Monday, June 13, 2016

Untitled: Post Titles Now For Premium Subscribers Only

A lot of people are down on pro cycling.  The doping, the crushing boredom one must endure in order to follow a Grand Tour, and of course the sport's increasing dependence on slavers, torturers, and theocrats:


(You're riding with Alberto Contador and you don't even bother taking both headphones out?)

Another way to look at it though iss that pro cycling is entering into sort of a golden age in terms of entertaining scandal, because this motödoping stuff just keeps getting better and better:


Yes, as others have speculated, it turns out the UCI may be involved in protecting ProTour "e-tards" from mechanical doping checks:

France Television programme Stade 2 has alleged that the UCI worked to disrupt a police investigation into mechanical doping during last year’s Tour de France. According to the programme, which was broadcast on Sunday, police spoke with the UCI last July to discuss reports that a ‘Hungarian’ had been trying to sell motors during the 2015 Tour.

Ah yes, it's always a Hungarian.  Last time it was Istvan Varjas, this time it's Stefano Varjas:

The Hungarian in question is believed to be engineer Stefano Varjas, who was working for Typhoon bicycles at the time. The e-bike manufacturer has been working with the UCI on their motor detection at races. The programme showed screengrabs of emails between Mark Barfield, the UCI’s technical manager, and Harry Gibbings, the CEO of Typhoon bicycles, in July of last year. Stade 2 claims that Barfield’s email was a tip-off about the investigation, which allowed Varjas to leave the Tour before being questioned by the police.

I have no idea if there's any relation between Istvan Varjas and Stefano Varjas, and to be honest I don't feel like doing the nine seconds of search engine jockeying it would take to find out, but I do think it's delightfully ironic that the UCI is employing an e-bike manufacturer to help them detect motors at races.

Generally speaking, receiving detection assistance from people with a vested interest in their technology remaining undetected isn't very sound from a security standpoint or an ethics standpoint.  I mean, that's almost as crazy as taking money from a top rider in order to buy a blood-testing machine...which of course also happened, so none of this should be even remotely surprising.

Anyway, the correspondence in question is highly suspicious, but of course the e-bike maker puts it down to an innocent case of the UCI mixing up all these Hungarians:

“As partners, they knew that we had a Hungarian involved with us, and I suspect that they wanted to check me out and say: ‘Hang on, you’re partners with us, and now we hear about this Hungarian guy, is he your guy?’ There was nothing confidential. They were just asking ‘Is this your guy selling these? You told us you wouldn’t sell motors to riders, and now we hear that there is a Hungarian guy going around trying to sell motors to teams.’ All I could do was ask him, and he said no so I went back to them and told them that he had said no.”

Oh, well, that checks out.  Here's this Hungarian sidling up to Tour riders and whispering, "Pssst!  Vanna buy a motor?"  So the UCI deals with it thusly:

UCI: "Is Stefano Varjas selling motors at the Tour?"
TYPHOON BIKES: "No, that's probably his identical twin, Istvan Varjas."
UCI: "Well OK then!"

However, it would appear Stefano Varjas was less than honest regarding his whereabouts during the Tour de France:

Gibbings told Cyclingnews that there was no follow up from the French police but that he had questioned Varjas on several occasions regarding the matter and that Varjas flatly denied being at the Tour de France. However, when he submitted receipts for expense purposes several months later, they proved that he was in fact in France, though he still denied being at the race.

“When he submitted his receipts to the company, we saw that he had been in France. So I contacted him again, but he said ‘I was in France, but he wasn’t at the Tour de France,’” said Gibbings. “He kept on denying it, and I couldn’t prove it.”

Right.  I'm sure he went to France in July without going to the Tour de France.  Presumably he also submitted a bunch of receipts from strip clubs for reimbursement and then claimed he only went there for the buffet.

Speaking of motors, meet the latest in an endless procession of e-assisted, smartphone-enabled crabon smart bikes.  It's called the Infinity, probably because that's how long inventors will be subjecting us to these things:



However, there are two features that make the Infinity unique.  Firstly, it employs new cutting-edge air-cushioned tire technology:


This is huge, and I can't imagine why nobody has thought of this before.

