Play to Your Strengths: Less Advocacy, More Cursing


Bradley Wiggins have winned the Olympics golden bikeing metal:

(A young Woody Allen does "schtick" with a piece of Hanukkah gelt.)

As a cycling fan, my relationship with Bradley Wiggins has been a tumultuous one.  First Bradley Wiggins was this guy who was good at racing track bikes, so I didn't care about him, because honestly, who pays any attention to track racing?  Then, Bradley Wiggins was this guy who was supposed to be good at the Tour de France, but he kept screwing it up and crashing, so I figured he was just the British Christian Vande Velde and continued to ignore him.  But then, this year, Bradley Wiggins proved he actually is good at riding the Tour de France, and as a bonus he started throwing obscenities like "cunt" around during interviews like they were Throwing Cunts.  (NERF made a soft, fuzzy, Frisbee-like flying disc called the Throwing Cunt back in the '80s.)  That's when I started to like him.  Call me a fair weather fan with a grade school sense of humor if you'd like, but I follow this sport to be entertained, and the simple fact is that a guy from London who wins races and says "cunt" is entertaining, whereas a guy from wherever who loses races and lives with a bunch of small dogs is not:

(Levi Leipheimer: The sleep-inducing face of animal birth control.)

And then, to top it all off, Wiggins won a gold medal yesterday.  Sure, it was in the dorky race (the time trial) instead of the cool race (the road race), but at least it wasn't the track again.  (BO-ring...)

But now my relationship with Bradley Wiggins has taken yet another turn.  Last night, an Olympic shuttle bus struck and killed a cyclist:

And the police arrested the driver:

Police said a man in his mid-60s was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is currently in custody at an east London police station.

This is exactly what happens in New York City, except instead of arresting the driver they let him go with no investigation and then pin a summons on the corpse.

Anyway, it's a tragic situation, and naturally in the wake of this tragedy a bunch of journalists find the guy who just won the gold medal in bicycle cycling and stick their microphones in his face so they can get some kind of reaction.  So what does he say?  A cyclist is dead, crushed by a bus.  If ever there was a time for invective, this is it.  Does Wiggins unleash his trademark brashness and say something juicy like, "That cunt of a bus driver should have his fucking bollocks cut off!"?  No, he doesn't.  Instead he says that they should make cyclists wear helmets:

Actually, more than that, he says that if you get hit by a car while you're on a bike and you're not wearing a helmet that you can't "argue:"

Wiggins, speaking after winning his Olympic gold medal in Wednesday's time trial, said making it illegal to cycle without a helmet would make the roads safer "because ultimately, if you get knocked off and you ain't got a helmet on, then how can you kind of argue".

At first, I was extremely dismayed to hear Wiggins imply that a cyclist who is hit by a car is somehow automatically wrong just because he or she isn't wearing a foam yarmulke.  After all, remember that guy in the New York Times video about helmet cameras who was intentionally hit by a pickup truck driver?  Would the driver somehow be less of a scumbag if the cyclist hadn't been wearing a helment?  Would the cyclist then forfeit his right to "argue?"  And I was especially dismayed to hear this coming from Wiggins, who was famously blunt about the people who assume he's a doper because he's a professional cyclist:

"I say they're just fucking wankers. I cannot be doing with people like that.

It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can't ever imagine applying themselves to do anything in their lives.

It's easy for them to sit under a pseudonym on Twitter and write that sort of shit, rather than get off their arses in their own lives and apply themselves and work hard at something and achieve something. And that's ultimately it. Cunts."

So why aren't people who make assumptions about cyclists based on what they wear or don't wear on their heads similarly "cunty?"

But then I thought about it more, and I realized I shouldn't be angry at Bradley Wiggins.  Instead, I should place the blame where it almost always belongs, which is on the journalists.  Journalists are cycling's worst enemy.  It's not reasonable make a competitive cyclist suddenly don an ill-fitting bike advocacy hement in the wake of a tragedy.  Competitive cycling and bike advocacy really have very little to do with each other, apart from the fact that bikes are involved.  Why do they need to ask Wiggins about it at all?  If someone had drowned in the Thames would they hunt down Michael Phelps?  A bus was involved in this collision too, but they don't go interviewing a professional monster truck driver--and if they did, I'm sure the monster truck driver would say something inane about how all buses should have gigantic tires so they can ride over everything in their path.  Plus, according to Wiggins, apparently he didn't even call for mandatory helment laws at all:

Anyway, I still disagree with him, but at the same time I'm sympathetic, and ultimately I do think he deserves the benefit of the doubt--especially since someone stole his shorts that very same night, as I just learned from a reader:

Evidently the brazen heist took place while he was in the shower:

But after winning gold, an overzealous fan stole his cycling shorts while he showered, ITV News reported.

Wiggins said: "It's only a bit of cycling kit. But you don't expect pilferers to do that in a five-star spa. Sweaty cycling kit is probably on eBay tonight."

I'm assuming the only reason the thief didn't get the gold medal too was that Wiggins was showering with it.  I'm also sure he was showering in his time trial helment, since if he wasn't and he were to slip and fall he wouldn't be able to "argue."

But while professional cyclists aren't very good at playing bike advocate, they're not nearly as disastrous as aging Freds who play pro cyclist, and the Infamous Gran Fondo Doping Fred has now made the pages of Velo-whatever:

I wasn't surprised to learn that an amateur bike racer with lots of money was a completely delusional dork because pretty much all amateur bike racers are completely delusional dorks.  I also wasn't surprised that he ultimately turned to doping, since amateur bike racers emulate the pros, and it's really no different than some indie rock wannabe in a crappy band dabbling in heroin because he's smitten by some romantic image of Lou Reed or Keith Richards.  Whether you're a Fred or a Hilpster, after you've bought the same equipment and the same clothes yet you still don't have any talent what else is left to try but drugs?  However, I can't help but be shocked that he actually booked time in a wind tunnel:

Into the 2012 season, Anthony was primed. He’d done “a ton” of base training. Plus, thanks to a revelation in the wind tunnel, he’d found out he had a naturally aero body and position on the bike. A short version of the complicated calculus: due to the exponential quality, his advantage was enormous. His watts were up, and his drag was down. What’s that mean? Explosive time trial results.

“In my case, the EPO and the HGH were actually worth more,” he said. “I was like, ‘this shit works,’ and I was also freaked out. I never expected that. I thought I’d just be a little more relevant.”

To be more relevant, Anthony was spending $1,000 a month.

What a complete doofus.

Also, with one sentence, this article may have unwittingly predicted the future of amateur bike racing:

The only thing that was satisfying for him was making gains against himself — not even winning races.

At this rate I believe that in 20 years mass-start USA Cycling-sanctioned bike racing will be a thing of the past.  Instead, amateur racing will simply involve buying lots of designer equipment, taking lots of designer drugs, and competing entirely on Strava.  In the future, each Fred will be an island of "personal best," their competition consisting only of disembodied user names.  Occasionally you will see these riders out there on the roads, wired Lycra-clad organisms pedaling away in a bubble of crabon-and-electronic onanism.  You may call it frightening, but I call it refinement.  It will be the ultimate evolution of Fred-dom.

As for the rest of us, there's always mountain unicycling, as forwarded by another reader:

Unicycles are the new 650b.  Which was the new 29er.  Which was the new 650b.  Which was the new 26-inch.  Which was...

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