What's Cool In Road Cycling

Comment: Cycling’s Social Dilemma

Ed Hood launches into opinions

Ed’s Opinion (rant): Chloe Dygert and Quinn Simmons have both been ‘chastised’ recently for expressing their opinions on social media. Maybe you don’t agree with their views, but we are all allowed to think what we want, or are we? A fool uttereth all his mind: But a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards {Proverbs 29:11}. Ed Hood vents his thoughts.

ed hood
Stick to the sports papers Ed

If you’re of a ‘PC’ or a ‘DTBO’ [that’s Desperate to be Offended] bent then read no further, you’ll just end up gnashing your teeth. And whilst I always try to avoid cycling ‘politics,’ when the Emperor is in fact devoid of clothing then someone has to say something, it might as well be me. . .

press room
Animal Farm journalism?

In 1906 the English writer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall penned this statement; ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’ She wrote it as an illustration of the French writer, historian and philosopher, Voltaire’s beliefs. The quote is sometimes wrongly attributed to Voltaire, but Hall was a biographer of the famous Frenchman and they were her words, not his.

Chloe Dygert – Lot’s of talent

I know; ‘you’re getting a tad highbrow there, Ed.’ But when I heard about the recent Chloe Dygert ‘affair’ I couldn’t help but think of those words which I just quoted above. Any sane, reasonable individual knows there is no room for racism or trans/homo phobia in a civilised society. And as a Scot we were raised on the words of our Immortal Bard, Robert Burns; ‘a man’s a man for a’ that.’ Meaning a human being is a human being, irrespective of race, creed, colour or orientation. But as the French say of the young, it’s easy to commit; ‘une erreur de jeunesse,’ that’s ‘a mistake of youth.’ And whilst in a Western Democracy we are entitled to freedom of speech and certainly freedom of thought, in 23 year-old Dygert’s case, her mistake – probably made casually – was in ‘liking’ posts on social media without really thinking too much about what she was doing.

watching you copyright free
1984 or 2020?

But for descendants of the ‘Thought Police’ from George Orwell’s 1984, social media is a god send, easy to monitor, prone to folks making ‘off the cuff’ remarks’ and a joy to be offended by – which is what they seek – with any indiscretion seized upon and punished. It’s not enough that it’s pointed out to the lass that she’s made a faux pas and should be more careful about providing easy pickings for the DTBO brigade. No, her apology is ‘insufficient,’ according to a sanctimonious ramble released by one of her sponsors, and she must meet a, ‘Diversity & Inclusion consultant.’ A what? As the deejay Steve Wright used to say on his afternoon show; ‘made up name!’ Or, wait, didn’t Winston Smith have to meet one of those in 1984? Presumably Ms. Dygert will be branded an ‘noncyc;’ that’s 1984 ‘Newspeak’ for a rider who continues to have their own thoughts and opinions and doesn’t toe the sponsor’s – or is it Big Brother’s – line if she doesn’t respond to re-programming by the ‘consultant?’

Maybe turn your back on ‘Twitter’ Quinn

The Quinn Simmons debacle was along similar lines but the book was allowed to close after a brief suspension by his team, despite the efforts of some elements of the media to keep dragging it back into focus Presumably a ‘talking to’ was enough to educate the young American with no need for ‘re-programming?’ And thankfully no mention of, ‘consultants.’ But while we’re dealing with, ‘inclusion.’

Stick to winning races, young man

Ladies’ cycling: we’re constantly being told that we have to feature it more. . . All I can say is that sometimes the lady riders and their teams do themselves no favours. In recent weeks I’ve had three instances of interview requests to ladies coming to naught; two of them were agreed, questions dispatched and despite numerous ‘chase ups,’ nada.

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Races, riders and the teams sometimes don’t help themselves

Two of these ladies have current sponsor obligations but don’t seem to understand that the folks who fund their teams want exposure – column inches and images on a widely read website. The other one was a lady with terrific palmarès from the past who has an interesting tale to tell – but not to us.

Everyone has a story to tell!

Then there’s the issue of start sheets for ladies races. I get requests for previews of the ladies’ edition of the classic races – fair enough. But if you’re a journalist then you have to work to things called, ‘deadlines.’ My editor wants race previews for a weekend race on the Wednesday prior to give him time to prepare them, organise pictures and have them ‘up’ in plenty of time. Generally the men’s field will be ‘firmed up’ by a Wednesday and a review is no problem.

Who is on the start line?

Conversely, the ladies field is seldom confirmed until very late in the day, sometimes the afternoon prior to the race, well past deadline, making an in-depth preview impossible to pen. It’s difficult to say much about a race in which you don’t know who the competitors will be.

Then there’s the ‘minority’ cycling. One such group have started a club – but isn’t that contrary to the very ethos of ‘inclusivity’? – and promised us an interview but never got back to us after we took the trouble to prepare questions and send them off. It seems photo ops and telling the media what they’re, ‘going to do’ are a much more attractive proposition than answering questions which aren’t mere platitudes and which may help their cause through greater understanding among a wider audience.

The women don’t lack aggression and excitement

But I’m starting to ramble now, perhaps I should consult a ‘Diversity & Inclusion consultant ?’ Or perhaps not. And in closing, I did say to you PC’s and DTBO’s not to read it, right at the very start. . .

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