Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dead, Irrelevant Brands Turn To Cycling for Revival

It seems that long-forgotten brands are seeking to return to former glory by employing their sponsorship of pro cycling teams for promotion.

“Why should RadioShack be the only dinosaur brand out there?” asks Penny Mortensen, Director of Marketing Communications for Team Bennigan’s. “We figured why the hell not? Nothing else has ever worked.”

The new channel has given new enthusiasm to those tasked with reviving fading brands.

“We haven’t been relevant for years and we thought this would be a good way to blow the dust off our brand,” continues Mortensen.

“We’re either going to come out looking cool by getting involved in something hip and fashionable, or we’re going drag the beautiful sport of cycling down with us. Screw them and their sissy shorts. It’s not like any one of them has ever come near one of our delicious burgers anyway.”

Others businesses desperate to breathe new life into their image are quick to follow suit.

“RadioShack’s move was unprecedented,” explains Brad Gorman, Director of Team Gleem announced last month. “The rest of us in the Forgotten Legions of Obsolete Products and Services (FLOPS) just went ‘Whoah! Those clever bastards!’

Soon to be announced are teams from Der Wienerschnitzel, Montgomery Ward, Hush Puppy, Fuller Brush, and most recently, RC Cola.

“We’re tired of being the third or fourth cola choice. We want to knock those jerks at Fanta off their high horses,” proclaims Terry Rombauer-Platt, Marketing Manager at RC. “Ok, so maybe we’re more like the fifth or sixth choice… Definitely no lower than eighth. Honestly, we’re looking to crack the top ten. Shut up!

Some dismiss RadioShack’s move as foolhardy, but “I disagree,” says Mort Krumpton, Chief Marketing Officer for Chic Jeans. “It isn’t easy to sustain a brand for what, like, 170 years? You don’t last that long solely on chumps buying adapters and batteries from geeky, pimple-faced idiots.

“They were selling cheap electronic crap before there was electricity. No, someone with a brain is behind it all. Unless there’s just been a revolving door of incompetent CEOs driving the brand deeper into the ground while sucker shareholders think ‘Maybe this one will turn it around.’ What? Really?!? Oh...”

Krumpton, who until recently served as Chair for the Desperate Organization of Laggards Trying to Survive (DOLTS), oversaw the merger of his organization with FLOPS earlier in the year.

“Through the potent combination of FLOPS and DOLTS, we will create even more new and exciting ways for consumers to find relevance in our brands. Either that, or we’ll live forever in infamy on YouTube for running pathetic and tasteless commercials that flushed the last of our money and sent us into bankruptcy. Again. That, and forcing otherwise respected and proud athletes to act as shills for our worthless dreck.

“At the very least, we hope to end up with some cool cycling gear we can probably sell on eBay.”

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Rather Than Lose Five Pounds, Rider Spends $10k Making Bike Five Pounds Lighter

A few weeks ago, Dan McKutcheon’s 2006 Scott CR-1 weighed a scant 15.63 pounds, “But it could be lighter,” argues McKutcheon.

Though McKutcheon, by his own admission “could lose a few pounds,” he embarked on a quest to lighten his bicycle rather than himself.

“I figured by the time I get through joining a gym, or buying some workout equipment – a StairMaster or some crap – I’d be looking at the same amount it would cost me to totally pimp out my bike,” explains McKutcheon.

“What would I rather have in a couple of years? Some treadmill or a goddam BowFlex collecting dust, or a bike that’s the envy of every other cyclist? I’ll take the fly-weight bike, thank you.”

In his quest, McKutcheon was soon scouring weightweenies.com for suggestions and shortly thereafter, made contact with Bike Tuning Parts of Germany, a specialty manufacturer of “pretty much everything out of carbon.”

“B-T-P was able to help me out with the fine details – like a 6 gram bottle cage, aluminum plates for my Speedplays, and carbon lever mounting hardware. But I had to go big on the stuff that makes the biggest difference.

“Take the wheels for instance. I mean, Bontrager Race XXX Lites are nice, but they’re no Lightweights. There’s four grand right there, but I save, like, 400 grams.

“I even got a Selle Italia C64 saddle. It’s uncomfortable as hell – like sitting on a goddam carbon brick – and cost $469, but at 64 grams? Are you friggin’ kidding me? If I could charge the guys on the coffee ride just to touch it, it would pay for itself in a couple of weeks.”

After several weeks, and roughly $9,700 dollars spent upgrading nearly every component and accessory on his bike – from ceramic bearings and titanium screws, to carbon fiber derailleur clamps and brake arms – and even drilling out his chainrings for that eighties retro look, McKutcheon assesses the progress.

“Practically the only things that aren’t carbon on this bike are the tires, cables, a few screws, and my ass – though you could argue that really, that’s made out of carbon, too.”

With all of his upgrades complete, McKutcheon’s rig now tips the scales at just under eleven and a half pounds, or over four pounds lighter than it was originally. However, at 192 pounds, McKutcheon is still unable to ride his bike.

“After all that, I’m left with a bike that would crumble beneath anyone weighing more than one sixty-five. Now I've got to lose even more weight!

“Damn!” exclaimed McKutcheon, simultaneously crushing his empty Pabst can.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Re-inventing The Wheel: The Meyviq Arse-S (satire)

Guest blog author: Mark Steckline

Finally, a wheel that does more than roll down the road! The new Meyviq Arse-S has broken all the rules. The new wheel not only succeeds in rolling like your typical wheel, but has the capability of literally "launching" you down the road, creating an intense boost when you least expect it. Adding this wheel set to your quiver of high tech components will certainly make you the talk of your weekly group ride. You will soon be giving performances that no one will soon forget.

The technology underlying the Arse-S is a closely guarded secret at Meyviq. But when contacted by this reporter and pressed about the ability of their wheel to "explode" out of corners and "dissolve" while hugging the tightest corners while flying down a mountain road, hubris took over and they felt they had to share more of the technology surrounding this wheel.

Meyviq says the Arse-S is developed as a compression/tension carbon fiber spoke rather than the traditional tension spoke system. When designing the Arse-S, Meyviq said they were looking for something more than a wheel that just spins predictably. To do this, they ultimately had to rely upon design based upon the physics of string theory and particle physics, which allows Meyviq to incorporate random generated variables into wheel performance. Explaining how the new wheel is designed, Meyviq spokesman, Rip Meoff, states "Over the next few years, string theory and particle physics are really going to become more standard in wheel and overall bike design.