Secondly, apparently the motor only kicks in when your heart rate reaches a certain point:

Infinity e-Bike is fully controlled via smartphone app. It permits to choose the riding mode, to switch on the motor and to monitor a number of the most important parameters, including the actual speed, heart rate, battery status, burned calories, watt consumption, inclination etc.


Which they explain like this:


(I have no idea what any of this is supposed to mean.)

Though in practice it means that when the average Fred spots an attractive pedestrian the motor will suddenly engage and send him into the nearest brick wall.

This could explain why the inventors look like they own and operate a sperm bank:


Finally, in a weekend dominated by awful news, this was a welcome ray of sunshine:


An attempted bicycle theft in a Walmart parking lot was foiled by a cattle rancher on horseback, who chased the thief down and lassoed him until the local police in southern Oregon could arrive.

We've seen any number of smart locks and bike-tracking systems on Kickstarter, but even in 2016 it would appear there's no more effective theft-prevention system than a good ol'-fashioned cowboy:

The bicycle was stolen from a bike rack outside a Walmart in Eagle Point, a town about 170 miles south of Eugene, Oregon, at around 10amon Friday morning. The woman who owned the bike and several others gave chase on foot but were unable to catch him.

Then a rancher named Robert Borba brought his horse out of its trailer, mounted up and chased the thief down, according to Chris Adams, an officer with the Eagle Point police who responded to the 911 call about the theft.

He even speaks just like you hoped he would:

I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle,” Borba told the Medford Mail-Tribune. “I wasn’t going to catch him on foot. I just don’t run very fast.” He added: “I use a rope every day, that’s how I make my living. If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good.”

Sadly this will never happen in New York, since so few people have employment skills that transfer to bike-thief wrangling.  Instead, everybody makes a living in finance, which means the nearest equivalent would be a banker foiling a thief by throwing a bundle of cash at him.  But instead they just indiscriminately hit cyclists with their luxury SUVs, which I suppose underscores the fundamental difference between the Big City and Anytown, USA.  (Well, that and all the anti-government militants.)

And with that, Borba bought a shitload of diet soda at Walmart--America's general store--and rode off into the sunset:


"Happy trails to you..."

54 comments:

Ted K. said...

141. People tend to assume that because a revolution involves a much greater change than reform does, it is more difficult to bring about than reform is. Actually, under certain circumstances revolution is much easier than reform. The reason is that a revolutionary movement can inspire an intensity of commitment that a reform movement cannot inspire. A reform movement merely offers to solve a particular social problem. A revolutionary movement offers to solve all problems at one stroke and create a whole new world; it provides the kind of ideal for which people will take great risks and make great sacrifices. For this reasons it would be much easier to overthrow the whole technological system than to put effective, permanent restraints on the development or application of any one segment of technology, such as genetic engineering, for example. Not many people will devote themselves with single-minded passion to imposing and maintaining restraints on genetic engineering, but under suitable conditions large numbers of people may devote themselves passionately to a revolution against the industrial-technological system. As we noted in paragraph 132, reformers seeking to limit certain aspects of technology would be working to avoid a negative outcome. But revolutionaries work to gain a powerful reward—fulfillment of their revolutionary vision—and therefore work harder and more persistently than reformers do.

Two Claws said...

Two Claws Up!

BamaPhred said...

Podiodio

Schisthead said...

More E-bikes!

I want to know what the "etc." it monitors will consist of.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Woo Hoo!!

Award winning commentary to follow after I read this thing ...

vsk

JLRB said...

Too scranus

Paul Bowen said...

From Thursday: "an inalienable right-just like owning an assault weapon, or being a foaming-at-the-mouth religious lunatic".

Spooky.

cdinvb said...

Hey. No cavities. No ride this morning either. And I'm out a hundred bucks for all the scraping.

Anonymous said...

Author deleted by this comment.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Paul Bowen,

I wish it were spooky and not just the way it is here.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

samh said...

Happy anniversary, Snob. May all the haters SMB.

N/A said...

Well, for fuck's sake. They're putting air in the tires now? I've had about all I can take with these new-fangled biek improvements.

*scoots off on dandy-horse*

BamaPhred said...

So only premium subscribers get booby pics? I wondered where they went.

Trigger said...

Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue,
It's the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here's a happy one for you....

Holy Roller said...

I only foam at the mouth when I brush my teeth. (or read from the book of Genesis)

dancesonpedals said...

