(Mario Cipollini dressed like a veiny penis.)
Sure, it's disillusioning to read a sworn affidavit in which your favorite rider confesses to pumping all manner of PEDs into his scranus. However, there are some riders who are so cartoonishly outsized as to transcend prosaic issues such as "ethics." Consider Mario Cipollini for example. Did Did he cheat during his career? Almost certainly. Does anybody care? Fork no! Getting upset at Mario Cipollini for taking drugs is like being outraged that James Bond drove his Aston Martin too soon after drinking his shaken-but-not-stirred martinis. Really, you'd almost be disappointed if he didn't do it. [Fun Cipollini fact: other riders would often surreptitiously collect The Lion King's hair drippings and use them to make cutaneous testosterone patches.]
By the way, Cipollini was never part of an "omerta." It's just that it's very difficult to talk while you're engaged in the act of cunnilingus:
Amateurs Who Are Good At Branding Themselves
(Like "Dead Poets Society," only with more "attitude.")
For years Chas, Walton, Tag, Muffy, Buffy, Billiam, Pierce, and Preston bravely stuck it to Volvo-driving people from Marin by running red lights in front of them on their fixies and selling videos about it. Now they're racing cyclocross because that's just what you do now. Wear their kit and hang their pin-ups on your wall confident in the knowledge that they'll always be on the cutting-edge of go-fast cycling style until they reach the age of 40. And if MASH isn't your overpiced "collabo" bag, rest assured that there are a gazzillion "collectives" just like them all over the country. Yes, professional cycling may be crumbling, but it's never been a better time to be an amateur. All you need is some friends, a GoPro, and a jersey pre-order.
Q: What do Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, and Michael Barry have in common?
A: They all own cars!
You know who doesn't own a car? This guy:
Also, David Byrne doesn't have to be a cycling advocate. If he wanted he could just let those Talking Heads royalties roll in while he throws lavish ambient hot tub parties with Brian Eno. Instead, he works tirelessly in his spare time to promote the cause of cycling by constructing incredibly awkward bike racks in front of places frequented by gentrifiers:
Yes, he doesn't advocate for us because he has to. He does it because he loves us. Or at least himself. In the end, what's the difference, really?
Huh? Whah? What's that you say? David Byrne isn't for you? To "hoity-toity?" Well, he's not the only tartan-attired fish in the sea of celebrity smugness. Meet Matthew Modine, the only bicycle advocate to have starred in a Stanley Kubrick film (not counting Congressman Earl Blumenauer, who was the original voice of the HAL 9000 supercomputer in 2001 until he was overdubbed by Douglas Rain shortly before the film's release):
(Matthew Modine looks like the illegitimate offspring of a tweed ride and a singlespeed world championship.)
Sure, Modine may be the Dauphiné Libéré to Byrne's Tour de France, but in many ways he's also the "working man's Byrne"--though in many other ways he's just the smirky guy from "Married to the Mob."
Oh, okay, I get it. You don't relate to these glitzy celebrities with their flashy Citroëns and their comically oversized golf hats. You want a real man of the people to be your advocate. Well, allow me to introduce you to Mikael Colville-Andersen, proprietor of Copenhagen Cycle Chic:
("If I don't wear these glasses people mistake me for the drummer of Metallica.")
For years, Colville-Andersen has taken surreptitious photographs of hot chicks on bikes in the streets of Copenhagen, all in the name of advocacy. Just imagine Bill Cunningham and Bob Guccione fighting for control of the body of Lars Ullrich and you've got the idea. So why does he deserve your adulation? Well, because he's not going to rest until cycling becomes a mainstream mode of transportation in every great city of the world--or until he finally catches that elusive "bare vag" shot, whichever comes first:
Until then, he awaits that "perfect storm" of an attractive woman, a short skirt, a strong crosswind, and an ill-considered laundry day decision to just "freebuff" it.
The Bike Companies
So what happens if you're fed up with pro cycling because of the doping, yet you still crave constant recriminations and legal battles? Well, just follow the bicycle retail industry instead! You'll get all the courtroom drama with absolutely none of the on-the-bike action! Remember Sinyard vs. Volagi? How juicy was that? And now, Knog tells me that Abus stole their idea for the "sausage lock:"
Abus claims there's "no reason" for any "consumer confusion," though I'd disagree. Here's the Knog version:
And here's the Abus version:
I'm pretty confused. In any case, Abus also denied accusations that they had copied the Kryptonite "u-lock," and pointed out that their own iteration was distinctive due to its Teutonic umlauts:
By the way, you may scoff at the idea of a sausage lock, but the fact is that it's a very hot retail segment. Even Mario Cipollini is marketing a sausage lock:
(Cipollini sausage lock in the "celebrate diversity" colorway.)
Neither Knog nor Abus have any issue with the design, though Cipollini is being sued by several sex toy manufacturers.
Riders Who Get Attacked By Bees
The USADA may have stirred up a hornet's nest, but there's no on-the-bike drama more painfully riveting than the slings and arrows of outrageous bee stings:
Insert your own "Honey Stinger" jokes here.