Both string theory and particle physics include random components that give the new Arse-S everything that a traditional wheel includes, plus that little extra "je ne sais quoi" that boosts performance. Clearly, when you base your wheel design on the same math used to explain black holes and predict time travel, you have a wheel that has tremendous potential. While we still don't understand all of the math underlying the new design, the benefit is clear: the possibility to travel through time should the wheel hit the "sweet spot" of speed, vibration, rider weight, and proximity to a 1500 foot dropoff"

Knowing that Meyviq was on to something radically different, they knew they also had to make a "quantum leap" in the quality control systems for the new wheel. Mr. Meoff continues, "Meyviq used to base quality control on traditional methods, such as six sigma, and other time tested quality control mechanisms. We began to question how applicable these methods would be to a wheel that is based upon mathematical models that few people understand and in many ways are not yet fully developed or supported in the scientific community. The problem with using our old quality control process was that we were often left without any real world failures to study. Thus we never really knew what could fail or how bad things could get. We believe this is what the cyclist is really concerned about -- what is the incremental risk to get that incremental performance edge? Not some six sigma, whatchamacallit evaluation that ensures failure is remote.

As a result, we decided to move solely to mathematically derived product testing. Meyviq solely relies on equations to prove our products will work, albeit in a random manner. This saves Meyviq considerable time to market and placed the product out on the road much sooner than if we would have used our traditional quality control approach. We believe this is what our customers want: Performance, but with the potential for the random ability of time travel. We think we've built that into the Arse-S wheel system."

Along with this new approach to quality control, Meyviq has instituted a replacement policy for the Arse-S wheelset. In the event the wheel does randomly fail, customers can return the wheel to Meyviq and they will replace the wheel within six months. "In the interim", Mr. Meoff explains, "you most likely will be recovering from a few bumps and bruises anyway, so an immediate replacement policy really didn't seem to make sense to us."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

New Chain Cleaning Tool Actually Cleans Chain

“Over the years, the only thing these devices have been successful in cleaning is my wallet,” laments Tom Freemire. “I was fed up with these so-called chain cleaners just dispersing what grease and grime was once localized on my chain – in effect, making a small mess larger. My chain may be clean, but everything else within a ten-foot radius now has grease on it.”

That was before Tom experienced the Chain-Inator 9000.

“The local snooty pro bike shop had one, so I inquired about the prospect of private ownership. At first I was dismissed as a nutter, but then they realized I was serious.”

With a price tag of just over $12,000 the new Chain-Inator 9000 may be out of reach for some, but for those seeking a completely mess-free and thorough bike chain cleaning and lubrication device, no price is too high.

Freemire was game.

“I figured it was worth it. Like ripping off a Band-Aid. I’d rather pay twelve grand now, than drop $40 every few months for the latest fad in chain cleaning.”

Included in the Chain-Inator price tag is a continuous maintenance contract.

“This thing comes with its own waste disposal system,” continues Freemire. “Once a month, guys in haz-mat suits show up in a helicopter to refill the solvent and lube tanks, and to empty and clean the waste reservoir. Awesome! The neighbors think it’s a terrorist attack, but that’s part of the enjoyment of Chain-Inator ownership.”

Though happy with his new chain cleaning device, the Chain-Inator 9000 has its drawbacks, namely its size. “One of our cars has to sit outside now so that we can put the Chain-Inator in the garage,” explains Freemire. “My wife isn’t happy that she now has to park her Jag in the driveway, but there’s no way I’m letting the Chain-Inator sit out in the elements.”

Another drawback, continues Freemire, is that “Suddenly, everybody in the (Upper Westminster Cycling) club wants to be my friend – and oddly, have their chain cleaned. What a surprise.

“I say, ‘Sure! Just drop off your bike with a nice bottle of Cabernet.’ Some Silver Oak or Opus One and they might have it within the hour.”

What about Two-Buck Chuck?

“It may be a week or two.”

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Armstrong Wins 44th Tour de France on Eve of 100th Birthday

EURO DISNEY, FRANCE, July 29, 2071 – Lance Armstrong wrapped up the overall title today in the 2071 Tour de France, and increased his record of Tour de France trophies to 44.

In what has largely become a non-event due to its predictability, Armstrong is certain to win the now one-man race by simply finishing. Since 2049, other pro riders have refused to enter the event—out of both fear and respect for the aging Armstrong.

“He wins anyway if we are there, so why race?” says Thrzx Novowels of the Latvian squad Knrpt Wsdjg (formerly Bvrd Ptrsjm). “It is futile. I’d rather focus on races where I have a chance of winning. With Lance on the start list, forget it. How would it look to lose to some old guy with a drool cup?”

In 2052, the finish was moved away from the city center to Euro Disney after promoters relented to mounting pressure from Parisian officials. “We are not going to shut down the Champs-Élysées so one goddam American can parade around on his bike around for a few hours,” says Paris mayor, Francois Routin.

The only rider who even comes close to Lance’s record is his own son, Luke, who won Le Grand Boucle 26 straight times from 2022-2047.

“It was tough finishing a step down from my own son those years,” says the elder Armstrong. “I was incredibly proud of him, but those were some pretty tense years between Luke and me. We've only recently resumed correspondence—though he's probably just trying to get back in my will.”

Luke’s success in the event added even more fuel to the love-hate relationship between the French and the dominant Armstrong father-son duo. “The Tour historians are pissed because they now have to put our entire first names in the book—they can’t just put an ‘L.’ Hah! Suck on that, Frenchies!!”

About his son’s decision to leave the sport—and leave his dad as the sole event participant—Armstrong continues, “Ultimately, I kicked his ass. He retired when he was only in his late forties. I still ride him about that.”

Though nearing 100, the spry Armstrong is still a force on a bike. To account for his age, the event has been stretched over the years from three weeks to its present duration of nearly four months. In its heyday, Tour de France stages were commonly well over 100 miles long, but, explains Armstrong, “Now, after 10 miles, I’m pooped and need a nap.”

Friday, July 24, 2009

Contador Arrested for Launching Series of Attacks on Quiet French Village

Amid Alberto Contador’s bid for the 2009 Tour de France title, French authorities arrested the Spaniard at the conclusion of Friday’s stage for the “unconscionable disregard for humanity” he demonstrated in the series of attacks he launched against his adversaries, particularly during the final ascent of the Col du Grabasse, which passes through the previously peaceful village of Duvet.

“We’ve never seen anything like it,” exclaims elder resident Raphael Dornier. “Alberto showed no respect for any human life, including his own. His complete and utter annihilation of other competitors was so merciless that we had no other choice than to notify the local gendarmerie.”

“France has been attacked by many countries over the years, but never by Spain. I don’t think,” observes local teen Antoine Telmosse. “Maybe once or twice. But that was, like, back in the Stone Age or something.”

Witnesses described Contador’s attacks as “brutal,” “vicious,” “savage,” “searing,” and “like, really, really fast.”

Astana’s Directeur Sportif, Johan Bruyneel, reacted to Contador's arrest with shock and disgust. “I havenever and could never imagine such a development. Never has the Tour, a team, and a rider been so disgraced by the intrusion and intervention of the authorities.”

