Monday, April 18, 2016

Welcome to the Age of Thermography

There was a time when I was enamored with the beauty of pro cycling.  Then my fascination hardened into cynicism.  Now I'm pleased to report my love for the sport has bloomed anew, only instead of marveling at the actual racing I am reveling in the spectacular beauty of its complete and utter collapse:


Yep, Femke was just the beginning, and now the façade is cracking like a bootleg Specialized:

Thierry Vildary and Marco Bonarrigo reveal that they used an expensive heat detector to spot hidden motors at both the Strade Bianche race in Tuscany and the Coppi e Bartali stage race. The full investigation was broadcast on Sunday evening on French television during the Stade 2 programme, with key details revealed in Sunday’s edition of Corriere della Sera newspaper in Italy.

That's right, Greg LeMond totally called it with the heat detector, that crazy bastard:


The fact that LeMond turned out to be by far the most sane person in pro cycling goes to show just how screwed up it is, and at this point the only way the sport can save itself is if they put him in charge of the UCI...which they never, ever will, so that's pretty much that.

Has it ever occurred to you while on an airplane that at least a few of your fellow passengers are secreting narcotics in a bodily orifice?  Well, it turns out it's pretty much the same thing with the peloton, only instead of a cocaine-filled condom it's a tiny motor:

The two-page article in Corriere della Sera claims that the heat detector – which was disguised to look a video camera, managed to spot seven different motors being used at Strade Bianche and the Coppi e Bartali races. Five were hidden in the seat tube, with two hidden in the rear hub and cassette. The newspaper report and Stade 2 video report did not name any riders involved. However the French report- which lasted more than 20 minutes, recalled the numerous suspicions and accusations of mechanical doping that have emerged in recent years. 

The scandal even has its own Michele Ferrari in Hungarian hidden motor specialist Istvan Varjas, and only a third-tier Euro sport like pro cycling could have a figure as bizarre as a Hungarian hidden motor specialist:

Vildary and Bonarrigo also talked to Hungarian engineer Istvan Varjas, the alleged creator of the hidden motors and suspected supplier to a number of professional riders. Varjas showed an early rudimentary version of a motor and admitted it may have been used as early as 1998. He suggested that it best worked with an extremely high cadence. 

Hmmm.  1998?  High cadence?  Any of that sound familiar?


("The motor goes in the seat tube, Bill.  It's about the size of a cigar.")

In case you're too young to remember (which is unlikely because millennials don't read this lame-ass blog), they key to Armstrong's climbing prowess was supposedly his high-cadence pedaling style, which Freds everywhere attempted to emulate after reading about it in "Bicycling" magazine.

Now it turns out he was probably just stoking the electric drink stirrer in his frame.

But that's turn-of-the-century technology, and the latest system involves Bluetooth mag-lev crabon rims or something:

Varjas also confirmed that the most advanced form of mechanical doping is now hidden in carbon fibre rims, with neodymium magnets able to produce 60 watts of power. The wheels can be activated and modulated via a bluetooth device – even an expensive watch which has bluetooth  – and can only be detected via a powerful magnetic field detector.

Which at €50,000 are only available to the top-tier pros, as well as the vast majority of Cat 4s in New York City and the Silicon Valley:

The wheels reportedly cost 50, 000 Euro but are only made available to a very limited number of athletes.

Anyway, here's what happens when you point a heat detector at a Fred nowadays:



By next year motodoping is going the be the New Normal.  In the meantime however, some people will continue to carry on for awhile that this is somehow "worse" than regular doping, even though a hidden motor gives a rider a little boost now and again whereas regular old doping improves performance even after the rider gets caught, becomes contrite, and signs a contract with Jonathan Vaughters.   Other people will simply continue to deny that it's happening (I certainly dismissed motodoping as absurd until pretty recently), and we'll get to enjoy a whole new crop of entertaining excuses such as:

--"It was my friend's bike who rides with me when I train"
--It's the battery pack for the electronic shifting system
--It's hub friction

And so forth.

(The "hub friction" defense is my personal favorite, since manufacturers have been selling us $2,000+ wheelsets with "precision bearings" for years now, yet we're supposed to believe the pros are riding around on hubs that drag like a dog's ass on the carpet.)

