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Why were they interviewing Farrar when it was Phinney who actually ended up in 4th?

"Shouldn't a race with a medal on the line - and an American in contention - take priority over qualifying heats?"

Sure, but it does not seem that NBC is agile enough to switch things around.

That said, the coverage of the road race was on WRC and was carried live. There was a gap or two in coverage, but earlier in the race. The last thirty minutes or so were carried without commercials.

Crime goes where the culture is. Without drilling down into statistics, it's plausible that as more people bike, some of those people will be criminals. But yes, it's always good to be skeptical of claims about trends without seeing the data.

Dude, eff Grant Petersen. He totally dumps on expensive racing bikes and clothes, but it's really just a shill to get people to buy the just-as-expensive "unracer" shit his own company sells. From Riv's website "Complete bikes start around $2500-$3500 depending on the model." A $3000 Rivendell bike "all for a 10 mile ride on a bike path"? christ.

For as much as the "racer" types are accused of giving cyclists a bad name, people like Grant Petersen perpetuate that and create an us-against-them attitude between "normal" cyclists and the so-called "roadie" crowd (which really is just euphemism for people who wear lycra and like to ride fast/for fitness).

It's a trend only for those lazy enough to pull together isolated incidents in widely separated areas without looking at statistics to see if it holds up relative to, as CF says, overall use of bikes as transportation. It's like saying crimes committed by people in grey cars on on the rise, without seeing if it's true or if the number of grey cars is rising.

It was Taylor Phinney who came in 4th, not Tyler Farrar, though NBC's usual sob-story athlete profile was of Farrar. (Poor Phinney did look totally gutted though after it was all over).
I actually thought the coverage was pretty good -- it seemed unrealistic that NBC was going to cover the whole six hours of the mens race uninterrupted, so it cut to the swimming qualifiers early on, but then came back to the race with plenty of time to see the breakaway forming, etc., etc. Although I didn't see all of it, the womens race yesterday actually looked a lot more interesting. Certainly, I think a lot more people were happy that Marianne Vos won than Vinokourov.

“unless you use it to make a living, it is a toy,

I guess this know it all has never heard of "utility cyclist".

@MM:

A regular cotton T-shirt and a pair of shorts will ventilate better, he says, and if you’re not trying to shave seconds off a world record, the microscopic aerodynamic advantages of tight synthetic clothing just don’t apply to you.

Weird. I always knew Peterson was a retro-grouch, but I never knew he was so completely pig-ignorant.

I wear regular shoes and street clothes when I'm noodling along on a bike path for 20 minutes with my kid. But the fact that not one rider in 100 who rides long distances over multiple days wears cotton underwear should tell you something.

Street clothes are great for getting across town in a hurry; they're great for a 20 minute unhurried ride on a flat trail in nice weather. A big, fat, cushy "seat" can be nice for the first 15-20 minutes of your ride. But sometimes people who ride bikes have to get from Point A to Point B in a reasonable amount of time, and without rubbing their taints raw.

Re: biking crims -- good! I'd sooner a criminal ride a bicycle to the crimescene, and add a bit of positive externality to the negative actions. And 3000 lbs of fast-moving steel not in the control of a criminal is a good thing.

And Grant Petersen is as bad as Bicycling Mag - anybody who speaks in absolutes about what works and doesn't for riding a bicycle is to be instantly distrusted.

re: Petersen.
Others have pointed out that Petersen is not a disinterested commentator. I'd add that his perspective is also colored by his location. The Bay Area has some of the best weather on the planet. While Walnut Creek can be hot, its nothing like a 99F in Washington.

JMG, oh...late night blogging - will fix.

re: Crimes on bikes. Two other serious problems are
(1) the sample size is so small that it leads to incorrect conclusions
(2) A criminal will not do something that makes him stick out. Normal clothes, normal transportation etc. With more biking, its easier for a criminal to fit in on a bike. I'll bet $10 that none of these criminals were on recumbents, penny farthings, or high bikes; or wearing entirely safety orange.

The over-the-air NBC coverage was quite good. Amazing to see Elizabeth Armitstead win the UK's first 2012 Olympic medal while riding on roads that cycling fans had marked "Wiggo," "Cav" and with the names of the rest of the UK men's team.