UCI: "Is Stefano Varjas selling motors at the Tour?"
TYPHOON BIKES: "No, that's probably his identical twin, Istvan Varjas."
UCI: "Well OK then!"



Maybe Istvan and Stefano aren't twins, but the same person. Those are two different versions of the name, "Steven". In work documents he's Istvan, in the strip clubs he's Stefano.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

As a diversion from the sad awful news. This pales in comparison but here goes ...

On the weekend at Gateway Marina (I know, I should ride more to prep for next year's FonDon't but, I'm too busy making up excuses...) I go full camera-fred ... the Galaxy 5 phone has a camera, my instantly deployable Canon 610 is always at the ready, and the new Nikon P900 / I can see your fucking house from here / long zoom.

Anywayze, I was going to do a bunch of epoxy and woodwork on the old scow cause it was nice and dry and windy. But when it's nice and dry and windy it's also the perfect condition for mass conflagration ... and a big fire. Hence the massive Flatbush Avenue Belt Parkway Brush Fire of 6/12/2016. I get to the marina at 11:30am, no one can get in because of the smoke drifting into the place. So I park the car that I bought from the bank a little south of the marina entrance along the Great Hilpster Silk Route to the Marine Parkway Gil Hodges Bridge. Oh yeah about a half hour then it will be ok to go in. So for 4 - 5 hours I was there. Taking pix and rad video.
I am sure as NY local bikey folks, some of youze got caught in the rush to and from the beach, along the Plum Beach Belt Parkway bike path. Flatbush Ave was closed in both directions south of the Belt Parkway. Saw lots of bicycle people.
If you were stuck and couldn't see the excitement, here's NY's Finest not in the act of ticketing you:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqCaCX6orRc

I had to wade through a football field of nasty brush and thick thickette to get that money shot at Dead Horse Bay.

One of my marina friends had no problem getting around because ... He was using his bike! There we were extolling the virtues of the bicycle, lowly trusty bug out vehicle for when the revolution comes or something.

On a side note, I was doing some work after we were let in. I had just set up a great system of racks to carry my stuff back and forth along the 1/4 mile long dock. Went to pack up and ... where the fuck is my bike??
The 30 mph winds blew it down and off the dock into the murk below.
the world is down 1 less department store Schwinn.

Now that today's the 13th, ... what else will go wrong !?!

vsk

Keyser Soze said...

I was never near the Tour de France

Anonymous said...

Non-premium subscriber bonus: untitled posts mean one less weekly reminder that it's Wednesday.

Two Claws said...

I'm guessing from todays story that every Hungarian is named Varjas, kind of like the Ramones are all named Ramone.

Doug Cornelius said...

Contador? or is that Nibali.

Brooks said...

Istvan and Stephano are the same guy. In the earlier reports on the hidden motors (with the famous thermal images) he was listed under both names depending on which news source was reporting it - and as someone pointed out, those are two different variations on the same name.

leroy said...

Dear Mr. vsk - Sorry to hear about your bike.

My dog, however, asked me to remind you that water bicycle polo is his idea in a very real and legally cognizable manner with all appurtenant rights thereto, notwithstanding that he can not be held responsible for any losses stemming from participation in said sport.

I told him it will never catch on.

Anders Hustvedt said...

You scoff now, Wildcat, but wait till Google perfects their self-driving bicycle. To get around in the future, all we will need is a good data plan.

David Olson said...

@Doug Cornelius

His Nibs. With the Italian champs jersey. The slaver looks a bit like Cancellara.

Frontier Justice said...

It would a lot better if the "cowboy" would have lynched the thief, and Fake Ted as well, and left them hangin' in the parking lot as the example of what happens.....

P. Bateman said...

my god i'd love to see someone get lassoed.

that might be a good trick to learn for the bedroom.

my buddy who owns my favorite strip club here was scheduled to close on the sale of Pulse later this week. my only random connection to it all thank god.

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Thanks Leroy ! And Doggie!

vsk

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

Two questions for EBikeInfinity before I decide if I'll invest-

"cutting-edge air-cushioned tire technology" - whatpressureyourunnin?

Simone Aita, are you tapping Alexandra Zotova?

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

VSK, that NYPD helicopter looks like it was really working to get back in the air after it filled its water bag. Sorry about your bike, you weren't able to rescue it?