Nevertheless, it's safe to bet amateur Freds will continue to take their inspiration from the professionals, and what's more inspiring than The World's Most Slammed Stem?


Because your stem's not truly slammed until you've removed part of the headset:


Meanwhile, in Cat 6 news, San Francisco's already rather robust smugness factor has grown by nearly 9%:


Daily commutes by bicycle in The City are up by record numbers, according to the newest Annual Bicycle Count Report, released Friday by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency.

The report draws its bike count from three sources: automated bike counters at 15 locations in San Francisco, manual evening bike counts at 80 locations in September last year, and American Community Survey Data.

Out of San Francisco’s total commuters within The City, bikes made up 4.4 percent of trips in 2014. That’s a jump from 2.3 percent in 2006, with an increase of 86,000 new bike commuters.

Unfortunately, during that same time period, San Francisco housing prices have grown by nearly a billion percent, so this probably points less towards some utopian bike-tastic future and more towards rich people paying lots and lots of money to live near work.  It's no different here in New York, where bike commuting in the "city center" is also steadily increasing, though we're still waiting on last year's numbers:


More than three months into 2016, DOT has yet to release last year’s screenline bike count, which shows how cycling in the city center has changed over time.

It’s called the screenline count because it measures the number of cyclists who cross key points around the central business district: the East River bridges, on the Hudson River Greenway at 50th Street, and the Staten Island Ferry Whitehall Terminal.

SPOILER ALERT: you can't afford to live near any of those "key points" anyway.

Hey, I'm glad more people are riding to work, but it's all just the halo effect of gentrification until the police stop running into people and lying about it.

Lastly, Prince was recently spotted riding a deeply uncool bicycle:


Sure, it's good to see him riding, but I'd have expected something more like the motorcycle he rode in "Purple Rain:"


Though if you do an image search for "Purple Rain bike" you do find this:


So maybe it's an appropriate bike after all.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

holy sh!!!!t, podio

DB said...

Happy Patriot's Day.

N/A said...

Slammed stems!

Anonymous said...

13 speeds and Boost is all i ride

ken e. said...

chasing what i don't know...

N/A said...

Oh man, they found a bike in the pro-peloton with cocaine-filled condoms in the seat tube. The question then becomes: where the hell did the motor go?

Anonymous said...

If you remove your top bearing and race from the headset, and fill it with spray foam, you get maximum stem slammage and head tube vibration damping. Best of both worlds.

Hein_Verbruggens_Ghost said...

UCI 1998: What? EPO? Oh we're on that. We are working on tests. Great tests. 2% or less of the peloton cheat.

UCI 2005: What? EPO/transfusions/uncontrolled human experimentation? Oh, we got that covered. We have tests. Lots of tests. Amazing tests. We would find cheats if there were any. You know, most cheats are minor athletes you've never read about.

UCI 2010: Doping? Oh, yeah, it's all under control. Race fixing? Pfft! Not an issue AT ALL. This is not the same UCI that permitted bad stuff. We find cheaters. < 2% annually and someone whose name you've likely never heard.

UCI 2016: Cheating? Oh, yeah, we took care of that minor athlete with the motor. Nailed it! We have great tests. Lots of tests. Amazing tests. We would find cheaters if there were any.

What's that? Hein Verbruggen is running the UCI again? Oh, yeah, it's different now. We've got new amazing tests.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that mountain bike racers are using motors too. I've never considered buying an ebike until now. Where can i buy these magnetic superwheels? Help!

Grump said...

Next you'll be telling me that "funny stuff" goes on in American Football and baseball.

No way.

Freddy Murcks said...

With the impending collapse of the UCI and professional bike racing in general, I am seeing an opening for competitive masturbation. Pro bike racing has been a giant circle jerk for years, might as well make it official.

Lumpen Fredatariat said...

"San Francisco housing prices have grown by nearly a billion percent, so this probably points less towards some utopian bike-tastic future and more towards rich people paying lots and lots of money to live near work".
C'mon Snob, pay attention. Rich millennials who aren't reading your blog are also all commuting down the peninsula to work by means of the ubiquitous Google buses. It is true that some of the Google buses have bike racks, but I have never seen a bike on them, so I suspect they are being used as extra wi-fi routers.

streepo said...

scranus.

