Well I had that dream where everyone can see through my translucent worn-out cycling shorts, and when my profound fear of public humiliation starts bubbling up from deep within my subconscious I know I must be getting ready to head out on some BRAs. (That's "Book-Related Appearances," of course.) So I'm pleased to announce I'll be taking a little micro-swing through the Pacific Northwest and the Bay Area. Details are still taking shape, but in the interest of giving you plenty of notice here's the way it looks so far:
Thursday, June 16th
Portland! (The one in Oregon.) This event will be in conjunction with River City Bicycles. Exact schedule to follow. I'm trying to arrange it so that everyone who attends receives a free bicycle of their choice, and so far I'm pleased to report that there's a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT CHANCE that this won't happen.
Friday, June 17th
Seattle! (Otherwise known as Portland's more corporate older sibling.) I'll be at the University Book Store, which I fondly remember from my visit way back in 2010. So come back and see how badly six years has ravaged me.
Saturday, June 18th
This is huge. HUGE! I'll be at Rivendell in Walnut Creek, CA. It's such a big deal you've got to RSVP. I can't promise we won't be unveiling the new Rivendell lugged steel dropper post, though I promise we won't be unveiling the new Rivendell lugged steel dropper post, which is a thing that will never, ever exist. (Though if it did you would totally activate it with a handlebar-mounted bellows.) I should also say that if you only read two (2) bikey books in your life they should be mine and "Just Ride" by Grant Petersen, though if you only have time to read one let's be honest, it should probably be "Just Ride" by Grant Petersen:
Anyway, I'm very much looking forward to visiting the exotic western half of the United States, and don't miss these events because after this you'll probably never hear from me again.
Speaking of self-promotion, Transportation Alternatives were kind enough to invite me to a little "swar-ay" at their offices last night, where I gave a little PowerPoint seminar and managed to sell at least 15 key TransAlt supporters pre-owned Hyundais:
Selling cars is all about tapping into new markets, baby.
That and dousing yourself in Axe body spray.
In all sincerity it was extremely kind of them to have me, and as the father of seventeen (17) human children it was a genuine pleasure to drink beer after sundown in glamorous Manhattan in a room full of grown-ups, even if some of them were wearing Birkenstocks. (Not to mention unrestricted access to a seemingly bottomless supply of cheese cubes and toothpicks with which to spear them.)
Thanks to TransAlt and everyone who came.
Moving on, a number of people have informed me that an anti-doping advisor to USA Cycling is advising them to allow doping:
A British academic who advises USA Cycling on anti-doping issues says that the blood-boosting agent EPO should be made legal, as should blood transfusions.
Paul Dimeo, who lectures at the University of Stirling, maintains that anti-doping regulations currently in force are outdated, counter-productive and have little effect, reports The Times [£] (link is external).
The academic, who is chair of the USA Cycling Anti-Doping Committee, advocates the safe use of EPO to help the performance and recovery of athletes and believes that tennis players and cyclists should be permitted to undergo blood transfusions, currently banned other than for medical reasons.
Wait a minute. So as of this year USA Cycling now assesses its membership an "anti-doping surcharge:"
Meanwhile, they're (presumably) paying an advisor who says stuff like this:
“There are some studies which state that low doses of EPO improve cardiac function,” he insisted. “A whole generation of cyclists used a lot of EPO and they have survived to tell the tale.
“If we understood the dosages and the timing of dosages then maybe it would be relatively safe. Would an athlete mind taking a small amount of a drug that has been trialled and medically approved?”
He also believes that blood transfusions, administered under medical supervision, could help athletes.
It's been a couple years since I held a racing license, but if I still did I'd be seriously pissed off. It's the same way you'd feel as a taxpayer if the US provided military aid to a country who then attacked us--though fortunately such a scenario would never occur in real life.
Anyway, here's the advisor's reasoning for allowing blood transfusions:
Dr Dimeo also backed the introduction of blood transfusions, which boost oxygen-carrying capacity, saying: “It’s safe, of course, because it happens all the time in hospitals. They would help recovery between the stages of a bike race or rounds of a tennis tournament.
“What is the harm if we know there is a doctor on hand, that everything is clean and sterilised and the blood comes from the right place? People will say it’s cheating, because not everybody can get access to that, but that’s not the same as saying it’s harmful.”
Can't argue with that. After all, nothing has ever gone wrong with blood transfusions in hospitals, so logically it will be that much safer when Doctor Vinnie Boombatz is doing it in the back of the team bus. I mean sure, they're doing it anyway, but turning it into a prerequisite doesn't sound like a very good idea:
Opponents of relaxing rules surrounding banned substances point out that there is a risk of causing harm to the health of young athletes desperate to progress in their sport, and that even if some practices were made legal there would still be people looking to gain a competitive edge by breaking the rules, such as exceeding any maximum permitted doses.
But Dr Dimeo said that while use of performance enhancing drugs or methods that are currently banned would have to be carefully monitored should their use be permitted, there should be “a middle ground between making a big deal over relatively harmless drugs — and punishing people who have done relatively little wrong — and catching organised, systematic cheats.
Seems to me this is sound policy for legalizing recreational drugs, which I'm fine with. However, we're not talking talking about real life here. We're talking about sports. The whole point of sports is that it's a bunch of people who agree to follow a bunch of stupid rules--just like religion.
Then again, maybe it is a good idea. After all, if USA Cycling legalizes EPO and blood transfusions then there's not a single parent alive who would let their kid into bike racing. This would completely kill junior racing once and for all, and USA Cycling would instead simply become a cycling club exclusively for overly-competitive Masters racers who can afford $10,000 racing bikes and regular testosterone treatments at anti-aging clinics--which is pretty much what it is anyway.
Lastly, via the comments section yesterday, Australia continues to live up to its well-earned reputation as the worst country on the planet for cyclists:
Holy shit, wielding a knife in flip-flops?!?
Wow, Australia really is the Florida of the southern hemisphere.
It's both horrifying and pathetic that someone would go to such lengths to "protect" their stupid fucking car (to say nothing about being psychotically impatient on a virtually empty road):
There's simply no excuse for this sort of reaction, and not even the cyclist's outfit is justification for the assault:
Laughter, sure. But not a fucking knife attack.
By the way, perhaps most disturbing of all, according to the video description this swashbuckling Parrothead--who threatened to knife someone for merely existing--was only fined $1,500.
That's only about three and a half times more than the fine in New South Wales for cycling without a helmet.
Good to see they've got things in perspective down there.