Archive for March, 2007


Mar 30, 2007

Snowboarders build a Bikecar


These four snowboarders from Moscow, Idaho, built a pedal-car to get them slopeside.

This vid features some snowboarding and some ‘drive-in’ junk food eating.

It’s a trailer for a DVD from CrankMyChain.com. The movie can be seen on the big screen at 2pm this Saturday - March 31st - at the Clinton Street Theatre as part of the Longbaugh film festival.



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Mar 29, 2007

Bike books win big


Matt Rendell’s book about Marco Pantani and Michael Hutchinson’s book about the hour record have won awards at the prestigious British Sports Book Awards ‘07.

The awards were handed out by the National Sporting Club at a lunch in Café Royal on Tuesday.

The Death of Marco Pantani won ‘best biography’ and Michael Hutchinson won the ‘best new writer’ award.

The Death of Marco Pantani was published in hardback by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in June 2006 and the paperback will be published in June this year.

Hutchinson is the author of The Hour: Sporting Immortality the Hard Way by the Yellow Jersey Press.

The Times described Rendell’s biography thus:

“There are three passages in this brilliant but nightmarishly bleak book where, caught up in the excitement of Pantani in his pomp, Matt Rendell switches to the present tense to describe his greatest victories. The writing here is breathless, awe-struck, more evocative and incisive than TV pictures or newspaper reports could ever be. But Rendell, although a fan, is meticulous and painstaking and he investigates the Shakespearean tragedy of Pantani’s life as if it were a crime scene.”

VID: ‘In everlasting memory of Marco Pantani’
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Mar 28, 2007

Spend more on advocacy, urges Trek boss


John Burke, president of Trek USA, has created a PowerPoint presentation about why bike companies should increase their financial support of bicycle advocates and political lobbying groups.

He first aired the talk at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC two weeks ago. On Sunday it was also given to Taiwan’s A-Team of industry leaders and in a conference room at the the Taipei trade show.

Here’s my 23-minute video of Burke’s 40-minute talk. I created the slide graphics in Mac’s Keynote as John Burke’s slides didn’t come out very well on the video (I was using a small stills camera, not my normal video camera).

ORIGINAL POWERPOINT PRESENTATION (NO AUDIO):


Jonathan Maus of the Bike Portland blog was present at the first airing of the talk and he headlined his coverage ‘Is John Burke the Al Gore of the bike trade?’ This was a reference to Al Gore’s slide show about climate change, ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’ The slide show, seen all over the world, was made into a movie, winning this year’s Oscar for best documentary.

Burke’s presentation also focussed on the environment but majored on what Burke knows best: the bike trade. His presentation was aimed at encouraging bike companies to spend more money on cycle advocacy.

He called the bicycle “the perfect product at the perfect time.” And bike companies would sell more of them if there were more places for folks to ride them.

“The number one way to grow the business and to have an impact on society, health, environment and congestion is to create a bicycle-friendly world,” said Burke.

He revealed that for every $100 of sales, bike companies typically spend $3.90 on marketing, $1.60 on R&D but just 10 cents on advocacy.

“That doesn’t make sense. As an industry we need to look at how we spend money. Why do we spend the amount of money on marketing and product and little on advocacy?”

He wants to “spur a debate in the industry” about “where we’re spending our money.”



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Mar 24, 2007

From our man in Taipei


Check out the latest trade stories from the Taipei trade show at BikeBiz.com.

Here’s a quick flick from the show. It was taken on my little 35mm camera, not a video camera, and I’ve not had time to add a voiceover or do much in the way of fancy editing but it’s posted here on the same day of the show so it’s nearly live…



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Mar 23, 2007

Google gifts bikes to staff


The web giant wants its staff to be fit and lively and so has ‘done an Ikea’ and has provided staffers with a catalogue from which they can choose free bikes and kit. The eco- and health-conscious largesse is for Europe, Africa and the Middle East only, Google staffers in America can go whistle…

At Christmas, the UK arm of Ikea gifted all 9000 staffers with free folding bikes, sourced by Raleigh UK from a factory in Eastern Europe.

Now Raleigh Germany has done a deal with Google to offer bikes of all shapes and sizes to Google staff across Europe. All the bikes will be branded with the Google logo.

