How to Buy Gifts for a Cyclist

12.16.2005 | 9:35 am

There’s a certain irony in buying a cycling-related gift for a cyclist. Since one of the principal aims of a cyclist is, after all, to be light, any time you buy something for that cyclist, you are in grave danger of weighing that cyclist down.

It’s a terrible, heart-wrenching conundrum, which has no doubt brought you grief and no small number of sleepless nights.

You can stop despairing now. I have a solution.

But you’ll have to wait a few minutes for it.

Announcing the Winners of the Banjo Brothers Bike Bag Giveaway

I really loved the comments for this contest, almost as much as I love the edgy extremeness the knowledge that I fill my tires with flammable gas gives me.

Mostly, though, I just really like to say “flammable gas.”

That said, there were some problems with selecting a winner this week.

Prize For Entry That Was Absolutely The Best Entry But Doesn’t Get A Bag Because He’s Already A Banjo Brothers Dealer

Racer, the owner of Racer’s Cycle Service, has a very lean, spare sense of humor. A week or so ago, I linked to his home movie of him chasing his dog around the shop; the ordinariness of trying to catch up with a dog paired with the brilliant Cake soundtrack made me watch over and over.

Racer outdid himself, though, with his latest. I believe I have watched it more than ten times. Please, click here to watch it now.

“Racer definitely won,” my wife told me when she saw this. I agreed, but the thing is, Racer is a Banjo Brothers dealer. Sending him a Banjo Brothers bag is a little bit silly. Not that I’m opposed to being silly.

“I’ll make a cool bike chain bracelet for his wife,” said my generous and talented wife. “How about that for a prize?”

I think that will do nicely.

Prize for Entry That Was Only Two Words Long But Was Still Really Funny But Doesn’t Get Any Award Because Your Name Explicitly Says You Don’t Want It

KeepYerBag had a genius suggestion for how to take advantage of the newly-discovered explosive properties of the Big Air! canister: “Gu Brulee.” The juxtaposition of the hardiness of mountain biking with the hoity-toitiness of brulee is a hilarious image. But KeepYerBag has said before that he doesn’t bike and has no use for a seatbag. So that’s that.

By the way, nobody gets to leave a comment wondering why KeepYerBag doesn’t bike. I have, in fact, met KeepYerBag, and the reason he doesn’t bike is because he has developed his brainpower to such a degree that he can now levitate (good for short distances and changing lightbulbs) and instantly teleport himself. Oh, and he can also cause people’s brains to hemorrhage at will, so watch yourself.

Honorary Prize For Being An Exceptionally Good Sport About All This

Tony Hollars, the founder and Director of Technology at Genuine Innovations, has been incredibly good-natured about my questions about Big Air! flammability. He has responded to all my email questions, recommending “Dino Foam” as an excellent propane-propelled foaming bath soap, and even answering my pesky question yesterday afternoon, about whether there was a difference between “propane” and “propane propellant:”

The blends used vary from mostly or all Propane to mostly Butane or Iso-butane. Depends on the use and the target pressure for dispensing.

Ours is mostly propane. I suspect Dino Foam is a Butane / Propane / Iso Butane blend due to the slow dispensing rate.

Tony’s award takes the form of my intention to continue to buy Big Air! canisters for the rest of my life.

Actual Prize

Phew. OK. Now on to the actual winning entry for the contest, per Dug, the appointed judging official:

As cycling chemistry graduate students, my officemate Tim and I decided that it was of the utmost importance to research this topic instead of doing less important things like our actual work, so we spent the better part of the afternoon googling densities and what have you. And we may have even consulted a physical chemistry textbook. We learned:

1. Propane is not lighter than air! It is, in fact, MORE dense than air with a density of 1.9kg/m3 versus air which is 1.3kg/m3

2. Your humble rep at Big Air! even told you that it was propane propellant and not actual propane that you are pumping into your tires! [Well, it turns out in this case there’s no difference. So there! — Ed.]

3. Haven’t you ever taken a match to an aerosol can whilst spraying? What kind of pyro are you?

4. If you would like to play around with chemicals and stick some more in your mouth, etc, stop by the lab and we’ll let you have at it. You can fill your tires with a variety of atmospheric gasses we have laying around the lab, including nitrogen, helium, argon, or anything else of your choosing. If we really like you, we’ll let you freeze things in the liquid nitrogen. Just for fun.