Old timer said...

Huh? What?

grog said...

Need some thermography of our Recumbabe.

Freddy Murcks said...

Top penis!

Elroy Jetson said...

Anon @ 10;39 am:
Totally, right? I too am DYIN' to get this shit out to the AVERAGE JOE, eh? Can't fargin' wait to have a little motor-boost-button; screw 1X12!
With the immanently fashionable demise of the front derailer (NB: preferred Sheldon Brown approved spelling of "derailleur"), us fatter, older dudes are goina' needs some serious boosterage. MOTO! MOTO! MOTO!
I Could see it.

Paul Bowen said...

Top 20, back in the game.

Anonymous said...

Trump / Danzig 2016!

Prince is cool enough already said...

Prince is riding a upright comfort cruiser. So yeah kinda uncool, but probably more like the posture of his motorcycle. Also Nice Ride, the Minneapolis bike share has "Prince" tours, so maybe Prince has tried a Nice Ride bike, and liked the ride, and bought something with a similar feel. In many bike share cities, sales of comfort cruisers are way up. Many times Cool bike = Pain Machine. Also Prince is so cool (about a million times cooler than thou) that he can get away with some uncool moments, especially just out of the hospital...

gee business said...

I now know why I have a hard time relating to the millennials - they don't read bsnyc! Should've known.

Roille Figners said...

No no silly, mechanical doping is when you keep doping long after it stops being exciting. You're just going through the motions like a robot. Mechanical doping.

If it's "mechanical doping" then for symmetry it probably should be "pharmaceutical motoring." As in, "Lance got busted for pharmaceutical motoring. All those years he had a pharmaceutical motor."

I can dream said...

It would be pretty hilarious to wear jeans/T-Shirt/flip flops and install a hidden motor in a walmart bike/garage sale beater and blow past some Freds going uphill. Probably not worth the cost though.

P. Bateman said...

Know how much heat they detected when they pointed the Infrared camera at Prince>

NO HEAT WHATSOEVER

know why?

cause that is one cool mother fucker with a LOT of Pussy Control

http://www.jukebo.com/prince/music-clip,pussy-control,su8p0.html

P. Bateman said...

Maybe more millenials would read if this blog was a bit more XTREME!

like this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bvra_rcRQGU

Anonymous said...

There was a eMTB racing category at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, CA this past week.

Anonymous said...

forgot to include the url

http://www.seaotterclassic.com/index.cfm/competitive_events_eMTB.htm

Francois said...

That documentary was really good. Especially the part when the journalist shows the Strade Bianche footage to Cookson. You can feel that Cookson is afraid that there might be even more incriminating footage, which would prove that most of the peloton is cheating.

Also, remember when Contador was accused of having a motor in his bike after he swapped his rear wheel with Basso in the last Giro? And at the end people were satisfied because the UCI claimed that they checked his bike with a scanner? Well, turns out the hidden camera that recorded the check shows a different story: they only manually checked the seat tube…

ubercurmudgeon said...

Look at the calibration scales on those thermal images. The ones from test runs with known motor-equipped bikes show a 20 degrees European temperature difference between bottom bracket area and the surrounding tubes. The ones supposedly from the Strade Bianchi show no more than a few degrees difference, but the false colouring makes it look almost as big. Pros may well be cheating with motors, but this ain't proof of anything.

CommieCanuck said...

"Pros may well be cheating with motors, but this ain't proof of anything"

Jesus, people are gullible. The motors are electric and only provide 50 watts, so a few degrees in rushing air is all you need. Next, you'll tell us Lance never tested positive.

RAI found bike doping years ago back when Spartacus was accused of it, and the motor location is identical to the thermal imaging (but, in fairness, that could be where they keep fresh, untainted pee). File UCI pro racing with WWF pro wrestling, in fact, the two organizations should merge.
Shirley, the UCI checked for this...like they checked Lance's pee.

"Wee opena uppa da seata tubo and find nuhting..excepta for a towsend euros."

This was Cancellara in Spain testing, dunno, looks suspicious to me.

JazzGtrSteve said...