“Contador is completely innocent,” continues Bruyneel. “If anyone is guilty here it’s the other self-proclaimed ‘GC contenders’ for being so pathetic in their inability to match their bold words to the press. ‘I will attack.’ ‘I will prevail.’ Yadda, yadda, yadda. Pffft! They forgot ‘I will bonk and abandon.’ The only thing Alberto is guilty of is keeping his word and bringing honor to the sport and the grandeur of the Tour.”

Bob Roll, observing from the VS. network commentator’s booth, was rendered nearly catatonic by the devastation he witnessed and could only utter “Boom! Pow! Zoom!” Clearly traumatized and scarcely intelligible, Roll was taken away for psychiatric observation.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Phil Liggett Exhausts World's Supply of Cycling Analogies

After nearly four decades as the preeminent voice of professional cycling, Phil Liggett recently used up the last cycling analogy available.

Experts had warned Liggett in recent years that cycling performance analogy resources were running dangerously low. Despite these warnings, however, he continued to deplete vocabulary reserves at a reckless pace.

In 2004, authorities cautioned Liggett after his “excessive use” surrounding Davide Rebellin’s hat-trick of classics victories at the Amstel Gold Race, La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège that year. Liggett’s commentary caused a pronounced dip in resources, and, experts warned, if he were to continue depleting word stores at such a high rate, analogy levels could be critically low by 2007, and entirely depleted by as early as 2010.

However, these warnings came before the unanticipated trials and tribulations of the pro cycling ranks, including ongoing doping allegations of the sport’s top stars.

Armstrong’s return to the sport was alone responsible for excessive use of analogies.

“When Lance came out of retirement, it was the commentating equivalent of wiping out an entire Brazilian rainforest. The devastation was unprecedented,” exclaims Claude Valmont, Director for the French Regional Oral Ministry for Affairs of Grammar and Expression (FROMAGE).

Other commentators have complained that “(Phil) uses up the best ones and then there’s not much left for the rest of us,” says a commentator from a competing network, preferring to remain anonymous. “After he’s done describing a race, all we’re left with is zingers like ‘He rode really fast.’ Oooh! Whoopee.”

Regarding his preparation for the 2009 Tour, “I thought I’d packed enough analogies,” says Liggett. “But we’re not even to the first rest day, and I get a call from one of my suppliers saying ‘Phil, we’ve got a problem.’ I was stunned.”

Liggett was dismayed to find a lack of sympathy among his compatriots. “You’d think after all we’ve been through, Paul (Sherwen) would share some of his. Right! I’d have better luck asking him for bone marrow. And don’t think for a moment I’d stoop to borrow some from Bob (Roll). If I used his words, people would think I’ve had a stroke.”

Despite the setback, Liggett remains undeterred. “There are rumors of a rich, new discovery of cycling analogies in the Baikal Lake region of Siberia. But permitting could be tricky—to say nothing of extraction and transportation logistics.”

“For now, though, I’ll have to get by with the basic adjectives, or get more creative in my analogies.”

With that, Liggett’s eyes suddenly sparkled with inspiration as he exclaimed, “Cavendish is charging down the finishing straight like a furloughed polygamist…um, a startled hedgehog…er, an incontinent bridesmaid!!

“Hmmm…still needs some work.”

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bike Shop Employee Actually Polite, Helpful—Not Bitter Amateur Racer

Glen Lawson is fed up with the attitude he commonly encounters at the bike shops he frequents around his home in Lakewood, Colorado.

“In most shops, you’ve got an assortment of rude Cat 3 racers working,” Lawson explains. “Le Cyclery is the worst. They’re too busy recounting the last office park crit to help you find some 27” Shraeder tubes and Mr. Tuffys for your commuter. Their condescension is palpable.

“It’s like I’m bothering them to give them my money,” continues Lawson. “If you’re not there to drop thousands on some fancy carbon rig, a Campy gruppo, or some Zipp wheels, they won’t give you the time of day.”

Contrary to his experiences at Le Cyclery, Lawson commends the atmosphere he recently encountered at The Local Bike Shop. “They’re new and I figured they couldn’t be any worse, so I decided to give them a shot.”

Lawson was immediately impressed.

“Right away, I noticed a big difference. As soon as I entered the store, I was directed to sit in a big recliner by a polite clerk named Travis. While he gave me a foot rub, another clerk asked what items I was looking for. She then proceeded to retrieve what I needed for me while I got a hot towel treatment and a chair massage. The whole time, the kids were going nuts in their professionally staffed ‘KidZone.’

But the great experience didn’t end there.

“After a cappuccino at their oxygen bar, I was ready to check out. But they have some crazy loyalty program, too. Combined with their grand opening promotion, not only did I leave the store without paying for anything, I somehow now have $167 in store credit. Unbelievable!

“I also got some free water bottles and candy for the kids. When I got out to my car, it had been washed and waxed. Later, Travis swung by the house to drop off a tray of homemade enchiladas for dinner. I mean, when was the last time you got service like that?”

Sadly, The Local Bike Shop was short-lived.

“I was definitely planning to give them more of my business, but when I stopped by for some Tri-Flow a few days later, the place was boarded up. What a bummer. I guess it’s true what they say. The brightest light burns the briefest.

“But now what’s my $167 worth?!? They’ll definitely be hearing from my attorney!!”

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tandem Stoker Tired of Staring at Husband’s Ass

Veteran tandem enthusiast, Heather Coburn, is growing increasingly frustrated with her role as the perpetual stoker on the tandem she shares with her husband, Gene.

“I was all for it when he sold me on the idea a few years back, but now I think I got the butt end of the deal—literally,” says Coburn. “It’s okay for shorter distances, but after about hour three of a century ride, I’m sick of it. And I’ll never ride with Gene again after we’ve had Thai food the night before. I might as well be drafting a porta-potty pumper.”

Coburn describes how she unwittingly found herself relegated to the role of stoker.

“I was intrigued by the novelty of the tandem at first. But the novelty soon wore off. Gene’s as happy as can be out in front. He’s up there—nose in the wind, big goofy grin as he pilots us—totally oblivious to the never-changing view that is my hell.”

Besides the unchanging view of her husband’s backside, there is other unpleasantness.

“Going uphill is the worst,” explains Coburn. “Only the most skilled tandem duo can get out of the saddle together. We’re not quite there, so when he gets out of the saddle, his Black Bottoms practically chafe my nose. It’s disgusting.”

Don’t get me wrong, he’s got a nice butt—especially from all of the cycling we do. But like anything else, too much of a good thing can be unhealthy. Even after 22 years of marriage, there’s still areas of our lives where it’s possible to share too much information.”

Coburn feels she was suckered into the lure of a tandem and wants to warn others.