As the Fat Cyclist, you would really love our research. We do stuff with lipids all of the time. And we ride bikes. I mean, we are seriously the coolest ever. Really.

—your humble cycling chemists Sarah & Tim

Dug explains why this is the winning entry thusly:

The winner of today’s contest is Sarah and Tim, humble cycling chemists, for a variety of reasons. First, they diss you, multiple times. Second, they will let you freeze stuff in liquid nitrogen (if they like you). And third, they contrapose. That is, they tell you they are “seriously the coolest ever.” And then they call themselves your “humble” cycling chemists. And finally, if you go to their website, their first sentence is this: “The broad aim of our research is to elucidate the structure and dynamics of membrane proteins, fibrous protein aggregates, and other insoluble macromolecules important in biology.” Turns out, that’s my broad aim too. Crazy coincidence, eh?

Congratulations, Sarah and Tim! Email me with the kind of seat bag you want and your shipping address. I’m afraid you two will have to figure out which of you gets the bag, though.

Let’s Go Shopping

Wow, that bit about the contest really got away from me. I was serious (well, “serious” isn’t really the right word) about having suggestions for what to get cyclists as a gift though. It’s remarkably straightforward, really. Get them what they’d otherwise have to buy for themselves in the course of being cyclists.

Here’s what I mean:

  • Tubes: Find out what kind of tubes the cyclist uses, and buy a bunch of them. It’s really nice to have a stash of tubes sitting in the garage whenever you need one. This isn’t all that great of an idea if your cyclist friend has switched to tubeless.
  • Genuine Innovations’ Microflate: An inexpensive, sturdy, tiny, easy-to-use threaded CO2 (or propane, as it turns out) cartridge valve. I really don’t understand why anyone would use anything else.
  • CO2 and Big Air! canisters: Make sure that the canisters you buy are compatible with the valve your friend uses.
  • Sports food / Sports Drink / Gel: If you know what they eat, drink, or ingest (I have to say “ingest” when talking about gels, because neither “eat” nor “drink” is the correct word), buy them a bunch of it. Be careful you know the correct brand and flavors, though.
  • Helmet: This is something many cyclists replace too rarely. Be sure to get the right size.
  • Messenger Bag: Everyone needs a messenger bag.
  • Entry fee and commitment for support at a race: If your cyclist races, this is a very nice gift indeed
  • Socks: Several pair of the same kind, so that as the cyclist wears them out, they’ve still got matching socks.
  • Lube: Be sure to get the kind your cyclist has settled on. It’s nice to have a year’s supply of lube sitting in the garage, just like it’s nice to have a year’s supply of tubes in there.
  • Shoe cleats: Do you know what kind of pedals your cyclist uses? Buy a new pair of cleats for those shoes. Most cyclists go through a couple pair of these per year, so they’re nice to have.
  • A Floor Pump: When getting started with cycling, most cyclists pick out a cheap floor pump. Then they regret it. But while those cheap floor pumps never quite break — allowing cyclists to discard them in good conscience — they never really work great, either. Go to your local bike store and ask the mechanic what pump they recommend for someone who uses a pump every day (road cyclists in particular pump their tires up before practically every ride), and you’ll give a surprising, exciting gift. I am not kidding. Cyclists love a great floor pump.

You see what I mean? Get cyclists the boring stuff — they stuff they make dozens of trips to the bike shop over the course of the year — and you’ve bought them gifts that will get used for sure. How rare is that?

Presents to Avoid

There are things you want to be careful of when buying gifts for cyclists:

  • A Bike: In principle, this is one of the coolest of all possible gifts. However, bear in mind that most cyclists have something very specific in mind for what their next bike is. If you don’t know what it is and don’t have a clever way to find out and are dead set on your present being a surprise, don’t get your cyclist a bike.
  • Jersey: Your cyclist already has too many.
  • Shorts: There are too many sizes and types. Unless you have specific instructions as to the correct kind to get, you’ll get the wrong ones.
  • Shoes: Same thing as the shorts.
  • Glasses: Same thing as the shoes.

Oh, by the way, just in case anybody is curious: Racer says there are a few size medium Fisher Paragons still in stock.

You know. Just in case you were wondering.


Big Air!

12.14.2005 | 9:34 pm

Today’s post was going to be a list of things you can buy as presents for your cycling friends this holiday season. Believe it or not, it’s actually a pretty good batch of sensible stocking stuffers that I don’t think any cyclist would be disappointed to get.

