Ride the Puddles

Still More Thoughts on Stuff

Posted by bikezilla on March 15, 2011

UCI is rethinking the radio ban.

They finally acknowledge that safety is a legitimate concern.

But, as I’ve said before, UCI is ASO’s biatch, and they’re only reconsidering exactly the notion put forth by Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme; A radio frequency run by race organizers to convey safety info to the riders.

That’s nice.

First, what about smaller races where organizers don’t have the budget to implement this? Will UCI pick up the tab? I’m thinkin’, “no”.

Next, now that it’s been admitted that safety is a true and honest aspect of radio usage, isn’t it incumbent upon UCI to suspend the ban until a solution is in place? Now that the monkey is loose, aren’t they (UCI) 100% responsible if some tragedy should happen that could have been prevented with proper radio safety related communication?

Finally, it does seem that AIGCP president Jonathan Vaughters has misrepresented the issue, claiming that radio communications of a purely safety based nature would turn cycling from a team sport to an individual sport.

His premise assumes that riders are incapable of communication amongst themselves. The evidence of cooperation between riders in any break should easily dispel that, as should the fact that cycling was a team sport long before the introduction of race radios.

Or should we believe that this year’s slate of radio-free races has been nothing but a free-for-all of individuals and a total abandonment of the team concept?

I didn’t think so.

Clipless pedals aren’t for everyone.

I absolutely believe that most casual and first year riders should be using platform pedals.

But that article isn’t completely accurate.

Aside from anyone who races or who just pushes themselves to go very fast regularly, there are some types or riding that I’ve come to love my clipless pedals for.

1. Bumpy, rutted, washed out trails.

I’m not even talking about singletrack, but just your run of the mill railtrail.

Ever have your foot bumped off the pedal at just the wrong moment and end up, or nearly end up, eating dirt on the side of the trail?

With clipless pedals that’ll never happen again.

2. Riding in wet or muddy weather.

Unless you’re riding slow enough for old people with walkers to pass you, you can bet that your feet are gonna be slipping off your platform pedals a gazillion times during your wet or muddy rides.

Not so with clipless pedals.

3. Snow and ice riding.

See #2

— Rehab for users of performance enhancing drugs?

Jonathan Vaughters, via Twitter, has suggested: “Why not come up with some sort of official rehab program? Blood tests, physical tests, psychological tests. (Riders) Must pass to race.”

And WADA is sponsoring just such a trial program at Lausanne University.

After reading the article it doesn’t sound like the pathetic waste of time I initially thought it was.

But it does seem like it has the potential to become an insincere, even outright phony gimmick that does little other than to help guys who’ve already proven to be dishonest get back on their bikes sooner.

Like the guy in prison who finds religion so that he might have a better shot a parole, only to dump it in the toilette the moment he walks out the prison gates.

It’s an idea with some small potential for genuine usefulness, but huge potential for abuse.

It also does absolutely nothing to address the issues of teams and managers that promote and even insist upon doping within their teams.

Let’s say a guy goes through scumbag-doping-cheater rehab and puts real effort into every aspect of the program, then comes out the other side most sincerely reformed.

Then you push said guy back into the same environment where his team manager only lets the doped guys into the biggest races and the team has a complete doping program and system in place, and holy shiite, now that the guy is clean he just can’t reach that next level.

Then what? He either quits or he falls right back into cycling’s mafioso doping culture.

And is it his fault?

Until teams and managers are held accountable for what happens on and within the team, nothing is going to change.

And what about riders who insist that they’re innocent? Should the time, expense and effort of rehab be wasted on a rider who refused to even confess to his crime? How seriously would the unrepentant take their stay at the Betty Ford Clinic?

UCI suggests tiered doping suspensions and a shortened Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana.

It think that’d lead to more riders using “lesser” substances, but might still lead to a more level playing field, because EPO is the big difference maker (that and autologous blood transfusions).

Is it a good idea? I’m undecided.

As for that other thing:

Destroying the 2nd and 3rd biggest and most prestigious races in the world in order to give some podunk throwdown out in Bumfuckedistan with minimal prize money and no TV coverage a shit-stain’s chance in a bucket of bleach? Yeah, great idea, Pat.


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