Honestly looks like Prince is on what was my old bike, a Diamondback Edgewood. Comfy bike, but it's essentially a battleship in terms of weight and speed.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Ubercurmudgeon,

It's microdosing.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

P. Bateman said...

wonder if you have to take micro doses of viagra if you have a micro penis?

Mae West said...

Is that a motor in your seat tube, or are ya just glad to see me?

Bong said...

last

Freddy Murcks said...

I am in no way suggesting that hidden motors are not used, but couldn't the heat signatures shown in the French news report just as easily be from a Di2 battery in the seat tube and a power tap-type hub?

N/A said...

I ain't fallin' for the ol' motor in the seat tube. Again.

N/A said...

Around my area, the DUI-cases like to motor-dope their shitty old huffys. They turn up their drop bars, bolt-on those little weed-eater motors, then salmon up the road (or sidewalk) with no lights.

JLRB said...

Cat IV's using the motors? I'd bet the Strava-head Cat VI's beat them to it.

For those of you actually in NY - Don't forget to vote tomorrow to MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN

Anonymous said...

Gold, Freddy, gold!

Anonymous said...

I would contend that the winner of "The World's Most Slammed Stem" award is Will at Gotham Bikes, according to what I hear from all those unimpressed cougars who stop in to shop there.

Dorothy Rabinowitz said...

my ass on the carpet is never a drag.

Fabian's Ass is on Fire said...

That thermal image bike looks like it's going to explode in flames like a scene in a Nicolas Cage movie.

dnk said...

I'm a meta-doper.

Thinking about it.

Thinking.

Anonymous said...

motor doping is worse. basically everyone was doping, but I doubt that nearly as many were motor doping so if you did, you were giving yourself more of an advantage over the field. Also, it's a fucking motor.

Anonymous said...

Froome's cadence makes Armstrong look like he's in slow mo. Just sayin'.

The Usual Suspects said...

I became suspicious when the ad said "goes faster than any pair of legs can pedal", but what sealed the suspicion deal was when I saw the bike model name was the Keyser Söze.

Anonymous said...

> a figure as bizarre as a Hungarian hidden motor specialist

Charming naiveté! Hungarians have invented the ball-point pen, the bendy bus, vitamin C (want more?) and as often as not, if you look up a top US physicist (Edward Teller) or financier (George Soros) you'll find a Hungarian lurking underneath.

It probably took a Hungarian college dropout to work on something as bizarre as hidden bicycle motors.

Disclaimer: I'm not Hungarian
Disclaimer 2: Sometimes I wish I was....

Arthur Leigh Allen said...

Froome sounds a lot like Vroom. Coincidence, I don't think so, do the math man.

P. Bateman said...

their success is due to their insatiable hunger knowledge

Goulash said...

Wasn't Professor Irwin Corey Hungarian?

Darth V said...

Take a 9 vote battery and touch your tongue to both terminals, and you'll get an idea of the power of the dark side of the seat tube.

P. Bateman said...

looks like i should get more knowledge... for things like complete sentences.

Editorial Desk, WSJ said...

We don't know about her ass, but Dottie's been dragged around by the rug for ages.

Gidoen said...

It is funny to see people in this comment section parsing out which method of cheating is more.....fair. I dont know whether I'm more upset at these supremely ridiculous commentors, or whether I should be upset at pro cycling for creating a situation where their idiocy can shine.

- Nada Robot

Donald Trump said...

Tell me more about this 9-vote battery.

Jason Williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

1985 GT Framestanders on ebay are going to be flying to shopping carts... I hate having to "hang" my feet while the motor heating up.

Gideon said...

Also,
I watched that report on Stade 2. Some of the motors they caught didnt quite look like ambient heat. Just looked SLIGHTLY lighter.

-Nada Robot

Professor Henry Higgens said...

Not only Hungarian, but of royal blood. He is a princess.

Roille Figners said...

The Hungarians (and the Houston Austros) are also responsible for oppressing Slovakia, making Slovakians 2nd-class citizens in their own land, having some success stamping out their culture and language, and just generally making it such a pain in the ass to live there, that all the smart people left.

Anonymous said...

Good to see Prince on the bike -- any bike. Coolness of Prince >> "uncoolness" of bike.

Would Prince on a unicycle be cool?

How about Bill Walton on a bike? https://dirtysixer.com/gallery/#jp-carousel-56

JLRB said...