I think NBC covered the entire road races for men and women. I watched a lot of both of them on I think MSNBC in the mornings.

Nice to see that nothing has changed here at poseur central.

Somehow I survived cross country touring in cotton t-shirts and underwear.

The argument is simply that you don't need all this high-priced crap to enjoy bicycling. People shouldn't think they need to make this investment to ride. The argument is simply anti-elitism. (Of course, Petersen's argument would resonate better if he did sell overpriced "retro" bikes.) He is wrong, however, about wide seats. These are the devil's work.

Petersen isn't making a live-and-let-statement. He's calling people tools for choosing certain gear for biking--gear that I happen to find more comfortable, more practical and in the case of freakishly bright yellow jerseys, safer at dusk. That makes him a jerk.

This is anti-elitism in the same sense that someone who goes to the local public swimming pool wearing a pair of cut-off jeans and a t-shirt, then stands in the shallow end darting baleful looks at the folks swimming laps is an anti-elitist.

It's just silly behavior from folks with an oddly metastasized persecution complex.

I don't care what anyone wears. Bike naked if it makes you happy. And I agree that you don't need any special clothing to ride a bike - not even a helmet. To the extent that people believe they need this equipment, it's bad for cycling.

But, I'm not sure people think they NEED this stuff - that's not what I see out there. Nor do I think (with the exception of helmets) that people are saying that others do. So, I'm not really sure what he's pushing back on. I haven't read the book and maybe he has some data showing that this message is needed, but I would be surprised if he did.

oboe, hilarious analogy.

One thing i will say about the matter: i see a lot of people out there wearing heavily branded jerseys. I don't think all of these people are sponsored, or members of the indicated teams. What is that all about?

What is that all about?

The halo effect/signalling. The same reasons that people wear football jerseys and pay $200 for sneakers. Or that they wear branded clothing or Pabst Blue Ribbon t-shirts. As someone once put it "We're all looking for an identity and for some people 'Redskins fan' fits the bill." And so too is "cycling fan" an acceptable identity and wearing a jersey of a team that you are a fan of is an acceptable way to express that.

Also, sometimes I get branded jerseys for free.

The thing about that explanation is that i rarely see people (other than professional football players) wearing football jerseys *while actually playing football*. Whereas i only ever see people wearing these jerseys while cycling. It just seems incongruous to me, and does strike me as a bit on the poseur side at times.

I wouldn't turn down a free jersey, tho. Even the plain ones i get from REI are pricey. :^)

Eh, what you wear when you ride is all your own decision.

I will, however, laugh at you when you have the nice uniform, lycra, clips, a nice road bike, and I still breeze by you. As Mike so well put it to Walter in last night's Breaking Bad, "You may have shot Jesse James, but that doesn't make you Jesse James."

PS to all--regardless of clothing (or lack thereof), call passes!

Re: bike criminals. This fits the meme that cyclists are lawless individuals. If this is really a crime trend, then there should be statistics to back it up.

Re: bashing Grant Petersen. He's simply offering a different point of view. For the longest time, cycling was equated with racing at the expense of viewing it as a legitimate form of transportation. Overall, he makes a whole lot more sense than Bicycling Magazine.

All Grant is trying to say is that you can wear comfortable clothes appropriate for a bike without looking like Captain America. Surely there's some room between wearing a black button-down shirt with a pair of cut-off jeans (commando!) and racing kit?

Bonds played in Pittsburgh, a hilly city. Then he played in San Francisco, an even hillier city. Seems fitting that he likes riding in the mountains.

Petersen says that for most riders, they shouldn't gear up as if they were racers. Fine. I agree. But when he gets to specifics, a lot of what he rails against is stuff that exists for a reason that isn't necessarily racing. For any ride over a half hour, or at speeds that make me warm, I wear cycling-specific clothing. I use skinny but well-made wheelsets because I prefer faster over slower, and I have a not-cheap bike because it rides better, breaks less and ultimately lasts longer--25,000 miles so far, and it's not done yet.

And I wear a helmet and advocate that all do, because even a small increase in safety is great when it's your damn brain at stake.