“Couples see us and they think ‘Oh, how cute! That looks like fun! We should get a tandem.’ Don’t fall for it. The tandem industry doesn’t want you to know that the stoker’s role is one of indentured servitude. It’s a dirty secret."

Coburn adds, “If you ever see a smiling stoker, they’re in on the ruse. They’ve been duped, so they want others to be fooled too so they’re not alone. Misery loves company.”

Coburn is on an inspired quest to expose the tandem stoker’s reality.

“Until now, no-one’s been brave enough to come forward with the ugly truth out of fear of reprisal from the tandem Mafia. I want my story—and that of other stokers—to be told in a Lifetime original movie. Or at least in a segment on Maury. I’m also thinking of starting a stoker support group.

“Unless you’re a proctologist, that’s way too long to spend with your face four inches from someone’s ass.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Visiting Americans “Totally Blank” on What to Write on Giro Course

Visiting American cycling fans Tony Marzavas and Mark Horton were recently frustrated as they tried to think of something clever to write on the Giro d'Italia course.

The two pondered what to write in the road on the ascent of Croce d’Aune during the Giro’s fourth stage on Wednesday from Padova to San Martino di Costrazza.

Horton explains that after traveling all the way from Columbus, Ohio “we were pretty flustered when we couldn’t think of anything clever.

“We staked out the perfect spot – right near the King of the Mountains sprint at the summit. But by the time we got situated, we both just kinda looked at each other. We totally blanked.”

Their momentary lapse in concentration made them uneasy.

“We tried not to panic. After leaving our families and spending thousands to get here, this was our chance to get a nanosecond of television coverage and cement our legacy. If we wrote something poignant, the riders would notice it and fondly recall later, ‘Remember when we were climbing Sestrière and someone had written Go Levi! in the road? That was nice.’”

Once their creative juices started flowing however, the pair was dismayed to realize that many of their favored options were already taken.

“We’re here to support Astana, but by the time we found a good spot, somebody had already written Levi! Levi! Levi! nearby. A little bit further up, someone had written Go Lance! in giant letters. Right below it, there was a big Chris Horner. I mean, who’s left? Popovych? Brajkovic?!? Are you kidding me? There’s no way in hell I’m going to try to spell either of them and risk a typo that might be seen by millions of viewers. Plus, I’m pretty sure they’re not American anyway.

“Of course, someone had already drawn a giant penis. Damn.”

Undeterred, the duo dug deep to think of something that would stand out. “We finally ended up writing Vive le Giro. We got a few funny looks from some Italians – or maybe they were French. But I think they were just jealous that they didn’t think of it first.

“After some initial panic about our options, we were satisfied. It’s not in direct support of Astana per sé, but reflects our passion for the Tour. I mean Giro. I can’t wait to check the DVR when we get back to see our work immortalized.

“I wonder if the news will be waiting for us at the airport when we return.”

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Drunk Belgians Argue: Who Was Better? Thorju Yosteen or Justeen Thoryos?

Alcohol-fueled tensions were running high among Belgian cycling fans Saturday night at Le Fluurgen Klopp, a popular pub in the working class suburb of Assebroek* outside the industrial city of Faargenkold.

The topics of tonight’s heated debate were the storied careers of two unsung Belgian amateurs. In between orders for another Stella Artois, the argument raged.

“Thorju Yosteen!”

“Justeen Thoryos!!”

Yosteen won the coveted Blort-Flerg-Blort in 1972, just edging his more seasoned teammate, Thoryos, as members of the short-lived Zoop Knurd squad. Thus began an intense rivalry that characterized many Belgian amateur races throughout the seventies.

Few Belgians will forget when Thoryos won the ’73 Shaartsnortt kermesse series. Yosteen claimed that Thoryos had given him a ‘Belgian hickey’ —licking his pinky finger and sticking it in Yosteen’s ear, thus distracting him to gain the victory. Officials failed to witness the alleged offense, and despite Yosteen’s protest, Thoryos retained the win.

Their intensely competitive tactics continued in the ’74 Korntuurd Classic when Yosteen gave Thoryos a ‘Belgian rugburn’ —lighting Thoryos’ jersey on fire as they rode, and escaping for the win amid the confusion and disarray as Thoryos flailed to remove his flaming garment.

Thoryos saught revenge in the 43rd running of the Hoon Vaarg Vannddderrrdaasssen Boont in 1975. Thoryos co-conspirators saw to it that Yosteen received a ‘Belgian lunchbag’ —a musette filled with lead weights. As Yosteen sped through the feed zone, he crashed heavily and dislocated his right shoulder as he reached for the approximately 200 kilo food tote.

When Yosteen resumed racing in the 1976 Puupfaart Race, their aggressive racing action turned borderline murderous when Yosteen gave Thoryos a ‘Belgian appendectomy’ —stabbing Thoryos in the side with a tire iron.

Sadly, both riders’ careers ended prematurely when during the 1977 Ronde Van Boogerflikk, they received lifetime bans after mutually attempting to inflict a ‘Belgian waffle’ —throwing popular breakfast pastries at each other during the race.

*This is a real town in Belgium. Look it up. All other names of pubs, cities, riders, teams, races, and 'Belgian anything' (except waffles) are fictional. Duh.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Directeur Sportif Can Yell “Go! Go! Go!” in Seventeen Languages

“I can also shout ‘you’re worthless!’ and ‘you’re not getting paid this month!’” proudly proclaims Stein Van der Plorken, Directeur Sportif for the Danish continental squad, Hoonvurp KD.

“Our team is like the goddam UN,” explains Van der Plorken. “In team meetings, when I speak in my native tongue, I get blank stares from most of the room. And don’t even get me started on the friggin’ Kazakhs.

“I know they can understand me, but they still just sit there – making me look like an idiot.”

“He thinks we’re from Uzbekistan or someplace,” explains neo-pro Yurpi Devnichek through a translator. “He’s always shouting some crazy language at us. It sorta sounds like Russian, but Mirka (Tserdignyev) and I are Albanian. Stein thinks if he repeats himself louder and slower, we’ll somehow understand. We have no idea what the hell he’s talking about until Prevak, the soigneur, tells us.

“It’s tense for a moment or two, but it’s kinda fun seeing him get so worked up.”

The demands on his knowledge of languages frustrate Van der Plorken. “When we signed the new kid from Estonia, I about lost it. Great! There’s another 100 Euro I get to spend on RosettaStone just so I can talk to some guy for a couple of months before he quits or we sack him. I should own stock in that goddam software.”

Van der Plorken explains his approach to conversing with such a diverse squad. “It’s impossible to be fluent in all the riders’ languages. I learn the bare minimum just so I can communicate the essentials. Principally, it’s what needs to be said on the road to motivate them. Phrases like ‘go faster or you’re fired!’ tend to be the most effective.