As I was doing a little bit of background research last night, though, I discovered something. Something my mind is still doing flip-flops over. Something that could not wait. Something that made me no longer want to write a list of stuff I hope someone gives me, disguised as a list of things you can give someone else.

Oh, I’ll still do the list. In fact, I’ll do it tomorrow. But today, I must talk about Genuine Innovations’ Big Air!

Editor’s Note: Yes, the exclamation point is part of the name of the product. As an editor, I have a real problem with products that use punctuation as part of their name. I mean, what if I want to use the name of this product in the middle of a sentence? So usually, I remove the punctuation from product names when mentioning them, just out of spite. As you’ll read shortly, however, I think you’ll agree that in this case the exclamation-point-as-part-of-product-name is warranted. Thank you.



I don’t like using hand pumps to fix flats on my mountain bike. The volume of air in a mountain bike tire requires you to pump and pump and pump and pump if you want to bring it to a reasonable pressure. After five minutes or so of this, you begin to question whether mountain biking is even worth the effort.

But with the advent of pressurized cartridges, inflating a tire on the trail is the fastest, easiest thing in the world. Especially if you have the right setup.

For more than five years, I’ve been using the same setup for inflating tires:

  • Genuine Innovations’ Microflate valve: This is probably the simplest CO2 valve on the market, and I think it’s pure genius. It has no moving parts. You just thread the tiny valve onto the canister, push the valve onto the tube stem, and then partially unscrew the canister. The more you unscrew it, the faster your tube inflates. Screw it back in to slow or stop inflating.
  • Genuine Innovations’ Big Air! 40g Canisters: These are much bigger than the CO2 cylinders you’re used to seeing. They hold a much greater volume of gas, and so can easily fill a mountain bike tire. (Genuine Innovations claims a single canister can fill two mountain bike tires, but my experience is that you need to plan on one canister per flat or you’ll underfill the tire and get a pinch flat.)

Let me state for the record: I am perfectly happy with this setup, and do not in any way want Genuine Innovations to further innovate it. I’m a fan.


Big “Air!”

So as you can expect, I fully intended to recommend a Microflate valve and a six-pack of Big Air! canisters as a terrific stocking stuffer for cyclists (in fact, I still do). In fact, I thought I’d provide a handy link right to Genuine Innovations’ website, so you could learn more about their fine products and order them from the comfort of your own home (I am an extremely service-oriented blogger).

This is the information/purchase window Genuine Innovations has for the Big Air! canister:


And this was my reaction:


You mean, I’ve been riding with a couple of little pressurized propane tanks in my seatbag for the past five years? I’ve been filling my tires with propane?


Cuz, well, propane, well, you know, burns.

And by "burns," I mean "explodes."


Careful Wording

Unable to believe what I saw on the web page, I reached down to the lower bookshelf on my left, where — conveniently — I have several Big Air! canisters. Nowhere on the canister does it say something like, “Ingredients: Propane.” Although, now I finally understand what that “Warning: Extremely Flammable” is about, not to mention the admonition to not expose the container to heat above 120F (49C), or to not use near any ignition sources.

You’ve got to give the marketing folk at Genuine Innovations credit: “Big Air!” sounds much better than “Little Propane!”


I Have a Question

Being the intrepid journalist I am, I quickly went to the “Contact Us” page on the Genuine Innovations website, and sent them the following message:

Is it true that your Big Air cartridges really contain propane? If so, after I fill my tubes from a Big Air cartridge, are my tires in any kind of danger of exploding or bursting into flame when I ride my bike and the rims become very hot from constant hard braking on a long, steep descent?

To Genuine Innovations’ enormous credit, Tony Hollars, Founder and Director of Technology replied within twelve hours (eight of which I spent sleeping) of my sending this question. Here’s what he said:

There is no danger unless you have an open flame. Propane propellant is used in products like shaving cream and kids’ bathtub soap. That’s where we got the idea for the Big Air. Most propellants in aerosols are flammable, so use the same precautions.

And of course, the appropriate journalistic follow-up question to this is, “How come I’ve never heard of propane-powered bathtub soap?” ‘Cuz that sounds like fun.