I thought the women's (and men's) road races were on regular Channel 4 but maybe they were on NBC Sport network. The versions I saw pretty much covered it wire to wire.

Cycling is a sport. It began as a sport, in the broad sense that encompasses amateur athletics. It required outlandish equipment and it propelled radical changes in dress, like smaller skirts for women.

For a time, in this country, people rode mainly for sport. (Has there been a period of American history with more transportation riders than today?)

Grant Petersen's counsel strikes me as oddly puritanical, wrapped up, as it is, in a twisted form of identity politics. It's hypocritical too, given that me makes his living selling impracticably expensive bikes and foppish leather saddlebags whose primary purpose is show.

I will say, the Olympic road race coverage was notably inferior in all aspects to the Tour de France coverage, which handled by the same exact corporation only a week or so ago.

All Grant is trying to say is that you can wear comfortable clothes appropriate for a bike without looking like Captain America.

Well, that may be what he's *trying* to say, but what he's actually doing is replicating the in-group/out-group dynamic within the cycling community. And using the resultant negativism to drum up business. It's lame.

It's nice to have three pockets on your back. That way you can carry two water bottles in cages, and put all your tools, phone, tube, id, money/cards, etc... in your back pocket.

You can get 3-pocket coolmax jerseys from places like Nashbar.com for less than $30.

I will, however, laugh at you when you have the nice uniform, lycra, clips, a nice road bike, and I still breeze by you.

We'll share a nice laugh then. I always laugh when heading home from Haines Point, and I encounter some guy on a CaBi or a 25 year old Trek Antelope with aero-bars who thinks it's some sort of triumph to pass me while I'm cooling down.

Not sure why the guy wearing Lycra is the ludicrous one in this situation.

:)

When I see some middle aged guy in full team gear and a spanky new Orbea but sporting a muffin top and riding slowly, you know what I think?

If that's what it takes to get him out enjoying riding and getting exercise, then it's all good.

oboe, regarding T's sentiment:

I'm not a particularly strong rider, yet i pass a bunch of guys with branded gear on a typical weekend ride. Maybe for every dozen such guys i pass, one might pass me. I am not exaggerating, and again, i stress that i am not a strong rider. So this is why it strikes me as posing. A guy in apparently good shape cycling down Beach Drive on a decent bike, while wearing a Team Radio Shack outfit could actually be a Team Radio Shack rider at first glance. Wearing the outfit creates such an illusion.

I guess some people are just bigger Freds than i am. It's all relative. :^)

I welcome Mr. Peterson's perspective as an aspect of bicycle culture. I personally wear normal weather-appropriate clothing most of the time I'm on a bike and I prefer a more upright position, but it depends on the character of the ride I'm doing. I recommend learning by doing, and by reading that which is interesting to you.

Mr. Peterson and a growing group of others are distancing themselves from the stereotypically aggressive and unfriendly kitted-out folks, some of whom are causing conflicts on recreational trails with pedestrians, joggers, and slower riders by treating the trails as a time-trial course.

Further, on city streets, wearing the spandex, helmet, lenses, and etc. unintentionally dehumanizes people on bikes to drivers and pedestrians. The ones who wear the normal clothes and make eye contact, who are more or less friendly and respectful, and who are perceived as fellow humans are the ones who may help to cause sympathy from drivers and those on foot.

I don't have statistics so you may reject this, but I have noticed most drivers in DC becoming friendlier and more respectful of people on bicycles. Anything which aids this is good, IMO.

I guess some people are just bigger Freds than i am. It's all relative. :^)

I think you've won the thread with this observation. It's all relative: I don't even notice the guy wearing a local club jersey; and I think the guy wearing a US Postal TDF GC leader's "maillot jaune" is pretty amusing; but the guy with the aero TT helmet riding an $8000 Venge on the CCT is beyond the pale.

Mr. Peterson and a growing group of others are distancing themselves from the stereotypically aggressive and unfriendly kitted-out folks, some of whom are causing conflicts on recreational trails with pedestrians, joggers, and slower riders by treating the trails as a time-trial course.

