Ed’s Rant: Beards, Bikes, Discs And Socks!
Ed’s Opinion: Ed Hood’s most recent rant was on our perception of dopers, this was after his scathing out-burst against the World of Retro. Now he has turned his curmudgeonous eye on a list of other cycling misdemeanors. From socks to bikes to races, they all get an Ed tongue lashing.
The only beard allowed in cycling – worn by Fabio Baldato
Do you want me to tell you some of the things which are wrong with modern cycle sport?
Whadayamean? ‘No I don’t!’ Well, you’re gonna hear it anyway, Dude!
Beards: Fabio Baldato is the only professional cyclist ever to carry off a beard – end of story. If you want to hang out in over-priced coffee shops, wrestle with grizzly bears or sing sea shanties as you play your accordion, then beards are fine. If you want to ride professional bike races, NO, please!
No beards please
Carlton: As in Kirby, Eurosport commentator. Dude, riders don’t ‘engage,’ they ‘attack.’ They don’t ‘disengage,’ they get ‘dropped.’ In a time trial you don’t ‘de-ramp,’ you ‘start.’ And riders don’t go on ‘the naughty step,’ they ‘get banned for doping offenses.’ And you don’t have to talk ALL the time.
Carlton Kirby gets some help on a boring stage
Coaches: Those articles about training always tell you to get a coach, I had one ‘back in the day’ and he helped me enormously. But now they all – and there are a lot of them – want your hard earned dough; so before you start shelling the moolah out check who they’ve coached to do what. And try to get one who you can actually talk to – not just by email.
A real coach – The late Erik De Vlaeminck
Discs: During the flat stages which Big Marcel Kittel dominated, his disc equipped Specialized was on prominent display outside the QuickStep bus; come the mountains he was back on caliper rim brakes. When I pointed this out on FaceBook it was explained to me in rather condescending terms that discs were too heavy for mountain stages. ‘No further questions, m’Lord.’
Marcel Kittel used a disc brake bike on the flat… but not in the hills
Football Socks: In triathlons and non-UCi time trials riders have taken to wearing ‘calf fairings’ which the wags among us have christened ‘football socks.’ As a former clock basher myself, if I was still time testing then I’d probably have a pair to save myself a watt or two – but Jeez! it’s not a good look. . .
Real champions don’t wear ‘football socks’
A Grand: in pounds Sterling is what it cost a postman called Richard Bussell to put the time trial bike together upon which he won the British 10 mile (16 kilometer) time trial championship in 2015, beating professionals in the process. Perhaps one of the reasons – in the UK at least – that young riders are put off getting into cycling is that you have to spend upwards of five grand to have a competitive machine. Not so! And a grand for shoes? To quote Mr. McEnroe; ‘you cannot be serious!’
Mavic Comete Ultimate shoes – $1,000!
Hammer: as in ‘Hammer Series.’ Handily situated in low cost and easy to get to Stavanger, Norway in 2018 – why? We have more than enough races as it is, the blood line does not need diluted.
Someone must be making money
Kirby: As in Carlton – yes, that’s right, him again. Just another reminder – you do not have to speak ALL the time.
Sometimes it’s better to say nothing
Marcas: Fondos/Sportives call them what you like; but they are NOT races. Little pieces of cardboard on your handlebars are not race numbers and should be discarded the moment you finish and not left on the bike as some sort of badge of honor – you didn’t ride a race, dude – the number goes on your shorts in one of those.
The ‘Pez’ doing a Fondo!
Novelty races: races in the desert, races in China – why? No doubt the hotels are great and so are the expenses but they all exist on the whim of a very limited number of individuals as PR exercises. What ever happened to that Tour of Beijing? It lasted a whole four editions. The Heartlands are what really count and must be protected; the sport came to be in Belgium, France, Italy, The Netherlands and Spain. National Federations and the UCi should remember that and protect the sports roots, not rush to the biggest pay day they can find.
No more races in the sand
Power Meters: a great training aid, sure – but ban them from bike races. Let’s go back to intuition, feelings, guile, opportunism. . .
Two power meters?
Race Radios: Ban them too, no ‘buts’ – see ‘power meters’ above. But if you must have them do they have to be so big and dangerous? Land on one of those boxes inside your jersey and you’re going to do your back no good at all.
Six Days: Shadows of their former selves; the road stars get paid so much now that the promoters can’t tempt them onto the boards. We knew we’d miss Bruno Risi; just not this much.
King Risi – Gone, but not forgotten
Strava: Good fun – but no more than that. When I see headlines in magazines that read; ‘I’m a segment-hunting specialist’ I can’t really believe what I’m reading. It’s a bit of fun, it’s not a race, it means NOTHING, if you wish to test yourself properly then buy a license, pin a number on and RACE.
Climb the Madone and let everyone know
Turbos: When I used to race, back in the 1980’s, one of the joys of training and racing was to get out in the fresh air on the back roads I loved to ride. Sure, if it’s raining/snowing/pitch black then rollers and turbos play their part but I can’t help but think that sitting staring at the garage wall dripping sweat on to the concrete is not going to instill a lifelong love of cycling into you.
Warm up or cool down, OK, but…
Weight: The UCi’s rules on bike weights are crazy – a Belgian kermis giant can ride the same minimum weight bike as a tiny Colombian climber? The sport has always been about making bikes lighter and lighter, the manufacturers aren’t crazy, they’re not going to make stuff that will break – not in these days of Twitter and Facebook where messages zoom around the world in minutes.
Short and tall – Same weight bike
Zwift: As with Strava, it’s great fun and is also a brilliant way to train on bad days, but please let’s not place this anywhere near actual racing in terms of meaningfulness. Sitting in the lounge, wired up to a computers is not bike racing.
Zwift – Great fun, but it’s not racing
# OK, that’s better, I’m calm now, thank goodness for Sagan – and Contador. What do you mean, “he’s quit!?” #
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,500 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.
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