Bryan said...

You have all those mounted NYPD officers....someone get them some lassos!

Anonymous said...

Yup, Nibali.

dancesonpedals said...

Mounted police? That's like the old joke, "How does the NYPD separate the men from the boys?" (crowbars)

Lieutenant Oblivious said...

All this talk about "mounted" reminds me of an old joke -

Elderly woman brings her 2 dead rabbits to the taxidermist.

Taxidermist asks the elderly woman, "So, would you like these two rabbits mounted?"

Elderly woman says "Oh no, just holding hands will be fine."

bah dum bum!

db said...

For a moment, I was worried that the motödoping suspects were two CZECHOSLOVAKIAN brothers...

Freddy Murcks said...

"Post Titties Now For Premium Subscribers Only"!?! WTF, Snob. Now we're going to have to have a login if we want to see the titties? That's bullshit, man. FREE RECUMBABE.

Frickus Rungus said...

On my ride into work today I encountered a gas powered moped heading towards me on a non-motorized vehicle path. There was a perfectly good, low traffic road right next to the path, so I have no idea why he was driving on the path. I swerved over to his side of the path and waved him towards the street. He swerved onto the other side of the path. I swerved back in front of him and waved some more.
You know what he said to me when we met? "Pick a side!"

Too bad I didn't have a lasso...

bad boy of dc said...

I was waiting for the evil "bwah ha ha!" in the clip.alas,it was not be.it would've been funny though.we all need a chuckle after this weekend.jeez!

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...

Left Tennant Oblivious - I might try to put a big treble hook down there and fish around in the much for it but, it would cost more in oil and solvents than the thing is worth.

I think they did 15 water runs then had to get gas and they did some more.

Now I hope I don't get into trouble for filming the PO-lice!

vsk

Grump said...

Bike stealin' is a hangin' offence where I come from, friend (at least I wish it was).

Did they string up that son of a gun, or did they turn him over to the Sheriff????

bad boy of dc said...

Lassoing the bike thief could be a scene in the new Blazing Saddles II movie,,,let me get a hold of Mel.

bike bum said...

top 50

Helen said...

Latest from the Land of Bike Hatred...
Treacher-y!
http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/cars-bikes-and-boats/cycling/dont-commute-to-work-on-a-bike-in-sydney-says-cyclist-and-ceo-karl-treacher-20160608-gpe4n1

Yan said...

oh I love bikes so much, I can't wait my stand on my feet again :S had a little accident couple of months ago lol not to worry though ^^ meanwhile I'm enjoying dirt bike games in XDB ^^

McFly said...

#whatropeareyourunning

babble on said...

Hey!! Titties are always nice... sign me up for that premium service of yours, Mr snobberdoodums.

vsk? Youtube sez that video doesn't exist. Er, and sorry bout yer Schwinn. We know a guy out here who will don a dive tank etc to chase phones folks have dropped off the dock, but it would prolly cost you less to replace the bike.

Master Bateman? I'll show yeah how to rope, if you like. I'm pretty handy with a whip, too. :) Used to teach peeps how to ride (either dressage or western show, depending on their saddle) and then I spent a little time working cattle on the Gang Ranch, (750,000 acres of heaven!) waaaay back in the days when the Alsagers still owned it.

SteveAuston said...

Being lassoed by babble sounds interesting, and I'll take the golden lasso of Wonder Woman also (70's Lynda Carter version). Shitty tv, but I don't think anyone watched it for the plot or music.

beavis and butthead said...

(snort)

Babble said saddle. Heh heh. heh heh.

bad boy of dc said...

She also said whip.

N/A said...

I ain't signing up for any damn premium subscription!

I'mma make my own titles from now on. For example, this post's title will be: Cram It, Wankers!

Victor Kaminski said...

vsk said ...


Apologies Ms. Babble, I was able to paste the linky link and did see the whirlybird
take a big drink ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqCaCX6orRc

vsk

Catching Up on Yesterdays Reading said...

"You're riding with Alberto Contador and you don't even bother taking both headphones out?"

No problemo, they bonded, became ride for a day buddies and stopped at the local Clenbuterol Burger franchise location and had a burger and a beer.

Joe McNamara said...

Pretty sure that's Nibali.

Now look at this: http://visual.ly/story-jock-strap

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