In my experience, the bare-chested guy wearing flip-flops and riding a Trek Antelope with aero bars is as likely (if not more) to be an asshole as a guy riding a decent road bike. But the underlying cause of mode-conflict on a MUT is that everyone who is not driving a car is fighting for scraps. Generally speaking, you don't see as many "roadies" on the CCT as you see on, say, the W&OD because there is far greater support for riding on the road in MD than in NoVA. And that's where cyclists should be--at least ones that are traveling over 10 mph.

Further, on city streets, wearing the spandex, helmet, lenses, and etc. unintentionally dehumanizes people on bikes to drivers and pedestrians. The ones who wear the normal clothes and make eye contact, who are more or less friendly and respectful, and who are perceived as fellow humans are the ones who may help to cause sympathy from drivers and those on foot.

I think you're veering dangerously close to the territory of blaming the rape victim for wearing a tube top here. I've certainly seen no evidence that people who wear spandex are "less friendly" or "respectful" to drivers (whatever form that would take). Again, most of the folks I see in town riding on the sidewalk and endangering pedestrians are "citizen cyclists" (though they're probably not aware of it).

Who cares what people wear when they ride a bike? I'm going to keep wearing cycling clothing because it is comfortable and made for the task I am engaged in. If others want to wear street clothes then fine.

Who cares what people wear when they ride a bike? I'm going to keep wearing cycling clothing because it is comfortable and made for the task I am engaged in. If others want to wear street clothes then fine.

Unfortunately, it's a bit like the helmet debate. The weird intolerance comes pretty much exclusively from one side. Which makes me think it's probably a proxy for something else.

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the guy who screamed at me for being in the left lane on K Street (the right lane was stacked with turning cars) was really expressing displeasure at my dehumanization. I mean, he actually had to roll down the window on his black SUV, letting the air conditioning out and thereby threatening to undo the crisp crease on his suit. Thank G_d they have buttons for that sort of thing.

I thumbed through that book and thought,"this sounds like those guys from Rivendell". Then I looked at the blurb on the back and saw that's just who it was. All very well and good if you want to promote your product,but don't claim it's the be-all-end-all when there's so many variables. Not everyone can afford an expensive bike,and cheap steel bikes are often hi-ten,which is crap. Disc brakes are very useful in rain,and IMHO as someone who has ridden through every winter storm we've had since '05,necessary in the snow. And barcons suck when you're in heavy traffic with lemming peds.

Cotton shirts on a bike? Well, if I'm just riding for 5 minutes on CaBi, that's not a problem. But for a real ride, cotton is a no go.

That doesn't mean I wear bike jerseys though. I like wearing tech running shirts on most rides because they are more comfortable (for me). I like the looser fit and the material wicks moisture and dries like a jersey will.

The Peterson guy sounds like a strange mix of curmudgeon and hipster. It's a free country and he can say what he wants. But I also have the right to ignore him. I generally tune out those types of people, whether they are grumpy about cycling, running or anything else.

I don't really care what someone else wears on a bike, as long as it isn't dangerous to others (i.e., a 10-ft. long dangling scarf, for example, or a Raiders fan with 3-ft. sword blades shooting out from his shoulder pads).

I only care about safe riding practices by others on the roads and trails. I've seen unsafe and illegal behavior from those in racing kits AND those who appear to be commuters and recreational riders. (Of course, I still see far more dangerous behavior from car drivers.)

The thing about that explanation is that i rarely see people (other than professional football players) wearing football jerseys *while actually playing football*

I rarely see people playing football at all.

The thing is this can only be an issue for sports that are both significantly professionalized AND have a high level of unorganized participation.

That eliminates ultimate frisbee, kickball, football, hockey, baseball, NASCAR, softball, boxing and a bunch of other sports.

It leaves tennis, golf, cycling, skiing, soccer and basketball.

In all of those sports I see people dressing like the pros do when they participate (Actually I don't play or know about tennis, but I suspect there's a lot of the same behavior there). I see a lot of Tiger Woods N-ke hats on the links. I see a lot of sneakers and jerseys on the basketball court.

But for tennis, golf and basketball, the dress has become so prevalent that it doesn't look weird. People wear tennis shoes even though they don't know how to hold a racket. There is no way all those high tops are being worn on the course and the "golf shirt" is described as appropriate casual Friday wear at one of the places I travel to. So, the difference is that cycling clothing is weird enough and specific enough to have not caught on as part of everyday fashion. But I'm not sure why we should have our chops busted for that.

