So where was I, and what was I doing? I received a few emails asking just this, and the answer is quite simple. For part of my time away, I was visiting one of the most exotic and picturesque locales known to man (I'll give you a tip, it rhymes with "the part of New Jersey that smells funny, and has no beaches"). Although I'm not able to fully disclose my whereabouts, or my whatwasIdoings, I can tell you that I most certainly watched the Tour de France during my absence from the blog. For me, watching the first week of the Tour de France always means the same thing. I wake up semi-early at the Cycling Inquisition headquarters, I start watching the race, and I then put on my official Tour de France-watching Cosby sweater, which my wife bought for me, and looks like this:
|While the press was quick to point out that Wiggins was the first Briton to wear yellow since Millar in 2000, they failed to recognize that this was the first time I wore my Tour de France-watching Cosby sweater since last year.|
Now, if you're anything like those who have criticized my sweater in the past, you're probably thinking that aside from being the single ugliest, most dry heave-inducing thing you've ever seen, it's also not a true Tour de France sweater at all. I mean, it's not very realistic. The riders don't have left legs, their bikes have no top tubes, and none of them are dropping their chains as a result of using electronic shifting.
Be that as it may, I must ask you: are the guys on the bikes not wearing stereotypically French striped shirts? Are those not the Alps behind the makeshift peloton? Are the riders not wearing berets as they wave? Are the TV helicopters not flying up above them? Since the answer to all these questions is "most certainly", then you must agree that this is an official Tour de France sweater. Although I admit that it looks surprisingly like an Afghan war rug.
Sweaters designed by colorblind Afghan rug weavers aside, my Tour de France routine during early stages of the race—as I was telling you earlier—remains as it always has. I wake up, I put on my sweater, I start watching the Tour, I take a nap for four hours, I wake back up and perhaps catch the sprint, or something exciting like news about Marcel Kittel retiring after being crowning himself the Lanterne Marron on Twitter, due to severe diarrhea while wearing white shorts.
Kittel's gastrointestinal misfortune, by the way, reminded me of just how often people arrive to this blog in search of answers regarding how riders at the Tour de France go to the bathroom. Specifically, visitors seem to be interested in how riders "do poo" (to quote one particular search). These searches seem to skyrocket every year during the Tour. This is because almost regardless of how you phrase the question "how do riders at the Tour de France poo", this blog seems to come up very high on Google's results.
With that in mind, I guess it's fair to say that I'm some kind of cycling poo-Guru, and people from all around the world come to me in search of answers. Wait, who am I kidding. Most of the searches actually seem to come from one place: Australia. Here are just a few snapshots of search terms used by visitors over the course of a couple of hours one morning last week.
Come to think of it, the only thing that happens more often than riders on electronic shifting groups dropping their chain during the Tour, would have to be fans searching for information about how those very riders drop a deuce.
Still, there are other reasons why people end up on this blog. Consider the search terms used by this person:
|I'm happy to see that members of WADA are coming to this blog for help in trying to figure out how to punish one American rider.|
Still, since so many wonder about riders and their scatological needs, I figured I should just go ahead and share the following short video, which may explain how matters are sometimes taken care of. Spoiler: the solution consists of a cycling cap and a Shell station.
Making something that looks like a Cosby sweater inside a cycling cap aside, let me get back to the Tour de France. Since Marcel Kittel eventually retired from the race due to his ongoing status as the Lanterne Marron, I was left with no one to cheer for. So I decided to ride my own bike last week, instead of watching others do so. It was then that I realized that aside from watching the Tour, many Americans were also busy celebrating their country's independence day. To some this means eating lots, or setting things on fire...but during my pleasant bike ride, I learned that to some, it simply means having an Army helicopter terrorize a rural, multi-family garage sale.
Once I came back from my bike ride, I decided to check out some cycling news outlets, to see what was going on within the sport, and to see what 84 new bottom bracket standards had been announced during my seventeen minutes on the bike. Turns out, only 82 standards had been announced, and most websites were simply cluttered with news about doping investigations, and people complaining that all these news give the sport "a bad name"....since it was so highly regarded before.
Commenters on news websites mentioned how uncomfortable it felt to have friends and co-workers ask them about the topic. "My co-workers and family all assume I'm doped, and that all the pros are too!", cried one person with a computer keyboard and fingers with which to type, which left me thinking...cyclists often complain that they are portrayed in a foolish manner on TV and movies. The looser, the weirdo, the funny guy with the tight shorts. We get called names as we ride by in our sweet attire, by fools who simply don't know or understand how awesome and cool we are.
While it's true that most of us don what women simply consider to be secret undergarments in public, many still have trouble understanding why we are openly mocked by those inside every moving vehicle that passes by. It's for that reason that I say we take up this opportunity. Like Kittel making the most of the runny feces in his white shorts, I say we embrace the opportunity to re-invent ourselves in the eyes of others. Tell your friends and family that it's true. The peloton is rotten, and that (most importantly) cyclists are indeed bad, bad people. There are conspiracies, there lots of trafficking across boundaries, and much, much more. Cyclists are scary, downright dangerous, and if you mess with us, we are bound to come at you (once we remove our shoes, because running in cleats is not efficient when you are getting ready to deliver a beating...and can also ruin your cleats).
So embrace the bad-boy status. Tell them all that you do indeed live on the edge. In fact, tell them that your friends who you meet up with at 7am are not cyclists. Oh no. They are bikers.
That's right. for years you've tried to correct people around you. You say your friends are cyclists, not bikers, because bikers are the guys who ride motorcycles with black leather jackets on...but as of today that changes. What a better group to be associated with than outlaw biker gangs? Never again will you be mocked. Yeah, bikers on bicycles do and deal drugs, we are baaaad dudes. While you're at it, revisit history a little. Tell your family that it was cyclists (excuse me, bikers) like you who were paid by the Rolling Stones to do security at the Altamont Speedway back in 1969. So yeah, we're crazy, insanely so. Take this time within the news cycle, and make the most of it. Let the world know that you are dangerous too. Tell them that they should most certainly be afraid if they hear the clippity clop of cleats coming their way in the middle of the night.
This, I believe, is our moment. It's our time to finally take what is ours: the ability to instill fear...for we are bikers. And we are scary.
Especially when we take massive dumps inside cycling caps or all over white shorts.