Whereas Ikea staff got cheap folding bikes, many of which were quickly placed on eBay, Google staffers can choose a Dahon Curve folding bike, which normally retails at £349 and is new for 2007.

And as well as a folding bike and men’s and women’s hybrids, there’s to be a Google cruiser as well. The hybrids in the pix are not equipped with mudguards and rack. As these are meant to be commuting bikes this is either an omission or a gift to bike shops.

2000 Google staffers were emailed a Google bike catalogue on Thursday. Orders have to be placed with Google human resources by 27th April. Google has about 2000 permanent staffers in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.


Google's Dahon Curve
Men's hybrid
Women's hybrid



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Mar 22, 2007

Pot calling the kettle black?


In this week’s Cycling Weekly - sadly, not somewhere you turn for balanced coverage of the Floyd Landis case - journalist Jeremy Whittle interviews Pat McQuaid, president of the UCI.

McQuaid is famous for speaking before thinking, yet, without a shred of irony, he told Whittle that WADA boss Dick Pound is often guilty of the very same trait.

“Once a journalist shoves something in front of [Pound] he goes AWOL, you know. He does tend to start speaking before his brain engages, which is unfortunate. That’s commonly known.

“I think he does it on purpose, but it may be for a different reason not to help the sport, but for political reasons within the IOC, or something.”

YouTube’s only video of BigPat:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

In June 2005, I witnessed McQuaid’s leap-before-looking technique at close quarters. At the time he was vice-president of the UCI. I travelled to the UCI HQ in Switzerland to present him with a 10,679 signature petition on the confused and illogical suspension of the kilo track event as an Olympic discipline. Joining me for the trip was track rider Julie Dominguez, a prime mover on the petition.

McQuaid accepted the petition, then spent twenty minutes digging a big hole for himself. I wrote up his eye-popping claims for a story on BikeBiz.com, published it thanks to an open wifi network at the futuristic UCI building, and then took a train from Aigle to Lausanne, heading for the HQ of the International Olympic Committee. By the time I got there, two hours later, the IOC’s press man had read my story and the wheels had been set in motion to slap down Pound’s claims about the IOC.

A week later, McQuaid told Cycling Weekly he was “livid” at finding himself in what the magazine called the “centre of an embarrassing controversy.”

He told Cycling Weekly that his comments, witnessed by two people, were “off the record” even though he had made no mention of such a request.

In a blistering phone call, McQuaid changed this claim. He told me: “In my mind it was off the record.”

Presumably he’s since learned his lesson and his tape-recorded conversation with Jeremy Whittle was all on the record.

Whittle asked: “What’s your response to Floyd Landis, the campaign he is leading and his attacks on the UCI and WADA?”

McQuaid replied:“Well, Floyd attacks everybody except himself. His is very much a public relations exercise to advance his position. The authorities on the other side are not allowed to put publically their position, so it’s a very one-side show at the moment.”

Come again? WADA’s Pound and UCI’s McQuaid have kept schtum throughout the Landis controversy? What colour is the sky on Planet McQuaid?

“It’s still sub-judice so I don’t want to comment on the rights and wrongs of it,” continued McQuaid, and then, ignoring his own comment, he said:

“All I can say is that there are two positive cases against Floyd Landis and when he goes before the hearings in the middle of May he has got to prove how that testosterone got into his system.”

Whittle doesn’t quiz McQuaid on the recent doubt cast on the urine samples in the Landis case but maybe it can be inferred from this question:

“But you have not got any reason to doubt the procedures at the laboratory at Chatenay-Malabry?”

McQuaid:
“No, no reason to have any doubts. The lab isn’t one of the favourite labs of the UCI, so to speak – we’re not very happy with some of the things they have done in terms of leakage of information, but in terms of the process we have no doubts. And remember, for the ‘B’ sample, Floyd had an expert there the whole time. His expert watched the whole procedure for the ‘B’ sample. But it’s not for me to judge, it’s the hands of somebody else.”

Let’s be thankful for small mercies.



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Mar 17, 2007

Time to reignite the Floyd Landis petition


On August 17th last year, I created an online petition that questioned the credibility of WADA doping protocols, the conduct of WADA boss Dick Pound, and the sloppy scientific method I assumed sometimes took place at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, the lab which tests the urine samples for the Tour de France.


WADA’s inconsistency is now famous; Pound’s public utterances have so often gone beyond the pail it’s almost normal; and sloppy lab work at Chatenay-Malabry is an assumption no longer.