A World of Possibilities

I confess: I was surprised and alarmed to discover that for the past several years I have been filling my tires with the same gas many people barbecue with (I’m a charcoal briquets man, myself — nothing beats the smell of charcoal-cooked burgers). I mean, one little spark and — BOOM! — Flaming Wheels of Death.

But am I really worried that those Big Air! canisters I keep in a seatbag directly beneath my butt are actually a highly-pressurized explosive? Nah. Lotsa people — including me and practically everyone I ride with — have used these canisters for years and years and years; I’ve never heard of any flame-related incidents happening to anyone. In fact, the only Big Air! injury I’m aware of went in the opposite direction. Once, as I finished inflating a tube, Rick told me I should inhale the rest of the gas and see if it made me talk funny. Always up for a gag, I lifted the canister up to my mouth.

This was an error.

Let’s just say that while I knew the canister would be cold, I didn’t expect it to raise a blister.

Now that I know that Big Air! is propane, though, I’m intrigued. Suddenly, I see many genuinely innovative uses for Genuine Innovation’s Big Air! canister. None of which you should actually try.

  • Hunger Scenario #1: You’re on an all-day mountain bike ride with friends. It’s lunchtime; everybody’s starved. While everyone else unpacks sandwiches, energy bars, nuts and other trail food, however, you get out a Big Air!, some surgical tubing, and a very small grill. You then pull out a kabob — I’m partial to a stack of shrimp, peppers, chicken, mushrooms and pineapple — you’ve had marinating in Teriyaki sauce in a waterbottle for the morning, grill, and enjoy. Massive envy ensues.
  • Hunger Scenario #2: You’re out biking in the desert and start feeling a little peckish. You’ve seen numerous rabbits during the day, and must admit to yourself that a nice braised rabbit sounds mighty tasty. You get out a Big Air! and, the next time you see a rabbit, puncture the top and ignite it, pointing it in the direction of the rabbit. The jet-propelled canister rockets toward the rabbit with extraordinary precision, killing it instantly. You gut the rabbit using the blade in your multi-tool, get out another Big Air! and the rest of the grilling apparatus you always carry with you (see Hunger Scenario #1), and get cooking. From that moment on, you are regarded by all your riding friends as the alpha male. Even if you’re a female.
  • Catastrophic Bike Failure Scenario: You’re riding your trusty, steel-framed mountain bike — just riding along — when the darn thing cracks. For most people, that would be the end of the ride. But that’s because, unlike you, most people don’t carry the Big Air! welding torch attachment. Since you also carry multiple lenses for your glasses, you put the darkest ones on, turn the torch up nice and hot, and weld the sucker back together. Good as new.
  • Catastrophic Injury Scenario: You’re doing extremely dangerous, technical moves deep in wilderness territory. A friend of yours tries a move he should never have attempted and breaks off his thumb. Yep, just breaks it clean off. Whoops. He’s bleeding all over the place; the band aids in your seat pack clearly aren’t going to do the trick. Luckily, you’ve got a Big Air! canister. First, you whack your screaming friend on the head with it to give him some blessed relief from conciousness, then put on the regular ol’ Microflate valve. Twist it out a half turn to start the gas flowing, flick a match, and cauterize the wound. Quick thinking, cowboy.
  • Lost in the Wilderness Scenario: You’ve missed a turn a while back, and now you’ve been lost for two weeks. You’ve been having a good time, really, thanks to your Big Air! canisters, but now it’s time to go home. So, you take a spare tube out of your seat pack and over-inflate it with two Big Air! canisters. The next time a plane flies overhead, you take this tube and light it on fire. The resulting fireball catches the eye of the pilot, who alerts the authorities. The search and rescue team has no difficulty in finding you; they just follow the scent of singed hair.

In summary, I used to like Big Air! canisters. Now I think they’re the coolest thing in the world.


Banjo Brothers Bike Bag Giveaway Question

As your entry in today’s Banjo Brothers Seat Bag contest (their new website is now online, so you can pick between mini, small, medium and large), tell me your thoughts on filling your mountain biking tires with propane. For bonus points, tell me a cool new application you can think of for Big Air! cartridges. 

As The World’s Most Authoritative Bike-Related Blogging Voice, I Answer Readers’ Email

12.13.2005 | 6:41 pm

Well, it’s about time I get a little respect.

I am, according to — a very accurate index of blogs — the #1 most authoritative blogger on bikes in the entire world.

And to think that until now, I just thought I was some dorky, middle-aged, overweight guy who wrote nonsense to himself.

