Saturday, October 26, 2013

The return of the yellow helmet

It all started in 2001. The man who captured the attention of the entire cycling world had just "won" his 3rd straight Tour de France. And we all wanted to look like him. He wore a yellow helmet to go along with the yellow jersey. A fashion statement indeed. Prior to this, most racers who pulled on the leader's jersey stuck with the helmet that was part of their team kit. Not Lance. He had to win the yellow helmet because just winning the yellow jersey wasn't good enough.
2000 TDF - Lance the team player
Future wearers of the yellow jersey (that's English for yellow bicycle shirt) followed in his massively egotistical footsteps. No longer was it good enough to win and wear the yellow on your back, but you had to wear it on your head as well.
Chris Froome in 2013 winning the yellow helmet. Alberto Contador wearing one as well so people think that he is actually winning the TDF. See how that works?

Fast forward to the collapse of the king and all his minions; Fans and cyclists everywhere wanted to look like anyone but Lance after the trail of syringes. Yellow jerseys and helmets became what cyclists who didn't know any better wore. The yellow I-wanna-look-like-Lance jersey is so scarce today that you have a better chance of seeing someone riding in a full-length fur coat.

But, for reasons unknown the yellow helmet is making a comeback. These spy shots below are from top secret locations around the world where professional and non were captured wearing the casque jaune (that's French for Lance's helmet).

So I guess that stigmata of the yellow helmet has fizzled. They are everywhere again. CX, XC, DH. PPC, NCIS. But this time it's different. This time a yellow helmet is just a bright color. It's not a statement. This time riders realize that by wearing a yellow helmet that they are not saying they are faster or better than riders who don't, just brighter.

Long live yellow!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Epic Rap Battle: Greg LeMond vs Lance Armstrong

Seriously, could my timing have been more spot-on than it is? The day I post that the feud has subsided, LeMond goes on CNN and kicks Armstrong in the nut.

I told myself when the whole Armstrong doping scandal went down that I was done following professional cycling. I, much like the majority of fans, felt completely betrayed, used, and lied to. It was heart-breaking to see one of your idols exposed for the fraud that he is. Especially one who had remained at the pinnacle of the sport for so long. Armstrong was an institution. He was the living legend. He was pro cycling.

Now that the disgust and disappointment have subsided just a bit, I'm back to following pro cycling for another reason, and this time it's not good. I'm watching pro road racing disintegrate right before my eyes, like a train wreck. I can't stop looking at the carnage. I'm watching companies pull their sponsorship money out of the sport because they don't want their names associated with it. A bunch of my long-time cycling fan friends didn't even watch the TDF this past July. More than once I heard that they had given up on what was once their favorite summer distraction because they were unsure of it's legitimacy.

Now, I'm watching one of the sport's greatest athletes comparing a disgraced former-champion to Bernie Madoff.

The only words that keep coming to mind are "sad but true".

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trek Bikes owes Greg LeMond a big honkin' apology

Greg Lemond, Alpe D'Huez, 1991

I've been marinating on this for a while and I'm quite surprised that I haven't seen this particular subject covered anywhere. I'm talking about the mega-feud between Trek Bikes and Greg LeMond that went down a few years back.

For those who don't remember, here are the cliff notes:

1986 - Greg LeMond is the first American to win the Tour De France.

1987 - Greg Lemond cheats death after he is shot in a hunting accident.

1989 and 1990 - Greg Lemond wins Tour De France again, this time with shotgun pellets still in his body.

1990 - LeMond starts Greg LeMond Bicycles. The world notices, but the company has money woes.

1995 - LeMond partners with Trek bikes and sells a crap-ton of bikes.

1999 - Lance Armstrong "wins" Tour De France with one, of his twins missing.

2000 - Lance Armstrong "wins" Tour De France again, still with only one powerball.

2001 - Greg LeMond expresses his concern that Armstrong may be hitting the syringe.

2001 - Trek gets pissy that LeMond is calling out their star (Armastrong) publicly.

2002 - 2005 - Armstong keeps "winning" the Tour. Over and over and over.

2008 - LeMond keeps publicly calling Lance a doper. Trek severs it's relationship with LeMond, labeling him as a jealous crazy person who can't cope with the fact that another American has made the cycling world forget all about him and his three TDF wins.

2013 - Lance cries on Oprah. Says he cheated the whole time. Somewhere Greg LeMond screams "I %^&%#@! told you!!"

Now what you don't hear about is that Trek never went back to the only American to ever win the TDF to apologize. (The other American "winner" of the TDF besides Armstrong was Floyd Landis, also stripped of his title for doping).

Let me straighten something out before I go any further; I don't dislike Trek Bikes as a company. I like their products and have owned two Treks (one road and one mountain), three Gary Fisher mountain bikes, and a LeMond road bike. To be honest, I liked my Trek road bike much better than my LeMond. So I don't wish any ill will on Trek. I just think that trashing a guys reputation for what ultimately was the truth and not making amends for it is a pretty crappy deal.

Article from 2008: Trek ends relationship with LeMond

Friday, September 27, 2013

After all, it is a bike blog!

Let's talk about this for a second; bikes. Yep, bicycles. In particular, how often do you buy a new one? Every two years? Every five? Are you one of those people that when you find a good one, you hold onto it for as long as you can?

The reason I ask this is simple; do we buy new bikes because we need one, or because we want one? Is technology moving so fast in the bicycle industry that a two-year-old bike is outdated? Does the type of bike make a difference?

I just recently parted with my long-time trail companion. My 2004 Gary Fisher Rig finally bit the dust. I rode the wheels off of that thing. Well, truth be told, I rode it until the frame cracked, but you get the point. But, it was a rigid singlespeed. About the only thing that was outdated, at least in terms of singlespeeds, was the frame. It was so simple in it's technology that it never aged.

So now this is on my radar...

2014 Giant Anthem X 29 1. Yes, that's really what it's called. My fear about buying one of these is less "will I like it?" and more "will it become outdated?". Will the 2015 model come out and make me feel like I got a hunk of outdated crap? I worry about these things. I'm a worrier. That's why my friends call me "Whiskers".

Well, I had to start the dialog. Go ahead, chime in.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bicyclesoup, where have you been?

Friends, I owe you an apology. I was one of those who thought that blogs were dead. I let Bicyclesoup fade into obscurity. Why take the time to write a blog now that there is Facebrook and Twither and Geergle+ and Likedin? (Hey, read those again just for kicks. I make a funny).

What I realized was that this blog isn't about me. It's about you; the folks on the trail.
The folks on the road.
The folks that commute on their bikes.
The folks who ride fixies on a beer run.
The folks that get hit in the head by an owl on a night ride.
The folks that ride 'cross bikes in the skate park.
The folks that get to see a big fish.
The folks that were joined on a 30 mile mountain bike ride by a friendly dog that they'd never seen before.
It's about friends.

Bicyclesoup lives!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Retro action

Circa 2003 in a WVMBA race. Those were the days; v-brakes, 26 inch wheels and gears. I was about 10 lbs heavier too!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

This, my friends, is a picture of uber-fast pro Adam Craig of the Rabobank/Giant mountain bike team rocking his singlepeed in the WORLD CUP XCO RACE at Windham last weekend.

He finished 37th in a field of 71 of the top pros in the universe.

Thirty Seventh.

WITH ONE %$%$#@! GEAR!

Now, I've always liked Adam Craig. Ever since Off Road To Athens a few years ago he's been one of my favorite characters in the world of professional cycling. But after seeing this, I freakin' love this guy.