Given there’s now significant doubt that one of the samples tested belongs to Floyd Landis, see Whose wee was it? on the bike trade news site I edit, perhaps it’s time for the petition to be revisited?

I created the petition for many reasons, one of which was the desire to see stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France reinstalled as one of the best ever breakaway victories in this iconic race. Here’s a mash-up from the stage in question:

There have been 3559 signatures on the Floyd Landis petition, some of them high-profile. Petitions don’t change anything but this one attracted a few signers that didn’t seem to hang out at the blogs and forums that specialise in Floyd Landis reportage and comment.

For instance, one of the last signatures was from Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D. He added his (wonderfully Polish) name and placed this comment:

“Testosterone is anabolic drug (hormone). It takes days or weeks for testosterone or any other anabolic drug to have an effect in terms of build-up of muscle. Landis is accused of taking testosterone the day before the stage race. With such short time testosterone would have a negative effect on the athlete’s ability to perform because the energy (ATP) instead of going to power the muscle will go to synthesize protein. It is a scientific nonsense to claim that a shot of testosterone just before the stage race helped him to win. I am M.D. and scientist working in field of cell and molecular biology, and I amazed how much nonsense discussion on this topic is being carried out in media.”

Dr Darzynkiewicz is director of the Brander Cancer Research Institute at the New York Medical College and the Professor of Medicine and Pathology at the same College. He’s the editor/co-editor of five scientific journals and a member of the editorial board of eleven other scientific journals. His publications have been cited over 20,000 times in the scientific literature and 75 of his publications have been cited over 75 times.

Features of apoptotic cells measured by flow cytometry has been cited 1254 times.

And Dr Darzynkiewicz is just one of many scientists who have signed the petition in support of Landis. Read the petition text here.



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Mar 14, 2007

Hollywood to make cycle sport parody


The maker of two movies spoofing God is to turn his production company’s attention on the world of pro cycling.

And there’s plenty to laugh about. Could there be cameo roles for WADA’s Dick Pound (the man not the place) and the UCI’s Pat McQuaid?

Other comic turns could include walk-ons by an assortment of French lab technicians speaking in Inspector Clouseau accents and bungling a variety of simple urine tests.

PINK PANTHER (1978)


Of course, Floyd Landis vs USADA is no laughing matter but it’s hard to think how a spoof movie about the Tour de France could avoid the subject of doping, replete as it is with testosterone patches and peeing into bottles.

Think I’m kidding about the Hollywood treatment? Not so. The movie rights to Tour de Frank have been optioned by Universal Pictures, reveals The Hollywood Reporter.

The movie will be produced by Tom Shadyac, director of God spoofs Bruce Almighty of 2003 and Evan Almighty of 2007.

Tour de Frank is the brainchild of former trade journalists Andrea King and Andy Marx. King used to work for The Hollywood Reporter and Marx was a writer on Daily Variety.

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Mar 07, 2007

Cut road rage by removing traffic signs?


A road sign in the small town of Makkinga in the Netherlands says ‘Verkeersbordvrij’: ‘free of traffic signs.’ Motorists are meant to be kinder to soft and squishy urbanites such as pedestrians and cyclists when there’s no white lines, speed bumps, slow down signs or road markings of any sort.

And the idea is catching on, with trials taking place all over Europe, including in Kensington, London.
Such a civilised approach to traffic calming tends to work best when there’s a healthy number of soft and squishy urbanites wandering about.
It’s the critical mass concept taken to the extreme: if there are more and more cyclists using the roads, drivers have to slow down.

Here are two videos showing opposite ends of the concept. The first is a video of an unmarked traffic junction in Saigon, but it could be almost anywhere in Asia. It’s mesmerising to watch the cyclists, pedestrians and scooter riders successfully negotiating the junction at speed. Cars and buses also use the junction successfully but are forced to go slow.


The second video is of an unmarked road junction in Russia. It’s not part of any traffic calming experiment, it’s just a crossroads with a lack of traffic lights. But without pedestrians or cyclists, motorists feel they can speed through the junction, with predictable results.

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Mar 07, 2007

It’s a date


Subscribe to my Google bike events calendar. More dates will be added.

If you prefer, you can subscribe to the iCal version of the same calendar. It’s here. To view it online click here.



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