Now I know better. Now I know I am Important. I capitalized and italicized "Important" on purpose, because I’m not just authoritative, I’m the most authoritative. I am, indeed, Authoritative with a capital "A."

To recap: I am Important and Authoritative.

But don’t worry. I won’t let this Importance go to my head. I still intend to communicate with the little people. In fact, to show how open and friendly I am — my Importance and Authoritativenessicity notwithstanding — I will, today, answer electronic mail from my adoring fans.

I want to be clear: while I have removed names and altered language so that I can continue to feel comfortable about my children reading this blog, these are real messages sent to me at my electronic mail address, which my publicist tells me is


Letter #1: An Important Correction

Subject: I think that your estimate of the number of cyclists in the US is wrong

Message: I was reading your article regarding the potential Lance movie. Your estimate of only 6000 cyclists in the US cannot be even close. I marshal many events in the NYC metro area. At the MS Manhattan ride we typically have more than 5000 cyclists. At "Bike NY" we typically have more than 30,000 cyclists. I know that NYC is a large city, but 6000 cyclists in entire US??? I acknowledge that if you intended to say 600,000, that would still mean that the movie was playing to a very small audience.

However, 6000 is definitely not accurate.


The Fat Cyclist Replies: You’re absolutely right, Stephen. I apologize. To refresh other readers’ memory, I said, in my Important, Authoritative article Suggestions for the Lance Armstrong Movie, "There are only about 6,000 cyclists in America, Lance. And this statistic is no less alarming even when you take into consideration that I just made it up."

What I should have said is, "There are exactly 6,418 cyclists in America, Lance…." This would have better followed the first rule of bicycling comedy: "When being ridiculously absurd, be as specific as possible."


Letter #2: A Simple Miscommunication

Editor’s note: I had to change a few words on this letter, which troubles me, since I’m afraid the letter loses a little of the "local color" feel it originally had. Changed words are indicated in purple.

Subject: Hey You big fat bussy

Message: You are a big girl. Grow a set of ANKLES. I use an old stuffed BMX to go to work. It’s about 30k and it’s all on dirt roads. It’s always hot and windy and there are millions of flies. At work I crush rock all day. All I eat is crap meat pies and drink crap beer. I ride barefoot with a torn pair of shorts. AND I’ve got a mate who runs it 30k to work every day barefoot. Don’t come to this country because we will make you wear a skirt, you big fat bussy.

—Some Aussie dude

The Fat Cyclist Replies: But you mean that in a really nice way, right, Aussie dude? Because, as you now know, I am an extremely Important, Authoritative bike blogger, and as such expect lots and lots of respect.

Beyond the friendly and supportive jests, Aussie dude, I appreciate the informative and interesting note. I have a few followup questions.

  • With what is your old BMX bike stuffed? Why did you stuff it? Does the extra weight incurred by the stuffing slow it down?
  • Does your mate run barefoot because he doesn’t like shoes, or because he can’t afford them? The people who read this (Important, Authoritative) blog have shown several times that they’re willing to help a fellow human in need. Let us know if we can help.
  • Do you eat and drink crap-derived products because you have no choice, or because you just really like crap?
  • Why do you ride dirt roads to work, Aussie dude? It seems a real Australian would avoid roads altogether, sticking to rockslides and fields of broken glass.

Gee, that’s all we have time for. Keep those letters coming! After all, while I personally am now far too Important and Authoritative to read them myself, my personal assistant tells me she really enjoys them.

Just Riding Along

12.12.2005 | 6:20 pm

With the dark and cold, most of my riding has taken the form of biking to work and back each day. This is a round trip of about 20 miles when I go the direct route, which I almost never do during the summer, and always do lately.

I figured, though, that while this amount of riding wouldn’t keep me in race condition, it would at least help me maintain a good base level of fitness.

Last Saturday, I found out I was wrong.


Oh, Now I Remember

Around 1:00pm, for the first time in more than a month — maybe more than two months — I got out on a three hour ride. I had meant to get out around noon, but I spent about an hour tweaking my bike, fine-tuning what I was going to wear, washing my glasses, and in general stalling. For some reason, I was having a little trouble getting motivated. A ride just didn’t sound like all that much fun.