Sgt Schultz says

I think the heat signal on the seat tube is the result of unshaven legs and incorrect Q factor.

Pants Yabbies on Fire said...

Newport News Shipbuilding will be bringing out a stealth nuclear powered bike. The reactor will be hidden in the seat tube. Only side effect is halfway through the TDF the wearer of the Maillot Jaune will turn into an Iguana.

How You Climb Mountain with Hangover? said...

CC at 126 Lance tested positive for Michelob Ultra too.

The Ben Franklin Kite Co. said...

Anyone remember when Floyd Landis flew through the mountains faster than the Millennium Falcon goes through space? Can't wait to hear what Phil, Paul & Bobke have to say when smoke comes pouring out of a seat tube one of these days. Phil "My God I think his chamois is on fire", Paul "Incredibly hot conditions today" Bobke "I think his balls are being cooked up into Rocky Mountain Oysters." Thank God at least there's Chateau Porn to watch, I think the chateau's are real or will they turn out to be Hollywood sets...

Anonymous said...

"Hungarian Hidden Motor Specialist" How would you like to have that on your business card?

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a "Hot Carl" style nickname for a sex act involving a vibrator.

Frickus Rungus said...

I see a new blog in the near future:
Hidden Motor Snob - HUN

Freddy Murcks said...

BFKC - LiPO and other high power lithium ion batteries that would be used to power a hidden motor are, to say the least, finicky and have a tendency to explode and catch fire. You can bet that if riders are using hidden motors, somebody's bike is going to catch fire in the middle of some TdF stage at some point. I, for one, am really looking forward to it. I sincerely hope it's that doper shitheel Alpuerto Contadoper. Although I'd settle for seeing Valverde's bike burst into flames and seeing his career go up in flames along with it.

Patrick from Buffalo said...

I'm a millennial. I look forward to reading this blog and the comments everyday. B*sync 4E FAM!!!

Pathetic Old Cyclist said...

Gideon 438

We in the commentariat let our idiocy shine as well as any pro in the peleton,...without cheating

D-Rab said...

My carpet's burned from motor doping, and I'm not talking about bikes, baby

BamaPhred said...

Motor doping in the peleton. Man these guys are beyond saving. Haven't they seen the videos of hover boards catching on fire! And you want that in your crotch? Scranus.

Arnold Ziffel said...

And just just sayin more comments today than all weekend.

bbotn said...

family got out of the a-h empire and came here to the good ol' us of a.good thing.

Ball Bearing said...

Excuse will be it's an experimental crank lubing system, being stealth tested, that bathes the cranks in melted red hot grease. Do I hear Kickstarter?

I'm Sitting on One Hot Bike said...

Prince rain hood photo, it looks like smoke is pouring out of the cranks..

The Electric Company said...

CC @ 126 I though his nickname was Sparkicus.

Dooth said...

Holy sh!!!!t, podio's new album is due to drop next week.

Anonymous said...

Maybe specialized can patent an asbestos crabon weave to insulate the motors properly

Lance-y said...

"People ask me what I'm on? Well, I'm on my ass waiting for Pedro to finish doping my bike, that's what I'm on!"

Arizona Hillbilly said...

That Purple Rain bike is as lame as a girl's hybrid...

McFly said...

The Heat Map would be glowing a furious red in my scranus and greater taint region. (I sit too much)

David G said...

I don't care what anybody's notions of what kind of cheating is "worse" are. Watching a race where riders are blood doping could at least be exciting. A race with mopers is just completely stupid, and nobody is going to pay attention to such "competitions" if they think that's going on. If the sport wants to survive, it'll have to eradicate this.

leroy said...

Well this is a coincidence. Taking red eye back from LA. My dog asked if I could swallow a small package for him.

Odd because in NYC, the law says I have to scoop up after him. Not vice versa.

Anonymous said...

The Eradicator!!!

JLRB said...

David G @1:08 - I sort of agree - both are cheating, but the doping is still bicycling - putting a motor on the bike is a different event all together

Tour de food delivery

Would you rather watch robots ride bicycles, or doped humans ride motorized bikes? It's a fargin-trick-question

Anonymous said...

https://momentummag.com/can-tell-whats-wrong-bicycles/

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