if the two seconds he saved were the difference between someone losing and keeping their hearing or sight. (This is outside the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.) Otherwise, if all he was doing was prescribing some pinkeye drops, that's just not cool.
Speaking of vision, awhile back there was some discussion on this blog (I'm too lazy to look up the exact post) about whether or not people who use extremely bright front lights on their bikes are inconsiderate. I argued that they are not, and that you should feel free to employ a light cannon if you so desire.
However, after passing over the Manhattan Bridge last night I have to admit there is some basis to the argument that maybe people are going a bit crazy with the lumens, because it seemed like every other cyclist coming towards me blazed with the power of a thousand suns as they appeared over the span:
Still, at least when you see a bright front light like that you know they're coming towards
you. What about these psychedelic spoke lights that communicate no information as to your direction at all?
In fact, I'm not even sure that's a bike, and I suspect it might be some sort of alien technology:
I on the other hand was subtly hued in muted earth tones:
And as the sun set the city transformed itself into a galaxy of building lights, traffic signals, and blinkies, and it felt good to be a part of the fold:
Moving on, the Motörgäte scandal continues to ripple across the cycling world and beyond:
(You want a better logo? You do it.)
And the latest news is that Femke Van den Driessche's father and brother are also facing charges of parakeet theft
A report on hln.be Tuesday says that Van den Driessche’s father, Peter, and brother, Niels, are facing criminal charges for trying to steal two expensive parakeets from the pet store De Gouldamandine in Varsenare. If convicted, they could receive prison sentences of between one and five years, and a fine of up to €3,000.
The store owner, Patricia Inghelbrecht, recognised the two men when she was reading about Van den Driessche’s alleged bike fraud in the newspaper, and immediately linked them to her stolen birds
Who didn't see that one coming?
Of course, as delightfully absurd and utterly ridicule-worthy as this story is, some of the reactions have been a bit disappointing and seem to reveal a bit of a double standard in a sport that has always been rife with cheating. Consider this opinion piece by Neal Rogers
:As an athletic endeavor, cycling is fairly unique in its union of man and machine. In this scenario, the body is the engine, providing power and control to the vehicle. Maintaining velocity while handling the machine at or above aerobic threshold is the very essence of the sport. (A few other examples include rowing and cross-country skiing.)
Once a motor is introduced into this scenario, it’s no longer a competition between man and machine; the very essence of the sport has been compromised, robbing fans and competitors of their faith, and therefore, their passion.
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
Okay, putting a motor in your bike to win a race is inexcusable, but how is it any different with blood doping? What's the difference between a bike that's been improved with a motor and a rider that's been transformed by banned science? Not only that, but at least once you pull the motor from the bike, that's it, everything's back to normal. On the other hand, blood doping continues to improve performance even after the athlete stops
, which is why the contrition of all these supposed ex-dopers who come back to the sport rings so false. They're still benefitting years down the road.
And let's not forget that blood doping has killed people, whereas so far motor doping has only humiliated them.Once proven guilty, any athlete implicated in this form of cheating must be banned, forever. And because this level of cheating does not occur in a vacuum, this should also apply to any mechanics, management, and support staff involved.Some may question why punishment for technological fraud should be different than that for using a blood booster, such as EPO, which currently brings a mandatory four-year suspension. While both are cheating, there are differences — in terms of both evidence and execution.
With a concealed motor, there is no questioning sample collection process, or lab protocol; no courtroom arguments between scientists and attorneys.
With a concealed motor, there is very little chance an athlete has “gone rogue” and operated on his or her own, without help. Any professional team mechanic would notice the difference in frame weight, and performance, associated with a motor. The degree of conspiracy would be profound, and defenseless.
With a concealed motor, the relationship between man and machine is indelibly altered. The body is no longer the engine. That line has been crossed
What? Cheating occurs in a vacuum? Did he miss all those depositions in the reasoned decision? Entire networks of riders, team staff, and medical professionals working together to permanently physically alter the performance characteristics of human beings. In comparison, motor doping is a slightly more calculated version of hanging onto the team car.
Then you've got this guy
:“They have to suspend for life, for me they have to suspend for life,” Merckx told reporters in Doha on Monday on the eve of the Ladies Tour of Qatar. “From what I saw yesterday on the television, [it seemed] it was not the first time. They also showed a cyclo-cross on the Koppenberg [the Koppenberg cross where Van den Driessche finished second] and it was not normal. For me, it’s the worst thing you can do. You might as well go by motorcycle.”
Oh, shut up you old doper.
Actually, that would make a good t-shirt:
Oh, and Merckx rides an ebike now:
Merckx added that he, himself has taken to using a motorised bike in recent years, but only on leisure rides. “I also have an electric bike, but not for racing. It’s for climbing, for my health. But for racing, I would never use something like that. That’s very bad,” he said.
Yeah, but here's the real question:
Is he putting those e-assisted results on Strava?
Anyway, as Stevil Kinevil pointed out in a recent post on "All Hail The Black Market,"
it's hard to believe there's not some kind of scapegoating going on here:Anyway as Bama very astutely pointed out regarding the motor- if the U23 folks have it, then you know everyone has it because the kids most certainly don’t have access to the hot shiz first. The sad thing is that the UCI most likely made an example out of Van den Driessche because she was a small but extremely visible fish, simply to send a message to the community at large (and more obvioulsy, professional teams). Popping a pro man at the Giro would be too much of a scandal. Pull the rug out of under a U23 woman? Much less collateral damage.
Sure, eject the 19 year-old kid from the sport forever. Meanwhile, the blood doping generation continues to run it.
And as batshit crazy as cycling is, it seems disingenuous to me to claim it's any more crazy than any other sport:
Oh come on, that's just not fair. Are you kidding me? Football? Boxing??? FIFA?!? Fucking FIFA for chrissake! It's not a sports organization, it's a criminal enterprise!
If anything, tiny motors and stolen parakeets are quaint in comparison.