Long forgotten except by the British (and, for a fleeting moment, the "hipsters" of the early aughts), this form of competitive cycling was once hugely popular, to which the video I posted this past Friday attests:
And in addition to containing perhaps one of the first recorded instances of one bike dork asking another #whatpressureyourunning:
A number of astute readers also noticed the Nazi fag flying over this Track Friedrich napping in a box:
(Fascists, Freds, and Fedoras: The Golden Age of Track Racing)
Of course it's a jarring image, but let's not forget that this video is from 1937, when the United States was still basking in the Great Depression and the typical spectator at Madison Square Garden was probably hoping the situation in Europe would just sort itself out so they could get back to lunching on beams or whatever the hell they did back then:
(You may have noticed by now my grasp of history is tenuous at best.)
Similarly, who could have known that a mere quarter-century after this photo was taken Donald Trump would be elected President of the United States and begin the chain of events that would ultimately lead to complete global nuclear annihilation*?
Or that Viatcheslav Ekimov was a post-apocalyptic space warrior sent back in time to stop him?
Sure, it seems obvious now, but hindsight is 20/20 and all the rest of it:
(Humanity is so screwed. #whatvisionyourunning)
*[SPOILER ALERT: Trump is elected, half the US population attempts to flee to Canada, Justin Trudeau attacks us preemptively with the nukes they've been hiding to prevent this from happening.]
Speaking of track racing, UCI President Brian Cookson assured the sport's dozens of fans that they checked for motors at the Track World Championships:
Though he sort of buried the lede there, since the real news was that there's still such a thing as a Track World Championships.
If a tree falls in a forest and there's nobody to hear it does it still make a noise? Similarly, if a musclebound freak is warming up on rollers and there's nobody to see the landing strip on his head does it really matter if there's a motor in his bike?
Either way, ever since this whole motor thing has started making headlines people have debated what the proper term for using one to cheat should be, and it seems like we're moving towards "technological fraud." This is because when you think of a "mechanical doper" you think of two-dimensional automaton Levi Leipheimer:
("Hello. My name is Levi. I ride bicycles competitively.")
And yes, I realize that as far as cultural references go Levi Leipheimer is about as fresh as Rachel from "Friends:"
(Hello again. It's still me, Levi. I am wearing a wig for humorous purposes.)
In any case, the UCI is so concerned about technological motor fraud that they're conducting "invasive tests:"
“We’ve been taking this very seriously since I’ve been president and there have been invasive tests at events,” Cookson told the media at the Worlds in London.
Holy shit, invasive tests? Where are they keeping these motors?!?
(Wiggins surreptitiously passing Cavendish a motor for rectal insertion.)
That's what you call a "Femke handshake."
Speaking of motors, here's an entertaining video:
SPOILER ALERT: They conclude that a bike with a hidden motor probably wouldn't be very effective for cheating, which of course means that bikes with hidden motors are totally being used for cheating.
Meanwhile, in other technological news, cyclists really should stop trying to advocate for themselves because it's clear that German luxury car manufacturers are going to solve all our problems:
The new Audi A4 is the first car in the world with technology that warns drivers a cyclist is approaching — before getting out of the vehicle.
It is designed to prevent “dooring”, which can have fatal consequences — two reported deaths in the past five years in Victoria alone.
Despite the recent overhauls of bicycle-related fines, only Victoria, NSW and Queensland have a specific offence for “dooring” a cyclist.
Yet it's illegal to ride without a helmet anywhere in Australia, go figure.
A radar hidden behind the rear bumper senses when a cyclist is approaching from 10 to 15 metres away, which triggers a red light to flash near the driver’s door mirror.
A second red light along the top of the door trim also flashes at the same time, as an extra warning for the driver.
The system works up to three minutes after the engine has been switched off, or when the engine is running.
The technology is standard on every version of the new Audi A4 luxury sedan, which went on sale this week priced from $55,500.
Yeah, that ought to work well, because if there's one thing motorists pay attention to it's warning lights.
But don't worry, because it's been tested...by News Corp:
News Corp Australia tested the technology with the help of one of Australia’s top triathletes, Lisa Marangon, from Sydney, who gave it the thumbs up during a training ride this week.
“I wish more cars had this. A lot of drivers don’t look when they get out of their cars,” says Marangon.
Well I'm convinced.
Now that they've tested it on a triathlete, maybe next they'll test it with an actual cyclist.
Lastly, apparently Seattle's bike share program isn't working out very well:
Yet miraculously, Seattle found cash to bail out Pronto, a failed, barely used bike-rental venture that needs $1.4 million in March and a $5 million infusion in 2017. Operating costs will approach $2 million a year — forever — but might be partly covered if ad sales and ridership trends reverse.
Bike-sharing is a neat amenity, but it’s not working in Seattle. It’s too costly for a city that claims it can’t afford the basics. A bailout would undermine the credibility of city leaders, especially since Pronto reeks of insider dealing.
I really should start an urban planning consultancy, because I'd happily charge them over a million bucks to tell them the problem with their bike share program is their stupid helmet law.
Then again, getting rid of the helmet law might actually work, so they'd never go for it.