“Another useful phrase is ‘your mommy isn’t here.’

Van der Plorken continues, “I don’t care what country you’re from, everyone understands ‘doping control!’ Man, it’s fun to yell that in the middle of the night and watch them scurry like roaches.

“Take that, you wise-ass Kazakhs.”

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Tour de France Caravan Mishap Causes Massive Tchotchke Spill

The Tour de France was marred by an accident today among the parade of vehicles that prelude the racers.

The carnage began when a giant tea kettle failed to note the slowing weird balloon car it was following and plowed into the rear of the ‘vehicle.’

The accident triggered a chain reaction sending some sort of motorized hat and a platform of dancing teens singing about banking into the fray. A wheeled spinning top and a historic Citroen carrying models in kitchen aprons completed the pileup.

Though no serious injuries were reported, the accident sent a tchotchke volume “of cataclysmic proportions” spilling into the roadway.

French haz-mat teams (Response Hazard Français) were immediately dispatched to the scene to contain the spill and begin the laborious clean up of thousands of pointless novelties—crappy keychains, magnets, and other “bizarre twisty thingys.”

“We couldn’t figure out what those damn things were,” explains RHF captain Christophe L’Amont. “But needless to say, no-one wanted to touch them. I’m glad we had the tongs.”

Witnesses describe a scene of chaos and panic. “When the first dumb little novelty pen landed at my feet, I feared the worst and screamed ‘Omigod! No!’ when my daughter reached to pick it up,” recounts visiting American, Steve Burress.

“I quickly swept her up and climbed to higher ground to escape the toxic flood. She was sad at first for not getting the pen, but she’ll thank me later for sparing her the grief of realizing it’s worthless crap.”

The French emergency response teams made short order of the spill clean up to ensure that the race was not delayed. “We got to use some special equipment we’ve picked up in anticipation of just such a mishap,” explains L’Amont. “Looks like the snow shovels and Hefty trash bags were pretty good investments after all.”

“It was absolute merde that no-one in their right mind would assign any value to whatsoever. Some marketing geniuses dream those up—just so that it can all now choke our landfills.”

Due to the volume, however, “we couldn’t get it all,” continues L’Amont. “We just did what we could to keep the race schedule. We’ll have to go back to truly assess the environmental impact and the long-term effects of the disaster. It’s imperative to understand the ramifications of such an event and properly educate the public.

“In terms of importance, it’s probably a close second to global warming.”

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bob Roll Fractures Fingers, Wrist Explaining Sprint

In his trademark gesticulations, Bob Roll injured his hands recently as he described the sprint capping off the Tour of Flanders.

In his patently passionate mannerisms, as his hands flailed, they inadvertently collided, fracturing Roll’s little “pinkie” and ring finger of his left hand as well as his right wrist.

With both hands now immobilized in casts, it was originally feared that Roll would be rendered mute and therefore unable to fulfill his duties as a commentator on Versus.

Fellow commentators Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen expressed concern.

“Like a torn ligament to a cyclist, this type of injury can be devastating to a commentator’s career – especially to someone of Bob’s…er,…'style',” explains Sherwen. “He’s like an Italian grandmother on speed. If you’re within an arm’s length of Bob when he starts explaining a race, if you’re not careful, you could lose an eye.”

Roll is confident in a full recovery. “I’ll be alright. I’ll just have to talk a little bit slower and softer for a while. It’ll be hard – especially with Paris-Roubaix coming up, but I think I can manage.”

Roll was then suddenly distracted by a video of the recent Ghent-Wevelgem finale and showered the room with splintering fiberglass – shattering both casts as he began to explain the race dynamics.

‘Popemobile’ Commissioned for Tour de France Commissaire

In an effort to view Tour de France proceedings better and more comfortably, chief race commissaire, Philippe Dufault, has ordered the delivery of a purpose-built vehicle from which to oversee the event. Early renderings of the design bear a striking resemblance to the so-called ‘Popemobile.’

“I’m tired of sticking my head through the sunroof of a Peugeot like a goddam gopher,” complains Dufault. “I’m the freaking Chief Commissaire, and I’m standing up in a sedan like a drunk teen on prom night, getting my hair messed up and bugs in my teeth.”

“It’s disgraceful. I’ve had enough,” continues Dufault. “I finally figured if the Pope can have a sweet ride, then certainly the Tour Commissaire deserves one too.”

La Toussuire Coachworks has been commissioned to build the special car. Gilbert Gramont of LTC explains, “It’s an unusual request, but we are more than happy to build this one-of-a-kind vehicle.”

Besides providing nearly 360-degrees of unobstructed viewing, Gramont describes some of the car’s other special features. “It’s mostly glass – basically a big fishbowl – so we were a little surprised by his request to include a toilet and bidet, but hey, who are we to judge? Whatever he wants, we’ll build it.”

Dufault defends the unusual accoutrements. “The stages are long, and as with the riders, nature calls. I’ll gladly forego a little privacy rather than stop and dash over a hedge, behind a rock wall, or be subjected to the indignity of a porta-potty. Ewww.”

“If I do this, I’m going big. I don’t plan on giving up my post anytime soon, so I want it to have as many creature comforts as possible,” continues Dufault. “I may even add a mini-bar.”

Asked if his car might be confused with the actual ‘Popemobile,’ Dufault is unapologetic. “It’s fine if people think I’m the Pope. If they want to get down on their knees and bow to me, throw roses and the like, that’s fine. Frankly, I deserve that sort of respect anyway.”

La Toussuire Coach plans to base the vehicle on the chassis of a BMW X5, “but that’s where the similarity ends,” Gramont continues. Besides the passenger dome, “Dufault wants some engine modifications as well. We’re not sure exactly what they are, though, as his direction to ‘build something that hauls ass’ was a little vague.

“I think if we just put some loud pipes and bitchin’ spinners on it, he’ll be happy.”

Friday, April 10, 2009

Cycling's Sages: Age and Guile beat Youth, Innocence, and a Bad Haircut*

Armstrong. Hincapie. Leipheimer. Voigt. McEwen. Just a few of cycling’s elder statesmen that are still mixing it up and dishing it out in what is supposed to be the twilight of their careers.

Cycling, like any sport, is one in which a pro’s successes – and ability to remain competitive – are largely a function of how old (or young) they are. All of the aforementioned cyclists are 35 or older and still racing. And winning.

Armstrong, until his recent collarbone fracture, was an instrumental lieutenant in Leipheimer’s Tour of California victory. Oh, and let’s not forget about his plans to make a run at the Giro as well as the Tour this year (despite his accident, he still may). George Hincapie claims to be as strong as ever, and has his sights on the spring classics – notably the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Jens Voigt just cleaned up at the Criterium International, and Robbie McEwen is still one of the top sprinters. And until recently, you could include the likes of Zabel, Cipollini, and the ever-present Ekimov as contenders.