It was only when I finally quit puttering around and started riding that I figured out what my problem was. I hadn’t wanted to go riding because I had been riding so long in the dark, with a heavy bike and heavily-loaded messenger bag (gotta carry more clothes during the winter), with several layers of bike clothes on, that I had begun to think that’s what riding a bike feels like.

It sounds obvious in retrospect, but with no fenders, no light setup, no bag, and just tights, a long-sleeved jersey and a windbreaker shell, biking sure feels a lot different. For the first time in quite a while, I wasn’t using my bike just as a vehicle. I was using it for fun.

It was nice to just be out on a ride.


No Pressure, No Plan

With no races in the immediate future, I had no real target for how long I would ride, or how far, or at what pace. I didn’t have a watch. I didn’t have a speedometer. I was just riding along.

I’d ride for a while on one road, and then — when I saw another road that looked like it had a bike lane or good wide shoulder — I’d turn and continue on. It wasn’t really exploring. It was more like meandering. But as I rode along, I did in fact start making connections. “Oh, you can get to this route by connecting along this street? Well, that’s interesting.” I think if I did more wandering like this, I maybe wouldn’t feel lost so often in this area I’ve now lived in for close to two years.

Each time I stopped, I’d try to do a trackstand. Nope, still no good at it.


Carb Boom: Preliminary Thumbs-Up

A few weeks ago, back when I was talking (and talking and talking) about energy gels, Niki of TucsonTriGirls said that I needed to try Carb Boom, her sponsoring gel. She sent me a nice sampler pack, and during the ride I tried the banana-peach pack. I don’t yet know how well Carb Boom works over the long haul, but I will say this: it was the best-tasting gel I have ever had. You can tell — both from the flavor and the texture of the gel — they use real fruit.


A Farewell to Fitness

By the time I got home, I was fully cooked. Yes, a three-hour, easy-level workout fried me. After a nice long shower to warm up my hands, nose, chest and feet, I dressed in sweats, with no intention of leaving the house again that day.

So as I laid on the floor, or the couch, or whatever other surface I could find that had some level of lay-down-ability, I wondered to myself:

  • Have I really completely lost all my fitness in such a short time? I mean, I worked and worked and worked on it. And it’s not like I’ve stopped riding or anything. Three hours on the bike — especially three hours the way I was riding — shouldn’t wipe me out. But it did.
  • Could it be that I just had a slow day? I mean, one of my kids has a cold. Maybe I’m coming down with something. No, that’s not it. I feel fine. I’m just slow.
  • Maybe it’s because of the fixed gear bike. Riding a fixed gear bike requires a consistency of effort that you don’t get on a bike with a freewheel. You’re always working on the flats, are working harder on the climbs, and even have to work on the downhill. So maybe that’s part of why I’m tired. But it’s not the whole thing.
  • Is this what it means to be working on “base fitness? Maybe for the winter, this is exactly how I should be. I mean, at least I was able to go out and do a three-hour ride on a fixed gear bike in the middle of December. Maybe I should be happy with how I rode today. Or — more likely — I’m just a big puddle of goo that lost several months’ of fitness in a few short weeks.

Which of these is true? I don’t know. Probably some combo of all of them. Or maybe it’s none of them.

Am I the only one who’s watching his fitness go down the drain this time of year? Please, please tell me I’m not.

I’m begging you.


Bonus Blogging Excellence

In his Top 5 list today, Bob talks about how I cracked someone’s noggin during one of the rare times I tried a team sport. It’s a must-read, and is dead-on accurate, as near as I can tell. Click here.

Professional Cyclist Returns Clean Blood Sample!

12.9.2005 | 11:20 pm

Back in mid-November, after reading about yet another doping scandal, I asked myself, "Is there even one clean pro cyclist out there?" Then it occurred to me that it would be really funny if there were, in fact, exactly one clean cyclist. That would be big news.

So I wrote the following little story for Cyclingnews. I thought it was one of my funniest pieces ever, and so did my wife. And so did Dug, but that’s a different story. I was sure Cyclingnews would love it.

Cyclingnews rejected it.

So here’s the whole thing, in its final draft. Yep, I wrote multiple drafts. Don’t act shocked.


Professional Cyclist Returns Clean Blood Sample!

Elk Grove, Indiana, November 21 (Fat Cyclist Fake News Service) – The cycling world rejoiced today when WADA chief Dick Pound, in conjunction with Team Hoosier Directeur Sportif Stuart Talley, announced that heretofore unknown semi-professional cyclist Rick Maddox is — according to all currently available tests — clean.