But when I ski, I do wear clothes that I wouldn't wear otherwise and I'm not trying to go fast or win races. So am I a poser or just someone who wants to be warm?

*Funny story. I kept trying to submit this comment but couldn't because I once blocked the word N-ke that without the dash is the same as a company with the motto Just Do It. Spam required it.

washcycle, don't get me wrong. I don't actually care, either. I just think it's a tad funny. I wear lycra and cycling jerseys for most of my rides, because they're comfortable and reduce the wear and tear of riding. I'm just perplexed at the level of branding i see on other people out there.

To your point that the dress hasn't "become so prevalent that it doesn't look weird", i would agree. But what i was trying to say was beyond the context of actual cycling gear; it's more about branding. I don't see Team Radio Shack t-shirts, or caps, or window decals, or any other of the sort of indication of team support people express outside the context of the sport. The only cycling-related item i can think of offhand that might qualify would be the yellow Livestrong bracelet. If people are wearing branded jerseys while riding on the W&OD because they support the team or the sport, why don't i ever see any other paraphernalia with the same brands out in the real world?

On Erik's comment, i think he is correct that with any circumstance where a group of people dress in a distinctive way, there will be some alienation simply because of the otherness of it. In a lot of contexts, e.g. retail store uniforms, that's the point. I don't think Erik was saying that people wearing cycling gear are actually less friendly; it's just that non-cyclists may feel intimidated. Fellow cyclists, on the other hand, respond differently.

Antibozo/Washcycle: I've toyed with the idea of getting a 'retro' 7-Eleven or Barloworld jersey, because I think it's sort of funny and no one will ever mistake me for Bob Roll or Robbie Hunter. Wearing a jersey of an existing professional cycling team strikes me as weird. And unless Mark Cavendish was riding up and down Beach Drive last week while his body double won on the Champs Elysees, there's no excuse for the poseur wearing the World Champion rainbow jersey.

Tara, an amusing idea. :^)

Freds have their place in the ecology. After all, who keeps LBS's afloat better: a person who buys a top end bike and full kit and who brings the bike in for regular maintenance, or people who take up the salesperson's time with a long debate over tubes versus tubeless and then leaves with a bottle of Pedro's and a pair of pittard gloves on summer clearance?

One last thought: I don't often see "serious" cyclists wearing "professional" jerseys--at least not ones for contemporary teams. Many of the folks I see are wearing their own team jerseys. Those that aren't are usually doing what Tara mentioned: wearing retro jerseys. I have 3-4 jerseys: a couple from a shop from my old post-college town, one from my alma mater's cycling team, one from a defunct French team from the mid-00s, and one from a notorious doping squad that's long gone.

As far as performance clothing in general, I think part of it is that wearing lycra/coolmax is more comfortable, to me at least, which is obviously subjective. But it's also a legitimate signaling mechanism: if you show up to competitive training ride wearing baggy shorts and a cotton t-shirt, you'll likely receive a cooler reception than if you're decked out like Bradley Wiggins. While this is part snootiness, there's also a good helping of self-preservation there. Riding in a pack at high-speed is a learned skill, and you have to trust your fellow riders.

And while there are plenty of exceptions, Lycra and clipless pedals stand as one of the few proxies for competence in that scenario.

Freds have their place in the ecology. After all, who keeps LBS's afloat better: a person who buys a top end bike and full kit and who brings the bike in for regular maintenance, or people who take up the salesperson's time with a long debate over tubes versus tubeless and then leaves with a bottle of Pedro's and a pair of pittard gloves on summer clearance?

Exactly. Those dorks buying $2400 carbon aero wheelsets every year are the ones ensuring that the LBS will be there when you go to buy your yearly inner-tube and pair of socks from the clearance table. :)

oboe> Many of the folks I see are wearing their own team jerseys.

But that goes back to my earlier question. If these guys are wearing current team jerseys, why is a weakling like me passing almost all of them?

@antibozo:

My guess is that I could walk onto most any organized kickball team in the area and *dominate*. Talent is not a prerequisite for participating in amateur athletics. Heh.

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