So what gives? What’s with these comparative codgers still enjoying the top ranks of the sport? Ah, these wise sages – the Yodas of pro cycling if you will – have done enough Tours of duty to know that the sport is as much about mental savvy as athletic prowess. What subtle indications betray a particular rider’s fitness (or lack thereof)? What moves to chase? Whose wheel to follow? When to time your attack?

At this level, and frankly, at their age, the ability to perform is as much about energy conservation as it is about energy reserves (strength). It is the knowledge of how to preserve what precious little there is in the tank and exactly when to floor it and cross the line on fumes. Also, having another ten years of training and racing at the sport’s top level over the ranks of young bucks hasn’t hurt. All the while under the careful direction of their battalion of directeurs, doctors, coaches, nutritionists, midwives, rhinoplasty surgeons, and astrological advisors.

Are these masters-level cyclists the only ones winning? Hardly. There is strong pressure from the undergrad ranks to make sure that any potential fish head is mercilessly jettisoned from the peloton before it even has the chance to stink. Any bearded, bespectacled, trudging post-doc, though admired for their accomplishments – some of which pre-date the birth dates of the rising class – come race day, are scrutinized for any weakness, and ground up and spit out like chaff at the first sign of cracking.

However, the names mentioned are giving off no indications of foul odor, nor would appear to anytime soon. Quite the contrary. But are they the exception to the norm? Perhaps. They didn’t get to where they are without being meticulous perfectionists, mastering both the nuances of live-fire races and rigorous training regimens. They have much to teach, and those their junior have much to learn regarding their approaches to success.

Much has already been written regarding Armstrong’s return to the sport and what it portends. Some liken the current Astana lineup as a tinderbox destined to spontaneously combust. Surely, so many superstars on one team can only spell disaster. Witness the late T-Mobile team of 2005 boasting a trifecta of Tour podium contenders in Ullrich, Vinokourov, and Klöden. The infighting destroyed the hopes for any of them. With so many individual agendas, the result was foretold and obvious to everyone – apparently save for the team management and sponsors.

With Astana, I am not so naïve to not realize that this year’s Tour is shaping up to be a dramatic soap opera. Will Armstrong make good on his overtures to work for Contador, or will the whole story unravel like the infamous Hinault-LeMond duel of 1986? Teammates in jersey only with faux smiles and stilted, uncomfortable congratulations?

If Contador has any sense, he’ll look at Armstrong’s presence not as a potential threat to his GC chances, but as an opportunity to learn from (arguably) the sport’s greatest. Even if Armstrong pulls an Hinault and goes for personal glory, my advice to Contador borders on Zen: Study. Learn. Practice. Master. Wear clean underwear. Respect your elders.

If you’re going to get schooled, get schooled by cycling’s sensei. There’s no shame in it, and the lesson will serve you for years to come…so you may ultimately pass your wisdom of the ruthless ranks of the pro peloton on to your own understudies someday.

Ultimately, the declining physical ability of those highlighted here (and this is by far from an exhaustive list) will more than offset any advantage provided by their mental acuity and they will fade from their present glory. But until then, they have a lot left to teach, the younger ranks have much to learn, and we have an incredible amount of awesome cycling to enjoy.

*With apologies to P.J. O’Rourke, whose book of the same name is pure genius and should be required reading of all who are literate.

Row over ‘Safety Bicycle’ Causes Buttocks Baring

The appearance of a newfangled “safety bicycle” in Wumbler Square last Saturday afternoon caused quite a stir. Several nearby penny-farthing riders took notable offense.

“I was atop my lov’ly penny when I observed some contemptuous rapscallions bandying about with a so-called ‘safety bike,’” quoteth Sir Langley Winchester III of Tuppence Row. “Abominations, I say!”

Winchester’s opine was roundly lauded with an uproarious “Hear, hear!” from none other than notable socialite E. Oliver Farnsworth (of his namesake’s goose quill fortune and fame).

Other members of The Pottsdam High-Wheel Flyers, the sporting club in which messrs Winchester and Farnsworth are members, are similarly bemused by these curiously contrived cousins to the velocipede.

Winford Goodfellow observes, “The velo was rendered obsolete by the arrival of the grand high wheel. That these bastard half-brother contraptions should appear at their wake is most troubling to those of us who would rather see society advance than…than…the opposite of advance. Humph.

This stern dismissal of the odd-looking “safety” elicited another hearty “Hear, hear!” from Farnsworth.

“Those street urchins and their wretched machine are an affront to cultured bicycle enthusiasts. Why, they aren’t even wearing proper derbies,” added Winchester. “Let them return it to the sewers from which it—and they—emerged.”

“Hear, hear!”

Timmy Doogan, apparent possessor of the peculiar “safety” was heard to comment, “Those high wheelers on their high horses, they think they're so keen. What a bunch of knebbish walfoonies. They wouldn’t know a great new invention if it nibbled on their hindquarters, the stoogie gompers!”

With that, Doogan appeared to be adjusting his trousers when he suddenly exposed his knickers in the direction of the high-wheel riders, one of whom was so distracted by the outrageous scene, he toppled—narrowly escaping grievous injury from the six-foot fall, his impact cushioned by horse manure.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Cat 4 Racer Snubs Cat 5 “Losers”

Jonathan Knopff has held a USCF racing license since the early-nineties, and since then, “He’s raced the bare minimum to maintain his Cat 4 status,” complains Toby Mercer. “He’ll enter just as many races as required to keep his Cat 4 rank – just so he can thumb his nose at us Cat 5 guys.”

Knoff justifies his stance. “Back in the day, Cat 4 was where you started. It was the bloody trenches where you made a name for yourself. Then they introduced this loser class a few years back for those weenies that can’t even make Cat 4,” explains Knopff. “Pathetic.”

“Jon rides with the club with an air about him like his sh*t doesn’t stink – all because he’s got a Cat 4 license,” continues Mercer. “The only reason he’s able to hang onto it is because he’s ‘grandfathered.’ How apropos. That guy could be my grandfather. Only my grampa would be a Cat 3 or 2 by now.”

“He won’t even talk to Cat 5 guys,” Mercer adds. “He treats us like we’re untouchables or something – like we’re carrying parasites or the plague.”

“Those guys are just jealous,” explains Knopff. “The truth is, I’ve worked my ass off and can ride them off my wheel any day. They’re proud of having a Cat 5 license? Congratulations, lame-oids. You can balance on two wheels and breathe at the same time. Whoopee! That’s worth noting when you’re five. Not so much when you’re 35.”

Knopff continues, “Now, you just send in your check to get your little wallet card and window decal. Not like when you had to include a pint of blood and a tooth with your license application like I did.”