“Rick Maddox is a bright beacon of hope to the world of professional cycling,” said Pound. “If it is possible for a cyclist in a small, non-funded, semi-professional regional team in a farm town in the Midwest to be clean, can the day when we claim total victory over illicit performance-enhancing substances be far off?”

“I am both humbled and honored,” added Mr. Talley, “to have Rick Maddox on our team. We believe that he has a great future as a non-doping cyclist, and hope to help him continue to be the pre-eminent non-doper in the cycling world.”

“I would like to make it clear,” Talley continued, “that the fact that there is no possible way we could afford EPO has nothing to do with why Maddox is clean.”


Science Community Weighs In

While it is still unclear to the general public how a professional cyclist is somehow not doping, Scientists and nutritionists from around the globe have been dispatched to study Maddox. Asked what he thought of this phenomenon, Dr. Richard P. Kelly, one of the world’s foremost nutritionists, responded, “I have long believed that if one trained, ate, and rested properly, it would be — theoretically — possible to race as a professional cyclist without doping. Here, at last, we have proof.”

Other scientists, however, remain skeptical. “Of course I am gladdened that Rick Maddox appears to not be doping,” said International Screening Association (ISA) representative Sammakko Miyasaki. “This, however, does not constitute final proof that Maddox has definitively not been doping. We believe the safest course of action is to — for the time being — refer to Mr. Maddox as an ‘alleged non-doper,’ until we have developed additional tests over the course of the next five years, which we shall then run on his current blood, saliva, and urine samples.” At that point, we believe we should be able to say, with 72% confidence, that Maddox either is or is not doping at this moment in time.”

“Also,” continued Miyasaki, “We’re going to need a lock of his hair, a 4-inch-square sample of his skin, and one of his kidneys for our tests. You know, just to be safe.”


Racers React

As one would expect, the tight-knit community of professional cyclists is abuzz with the news that one of their own is not doping.

As one would also expect, not a single one was willing to speak unless guaranteed anonymity.

“I am very, very happy for Mr. Maddox, who I have never heard of before today,” said one popular-but-currently-suspended professional cyclist, who (prior to his suspension) was well known for winning practically every stage he had ever raced in his professional career. “I wish him great success in the future as he races on the…the…excuse me, what team did you say he races on?”

A recently-retired racer, having raced a long and successful career without a single positive, also offered his congratulations to Maddox, but with a caution. “Don’t assume that just because you’re testing clean today means you’re going to test clean tomorrow, OK buddy? Basically, don’t count all your chickens ‘til they hatch. And believe me, some of them chickens can take a good long time to hatch. As in years.

“Seriously, he tested clean?” asked a third racer, who is currently fighting 29 separate charges of doping. “For everything? Is that even statistically possible?

“By the way,” added this racer, as he sat glumly on the steps of the courthouse, where he will likely spend the rest of his adult life, hastily, “I’m clean, too.”


How He Did It

As one would expect, the public — not to mention professional cyclists everywhere —want to know how Maddox managed to test clean. “Well, mostly it’s been easy, because as a racer outside the limelight, I can barely afford to keep my bike maintained, and the tips I get for waiting restaraunts don’t exactly cover $800-per-syringe designer drugs,” admitted Maddox.

“Plus, one day I had an idea: what if I just race, and don’t start doping?’ I know that sounds naïve, but I figured I’d give it a shot. And, well, here I am.”

“Also,” continued Maddox, “I never take cold medicine, or any other medicine for that matter. And I don’t eat cold cereal — have you seen the ingredients lists for that stuff? I wouldn’t be surprised if something in those boxes registered on one of the eight or nine new tests they’re coming out with every week.”

“Also, I stay away from soda. And processed cheese. And I don’t use deodorant unless it’s been approved by Johan Bruyneel himself.”

“And, finally, I cycle my blood through a special chimera-removing dialysis machine on a thrice-weekly basis.”

“You know, regular stuff like that.”


Future Looks Bright

Reached for comment, incoming Tour de France Race Director Christian Prudhomme said, “I wish to personally congratulate Mr. Maddox, who will be — by default — declared the winner of the 2006 Tour de France in a special ceremony this July.”

Continued Prudhomme, “This ceremony will last for the three weeks during which we would have otherwise held the race, if we could have found any other clean riders.”

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