What about next year – when he will share his Cat 4 class with a good portion of the Cat 5 racers he currently spurns? “We’ll see if they can hack the big leagues (of Cat 4 racing). I’ll bet a lot of these guys head back to the pillow-soft comfort of Cat 5. In that case, they might as well go back to their thumb and blankie.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Rider Returns from Saturday Ride Weighing More than When He Left

“I just don’t understand it,” exclaims Ron Barlow in frustration. “I started riding to lose weight, but I’m just getting fatter.”

The consistent cycling club rider has been frustrated in recent months by his lack of fitness and surprising weight gain, despite his dedication to a strict exercise regimen.

“Every Saturday morning, we meet at Cinnamon Productions and I load up one of their gooey rolls for energy. After an hour or so of riding, we’ll usually stop at the Donut Star in Newport to refuel. Then, before we get to Laguna, I gotta get a date shake at the Sugar Shack or I’ll have withdrawals,” continues Barlow. “It’s a (Seal Beach Cycling) Club tradition.”

“At the end of the ride, there’s nothing better than an Alamo Burrito at Taco Surf. It’s huge. You’ve gotta wash that sucker down with a couple of Pacificos. By the time I get home, I’m five pounds heavier than when I left – even though I’ve burned, I dunno, like, a zillion calories.”

Despite his commitment to weekend club rides, Barlow laments, “It’s just bizarre. I’m growing increasingly concerned that there’s something bigger going on.”

The rider is turning to professional evaluation of his condition. “I’ve started working with a sports nutritionist and physiologist,” Barlow explains. “On Tuesday, I’m going in for a full BMI (Body Mass Index) work up – blood analysis, and the whole astronaut water tank immersion thing.”

“I’m a little freaked out over what the testing might show – like maybe I’ve got some weird muscle syndrome or a glandular condition,” continues Barlow. “But I’m trying not to think about it and just live my life.”

Asked what he thinks could be the cause, an exasperated Barlow exclaims, “I wish I knew. It might be the five or six energy gel packs I need on the ride in order to maintain the club’s twelve to fourteen mile-per-hour average pace. Who knows what’s in those damn things, but they’re pretty tasty.”

Asked if he’s going to keep riding, “For sure,” says Barlow. “I’m already looking forward to next Saturday’s ride and another big burrito afterwards. Those things are friggin’ awesome!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Rider Gives In, Tattoos Chainring Mark on Right Calf

Martin Chenowyth has been a member of the Slocum Valley Wheelmen for nine years, and in that time, “I can’t count how many times I’ve come back from a ride with a friggin’ chainring mark on my leg. I finally figured, what the hell – might as well get the damned thing tattooed,” explains Chenowyth. “It’s there all the time anyway. At least this way, it won’t get grease on my clothes.”

“Honestly, I don’t know why quite a few others don’t get tattooed as well. It’s not like I’m the only one who always seems to have a chainring mark on my leg,” Chenowyth continues. “But perhaps I’m the only one not in denial.”

Other club members were skeptical of Chenowyth’s decision. “Well, if he’s gotten it tattooed, and he ends up with a chainring mark after every ride anyway, won’t he now have two?” asks Carl Tremaine.

“It’s a fair question,” says Chenowyth. “Truth is, after each ride, I’ve got four or five. At least now, I can say one is deliberate.”

Other SVW club members voiced support. “I think it’s pretty cool,” says Tracy Holister, “I dig a guy with a tat – even if it is just greasy tooth marks. Rowrr!”

Chenowyth’s wife, however, was not amused.

“At first he says ‘I want a tattoo’ and I’m thinking, great! Something sexy and manly,” says Rhonda Chenowyth. “But then he gets these damn toothmarks on his calf. Oooh!! Take me now, you sexy beast! The only difference I noticed was that the checkbook was about $300 lower this month. Idiot.”

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Annoying ‘Jack Rabbit' Rider Found Beaten with Own Frame Pump

“Everyone knows that on Sundays, we ride mellow, but there’s no stopping Nesmith,” says Terry Volmer of the Gelatto Velo club in Spokane, Washington. “That jackass.”

Fellow clubmate Jake Nesmith was found beaten, apparently with his own frame pump, on an otherwise peaceful Sunday club ride last weekend. “He was always a cocky little sonofabitch with his old bike, but when he got that new Tarmac a couple of months ago, he became really insufferable,” continues Volmer.

The day started normally enough for a Sunday ride of the GV club. The group had been cruising socially for a few miles down Route 34. Soon, however, events took an ugly turn. “We were barely past the turnoff (to Castle Rock) when Nesmith takes off,” says Vince Renner. “I said ‘Just let him go.’”

A couple of would-be chasers drifted back as Nesmith disappeared up the road.

“We had all but forgotten about his attack when a few minutes later, we find him bruised and moaning by the side of the road,” continues Renner. “A couple of guys wanted to keep going, saying ‘he’s moaning, he must be alive’ – but I said ‘Nah, his wife’ll kill me. We gotta help him out.’”

Pressed for details, Volmer adds, “At first, we thought he’d been hit by a car, but then we noticed his frame pump was all bent up nearby with blood and hair on it.”

Asked who might be responsible, “He never got a look at the guy...for that matter, he doesn’t remember seeing anyone,” says Volmer. “Some say it might have been the ghost of Stan Rathman – one of the founding fathers of the club. He hated it when anyone challenged the sanctity of the cohesive group on a Sunday ride and would verbally redress any ‘jack rabbits’ as he called them. That would have been so like Stan.”

Volmer paused, then added, “Otherwise, no-one’s talking. Some things are better off left alone, know what I mean? But I don’t think Nesmith or anyone else will be testing the pack on a Sunday for a while.”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tyler Farrar: Man or Myth?

The cycling world is a-buzz, or perhaps more accurately in this age, a-“Twitter” with the promise foretold by Tyler Farrar’s surprising win in the third stage of Tirreno-Adriatico last week.

Judging from the photos, no-one was more surprised than a certain mister Cavendish. I’m sure he would rather see the pictures of him looking astonished to his left as Tyler edged past him in the final meters disappear from the web. Cavendish was as disappointed as much as Farrar was elated at having let this one slip.

But let’s break it down. There are many complex variables in a sprint, a critical one being “luck”—or the ability to make one’s own luck. Farrar made his own luck in textbook fashion to notch “the biggest win” of his career to date. To be sure, Farrar is a sprinter. He’s won sprints before and will again. But it has never been against such a potent gathering of the world’s best. That he outfoxed, outkicked, and outlasted the likes of Boonen, McEwen, Hunter, Hushovd, Petacchi,—and, oh yeah, Cavendish—should not be discounted. But nor does it necessarily announce the arrival of the next great sprinting hope and the demise of the greats.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. This was one sprint in one multi-stage race. The stars aligned for Tyler this time and he pulled a coup of great magnitude, but he must prove consistency against this caliber of greats before we necessarily become as excited as he is. Even Farrar noted that Cavendish slowed towards the end allowing him to slip past. Was Cavendish legitimately spent having mis-timed and gone for it too early, or did he think he had yet another sprint in the bag and just let down his guard a fraction—and a fraction too early? The photos suggest that Cavendish was full on the gas and Farrar was simply the fastest man on the day.

But to make this a regular occurrence vs. isolated incident, the Garmin Chipotle team needs to gel a bit more as a lead-out unit for Farrar. The edge goes to Team Columbia in this regard as they’ve had more practice, and a more singular focus in launching Cavendish from their train as the Big Engine That Could. Plus, they’ve arguably got more battle-hardened booster stages for Cav in the likes of Eisel, Hagen, and Griepel. And even aging Hincapie has been known to mix it up in the sprint (he was the second highest-placed Team Columbia rider on this stage). They let one get away this time, and trust me, they’ll be reviewing the game tapes, but they’re not panicking. Yet.

Garmin Chipotle has the building blocks of talent, and Vaughters has the intellect and ingenuity (read “moxie”) to put it together and make it happen. They are perhaps a season or so away from truly establishing their formula in this aspect of racing. Or at least taking their current sprinting construct to the top ranks of the world’s stage and dishing out another royal, nose-thumbing smack down. Vaughters’ renegade, scrappy approach needs a bit of smoothing out to make Farrar’s win truly replicable, and Garmin Chipotle’s sprint successes more the norm rather than the exception at this level, against the sport’s top sprinters.

Is this the one and only time we’ll hear from Farrar? No. Should the current top-rank sprinters take note? Indeed. Should we be more excited than ever for these types of sprint finishes? Youbetcha.

Club Rider Favors Italian Amateur Squad Kit He Picked Up On Vacation

Eric Fernandez returned recently from a family vacation to Italy and was soon spotted favoring a random Italian amateur squad’s kit he purchased at a shop in Lucca. He quickly alienated several of his local club’s loyal members.

“He doesn’t even care that the sponsor is a goddam sanitary napkin company,” says irritated clubmate Glenn Thornbull. “There’s an unwritten protocol—if you ride with the (Greater Mossburg Bicycle) club, you wear the club kit. But ever since he got back from Italy, that’s all I’ve seen him in. He doesn’t give a shit. He probably sleeps in it.”

The colorful kit has been a divisive catalyst among the GMBC ranks. “I don’t care if he rides in his pajamas, frankly,” says Christy Hoit. “I think it’s great. There are some stuffed shirts that treat this club like it’s a military academy. ‘You vill vear zee uniform!!’ Gimme a friggin’ break. Can’t we just ride?”

When asked to comment, Fernandez was unfazed. “I like the design. And anyway, when I wear my Pinate Frimo kit, people notice me. Do you think anyone cares if I wear my GMBC jersey? No. Now I look European and exotic.”

When told that Pinate Frimo made adult diapers, Fernandez replied, “No…wait. What?”

Rider Swears Aloud After Flatting

Several members of the Norfolk, VA-based Velo Bluto club were exposed to a string of profanity delivered by one of their own veteran members on last Saturday’s club ride.

Dave Mullen unleashed a barrage of curse words when the rear tire on his TREK Madone 5.2 punctured at approximately 8:07 am Saturday, shortly after rolling away from Minsky’s Bakery at 83rd and Wabash.

Witnesses were stunned. “I don’t know where this came from,” said Don “Fletch” Fletcher. “First, I heard the tell-tale ‘phsssh’ of someone flatting, and the next thing I know, Dave is yelling ‘Sh*t! Goddammit!! You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me!!’ Wait… You’re not going to print that are you?”

Cori Joplin was also within earshot of the tirade.

“We're all shocked. Some of us are talking intervention. Dave is beating himself up pretty hard over his behavior though, so maybe we’ll give him some time to see if he self-corrects. But we’re ready to step in if we feel he’s in danger of slipping again.”

The normally mild-mannered Mullen was at a loss for an explanation.

“I am embarrassed and ashamed…I don’t know why I said such vulgar, hurtful things.” Mullen continued, “I don’t like making excuses, but I guess it was maybe a combination of things.

Since I’d flatted last weekend too, it was a new tube. Plus, we had just started rolling – we weren’t even up to the first goddam light yet—and sonofabitch, it just had to be the rear tire, didn’t it?!? All because some douchebag broke a beer bottle in the street. I just f*cking lost it!”

No charges were filed in the incident, however “He’s a changed person,” continued Joplin. “We’re all looking at Dave a little differently now that we know what he’s capable of. I hope that in time, we can all heal and move past this ugliness.”

Why You Need At Least Ten Bicycles, And The Types of Bikes They Should Be

After much deliberation, I have determined that everyone should have at least 10 bicycles. To truly appreciate these two-wheeled marvels and the liberating experience they bring, you need more than one.

You wouldn’t paint with one color, would you? No. You need the spectrum. I believe I have fairly represented the spectrum of cycling without getting too crazy into “penny farthings” and such handlebar mustache nonsense. This is a modern list for the progressive thinker, with due respect to cycling heritage, of course. In no particular order, these are the bikes you need. The justification for each is self-evident (brands are in parentheses).

1. Full-carbon pimped out featherweight hillclimbing rig. This should not weigh more than 15 lbs. and should work out to roughly $500-$600/pound (Calfee, Parlee).
2. Titanium steed (Merlin, Moots, Serrotta, Seven). Ahhh…titanium.
3. Full-carbon or carbon/aluminum workhorse/daily driver. This bike has multiple personalities. It can also be known as your crit bike, rain bike, commuter, etc. It may have mismatched components and a few battle scars, but it’s the one you’d miss the most, as it’s probably the one you’ve had under you longest (Fuji, Giant, Felt, Jamis, Cannondale, TREK).
4. Old-school Italian steel. This bike should have been made at least pre-1990 to even be considered (Tomassini, Somec, Gios, Colnago, Ciocc, Masi, Merckx w/ Columbus tubing). Please, please dress it in appropriate-era components. For the love of Pete, don’t put Shimano 105 on your classic Pinarello.
5. Your ultra-exotic “because I have the money” showoff bike. Different from your hillclimbing rig, this is purely for eliciting lustful envy from your fellow clubmates. It weighs a couple of pounds more than your featherweight, but the same $/lb. factor applies (Kuota, Wilier-Triestina, Cyfac).
6. A fixie (Surly, Cinelli).
7. A full-suspension MTB (Turner).
8. A TT rig (Aegis, BH, Cervelo).
9. A beach cruiser (Electra).
10. A Skeppshult (look it up). Keep it at your cabin.
Now all you need is roughly $50,000 for this ultimate bicycle shopping list!
Did I miss anything? Disagree? Let me know!
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